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Sunday, February 26 2012

Merciful Flowering


       Most of the people I work with (including the guy I counsel in the mirror) are tormented at times by an inner judge whose stance is always critical – and often quite harsh.  Last Thursday in group, as part of an ongoing effort I make to invite mercy into our inner lives, I shared this passage from The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo.



       "We do ourselves a great disservice by judging where we are in comparison to some final destination.  This is one of the pains of aspiring to become something:  the stage of development we are in is always seen against the imagined landscape of what we are striving for.  So where we are – though closer all the time – is never quite enough.

       The simple rose, at each moment of its slow blossoming, is as open as it can be.  The same is true of our lives.  In each stage of our unfolding, we are as stretched as possible.  For the human heart is quite slow to blossom, and is only seen as lacking when compared to the imagined lover or father or mother we'd like to become.

       It helps to see ourselves as flowers.  If a flower were to push itself to open faster, which it can't, it would tear.  Yet we humans can and often do push ourselves.  Often we tear in places no one can see.  When we push ourselves to unfold faster or more deeply than is natural, we thwart ourselves.  For nature takes time, and most of our problems of will stem from impatience."  (p. 251)



       Be gentle with your petals.  Flower mercifully.

Posted by: AT 09:24 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Sunday, February 19 2012

Growing Pains



       Awhile back, in a catalog from Shambhala Publications, I found a book by David Richo titled: The Five Things We Cannot Change…and the Happiness We Find by Embracing Them.


       The five things are:


1.      Everything changes and ends.

2.    Things do not always go according to plan.

3.    Life is not always fair.

4.    Pain is a part of life.

5.    People are not loving and loyal all the time.


       Right next door in the catalog is another book by Richo:  How to be an Adult in Relationship.  This one, apparently, focuses, not so much on finding the ideal mate, but on developing our own capacity to love and to be more realistic in relationship.


        As I sit here imagining what these books are like, I suspect that Richo's writing echoes life's persistent invitation to grow – and to grow up. 


       I feel an old resistance to growing up.  I remember old growing pains.  I wonder about a connection between the resistance and the pain.

Posted by: AT 10:03 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, February 11 2012

Body of Truth


       Richard Moss makes an interesting distinction between feelings and emotions.  Feelings, he says, are spontaneous reactions to our experience of life, registered in the body.  Emotions are generated by the thoughts and stories we tell ourselves, as we react to life.


       As I sit with this distinction, it's clear to me:  Feelings rarely lie.  Emotions routinely do.


       If I want to know how I truly feel about something, I need to listen to my body, which for me is easier said than done, since I tend to navigate with words, and my body rarely speaks English.  


       There are many ways to listen to the body.  Psychologist Eugene Gendlin wrote about a technique for accessing our deep truth in a book he titled, Focusing.  Lately, I've been experimenting again with a version of the focusing technique, in which I picture a person or a situation and gently ask within:  "How do I feel about this?"  or "What do I want to do about this?"  Sometimes, I receive the felt sense of an answer. I name that felt sense and, if it resonates as truth with the body, I feel a shift inside, a relaxing, a sigh of yes, usually somewhere in the area around my solar plexus.


       At other times, perhaps more often, there will be a stillness inside with no sense of an answer.  I attend to the stillness and gently offer multiple choice options:  Naming a few feelings or possible courses of action – going slowly, careful not to rush the body.  When I name something that's really true for me or right for me, I experience the shift, that felt sense of "yes".  


       I'm still a bit rusty with this.  It doesn't work perfectly all the time.  Sometimes, I suspect, I'm not ready to trust this knowing or this way of knowing.  Sometimes, the mind and old habits insist on running the show. 


       So, I'm invited to persist – patient with myself and a deepening friendship with my body.  I'm invited to see the easy flow this quiet listening brings to the navigation of life.  I'm invited to relax and to remember:


       The body tells the truth.



Posted by: AT 12:33 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Sunday, February 05 2012


Odd Moments


Noticing lately

how I fill

odd moments












fills the

spaces -


old habits

of forgetting

who I am.







I am


 in love -


unique light

in a





all is




all is



and all


just right.



Odd moments









Odd moments

can be

God moments.



Posted by: AT 11:48 am   |  Permalink   |  Email

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