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Tuesday, September 25 2012

Sensational Friendship



Make room, James.

Make room for what you feel

For what you want

For who you are.


Make room, James.

Make room for what she feels

For what she wants

For what she stirs in you.


Make room for life, James.

Inside you, there's ample space

For heartache and joy.

No danger, don't run.


Breathe into your belly.

Breathe into your heart.

Let breath hold you in its

Compassionate expanse.


Hold tenderly this body.

All that it feels

Is simply sensation.

Be a sensational friend.






Posted by: AT 08:24 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, September 12 2012




      Apparently, it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in any endeavor.  In appreciation of this finding, Richard Moss concludes that we are all Masters of Ego.  Well before age 10, we earn our ME degrees, working day and night, developing and refining stories about "me" – me in the past, me in the future, me in relationship to others and to life itself. 


       We tend to repeat the same old stories, hanging onto an internal consistency, keeping our worlds familiar, living the old punch line:  "It's my story and I'm sticking to it."


       No wonder, then, it takes more than one profound experience of awakening to achieve Mastery of Presence, the art of living fully in the now.  While an awakening points us in the direction of presence, it takes 10,000 hours of practicing mindful awareness, to get us there on a regular basis – 10,000 hours of hard work, noticing when we're in story and bringing ourselves back to the present, over and over again.  Practice, practice, practice – building what Richard calls "spiritual muscle". 


       With practice, we find freshness and aliveness in each moment.  Presence becomes more natural and habitual.  We inhabit our bodies, comfortable in our own skin.  We routinely show up, pay attention, tell the truth and let go of outcome.  The now becomes home.


       At the rate of an hour a day, it takes about 28 years to achieve mastery.  I have an ME degree.  I'm still working on my MP. 

Posted by: AT 10:48 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Sunday, September 02 2012

Relational Dancing


       I often tell the folks I see that whoever invented relationships must have a sense of humor. 


       For example, it seems that whatever we do to protect ourselves in a primary love relationship is precisely what pushes our partners' buttons – and vice versa.  Let's say one partner criticizes, as a protection strategy, and the other withdraws.  It's likely that the withdrawal is just as difficult for the one who criticizes as the criticism is for the one who withdraws.


       In similar fashion, we seem astutely able at times to withhold from our partners exactly what they need.  Psychologist and relationship counselor, David Schnarch, refers to this phenomenon as "marital sadism", a natural expression of the anger and resentment present in most marriages. 


       While I see evidence for his point of view, I'm more likely to view the withholding as a way of signaling our partners – with varying levels of awareness – that we're unhappy about something that's occurring or not occurring in the relationship.  Of course, as both parties engage in these signaling strategies, each waiting for the other to budge, a painful standoff ensues.


       In a more recent view that I'm coming to appreciate and adopt, spiritually-oriented writers describe this withholding as a well-disguised gift – an invitation from life, through our partners, for us to face and heal old wounds, realize wholeness and stop searching "out there" for something already "in here."  As Richard Moss wisely puts it, "We are, already, that which we seek."


       Regardless of one's perspective on this aspect of relationship, the intimate dance is definitely mysterious and maddening at times, goofy and complex.  Our patterns are well practiced, and yet we keep dancing – discovering, over time, unexpected delights, opportunities for growth and new ways to boogie.




Posted by: AT 01:38 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

 "James has a very welcoming presence and an easy going demeanor in addition to an excellent sense of humor . We are all free to be our own goofy selves."

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