Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Sobering reality of food addiction and emotions

Monday, September 29, 2014

Staying aligned with your intention

Blogger Quinn McDonald wrote recently of her practice of choosing a word to consider during the year. To keep herself engaged with that word and its ideas, she sits down and writes the word into her daily calendar on every few pages. When I read this, I had one of those "wow, why didn't I think of that" moments.

Each year I choose an intention to live by and I'm pretty good about staying aligned with it for a few months. First, because it's new and kind of exciting. Second, because I talk about it a lot with friends in those early months. But then time moves on and I'm not in that same excited space and other ideas and commitments intervene.

So I love the idea of writing this into my calendar every couple of weeks to check in with myself.

If you’re not really what you stand for, then the things that matter the most are always going to be at the mercy of the things that matter the least.

- Cheri Maples, "She's Got the Beat"

Saturday, September 27, 2014

A great quote

  • Only in the oasis of silence can we drink deeply from the inner cup of wisdom.--Sue Patton Thoele
By the way, check out for a lot of great food for thought

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Embodying "It's not too late"

In my recent newsletter, I wrote about seeing Crosby, Stills, and Nash on stage and being thrilled by their continuing creativity into their 70s. When you go to a three-hour conference and hear new music by elderly guys, you know it's not too late to do those things you want to do. 

Sure, you may not have enough time to become a concert pianist or a black belt in karate, but who knows? Maybe you do. You can at least get started and see where it takes you. I started painting well into my 50s and seriously writing even later than that. And I'm nowhere near stopping.

I'm a part of the first year of the Baby Boomers (born in 1946) and I know we are doing old differently than our parents did and way differently than our grandparents did. We're retiring later, we're retiring slowly, and some of us aren't retiring at all. 

And many of us are starting new projects, developing new skills, getting revved up for this next part of life. How can you embody "it's not too late" for those around you?  

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Poem from the Japanese Garden workshop

Last Tuesday I taught a workshop at the Japanese Garden called "In Praise of Small Things." One of the activities was to explore the garden for a while and notice 10 small things and make 3 notes about each one. Then, when the participants returned to the pavilion, I asked them to pick one of those things and write a recipe for it.

Here's one I wrote:

Koi Kuchen

1 cup each copper, gold, and white  
A large pond, not too cold
6 1/2 rays of sunshine, fairly thick
1 or more deep shadows
Assorted scales and muscles

Mix the scales and muscles well. Add the colors. Be careful not to overmix them. Patches are best. Shape into slim bodies, blunted snouts, and flexible tales. Drop one at time into the pond. Intermingle the sun rays and deep shadow. Allow to thrive.

Serving portion: 20 minutes of meditation each morning

Sunday, September 21, 2014

168 is all we get

There are 168 hours in any week. 

If I...

Deduct sleep: 105 hours left
Deduct maintenance and meals: 77 hours left
Deduct paid work: 47 hours left
Deduct reading and TV: 37 hours left
Deduct writing: 30 hours left
Deduct time with friends: 23 hours left
Deduct futzing and miscellaneous: 10 hours left
Deduct painting: 5 hours left
Deduct spiritual practice: 0 hours left

An interesting way to look at where time goes. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Recognizing sufficiency

In the money program I've been participating in since February, we talk a lot about living from sufficiency rather than scarcity. Money has a whole different effect on us when we believe there's enough, however much that is, instead of always thinking we need more. And of course, this has great importance for those of us who are addicts because we always think we don't have enough of whatever it is and that we should stockpile more.

So I've been looking for ways to register sufficiency and satisfaction, working to become conscious of moments when I feel content, happy with the way things are in that moment. And I've developed a mantra that is really helpful for me. When I find one of those moments, I say to myself (or out loud sometimes), This is enough. Right here. Right now. 

Recent sufficiency moments: Holding Evie, listening to her purr, and rocking in the rocking chair. Talking with friends over dinner last night. Lying in bed listening to the crickets of Marin County out the window and feeling the cool breeze wash over me after a very hot day. Eating an extraordinarily delicious black plum. Hearing a woman I don't know well say how glad she is to be getting to know me. Feeling love for my best friend. Walking on the beach with my sister.

What for you is enough, right here, right now?