Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Find a Friendly Focus

You are your own teacher.  
Investigate yourself 
to find the truth 
- inside, not outside.
-Ajahn Chah

Take a break.

Get the pen and notebook. Walk into a garden or natural setting. Feel the energy to write into a variety of wonders.

Begin with your creative awareness. Write your mood or feelings at the top of the page.

Breathe in a count of four and out four. Repeat.

Focus on colors. Notice the edges, shapes, and shadows above. How does the green with its veins provide a background?  Imagine the life of a bee.

Move into the flow of your writing and let the words spread across the page. 

Discover surprises in scents and sounds. Absorb the breeze or temperature's sensations.

Gaze upward. Describe the color blue without using a color.

List five sensations that make you happy.

Write about what you take for granted.

Let notions change their course. Move your mind into ocean of waves. Imagine the variety of creatures who will come to visit.

Characterize them. Add a tint of humor to the seahorse who dances with its curled tail or the octopus with giggly eyes. Let the seagull spout its wisdom.

Continue to write and develop your private world.

Stop. Breathe in and out with the four count.

Write your current feelings or mood. Notice a difference from what you wrote on top of the first page.

Keep your friendly focus as you move into the rest of the day.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Fear Less

Fear is a universal experience. Even the smallest insect feels it. We wade in the tidal pools and put our finger near the soft, open bodies of sea anemones and they close up. Everything spontaneously does that. It’s not a terrible thing that we feel fear when faced with the unknown. 
It is part of being alive, something we all share. We react against the possibility of loneliness, of death, of not having anything to hold on to. Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth. 
If we commit ourselves to staying right where we are, then our experience becomes very vivid. 
Things become very clear when there is nowhere to escape. 
Pema Chödrön

When Pema Chödrön writes about becoming intimate with our fears, she recommends using fear as a tool rather than as a problem to solve. She advises us to dismantle our familiar ways of behavior and says we must accomplish, “a complete undoing of old ways of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and thinking.”  

Bravery is not the absence of fear but the intimacy with fear.

We need to step forward a little further with courage. Pema Chödrön encourages that our deepest strength arises by befriending ourselves which is the only mechanism for befriending life in its completeness.

Susan Jeffers believes, "Apart from obvious connections, it is possible the cause of our fear lies elsewhere. But does it really matter from where self-doubts come?  It is often impossible to figure out the actual causes of negative patterns. Even if we did know, the knowing doesn't necessarily change them. If something is troubling you, simply start from where you are and take the action necessary to change it."  

Duke professor Dan Ariely suggests 'reframing your experience.' He says, "You might not be able to change what you have to do but you can change how you see it."

Find a fear and approach it. Then write to it with all the senses.

Use laughter to tickle fear into submission.

Develop a metaphor to return to when faced with the fear.

Write until your mood changes to Fear Less.

If you find your socks don't match 
Stand in a flowerbed
If your shoes don't fit 
Give them to the fish in the pond
If your horse needs shoes
Let him use his wings
If the sun never shines again
Hold fireflies in your hands to keep warm
If you are afraid of the dark
Remember the night rainbow
If there is no happy ending 
make one out of cookie dough 
- Cooper Edens

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Who Remembers?

Launched after World War ll, we became the first wave of baby boomers.

Born to win and teased by change, we searched for identities, questioned authority, and marched for freedom.

We expected the Best in our American dream and share a mosaic of memories.

Here are a few:

"I remember Mama . . . and the day when Dagmar put her elbows on the table," the television program began.

Lucky Strike meant fine tobacco. A boy dressed in a red coat and a box hat called for Phillip Moraaaace.

Gloreous George glorified wrestling, loved by grandmothers.

Russians sent Sputnik into the skies.

We went into orbit with Alan Shepherd and John Glenn.

A father knew Best. Ozzie and Harriet defined values and behavior for American families.

With the key from around our necks, we unfastened our metal skates and nailed them to a long board, with one set of wheels at each end.

At school sirens tested our air raid skills forcing us under desks until the all clear. Parents wearing gas masks marched in front of the schools to protest the arrivial of "smog" created by automobiles.

We sang, "Brusha Brusha Brusha with Bucky Beaver.

Paying $3 per car at the drive in movies, we paired or double dated, fogging the car windows.

Car hops rushed on roller skates at drive-ins for food, delivering burgers and double thick chocolate malts. 

We wriggled on seats at corner soda fountains sipping cherry cokes.

Nehis and hog dogs, Pez candy, and Bosco added to our diets.

Doris Day and Rock Husdon romanced from twin beds.

The Mouseketeers amused with Annette.

We sang the Monster Mash with the Purple People Eater and danced the mashed potato, the twist, and
the swim.

Ed Sullivan celebrated Elvis and the Beatles.

See you later alligator.  In a while crocodile.

Joan Baez strummed in coffee houses and sparked our souls to peace.

Beatniks arose. Then we had hippies.

Madras and tie-dye.  Lava lamps.
       Sonny and Sher made the beat go on.

Nehru jackets, bell bottoms and huge daisies sprouted.  VW buses went on the road to Woodstock and free love.

We glorified flower power wearing love beads of mellow yellow and jolly green.
Then rushed to "feel he warm" with McKuen and read, The Profit by Gibran. 

Aretha. Mic and the Stones.

Hendrix sent us into a purple haze as our world flashed in strobe, black light nd psychedelia.

Lucy in the Sky and Along Comes Mary sent cryptic messages.

Ban the bomb.

Feelin' groovy or burning bras.

Some protested war fought in a far jungle. Others left for Canada or Mexico.

Too many heroes died. So many returned in pain.
        Too many heroes came home to rejrection.
               Hello darkness my old friend.

Simon and Garfunkle promised a bridge over troubled waters.

Watts erupted ro remind us of our differences. Kent State fueled our angst.

Gas sold for 25 cents a gallon.

We watched the moon landing with victory leaps for humanity.

We mourned the loss of JFK, Bobby, and Martin.

Beyond our confusion, we created true freedom, discovered the Best within ourselves.

We became the Best and our Best goes on.