Tuesday, June 30, 2015

To Understand Something

If you want to truly understand something, try to change it.  ~Kurt Lewin 

Alberto Villoldo, anthropologist, believes we are moving into possibility. He has studied the healing practices of the Amazonian and Incan shamanism for 25 years. Villoldo says, "You can only change the world by changing your inner life.”  

It sounds so simple but takes discipline and dedication to make progress in changing inner lives. 

Price Pritchett feels, "Change always comes bearing gifts."  If you made three recommendations for change in your inner life what would they include? 

Search for three gifts today. Begin by writing the ideals. You might start with: self-respect, responsibility, reciprocity.  Write into each of your chosen words to show examples of how you might accomplish them.

The birds are molting.  If only man could molt also - his mind once a year its errors, his heart once a year its useless passions.  ~James Allen

Monday, June 29, 2015

Nature's Therapy

"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better." 
                                                                                                           - Albert Einstein

Kay Cowley advises, "If you'd like a therapist but can't afford one, Mother Nature is free of charge. Each day you can spot an endless array of natural wonders that make for grand soul sessions if you look around with eyes open and an open heart."

Search nature for transitions, change, and rhythms to emulate.

"There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self," assures Aldous Huxley. 

To the degree that you regenerate yourself, you will improve everyone around you. Your inner work will become contagious. 

Find amazement and calm in the sea and sky.
Use curiosity to discover the human blossoming process.

“The world is emblematic. Parts of speech are metaphors because
the whole of nature is a metaphor for the human mind.” Ralph Waldo Emerson


Sunday, June 28, 2015

No Advice

Benjamin Franklin said, "Wise men don't need advice. Fools won't take it." Charles Shultz might have adapted Lucy's sign in agreement. 

Most of the time no one heeds advice and would pay to avoid it. Active listening supports family and friends but individuals gain skills in problem solving by trial and error. Everyone needs experiences to gain knowledge.

If you must delve into the depths of another's concerns try these suggestions:

Avoid jumping in to solve another's problem.  

Ask questions instead of providing solutions. Help someone think about the issues.

Share experiences and lessons learned without offering advice. 

Emphasize how your experiences could be different or similar.

Encourage rather than judge. Avoid negativity.

Refer to professionals to impart knowledge about life skills. 

Suggest resources in articles, books, or web-based information.

Communicate with encouragement.

Become an example and shine your light rather than direct with it.  

Ask for five cents for no advice.

Saturday, June 27, 2015


Words like birds
fly and flee

Wings in

at play

Opposites and Reversals

In the18th century Francois Rabelais published a novel, The Life of Gargantua and of Pantagruel. A teacher named Epistemon takes a visit to the afterlife and back.

While on the other side, Epistemon finds famous dead heroes employed in humble states. Alexander the Great mends old socks.  Cleopatra hawks onions in the streets. King Arthur cleans hats while Helen of Troy supervises chambermaids.

Do you see the turtle?
Consider reversals you would like to see in life and art.

What's enormous that should be small and vice versa?  What's proud that should be humble and vice versa?

Reverse your polarity. Play with imagery in sight, sound, and scent to move into new realms of thinking and creating.

Add texture. Let humor swirl to color ideas.

Friday, June 26, 2015


Move the body
    Opportunities call
         Time for play
                 Value laughter
                     Attention to detail
                             Imagine the goal
                                 Outlast and revise
                                       Never give up

How do you spell motivation?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Punctuate Your Life!

Play with punctuation.  After you've responded to each of the ten choices, do a freewrite to combine them.  Let your life sentences emerge.

Observe your life:
l.    Describe a comma (a pause) you've experienced.
2.   What felt life an ending (a period).
3.   Include a parenthesis ( ).
4.   Use an action verb to push the punctuation.
5.   What connection has a semi-colon made for you?
6.   Add a dash of -
7.   Entertain ellipses to begin or end . . . .
8.   What does a colon offer your list of fun or fantasy?
9.   Question the question mark that appeared before a choice.
10.  In what situations do you feel possessive like an apostrophe?

Live your life as an exclamation point!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Explore Equanimity

"Authentic joy is not a euphoric state or a feeling of being high. Rather is it a state of appreciation that slows us to participate fully in our lives." - Pema Chödrön  

Equanimity involves mental composure. Moving into a difficult situation with calm brings balance. 
"In the moment we come to abide with the energy instead of acting it out, we are training in equanimity," says Pema Chödrön

We achieve freedom by engaging with the energy of the moment rather than reacting. Not an easy activity, it takes discipline and practice to release former behaviors and select others to replace them. When sad or glad, we need to widen our circle of understanding and compassion. 

Use creativity to change attitudes:

Get out of the way of the ego's control. 
During a negative experience, project that event as a movie and see it in all its dimensions. Breathe to calm and quiet the emotions that arise. Observe the scene with all senses.

Imagine a musical or comedy evolving from the situation. Sing into silly.

The next anxiety that arrives, use a metaphor from nature. Watch it bloom as a rose. Count the petals, smell the fragrance, feel a touch of breeze. Make positive problem solving choices without judgment.

If an initial reaction to stress is, "Oh sH&^!" find a word to replace the habitual response with a key word.  Say:  Shift. Turn. Flip. Then say the chosen word. Get to the other side of your typical response.

Rainer Maria Rilke said, "This in the end is the only kind of courage that is required of us. The courage to face the strangest most unusual most inexplicable experience that can meet us."

Awareness, creativity, and patience help us dwell in the places that frighten or frustrate. Flexibility in times of uncertainty enables equanimity.

Slow down to savor life's wonders.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Breaking Free

Off the trail" is another name for the Way, and sauntering off the trail is the practice of the wild. This is also where - paradoxically - we do our best work. But we need paths and trails and will always be maintaining them. You must first be on the path, before you can turn and walk into the wild." 
- Gary Snyder

The adventurer breaks free to let curiosity nudge the imagination.

A wander into the wild with words where the sea meets the sky.

Discovery of new realms in thoughts and feelings away from technology's tug.

Stitched with surprise.
Stretched with simplicity.
Stalked with the senses.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Come From Away

The musical, Come From Away tells the story of a small Canadian community of 10,000 on the island of Newfoundland. The residents provided for 7000 people diverted to their airport on the day of 9/11. Because of the situation, all air traffic to the United States stopped.

During a time of terror, the Newfoundlanders of Gander shared their homes and all necessities for their fellow human beings in this time of need.

Playwrights, David Hein and Irene Sankoff conducted hours of interviews to develop an authentic story of a people and a place that is, "both absolutely singular and yet universal," artistic director Christopher Ashley says. They spent five years researching the story of the five days in Gander that forged lasting friendships and changed lives. The couple wanted to, "Bring a little Newfoundland to to the other side of the continent."

While 9/11 introduced Gander to the world, what the town and surrounding areas gave in return revealed the goodness of human hearts.

At the La Jolla Playhouse, "The Paper Plane Project," a 3-D sculpture and projections explores the audience experience beyond the boundaries of the traditional theatre experience. Playgoers are asked to leave their thanks and share an act of kindness especially memorable in their lives.

Using notepads at the main exits of the Potiker Theatre, individuals drop special notes of thanks into the boxes. The messages will be projected onto the Wall of Gratitude as a meaningful and personal contribution to "The Paper Plane Project."

Inspired by the sense of community portrayed in Come from Away and embracing the paper plane as a symbol of generosity, the project expresses the collective power of many small acts of kindness and capture the positive energy that is born from gratitude.

We can make a difference one-on-one when we use and share laughter, healing and hope like the hands and hearts of the people of Newfoundland.

Take a piece of paper and fashion it into a airplane. Keep it as a visual reminder to commit to a kind, thoughtful act for someone else. Pledge to do it as soon as you can and as often as you can.

Share thankful memories, an act of kindness you witnessed or a good deed you did for someone else.encourage others and keep the momentum of kindesss and gratitude going.

Learn more at LaJollaPlayhouse.org.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.
- Albert Einstein

Even the rose wants to explore beyond the fence. During childhood, I asked so many questions my father created stories he thought would satisfy my curiosity. Even then he often fell asleep before my questions stopped arriving like thunderbolts.

He never said, "I don't know." Even when I had him perplexed, he'd launch into an explanation to cover the topic. Many years later I learned a bidet really wasn't a footbath. 

Endowed with curiosity, everything in life becomes possible. Linked with optimism and creativity, curiosity pushes limits.

Ways to heighten your natural gift of curiosity:

1.   Stay open to possibilities. Nurture the ability to change your mind, unlearn and relearn.
2.   Ask questions like a reporter: Who, What, Why, When, Where, How? Don't feel content with easy answers. Ask more questions.
3.   Curious individuals never feel bored. Take advantage of 'empty time' like standing in line. Observe what's going on around you. Notice people's choices and listen. Writers always carry notepads.
4.   Become a perpetual learner. Make learning fun and seek beyond the obvious.
5.   Read diverse publications and books. Explore what you don't know with a free mind.
6.   Use all your senses to explore nature daily.
7.   When puzzled, ask, "What if . . . ?"  "Then what . . . ?"
8.   Consider frustrations ways to dig for buried treasure. Keep digging.
9.   Find ways each day to express gratitude for small favors.
10. Keep exploring your mind's mosaics.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Mind's Mosaics

Human emotions and moods shuffle in shifts and shapes like the glass pieces in a kaleidoscope. Every day we choose a response to the imagery received. Some days exhilaration energizes our choices. 

Other days our temperament and attitude may cause perplexity and irritation. The edges and colors re-arrange into patterns of behavior to view, focus, and interpret. Vibrancy and reflection appear at each turn of life's cylinder.

Knowing oneself feels mysterious and requires effort.

What to do?

Take advantage of potential by staying present with the mosaics of each moment.

Engage with emotions and permit them to shine their messages without a reaction.

Let them collide into a variety of patterns and opportunities.

When observing the messages. Stop and take a breath. Move on with the lessons they present.

Self-compassion begins with the breath. Stay with it to relax the body head to toe.

Relent to the feelings of restlessness.

Focus on what occurs moment-to-moment.

Watching the collisions of the mind's pieces creates the most challenge. Try not to judge or assign right or wrong to the feelings and thoughts that arrive.  

In this way you can address anger, passion and pride. Let them take turns on the kaleidoscope. Observe without self-deception the aspects of your personality and behavioral choices. 

Push borders with playful honesty. Take on tenacity with a sense of humor to deepen self-awareness. Discover ways to avoid distress.

Acknowledge aversions and cravings.  Make different turns of the scope next time.

Sift the mind's mosaics like a kaleidoscope. Benefit from all the dimensions of YOU!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Got Problems?

A man wanted his problems solved and consulted a wise man. He explained he farmed but sometimes it doesn't rain and his crops fail. Sometimes it rains too much and his yields are low. Then his family nearly starves.

The wise man listened patiently.

The farmer said he was married with children. He loves his wife but she nags and he gets tired of this. He loves his children but sometimes they don't show him enough respect.

The wise man said, "I'm sorry, I can't help you.

"Why?" asked the man.

Everyone has 83 problems," advised the wise man. He explained that when you try to fix one another crops up.

The man interrupted, "I thought you could help me. You're supposed to be a great teacher."

"Maybe I can help you with your 84th problem."

"What's that?" the man demanded.

"You don't want to have any problems."

Thursday, June 18, 2015

One Way Change

We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves, otherwise we harden. ~ Goethe

What could you change today to avoid a "one
way" habit?

Think about renewal as summer arrives.


Take different routes to places all day.

Wear a forgotten piece of clothing.

Thank people for sharing their smiles.

See an old problem with rewewed solutions.

Think in couplets.

Eat with your fingers.

Sing your conversations.

Write like you mean it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Create Instead of Complain

"My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just to enjoy your ice cream while it's on your plate."- Thornton Wilder
We feel the onslaught of frustration in many ways during each day. The media bombards with messages of what's wrong with the world. People annoy us with their behavior. Regardless of efforts to avoid the negativity, we get tangled into the critical syndrome to find fault rather than discover possibility.

Will Bowen, a Kansas City minister suggests word choice determines thought choice, which determines emotions and actions. Conditioning helps us stop using certain words.

Will designed a solution in the form of a simple purple bracelet, which he offered to his congregation with a challenge. Go 21 days without complaining. Each time individuals complained, they had to switch the bracelet to the other wrist and start again from day 0. It was simple but effective awareness training.

Consider going a day-at-a-time to put creativity ahead of complaints.

Each time a complaint or criticism crosses the mind find a replacement word or possible action.

Add the band idea. Use a rubber band and snap it when you feel the need to complain. Replace the critical notion with a solution or the opposite point of view.

At the end of the day write about ways you discovered to problem solve rather than whine.

Starting points:

Work on self-criticism to begin your process. When you hear words in your head, "Oh, why can't I?" Turn the words into, "I can always . . . "

Revise daily headlines into humorous possibilities. For each scene of violence, find someone to save the day. Push creativity and have aliens or animals turn the situation around.

Notice how others begin conversations that center on a complaint or criticism. Change the subject. Point to the sky, "There's Halley's comet," to distract.

While standing in line, observe what you admire about others waiting with you.

If someone tailgates and honks, turn your frown into a laugh. Just think what it would be like to sing your school's fight song to energize that person.

When the mind gallops in circles during a meal, repeat Thornton Wilder's thoughts and focus on the joy of the moment.

If you find yourself snapping that rubber band too often, create a tune and laugh along with it.

Take the time to flush out the frustrations. 

When conditioning with a variety of word choices, notice how your attitude changes.

Revel in creativity and smile.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

No Worries

Let yourself sleep. Let worrying go, 
the mind's jealousy, suspicion.  
All that is a veil across the full moon.
of the heart. Throw worry in the river.
Let it wash away.  - Rumi

Extinguish the wars
in your mind
create an image
a heron in flight

Worries winged 
into the breeze

A dip into the river
water rushes and soothes

Worry dissolves
into wonder

Monday, June 15, 2015

Track Season

What needs transformation?  Imagine a day when gravity pulls extra hard. 

Choose a situation you wish to alter. Discover a direction and a goal for results. Use creativity to energize into a positive feeling. 

If you find yourself in a experiencing a challenging situation, focus on the breath. 

Slow down and become observant.

When caught up in a tense or negative situation, diffuse the energy with a hearty laugh. In the middle of the chaos, just start laughing. It will energize the brain, provide relief to you and others near you.

If frustrated, count your Gratitudes.

Accentuate the Positive. Think of all of the good times you have enjoyed. Let the sadness offer a different perspective.

Avoid Judgment. Your thoughts plus your choices affect your life.  If you have overreacted, try not to place blame elsewhere.

Keep a strong awareness about how you feel in situations. Allow yourself to control how you react through self-realization. Stop and walk outside yourself for a view.

Choose what you want for an outcome, not what happened to you.

When confronted with what does not work, look at what works. Bolster self-esteem by remembering how far you have come to get to the situation.

Check your track record. You've sailed through adversity before.  Find your buoyancy!