Don’t Spare Yourself

Okay, so… I’m still taking violin lessons. Along with my violin lessons I discovered another life lesson, as well as a good lesson for writers. If I want to learn how to play the violin, I have to be willing to play poorly. Like I remind my writing students all the time — be willing to write several shitty drafts before the story works, before you “sound” pleasing.  The enjoyment found in writing several shitty drafts, as well as playing crude on the violin, is indispensable to progress in both. I delight in holding an idea and seeing how it comes out on the page. I enjoy holding the violin and … Continue reading

How Not To Be Discouraged

. . . it is important that awake people be awake, or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep; the signals we give–yes or no, or maybe– should be clear; the darkness around us is deep.   –William Stafford, A Ritual To Read To Each Other For many of us these can be discouraging times. Then again, I doubt any of us get through our lives free of discouragement. Like me, you may be discouraged by the outpour of support for Trump. Or you may be in a job or relationship that undermines you. Or you have experienced a great … Continue reading

Are You A Tiger or a Fox?

“The modern dogma is comfort at any cost.” -Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac There are eleven pithy slogans that can be used as practice points and reminders of living the zero point agreement, which is to live life from your side; to live life from the inside-out.  These are not exhaustive or to be used as clubs. They are simply pointers, references to help in being the cause rather than the effect of our life. Each of these are brought out throughout the book, The Zero Point Agreement but can be more quickly referenced here. Pithy intentions, slogans, and principles can redirect the mind, in the … Continue reading

Finding What We Already Possess

Truth is within ourselves, it takes no rise from outward things; whate’er you may believe there is an inmost center in us all where truth abides in fullness; and around, wall upon wall, the gross flesh hems it in, this perfect, clear perception which is Truth. A baffling and perverting carnal mesh Binds it and makes all error; and to know rather consists in opening out a way whence the imprisoned splendor may escape than in effecting entry for a light supposed to be without. Robert Browning, from “Paracelsus” I have written in journals since the age of 16, which is … Continue reading

What’s Trump Got to do with It?

“What we name it matters little to me, since the origins, nature, and destiny of call-it-what-you-will are forever hidden from us, and no one can credibly claim to know its true name. But that we name it matters a great deal. For “it” is the objective, ontological reality of selfhood that keeps us from reducing ourselves, or each other, to biological mechanisms, psychological projections, sociological constructs, or raw material to be manufactured into whatever society needs — diminishments of our humanity that constantly threaten the quality of our lives.” Parker J Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness Our self-hood, true nature, integrity, or, self-esteem (call “it” … Continue reading

Wire Your Brain to Compassion & Wisdom

Here is a simple but powerful meditation that helps unravel our negative habitual and reactive postures. This simple meditation helps “hardwire us to wisdom and compassion.” The effort only takes a few minutes a day. This trains your mind while imprinting the memory of love on the psychophysical level. Research has shown us how the brain is pliable and responsive to such mind-training. This meditation gives your brain a positive memory to retrieve when life’s circumstances trigger a pain story. This simple practice assists in the undoing of negative belief systems (and assumptions) that are hardwired into us. Our brains are wired to take care … Continue reading

The Wish-Fulfilling Mandala (Or how not to mistake a rope for a snake)

The wish-fulfilling mandala is a simple tool that allows you to manifest your intention. You will experience immediate results through the use of this mandala. It’s a simple practice to transform negative mind-sets and experiences to allow for direct spiritual and creative experience. It facilitates the transformation of pain stories, difficulties, and resistances into a way of living that is inspired by intention. It’s a wish-fulfilling tool. Begin with the center circle. In this circle identify a strong assumption or pain story you hold that you know influences your inner and outer landscape. Identify something that you are struggling with. This could be about how you view yourself … Continue reading

How My Blind Dog Sees

 The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. –Marcel Proust Recently I had a conversation with a mentor of mine; we discussed the possibility of working together on a project. I took this to be a great compliment and, after the conversation, I was flooded with a sense of gratitude that was so strong, it brought tears to my eyes. Had his generosity elicited this response? Or was it because I knew that collaboration with him could open myriad of inner and outer doors for me? I wasn’t sure. The next day … Continue reading

It’s Never Too Late to have a Second Adulthood

There is a bumper sticker that says: “It’s never too late to have a second childhood.” But I don’t want a second childhood––I’ve earned a more expansive and mature place in this world. I prefer to experience this next stage of life as my second adulthood. It’s never too late, as Joseph Campbell says, to follow our bliss. I am determined to have a second adulthood as my daughter ventures out on her first. I turn 60 this summer and our only daughter leaves for college in the fall. Approaching this time as my second adulthood brings to mind how … Continue reading