Friday, February 23, 2018

Nothing to write home about

There are days that blend into others...the daily grind born every morning to the same feelings, attitudes, behaviors, and set of circumstances. Life becomes one big boring glob of chores and things to do. Day in and day out we wake up, we hustle, we go to sleep and then we repeat. As my mother would say, there's nothing to write home about. It's all the same. It's all so boring.

When days become like this, we can get sullen. Apathy can overcome us and we can begin to lose interest in and become passive to life. This is an awful feeling. Being dispassionate, with sluggish hearts, we fall into inertia. We move slowly, or aggressively with an underlying animosity, or we don't move at all. We become stuck and make the dullness of life a permanent condition. It doesn't have to be this way.

Nothing to write home about doesn't have to be boring. We can view the same old, same old in such a way that we don't fall into the trap of emptiness and indifference. Nothing to write home about can be viewed with contentment, satisfaction, and as a respite from times of high excitement and commotion. Nothing to write home about could be a period of observation and increased awareness, readying us for the life that we want. It can be a period of noticing the humdrum and benign things that make life great.

Today is a good day to become aware of our daily grind. Let's ask ourselves what's in it? Let's look at some of the things we do with curiosity in order to create interest. Let's do one thing different today. Maybe we take the long way home, listen to a different playlist, forgive someone we've been holding a grudge against, read about a subject we have been wondering about, journal about what we have been frustrated about, or go for a run in the rain. Let's create movement–physical, emotional or spiritual. More importantly, let's take stock of our life and be grateful for those things we have taken for granted. This can create the little bit of excitement that can brighten our day and give us something to write home about.

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Friday, February 16, 2018


Sublime's Badfish song was released when I was 18 years old. Since then, I've had it stuck in my head along with most of the other songs on their 40oz. to Freedom album. This is a fun album. I never thought anything else about it, except what fun! That is, of course, until I started singing out loud in front of my son. Suddenly, I had questions. I had concerns. I had objections, many objections. I no longer thought it was just fun. It took me seeing the album, the songs, the lyrics, and the messages through the eyes of a mother to see the whole thing differently. That is what it took to understand. This is what it takes to understand something more profoundly, to not accept without questioning, to evolve our thinking–it takes a different perspective.

I think about what we take at face value, our attitudes, our rigid opinions, our prejudices, our hatred, and what we encourage. Songs advocating drunk driving, sexism, and invitations to violence parallel attitudes of racial discrimination, religious intolerance, and domestic violence learned and never questioned. Our unquestioned beliefs seep into every area of our lives. They affect the friends we make, who we hire, who we vote into office, who we help, what we accomplish, what we promote, how we raise our children, what we tolerate, how we treat the planet, how we relate to others, how we worship, how we speak to others, what we dignify, who we victimize through legal (even if unethical) policies and jurisprudence, what we believe ourselves capable of doing.

It takes willingness, openness of hear and emotional growth to challenge our conditioning. Unchallenged beliefs can create blocks for us, conflict and inappropriate actions and reactions. Challenging them can open us up to opportunities, blessings, miracles, better relationships, healthier habits, kinder and more compassionate behavior and powerful change–for us and for others.

Today is a good day to start challenging long held beliefs that may be causing us conflict, hurting others, and damaging our emotional and ecological states. We may start by asking ourselves if those beliefs are absolutely true. Can we see them from another point of view? We can also think of what we are afraid of and question those fears as well for they are the basis of many of our attitudes and reactions. How could our lives be better if we relax the judgments and assumptions we have formed based on our past conditioning? Let's bring mindfulness to what we chant blindly. Let's bring the light of consciousness to what we believe for what we believe affects how we feel and behave and what we accept, allow, support, and encourage.

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Friday, February 9, 2018


He lost something. Well, it wasn't really lost. It was there, just not in his awareness. He was just a little boy when he came up to me and his grandma to say that it had misappeared, that's all.

I think misappeared is a very appropriate word. No other word described the circumstance. What he was looking for wasn't really gone, as disappeared things are. It was "wrongly appeared" as opposed to "none appeared". There is an important difference. Being here, not being here, or being here wrongly or mistakenly. Been there? I sure have.

The breadth of being here and not being here can be wide. It ranges from complete presence to complete disappearance and includes that twilight area of misappearance. It's that space of appearing in the wrong time, the wrong place or to the wrong people or things. Why does this happen? I believe we misappear because of inattention, lack of faith, lack of clarity, fear, apathy, being unaware of or not understanding ourselves, disregard, distraction, sadness, multitasking, superficial or undefined intentions, and unchecked emotions, among other factors.

True joy and purpose comes through appearing fully to life, choosing to be here with presence and deliberate intention. It begins by checking in with ourselves. Today is a good day to begin this path of self-awareness, self-understanding and self-knowing. Let's not go on autopilot. Let's take breaths between one thing and another, becoming aware of where we are, what we are doing, what we are thinking, and what we are feeling. Let's start asking questions of ourselves for reflection, intending with purpose, recognizing what's good, planning positive changes towards what's not working, giving of ourselves with love, and finding meaning in everything we do.

Indigo Initiation Mandala by Gina Fong Seidler.
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Friday, February 2, 2018

Sweat (off) the small stuff

Recently my son had a rough day at school, something involving teenage drama, I'm sure. He called after school and sounded frustrated and very tired. I immediately offered to pick him up and bring him home. No!, he said. Today I need the walk more than ever.

My son walks almost four miles each day from school with a heavy bag on his back. When he gets to our building, he races up five flights of stairs, rather than take the elevator. In the past few months his body has become stronger and he rests better at night. Yet, what I've seen grow in him from these walks is his sense of independence and his ability to clear his mind and let go of what doesn't matter. He sweats off the small stuff. By the time he gets home, all is well.

Physical exercise improves our health on so many levels. Physically, it improves our cardiovascular and digestive health, boosts our immune system (helping us fight diseases, especially during the flu season), increases our stamina, strengthens our heart and muscles, and betters our sleep and rest cycles, among many other benefits. Emotionally, it increases our body confidence, which permeates all areas of our life, improves our mental health, our mood and emotional regulation, our ability to solve problems, and our focus and concentration. It also helps relieve tension, stress, anger, anxiety, sadness, frustration, bottled up emotions, and some symptoms of depression. Metaphysically and spiritually, physical exercise can become an exercise in mindfulness and a form of meditation. Done consciously, it slows our mind and helps bring our awareness to the here and now. It also opens up our appreciation for our physical body, the house of our soul, and creates an awareness between body, mind, soul, and spirit. Exercise can then become a conduit to a relationship with Spirit.

Today is a good day to take a yoga class, go to the gym, go for a run, take a nice solitary mindful walk, jump rope, swim, dance, or any other form of physical exercise. Let's use our body-mind connection to relieve pent-up tension and clear our mind, put things in right perspective, and expand time. Let's connect consciously to clear our brain fog, to disengage from distractions, to release the petty stuff, the little annoyances and what doesn't serve us, and to be present to life and to others. Let's detox our bodies and our minds. Let's sweat off the small stuff that it may not bother us anymore.

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