triggeredFebruary 26, 2024 in Blog
I’m grateful to have gotten to a place in my life where I’m not easily triggered. I’ve incorporated and interspersed enough mindfulness practices into my days, over enough years, that when the unexpected happens, I am (most of the time) able to just roll with it. I’m able to face surprises in their many guises, disappointment and frustration in a way that allows me to take a breath and choose my response. All of that is true to a point. All of that is true, until it is not at all in any way true.
I recently sent a note to a colleague in another state who I do not know very well with a request for some simple, logistical information.… Read the rest
ritual or habit?January 31, 2024 in Blog
I’m wondering… what rituals do you have in place that feel meaningful to you at this time? It’s a question I often ask during mindfulness programs as these courses are such a unique opportunity to look closely at and be available to receive insight about what we do and why we do it. In a recent 1:1 session, a participant shared their personal musings on the topic, including some reflection about the difference between ritual and habit. As soon as they said it, all the lights blinked on. Yes. There’s a lot in here to unpack.
What is a ritual? To my mind, a ritual is distinguished by its highly intentional and oftentimes symbolic nature.… Read the rest
pause and reflectDecember 28, 2023 in Blog
I’m wondering how you’re closing your year. I don’t mean your plans for New Year’s Eve, rather, how do you find yourself as we tick off the final days of 2023? Excited? Exhausted? With anticipation or regret? Grateful? Content? Whatever it is, maybe you’ll carve out some time to reflect on where you’ve been this year, and with what are you aligning as we move into the year ahead.
Here are a few notions to get you started:
The garden of your mind. What is happening in there? Do you know? Is that voice in your head- your lifelong roommate— an ally or enemy?… Read the rest
be braveDecember 1, 2023 in Blog
In a recent 1:1 session, I was working with a woman I have known for years. She’s a kind, sweet, generous, powerful force of good in the world, and like the rest of us, she’s got her own little closet of demons to be dealt with from time to time. She was sharing about her longtime struggle with disordered eating and body dysmorphia, and we did some shadow work to see what might be ready to surface. At the end of our time, I asked her what was a small step she could take in the direction of the truth she had uncovered.… Read the rest
I’m coming off of the rare pleasure of a weekend with friends, among them, the ever-wise Glenda Mackie. This morning before teaching, she asked if we knew why leaves turn color in fall. I actually had no idea. Throughout spring and summer, leaves are constantly generating chlorophyll, giving them their green color. As we shift into fall and the nighttime hours grow longer, chlorophyll production stops and other chemical shifts occur— revealing the stunning array of pigments we see in autumn leaves. From darkness, beauty. As always, the nature. Right there teaching us what we need to learn.
It feels so appropriate as I’m currently studying a form of shadow work, rooted in eastern philosophy and infused with techniques of Jungian psychology.… Read the rest
“Every person must choose how much truth he can stand. “ — Carl Jung
Truth. Satya. It seems so straightforward. We think we understand it. It appears uncomplicated. We believe we choose it more often than not. However, after years of studying and teaching the topic and continuing to peel away layer after layer, I’ve found it is, as Oscar Wilde is quoted as saying, “rarely pure and never simple.”
Last weekend I led a four-day Tantra intensive and we spent an afternoon examining the intersection of sva dharma (your personal role, duty, or true nature), satya (truthfulness) and purushartha (four goals of human life).… Read the rest
For ten years, I’ve offered a long weekend intensive called What’s Next? It’s four days of deep diving, soul poking, truth excavating work, guiding you to take a clear and honest look at who you truly are, where you’re getting in your own way, and what is the next step you can take toward your truest, brightest self. In a 2021 session, we had gathered on the second day to check in before starting the work. One participant shared a reflection— almost a mantra or a prayer— that had surfaced for her as she tucked into bed the previous night: “May I be strong enough for what is coming.… Read the rest
impermanenceJuly 31, 2023 in Blog
Last week, I heard from a longtime student that her beloved furry companion of 12 years died suddenly and unexpectedly. Deep in grief, she had questions about the why of it all. What are the lessons? How do we pay attention to what matters most and what are we supposed to learn through the process? Coming up on two years since Padma’s departure, I could easily feel into that pain and immediately thought of this is what love feels like. Love. Loss. Two sides of the same coin.
Every person I know was faced with these questions during the pandemic- a season of loss and change for all of us.… Read the rest
Ben Franklin was quoted as saying “There are no gains without pains” but in my lifetime, it was Jane Fonda, circa 1982, who popularized the saying “no pain, no gain” in her exercise videos. It spread quickly from step aerobics and athletics to just about every endeavor, and became the silent credo of a generation. In short: if you want to get somewhere, do something, or be someone, discomfort is part of the deal. Plan for it. Expect it. Your progress is directly proportional to your suffering.
As with so many other things- from trends in fashion to politics- we eventually swing from one extreme to the other.… Read the rest
In our monthly Dharma & Satsang discussions, we are continuing to work through the kleshas: the whys of our suffering as human beings. In April, we dove into dveśa. Usually, translated as aversion or strong dislike, I leaned into the richness of the Sanskrit and added some additional layers: burning; hatred; and the understanding that the root of dveśa lies in experiences and memories of pain from the past. It’s about how it’s possible that what we most dislike can take over our experience. You’d think we would prefer to focus on what we like (attachment) but it turns out we can be just as overtaken by what we don’t like.… Read the rest