Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Start Where You Are

"Start Where You Are", the title of a Buddhist meditation book by Pema Chodron. I'm currently on my 4th or 5th reading of it, and can't imagine I'll ever decide to be done. I find it to be a wonderful guide to suffering less, and living more gently and fully.

So, starting where you are begins with the concept of letting go of "self-improvement". Hmmm, really? I don't have to strive to be better? I don't have to do something to prove I'm good? I don't have to polish and shine myself up to demonstrate that I'm a winner? Phew, cuz all the effort I've made in that vein, hasn't really removed the scratchy feelings of "not enough" (not smart enough, pretty enough, lean enough, rich enough, nice enough....) that seem to niggle at me from time to time.

But what to do when these feelings begin to itch? Start Where You Are, offers that you are perfectly all right, just as you are. The Buddhist suggestion for when the "not enough" itch begins to prickle? - just breathe into to it. Stay with it - the sensation that is. Stop agreeing with any "thoughts" that support the concept, and just breathe. No thinking, no stirring the pity pot, no running from. Just relaxed breathing into the achy spot. Easing, easing, easing.
Now, move on into the doing of your day - just as you are. Not acting on the "not enough" premise, or against it - trying to disprove it. Just do the next "doing" thing of your day. Let the sensation fade in the meditation. And start where you are, being YOU, rather than a "not enough" concept.

Be well, and breathe well,

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Edginess, a prickly dis-ease no-one really likes to experience. But can it serve a purpose?
Why wouldn't it? I believe all our emotional and physical states serve a unique purpose. Unfortunately, those that feel uncomfortable we typically try to avoid or get rid of without consideration of why we might be experiencing them.

Sometimes staying with the sensation can be helpful.

For instance:

In my morning meditation I noticed a faint edginess arise. Rather than using breath to stay calm, I used it to focus on the sensation. As it intensified I noticed it to be attached to an awareness of a historical theme in my life. My earliest emotional memories are latent with an eagerness to be "chosen" or "picked", accompanied by that not happening. I couldn't help but consider how those repeated experiences must have shaped my personality and subsequent defense mechanisms.

Staying with breathe, beyond the awareness of edginess's origins, I noticed an ease and a fading of the sensation. Eagerness to be chosen, upset of being overlooked - not quite so relevant or important. Taking a breath, I don't need to brace myself with defenses. Leaving me more open to accept and receive.....

A good feeling is just a breath away.



Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Fork in the Road:as it pertains to relationships

One of Yogi Berra's famous quotes: "If you see a fork in the road - take it." Take it. Where it leads isn't nearly as important as the fact that you will be there. In other words, it's less about the destination, and more about how you'll show up to meet the challenges and rejoice in the positive aspects of the trip.

For instance, are you at the fork in the road of should I stay or should I go now? Regardless of which way you choose, you will be needing to show up to deal with the uncertainty and struggle embedded in each choice. You also will be the one experiencing the benefits associated with each choice.

It isn't about the fork in the road. It's about being with yourself in a way that gets you through it!

Don't worry about whether the selection is the right one, decide to be the best you every step along the way.

Happy travels,

Monday, February 8, 2010

Expertise Yourself

What I mean is, be an expert on yourself! Who's better equipped to inform you of where to go from here? What's not working for you? What your fears are? What's the next step? How you sabotage your growth and success - than you!

And, you don't need no stinking 10,000 hours to do it! Be an expert on yourself, that is. All you need is to start taking more seriously the notions that go on in your mind. Notice, I didn't say follow the notion floating around in your head. I said take them seriously!

For instance, you might be wondering why you stay with a lover/friend/spouse, who treats you poorly. Now take that seriously! YOU asked the question, now give it some thought. Answer it. Go ahead give it your best shot. Might it be:?

1. Fear that you'll never find someone that will treat you better?
2. Greed - you don't want to go without the luxury items and lifestyle that go along with the "bad treatment"?
3. Feelings of inferiority or inadequacy that get masked through the false sense of security relationships can provide?
4. Is your experience that poor treatment is the flip side of the "love coin"?

Ok. Got an answer? Until you know the answer to the question YOU generate, you can't respect the part of you that may want better treatment.

As I sign out, all I have to say is - you're looking like a darn good expert!