All too human
How can we bring out the best in ourselves
To choose love
To share love
Although in some endeavors, practice makes perfect, when it comes to life, practice makes present. And present makes possible.
Articles on practicing and promoting health, happiness, and spirituality.
We live in challenging times.
Who would argue? Who doesn’t know someone struggling to manage the details? Maybe you are that someone.
Take heart: challenging times are ripe for practice.
The support created by spiritual practice is never more palpable than in challenging times.
Whatever your chosen practice — meditation, yoga, Reiki, prayer, awareness of the breath, etc. — hold to it now. Be consistent in your effort, even when your effort seems absurdly unequal to the challenges at hand.
If you are steadfast in your practice, it will keep your heart tender, steady, and clear.
Steady practice gives perspective, revealing details and context together in a balanced whole.
Steady practice enables you to sense the timeliness of your participation. It opens the ease to wait when it’s time to wait, and act when it’s time to act, without conflict.
When there is conflict, steady practice helps you recognize that conflict is within the person feeling it, and enables you to explore your inner battlefield, transform your understanding, and heal even festering wounds.
The healing and steadiness you create in your own life is your much needed offering to the world.
In challenging times, the foolish forsake practice, dooming themselves to foolishness without end, while the wise cling to practice.
My dad was a man with purpose, so it was surprising when he occasionally paced aimlessly about the house, invariably opening and shutting the refrigerator several times before finally saying, “I have a yen for something, but I don’t know what it is.”
It took me a while to recognize what he was feeling. Children tend to know what they want. As we age, desire becomes more complicated.
And maybe simpler.
Eventually I too tasted the restlessness of desire without direction. If you are older than thirteen, you know the feeling. A yen for something, anything. Except, of course, anything you have.
It’s easy to feel the discomfort of this restless desire, but what if you paused to look again? Why not sit and explore desire? If you have a spiritual practice, use it. If you don’t, simply breathe and observe.
Stay open and aware, and you’ll be surprised by what you discover.
At the core of desire lies a sweet longing, your heart aching to be, to simply be. Since you already are being — you already are what you desire — you can rest in this longing and let it enliven your experience of yourself.
All of you.
Everything you are.
No longer restless. Now scintillating.
At this time of year, instead of getting carried away by desire, letting it whip you into expectation and disappointment until you are exhausted and brittle, why not unmask and enjoy longing for what it really is, an expression of your joy of being?
Joy, the gift that truly keeps on giving.
Everyone wants to love and be loved.
Your ego is no different. But the ego has a harder time finding love because it’s confused about what love is and where love comes from.
From its first whiff of love, the ego assumes love comes from outside. The ego sets off looking for more, and fears losing the love it has. So to the ego, love is deeply intertwined with fear.
That fear thing makes it hard for the ego to release deeply into love, and easy for ego to come up with lots of reasons why it — and you — are unlovable and will be rejected once truly seen. And thus self-loathing is born.
You know the part in the fairy tale when kissing the frog reveals him as the prince he’s always been?
What if your ego were like that prince (or princess)?
What if you dared to love your ego, just as it is? Yes, it takes great courage, but if you dare to truly love your ego with full awareness of all the reasons you now despise or deny it, you’ve essentially kissed the frog, and you know what happens then. You experience your own glorious essence playing as yourself — ego and all.
Try it. The next time you notice self revulsion rising, don’t distract yourself. Instead, relax into its presence.
But instead of diving into the feeling, stay present as the witness, the one who is experiencing the feeling.
When you feel the desire to love and be loved that gives rise to self-revulsion (which is the assumption that you are not lovable), settle into that desire to love and be loved, to be good, to be valued, to be whole.
Allow your desire for love to permeate your awareness and, in the depths of that longing, you’ll come to know that you are not simply loved, but love itself.
Why not give it a try? After all, what have you got to lose? Not love, and not your ego, just your confusion about them.
People often say, it’s the intention that counts.
Yes, intention counts, but no, it’s not enough.
If you intend to practice but don’t actually practice, what have you gained? (Feeling guilty? Not a gain.)
We need to follow through, to put intention into action.
No matter how strong your intention is, one thing is true:
Thinking about practicing (yoga, Reiki, meditation, qigong, etc.) is not practicing.
Only practicing is practicing.
“Hello-o,” I sang into the phone.
“Uh, umm, hmm…who is this? Is this the person in charge?” the caller asked, perhaps flummoxed to reach a human breathing rather than a recording.
“I’m Pamela,” I said, “and yes, I am in charge of Pamela.”
That simple truth was funny at the time, but it’s no joke.
Daily spiritual practice puts you in charge of yourself. Any spiritual practice will do. Practicing consistently — every day — makes the difference.
Consistent spiritual practice opens the moment so you can see the choices you can make right now. You know, those choices, the ones that make it more likely what you want will actually come to pass.
Those choices are how we co-create our lives, how we build our happiness and health. When we don’t make those choices, we default to whatever is already in motion, whether we’re aware of it, or not.
No, we’re not in charge of the universe. I for one am grateful for that.
Being in charge of myself is a good fit, something I can actually do. It’s inspiring, empowering and enlivening, a responsibility I can live up to.
“In a way, the certainty of death was easier than this uncertain life.”
You might be surprised to learn that sentence was written by a doctor, a 36-year-old neurosurgeon, eight months after a diagnosis of widely metastatic cancer, in a New York Times Opinion piece.
He knew “widely metastatic” meant inoperable. He knew the statistics, and he knew statistics are numbers out of context: conventional medicine has no way to know what a statistic means for any particular person.
Which means all he knew was that he will die at some point, likely sooner than he had expected to nine months earlier…. Read More