Fear seeks safety. Love seeks Truth. Please read and enjoy. Productive, truthful feedback welcome.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Peace - December 31 (New Year's Resolution)

If it be possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceably with all men. 

-- Romans 12:18

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Peace - December 30 (Three Basketball Games)

The Love of My Life
~~~~~
Thirty-three years ago today my life took a great bounce. At that time I professed my love for Marcie to be the equivalent of playing 3-basketball games. She didn't understand it, nor could I adequately explain it . . . until last month, when I played perhaps my last pick up game, augmented by the 4 week recovery period of my ailing left knee. This caused me to reflect on why I loved basketball so much, and why, at age 56, I tried to play again. I realized as I was racing . . . okay, gliding . . . okay, hustling up and down the court, that I wasn't playing a game. I was living in a state of peace. The peace that comes from doing something solely for enjoyment. A peace that accompanies the familiar and invites the unknown. The familiar such as the rules and the sounds of the game--the squeak of the shoes, the soft kiss of the ball off the glass.  And the unknown such as your new teammates, and how to supplement each other's weaknesses and exaggerate the strengths; how to blend different styles to the greater good of the game; how to expect and eagerly accept challenges, knowing that by working together you will find a way, a fair way, a good way. Because tho' the game has rules and sounds, it also unfolds differently every time, inviting creativity that leads to the freedom to pursue success.

Such has been my last 33 years. I have a teammate who complements my weaknesses and accentuates my strengths. We have blended our styles and worked through challenges to find our way to a good life, a great life. Like the game of pick up basketball our life has rules and sounds, yet unfolded unpredictably, inviting our creativity to choose success. To invite peace. With Marcie I am living in the state of peace, the peace that comes from doing something that brings total enjoyment. We have appreciated the familiar and embraced the unknown. 

Do I love her as much as 3 games? These 33 years later, I finally see it. Life is what brings you peace. The absence of peace is the absence of life. Basketball has always afforded me an avenue to peace. My life with Marcie - my love for her, her love for me - is one of deep abiding peace worthy of a lifetime of basketball. 

Happy anniversary.

~~~~~

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Peace - December 29 (Time Steps Aside)


Jen Welsman and I took yoga training together in Victoria 2012, where we became friends and post-training support buddies. Jen lives in Winnipeg where she performed for the RWB and where she taught this class. I was supporting her from Minneapolis by meditatively writing during her class.

Time Steps Aside
As I write this, it is 6pm and you've just begun asana. I sit here and hold your heart in my thoughts. I am breathing as you give your intention, trying to listen to the Universe and hear your words. I picture Ryann on her back in savasana, sending you peace, gradually forgetting it's you and becoming present with the practice.

Your voice is now calm. It was shaky for a beat, maybe 5 words, then a smile settled through your body, you found your rhythm. Time has stepped aside, having been gently ushered out of the room by your peace.  It'll return, but now it's happy to assume its humble state, ceding to you and your class. Just you and the class. Their breath is steady as you glide through the room, feeling the energy, guiding the energy, giving the energy. Get them in, name it, cue them through it, get them out. An adjustment, an intention, a pause. . . a thankfulness; from you for the privilege to guide them; from them to be in class, your class. Breathing, healing, learning. A dancer teaching with the grace of a dancer. Beautifully and skillfully guiding . . . virabradrasana 1 . . . virabradrasana 2 . . . flip the palms . . .  Midway savasana.  Halfway there. More intention, more breath.

Time sneaks a peek back into the room. Not yet. The room is still yours, the room is still theirs. Your unity leaves no space for time. Respectfully, it retreats, servant to your subtle strength, patient to your purpose. More breath. More healing. More learning. More postures. Suddenly, it's final savasana. Gratitude spreads easily throughout the room, softly blanketing each. Enough for all, enough to share.

"Namaste".

Time nods its approval as it reassembles itself with each departing student. "Well done, Jen" it says. Both of you smile as if to say, "Thank you for sharing the Universe with me."

Friday, December 28, 2012

Peace - December 28 (reader contributed)

Peace is . . .

. . . the collective breathing of sixty souls sharing their final savasana together. (anonymous)

. . . experiencing it with all your senses:
  • Listen for it in the giggles of children, a purring cat, leaves dancing in a light breeze.
  • Look for it in the rising or setting sun punctuating the beginning and ending of the day, in reflections on the calm waters of a lake, or in your partner's smile. 
  • Feel it in an embrace from a dear friend, in the innocence of a  sleeping infant cradled in your arms, or in a moment of complete surrender to a higher power.
  • Breathe in the scent of peace after a spring shower, while wandering through a rose garden, or in a kitchen filled with the aroma of baking bread.
  • Taste it in a sip of wine, a cup of tea, or a kiss.    (Contributed by Judy Wilkison)

. . . acceptance: acceptance of where you are and who you are today - not yesterday, not tomorrow.... (anonymous)

. . . knowing yourself. (anonymous)

(The following was contributed by Dave Pittman)
To me peace has had an ever changing meaning...
There was a time when I thought it simply meant non harming and being kind to others; today it means the same but with a catch.

The catch is this. How can we be at peace with the universe and those around us if we haven't first found peace with ourselves?
Once one has come to find peace within, only then can they truly find total peace. This peace includes many aspects of the self. Accepting yourself and being content regardless of your relationship status, looks, possessions, job or place in society.
Non harming and non judgment truly are the way to peace but this must start with oneself first.
Overcoming internal self judgement and in turn self harming will bring total peace.
Simply said, internal peace will spawn external peace. Find internal peace with oneself, then external peace with the world and with those around you will simply happen as a natural by-product.


(Thank you each for your contributions.)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Peace - December 5 (Dogs)


"Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace.”
― Milan Kundera

Peace - December 17 (Worrying)

Worrying does not take away tomorrow's troubles; it takes away today's peace.
-unknown

Contributed by Jennifer Welsman

Peace - December 27 (Your Shadow)


Your Shadow

It exists only in the light
with darkness as its enemy.

You cannot clutch it in your fist, 
but open your hand and it increases five fold.

From dusk to dawn it touches many.
At noon it is yours alone, renewing your strength.

It's a lot like peace.

- Dave Driver





Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Peace - December 25 (Prince of Peace)

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:
and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 

- Isaiah 9:6


Monday, December 24, 2012

Peace - December 24 (Winter Peace)


Winter Peace

(Used with permission from Peter Jowett. www.peterjowett.com)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Peace - December 23 (Think It)

think it
see it
grow it
share it
be it
PEACE


(Adapted from a contribution by Judy Wilkison)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Peace - December 22 (Gandhi)

I offer you peace. I offer you love. I offer you friendship.
I see your beauty. I hear your need. I feel your feelings.
My wisdom flows from the Highest light in my heart.
I salute that light in you. Let us work together for unity and love.

- Gandhi -

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Peace - December 19 (Blame)


In June I posted Our Love Stories, encouraging readers to tell their stories. Today it is my turn. My story is about peace, the peace I encountered when I eliminated blame.

I recently wrote the letter below at the suggestion of a friend who helped me recognize I was holding blame for my father. My dad died in 1998. I was convinced he had not loved me. When I let go of this blame I was overcome with a physical, mental and emotional release that brought me to tears. And not just polite tears. These were soul searching tears. The kind that seeks, finds, destroys, and cleanses, leaving behind only peace. Perhaps, in my story you will see pieces of your own.

Dear Dad,
Tonight I discovered what I should have known all along. You did love me, and if you are capable of doing so from your current state, I want you to know I understand that now.

We are all given a set of tools from our lineage, our parentage, and our circumstances. These tools are supplemented with gifts from above. These are our tools and we use them because we know them. As we go through life we may find or develop other tools, which we will also use. There is no guarantee that those with whom, for whom, and because of whom we use these tools will actually recognize our intent. You see, they have their own tools, too, different from the sets others carry. There are some similarities and some overlap, but by and large we use the tools we know in a fashion we know how to use them. This guarantees some will interpret our intentions incorrectly. Sometimes this will work to their favor and other times it will cause frustration or pain.

When I was growing up and much after I had grown up I mistook your tools and commensurate usage as being against me and not for me. I felt there was no wiggle room and I resented you for it. In reaction to your tools I made choices that were not healthy for me. I could have responded differently than I did. However, I accept my habits going into adulthood as mine alone and fully my responsibility.

I see now through the dual lens of time and experience that you loved me to the best of your ability and understanding. We come into this world, depending on your view as either perfect or broken. But this is a distinction without a difference. Soon enough we become broken. We see ourselves as something other than our true selves. We live our lives based on other's definition of love toward us and lose sight of the love God has for us. God is always there, but we are not always aware of his tools either. We don't recognize them and we respond to them according to our perspective and molding, not according to the riches of His love. Again, that is because we have experienced an imperfect love. We have the option to blame our father, others, or even  God. Which we do. We also have the option to blame ourselves, which we ultimately do, as well. However, there is no blame. Not yours, not God's, not mine. Not anyone's. We are all doing the best we can, and as long as we try to live up to a shifting human standard we will not do well. We may look well, but there is not one who is without some brokenness. So, at this point, I feel like I should 'forgive' you, but there is nothing to forgive. Being human is difficult. We do our best. We find a fit, even if that fit is 'not fitting in'. But until we find God, the God of the Universe, we will continue to settle for our own fit. That will never be adequate because it a much smaller box than is available within the expanses of the universe.

I thank you for your life and your love, for your example, whether understood or misunderstood. For from those examples I learned. I learned what can work and what should not work. I learned to think for myself and to realize that I am the hero of my story.  I get to decide how it ends. For me, I have decided it ends well. It ends well because, in spite of our respective inabilities to express it or recognize it, I know you loved me. It ends well because I now know I am good enough. I am good enough for you, though, for years I believed I was not, and now I find it unimportant. I am good enough for my family and I am good enough for myself.  I am good enough, not because I am Dave Driver, but because I am me. I am the me of my youth. I am the me who played and laughed and fell, without regard to the consequences, without regard to the looker-oners. For in my youth I was not aware of anyone looking on. I was aware only of the moment, the present time. Of me. Of those immediately around me. As I became aware of the world, I became aware of my role. I no longer will be bound by my role in the world. I will be bound by my role in God's universe. I will love him and walk with him. I do not expect my role to look very much different initially, nor do I look for my role to be the same over time. I look for my role to be breathed on me through the Spirit, which I will follow.

You loved me as you were able, some of which made sense to me, some of which did not. But ultimately all beneficial, all serving to shape me. It is my choice now. It has been for decades. I release you from my excuse bank.

I love you.

Dave

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Peace - December 18 (Thomas a Kempis)

Four Things that Bring Inward Peace
  • Be desirous to work for the welfare of another rather than seek thine own will.
  • Choose always to have less rather than more.
  • Seek always the lowest place, and to be inferior to everyone.
  • Wish always, and pray, that the will of God may be wholly fulfilled in thee.
Behold, such a man enters within the borders of peace and rest.

- Thomas a Kempis

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Peace - December 16 (A Friend)


A friend is more than a therapist or confessor, even though a friend can sometimes heal us and offer us God's forgiveness. A friend is that other person with whom we can share our solitude, our silence, and our prayer. A friend is that other person with whom we can look at a tree and say, "Isn't that beautiful," or sit on the beach and silently watch the sun disappear under the horizon. With a friend we don't have to say or do something special. With a friend we can be still and know that God is there with both of us.

― Henri J.M. Nouwen


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Peace - December 15 (Harness Love)

Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.
― Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Let us harness the energies of love and send our peace to the families in Newton, Connecticut.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Peace - December 14 (Romans)

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.
Romans 14:19

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Peace - December 13 (Dalai Lama)


World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not just mere absence of violence. Peace is, I think, the manifestation of human compassion.

― Dalai Lama XIV

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Peace - December 12 (Mother Teresa)


The Simple Path

Silence is Prayer
Prayer is Faith
Faith is Love
Love is Service
The Fruit of Service is Peace

― Mother Teresa

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

Peace - December 10 (Spiritually Minded)

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Romans 8:6

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Peace - December 8 (John Muir)


"Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer. Camp out among the grasses and gentians of glacial meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of nature's darlings. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings, Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but nature's sources never fail."

"Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean".

--John Muir

Friday, December 7, 2012

Peace - December 7 (Spinning Universe)

Imagine that the universe is a great spinning engine. You want to stay near the core of the thing - right in the hub of the wheel - not out at the edges where all the wild whirling takes place, where you can get frayed and crazy. The hub of calmness - that's your heart. That's where God lives within you. So stop looking for answers in the world. Just keep coming back to that center and you'll always find peace. 
― Elizabeth Gilbert

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Peace - December 6 (Siddhartha)


Peace comes from within.  Do not seek it without.
― Siddhārtha Gautama

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Peace - December 4 (Therapist)


“My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished 2 bags of M&M's and a chocolate cake. I feel better already.” 

― Dave Barry, MiamiPost columnist

Monday, December 3, 2012

Peace - December 3 (Inhale Beauty)


Inhale beauty....Exhale peace

You are walking on a deserted Oregon beach,
the melody of waves lapping on shore while gulls cry for attention,
breathing the intoxicating scent of clean salty air.
And scattered across miles of sand lay heart shaped rocks waiting to be discovered,
admired, kept in your pocket as profound, yet simple, reminders of your breath.
Inhale beauty. Exhale peace.


(Picture and prose contributed by Judy Wilkison)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Peace - December 2 (Happiness)


“Many people think excitement is happiness.... But when you are excited you are not peaceful. True happiness is based on peace.” 
― Thich Nhat Hanh, The Art of Power

Saturday, December 1, 2012

PEACE - December 1 (In the Midst)

As part of my continued learning from my Moksha Yoga training in June I am to complete monthly projects that align with the pillars of Moksha. This month I have chosen the pillar Be Peace and will post a daily thought, quote, picture or experience on the subject of peace.

You are invited to send your thoughts on peace for inclusion in the December peace posts.

Today's Be Peace is contributed by Jennifer Welsman


Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of these things and still be calm in your heart.
-unknown




Friday, August 31, 2012

Another Take on Joy

One of the Teachfearlessly readers suggested my recent post on Joy and Wonderment left out the spiritual aspect of joy.

I believe the August 31st daily read from My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers, addresses this concern. Please click HERE to read.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Joy and Wonderment


Joy and Wonderment, the point of life.

Joy in those gifts we hold in our hands, hearts and minds. Wonderment in the glimpses of that which is just beyond our grasp.  We share what we can and keep what we must. Sharing multiplies the joy, reserving maintains its uniqueness.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Honesty without Fear -- Where Does it Go?

Have you ever been in Whole Foods where they provide self-serve free samples? Well, as I was making my first trip around the store--apples, plums, gouda cheese--I happened by the potato chip tray. All previous free samples had the toothpick as the utensil of choice. But the chip tray sported a spoon. You know the kind. The one chained to the sample table. The one designed to allow precisely 1 chip to balance in the bowl and if you go for more you lose the whole load. The spoon that 1500 previous samplers have touched. I do not use those spoons! So I simply reached in and grabbed a chip. From behind me I heard this sweet little voice say, "You didn't use the spoon."

I turned and saw the cutest little 4-year old looking up at me. She looked me in the eye and simply said again, "You didn't use the spoon." And she said it in a tone that betrayed neither judgment nor righteous indignation. To her it was simply an observation of something done incorrectly.

What could I say? She was absolutely right.  What I did say was, "You are right. Thank you. Next time I will use the spoon." (Thanks to her, there will be no next time. I do not use those spoons.)

By this time her mother had pretended as long as she could that she did not hear her daughter calling out a complete stranger for his improper etiquette. She turned and gave a sheepish smile. So I said, "Don't you just love honesty without fear. Where does it go?"

And that's my question for me and for you.  Honesty without fear: As we grow older, where does it go?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Summer's End

Among the many great professions out there, I am glad I get to teach.
Who else gets to spend 180 days shaping the character and the mind of another person? And not just one other, but 150 others. Who else gets to know 150 kids so well that you know the instant they walk into your room whether there is something going on in their lives, and whether it's positive or negative?
We get to create a field of play from which they can learn, laugh, and grow. We get to change thought patterns and character traits. We get to build constructive habits and productive attitudes.
Who else gets to do this?  Who else gets to touch the hearts and minds of tomorrow every today?
We do! No one else does. No other profession, no other industry. Just us. How cool is that? We teach. That's what we do. 
And how, exactly, is it we get to do this? It is because of all the other great professions out there.   Thank you!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Life Saying - Taking the High Road

Always take the high road . . .
It makes it easier to look down on others.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The 4 B's of Living

These are my 4 B's of living:
Be kind.
Be loving.
Be generous.
Be grateful.

There are many more. What are some of yours?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Wonderment


The calm after the storm
The still after the rain
The new
The old
The new with the old
We hand down our stories, intentionally and not
Quite often these burst out in love and in joy
But sometimes their absence is all that arrives
Do not despair . . .
In our brokenness, a word frees us. In our freedom love carries us. In our stillness cracks appear, dew glistens, beauty surrounds us. Wonderment! Flickering like fireflies. Always there. Now we see it. Always there. Now we don’t. Always there!
There in the rainbow. Often seen, never touched
There in the spider. Determined, spinning her masterpiece
There in the child. We know how they are made, but where do they come from?
There in the marble. Touched by the sculptor
There in new discoveries
Wonderment
Always there
But not always seen
Why do we see it?
Does the universe accommodate us or do we momentarily find our place within the universe?
The imperceptible pull, the cosmic gravity that quietly, patiently says,
shh!
look
listen                                                                                              
Then seems to smile, a magnificent smile, when we finally see
And there it is!
That magical moment of clarity and pure connectedness, free from worry, free from time
Wonderment!



I give you my gratitude for trusting me with your words, your stories. I ask for your grace if yours is not recognizable.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

99 People and You

"We would worry less about what others think of us if we knew how seldom they do."  This quote from Ethel Barrett invites us to be less influenced by what we think others think, because, truth be known, they don't, at least not about us. I love this quote because it offers me freedom to be me, unclouded by my perception of others. However, this also puts the "others" in a somewhat unfavorable light. Why don't they think about us? Are they against us? For us? Do they not care?
And, exactly who are the "others", anyway? Should we care about them?
To figure that out, imagine you are in a room of 100 people. That means 99 people are not thinking about you. Those are the others. But that also means, to those other 99 people, you are not thinking about them. So, you are also the "others". We all are "others"!
I don't know about you, but I don't mind being me, I just don't want to be the"others" in Ethel Barrett's quote. I want to think about you, to care about you, to wish for your best, to hope for your well being, to appreciate your quirks, to share where our lives overlap.
I don't want others to worry about what I think of them. I just want them to know that I do.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Blessed are . . .

Quote from the movie BUCK
"Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not get bent out of shape."

Friday, July 20, 2012

Wonderment Invitation

Friends,
(All included contributions will be anonymous unless they cry for a source AND permission is granted).
I would like to publish a post on "Wonderment". However, I would like to broaden it beyond my experiences to include those of yours. I am asking you to comment on your experiences of wonderment. Ones you have seen, been a part of, read about, defined, recent experiences, childhood memories, etc.
I do not know where your feedback will take the "wonderment" post, but I am looking forward to your insight and your experiences to help direct it. Thank you. Feel free to post your comments here or send them to teachfearlessly@gmail.com
Dave

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Life Saying #6 - Take 2


Generosity's choice: Fullness of hands or fullness of heart. 

Generosity's reward: Fullness of hands and fullness of heart.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Life Saying #7

On Envy and Taking Initiative:The grass is always greener where you water it.(Sam Horvath)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Pithy Life Saying #5

8) On Respect: Whenever you about to say something, THINK and ask yourself the following 5 questions: Is it True? Is it Helpful? Is it Interesting? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind? If it's all 5, go for it.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Pithy Life Saying #4

On Being Positive: We tend to talk mostly about the bad things and rarely about the good things ... It really should be the reverse shouldn't it? (Dave Pittman)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pithy Life Saying #3

On acquiring new things - 1 question version: Ask yourself one simple question: "Was I content yesterday?". If you answer "yes", then walk away, you don't need it. If you answer "no", still walk away, things won't make you content.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Pithy Life Saying #2

2) For close relationships: Figure out what they like and do it. Figure out what they don't like and don't do it.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Pithy Life Saying #1

On deciding between right and wrong:
If you have to justify it, you probably shouldn't do it.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Habits

There’s A Hole In My Sidewalk
– by Portia Nelson
Chapter One
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost… I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
Chapter Two
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
Chapter Three
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in… it’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault… I get out immediately.
Chapter Four
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
Chapter Five
I walk down another street.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Power of the Next Word

Our first and even our second word, don't really say much of anything.  They each may suggest an intention or a sentiment, or initiate a dialoge, but until they are followed consistently by our next word--our third word-- they amount to very little.  Along the lines of 'actions speak louder than words', our first and second words are just that: words.
Our next word, however, is the one that takes action. It is the one with the power to change lives; our own life and the lives of those around us. To understand how, we have to look at 'our lives' in a general sense.  Let's use our names to follow this line of thought. Most of us are given a first name, a middle name, and a last name. Our lives follow a first, a middle, and a last, too. Using the analogy of names we can say we have "three names" in our lives. The name we were given at birth, the name we have accepted, and the name we create for ourselves. The one we were given at birth is full of hope and promise. Without blemish. Everyone starts out this way. But as we grow up we 'learn' things about ourselves, some true and some false. We learn we are smart or dumb, or fast or slow, or good at math or bad at it, or shy or loud, or rich or poor, or loved or unloved. We learn these things and we begin to accept these as truth. At first we do this without our own complicity, as subtly as the growing of grass. We accept these things because they help us fit in, unless of course, we learn we don't fit in, which we will accept as well.
Later, as we begin to think for ourselves we begin to play a part in shaping our own accepted name. Once we have accepted these "truths" about ourselves, we solidify our roles by acting out what we and those around us believe us to be. This is where we develop habits and trends. Habits that help us. Habits that hurt us. Trends that are more subtle than habits, and lead us into and out of relationships, jobs, trouble and stresses. It is also at this point that we get to choose whether we want to keep our accepted name or not. And for a long time, most of us keep this name. Usually we don't recognize that we've accepted it and when we do, we don't know quite how to shed it or whether we can. We continue doing our thing, playing our role because that's what is expected of us, and, frankly, because it's easier. But mostly because we worry what others will think. Ethel Barret paints this very picture when she says, "We would worry less about what others think of us if we realized how seldom they do." So as long as this is true for us, we are stuck with our middle name, the one we have accepted.
But there's hope. There is a way out. Birth gives us our first name, and circumstance gives us our middle name. But at some point we realize we have a choice. We realize, as the tattoo of one of my friends proclaims, "I am the hero of this story. I decide how it ends." When we are ready to decide how it ends we are ready to create our last name. We are ready to use the Power of the Next Word.
All day long, every day, we are in a position to respond to those around us, to events or circumstances that affect us. When these events take place we can stay safe and use our first two words, expected words, safe words, pat answers. Or we can become a little unsafe, a little afraid and use new words, unexpected words or responses. Actions that make us vulnerable, but actions that promote health, healing, fullness of life. In fact it is VITAL that we respond with the power of the next word if we want to move away from our middle name, the one we have accepted, to our last name, the one we will create.
VITAL. Vulnerable. Intentional. Truthful. Always Loving.
We must be vulnerable in our thoughts, actions and words if we are to break the habits of our middle name. Habits are those things we repeat, again, and again, and again. Vulnerability means moving away from the comfortable, the repetitious, to the uncomfortable or new. There is no other way to break a habit except to die. We must do something new. We must become vulnerable. Examples of words that place us in a position of vulnerability are, "Thank you", "You are welcome", "I love you", "I am sorry", "I was wrong. Will you forgive me." We could be rejected in any one of these examples. Say them anyway. Be vulnerable.
Intentional. Do you remember the bumper sticker, "Practice Random Acts of Kindness"? Great bumper sticker. Lousy idea. Why would we be random about kindness? How much more effective would it be to practice INTENTIONAL acts of kindness. If we randomly practice vulnerability we will not lose our bad habits. In fact, we will retreat to them between random acts and actually reinforce the habits. Be intentional, otherwise we let random rule our lives.
"T" is for truthful. We can be vulnerable and intentional, but if our next word is a sham, what's the point? We might as well sink back into our habits. But when we are truthful, our vulnerability is believable and even attractive. It invites others in. This is where we begin to change our life, our last name, as well as help create change in others. We begin to be seen as "T"rustworthy. We are true to ourselves, our habits are beginning to release their grip and we gain support from those around us. Our actions may even free them to let go of some of their old habits. Be truthful in all you do.
"A" and "L" go together. We must be Always Loving. Everything we do must be done in love. When we are truthful we must be lovingly truthful to the benefit, not to the detriment, of ourselves and others. Truth can hurt, but loving truth can also heal. Spiteful truth damages. In all we do, we must LOVE. Love seeks truth, fear seeks safety. Fear perpetuates habits. Love promises healing. Love. Always.
When we love with vulnerability, with intention, with truth, and when we always do this, we move from our middle name, our accepted name, to our last name, the name we create, the name we touch others with. Our first two words begin the dialog, our Next Word has power to change lives. It is VITAL that we use it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Our Love Stories

I am privileged this month to be taking yoga teacher training with 60 outstanding fellow students. People with great compassion and a desire to bring change to their circle of influence through the teaching of yoga. Young, old, quiet, outgoing, in love, out of love, between loves, and each with their own story. Their stories carry with them joy and laughter, heartbreak and tears, brokenness and restoration, and love. Mostly love. The love they have for their family, their passion, their pets. Some display a great capacity to love and others the deep desire to be loved. All clearly have a love for the others of us who make up the 60. As I began to contemplate and appreciate the setting I find myself in, I realized I have seen this somewhere before.
It was with you, my family, my close friends, my childhood friends, all of whom are a part of my story; when we were younger and life was less complex, before life overtook us and told us who we were, when we were known by our first names, not by our mistakes, when we knew ourselves by our childlike wonderment and not by the baggage we collected along the way. Oh, the stories we could tell.
Tell them!
Write your story down, then share it, or write it down and burn it. Or don't write it down at all. Just tell it. Tell it to yourself. Out loud. In a closet. At the beach. Tell it to your best friend. An old enemy. Have a story telling sleepover. Tell it around a fire pit. Or on a hunting trip. Start with the best part. Start with the worst part. But just tell it. Those who hear your story will be moved by your joy and laughter, your heartbreak and tears, your brokenness and restoration, and your love. Mostly by your love. For you see, we each have a story, our own story, unique to us but recognizable by all.
Tell it.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Dust

It's time. Time for what I am not exactly sure, but it's time. My father-in-law passed last month, preceded seven years by his wife, my mother-in-law.  This recent passage set me to thinking about writing and about time. Again, I don't know why.

Perhaps it's because we have their clock, a windup Regulator clock with the soothing tick-tock, tick-tock, broken only by hourly chimes. It has a pleasant timbre, reminding us of how mom and dad quietly lived their lives, punctuated periodically by the sound of their expressive love.

Perhaps the clock reminds me that life has a cadence, but lest we settle comfortably into that rhythm, the chimes awaken us to creative action.

Perhaps it is simply a reminder of the passing of time, a briefly opened window of opportunity. We are all dust, but for 80 years we are dust with shape and form and function. That leaves me about 25 more. What will I do with it?  I don't know, but it's time.

Thanks, Dad, for the reminder. And, thanks, Mom and Dad, for the model and challenge of lives well lived.