Like Me. Share Me. Try me. Buy Me. Cultivating Humility in a Culture of Celebrity

Like Me. Share Me. Try me. Buy Me. Cultivating Humility in a Culture of Celebrity

Like most people with internet access, I spend an inordinate amount of time online for work and for play. While I generally love web-mediated convenience and connection, I notice that the internet feels crowded to me lately. It often feels like being in a virtual airport shopping mall in which everyone is aggressively selling cheap imitations of genuine experience while waiting for their flights.

These days, the internet is littered with social networking wanna-be stars plying their shares in hopes of generating enough publicity to join the contagion of instant celebrities who are curiously celebrated and rewarded for the least notable of talents—merely being famous. There are those who publish every event (however mundane) and every opinion, (however inane) under the impression (however deluded) that everything they share will undoubtedly interest their audiences (however limited)... 

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It's Presumptuous, Not Persuasive

It's Presumptuous, Not Persuasive

During this election season, I've participated in many conversations about politics. While I am fortunate to have friends affiliated with very different political persuasions who are willing to discuss our differing viewpoints with good humor and good grace, it seems that this capacity is often lacking. 

Recently, I commented on a friend's post:

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Reflections on the Equinox

Reflections on the Equinox

Twice a year, the sun is positioned directly above the equator, and the world celebrates the equinox, heralding the beginning of Vernal Spring or Autumnal Fall, depending on where one lives. The word equinox is derived from the latin words, aequus, meaning “equal,” and nox, meaning “night,” signifying one of two occasions in which the duration of night and day is approximately equal, the balance of darkness and light.

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Glad Tidings for Holiday Blues

Glad Tidings for Holiday Blues

'Tis the season for gifts and giving, comfort and joy, peace on earth, and goodwill to all. 

Yet, despite the glad tidings of the season, there are many among us who feel less than merry or downright blue during the holidays. Emotional responses to personal challenges are often intensified during this time of increased cultural pressures to be of good cheer. The inability to be with loved onesbe they deceased, afar, or estrangedcan infuse the holidays with discomforting sadness and grief. Holiday consumption, impulsive spending, dietary overindulgence, un(der)employment woes, and financial hardships can create anxiety, worry, and dread.

Moreover, many of us may endure stressful travel conditions to arrive at childhood homes beset with family dynamics and expectations (unchecked assumptions, unresolved conflicts, unsolicited opinions) that may not fully embrace our current selves. Past surroundings prime behavioral patterns from earlier times. Furnishings, heirlooms, and scents often trigger residual responses and ways of being.

Sometimes, falling into familiar patterns in familiar places surrounded by familiar faces can be comforting. But...

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How to Find the Heart of Anger

How to Find the Heart of Anger

I shared a teaching story attributed to Paulo Coehlo in the context of a recent coaching session, and realized that others might appreciate it too. Like all storytellers, I've probably colored the tale with my own experience in the retelling, but hopefully, the essence remains. 

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On a recent outing, a teacher and his students witnessed in the distance a couple angrily shouting at each other.

The teacher asked his students, "Why do people in anger shout at each other?"

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Why You Should Say Yes to Red Umbrella Days

Why You Should Say Yes to Red Umbrella Days

When local photographer, Pete Saloutos, invited me to model for a yoga shoot a few years ago, I had no idea that it would lead to a dear friendship and a regular gig moonlighting as a model. 

In fact, I was pretty sure that it would lead to a polite and potentially embarrassing encounter with a photographer who would figure out in short order that I was not really worth his time and talent.

Not because I’m insecure about my self-worth or my appearance. I’m actually surprisingly comfortable and content in my own skin. I just didn’t think of myself as a model, a word I grew up associating with the youthful, long, lean, leggy, unattainably attractive other-than-me-ness of those paid to influence cosmetic and fashion trends usually irrelevant to my personal brand of quirkiness...

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Funny Cussin' for Sucky Days

Funny Cussin' for Sucky Days

Just in case you're having one of those days...

This little number from Katie Goodman won't solve anything, but it just might make you smile. Oh, and this is an adult song (a tame adult song, but still...), so use your discretion about where and when you listen. Enjoy!

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Being OneSelf, Becoming One World: Fraternizing with the Enemy

Being OneSelf, Becoming One World: Fraternizing with the Enemy

On Christmas Eve in 1914, a remarkable event occurred in the trenches along the Western Front.  Soldiers fighting the First World War ceased firing for a time, and began to sing.   What made this truly remarkable was not the cease fire or the singing or even the holiday greetings that ensued, but that the soldiers singing and greeting one another were from opposing armies. 

In the spirit of the holiday, thousands of German, British, French, and Belgian soldiers chose to venture across the front lines bearing gifts and goodwill instead of firearms, beginning a series of unofficial ceasefires that would later come to be known as the “Christmas Truce.”  Meeting between the trenches in what was designated “No man’s land,” these men congregated and conversed, sang songs, played games, shared food and souvenirs, and even buried their dead together in a courageous conspiracy of peace amidst war, despite clear orders from their high commands against fraternizing with the enemy.  Not surprisingly, in the many months to follow, having shared fellowship amidst hardship, many of these soldiers continued to defy the expectations of their commanding officers, adopting a live-and-let-live attitude, and aligning their patriotism with a greater humanity...

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Chronic Ecstasy: Are You Addicted to Meditation?

Chronic Ecstasy: Are You Addicted to Meditation?

Recently, a friend published this quote on FB: "Chronic ecstasy is a learnable skill."

Chronic.  Ecstasy.  A strange juxtaposition. Chronic, often associated with a less healthy form of constancy—as in chronic pain. And ecstasy, often associated with a less healthy form of drug-induced high—as in rave culture drug of choice. 

My initial response was one of both affirmation and caution. Yes, chronic ecstasy is indeed a learnable, even valuable, skill, and yet, chronic ecstasy without discerning engagement is simply self-indulgent escapism...

 

  

 

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The Bright Door

The Bright Door

Another marvelous post entitled "The Source of Rainbows" by Bob Brady at PureLand Mountain...

"It comes to me in the knife-edge cold of the winter night, out here on the deck for one last look at the stars before sleep, that what we all need, what we all seek in the streets and rooms, meadows and museums of our ways, is a place to wonder. Not to be taught, but to wonder...

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Perfect Strangers

Perfect Strangers

When I was a child living abroad, my birthday almost always coincided with a visit to my mother’s family in the States, which meant that any friends I had the good fortune to have were almost always an ocean away on my birthday.  Every year, my mother whose parents bestowed upon her the blessing of being raised her entire pre-adult life in a charming seaside New England town—rather than the altogether different blessing bestowed upon me of vagabonding around the globe—would invite the children of her childhood friends to gather at our lake cottage for my birthday.  It was for her, I believe, an attempt to ensure that I felt celebrated on my birthday and continue the tradition of her upbringing, which involved summer birthday celebrations with friends at the lake...

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Conspicuous Contentment

Conspicuous Contentment

I like stuff as much as the next person, maybe more than some, definitely less than many, but lately I've been wondering what it would be like to live in a culture of conspicuous contentment rather than conspicuous consumption.

At the heart of the average American discontent is often an unquenchable desire for more—to have more, do more, be more. We want more money, more time, more meaning, more connection. We want more of what matters to us—and of course, what matters is often in flux. But the wanting—well, that seems to be constant...   

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The Answers to our Prayers

The Answers to our Prayers

About seven years ago, on my daily commute, I passed a woman from my neighborhood walking her dog. As our paths crossed on the sidewalk, I smiled and said, "hello." She glared at me and said nothing. I figured that she was just having a bad day, and let it passuntil the next day, when the same thing happened. I smiled and said hello.  She glared at me and said nothing. 

Shocked and a little miffed by her obvious lack of common courtesy, I carried that glare and the self-righteousness it inspired within me most of the day...

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Who I Am...

Who I Am...

I am rain in a cloud

unformed and concentrating

that I may fall through air into Earth's embrace,

nurturing the soil of our discontent

with droplets from Heaven.

Unfinished poem, Karen Sella

Who are you?  That question asked again just yesterday. Another group. Another check-in. Tell us who you are. As if this is possible. Who am I? Seriously? I realize that this is a brilliant, spiritual practice ala Ramana Maharshi, but most people who ask the question aren’t asking to bring my mind to a mind-blowing, spiritual halt--they are asking because they actually want an answer. And often, in five minutes or less...

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