You Oughta Be in Pictures

You Oughta Be in Pictures

Sometimes, it seems the universe conspires to create the most delightful circumstances. Still, I was slow to recognize the gift as it was offered.

When my awesome client, Steve Thomas, suggested that I meet a local filmmaker looking for a few more interesting projects, I instantly thought of a few people I know who might have an interest in creating a promotional video...

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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 Rearranging the Furniture Might Be Just the Thing

Why Rearranging the Furniture Might Be Just the Thing

Perhaps the most meaningful places are those that we call home—both the objective, tangible structures which we inhabit and the subjective, intangible experiences of being "at home" and belonging—in various environments. 

For most of us, the places where we feel most at home are those in which we feel most welcome, most free to be truly ourselves—those places that somehow belong to us and in which we belong where we can stretch out, relax, breathe, and expand—be-long—fully inhabiting the spaciousness of our being...  

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Invite Your Freak-Out to Hum Along

Invite Your Freak-Out to Hum Along

 

When someone comes to me stressed, anxious, upset, and generally freaking out, I do not under any circumstances suggest that this person relax. Having both witnessed and received this response to freak-outs over the years, I have learned that this usually well-intended remark is almost never helpful and often annoying.

Telling people to relax does not engender relaxation, although compassion and listening tend to be welcome. Deep breaths also help.

What is even more helpful sounds a bit weird at first...

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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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Dreaded Question #2: What do you do?

Dreaded Question #2: What do you do?

While out and about the other day, I was asked Dreaded Question #2 (which is almost as difficult to answer as Dreaded Question #3, but much easier to answer than Dreaded Question #1).

Why, you may ask, is this altogether polite question greeted with dread?  

Well, dread is a bit of an exaggeration, but I do find the question, however well-intended, to be somewhat irksome (and totally unimaginative), mostly because what I do doesn't fit nicely into one, neat little google-searchable category, which is often what people asking seem to prefer...

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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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I Wish You Enough

I Wish You Enough

Some time ago, I wrote about Conspicuous Contentment, suggesting that contentment lies not in having, doing, and being more, but rather in simultaneously wanting less while appreciating the abundance that is already ours.  A few days ago, I stumbled across this beautiful reminder on a social media site, a short essay attributed to an unknown author, entitled I Wish You Enough. After a little research, I found the original essay by Bob Perks.

I WISH YOU ENOUGH

Recently, I overheard a father and daughter in their last moments together at the airport as the daughter's departure had been announced. Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the father said:

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Reflections on Bodhisattva Activism

Reflections on Bodhisattva Activism

In a recent article, The New Bodhisattva, David Loy offers a beautiful reflection on Bodhisattva activism as an approach for Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike:

Bodhisattva activism has some distinctive characteristics. Buddhism emphasizes interdependence ("we're all in this together") and delusion (rather than evil). This implies not only nonviolence (violence is usually self-defeating anyway), but a politics based on love (more nondual) rather than reactive anger (which separates them from us).

The basic problem in our society is not rich and powerful bad people, but institutionalized structures of collective greed, aggression and delusion. The bodhisattva's pragmatism and non-dogmatism can help to cut through the ideological quarrels that have weakened so many progressive groups. And Buddhism's emphasis on skillful means cultivates the creative imagination, a necessary attribute if we are to construct a healthier way of living together on this earth, and work out a way to get there....

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Incivility and Its Discontents: How Not to Win Friends and Influence People

Incivility and Its Discontents: How Not to Win Friends and Influence People

A friend of mine recently referred some work to me in my consulting capacity, a contract position helping a local social sector organization with their fund development strategy, work I’ve done with some success in my industrious, if not thoroughly illustrious, career. I was fully qualified and knew some board members who also encouraged me to apply, so I did. I sent a thoughtful letter expressing my interest and capabilities along with my resume to the appropriate person, and went about my business. 

At some point, the friend who referred the work to me inquired about the outcome, and I realized that three weeks had passed without any word, not even a note acknowledging the receipt of my application. My friend was surprised to learn this, but unconcerned, assuming that those involved in the search were probably overwhelmed and simply behind in getting back to people. Hmmmm...

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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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The End of the World As We Know It

The End of the World As We Know It

Terrorism. War. Weapons of mass destruction. Climate change. Forest degradation. Soil erosion. Aquifer depletion. Bee colony collapse. Affluenza. Consumer debt. Globalization. Market volatility. Economic crisis. If one believes the news these days, it seems that we live in an increasingly morally and financially bankrupt society in which our discourse encourages incivility, our politics endorses dishonesty, our religions shelter immorality, our spirituality fosters grandiosity, our media sponsors gratuity, our education teaches mediocrity, our industry rewards irresponsibility, our healthcare enables apathy, our entertainment promotes idolatry, our food feeds obesity, and our economy supports insolvency. 

Indeed, intelligent people are left to wonder how on earth human beings could so knowingly, willingly, and skillfully participate in our own self-destruction. 

Yet, in many ways, this is old news...

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Why Retreats Inspire Advances

Why Retreats Inspire Advances

In a world that typically encourages us to advance—subscribing to outdated conventional notions of progress involving some perpetual motion forward, onward, and upward to some where—the idea of a “retreat” can seem somehow regressive and unappealing, even conjuring images of defeat, escape, and failure. These associations, though limiting, are not unfounded. Indeed, the phrase “beat a retreat” arose during times of early warfare in which a drummed communication, a particular beat, customarily signaled troops on the battlefield to disengage from combat.

However, the essence of retreats—temporarily withdrawing from the fray—extends well beyond military conventions and connotations....

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Pondering the Tribal Revival

Pondering the Tribal Revival

Tribe.  In recent years, I’ve met a growing number of modern-day tribe enthusiasts at business meetings, dinner parties, and beyond.  There are tribe-seekers who express their deep longing to belong to a group of like-minded people.  Others adopt the word to claim and affirm their belonging in their group’s particular version of “us.”  Business leaders extol the virtues of cultivating tribes—mass movements around brands that amplify meaningful connections between groups and ideas.  Fashion-forward friends tell me that tribal trends even hit the runway in 2011 (my knowledge of fashion is so last year) and continue to inspire Spring 2012.

There's no doubt that the savvy marketing guru, Seth Godin, and the popular reality TV show, Survivor, have heavily influenced the current tribe vibe in American culture, although I suspect that globalization is the underlying culprit in this trend toward tribal identification and cultivation.  As collective identities get stretched and homogenized beyond traditional boundaries and comfortable recognition, it makes sense that people would seek to redefine their identities and their sense of belonging by assuming and adapting the cultural accouterments of here, there, and everywhere...

 

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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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