Saturday, December 06, 2014

Waking Up in Love-- do it, or the love will die..... argh


You can fall in love and not be awake. You are swept off your feet for deep seated and/or idiotic reasons.
Doesn’t matter. You head turns off its dominance for awhile and you fall.
And then you get together.

It's all perfect.
And then it's not.

And then you have the choice, be mindful or mindless in your love.
Mindful seems a lot of trouble, except that it’s so fun, because you are present at each moment to new possibilities, to doing something different than your programming says to do, or different than either of you are expecting.

Mindless, as in not being present, as in not being mindful, is the default mode of human life, and if you have met Ms. Right, or Mr Right, it seems like you’re going to get away with drifting along on your good luck, except for a minor detail.

It won’t work unless you both have perfect parents.

If you both have perfect parents, then when things get stressful you can go to the mindless automatic solution you saw with your parents ( which, not so strangely, will be either mindfulness or something close: like humor, like listening, like putting the other first, like hugging and taking a breather, like… Who knows? Perfect parents must have a lot of cool ways of dealing with trouble.
I’ve never met anyone with perfect parents, but if it’s you, let me know what they did).

And then, the rest of us.
With imperfect parents, who had less than ideal ways of relating to each other when stress came down, if we are mindless then we are on automatic.
If we are on automatic we are going to go for our programming.
If they weren’t so good, these programs, usually something like putting the other down, not listening, get defensive, getting offensive, drinking, avoidance, having affairs, overeating…. Whatever they did not so well, if we are mindless, we have to drift back into copying their mode.

Which sucked for them, whether they stuck it out or not.

Aside: sticking it out has it’s advantages, and without real month by month mindful growth, it’s taking each other for granted, avoiding each other and going about somewhat robot lives, fighting a lot, various drug and or sexual escapes, all the above shenanigans.

So it’s a two way deal:
Be mindful.
That things aren’t going so well.
That stress is up.
That there are solutions out there.
That these solutions are to be had outside of the conditioned pathway.
( If you are in a couple and reading this and want to have a pile of non conditioned and amazing ways to break through to a new level, call, or email RIGHT NOW)

And what would being mindful look like.

Ah, lots of ways, and this is, since it can be done in almost all circumstances, talking or not, is the best I have found.

1 sensing entire right leg all toes to hip joint

2 adding on ( keep sensing leg)
Entire right arm
All fingers to shoulder 

3 adding on
Entire left arm
Shoulder to all fingers 

4 adding on ( keep sensing other three)
Entire left leg hip joint to all toes

5 adding on
Spine sensing pelvis to head

6 repeat and deepen 
All six

Then other way
Left leg toes to hip

8 add on
Left arm fingers to shoulder 

9 add on
Right arm shoulder to fingers

10 add on
Right leg hip to all toes

11 add on
Spine from pelvis to head


13 back to right side first

Do things in multiples of 12

One breath each as driving say

On left foot
Swing right foot back from floor to behind
36 times
Sensing the count as above

Then other way

Balance too two

Stand on left foot
Hold right knee both hands
Pull to chest on outbreath

Do 24 or 36 times

Then other way

This will bring presence in a real embodied way


"Coming home " to now

Increasing attention

Getting free of thought and outside triggers

Slowing down 

Real balance & strength 

Alright: go to it.
With a mate or not, being mindful in our bodies is fun, wonderful, useful and reminds us of the most important thing in the world:
Which is?

You tell me.



Friday, December 05, 2014

Maybe the violence/ aggression post was too narrow-- TWO NERVOUS SYSTEMS—APOLLONIAN vs DIONYSIAN—BOTH RIGHT


Once there was a panel from a number of successful communes throughout the country. When asked what the central problem was, a large majority said: Dogs!
My dog’s barking and doglike behavior is great to me, but may be annoying as hell to another.
(Same with my frisky child, seen by another as my bratty child)

This is my third time around on the slapping issue, slapping as a part of the Authentic Games nights,  and having had the epiphany that for some people this is a big kick, and in a certain way, I don’t have a right to interfere with that kick, set the quietness in motion from which these reflections can take place.

The “problem” is age old in societies. Does the perky young neighbor’s right to have a hell of a good time having a noisy party at 1 AM come first or my wish to have some sleep starting at 11.
The dogs issues shows it’s not an age thing, though it often plays out that way.
Taking it down a notch more, does the Toddler’s right to bang the hell out of the pans and learn about gravity by pouring the milk on the floor over ride the parent’s desire for some order and peacefulness.

And then there are the two nervous systems. Parasympathetic calms us, creating conditions for digestion, sleep, relaxation. Sympathetic ( I know, it’s a weird matching) is to jack us up, get us ready for fight or flight or sex or vigorous activity ( no surprise sports and war language going hand in hand).

Both have their cool sides. Jacked up, hyper alert, ready for anything, this is ecstatic dance at it’s loudest or any of the old orgiastic times, called Dionysian by the Greeks, for the god of drink and merriment.  Thrashing around the campfire, letting off steam, or getting ready for the orgy, or charging up in war paint to go off to war.
No doubt about it, this is a fun one.

The calmer nervous system is more boring sometimes, and cultivated say in slower, more mindful movement, tai chi and whatnot, or mindful walking or meditation, or moments of quiet in a busy day.
The Apollo  way, Apollonian, calm and ordered. Which actually isn’t how real meditation is, but that’s another story.

So the slaps come along. The shouting comes along. Not my cup of tea. My hearing on the left side and my sight in my left eye are both considerably weaker. Think through where a right handed slap from good old Mom would land.

But that doesn’t mean for the young bucks, this isn’t a hell of a great chance to experience something young bucks have been experiencing as long as we’ve had these two nervous systems, which is a pretty long time.
Young bucks, let’s say in this day and age, includes women who don’t want to deny that frisky wild woman part.

I could yammer a bit more about ecstatic dance vs what I used to call the geriatric dance (Dancing together), and why I liked to go back and forth between the two, but the fun of this now, is realizing: both sides are right.
We need peacefulness.
We need alert vigorous living.

How does this fit in the Authentic Games room?
I’m not sure.

I do know someone slapping in my sight, or shouting in my hearing range, has to activate my parasympathetic nervous system.
What I don’t’ know, that I thought I did when I jumped into this fray, is whether that’s anything I have any right to want to restrain or put conditions on.

Ah, life. Uncertainty can be very sweet at times.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Talk without being in "their business." Kissing as the touch mode. Day twelve of sixty

Day Twelve

This is going to be talking back and forth.
This is the beginning of a whole new way of communicating.
You stay in your business.
They stay in their business.
You leave any comments, “help,” advice, criticism, interpretation out of the puzzle.
You are going to listen with no plan of responding. They are going to talk about anything but you and anything but the relationship.
You are going to listen.
You are going to talk about anything but
The relationship
What they just talked about.

Three minutes each, back and forth. No feedback. No reflective listening.
Just listening.
JUST listening.
Listening is so rare, and this is listening that isn’t cuing up for our smart advice, or retort, or additional thing to say.
Simply, deeply, fully listen.

This is good.
Back and forth.
Three times.

Eighteen minutes.

You can get in the fun of “not being in the other person’s business.”
You talk of your day, your goals, your childhood, your experiences in the present.
They do the same.
You leave each other alone.

Twelve minutes left.
Two turns of 2 minutes each, kissing the other anywhere but the mouth.
Two turns of 3 minutes each, kissing the other anywhere but the mouth that they request.

Two turns of 1 minute each sharing how it was and the difference.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Waking Up, Being Present, Violence & Aggression


(There were a few folks, who in an Authentic Relationship Game night, when the game was making requests that were granted or not, asked for and got slapped. I already stirred up a storm posting elsewhere about the mirror neuron side of slapping in public, we are wired to identify either with the aggressor or the victim.... This takes the interaction to the level of ...
waking up as the main job on Earth
looking at a deeper level of what we are asking for when we ask for something "edgy")

Paula Poundstone says it’s possible to have jokes without aggression, it’s just that t
hey aren’t funny.

Aggression is a vital aspect of creativity ( destroy that blank page, that white canvas, that old idea), and sex, and teasing. But in all those, aggression is blended with more. Much more.

Violence has some problems on this planet earth, and yes yes people do pay good money to watch boxing matches, and football contests, and support the troops doing god knows what, and pay the filmmakers to watch pretend death slaughter and mayhem.

Violence vs aggression. This is a distinction worth studying deeply.

And, this is where this note is going to get annoying.

I going to posit BEING PRESENT as something real to do in all our presents. Which includes now..

Ah, so easy to say. And as I type this, am I present to my fingers on the keyboard and the light in the room and the feeling of weight of my pelvis on the chair and feet on the floor? Am I aware of the breathing going in and out and the sounds of traffic outside?

Having switched my attention to being present, I’m a yes to all that, and to be honest, when I typed about Paula and all the smart hooey about violence vs aggression, I wasn’t present.

It’s hard to be present handwriting and even harder typing in to a computer.
And reading.

While reading…a book, the Chronicle, this epistle, the rest of facebook, what is being present to you? Is it too much trouble, and if not, what shifts when you become present now (and only this now, THIS NOW, will work) to gravity and light and sound and breathing and …..

Where do you like to wake up, when you wake yourself up to the present?

There is a reason most meditation retreats are non talking.

Writing and reading are very very hard to stay present

 in Talking and listening to talking , especially in a give and take conversation where we can’t wait to say our very, very important bit: hard to stay present.

Just saying, for those who raise their hands to be present.
Once we open our mouths it gets hard.

And in these two areas it might be hardest of all: talking/ writing/ reading about sex or violence.

And here we go....
1. You have traces of annoyance in your history with them, and it’s a way to get it out?
2. You had parents who whacked you, and it’s a chance to go the other way.
3. They seem needy for punishment and you want to oblige them
4. It’s the “cool/ edgy” thing to do, and you want to be part of it
5. You have erotic impulses and some strong skin contact will get some of that message across?
6. You name it
7. You find it
8. Still present?????

Someone asked me to slap them.
I said no.
I will not reveal my speculations as to why they asked for it, but I’ll say that I don’t want to hit people. I have impulses that I’d rather not follow out. I don’t think it’s good for the room. I think it’s extremely poor information for the person who gets slapped. ( My opinion. I was spanked. I spanked a bit my kids and got disgusted with myself and stopped. If we are present and watching someone get hit, there are things to see.)

Even if people “like” being slapped/ hit/ stomped , there are things to see that staying very present might help us see.

Ah, I won’t go there except to say: many people’s idea of their body, is not the flesh and bones and structure and joy of movement but only their collection of pains and tensions. Much “stretching,” over exercises, over yoga and so on is that until there is pain, people don’t think they are real.

Still present?)

Being edgy may be one.
And getting a certain kind of attention parents often give is another.
Diverted sexuality might be one.
And there are many more.
I’d avoid the answers that come quickest to mind. But that’s just me.

Still present?

But here’s the third question:


I won’t go into what that is, but this is what mindfulness is for….to Pause between impulse and action, and discover if perhaps the mindless mode is, as most mindless modes are, a straight line back to unconscious programming.
And why someone would say yes to a request to slapping me might tell me a lot about their unconscious programming.

Still present?

Happy Easter. Happy solstice. Happy dying of the light.
And resurrection.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Waking Up in Relationships

day eleven

This may be your actually day eleven. Or it may be the first day of your second month, and you’ll once again do ten days in three cycles.
Whatever it is, the PART A, mini version, is only going to be given at the end of the talk and the touch section. And it won’t be called Part A, but the minimum daily dosage.
It’s time to settle in and admit how important this relationship is to us. Even if it’s going to come to a shifting apart at the end of six months ( that’s the minimum to really work something through with someone you love.)
We’re going to have longer practices this ten days, and the touching is going to involve kissing and making out. We’re working our way up to the sexual parts, or the genitalia at least, and kissing is far, far underrated as an erotic past time.
I’d say we all should be making out at least fifteen minutes a day. Tongues and touch. Skin.
Oh, wait, we have a talking part, and the make out won’t come today, but soon, soon. ( In the book. No law/ rule/ commandment or even recommendation that you don’t start making out before the book suggests. Even now: fling down the book and make out for awhile. See if you die.

Okay. Here’s a five part game we are going to play many, many times.
I’m indebted to the Authentic Games community for this game, and it’s good for business, love and even ( EVEN!) creating an amazingly quick and deep connection with a stranger or new person in your life.

It goes like this:
There are two partners, A and B. ( Alternate days you are A and you are B. Though both get the full turn, A will start the talking always)
A: Talks for 3 minutes.
B: Reflects back, as closely as possible, the exact words they heard A say. No interpretations. No inferences. That’s later. 2 minutes
A: Give additional insight. Where B got it a little wrong. Where B forgot something that was important. Where A realizes they needed to put more emphasis. Where A realizes that the real theme of the sharing was slightly different than they’d thought the first time around. 1 minutes.
B: Tells A, either/ or:
What they “got” about A as a person from both of their shares.
What was the strongest emotional resonance in their sharing. What was the juiciest part of what they where sharing.
2 minutes. Go slowly. Really hone in to what you feel, FEEL, and think and intuit that A is like.
A: Share gratitude for being heard and listened to and “got” by B. Any places that B “got” you that didn’t really connect with who you feel you are, share that there needs to be more learning between to two of you. Not criticism. Just the reality. We’ve all got a long way to go to learn what another person is like.
1 minutes.
Pause. Breathe. Hug or hold hands. Be grateful for this. 1 minute.
So we’ve got
3 minutes A’s initial share
2 minutes: B reflecting back the words
1 minutes: A fine tuning their share
2 minutes: what B “gets” about A
1 minute: A’s gratitude and hints as to areas of future discovery.’
1 minute: hug, touch, pause, Breathe, integrate.
Total : 10 minutes.
I’d prefer a longer version. Which I’ll give on day 20 for the repeating practice. A version that will take 13 minutes each way. But for now, I want to keep within the half hour limit, which will mean ten minutes ( minimum) touch each day.
So, ten minutes each way.
I haven’t given the topic today.
“What you want the relationship to be.”
“What you want the relationship to be.”
Be uncertain, be vulnerable, be outrageous, be tentative, be certain. Share where you are today. We may well do this topic every other day.

The minimum daily dose, and you’ll have to try the full version above to experience how paltry this is in comparison:
2 minutes sharing: What you want the relationship to be. 1 minute feeding back what the listener “got” about you.

We have ten minutes left over.
We have lips.
That like to kiss.
In four minute batches, please have a recipient, in any position they chose, and a giver/ kisser.
The kisser/ giver kisses the recipient in as many places as their intuition calls for. Except the lips.
That’s tomorrow.
The recipient can make requests.
Or just soak it in.
Four minute each way.
Then One minute each sharing how give was for you and how getting.

Minimum daily dose.
Two minutes of kissing as per above. Each person goes each way.
One minute sharing how getting and giving was.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A gratitude and touching and liking game for Thanksgiving

Something to do with someone you like. You love. You are hanging out with. You barely know.

Sit near to them.
Look each other in the eyes.

Say this. For three minutes, with a timer.
Go through these five statements, over and over.

"I notice this about me...

“I notice this about you…
“This is what I'm grateful  about life..
“I like this about me…
“ I appreciate this about you…”
 Repeat this for three minutes
“I notice this about me...“
“I notice this about you…
“This is what I'm grateful for about life..
“I like this about me…
“ I like appreciate about you…”

After the three minutes. Pause. Look at each other. Enjoy this.
Then the listener shares back, as long as it takes, what they heard and what they "got" about the other person from this sharing/

Then going the other way: tell it back the other way around. 
First noticing yourself, as a person in the moment. 
Notice the other in the moment.
Like... life
Like .. yourself
Like.. the other

Liking and gratitude and love and appreciation, all swirling around in the Thanksgiving of this amazing gift called life.

In the present of the present,
and liking
and love
and gratitude
and appreciation

For three minutes: massage the other person’s foot. Paying attention to :
What you like about it.
What it feels like to your fingers.
What specific parts of them you are touching.
What you imagine they are liking about it.

For two four one massages the other's foot, and then switch it the other way.

Then one minute feedback each, How it was giving? How it was getting?

Either the massage, or the liking life, self and the other.

AS many times as you wish.

It's your life.

Connection feels good.

Have you noticed?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Better talk and touch, and love and sex.... part 4 of 60

Not really 60 days straight, but in a program of ten days of work each other, that gets cycled through three times.

day four
This is going to be fun.
Every day is going to be fun, and yes, yes, there is going to be even more blow back from the habitual world, because, believe it or not, there is a big chunk of your inner programming that doesn’t want you to be happy and the busy/ kids/ tired/ sick/ whatever whatever excuses are going to rear their ugly ( and false, if you look carefully at the real problem to be solved and not the FEELING that things can’t be any different) heads.

So, keep it up.
Half an hour a day.
Preferably before dinner.

And here goes:


Sit close and look at each other for a minute. Just connect in silence.
Then a minute while holding hands.
The talking today is going to be an every other sentence loop back to the “gurdjieff meditation” I mentioned yesterday.
In that, you start first thing in the morning, and sense your right toes, and bit by bit sense up through foot ankle shin knee thigh to your right hip.
Then sense the entire right leg and hang out there a while.
Then, keeping that in awareness, add on, right finger tips, fingers, hand, wrist, forearm, elbow, upper arm and right shoulder socket. Then sense the two, right arm and right leg.
Breathe. Enjoy giving yourself real attention.
And the complete and unequivocal being “present” that this is.
As experience. Word free. Now, now, now, now.
And then, keeping the right arm and leg ( and fingers and toes) in sensing attention, go to the left shoulder and work your way down to the left fingertips.
Then hang out in those three: right leg and arm, left arm.
Then add on, keeping going around the circle, left hip, down thru thigh, knee, shin, ankle, foot, out to all the toe tips.
Then sense all four.
There is more to the “Gurdjieff meditation” and this much can be revealed today:  this is something for all day and all activities.

And so, for today’s talk, we’ll go around the circle every other statement, and you can sense up the right side and down the left, or just zap into the whole limb at once, and it’s going to bring you present, now, present, now, present, now.

Person A, goes like this for 3 minutes:
“Sensing my right leg and toes, I notice….”
“This is what I like about me…”
“Sensing my right arm and fingers, I notice…”
“This is what I like about you….”
“Sensing my left arm and fingers, I notice…”
“This is what I like about me….”
“Sensing my left leg and toes, I notice…”
“This is what I like about you….”
“Sensing my right leg and toes, I notice….”
“This is what I like about me…”

And so on.
Then, person B, for one minute, feeds back to highlights of what they heard.

Switch, the other way.

Do it again, so 16 minutes is taken up being present to ten fingers and ten toes and to liking of oneself and to liking of the other.

5 minute massages of one of your partner’s feet. They can make requests. But not too many. Sense your arms and legs as you give the massage. Especially sense in your foot whatever you are massaging in their foot.
And sense the fingers you are using, and the using of your arms and whole self to move your massaging hands.
One minute each to say how that was for you.

Seven minutes the other way around.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

be present, even in grief, it's the doorway to God


If I’m present I’m really alive.
It’s not the only game in town, and (AND) it’s necessary to at least two of the other great games of this overall game called “being alive.”
-- love

Another essay could be written ( and has been, search through the blog) on the impossibility of happiness and love without being present. Discover this for yourself, or transmit any time of un-happiness or un-love to a time to happiness or love by becoming present.)

And there’s one game that can be played from not being present, and often is, and it’s a big and fun game in life. It’s this one:
--making money.
Lots of people have discovered that it’s a lot more fun and lot easier and lot happier ( and….full of love) game if played from being present. And it appears that a messy version can be played, and even played well from what I’d call, copying Gurdjieff and many others, a state of “sleep.”

And then the last great game…
--Service. Helping others. Making a difference.

Ah, me oh my. You can be of service and be asleep, and it can work, but it’s a perilous situation. If surrounded by peaceful and almost saintlike people, who are also good at self care, you / one can get away with being asleep.
And, on the other hand, burn out, and grumpiness and feeling ripped off, can be so prevalent. There is a great passage in Brothers Karamozov, where a gal admits that she has a hard time give to the poor because they aren’t sufficiently grateful.
Lots of prayer and quiet time, which is often close to being present, can help people get away with being of service without a practice of being present, but usually, the people you are serving will suck you dry, since there is really no you there to be around them, just your good deeds.

And that’s that.
There is one more great reason to be present and it’s almost as if it’s your way to salute the universe for the wonder of being alive. Which is kind of like happiness, but on a quieter and more reverent sort.
And being alive is the gift and the glory.

And here we shift to the second half of this discussion, a “harder” part, and it is about his: how to be present when someone we love dies.
They are gone.
No longer in our lives.
We are still alive.
They aren’t.

This can hurt.
This can wound so deeply our whole lives are turned inside out.
Rumi’s endless poems of love, which he didn’t write, but shouted out while whirling and his disciples wrote down, came from his grief at this beloved mentor and enlightenment friend, Shams, being gone. The suspicion is the jealous disciples and even some of his own children murdered Shams.
And in that grief, plunged to the depths, he found a love and poetry that has nourished our souls throughout the ages.

And if we aren’t Rumi ( yet!), what to do?

Be present.
To reality.
Reality is what we see right now. What we hear right now. What we are sensing in our bodies.
In our bodies the grief may be surging in great ferocity, and we can always meet that with awareness. What ever we are sensing, we can be aware of those sensations in the moment.
Moment by moment.
Breath by breath.

And this too, be can be aware, that we are alive, that we are aware, as we sense this sensation of grief inside us. Balancing that with awareness of gravity and light and breath and sound, as per yesterday’s blog on Ten Fingers, Ten Toes, Belly, Eyes, Ears and Nose, might make it “easier,” and no matter.
We are alive.
We are in love with these sensations, or we could be, as this is the way to honor our life exactly now.

And then, there can be suffering. Pain is one thing, suffering another.

The suffering is not real, but always sets of words, always of the sort that “This should be different,”  or “That should have been different.”

That is, we are demanding that Reality change to suit our wishes.
The elephant should be a card table. Impossible.
The rabbit should be a dog. Impossible.

This past event should never have happened. Impossible.

To fight reality brings suffering which is different than pain. Last weeks essay on the four questions and the turn around can always get us out of the suffering.
The pain remains as long as it remains.
And when we are present, we are riding the surf of reality, no matter how rugged.
Something is being ripped open, and in the stillness of not filling our minds with all the words that create suffering, and in the hot furnace of sensing the actual grief in the moment, something new can be born.

What it will be can’t be predicted.
The present can point to and wish for a certain future, but reality can play funny and beautiful and mystical games with us.

That’s it’s job.
Our job.
To be present and love what is.

This is either too many words, or not enough, and words are all a bit of a lie, and maybe they can point to the rose garden. Maybe we will walk there. Maybe the thorn will prick us deeply and we can be aware of our wound.
Maybe we can look at the sun reflecting in the drop of blood and see the meaning of our love and our lives.
Who knows?

If we are present, we’ll be there to find out as we discover.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Now, really? LIke this now?

Slightly before the Power of Now came out and it was suddenly cool to be in the moment, I am leading a small workshop on being present in the hills above Sonoma.

People are given the simple assignment of talking a half hour walk, alone, and hanging out in the present and seeing what that was like.

What it was like was great.

Everyone came back rip roaring excited about the peacefulness and the intense moment by moment vitality of their bodies walking through the woods with their minds mainly focused on being present.

All was well.

We parted.

I was pleased, and then I realized an odd thing, thinking back on the sharing about their walks, a noticing I'd had while they were talking but kept submerged.

They hadn't been present when they were busy, happy and excited to share about their walk in the present.

Perhaps even more shocking: I hadn't been that present either.

Ah, shit... What do we have here?

Well... reading these words. writing these words... are we present in this now, now.

Maybe yes.

Maybe no.

It's a trick, it's a veil, it's a huge dilemma: how to be using words, which are never in the present, to describe anything, first of all, and then to be present while we are in word land.

There is a reason why most meditation retreats are silent.

Talking almost always equals going back to sleep.

There is a way out of this, specific to talking and being present, but for now, let me just introduce a game, and you can try it, if you want, while you are talking.

And walking.

And riding a car, driving a car, riding a bike, eating, or even reading and writing.

while you are talking to someone.
And listening to someone.

On the phone.
In person.

It's "hard," but its a way out of the ongoing sleep of most of humanity, most of the time.

So, maybe it's worth a try.

Goes like this;;

Ten fingers

Ten toes





And that's the attention game. The being present game. While eating or reading or talking or walking or dancing or making love, or writing, or working:'

Put attention on all ten fingers, and both arms. Sense their entirety, from shoulders to fingers tips.

Put attention on all ten toes, as a reminder to add in both legs, sensing all, the flesh, the bones, tendons, nerves, flesh, blood, all of it, from hip joint to the tippy tip of all ten toes.

That's a lot.

Belly and Nose are the two ends of breathing. The joy of this being alive thing. Now, now, now, we can feel the air that is keeping us alive, feel the air itself coming into our nose, feel the belly expanding as the diaphragm pushes down to make more room in our lungs.

Feel it all.
Breathing in.
Breathing out.

And the belly is near the tan tien, the center of our body, two inches in and one down, or something. Doesn't matter.

Just sense your middle and sense your spine along with the two arms and two legs.

Arms, legs, spine, breathing, fingers, toes, air in and out the nose.

And now,
eyes: what light is coming in?

What do you see?


What sound is coming in?


and that could keep you pretty damn present in case you want to be while yammering, or thinking about being present or talking about being present or talking about your deep wishes or talking about your trivial complaints.

Can you have all that now now nowness:

ten fingers

ten toes





----try it.

You've nothing to lose but the misery of believing your thinking or someone else's.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Transforming bitterness into love: Forgiveness as Realization

Once when it was cold, and I was all alone and bitter and in despair, I got myself a pen and a notebook.

Time to write my way out of this suffering.

Judge your neighbor.
Write it down.
Ask four Questions.
Turn it around.

The happiest person I'd ever met suggested that as a way out of suffering.

I was suffering. The girlfriend of 7 years had left me for Tom.

Not fair, poor me, sad bitter and so on.

Being bitter, thinking bitter thoughts, complaining, get others to agree with me, hadn't done the trick.

So, Judge my ex gal:

"She should not have left me."

Of course not. He was good looking and smart and charming and had an English accent to seem even more charming and smart and he drank coffee and she worked in a coffee shop.

We'd met, this gal an I, when she was in Berkeley, getting her degree in Landscape architecture. We talked design, gardens, roamed Berkeley together, feel in love, had the usual fun of that, drank coffee.

She finished her degree and we visualized the perfect cottage in Sonoma, after scoping out about six towns in the country. We wanted to grow. We wanted out of Berkeley. We found Sonoma, with it's 10,000 population, and nine acre plaza and only an hour from the bay area.

And we "manifested" the white cottage, on land, with oak trees on one side, a meadow in front, a creek on the side, only seasonal, but still, 4 months of gurgle gurgle is pretty grand. And not visualized, but cool, a quarter mile driveway lined with walnut trees and olive trees.

Heaven, and we gardened, heaven and a strange thing happened in paradise.

We fought.
Ah, what did we argue about?
Who knows?

And here, let me clue you in to the generic argument:

Person A:  "I'm right and you're wrong."

Person B:  "No. You have it backwards, I'm right and you're wrong."

Person A: "No. You have it backwards, I'm right and you're wrong."

forever and eve, louder and louder with the context hardly mattering and EVER so important.

Anyway, we argued, and then at the end I DO know what we argue about.

I was right and she was wrong to be spending so much time with Tom.

Here's a hint, on how to make jealousy a self-fulfilling prophecy: spend a lot of time hassling the person for liking someone else.

So we argue and the choice for her got clearer and clearer:
Stick around me and be argued with that she's wrong.

Hang around and be charmed by a man with an English accent who thinks she's the brightest rose in the morning dew.

And so she chose.

And I'm alone.

And I have my paper and pen, and it's time to write my way out of suffering.


Let's see.

Judge the one you are blaming from your suffering: And write it down.

"She should love me more."

Ask four questions.


Hell yeah. I'm suffering. She should love me more and stick around. ( Ha! Selfish malarky, but the answers have to be honest)

As, in the Universe needs this to function. As in, I can be absolutely certain that for her life and my life and blah blah blah, she should "love me more," whatever that means.

And the answer, sigh, is no.

Hell no.

Which means, darn, the statement, "She should love me more," is a thought, and opinion, and like most thoughts and opinions, is not true.


Question Three:

Wow. Well, that's pretty clear. Miserable. Sad. Angry. Bitter. Betrayed. Poor me. Victim.
On and on.

And that's the kicker:  It's the thought setting me up for all this. Not her.

How do I know?

Question Four:

And, I'm just me, here now. Or me, there then, in a garden, in a beautiful town, alive, seeing the skies and the trees and without the thought:  no suffering.

Can it be that easy?


But wait, there's more:
Judge your neighbor.
Write it down.
Ask four questions.
Turn it around.

The turn around is to eat your own medicine,
You should listen to me more becomes:
I should listen to YOU more.
I should listen to ME more.

You should appreciate me more, becomes
I should appreciate YOU more
I should appreciate ME more.

So, with Tom's new gal, my new X:

"She should love me more,"
I should love HER more.
I should love ME more.

Yeah, okay. I write that, think that , and then ZAP.


 I still do love her, and most of my suffering had been from stopping that love, and when I do the turn around and "love her more," what do I want:

I want her to be happy.

And she is happy.
With Tom.

Great. Loving her more means wanting her to have what she wants.

She wants Tom.
I can love her and be happy she has what she wants.

This isn't theory. This is almost teary,
teary eyed relief and how good the world has suddenly become: someone I love is getting what they want.

And loving me more?

Ah, it means doing the work, the writing down, the questions the turn around on the next thoughts that come up once I let her go, as if I had a choice:

"I won't ever find anyone as great as her."

I did that work.
What happened is another story, a sweet story, but let's just say this work, the work of judge your neighbor, write it down, ask for questions, turn it around, turned my life around.

You have any suffering?

Give it a try.

A pen. Some paper. Looking within. You might find freedom, too.

Good luck.
Bon adventure.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Pseudo Wisdom on a Wednesday: Love What Is..... or SUFFER

A young friend of mine was recently murdered.

My favorite moment with him, well second favorite to a bike ride we took together, was hearing him give a talk on how he'd used his time in prison to seek and find spiritual wisdom.

One of his key sharings was the "7 Page Project," wherein you took seven pieces of paper ( the number that could be mailed in an envelope with one stamp) and wrote your beliefs, and learnings down and send them to someone.

In honor of him, I'm going to journal for seven pages ( handwriting is the only way to really get close to your soul in writing) each Wednesday, and then type it into this blog.

I'll also print up this typed version and mail it off to his mother, who can might want to friend on facebook, Denise Roussell.

And here, in honor of Cory Roussell and today's gift to Denise and myself and all of life, and especially anyone reading this, is today's seven pages....

Here's the honey: Life is Good.

Yesterday I heard that my second grand daughter had been born just before midnight the day before, at the very tail end of November 3, 2014. I'd been hoping she would be born then, since that was the birthday of an amazing woman, Marlie Wesner, now Marlie Collins, who had been my girlfriend for 8 years in Sonoma, California.  ( Not Sedona, Arizona. Think grapes, not vortex).

Marlie was a wonder of simplicity and love of life and acute connection with simple physical pleasure. My son, who knew her fairly well, said she was the kind of person who should be riding a unicorn. She and I spend night after night sleeping under the stars, in town, but either at a garden we were creating or on our deck. We helped create one huge and beautiful garden, and one large and beautiful garden. I hear she's still gardening, and yoga-ing to life's great delight.

She was a gift, and I feel I contributed her way and then it was life to part paths.

Life is good. When the love is here, and we can share the same cottage and garden and bed, that is good.

When it is time for love to take another form, that is good.

Unless I want to suffer, then I could have begrudged the ending, but I didn't. She didn't. Life moved on.

Gardening teaches this: plants spring from little seeds, get huge, give great gifts, reach their end, die, become food for the compost.

We were both content, and even more in love in a certain way was we spent five months still together and knowing we were parting.

And I was happy that my grand daughter would probably have this birthday, for on the day of November 3 this was up in the air.

And during this up in the air time, I called my sister to tell her of the birth on the way. That part went well.

But when I told her I was excited that this girl ( they knew it was a girl) would be born on Marlie's birthday, my sister reverted to being my sister. When I told her I'd really loved Marlie, and hoped that child would share some of her amazing qualities, she pushed back with why wasn't I still with Marlie is it had been so good.

And when I began to explain the reasons that Marlie and I found for an agreeable and loving separation, she told me they were stupid.

Ah, here's when I lost my understanding of how to be happy.

Instead of listening to her ideas and reasons and feelings about this, I took this as an insult and hung up.

Poor Sis. People hang up on her all the time, since she has a firm habit of telling people they are stupid and wrong and expecting them to be grateful for the insight.

And I could have been present to my sting, and not taken it personally, and it would just have been her being the way she can't help being

But I blew it.

I hung up.

I believed in my story, that she shouldn't call my reasons stupid, instead of the reality that she had.

And so, I hung up and closed things down.

Now, sticking around, I might have found out what was going well and what was not going well in her 35 year marriage, but I didn't.

I chose to disagree with a disagreeable sister, and hence, fighting fire with fire, closed off a chance for something new and interesting to happen.

My loss.

The price I failed to pay to stay in happiness and "life is good," is this price:  Wake up to NOW and when in pain, look within and discover where I am fighting with "What Is," which is another name for Reality.

The secret to ongoing contentment:  "Loving What Is."

My favorite spiritual teacher, Adyashanti, defines enlightenment as "Loving What Is."

My favorite enlightened being calls herself Byron Katie, and does not call herself enlightened, that's a story, nor a teacher, since it's about un-learning rather than learning ( at least in the spiritual realm.... in movement, about which maybe I'll write next Wednesday, learning is real, but not book learning, the kind of learning that a child discovers when going from not being able to crawl, to being able to crawl)

She called her first book, "Loving What Is."

Not as a belief of hers, but as the purest statement of how she found life had to be lived for her to end, completely the immense amount of suffering she was undergoing as a chain smoking obese ranting-at-her-family alcoholic.

Like all of us, she was
In rage and suffering.... when she believed her thoughts.

At Peace,
when she gave up trying to demand that Reality be what her thoughts wanted it to be.

And that's the easy/ hard/ obscure/ obvious route for us all: Let go of our argument with Reality.
Then life is good and we are happy.

And so it was with me, on November 3.
My suffering on top of my sister's suffering. She told me I was wrong for ending a relationship. I told her... by hanging up... that she was wrong for telling me that I was wrong.

And so it goes.

And sometimes we are lucky.
I have another sister who pointed out to me that I seemed to be caught up in a story that the critical sister should have been other wise.

That was it!

I woke up.

I'd been trapped in my thinking.

And this seems to be one of the main reasons to be present:

In the present we can wake up to
Am I happy?
Am I suffering?

And then, we can be present to the thoughts that are fueling our unhappiness.

And being present we can feel our bodies, our arms out to the fingertips, and our legs out to the toes, and our spine with the pelvis and our head.

Our breathing.

We are alive.

We can be present.

And sounds, sights, color, light:  we can feel and notice all that, in the present.

So, that's the way we can live: present to our idiocy when we decide to believe our thoughts and suffer.

Present to the aliveness of ourselves now.

Present to the beauty of the world.

And present to this:  what do we want our life to be headed toward.

That's "not the present," but it's the way we want to move, and that's part of the game to: we get to chose, from happiness, from the present of love of life, from the present of knowing what our life feels like right now, what now, do we want our life to become.

And right now, this is happy.


Because life is good.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The truth is free, and yet...

how is your breathing
right now?

what are you seeing,
besides this
right now?

where are your arms and legs and

what are you hearing?

that's truth:
our experience right now

freely available

and then the cost:

awareness of when we put a story
on our experience and demand that it be different
than it is

that's a cost

the cost of waking up
is a dilly:

realizing when we have
fallen back asleep

not beating ourselves up about it
then getting back
into the glide




all this inspired by someone texting me this:

"I know the truth will set me free,
how much will it set me back?

the truth is free

most change has a price

seeing that as being
"set back"

is like putting a price on your
child's smile

not really a way to live


Monday, September 29, 2014

Two legged chairs

Look around you at all the two legged chairs...

Not many?

How come?

Lots of four legged ones.
A few three legged stools, and approximately zero
two legged chairs.

What's that about?

Lots of twos in the world,
two eyes, two ears, two hands, two feet
two legs.

We can pull it off.
Why not the chair?

Are they picky or something, or
have the chair designers of the world been holding out on us?

You tell me.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Love is everywhere, just shut up

We walk by a tree
chattering in our head
about this worry
or that plan
or this future conversation
or that past yammer

and we miss the tree

if we saw the tree

really saw
without words,
just the light and the color and all the glimmer
and mystery

that would be love


all around us

and inside us

there is something, many things
we could be experiencing

in a direct experience
that would be love

if we quite the yammer
and just experience

we can be in love
with our toes
or our partner's nose

and the wall of our apartment
or the floor of
our office

and sometims
in this present
we might realize,
we'd like a "better" present

an office with a window that opened say
and friendly people all around

that works

write the goal down
love the goal

look around you
love it until you've got the better place

follow your breath
love being alive


this is incomplete

listen to some Adyashanti talks if you want
the fuller picture


sense gravity

enjoy light

enjoy sound

attention on movement
that you invent

and discover

hang out in the "I don't know,"
which is another name for the

go learn something today

to meet five new people

have an adventure


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Don't be too nice

Don't be too nice
If you can stay happy and present
Nice enough

Care about the other person
And be amused

They are alive

Most of their problems are nonsense
So what?

So are ours.

In fact, sharing a smile and a laugh about
our so called problems
Might be one of the nicer ways of being nice?

What's another?

Smiling and saying what you like about
The moment
Your life

All three

Being lazy is good too

Just listen for awhile
Don't talk

That's a rest for you
Something like nice

for them

And it might indeed 
be quite a treat

and that 
is always nice


enough of that word!

How about this?


That's pretty good.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I wish this for you, I wish this for me, I wish this for us

Your partner comes up to you and says,
"Let me tell you what's wrong with you."

You're all ears, right?

( In some ways of living, actually, you might be,
that might be a chance to be happy with ALL feedback,
we'll wait on that one for a bit)

Your partner comes up and says:

"This is what I'd really like:
I'd like us to spend more quality time together
I'd like to take a walk after dinner
have a make out right now"

Now you might be listening, eh?

Even if we can't go along with a partner's request,
hearing what they want helps us understand who they are.

This is good news in a relationship,
because we can often drift into assuming we know who the other is,
and then it's two strangers
and then it's lonely really,
though we can keep busy enough to ignore it


Here's today's game

Find someone and for 3-5 turns say this to each other:

I want this for you.......

I want this for me......

I want this for us......

See what happens.

It's a three way requesting. You don't get left out.

Your partner doesn't get left out.

The WE of the two of you doesn't get left out.

Find out what happens.


Monday, September 15, 2014

May You Be Happy, 2

When they measure various heavy duty meditators, yes yes
their brains are calmer, happier and more coherent

All that sitting in silence
and the present
and "letting" it be,
when the chatter comes through,
that's gotta pay off,

They discover that the "loving kindness" meditation,
Brings the biggest and deepest and happiest changes
to the  brain

hich is nice

The "heart brain"
we all know that somehow that's THE important thing in life

And this loving kindness mediation is saying:

May you be safe
May you be happy
May you be healthy
May you live with ease

About people you like, don't like,
hate, don't know, know,

Just the good vibe of wishing well

It's kind of soothing when I do it

How about for you?

A couple's game:

I wish this for me
I wish this for you
I wish this for us

You may try it ahead of time
if you wish

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Life, Love & Learning

Just brain, body.

It's so easy this work:

One day a child doesn't crawl
The next she/ he does.

No new muscles, no new energy, no new "thinking"
except hugely new thinking of the organic sort,
the non verbal sort,
the inner relationship and connection and "knowing" sort:

a brain organized to be a whole new child.

It's so hard because everyone wants to fix, relax, stretch, release, repattern, adjust, blah blah blah
None of which help the brain / real person.

That's what my Anat Baniel Method work is about.
That's what my Feldenkrais® work is about.

My opinion is that Anat takes the Feldie method to a whole new level.
( 4 years training with her, after 5 in the Feldenkrais Method®)

Come find out if you'd like.



And today, day three of
waking up
awakened relationship,
what's a game you might want to play?

Let's take all the digits and the eyes and the breath as our game today.

Sensing ten toes and ten fingers.


And light


and Breathing

is it in, out

When can we play that game and it seems absurd:

talk to people
on the computer

cell phone nonsense

ten finger
ten toes



( and if you want, this will bring joy:

it's no extra cost, and actually, lots of

to feel the joy



Tuesday, September 09, 2014

The Full Life Now: Day 2

Today's a day to smile

It's good for us.
We know it.
People around us know it.

So: when to smile.
When you see another person.
When you see a cloud, or a leaves or the sky.

That's one game to play today:
See people, see reflected light: smile.

Another is this:
Sit quietly and sense your entire right leg, from toes,
all the toes
to the hip joint
Eyes closed
Then, keep the leg in awareness and start with your right fingers
and move up through your right arm to the right
shoulder socket.

Enjoy the whole right arm and the whole left leg


Add on sounds.
Add on awareness of breathing , your breathing as you hear sounds.

Open your eyes.

Now the main game of the day:
Sense your right arm and right leg all day,
as much and
as fully as you can.

reading this
sending emails
doing the text/ phone thing

right arm
right leg

they aren't going any where

where is your attention?

bring it on home, for the fun
and grounding
and freeing of it

This will be lopsided, yes,
and being mindless is
more lopsided, don't you think.

You can smile and eat light while you do
if you wish.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Being "Now," vs yammering about now

Anat Baniel, working with a high performing harpist, 
whose tone improved dramatically 
with just 30 minutes of "work," which wasn't work, 
it was brain rewiring, 
to upgrade the whole nervous system.
 The harpist had no "issues." 
She just was curious about what "better" could be. 
She found out. 

See Become More Amazing dot com, if you are curious
what "better"
could be

If I had ten dollars for every person who waxed enthusiastic about The Power of Now,  while being lost from the Now, I'd be fairly close to rich.

It's so easy to yammer about.

And then:
How do we wake up to the Now?

Ah, yes.

Well, I'm going to try a game: which is to play for 108 days with this central dilemma of human life.

In a separate journal, there will be daily longer essays which will become a book.

But for my friends, and my own accountability, I'll put something up here each day.

A sort of ahead of time New Year's Resolution.

A September 8,, my sister's birthday, resolution. Why not have that be the beginning of a new adventure and a new book?

So today, let's play with this stark reality.

These words you see on the screen, are not "real," not "here and now," except as black squiggles of certain shapes you've been taught to decode.

Look at the screen: it's mainly background, white for most people.

Do we "see" the white?

Do we see the shapes between the letter shapes?

And how to stay present when we are in word land, reading, writing, or -- hardest of all-- talking?

Lot's of ways.

And today's game is this, if you want to play:  sense your right leg as a full time back up of attention.

All the right toes.

All the rest of the bones, the muscles, the tendons, the knee, the blood.
The thigh.

The sense of that leg and where it is in relation to the other leg, to your body, to gravity.

All the toes up to the hip socket.

Just sense it while you read these words, while you think and feel whatever you think and feel as this game is presented to you, as you mull:  "Really? One more thing to do?"

Well, it's your here and now.

Sensing the body was recommended by the Buddha as the most effective way to be present, and he's a pretty good recommender, if that's a word.

And even if it is a word, it's just squiggles on a background, and then you have your right leg, real as can be, with you all day and night, Buddha or no Buddha, Facebook or no Facebook. Internet, indoors, outdoors, at job or not at job, with people or alone.

The center of your experience.

Experiencing a big simple chunk of you,,, your right leg, is a fun was to experience / realize that reality.

Play that game, if you wish.

Tomorrow, another.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

May you be happy

May you be safe
May you be happy
May you be healthy
May you live is ease

May I be safe
May I be happy
May I be healthy
May I live is ease

May someone I really like be safe
May this person be happy
May this person be healthy
May this person live in ease

May someone I don't really know be safe
May this person be happy
May this person be healthy
May this person live in ease

May someone who bothers me be safe
May this person be happy
May this person be healthy
May this person live in ease

May my enemy be safe
May this person be happy
May this person be healthy
May this person live is ease

May I be safe
May I be happy

May you be safe
May you be happy

This is the lovingkindness meditation

Someone has said that another translation of lovingkindness
is friendliness feeling

How can we have friendliness feeling toward everyone we meet?

What would our life be like if we did?

Seems worth a try, don't you think/ feel/ intuit?