Wednesday, January 29, 2014

streams of thought...january 29th, 2014

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking that we used when we created them.” Albert Einstein
Recently, I was given the opportunity to write my own personal theory in a paper for the Theories in Counseling class. The paper didn’t seem too daunting since it wasn’t a requirement to write it the APA format nor did I have to do any quasi-research to substantiate my position. Truly a student’s dream to just write down what I thought, as long as it was coherent. It was at this moment when the rule of complex of simplicity took off running.
One of the twelve questions was this:
“What do you think causes people to have problems? I.e. in your experience, what leads people to become unhealthy, to suffer, to have dis-ease, or even mental illness?”
(So, I think that this journal writing will be in a different format…. and here we go.)
Problems… This to me is a difficult term and I believe, based on my experiences, is possibly a reason why so many of us struggle so greatly with the same issue possibly over and over.  Typically, “problems” are seen as being a negative events or at least an event that needs to be solved.  This perception can lead a person to think that they have to fight against emotionally laden issue; instead of them leaning into the moment. If the word is broken down, we would find that the word basically means we are acting against a blemish. That we see something that needs to be adjusted to a correct state of form or appearance. So, it is simply a word that causes us to act… either in fight or in fear mode, which are two of the quickest burning emotions that a person can have.
I won’t discount that there are difficult issues that can cause us to become uneasy. However, I believe that we tend to issue the label of “problems” to announce either internally or externally that this is an uncomfortable situation. If that is the case, we should ask ourselves these questions. Why am I uncomfortable? Was there a previous experience that is similar to this moment that has led me to carry negativity with it?  Or am I uncomfortable with this circumstance because it is an unknown time of my life that I am not sure how to be with?  It is my perception that people dwell too much on events that should be fluid and we simply hold on to them too long.
Suffering… This comes when we take an emotion that we should only give temporary space to so that we can become “aware of” and “be present with” while not giving it a place of residence where it is allowed to develop roots. It is like a stream of water that is meant to flow through; however, we create a dam that stalls and impedes its movement. When we see this happen in nature we see silt, debris and stagnation. It becomes polluted and infested. The water in this case was not allowed to take its natural course to come in, be present, and then free to move on. So it is with distorted or misguided perceptions. The continuation of holding a problem gives root to unhealthy perceptions that often times leads to neurosis. The neurosis then leads to a deeper belief that takes root which eventually will draw in our spiritual and physical health.
Dis-ease… This is the next step in an unhealthy process that was birthed in a negative perception. We have perceived that an event has taken place that will cause either concern, denial, or harm.  When confronted with this event we have an immediate reaction that leads us into a defensive mode. The allowance and continued presence of this event will lead us to a state of emotional dis-ease or disease.  In reality, we have allowed a perception to become a distorted life view. This ill-perceived view will then laden us with heavy energy consuming emotions. These emotions then will pull from us the energy to make changes.
This is where we are led to the quote by Albert Einstein. We simply cannot solve problems with the same way of thinking that essentially created the problem in the first place. If we come to an experience that we have never had before, we need to enter into it with an open heart and mind so that we can be receptive to the possibilities of learning.  This may mean that we are available to learning something about someone else or ourselves. If we encounter an illness that we never expected, it is an opportunity learn the art of resilience. Also, we may discover our own character and to value the people that we have in our lives. If we encounter a loss of a relationship, we learn the art of reconciliation and forgiveness; both to them and for ourselves. If we have a financial set back, we learn the art of simplicity and many times gratitude for the smallest of things.
We have this amazing spirit with us.  We have the spirit to create as well as destroy. We have the ability to overcome as well as be overwhelmed. We, also have the creativity to see things as possibilities instead of impediments. It is a matter of choice.
Breaking script…Namaste

Monday, January 27, 2014

streams of thought...january 27th, 2014

“Frustration is the first step towards improvement. I have no incentive to improve if I’m content with what I can do and if I’m completely satisfied with my pace, distance and form as a runner. It’s only when I face frustration and use it to fuel my dedication that I feel myself moving forwards.” – John Bingham
In Denver, a person will see a plethora of stickers on the back of vehicles that show “26.2″, “13.1″, and “70.3″. All are proud badges of honor of accomplishments that have been done. Like many that I know, when I start off on a run the very first steps seem to be the most difficult. Our bodies are still tight, even though we have done the proper amount of stretching. We begin to feel our lungs getting used to the expansion that is going to be required as we get further into the run. Some of us have our ear buds in the auditory canal… either there are musical notes beginning the beat that many times matches our will and our footsteps… or there is a subtle soothing voice that says “You are now beginning your run.”  All the while, we know the path and how far we want to go.
Often, we start our run and we come across something that causes us to detour our path or possibly we have a canter that doesn’t feel quite right. For those that have a goal in mind, we mentally fight to make adjustments.  For those of us that don’t have a goal in mind, we simply turn around to go back home.  All along the way we get frustrated and inwardly say how stupid it was to even attempt this exercise. We think about all the other things we could do to get “exercise” or how nice it would be in our warm homes on such a cold day.  Then we do the ultimate act of violence against ourselves… we think “I can’t do this, anyways.”  We declare ourselves to be less than we really are meant to be.
It wasn't just for external reasons that we initially thought of changing our life course. No, we saw a need and we wanted to change.  We wanted to “break script” from a life that was not going in the direction that we wanted to go in. We got tired of being out of breath when we walked up a flight of stairs… or we couldn’t move from an “up dog” position to a “chaturanga” in a fluid jumping motion… or we simply wanted to be healthier.  We wanted something back that we felt like we had lost. We wanted our youth back. We got so tired of being tired. We saw the vitality of the young and wanted it. We saw a life that we might have had and simply misplaced. We allowed the rhythm of an external life to carry us away to a place of mindless movement.  We may have rebelled at first and fought against it.  We promised that we would do extra workout outs after we binged on an extra-large, extra meat pizza. But those promises gave way to other things… and then eventually we just adopted a lifestyle that did not fit.
Now, we find a longing deeper within to get back what we had given away. Now, we want to live a lifestyle that is more representative of what we value. We get the inner motivation to become more active.
This inner motivation is what fuels our drive to the gym, the recreation center, the nearest Cross Fit location, the athletic store, the dance class… or whatever we want to do that will “make” us what we now want to be. We pay for the classes, the memberships, and the gear. Then we go to the local health food store to get the latest in whatever it is that we are looking to accomplish.
Then it happens.  We start to “run”. We are feeling sore from the previous workout and can barely move… we look in the mirror the next day and we wonder why we don’t see the changes that we are working towards wanting.  Or we get detoured in life due to a major illness… or life got derailed by a death or a loss of a significant other… or we get our inner value diminished by the loss of a job.
We sit back in our life chair and wonder “What is the next thing to happen?”  The quick burn of motivation is extinguished. We want to simply quit. We retreat inside and depression fills the void left by motivation. We find ways to escape the depression through activities such as games, television, or more life threatening lifestyle choices.
Life’s cadence is altered many times. It falls out of rhythm. It can be very frustrating.  John Bingham used the word “dedication” in the quote mentioned above. We misplace the idea of motivation when we are really looking for inspiration. Inspiration is the deeper sense of embracing an idea… an idea that leads to an act that is clothed in dedication.  When we are inspired, we move with a greater sense of dedication.  We give space to the fluidity of emotions that we will have as we “run our life race”.  Instead of seeing the emotions as being anchors and weights, we will find them as a wind that leads us to a greater understanding of we are and what struggles we have in discovering our true self. Allow the emotions that we encounter the freedom to move through not reside in our lives.
breaking script…Namaste

Saturday, January 25, 2014

streams of thought...january 25th, 2014

"It is not because things are difficult that we dare not venture. It is because we dare not venture that they are difficult" - Seneca (1st Century)

I think that we need a break. A moment of time where we allow time to move while we pause. Perhaps we need to walk into a field or to find a chair in our home and close our outward vision of all that is going on around us. This world of ours is a lot to take in don't you think?


We need to open our eyes and hearts to the possibilities.

Someone asked me recently about this new mantra of mine. Just in case someone has missed it or perhaps we have just started to walk this journey together; I made this year my year of "Breaking Script".  It is actually a title of a talk that Rabbi Sharon Brous gave this past September.  My ears are open to all truths and she is one of my favorite people to hear truth from.

"Breaking Script" simply means that the role that I had been playing is no longer the role I accept or want to continue have a part in.

When we stop to think about the role we play, let’s ask some questions. 

How many relationships are we in that are unhealthy and undermined our own sense of value?  It doesn't matter what kind of relationship it is; because anytime we interact with another person or group it is relationship. Sadly, we might even be doing this to ourselves.

How many of us are in dream state where we wish we could fully utilize our skills but we seem invisible at the place where we work?

How many are in family relationships that have placed us in the role of being a rescuer...a victim...a locus of enabler?

How many classes have we sat in where we are nothing more than a student id number?

How many of us have walked into a gym where we simply feel uncomfortable?

How many of us have sat in our homes wishing that we had a sense of connection with others so we become addicted to social media?

Relationships are delicate balances. So is life. They can bring us utter and unimaginable joy... a sense of acceptance that is not just physical but goes much deeper than that. They can, also, bring us pain... a state of being where you just can't move. I think we all have experienced both joy and pain to this degree.

We look back at not just what was but we think about what we truly hoped that it would have been. We have a struggle that leads us to wanting more but we stopped to think about what we have to do to make it different?  

We have to risk living a life that is not filled with "what if's" and "should I's".  Let’s find out what inspires us to have a role that gives us a sense of value and space.  If we are really wanting to live a life that allows us to breathe deeply, we will realize that it is not perfection that what we should strive for but it is a sense of inner strength of moving in life knowing that you are being present and authentic. This effort to discover who we are is the place to begin and from this beginning place we should not settle for the lesser of who we are but to chase... to grab on to... and to embrace the greater part of who we are meant to be. We need to stop being the lesser of who we are because how we present ourselves is how others will accept us.

In my effort of breaking script from my previous illness, the other day I was running and I was thinking about a lot of different things, as I always seem to do. I thought about those that are still suffering from illnesses that have turned their lives upside down. I thought about a friend who recently lost a deeply loved one. I thought about what I can do to make my project to Nicaragua the best it can be... I thought of the people that are suffering from abuse, disease, and mental disorders.

An idea came to mind...

For us to be a light we need to go into the darkness. For us to share love we have to confront hatred. For us to give hope we have to be willing to pick up those who are empty of all hope.

In other words, breaking script for me means that I have to risk. I have to step outside the normal course of life and to risk being authentic. I know the script that I have been playing for too long and that is a role that I am no longer willing to be a part of. What does "taking a risk" mean for you? I have no idea; however, you do.

We need to be bold in our lives. We need to live with a lion's heart.

We always be pushed into roles that emphasize a lesser filled life, it is simply a struggle that we will always encounter. We need to remember… we deserve to live a life that displays our greater and true self.  

breaking script....Namaste

Friday, January 24, 2014

streams of thought...january 24th, 2014

“Life is not merely being alive, but being well.” – Martial (Latin poet in the 1st Century)
I think I know why I like coffee shops so well. For me they are places that soothe my soul. They are my church.  I have a few here in Denver that I like to go to from time to time. Stella’s. Pajama Baking Company. St. Mark’s. Pablo’s. Each have a sense of being. The people who walk in come here for as many reasons are there individuals. For myself, I come to a place like Stella’s in search of inspiration. It is near a major university and so there are all types that come in. Some are students’. Some are professors. There are a few business people that come in because you can tell that they like the relaxed environment that is filled with an energy of thought.
As I think more about the quote that Martial gave to us over two thousand years ago, I begin to think deeper into what he was saying. “Being alive” is not just a physical aspect but a spiritual and mental one as well. We strive for the physical part so much that we forget to take time to make sure that we are healthy in a moral and a mental sense.
We remember all of the postings and announcements responding to a simple internal question, “What do I want to accomplish this year?”
We have friends who have stacks of books that they will read this year. We also have friends that want to lose weight… or get physically fit… or to run in their first or many marathons this year.  We may have friends that have wanted to go back to college or to graduate school. We encourage them for a while… then as we and they start to get back into the normal everyday routine those goals tend to get dismissed. Not forgotten just merely excused.
So, we are almost at the end of the first month of the new year. How are we doing? Are we alive? Are we keeping on track with our expectations of what we wanted to accomplish just a few weeks ago?
Take a moment.  Just a moment of sitting in our thoughts and emotions. How do we feel?  Are we back to being anxious? When we think about the plans that seemed so doable at the beginning of the year, do our “shoulders drop”? When we think about where we are heading in our lives are we still wishing that we were on another path?
Take a moment. Breathe in deep. So deep that we allow the emotions to stay but to float in the air that we have just taken in. It is going to be ok. No past event can truly stop our future. It may bring us detours and those detours should lead to a creative state of how to make our dreams become a possibility… our possibility become an action… and action hopefully becomes passion.
Take a moment. We all have a pulse. The beating of a heart that says that we are alive. The pulse of the mind are ideas that are only held back by an emotion. We have a spirit within us that is alive… it may be hurting at times due to the events in our life but the ability to either be hurting or in joy means that our spirit is alive within us.
What does it mean for us to be “well”?  I am not sure.  That is a definition held by each of us.
I know what it means to be “well” with myself. I am physically alive after fighting against a major illness and its complications. However, I am not just content with being alive physically.  I want to go into the balance of my life being in a place that I strive for activity. To be physically “well” for me is to do more half marathons… hike a mountain peak that is above thirteen thousand feet… to be functionally fit…to actively create a joint venture helping others.
I am spiritually alive. However, I want to be spiritually well. I will be honest in that I think that this is one of my greatest struggles as I grow into my own faith system that brings me into reality with God, the One that many might call the Divine… and a part of this struggle is in discovery not just how to live in it but to breath in it. I will not deny my Christian faith but I am also not going to deny my acceptance and adherence to a Buddhist philosophy. For me one makes me who I am and the other helps me in being that person. I adhere to a faith not a following.
I am mentally alive. It seems that the more I study the more active my mind and spirit becomes. In my experience, my mind and my spirit are very connected.  I am not sure where some of my dreams come from so I just accept that is a result of the conversation between mind and spirit. I think that being alive mentally is another extension to the principle of inspiration not motivation. I want my mental exploration to lead me into a life that is inspired deeply not a life of superficial motivation.
We need to be present in our own lives… be alive AND well. We shouldn’t allow self-judgment to deny us the possibility of breaking script from our past.
Take a moment.  Be alive in this moment that we have and live it with a full heart of energy of acceptance not rejection.
breaking script…..Namaste

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

streams of thought...january 22nd, 2014

“Before anything ever was, it had to be dreamed. Everything had its beginning in possibility.”  -  John O’Donohue (Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong)
I believe that there is a place in life for the mystical playground.  A place where we can go to with the hopes and dreams of a young child. Where is that in you?  Can you close your eyes and see it?  Can your spirit feel it? Can your mind go to it?
I remember when I just a little lad, I would swing high on the swings all the while afraid that I would fall backwards and out of the seat… yet for some reason I had no problem launching myself from the front of it. Also, in our school yard, we had this big tree, I have no idea what kind of tree it was but as a child in second grade it was humongous.  A person could sit at the base of it with another friend and have no idea that there was another person on the other side…. if they kept quiet.  We found out who wanted to be “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” that way. It was also a good place to hide, too.
As a child, we had the freedom to believe in anything we wanted to believe in.  To us there was an amazing amount of possibilities. We could dream of being doctors… baseball players… anything was possible.
I had a cousin, Brent, who wanted to be a baseball announcer.  We had these plastic lockers that we would put our baseball cards in and would play with them like they were meant to be played with.  I remember going over to his house to see if he got a new card that I was willing to trade some of my cards for… we were the ”general managers” of our cards.  Brent had this fascinating ability.  He could remember the statistics of every player that he had in his set of cards.  I could barely remember the cards that I had let alone their statistics.
A child has a fascinating ability… one that as adults we sometimes miss the opportunity to use.  A child will unflinchingly dream of who they want to be… what they want to become.  A fireman… a policeman… a sports figure… a doctor… a teacher. They dream of becoming these people because they inwardly see value in becoming them.  If we were to ask a young child if they wanted something that was contrary to what they valued, they would look at us and respond back saying, ”Why would I want to do that?”
So, when was the last time we believed in possibilities? We have within us a gift.  A gift to dream.  A gift to make possible the impossible. We wake up every day with the freedom to say that we want better.  How many times have we wanted to know and to be who we are meant to be? Yet, we dismiss that thought as being ridiculous.
We all have the cellular capacity to act upon what we see as being valuable. Sadly if we haven’t responded to that calling within to become, we are not just losing an opportunity but we are losing ourselves.
“Before anything ever was, it had to be dreamed.” 
What do we dream?  I think that we dream too little but we want to accomplish much.  I smile at this concept because it is the same thing as saying I don’t know where I am going; so, I will just walk around in a circle because at the end of the day I can say I did something.
What is the purpose of living without dreaming?
What is the purpose of painting without having a vision within our spirit to guide us in at least starting?
To act upon a dream does not mean that the dream is going to be completed as it started out but it is more akin to the beginning stroke of an artist with an open heart to whatever the artistic piece will eventually look like. To give ourselves to a destiny, we need to dream of what that destiny will look like and let it unfold every day.
I say “Dream! Dream with all that you have within you!” Go find the child within that wants to explore and play in the playground of your spirit and while that child plays they will tell stories to your mind of magical things. Magical because that is the only way that as an adult we could ever imagine these dreams to coming true.  Dare your child to risk… risk peddling hard and fast so it stays up their bike Give the child within you to freedom to laugh… to see the joy of life once again.
We all know what that child looks like.  Mine? He is a round belly, curly headed, big brown eyed little boy. His eyes sparkles when he knows that I am aware of him… and when I am not he just plays all alone.
We all want to do something… so dream of it being bigger than we could ever imagine. Let’s allow our imagination the possibility of finding colors and paths that have been hidden away. Don’t worry about what others will think; let them find their own inner child.
And by the way… when you find that inner child… give them a hug… they have missed you.
See you on the playground…  breaking script… Namaste

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

streams of thought...january 21st, 2014

Into the wind he leans. Feeling the imperceptible, he is held in its arms… this magic of nature cradling his body to avoid his fate of nature… for without the wind he would surely fall.
I remember the first time I saw the Grand Canyon. Its sheer beauty was mystifying. Honestly, it looked like a painting.  Something that we should be able to reach our hand out to… and touch it.  To feel its texture and to curve our fingertips around the three dimensional curves and crevices. The mixture or softness and yet knowing it is stone. The vast array of colors… purples, reds, greens, beiges… But it isn’t a painting done by man…it is a real place that entices a person.  It entices us to explore. It bids us to walk into its depth but we can tell it is a long trek… and there are a few that do. The sheer beauty of its mystery calls us to explore it in our minds. We begin to wonder about its development.  How did such creative beauty take place? Some of us are content with just playing at the top of the rims. Some of us plan out camping trips…or riding down the river deep below us… some run the trail rim to rim to rim. It is a place that captures us and like the temptress that it is bids us back to enjoy its beauty.
I also remember the first time I drove to the Grand Canyon. I was driving outside from Flagstaff, Az.  I was enjoying the scenery… this was long before the distractions of cell phones, tablets, and XM-radio. The distant mountain peaks were amazing… I love the scenery of that area… I could have stayed for days just mentally and physically soaking in the beauty of this place.  However, my destination was a place called the Grand Canyon. I wondered when I would get there.  It seemed out of place in my mind at the time. I thought surely I must have been traveling in the wrong direction until…. I saw a line of cars. I smile in my heart as I remember thinking to myself… “really?  this is it?”  The big archway made of timber silently in bold letters welcomed us to the place that holds mystery. The anticipation was palpable. I almost turned into the first parking area that I saw but thankfully I waited.  I was able to rest my car near the main lodge. I remember the big common area as I walked in…so majestic… I thought to myself if the walls could talk they would grow old just from the length of all its own stories.
Then I walked outside to the rim…
It is amazing how we look into our own life. We see the present but yet don’t really live in it.  We see the future for what we want it to be yet we miss the beauty of what it could be. There are stories in the present that we are not attuned to hearing. We miss the sounds of a person’s heartbeat because we are so enamored with the shallowness of the trinket.  Have you been in a room that holds the trinkets from a carnival or a bowling alley toy machine… Yes, they hold memories of times past but it just seems cheap. Yes, we need shallow moments to rest from the deep but to stay in the shallow end never strengthens us. We spiritually, physically and mentally need both, the shallow and the deep.
So, we walk to the edge of the “rim” and instead of looking into the beauty of what life can be… and is meant to be… we focus at the ”currant bush” that we find along the path.
What if we merely glanced at the canyon and said “wow that is beautiful” then just walked away. What if we heard of friend that drove to the Grand Canyon and they never really saw it, we would wonder what they were thinking.
We live in a distracted world. We are a distracted people. We wander around the “high desert plains” and miss the beauty of a life that is just right next to us. Oh, there is a beauty of the “high desert plains”… please don’t think that I am saying there isn’t. It is just that we miss the beauty of another part of who are or at least are meant to be.
So, dream as big your heart can hold but remember that our hearts has depth that we cannot even imagine. Move in this present moment willing to accept the different emotions that are brought into our lives through all sorts of experiences. We will find inner depth and beauty while on our mats in a yoga class… and we can also find it in our cars parked out in a traffic jam on the interstate… it is a matter of where we take ourselves in this journey called life. Allow the emotions to become a fluid teacher; they are never meant to be held but only to be touched.
It is now just past sunrise… let the light of this day bring to us a sense of awareness. Lean into the moment and let the Mystery of it all hold us up in their invisible arms.
Breaking script…Namaste

Friday, January 17, 2014

streams of thought...january 17th, 2014

It is a truly an amazing thing… here I am sitting in my home… Tigre curled up in a ball next to my desk… having my morning coffee and what do I hear?  A train.
Now, I live in the beautiful Washington Park area, which is a nice quiet kind of neighborhood.  We have more joggers and dog walkers than we do cars… ok maybe I exaggerate just a little but seriously our little neighborhood is nicely tucked away in Denver. So, I smile when I hear that sound moving into my home… into my room… into my previously and soon to be once again a quiet place.
I smile not just because it is so quiet that I can hear the distant moan of a train’s horn but I smile because I simply enjoy trains. A tad old fashioned, I know. It is actually quite…dare I say romantic?
Another thought that comes to mind, when I think of trains, is the idea of transition. After all, one of the greatest unification tools used to bring this amazing country into being was the advent of the coast to coast rail system.  I know that currently we see trains with a mixed sense of emotions. Some would say that they are too slow. Some would say that they do not serve our population very well.
Others might point to the fact that they are truly an escape mechanism… and in that regards they will cause us to slow down.
For me to travel to my other favorite city of Seattle, it would take me two days on a train; while, if I traveled by plane I could arrive there in a matter of hours. Here is the difference…I would miss the most beautiful part of getting there.  I would miss the transition of coming from the arid eastern slope of Colorado, a mixture of plains and mountains, to the more lush green scenery of the beautiful Northwest.
Transitions. An interesting word because to me it is a mixture of two words… transfer + positions. We simply are moving from one place to another. Some desire and dare I even say yearn for transitions to take place.
Politically, many individuals want it all the time.
Emotionally, it does happens to us all the time. We can be euphoric over a relationship, career, house, possessions, and many other aspects.  However, in a moment’s time we can feel a sense of disappointment that a relationship was not what we thought… a career ended up being a dead end…possessions become used and antiquated.
Physically, we will typically look for it at least twice a year. At the beginning of the year and when it is time to get out the bathing suits.
Spiritually, we want it or experience it when something deeply impactful happens. An illness. A life threatening event. A journey on to our “mat”. A natural disaster. A major national event that moves us so deeply that we act to show concern. The birth of a child.
We all live in and want transition until…it requires a deeper movement. We lose a job and the only one that seems to be available is hundreds or thousands of miles away. We lived a life that was not truly authentic with who we are and then we are met with the stark reality that we need to make a change before we have lived a life that was not only dishonest but one that robbed us of our true self.
We look at transition as some mysterious act of life when in reality we do it all the time. Fluidly, we move through the day making adjustments to our schedules and to our day without hardly a second thought. Those are the simple transitions that we see at that moment as being necessary. Yet, we are reluctant to make the bigger transitions.  Some of us have worked almost all our lives at jobs that were not careers. We have chased job after job, all in search of a better one, when all it really came down to is that really we were searching for ourselves. We have looked for companionship and instead of waiting we launch into relationships after relationships…then it happens…we realize that the companionship that we needed first was actually within ourselves.
Trains and transitions. They both take time. The life of expediency many times is unsatisfying. Once something happens quickly, we start looking for something else to happen. We get uncomfortable with moments of development.
I remember the day that I was told by my doctors that I was healthy… a time period that saw five surgical procedures performed…and I remember sitting in my car by Cheesman Park…it came like a whisper…I am going to be ok.  There have been other struggles since then but to inwardly accept the transition that was confirmed by the doctors took time.
No longer do I hear the train. It is probably down the tracks a few miles by now. My coffee cup is now empty and “T” has moved to another location in the room.
We have no way of knowing what is on the other side of the “mountain crest” that we are travelling; however, to stop now means that we will never know.
I want so much to say something that will not just motivate you but will inspire you to simply take one step… that is what transition is…taking one step at a time. However, many times transitions unlike the train moves in silence.
Breaking script…Namaste

Thursday, January 16, 2014

streams of thought...january 16th, 2014

There are times that I am not sure where to begin.
I remember this time as a teenager when I was leading a group of other teenagers through the woods near the farmhouse that I grew up in. There is no other way of saying this other than this… we were lost. I was too ashamed to admit it at the time but I had no clue as to where we were or the direction we were going.  You see, I had played in these woods so many times but at night it looked so different. The creek beds were going in directions that I did not recognize. It was so cold and pitch black. The group of laughing teenagers grew into a worried confused group of wandering kids.
As I think about it, rarely do I ever get lost in the daytime. There is something about the daytime that allows us to get our internal compass straight.
This is not easy to say but there are times that inwardly the light gets dim and darkens.  It is like the dusk of emotions settles into the moonless night of darkness. The shadow of the day lengthens until the shadow is all that there seems to be. It takes a moment to adjust our vision as we walk into each room of thoughts. Sometimes the first inclination is to find a light switch… and like a stumbling person in the middle of the night we grasp and grope along the wall to find it. But as we do we realize that our eyes are getting more accustomed to the new darkness. For myself, there are other times when I just sit in the darkness… in my chair… listening to the music that I always have on at a low volume… always and everyday… the music is playing. I will sit in my chair as I settle into this moment of darkness. As I do, I allow my mind to escape the need for its frantic pace that it moves at as I move throughout the day.
We avoid the darkness many times.  Instead of allowing this to be a moment that our inner self gets to rest and slow down, we want something to preoccupy the space. We turn on the TV… we turn on all the lights that we have in every room… we get dressed and go out to have fun and celebration with our friends… we want to do anything we can to avoid the darkness of night.
A seed is planted in the depth and darkness of the soil. It will not feel the warmth and nurturing light of the sun until it grows from the darkness of its bed. A seed of who we are in planted in the depth and darkness of our soul. It is in the hidden places that we find a part of who we are… and who we will become. Maybe that is why we avoid the darkness because we are reluctant to get our inner vision adjusted to see a part of who we are. We are afraid that it will expose the lesser part. Yet, this lesser part is nonetheless a part of who we are.
Why is it that we struggle to only reveal the greater part when all the long to be truly authentic we need to reveal all of who we are… what is there to be afraid of?  Is it a fear of rejection? Is it pride? Is it because it is not a good “marketing” ploy? Are we afraid that the person of our affection or possibly a friend will not accept the lesser along with the greater? So, we have to ask ourselves this one question.
Am I willing to embrace in a healthy way all that I am? Am I so afraid of the thoughts of others that I will embrace their relationship instead of embracing my true self?
Am I willing to understand the lesser so that it can grow as an accent to the greater? Keeping in mind that a bouquet of flowers is made even more beautiful with the lesser garnishment… so it is with the beauty of who we are. It is not the best of us that makes us who we are; it is the authentic unification of the lesser along with the greater that gives us depth and true completion.
This path of ours is many times lonely… dark… cold… and confusing. Move into it with the open willingness to discover the purpose for our struggles. I know that this is not the easiest message to read and it is not the easiest one to write. I need to remind myself that it is in the darkness of the dirt that some of the most beautiful flowers grow out from.
breaking script…. Namaste

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

streams of thought...january 15th, 2014

What is one of your most favorite quotes?  I smile every time I read or hear one of Yogi Berra’s infamous lines.
Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical.”
Little League baseball is a very good thing because it keeps parents off the streets.”
Then there are the thought provoking ones like from Lao Tzu, “From caring comes courage.”  Or from Martin Luther King Jr., “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by bad people but the silence over that by good people.”
I am sure that with the beginning of the New Year we have all made personal promises to ourselves.  We may have even claimed a quote or set of quotes that we want to set before ourselves as self-motivating speeches. Words that have been put together by a single individual who has insight into the needs of a needy person. As soon as we claim a statement as our motivation, we declare our “need”.  A “need” that says I have an inner desire that requires an external stimulus.  I don’t think that there is anything wrong with having motivational quotes around your home or in your presence. In fact, I strongly suggest finding really great ones… great in the sense that they not only pacify but they push you past a point of discomfort and into awareness.
Sometimes we need to have an external voice that comes along with our inner voice and tells us that we can be more than we even dare to dream to be… now notice that I said “be” not “do”.
“Doing” is an action that is typically short lived while “being” is something that is reflected in how we interact with others.
The act of “doing” can often times be a pacifier. Often times we do things because we have this perception that we need validation.  Sometimes, we act out of a need to fill a void deep within ourselves. We may have never been given the gift of knowing how valuable we are; so we act in response to showing that we are worthy of being present. We accomplish many things in essence to make up for what we fundamentally needed… a deep sense of self validation. The problem with that is that when self-validation is satiated by doing something, we will constantly always have to do be doing something; when in reality we need to validate who we are by embracing our own intrinsic value.
Many times the act of being present is not by being seen but by being felt.  We are so deeply connected with the beauty and value of who we are that we have the space and energy to offer the same gift to another person.
The act of “doing” is often times seen as a necessary process of gaining something… a reward… a possession… a better “position” in life. If our purpose of acting is only to gain something then I am afraid that we have missed our greater gift.
Our greatest gift is our presence.
Thich Nhat Hahn once said, “The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”
What is one of your favorite quotes? Mine is something that I heard a long time ago but it now has a new meaning for me.
“And the Word became Flesh…” - John 1.14
I understand the context that it was written but I think that we are missing a greater picture.
Here is what I see when I read that quote. Make your words an action. Live out what you believe in. If I want to be known for what I believe in then I need to reflect it by my own presence because it continues on by saying “and lived among us.”
I am very much a believer in acting not with judgment but with compassion.  I have a tendency to lose sight of that. It happens when I allow stress, anger, insecurities, and fear to sprout from the soil of my being.  The one thing that I am learning is that these emotions or thoughts that I consider as being negative and fight against are actually stern teachers that give me insight into who I am. It is not the presence of those emotions that I need to be aware of but I need to be aware of the reason that they are there.
Why am I stressed? Why am I angry? What am I insecure about? What am I afraid of?
These emotions are not meant to be weights that drown me into despair but are weights that I need to use as an exercise in becoming stronger.
Inwardly, I bow into the thought of allowing my words and thoughts becoming flesh.  Allow the One that came in the act of love and forgiveness be the Model for how I live out the rest of my life.
breaking script…..Namaste

Thursday, January 9, 2014

streams of thought...january 9th, 2014

Have you ever sat in a chair and all of the sudden you feel like someone just turned on the wave pool at the waterpark?
I remember, as a father, taking my daughters to the waterpark until it was requested that they get dropped off at the entrance. In regards to being out in public, I determined a few years back that there were certain stages that many parents go through when it comes to them and their children.
The first stage is that when they are young it’s ok and necessary to just be with them. (I can’t emphasize the word “necessary” enough.)
The second stage is that they want their space… it can vacillate from being in the same store, but not the same department, to just being in the same mall building. It’s a yoyo experience.
The third stage is “hey, can you drop us off at the door.”  It is at this stage that the art of negotiation begins because somewhere along the way someone didn’t mention that time apart is expected. So, there is the negotiation of “check-in” times.
The next stage, and I am still under the impression that this is the last stage, is when you hear in the distant part of the house that usually originates from the front door area an announcement. It is the announcement that “someone” is going out with their friends to go shopping. Now we all know that “shopping” is code for “I am going out”; however, no parent wants to hear that phrase nor does a teenager usually utter those words. The reason no one says ”I am going out”?  It is because they know those words unleashes a barrage of questions from any parental unit. For a teenager to make the mistake of saying that “I am going out” means there will be an immediate appearance of mom or dad asking questions like “what are you going to be doing?”, “what time will you be home?”, and the one that opens another level of interrogation…”who are you going with?”
Settling into my chair this morning, I realize not only will I not have those dialogues with my daughters again but I also won’t have January 1st through the 8th of 2014 either. Before I sat down, I whimsically thought to myself… hey fifty more weeks before Christmas. I agree that it is way too early to be thinking about something that we just celebrated but in many ways isn’t that how we think?
Life has a way of being dissolved into benchmarks of time called “occasions”.  Let’s be honest with ourselves.
As a student, I have already had a discussion in one of my classes about spring break. Also, I have become more accustomed to looking at my class schedule and measuring out how much time I have before my first paper is due. I will even admit to looking at the summer schedule of classes when I have just barely started a new semester.
As families, you might already be planning a family vacation this year. Or you have talked about the children’s sports season coming to a close and when is the next one beginning? We seem to be always wanting to engaged with the next step; while we are still in mid stride with the present.
Turn on the wave pool… I sat in my chair this morning and I almost immediately felt overwhelmed. I wasn’t overwhelmed with the present.  No, it just seems that the whispers of the past and the taunting of the future seem to be joining in a chorus of some song of dissonance. It almost sounds like an orchestra that is going through their warming up session prior to the first movement.
As I sit here in my chair writing and imagining all that is going on, I begin to smile. I smile because right after the musical warm up there is something amazing that happens… silence. Then a tapping of the baton… and then it begins.
We all have these moments. We hear the past… the questions… the discovered answers… the judgment… the validation… the failures… the successes.  We look at the future and wonder what it is really going to look like.  We wonder what surprises await us.  For some of us, it is a new life with a career that we are passionate about.  For others, we wonder if we will find love.  For others, we wonder if an illness will return. All of these past and future ponderings are just warming up sessions. The past is exactly that… the past. We left its presence and it is a heavy “reference book of life” that is not supposed to be taken home. The future? It is a song that is yet to be written. The crescendos cannot be played until the tempo has been discovered.
Let this morning be a moment of time when the music of the present is being heard.  We need that moment of silence… a period of time that we hear the beating of our own heart… for our heart is the baton that leads our own rhythm.
Be still… let the sound of your heartbeat lead you on your path… breaking script… Namaste

Monday, January 6, 2014

streams of thought...january 6th, 2014

Welcome back…
You know the one thing about having a holiday in the middle of the week is that no one really wants to accomplish much in the few days before or even afterwards.  We seem to be ok with just maintaining. We want to just keep things floating along; so that when the new week begins, we can then start to move forward. Hopefully, we gave ourselves permission to have a moment of relaxation and renewal during the past two weeks. I know that it can be difficult to rest.
I love introspection time and that might be why I enjoy the winter time so much. The fact that I enjoy it too much might explain my being single, too. However, I think sometimes that periods of solitude can be so long that we lose track of time and its purpose. We can lose our concentration of what we needed to do and the time frame within we have to do it in. Solitude and introspection are like a lot of other things. They need to be time of fluidity.  A time of immersion that teaches us how to move in a new way.
I am asking myself this morning… with my warm cup of coffee nearby me… “T” all curled up asleep on her mat… what is motivating me?
If my motivation is fear, then I will run out of energy before too long.  I am afraid that time is too short. In fear, we will either fight or run as hard as we can but our adrenaline will only carry us so far.  Our body will reregulate itself and it will search for equilibrium.
If it is a dream, then I will need to act upon it before it becomes a fantasy.  It will just be a vision of what could be but it never becomes tangible. It will only be words spoken or thoughts of what might have been but it never becomes anything more than just an idea. 
What motivates us?  It is a good question because right now a lot of us are looking for something to motivate us to keep the resolutions that we made just last week. We are beginning to question what prompted us to set the goals that we did only a few days ago. Oh, we can point to the clothes that we wanted to but are not able to fit into.  We can look at our kids then say that we need more energy and stamina to keep up with them; so we need to get healthier. Or we can evaluate our current employment situation and determine that we need that next level of certification or degree.
What inspires us? It may be a very fine line between motivate and inspire. But when I think of something that inspires me I begin to feel it more in my “heart”… a place that is deeper within me then when I am motivated.  When I am motivated it become more of a logical process. When I think of being motivated I think of something that externally is moving me to do something. For example, I know that I have bills to pay; so I am motivated to find work that pays me enough to meet my obligations. When I see something that ignites a sense of creativity, I am then inspired.  I want to act on that stimulus in a way that resonates with my core values and reflects a part of who I am.
Instead of only thinking about what is going to motivate you, think about what is going to inspire you.  What is going to touch your emotional and rational attributes? We might be best challenged to try to discover how we will best achieve equilibrium; because without it none of this will be sustainable for the long term.
Let’s look at our calendars and break script…. see you on the trails…. Namaste

Sunday, January 5, 2014

streams of thought...january 5th, 2014

Ah, the first Sunday of this New Year.
I woke up this morning with the gentle sounds of Tigre, the family cat.  I call her the family cat because she was initially given to Summer, my youngest daughter, as a gift while she was in high school. Well, time passed by and Tigre, or as I call her affectionately "T", has become my cat companion.  She is a beautiful marble mess of colors and although getting quite advanced in age amazingly agile. She is many times my alarm clock because every morning she does the same routine. Around 5 a.m., she crawls up in the bed and meows right next to my head. If the sounds aren't enough to wake me up, she uses her paw gently pushing against my face. (When she first came into our home, she wasn't so gentle.)
Morning times are some of my most favorite times of the day.  It is typically quieter. The sun peeks it regal head over the horizon. The nocturnal beings are moving into their safe places while the day time begins to play with the orchestra of birds, squirrels and rabbits. I have had my moment of spiritual celebration through my meditation.  My physical body has been nourished with food; while my mind has been given some nourishment through my readings.
Either through design or desire, my path has moved into a realm of giving space.  Space to breathe.  Space to encounter. Space to grow. Space is not easy because it means a lot of letting go and struggling.  Letting go of the regrets and pain from the past that we have carried into the present. Letting go of the roles in life that have served no purpose other than to minimize our own value while possibly being responsible for the exaltation of another. Letting go of being the victim or at the very least being the person that others use as an object of blame. Letting go of an illness that in some mysterious way now has become our identity. Our emotional fingers are locked into the fabric of failures of the past while we search for hope. We struggle with wanting to be more than what we may have become. We struggle against the identity that was falsely built in weakness of our past insecurities. We struggle like a new birthed foal trying to use our newly created legs. We wobble and fear that we will fall back into the interaction of a world filled with self-blame and ridicule. But as we learn to take new steps... we will learn to move with fluidity of faith. A faith in who we truly are designed to be. A faith that is fed by a daily interaction with the Divine. A faith in that we are growing into a person that reflects our greater self. A faith that does not give space for self-judgment but allows for self-assessment.
As I begin this annual journey, I am keenly aware of a message that is being "spoken" around me. A message that says that I need to challenge myself because growth is created in the efforts. It tells me that with each movement there is a valuable lesson that is being taught.
Self-criticism comes from not being able to leap over a "canyon of expectations"; while in reality all we really needed to do today is to search for the better path to walk into the "canyon".
This past May, Summer and I had walked in the Bolder Boulder 10k. That was a great event to do with her. The event was a great way restart my physical activities and it became my first step returning to running events.  This past Tuesday night I participated, along with hundreds of other runners/walkers, in the Resolution 5k at Wash Park here in Denver. Since I was encouraged by my daughter to walk my first event, she is much wiser than I was at her age, this was my first running event since I had my cancer surgery in 2012.  I knew that I had previously ran in a number of other events that ranged from 5 k's to half-marathons and I had some expectations.  However, I mostly had reasonable desires.  I desired to run this 5k not worried about what my time was going to be but just run it. I had some disappointments in this short run but more importantly I gave myself space. I allowed the disappointment to flow in and flow out. I smiled at the accomplishment of not just doing well but in that I just did it.
Where does this path lead? I have no idea. It is a path of being mindful in that I know where I have come from, where I am at in the present, and wherever I am going that is where you will find me.
Give yourself space to break script... see you on the trails... Namaste.