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The Diamond

18 Dec

I want to share with you an Indian parable:   A long time ago, a sannyasi (wise man) reached the outskirts of the village and settled down to sleep for the night under a comfortable tree.

A man approached him said “The stone!  You must be the one with the stone! Please give me the precious stone!”

“What stone?” replied the sannyasi. 

The man said, “Last night the Lord appeared to me in a dream and told me that if I went to the outskirts of the village at dusk I would find a man under a tree who would give me a precious stone that would make me rich for the rest of my life”.

The sannyasi rummaged through his bag and pulled out a stone. “Well he probably meant this one that I just found a few days ago” he said, as he handed over a very large diamond to the man. “You can have it”.

The man gazed at the uncut diamond in wonder. It was the biggest diamond he had ever seen and needed two hands just to hold it. He took the diamond under his coat and ran home with it.

All night he tossed around in his bed, unable to sleep.

At the crack of dawn he could not take it any longer, and placed his long coat on to go find the sannyasi again. As he woke up the wise man under the tree he said, “Please share with me the wealth that makes it possible for you to give this diamond away so easily.”

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Vulnerability by Dr. Brene Brown

10 Nov

So this is a TedTv video of am amazing presenter. I am putting it here on my blog rather than just on Facebook as I want to be able to find it again!

I am so impressed with Dr. Brown: her storytelling, her hard research analytical mind, her openess, and even her learned vulnerability. A must see for anyone in research or social work, who wants to be connected, who finds themselves feeling emotions and has ever struggled with them. Here is her 20 minute TED TV video link, well worth it!  If you can’t make the time, scan the snippets below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4Qm9cGRub0&feature=player_embedded#!

“Stories are data with a soul…Lean into the discomfort…connection is why we are here…to allow for connection we have to allow ourselves to be seen (be vulnerable)…people who feel a strong sense of love and belonging simply believe they are worthy of it…they have courage to be imperfect, compassion to be kind to themselves & others, and had connection as a result of authenticity & embraced vulnerability…fear of being worthy of that connection keeps us from it…vulnerability makes us beautiful (not pretty but necessary)…willingness to say I love you first…vulnerability is the birthplace of creativity, love, joy…we learn to numb vulnerability and everything else that makes us uncomfortable…we can’t numb emotions yet we try (I don’t want to deal with this so I am drinking a beer and a banana nut muffin)…we can’t selectively numb hard emotions without numbing all of them…so when we numb vulnerability or fear, we also numb gratitude, joy, happiness…dangerous cycle of numbing good feelings, then feel miserable, look for purpose and meaning, then feel vulnerable and eat or drink to numb more…the more vulnerable we are the more we make everything uncertain to certain (religion, politics)…kids are wired for struggle…we pretend that what we do doesn’t have an effect on people…instead let’s let ourselves been deeply seen with our whole heart when there is no guarantee…to feel vulnerable means you are alive so appreciate that…lastly believe that you are enough because you will stop screaming and start listening. You will be kinder and gentler to yourself and others around you. ”

Her website is here:  http://www.brenebrown.com/welcome

She has a blog you can subscribe to here: http://www.ordinarycourage.com/

Dr. Brene Brown at TEDxHouston 2010

Image by TEDxHouston via Flickr

Dr. Brene Brown at TEDxHouston 2010

Image by TEDxHouston via Flickr

Let Go of Uncertainty!

6 Sep

So I just read a blog and it is so good I want to create a space here on my blog for it so I can share it with you and also find it easily later. Some great lessons for practice.

Great advice in today’s world:

1. Consider the idea of permanent uncertainty.

2. Stop waiting for something external.

3. See the benefits of releasing attachment.

4. Reconnect with the constants in your life.

5. Accept constant imperfection.
Link to the blog article here

“Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.” ~John Allen Paulos

Buddha Daibutsu, Kamakura, Japan. This statue,...

Image via Wikipedia

Still waters

22 Aug

This was a good lesson to read for today.  I somehow  was hit with ripples that were bigger than I expected and momentarily lost sight of the ground.  I am back in the silt now and feeling better.

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The mind is referred to as a pool of water by many. Our thoughts cause ripples across the surface which then obscure our vision of the ground lining the pool of water.  The thoughts change the surface, but not the ground underneath. The ground is always there holding the water.

If we only identify ourselves with the surface, we are at the mercy of the winds and daily drama. No wind means smooth water but at the slight disturbance of the surface then our clarity is compromised.

Try pushing your well-being further from the surface and more towards the ground. It can free you from dependence of things outside of your control.  Mindfulness lets you see the ground past the ripples and allows the silt to settle.  Even the mud is part of the path.

[Story 30 from Wild Chickens & Petty Tyrants by Arnie Kozak]

Soap bubbles or stone? Your choice.

16 Aug

Our mind can trick us into believing that our thoughts are a definitive truth about reality. When we take a close look and really see these “solid” mental objects or blockades, we can see they are not solid at all but actually a bit transparent and flimsy.  The rock can become a soap bubble with a little introspection and awareness.

If you begin to see thinking as a process rather than getting pulled into the story that we all weave in our minds, the thought does not become stone but rather a soap bubble that can easily be popped. Discovering your thoughts can be dispelled like this is empowering. It teaches you to stop listening to the chatter so much and to not rely so much on thinking.  Our thoughts are simply what our mind constructs for us and will be distorted and shaped by our experiences.

As we start to give up some of of our thoughts and ideas, it becomes clear the cost to maintain those ideas. Generally it takes a lot protection, upkeep and feeding.

Stop feeding your thoughts that lead to misery and loss of confidence.

You don’t lose who you are or what you are becoming. You will find that you lose the anxious necessity for things to always go a certain way.  You will find yourself letting go and observing the process rather than going into the story telling spiral. You will become who you actually are rather then your story of who you are.

[Story 24 from Wild Chickens & Petty Tyrants by Arnie Kozak]

Mindfulness and your inbox

23 Mar

We don’t open or read every email in our inbox, nor do most of us scour through our  junk mail with fascination and hope of all that it might offer. You see that it is spam or junk and delete it.  Better yet, you have an email filter that does that for you so you don’t waste any of your time.

Mindfulness to the mind is what spam blocker is to your inbox. When you start to become aware,  you get more familiar with your thoughts and can more easily recognize the junk mail. Minimize the mind clutter!  Do not become engrossed in every thought the mind encounters it wastes your precious time. We can’t get more time in the day  but we can become more efficient. Becoming aware of these thoughts  is the first step. It is time to find  way to “unsubscribe” to those distribution lists your own mind produces!

The storytelling mind

22 Mar

An author, Arnie Kozak, of a book “Wild Chickens and Petty Tyrants” lives in Vermont and he had a story to share about storytelling. Not the kind of story like “Once upon a time…” but rather the stories that play through our mind that erode our self-confidence and distract us from what is actually happening. The conversations in our head that form larger stories and patterns for our behavior.

The author was offering a meditation retreat one weekend. On Saturday he felt there was a lot of resistance to what he had to teach but a few people were starting to open up and understand. Sun morning, he arrives early, does his own meditation and prepares the room for the 8:00 start.  It is 7:50 and he notices that no one has there yet. He thinks to himself “maybe I should have had a later start time or there was traffic”…then at 8:00 he is really worried… “Did I push the group too much and no one was coming back? Were they so upset that no one even bothered to call me to say they were not coming?”  And on and on the mind goes, weaving a story of how deficient we are. Then a few minutes after 8:00 this question popped into his head…”Did you unlock the door?” He goes to the front of the building and sure enough, the main door was locked.  He opens it to see everyone sitting on the porch enjoying the morning sun, chatting and  a few have begun their meditation in the garden nearby.

We can have thoughts that are deliberate and intentional which are based in reality of what is happening based on what we can observe.  This is different than the storytelling mind.  The storytelling mind jumps to conclusions, which often are incorrect and self-sabotaging. Storytelling pulls you out of the present. Stop the cycle of storytelling and allow a greater connection to what is happening around you instead. This allows us to be more present, more aware, and a better teacher.  Just unlock the door.

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