Shortest Dharma Talk

from my Zen Page-a-Day® calendar this week:

“”I have arrived, I am home”is the shortest Dharma Talk I have ever given. “I have arrived, I am home” means “I don’t want to run anymore.” You need that insight in order to be truly established in the here and now, and to embrace life with all its wonders.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

This is one of go-to poems when I am doing a walking meditation.  I loved seeing it come up on the calendar with a little more insight to it.

 

 

 

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The Concept of Space

I enjoyed this fresh take on the notion of space… http://www.awakin.org/index.php?op=show_email

“We think of space as if it were a far-off destination or something we create. But really, space is ever present and everywhere. A room crammed full of stuff doesn’t have less space than an empty room, It just has more stuff in it. We are not creating space when we take stuff out, space is already there. There is nothing but space.  
Inside us is space as well. Like our external space, our internal space can become crowded with stuff that might impede our ability to move around and do things efficiently. Our internal space becomes more and more crowded with thoughts, beliefs, and judgments that keep us from healing, movement, and growth. Much like a hoarder who crowds his life with material things because he fears he may someday need them for survival and well-being, we hoard and crowd ourselves with unnecessary beliefs and judgments.
“Should” thoughts and “can’t” thoughts and “have to” thoughts and “never/ always” thoughts are dis-empowering and create impossible conditions for our healing, depleting us of our energy. Thoughts like “I will never have enough time, space or resources to fulfill my needs.” Or thoughts like “the only way to feel better is to have or do x, y and z” set us up for failure time and again. These thoughts crowd our internal space and become externalized in the form of judgments of others and the world.”

 

How am I doing that?

mirrorThis post is about our reflections.  Those wonderful people who hold up the gorgeous, polished mirror for us every day.

This morning I listened to a friend talk about how her low self-esteem and how her family enforced the idea that she was never good enough.  I thought, “It’s sad that her parents gave her that belief, but it’s even sadder that she still believes it.”  I wanted to ask why she still bought into that.  (Ironic that I was invalidating her, too.)

I realized then that she was a reflection.  How do I do that?  How do I spout decades-old beliefs about myself as if a) they were true or b) I couldn’t change them to whatever I wanted?

I know how the mind works and its pre-disposition to the negative, to the habit, and to the usual pattern.  BUT, if I do some simple math and accounting and add up the time for all of the “bad” things I’ve done and have been done to me, they maybe add up to one day (with some contingency) total.  But let’s say one day.  Now comparing this one day to the over 22,630 days I have lived up until now, why would I add one more second to that side of the ledger?  Why?  More importantly, why would I be the one doing it?

Time to shift my attention.  Thanks, Reflector.

 

The Many Ways to Isolate

The author, Barbara Sher, says “Isolation is the dream killer.” She says it’s not your attitude or your skill level or your work ethic.  My book would not be published now if I had not been a part of a group that encouraged, prodded, and supported me for the last year.  Had a chosen to pull away, I know my book would not be done.  The romantic idea of a writer ensconced in a Parisian garret plonking away writing is the worst kind of myth.  I doubt ten books have been completed that way.

Yet, knowing this, I still find myself in the habit of isolating.

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days without pirate attack

I laughed out loud at myself this morning when I thought, “If I can just make those amends, then I can be left in peace.” I really thought that. La! My ego is so stupid sometimes.

I looked up the word isolate (because that’s what I like to do) to see the origin of the word. Thank you Online Etymology Dictionary!

isolated (adj.) Look up isolated at Dictionary.com“standing detached from others of its kind,” 1740, a rendering into English of French isolé “isolated” (17c.), from Italian isolato, from Latin insulatus “made into an island,” from insula “island” (see isle (n.)). English at first used the French word (isole, also isole’d, c. 1750), then after isolate (v.) became an English word, isolated became its past participle.

I realized I can island myself with a lot of other humans around just by thinking of myself as different/not-as-good/better-than them, too.

My days and evenings could be filled with activities, yet I could just be isolating in a more subtle way.

I insulate myself from my own feelings when I want nothing more than to be alone so I can eat.

I stand apart from humanity whenever I make someone “them” and put me with an “us.”

To quote Paul Simon, on Sounds of Silence, “And a rock feels no pain. And an island never cries.”

I said in my book that no one can complete a Hero’s Journey alone.  I know that is true. I know that life is layered with Journeys. I know, too, that isolating is always the results of an ego-identity desperate to be right and special.  To feel that it must make me feel separate.

Taking Risks

My book, Exploring the Magic of Your Hero’s Journey, is due to launch September 9th. Now that the writing is done and I’m wrangling issues like the cover for the paperback, the author page, ISBN, etc., I’m left with the space to wonder,  was writing the book a risk? Was publishing it a risk?  Did I take a risk? I’m thinking about the same content for a children’s version.  Is that a risk?

I bought a house last week.  Was that a risk?

I plan on working remotely for several months in the winter.  Is that a risk?

Am I taking risks in my life?  Why would I want to take risks?  Isn’t feeling safe necessary to successfully get through life?

greatwhiteshark7Certainly everything in life has some risk to it.  Humans are programmed to see completely unrealistic, low risk events as fearsome (e.g., shark attack) and to see events with high risk and high probability as nothing to be afraid of at all (e.g., driving a car to and from work every day).  Even for real pirates dysentery was a more probable risk than sharks.

When I started writing the book, I didn’t think of the risk of the personal content I would divulge. My editor recommended I change the angle of my own Hero’s Journey from shamanic work to writing the book because the writing angle was so much more accessible and marketable.  I resisted.

I thought about that potential change for two days and talked about it with friends.  I decided I had to leave my shamanic journey in the story and I had to add more of it or the book would not be my truth. Opening up and sharing that part of myself still feels very risky.  Will there be any reward?

Stacia Pierce said it well in her Huffington Post article:

“Once you have become accustomed to taking risks, you break free from the average way of living and thinking. Instead of fighting to stay safe you gain the momentum and confidence needed to welcome new opportunities in your career or business. Risks build your self-confidence and self-respect, empowering you to feel stronger and more confident in taking on new endeavors. When you are open to new challenges you position yourself to profit a whole lot more than you would just staying the same.

…but can I have it anyway?

Pirate

In a meeting this week, we were doing a reading from the Brown Book (OA’s version of the AA Big Book).  One of the stories had the word “deserving” in some context I don’t remember.  At that moment, I had the thought, “I don’t feel like I deserve it, but can I have it anyway?”

It was in that moment that a wave washed over me.  I don’t feel like I deserve [peace, serenity, love, success, happiness, whatever…], but can I have it anyway?

I hate the word and the concept of deserving.  Because it implies that you could deserve or not. What is the criteria? Also, the phrase “worth it.”  You’re worth it!  Who isn’t?  Well… me???

I know the contents of my own mind.  Yikes! Very scary pirate!

I know what I do and say most every day.  A little less scary, but still…

But can I have what I want anyway?

Still don’t know what/who I’m asking this of.

When I shared, as usual, there were nods of recognition and agreement all around.

Why don’t I remember this?

“When you remember you are the ocean, you’re not afraid of the waves.”  Tara Brach

I might paraphrase and say, “…you’re not afraid of the size of the waves.”  Or I might change my point-of-view and wonder why I am not laughing and riding the waves.

I know her point is to remind me that I am source.  I am the ocean and the waves are only experiences of “me.”

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