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‘When you look back at your own life, you see that with the suffering you went through, you would have avoided it each time if you possibly could, yet when you look at the depths of your character now, and the fact that you’re sitting here doing this work, you see it’s all a product of those experiences.

Weren’t those experiences part of what created the depth of your inner being?
I look back over the times when I was suffering miserably. I certainly wouldn’t lay it on myself if I’d had a choice, but it happened. It was part of the working out of my life plan, and now when I look back in perspective, I see the power of those experiences. I see how they deepened something in me that was necessary for the moment.’

– Ram Dass

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Living With The Wound -Mark Nepo

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‘There is a need to be specific
if we are to survive,
which requires being honest,
the way seeing requires
the eyes to stay open.

It means I can tell you
when you hurt me
and still count on your love.

It means being honest
with myself, knowing
the ugly things are not
always someone else’s.

I’ve been thinking how
practical people cut the cord
to those who’ve broken hope,
the way breeders shoot horses
with broken legs, as if
there’s nothing to be done.

Now I know they do this
for themselves, not wanting
to care for a horse that cannot run,
not wanting to sit with a friend
who can’t find tomorrow, not wanting
to be saddled with anything
that will slow them down.

I used to think it bad timing.
When I was up, you were down.
When you were ready,
I was scared. But since
we’ve never given up on each other,
it’s clear that drinking wonder
when we’re sad is how we shed
the things we love about pain.

I have a right to joy
even when lonely,
even when in pain,
and you never need
to cover your wounds
when entering my house.

If your voice breaks, I’ll be a cup.
If your heart sweats, I’ll be a pillow
on which you’ll chance to dream
that weeping is singing
through an instrument
that’s hard to reach,
though it lands us like lightning
in the grasp of each other
where giving is a mirror
of all we cannot teach.’

 

-Mark Nepo

Emotional Intelligence: Mindful Parenting

 

 

 

 

This two-minute video is everything I aspire to be as a parent. If you haven’t already seen it, it’s a powerful video secretly recorded by a wife of her husband as he mindfully speaks to their daughter who is clearly very upset. It’s a great example of how we can help instill emotional intelligence into our children. When we respect and acknowledge our children’s emotions, we give them the tools to mindfully process and manage them more effectively. Little wonder it went viral.

I so admire how calm, compassionate and understanding the father is to his child’s feelings. He is talking to her but he is also mindfully listening to and respecting her feelings. He’s teaching her to acknowledge emotions rather than trying to hide or chase them away, observe them, label them if you like, and then try to let them go. As he explains, holding onto them for too long is when you find yourself in trouble.

It’s brilliant and such a tangible example of mindfulness. The video was posted on the Facebook page Love What Matters. You can go here and read the story in its entirety. Teachablemoment

I’ve already started teaching emotional intelligence to my two-year-old and it’s been interesting to see her positive reaction to it. Even at two years of age she finds comfort in being told that she’s allowed to have her current mood or feelings and that I will give her a safe place to have these feelings as well as strategies for moving past them.

Last night for example, she yelled at me and got in my face because I wouldn’t get on the floor and color-in with her. In my defense, I was 90% completed on another task and I really needed to get it done. And I’m also not going to simply give into a two-year old’s demands. I did however go down to her level, wipe her runny nose and tell her that I understood that she is angry with me and feeling disappointed. I explained that she’s allowed to feel that and that I still love her and if she wants a hug she can come and get one if and when she’s ready. She sat with arms folded and head down, eyes on the floor. I then moved away and let her be and within a minute she came over, hugged my arm and said “I love you mummy”. It was really beautiful. I validated her feelings, gave her space to feel it, and helped her release it. And when I had finished by task, I did get on the floor and draw with her. It ended well for all.

 

 

The Art of Now -Jeff Foster

THE ART OF NOW

When you get truly creative
you get truly messy too!

You make endless mistakes,
and your mistakes only fuel the creativity.
And the end result
is nothing liked you planned,
thank goodness!

You love what you made!
You brought something out of nothing!
You participated in a miracle,
and ‘You’ weren’t there at all.

This is true meditation:

To be grateful for mistakes.

To witness an ordinary moment painting itself
on the sacred canvas of Now.

To be messy, imperfect, but so very ALIVE!

– Jeff Foster

Heal Your Heart -Jeff Brown

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‘Excessive analysis perpetuates emotional paralysis. Knowing our issues is not the same as healing our issues. In fact, knowing is often a willful act, entirely incongruent with the experience of surrender required to heal. I have known many who could name their patterns and issues—almost like they had done a science experiment on their own consciousness— but nothing changed because they refused to come back down into their bodies and move their feelings through to transformation. It’s safe up there, above the fray, witnessing the pain-body without actually engaging it. The key to the transformation of challenging patterns and wounds is to heal them from the inside out. Not to analyze them, not to watch them like an astronomer staring at a faraway planet through a telescope, but to jump right into the heart of them, encouraging their expression and release, stitching them into new possibilities with the thread of love. You want to live a holy life? Heal your heart.’

-Jeff Brown

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“Embracing the paradox that we simultaneously are and are not our story is precisely what enables us to keep writing new ones. My story about the abuse I experienced at the hands of my father will always be a part of me, but it no longer defines me. Of course, I sometimes spiral back into trauma; unlike the self-help pundits who say it’s possible to simply let go of the old hurts by cleansing them with a dose of love and light. I know that even as the impact fades, this experience is something that will be with me for the rest of my life.

That said, healing is not a linear journey. Old trauma is wrapped up in the fabric of the new stories I’ve created for myself, and the resulting pattern is not nice and clean and neat. In fact, the deeper we all go, the messier and more chaotic it will get. It is the contrasting loops of darkness and light, life and death, defeat and triumph, that make the human story such a compelling and gorgeous one…”

 

-Kelly McNelis

(~an excerpt from ‘Women for One’ founder Kelly McNelis’s new book, ‘Your Messy Brilliance’)

A PRAYER FOR THE LIVING -Jeff Foster

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A PRAYER FOR THE LIVING
Life,
Break in me whatever needs to be broken.
Fix my hope of ever being fixed.
Use me. Draw every ounce of creativity out of me. Help me live a radically unique life, forever forging a never-before-trodden path in the forest.
Show me how to love more deeply than I ever thought possible.
Whatever I am still turning away from, keep shoving in my face.
Whatever I am still at war with, help me soften towards, relax into, fully embrace.
Where my heart is still closed, show me a way to open it without violence.
Where I am still holding on, help me let go.
Give me challenges and struggles and seemingly insurmountable obstacles, if that will bring an even deeper humility and trust in the intelligence of life.
Help me laugh at my own seriousness.
Allow me to find the humour in the dark places.
Show me a profound sense of rest in the midst of the storm.
Don’t spare me from the truth. Ever.
Let gratitude be my guide.
Let forgiveness be my mantra.
Let this moment be a constant companion.
Let me see your face in every face.
Let me feel your warm presence in my own presence.
Hold me when I stumble.
Breathe me when I cannot breathe.
Let me die living, not live dying.
Amen.
Jeff Foster

In Praise of Slowness-Carl Honore

“Now the time has come  to challenge our obsession with doing everything more quickly.  Speed is not always the best policy.  Evolution works on the principle of survival of the fittest, not the fastest.  Remember who won the race between the tortoise and the hare.  As we hurry though life, cramming more into every hour, we are stretching ourselves to the breaking point.

Before we go any further, though, let’s make one thing clear:  This is not a declaration of war against speed.  Speed has helped to remake our world in ways that are wonderful and liberating.  Who wants to live without the Internet or jet travel.  The problem is that our love of speed, our obsession with doing more and more in less and less time, has gone too far; it has turned into an addiction, a kind of idolatry. Even when speed starts to backfire, we invoke the go-faster gospel…. Yet some things cannot, should not, be sped up.  They take time; they need slowness.  When you accelerate things that should not be accelerated, when you forget how to slow down, there is a price to pay.”

Carl Honore (excerpt from In Praise of Slowness)

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“We talk about how many women were raped last year, not about how many men raped women. We talk about how many girls in a school district were harassed last year, not about how many boys harassed girls. We talk about how many teenager girls in the state of Vermont got pregnant last year, rather than how many men and boys impregnated teenage girls.

So you can see how the use of the passive voice has a political effect. It shifts the focus off of men and boys and onto girls and women. Even the term ‘violence against women’  is problematic. It’s a passive construction; there’s no active agent in the sentence. It’s a bad thing that happens to women, but when you look at that term ’violence against women,’ nobody is doing it to them. It just happens to them. Men aren’t even a part of it.”

-Jackson Katz

I’ll admit that I’d never heard of Jackson Katz until I researched him after reading the above quote last night. A quote that to me is so incredibly profound. It highlights the need for more careful language that shifts the blame to the actual perpetrator, not the victim as regularly occurs.

What an incredible bio he has. Katz, a former football star, a TED Talk speaker, and I now know, is one of the most prominent voices in the pro-feminist men’s movement. His agenda is to educate men, particularly in college age campus settings, on what they can do to end sexual voilence.  Katz is also the co-founder of MVP Strategies (Mentors in Violence Prevention), one of the longest-running intervention training programs in the U.S. He has also created training materials for universities and school districts, NFL teams, several Major League Baseball teams, and even the U.S. Navy.

We all know that sexual voilence and harrassment isn’t a Hollywood issue. It is a societial issue that affects females from all walks of life, regardless of age, income and workplace. Perhaps the most promising thing that could come out of the Weinstein coverage is for more men to understand that harassment from males, of all ages and positions, happens to females of all ages and positions. Perhaps this nature of giving men like Weinstein a free pass will end.  It’s time to stop blaming the victims and start taking the issue seriously.

 

 

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