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‘Sometimes people invite us into a drama that is of value to us—we have something to learn in the heart of it. But sometimes it is of no value to us—someone wants to live out their stuff, someone wants a woundmate to join them in their trigger-fest. Drama loves company. Drama needs company to flourish. And if we grew up with chaos, we may jump in without realizing that boundaries were possible. Old drama habits die hard. We recreate what we know best. But we do have a choice. We really do. We can tell them to live it out somewhere else. We can establish a boundary. We can choose peace. Developing your ‘no drama’ muscle may well save your life. A drama based lifestyle drains the adrenals and invites disease. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that keeps coming back for more. Best to draw a line in the sand and refuse the invitation.’ -Jeff Brown

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Spritual Practice -Bo Lozoff

There is no spiritual practice
More profound than
Being kind
To one’s family,
Neighbors,
The cashier at the grocery store,
An unexpected visitor,
The con in the next cell,
A stray cat or dog,
Or any other of the
Usually “irrelevant” or “invisible”
Beings who may cross our paths
In the course of a normal day. 

Certainly
There are spiritual mysteries
Beyond description
To explore,
But as we mature,
It becomes clear that
Those special experiences
Are only meaningful
When they arise from
And return to
A life of ordinary kindness.

Bo Lozoff

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

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“My father once told me a story about an old redwood tree—how she stood tall and proud—her sprawling limbs clothed in emerald green. With a smile, he described her as a mere sapling, sheltered by her elders and basking in the safety of the warm, dappled light. But as this tree grew taller, she found herself at the mercy of the cruel wind and the vicious rain. Together, they tore relentlessly at her pretty boughs, until she felt as though her heart would split in two.

After a long, thoughtful pause, my father turned to me and said, “My daughter, one day the same thing will happen to you. And when that time comes, remember the redwood tree. Do not worry about the cruel wind or the vicious rain—but do as that tree did and just keep growing.”
Lang Leav, The Universe of Us

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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’)

 

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‘You have the right to hide. You can hide from this world if you want to. It can be cold. Sharp. Unyielding. This world is so unfair. But you hide from the world, you hide from the sun. The warmth of your bed does not compare. The words in your books do not compare to loved ones. The art on your walls do not compare to your creation. And some days I hide. Some days I choose less. But the awareness, of choosing less, makes sure I never stay there. Because you can hide from the world but you can’t hide from yourself. And you know you deserve much more than ‘less’. ‘–Sarinia Bryant 

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“The point of life is not to get anywhere—it is to notice that you are, and have always been, already there. You are always and forever in the moment of pure creation. The point of life therefore is to create—who and what you are, and then to experience that.”-Neale Donald Walsch

 

How Is Your Heart Doing? By Omid Safi

In many Muslim cultures, when you want to ask them how they’re doing, you ask: in Arabic, Kayf haal-ik? or, in Persian, Haal-e shomaa chetoreh? How is yourhaal?

What is this haal that you inquire about? It is the transient state of one’s heart. In reality, we ask, “How is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?” When I ask, “How are you?” that is really what I want to know.

I am not asking how many items are on your to-do list, nor asking how many items are in your inbox. I want to know how your heart is doing, at this very moment. Tell me. Tell me your heart is joyous, tell me your heart is aching, tell me your heart is sad, tell me your heart craves a human touch. Examine your own heart, explore your soul, and then tell me something about your heart and your soul.

Tell me you remember you are still a human being, not just a human doing. Tell me you’re more than just a machine, checking off items from your to-do list. Have that conversation, that glance, that touch. Be a healing conversation, one filled with grace and presence.

Put your hand on my arm, look me in the eye, and connect with me for one second. Tell me something about your heart, and awaken my heart. Help me remember that I too am a full and complete human being, a human being who also craves a human touch.
I teach at a university where many students pride themselves on the “study hard, party hard” lifestyle. This might be a reflection of many of our lifestyles and our busy-ness — that even our means of relaxation is itself a reflection of that same world of overstimulation. Our relaxation often takes the form of action-filled (yet mindless) films, or violent and fast-paced sports.

I don’t have any magical solutions. All I know is that we are losing the ability to live a truly human life.

We need a different relationship to work, to technology. We know what we want: a meaningful life, a sense of community, a balanced existence. It’s not just about “leaning in” or faster iPhones. We want to be truly human.

W. B. Yeats once wrote, “It takes more courage to examine the dark corners of your own soul than it does for a solider to fight on a battlefield.”

How exactly are we supposed to examine the dark corners of our soul when we are so busy? How are we supposed to live the examined life?

I want us to have a kind of existence where we can pause, look each other in the eye […] and inquire together: Here is how my heart is doing. […]

How is the state of your heart today?

Let us insist on a type of human-to-human connection where when one of us responds by saying, “I am just so busy,” we can follow up by saying, “I know, love. We all are. But I want to know how your heart is doing.”

Omid Safi is Director of Duke University’s Islamic Studies Center. He is the past Chair for the Study of Islam, and the current Chair for Islamic Mysticism Group at the American Academy of Religion. Reading above is excerpted from the OnBeing blog.