doug focusI was recently with my 2-month old granddaughter, finding myself captivated by her beauty and the marvel of new life. Mostly she slept, ate, and needed to be changed. Waking moments brought sounds and smiles, the exploration of movement, and an alert curiosity. They also brought a markedly different sound.

I admit it is hard to discern what a baby is communicating, but it sounded different than the cry of an unfilled need; it was more like the spiraling down that we can sometimes find ourselves in. Those moments when something goes wrong, and all of a sudden everything is wrong, and we find ourselves in a dark pit, unsure how to get out.
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The Act of Giving Thanks

hands 2Tomorrow I, along with most of the United States, will celebrate Thanksgiving. This holiday is not unique to my country; it is celebrated in Canada, Grenada, Liberia, the Netherlands, Germany, Japan, and other countries in some form of expression of its cultural, religious roots. The intention of setting aside this day is to remember and to give thanks for the abundant harvest of crops, and the many blessings of the past year.

Thanksgiving is the act of giving thanks; it is an overt acknowledgement and expression. It is a heart opener; a balm for soothing the greed and selfishness that finds residence within us. The act of giving thanks has no space for over-indulgence; it is focused on sharing all forms of abundance with the neighbor, friend, or family member who is hungry, lonely or grieving. It is focused on reaching up to the divinity whose love and compassion holds us all.

The act of giving thanks is an act of courage in a world of unrest. It is brave to say thank you. It is brave to risk the melting of our hearts so that hoarding and immobility can’t find us. It is brave to say thank you for what is and for what is possible.

May we all join in the radicalness of an open, grateful heart.


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Beliefs: Gateways or Traps?

doorwayThe truth you believe and cling to makes you unavailable to hear anything new.” -Pema Chodron, Buddhist Nun

“We have been raised to have beliefs; that means we have conclusions rather than experience.” –Richard Rohr, Catholic Priest

Definition of a Belief: Something I know to be true, but I can’t scientifically or objectively prove.

I have been thinking a lot about beliefs lately and how much they matter. Beliefs inform our actions. They both dictate and limit the possibilities of our lives. They kill people and they save people. And ultimately they both close and open the doors of our imagination. But what is a belief? How do I know if what I believe is true or not? And what is the purpose of a belief?

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I was recently invited to speak to a group of inmates on the subject of loyalty. After accepting, I realized how little I knew about the subject. So I did some research. The dictionary gives 3 components of loyalty: there must be a cause to be loyal to, there must be a steadfast allegiance to that cause, and there must be a heartfelt devotion to that cause. Continue reading

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Happy Guru Purnima

Guru:  that which brings understanding to our ignorance.

Found:  in a child’s wonder, a teacher’s guidance, an inspirational reading, a friend’s empathy, an embodied person, the teacher within….

The Guru is the hidden force in a poem, a person, a gaze, or a conversation that lifts our spirits, inspires us to be greater than we are, gives guidance to our confusion, dispels our delusions, lifts us from despair, and opens our eyes to wonder and our hearts to our neighbor.  If we listen, we can hear this force nudging us towards clarity and growth. Continue reading

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Goldilocks and the Mind

One of my favorite stories as a little girl was Goldilocks and the 3 Bears.  I’m not sure why, maybe my tender little heart felt a surge of empathy for the little bear who discovered his porridge devoured, his chair broken, and someone sleeping in his bed…a terrible thing for a little bear. Continue reading

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Cultivate the Inner Life

Care of One for the Benefit of Many (part 4)

I remember a few years back when a friend of mine was carting her young child around attempting to do several errands.  At each stop, my friend would unbuckle her child out of his car seat, drag him to the errand, and return him to his car seat, buckling him in, only to repeat this scenario again.  After a number of stops, mom and child were back in the car, driving to the next errand, when out of the back seat piped a young voice, “Get me out of here; this is crazy!” Continue reading

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“Darn it, you’ve got to be kind”

Care of the One for the Benefit of the Many (part 3)

In one of his books, Kurt Vonnegut  writes:  “Hello babies.  Welcome to Earth.  It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter.  It’s round and wet and crowded.  At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here.  There’s only one rule that I know of, babies, ‘darn’ it, you’ve got to be kind.” Continue reading

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