Sunday, November 22, 2015

Peace in the Time of Terror (part 4)

“We want to respect you. Because of a lack of understanding on our part, we have not been skillful at showing our respect, our care I or you, and we have been caught in our own situation of suffering. Please tell us what is in your hearts. We want to understand your suffering. We want to know what mistakes we have made for you to hate us so much.

“We ourselves do not want to live in fear or to suffer and we do not want you to live in fear or to suffer either. We want you to live in peace, in safety, and in dignity because we know that none of us will have peace until all of us have peace. Let us create together an occasion for mutual listening and understanding, which can be the foundation for real reconciliation and peace.”

Friday, November 20, 2015

Peace in the Time of Terror (part 3)

“To resolve our current dilemma with terrorism we must be like this doctor. After our leaders have inspired confidence in Americans and proved that, as a country, we have the capacity to listen and understand, we can then turn to those who are considered to be terrorists. Our leaders can address them with loving speech.

“We know that you must have suffered and hated us very deeply to have attacked us. You must have thought that we want to destroy you as members of a religion, as a race, as a people. You must have believed that we embody evil, that we don’t recognize your religion a nd your spiritual values. We are sorry that you suffer so much. We want to tell you that it is not our intention to destroy you as a people, as a race, or as members of a religion. It is not our intention to i-eject your spiritual values.

(more in part 4)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Peace in the Time of Terror (part 2)

“God does not take sides. Jesus, Buddha, Allah—all the great beings speak of compassion and inclusiveness. We should not believe that we can be peaceful by eliminating the other side.
“A doctor wants to destroy the malaria in a sick person, not destroy the patient himself. Terrorists are human beings who are sick with the virus of terrorism. The virus you see is made of fear, hatred, and violence. You can be a doctor for a person with this illness. Your medicine is the practice of restoring communication.

“But if a doctor cannot talk to a patient, if the patient refuses to cooperate, then how can the doctor help? If the patient refuses the doctor’s help, doesn’t trust her, and fears the doctor maybe trying to kill him, he will never cooperate. Even if the doctor is motivated by a great desire to help, she cannot do anything if the patient will not collaborate. So the first thing the doctor has to do is find ways to open communication. If you can talk to the patient, then there is hope. If the doctor can begin by acknowledging the patient’s suffering, then mutual understanding can develop and collaboration can begin.

(More in part 3)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Peace in the time of Terror

“Man is not the enemy”, Thay has often reminded us.
“Our enemy is hatred, anger, ignorance and fear.” The roots of terrorism are not to be found in religious philosophies or unfamiliar cultures, but in misunderstanding, fear, anger, and hatred.
“Terrorists are human beings who are sick with the virus of terrorism. The virus you see is made of fear, hatred, and violence. You can be a doctor for a person with this illness.”

From Thay’s book Calming The Fearful Mind:

“Some people commit acts of terrorism in the name of their values and beliefs. They may hold the idea that others are evil because they don’t share these values. They feel justified in destroying their enemies in the name of God. People who engage in this violence may die with the conviction that they are dying for a righteous cause. And isn’t our country acting out of the same conviction when we kill those we define as threats? Each side believes that it alone embodies goodness, while the other side embodies evil.

“Fear is another root of violence and terrorism. We terrorize others so that they will have no chance to terrorize us. We want to kill before we are killed. Instead of bringing us peace and safety, this escalates violence. lf we kill someone we call a terrorist, his son may become a terrorist. Throughout history, the more we kill, the more terrorists we create.

“Across the globe, people suffer from very much the same things: social injustice, discrimination, fear, and fanaticism. Fundamentalism is very much alive in countries around the world. Many people believe that they alone are on the side of God, and they behave as if they are the only children of God and the lives of others are not as precious. They want God to bless their own country above all, and not to bless others who they feel represent evil. But to think that everything the other group does is evil and everything we do is good, prevents us from understanding the values of others, and from recognizing their suffering and fear. Instead of making us stronger, our unwillingness to listen keeps us vulnerable and afraid.

(more in next post)

Friday, September 11, 2015

Reflection on the High Holy Days

Given all that is happening globally this year, humanity collectively has lots more to do to bring the world to a better place. A reflective poem for Rosh Hashana (this Sunday eve):

My reflection

When I look into the mirror
I see the face of millions
looking back
at me

When they gaze at me
some may be able to see the reflection of
those who might care enough to look back
at them

And when they see me in them
And when I actually see them in myself
we both will know that our core images and essence
though slightly different-- in meaningful ways,
are really the same at the center

As I align my image with the other
And as they align their source with me
we will one day look into our mirrors
and see who we really are

Thursday, September 10, 2015

finding that life worth living

All the little nasties seem to happen at once.  Insurance companies hanging up on me, clients not showing up,  and everyone else wanting their own chunk of change. Taxes here, office rent there, and the tea box in the office is empty.  Oh, yes, the dog needs his rabies shots.

Those are only the financial stressors. I know they will stabilize - and I will get through this money crunch. I am able to stay focused and keep the worry within tolerable bounds. I remind myself, when I start chewing on those fears that at this very moment, I am okay. I keep breathing. I take another deep breath, and take the dog out for a walk.

Believe it or not, it does help. I recognize the things I can control, accept the things I cannot change and see the difference between the two. It's what people in 12 step programs call the serenity prayer and what I call radical acceptance.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

hawaii was wonderful wish I were still there

The yoga, the food and the warm days and nights!

If only to be back there right now.

Now, if I can get into this site, I will be putting chapters from my book on "Depression? the last help you'll ever need" up here.

Needless to say, google does NOT make it easy to access my accounts.

Keep breathing.  I'm still around when I can get into this site!!!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Ahh, end of term and off to the warm beaches

Yes!  I am flying away to the big island tomorrow.  I have never been to Hawaii and not only am I going to this beautiful place, I am going to a yoga retreat.

What a wonderful way to heal from the continuous stresses of the now ending semester.  Sometimes the therapist truly must take good care of herself.

A week of quiet, healing yoga practices in one of natures most wonderful gifts will serve well to set me back on the path to being ready for another new year.

I am sending positive energy and good thoughts to everyone as we head into 2015.  I encourage myself to think kind and loving thoughts to move me into strength in the new year.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Seasons of California

It has been hot and beautiful.  The wind keeps the air moving - it's possible to forget all the external stressors - drought and fracking and the monster SUVs that make walking the dog a real challenge.

These beautiful days as California changes seasons are part of the reason we come to California.  And, yes, there are season changes.  It's a very subtle change that requires close observation.  The air smells different and the light changes.

When I first arrived, I experienced an odor that has become, an indication of the seasons - the heat of the summer produces an almost mechanical odor mixed with scents of greenery.  When autumn arrives the scent is another blend of crisp green as well as the scent of drying leaves. 

Immersing myself in this change requires a total awareness.  The changes of weather in the east make acknowledging these changes simpler - the falling leaves and the changing colors - while in California recognizing these seasonal changes demand a focus and total awareness - a wonderful lesson in mindfulness: observe, describe and participate.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Another new Year

In two weeks the year 5774 will end!

The Jewish Calendar begins with the harvest and the gathering of all the energies of the year so that we can not only assess the year that is just being completed and also look forward.

How can we better prepare ourselves for both our material growth - growing in relationships and in the skills we show to the world around us and our spiritual growth.

Taking time to acknowledge adventures of the year just ending and making way for the awarenesses we bring forward is powerful.  These days before the new year can  set in motion the tone for what is to come in 5775.

During the next few days I must maintain an awareness of what was satisfying in the activities of the past months and what will be necessary for me to discard in the year ahead.

Change is what life is about: change is inevitable, growth is optional.