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Monday, January 25 2010

 Defeat's Teaching


       My team, the Minnesota Vikings, lost a "heartbreaker" last night.  Lapsing into old habits of responding, I experienced personal defeat that mirrored theirs.


       Watching the game, my intention to stay Zen-like in the moment, compassionate and dispassionate, was challenged by a number of miscues and lost opportunities on the field.  I did ok until near the end, when, with one final mistake, Vikings snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.


       Old woeful stories re-surfaced (like, how the Vikes always seem to find a way to let us down).  I found myself ruminating about that final interception, re-playing it repeatedly, fighting with its occurrence, imagining "what-ifs." 


       Upon reflection, I see how that inner repetition of injury etches the hurt in neural pathways, deepening the wound, leaving a mark that's more permanent – like a steer being branded by a hot iron.  Mind chatter and rumination are so different from the healing experience of staying gently present to one's feelings and bathing in light.


       Grumpy and irritable, I chose disconnection over connection – finding escape (but not solace) in a book of Jumbles (word puzzles), when the comfort of snuggles and emotional support was readily available. 


       And so, defeat (an inevitable part of life) became self-defeating (which is optional).


       Luckily, defeat teaches.  Luckily, I'm not bound by past choices and patterns.   Being mindful in this new moment, I'm free to choose healing over rumination, relationship over isolation, vitality over habit.


       And, fortunately, football is just a game.



Posted by: AT 04:49 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Sunday, January 17 2010

Intimate Eyes

       I believe each of us is a unique word in the vocabulary of God - a unique, one of a kind, absolutely necessary expression of the divine.

       That belief challenges me to see myself and others in a radically new way, a more intimate way.  I'm challenged by questions, such as:

       When I look at you or me, can I see beauty?  Can I see the divine?

       Can I honor and include all that I discover - the "goofy" and the "grand", the "awesome" and the "awful"?

       Can I dare to see what is - nakedly - without judgment and without a sugar coat?

       Can I give up trying to control that which is other, that which feels foreign, that which departs from ego's idea of what should be?

       Can I have compassion for myself and others - even when we fail at all of the above?

       Can I see, right now, with the intimate eyes of LOVE?

Posted by: AT 08:30 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, January 11 2010


       Lately, I've been looking for a text to inspire the winter/spring session of Connecting, a meditation and spiritual growth group I facilitate on Thursday nights.

       In a recent  Speaking of Faith  newsletter (thanks, Dan, for forwarding it my way), National Public Radio's Krista Tippett recommends a translation by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy of a book by mystic poet, Ranier Maria Rilke - Rilke's Book of Hours:  Love Poems to God.

       Here's a sample of his work.

          I love you, gentlest of Ways,
          who ripened us as we wrestled
              with you.

          You, the great homesickness we
              could never shake off,
          you, the forest that always
              surrounded us,

          you, the song we sang in every
          you dark net threading through

          on the day you made us you
              created yourself,
          and we grew sturdy in your
              sunlight ...

          Let your hand rest on the rim of
              Heaven now
          and mutely bear the darkness we
              bring over you.

  Fascinated, as always, by big LOVE - the LOVE we share and the LOVE we are - I ordered some Rilke, today.

       We have a text.

Posted by: AT 04:01 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, January 04 2010


       I love thought-provoking chapter titles.  I enjoy the creative inner journeys they inspire - the invitation to wander and ponder.

       Here are some great chapter headings from Wayne Dyer's book:  Being in Balance.  As a new decade, a new year and new chapters begin, perhaps there's nourishment in pondering some of these:

An Infinity of Forests Lies Dormant
Within the Dreams of One Acorn

You Can't Kiss Your Own Ear

Your Addictions Tell You, "You'll Never
Get Enough of What You Don't Want

You Can't Discover Light by
Analyzing the Darkness

Fighting Any Adverse Condition Only
Increases Its Power Over You

Love is What's Left Over When
Falling in Love Fades Away

Earth's Crammed With Heaven

Posted by: AT 02:01 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

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