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Tuesday, February 25 2014

A Path to Yes!


       Last Saturday, I went for my first snowshoeing adventure of the season.  I had skied in the morning and was hankering for more immersion in that gorgeous day – with its deep blue (almost blue-violet, almost cloudless) sky and pristine-white snow piled high on pines, oak branches and downed tree trunks.   Two days previously, we had over 8 inches of new snow, giving St. Cloud a 25-inch base, with drifts up to several feet.  While not always fun to drive in, it’s been awesome to behold.


       I strapped on my snowshoes and headed across a field en route to a large, protected, wooded area at the edge of my neighborhood.   Frequently, the snow would give way and I would find myself suddenly hip deep – not exactly the immersion I had anticipated.   Each step became an exercise in mindfulness – and an aerobic workout.  I was sweating, breathing hard and very focused.


       The woods were a crisscross of deer trails – ideal paths to follow.  With trail partly broken, I only sank a foot or so into the snow as I tromped along, apparently the first human in the woods since the new snow.  It didn’t take long for the wonder of it all – the adventure, the exertion, the solitude, the beauty, the sunshine, the crisp air and the bracing breeze – to burrow somewhere deep inside.  Off and on, for much of the next hour, rhythmic with my steps, over and over, I breathed out loud: “Oh yeah!  Oh yeah!” – like a mantra. 


       I was saying Yes! – yes with an exclamation point, a full-bodied, open-hearted embrace of life in the moment.


       It’s exhilarating to feel that “Yes!” inside.  And, if I hadn’t first said “no” to my plans for work in the afternoon, I would not have arrived there.


        Developmentally, no comes before yes in a sequence that goes like this:


No!       No.       I know.       Yes.       Yes!


       As toddlers, our first no’s come out loudly.  If the loud no’s are met with respect, we naturally move toward saying no with less intensity.  Saying no allows us to know.  (No-ing leads to knowing.) Once we know, then we can say yes – and, eventually, a wholehearted, life-embracing Yes!


       If saying no is punished or not permitted, we learn to disregard ourselves – to rely on external authority rather than our own knowing.  Our deep yes doesn’t have the chance to develop.  And the yes we do say, without being grounded in knowing, comes out tentative and half-hearted – more like a “maybe” than a real yes.


       So, we have to be free to “no” (and know) before we can truly “yes”.  No-ing and knowing – a path to Yes!





Posted by: AT 10:14 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, February 13 2014

A Valentine Thought


As a matter of


Writers write

Teachers teach


Lovers Love


And children

Of the Universe



Have a light-hearted Valentine’s Day.

Posted by: AT 09:34 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Sunday, February 09 2014

Courageous Connection


Knowing and being known

Receiving and revealing

Hearts connect.

Truth: seen and told.


Danger remembered:

Risk of revealing

Risk of receiving.

Fear dances with longing.


Make space.

Befriend both dancers.

Know neither is love.

Choose love.



Being known




Present, embodied

Intimate within

Intimate with life

Courageous connection.

Posted by: AT 06:46 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Sunday, February 02 2014

Relational Economics

       I’d like to share a hodgepodge of thoughts on the economics of relationship. 

       A prosperous relationship is one with an abundant flow of giving and receiving – both of which are crucial to the vitality of relational life.  When we give freely, without expectations, we are enriched.  When we receive freely, without hesitation, we are equally enriched.  In a prosperous, generous relationship, distinctions between giving and receiving dissolve.  It’s all part of one flow.

       When a relationship is in economic recession, the flow of giving and receiving is clogged.  We get stingy with each other and withhold giving.  Withholding can be a way of life - or a way of attempting control in a relationship.  Some of us watch carefully to make sure we don’t give more than we get.  Sometimes, we give in order to get.  In that case, our gift is really a form of taking.

       I find myself, at times, following the golden rule.  I give unto others what I’d like them to give unto me – often a good strategy, but not always.  Skillful giving requires me to appreciate the other person’s language of love, to know the kind of gift that speaks deeply to him/her, to embrace the stretching of self that relationship requires.

       We can also clog up the flow of relational life by not permitting ourselves the fullness of receiving.  Perhaps, stuck in scarcity thinking, we see a gift to us as a loss for the other.  Perhaps we feel unworthy or suspicious or reluctant to incur a debt. 

       The economic model of abundance starts with receiving – daring to open ourselves to the energy flow of an extravagant universe.  If only we allow it, this energy comes to us in myriad ways:  from the sparkle of sunshine on freshly fallen snow, to the smiling eyes of a dear friend, to the vast quiet of a morning meditation.   

       In the economic model of abundance, giving freely – from a place of connection with ourselves and with the energy of life flowing through us – does not deplete us.   Pushing ourselves to give from a place of obligation, disconnected from the natural flow of life, does deplete.  And, as we are mindful of depletion, we are invited to re-connect and let ourselves be guided by that re-connection.

       There’s an old saying:  The grass is not greener on the other side of the fence – it’s greener where we water it.  As we water the grass of our life energy and the grass of our important relationships, we create a pasture of plenty.

       How good can we stand it?

Posted by: AT 10:48 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

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