Aspiration: Lighten Up, Do Something Different

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015
FLOATING GLOBES, Pubic House, Chicago, July 2015. Photo:MBuffett
FLOATING GLOBES, Public House, Chicago, July 2015. Photo: MBuffett

Being able to lighten up is the key to feeling at home with your body, mind, and emotions, to feeling worthy to live on this planet.… This earnestness, this seriousness about everything in our lives – this goal-oriented we-are-going-to-do-it-or-else attitude, is the world’s greatest killjoy… When your aspiration is to lighten up, you begin to have a sense of humor. Your serious state of mind keeps getting popped. In addition to a sense of humor, a basic support for a joyful mind is curiosity, paying attention, taking an interest in the world around you.… Curiosity encourages cheering up. So does simply remembering to do something different… Anything out of the ordinary will help. You can go to the window and look at the sky, you can splash cold water on your face, you can sing in the shower, you can go jogging – anything that’s against your usual pattern. That’s how things start to lighten up.

-from Comfortable With Uncertainty by Pema Chodron

The Space To Realize Dreams

Monday, July 13th, 2015
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DREAM STATE, New Orleans, February 2015. Photo: MBuffett

Sometimes we hitch ourselves to large but essentially empty dreams, maybe because we are so busy just getting through the day that we don’t believe we can actually live according to our deepest, most genuine desires. But the truth is that right here in our daily life, every breath and every step can become a concrete part of making our true dreams happen…. If you feel that your dreams aren’t coming true, you might think you need to do more, or to think and strategize more. In fact, what you might need is less – less noise coming to you from both inside and outside – so that you have the space for your heart’s truest intention to germinate and flourish.

-from Silence by Thich Nhat Hanh

Awakening Is A Choice

Saturday, July 11th, 2015
Chonor House, McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala India, March 2012. Photo: MBuffett
Chonor House, McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala India, March 2012. Photo: MBuffett

Breathing in, breathing out, feeling resentful, feeling happy, being able to drop it, not being able to drop it, eating our food, brushing our teeth, walking, sitting – whatever we’re doing could be done with one intention. That intention is that we want to wake up, we want to ripen our compassion, and we want to ripen our ability to let go, we want to realize our connection with all beings. Everything in our lives has the potential to wake us up or to put us to sleep. Allowing it to awaken us is up to us. 

-from Comfortable With Uncertainty by Pema Chodron 

silence is hOMe

Thursday, July 9th, 2015
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Beach Sitting. Fairhope AL, January 2013. Photo: MBuffett

The practice of mindfulness is very simple. 

You stop, you breathe, and you still your mind. 

You come home to yourself so that you can enjoy the here and now in every moment. 

All the wonders of life are already here. They’re calling you. If you can listen to them you will be able to stop running. What you need, what we all need, is silence. Stop the noise in your mind in order for the wondrous sounds of life to be heard.  Then you can begin to live your life authentically and deeply.

-from Silence by Thich Nhat Hanh

Warrior Status. Time To Grow Up.

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015
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Tibetan Prayer Wheel, McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala India, March 2012. Photo: MBuffett

Those who train wholeheartedly in awakening … are called warriors – not warriors who kill but warriors of nonaggression … They are willing to cut through personal reactivity and self-deception. A warrior accepts that we can never know what will happen to us next. This not-knowing is part of the adventure. It’s also what makes us afraid.

Wherever we are, we can train as a warrior… Our tools are sitting meditation, tonglen, slogan practice, and cultivating limitless qualities of loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity.

The training offers no promise of happy endings. Rather this “I” who wants to find security – who wants something to hold onto – will finally learn to grow up. If we find ourselves in doubt that we are up to being a warrior-in-training, we can contemplate this question: “Do I prefer to grow up and relate to life directly, or do I choose to live and die in fear?”

-from Comfortable With Uncertainty By Pema Chodron 

Once In A While You Get Shown The Light In The Strangest Of Places

Sunday, July 5th, 2015
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City Winery, Chicago, July 4, 2015. Photo: MBuffett

I ain’t always right but I’ve never been wrong

Seldom turns out the way it does in a song

Once in a while you get shown the light

In the strangest of places if you look at it right

There ain’t nothing wrong with the way she moves

Or Scarlet begonias

Or a touch of the blues

And there’s nothing wrong with the look that’s in her eyes

I had to learn the hard way to let her pass by, let her pass by

The wind in the willows play, ‘Tea for two”

The sky was yellow and the sun was blue

Strangers stopping, strangers just to shake their hand

Everybody’s playing in the heart of gold band, heart of gold band

-from Scarlet Begonias by Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia