This and That

April 15, 2015

by Molly Davis

“This is what we have” she says, holding up her left hand, palm up and slightly cupped, as if cradling something fragile and precious. Pausing, she lets her words and the image settle in.

“This is what we want” she continues, holding up her right hand in a similar fashion.  There is a gap between her two cupped hands.

“Our pain and frustration, suffering and discomfort come from comparing what we have with what we want.  She bangs her two hands together, over and over, demonstrating the inner turmoil and outer frenzy of living in the gap between what we have and what we want.

This is what I have…. That is what I want.

This is how it is….That is how I wish it was.

This is where I am… That where I want to be. 

This is when it is….That is when I want it to be.  

She stops banging her hands together, and slowly, gently, deliberately… because it is hard to loosen our grip on what we hold so tightly…. she lowers her right hand.  Suddenly, the banging stops, and there is no struggle between This and That.  

I will never forget the moment when she first held up her hands, giving me a picture that returns again and again, to help me step squarely into what I have, how it is, where I am, and when it is.  Held in my left hand is what is true.  Depending on the year, the day, the moment, my reality is filled with the good, the bad or the ugly.  And more likely, some messy mixture of all three. Savoring the good, healing the bad and transforming the ugly can only happen from the trailhead of This.

Try this right now.  Really.  Just do it.

Hold up your left hand, filling it with what is true right now.  Everything. The good, the bad and the ugly.  Look at your cupped hand.  Feel what it holds.  Take in what is there.  Hold it as if cradling something fragile and precious and sacred.  Because you are.  Held in your left hand is your life and your world, as it is today.

Hold up your right hand.  What does it hold that you want, wish, hope, imagine to be true?  Less pain, more joy, a flatter stomach, more money, less stress, more freedom, fewer expectations, a different job, more peace?  Held in that hand are your visions and goals, hopes and dreams, desires and callings.  Whatever is there, take it in.  Now, look at what you have and compare it to what you want and bang your hands together. Over and over and over until you can feel the stinging sensation brought on in the comparison between the two.

Now stop.

Drop your right hand.

This is what you have.

What we do with what we have, how it is, where we are, and in this moment is how we make our way from This to That. 

The only way.

This post is dedicated to, and with deep love and 022_21A_0001gratitude for Kristine Van Raden, my dearest friend and partner in crime .
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No Present Like The Time

March 19, 2015

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When I was a little girl, my family and I spent two weeks every summer at the Oregon coast.  Two. Whole. Weeks.   All year long I counted down the days until we could load up the car and head down to the beach.  I counted up my pennies so that I could go for an hour long horse back ride on the beach every day.  For Two.  Whole.  Weeks.

14 days

336  hours

20160 minutes

As soon as we drove down the driveway to the little cottage tucked into the hillside, overlooking Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach, I started counting down. Read the rest of this entry »

X Marks the Spot.

March 3, 2015

“No one longs for what he or she already has, and yet the accumulated insight of those wise about the spiritual life suggests that the reason so many of us cannot see the red X that marks the spot is because we are standing on it…. The only thing missing is our consent to be where we are.”

Barbara Brown Taylor

The starting line is here.

 Now.

This moment.

 Whatever is to come next in our life begins right now.

And right now.

And right now. Read the rest of this entry »

The Gifts of Boredom.

February 27, 2015

“Do you ever get bored?”

That was the question posed earlier this week by our naturopath.  My husband and I had scheduled a joint visit to talk to her about our shared sleep issues.  Getting a full night of rest is essential.  A necessity which was eluding us on a regular basis, resulting in lowered spirits, less focus, and lack of energy.

Tom jumped right in, answering enthusiastically, “I NEVER get bored.”

Wrong answer.   Read the rest of this entry »

Stuck

February 23, 2015

Stuck.

Who hasn’t felt that way at one time or another?  Everyone gets it.  No one likes it. We all know that feeling of being stuck, unable to get out, hemmed in, trapped.  There are times when we find ourselves trapped between a rock and a hard place, and when we do, our first reaction is usually to try to get out.  Now!  Alarm sets in and the flailing begins, as we look for any and every way out of the place in which we are wedged.

But.   Read the rest of this entry »

The Doorway of Lent

February 18, 2015

IMG_0467Lent begins today and is traditionally a time for fasting and reflection and “giving up stuff”.  It takes place over the 40 days leading up to Easter, and those who practice this spiritual tradition often ask one another, “What are you giving up for Lent this year?” For me, when I have actually chosen to enter into Lent, it usually means giving something up that I would really, really, really, really miss.  A guilty pleasure.  Wine.  Coffee.  Binge-watching my latest series.   Read the rest of this entry »

Your Vote Counts

November 8, 2014

The mid-term elections are over.

Yes, I voted.

No, I wasn’t happy with the results.

Thankfully I didn’t have to add insult to injury with the guilt I would have felt if I hadn’t sent in my ballot. From my first experience going to the polls and filling out my ballot in the privacy of a voting booth, Read the rest of this entry »

Margins

September 13, 2014

The Need For Space by Molly Davis

Imagine a book in which the pages have no margins, or a photo where the image fills the frame with no space in which to sit.  The empty space is as important as the rest.  For it is the emptiness in which the words fill the page, the art the canvas, the photo the wall.  Without it the power of the words and beauty of the image is lost. Or at best, diminished. In order to be fully there, they have need of some  space.  So do we. Read the rest of this entry »

The Practice of Practice

September 12, 2014

Practice what you practice. 

Whatever you practice, you become good at.

Glenwood - Jan - March 2008 & RLP 070

​K​now that you are practicing something in every moment.

You may be practicing ​self loathing​, kindness, anger​, acceptance, love, fear or  grace. If you are not practicing something consciously, you will be doing so unconsciously.

So, be conscious of what you are practi​c​ing now.  Kno​w that whatever you are nurturing​ ​will encourage or discourage you.

(thank you, Ann-Marie Ahye)

A Tender Heart…

February 24, 2011

There are  COMMON THREADS that connect us as human beings. We often can’t see them or find them, UNTIL we are willing to expose our own.

Being vulnerable can be terrifying. We’ve all presented our vulnerable selves at one time or another and been met with judgment and ridicule. Next time we considered being vulnerable we paused a bit, predicted the outcome. Then maybe chose to withhold…protecting ourselves and sheltering our tenderness.

The ability to be vulnerable again often comes from having held on to too much pain …simply no more room. Or, “we’re mad as hell and we aren’t gonna take it any longer.” Or, the knowledge that we are part of a mighty whole and that sharing our soft spots might help someone else to exercise their strengths.

Today I am so moved by a dear friend who did just that. She used her own unfathomable grief to shed light on the darkness that so many carry. Her vulnerability allowed others to know that they are not alone, that their pain and loss matter. By telling her story she brought gentleness and celebration where there can often be secrets and denial.

A common thread thoughtfully exposed connects us as human beings, therefore connecting us to our own humanity.

YOU MIGHT WANT TO SIT DOWN FOR THIS ONE

http://hollyedexter.blogspot.com

Long ago, we decided that when we saw beauty in anyone or anything we would notice it and appreciate it.  Every time we see a woman with lovely eyes, beautiful skin, a kind heart or gentle spirit shared with the world, we speak our appreciation to that person.

Those few words of goodness can change the course of the day for the waitress serving us breakfast, the grocery clerk packing our bags or the exhausted receptionist checking us in for our doctor’s appointment.  We have come to understand that everyone is blessed with their own unique kind of beauty, and once we make the choice to not only see it, but appreciate it, we find ourselves surrounded by the miraculous in the midst of the ordinary.  And, the most astounding insight has been that when we choose to extend goodness in the midst of this imperfect world, we receive that goodness back in abundance.

Where might you see beauty in the midst of your day?  To whom could you extend goodness, and in the extending, receive in abundance?

“When we are mindful, we notice that another person suffers. The other person may be a husband, a wife, or a child. If one person suffers, that person needs to talk to someone in order to get relief. We have to offer our presence, and we have to listen deeply to the other person who is suffering. That is the practice of love–deep listening. But if we are full of anger, irritation, and prejudices, we don’t have the capacity to listen deeply to the people we love. If people we love cannot communicate with us, then they will suffer more. Learning how to listen deeply is our responsibility. We are motivated by the desire to relieve suffering. That is why we listen. We need to listen with all our heart, without intention to judge, condemn, or criticize. And if we listen in that way for one hour, we are practicing true love. We don’t have to say anything; we just need to listen.      “The essence of love and compassion is understanding, the ability to recognize the physical, material, and psychological suffering of others, to put ourselves “inside the skin” of the other.  When we are in contact with another’s suffering, a feeling of compassion is born in us. Compassion means literally “to suffer with.”    –Thich Nhat Hanh

Thank you Quma Learning & Dennis Deaton

Morning Offering

April 14, 2010

Thoughts On Grace:
“I bless the night that nourished my heart
To set the ghosts of longing free
Into the flow and figure of dream
That went to harvest from the dark
Bread for the hunger no one sees.
All that is eternal in me
Welcomes the wonder of this day,
The field of brightness it creates
Offering time for each thing
To arise and illuminate.
I place on the altar of dawn:
The quiet loyalty of breath,
The tent of thought where I shelter,
Waves of desire I am shore to
And all beauty drawn to the eye.
May my mind come alive today
To the invisible geography
That invites me to new frontiers,
To break the dead shell of yesterdays,
To risk being disturbed and changed.
May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for

And waste my heart on fear no more.”

poem by John O’Donohue

The Courage to Blossom

April 7, 2010

“and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”   Ananis Nin

art by lisa kaser, www.lisakaser.com

THE BEE.

Like trains of cars on tracks of plush
I hear the level bee:
A jar across the flowers goes,
Their velvet masonry

Withstands until the sweet assault
Their chivalry consumes,
While he, victorious, tilts away
To vanquish other blooms.

His feet are shod with gauze,
His helmet is of gold;
His breast, a single onyx
With chrysoprase, inlaid.

His labor is a chant,
His idleness a tune;
Oh, for a bee’s experience
Of clovers and of noon!

by Emily Dickenson