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Archive for May, 2007

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ENLIGHTENMENT

Understanding well birth and death
You realize no birth.
Whoever understands true emptiness
Is clear about what I say.

– GIAC THANH –

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It’s 11:30 pm. I woke up at 5 am, having gone to sleep during Jimmy Kimmel–some time after midnight. I needed a little company in my lonely motel room at the Best Western.

I did my morning yoga practice; worked; drove 4 hours; returned calls; plowed through accumulated mail and email; did a phone session with a client; ate fresh raspberries and Stonyfield Yogurt for dinner and now I am brain dead.

Somewhere back in the deep recesses of my brain, there is a lot going on. I’m excited about everything I experienced and learned in the last three days and I’m sure I’ll have something to say about it before too long…there’s a article rattling around in there, I think–maybe several articles…we’ll just have to see what comes. Right now, nothing…I just want to be a vegetable…maybe I should call my little friend, Madeleine who knows how to party!

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This was Madeleine’s bubblicious “Happy Cake” day…Of course, she invited Blake…

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And her Nannie…my younger daughter, Grace…

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The chocolates are holding their own…me too…

Presence

Through presence, I will create a refuge
where dignity can be restored,
where the essence of others can be discovered,
where cultural blindness can be erased.

It is here that I bring presence to my relationships.
creating what is possible in a friendship–
where the history of my essential being can meet with another,
never to be erased by time or distance.

It is here that I know that I am never alone,
because the presence of others lingers in my heart.
When presence mirrors truth, I discover my own inherent majesty,
remembering who I am.

In the full acceptance of the moment,
presence allows me to let go the fears of childhood
and to embrace the truth within myself.
It is here that my darkness can be embraced and dispelled,
allowing profound intimacy to be born and nurtured.

In seeing life’s shadows as well as its light,
I can dedicate myself to embrace diversity
and to build community.
By promising the gift of time to appreciate myself and others,
I am at one with Spirit,
exalting in the microcosm of universal creativity,
and the mindfulness that is.

In this moment, I am presence.

– RONALD JUE –

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A long day…a long drive…now a night at The Best Western in Haverhill, MA. Here with some of my Appreciative Inquiry colleagues to do a “Summit” for over two hundred people. Old friends, new friends…exciting material.

Now is the accepted time, not tomorrow, not some more convenient season.

It is today that our best work can be done and not some future day or future year.

It is today that we fit ourselves for the greater usefulness of tomorrow.

Today is the seed time, now are the hours of work, and tomorrow comes the harvest and the play-time.

– W.E.B. DUBOIS –

ps. I must keep reminding myself that chocolate is not my friend…those five little foil wrapped wafers are continuously calling to me….

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Today I spend time with my father and my brother. It’s a beautiful day and we go to our favorite cafe for lunch. Dad gradually inhabits himself; his mind sharpening as though slowly, slowly coming into focus.

After Dave leaves, I drive Dad around on the back roads of Goshen. The fields are freshly cut; the smell of hay and manure combines with lilacs and locust blossoms. I love this time together. He is delighted to be “free.”

Later in his file of writings, I find this 3 x 5 card…

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This was the credo of The Vicks Chemical Company when they hired my Dad in the late 1940’s. H. Smith Richardson Sr.–whose thinking and philosophy inspired the creation of the Center for Creative Leadership–built Vicks from a single drugstore operation into a major multinational corporation. It was the first and only company my father ever worked for. To this day, he talks about “idea-ability” and acknowledges and delights in any act of creativity.

As my father ages–actually, as we both age–I see and understand the young man in him. I see the roots of his perspective and appreciate and enjoy knowing him better. His is a living legacy–the ever-present capacity to pay attention to and celebrate what is right and good in life.

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It’s been snowing cottonwood fluff for the last two days…we have a serious accumulation and tomorrow may bring blizzard conditions! This usually goes on for several weeks. It’s always just before the peonies are chewed open by tiny brown ants and right when the allium and iris are in bloom…no small wonder that our property is loaded with cottonwood trees. Wild phlox and locust trees are blossoming…the air is incredibly fragrant.

Tonight I call my father and he is very confused. He wonders where I am and what happened to his wife. He tells me that he thinks we must not have a very good relationship–that he must have done something wrong because I don’t come to see him very often. I am momentarily defensive…”Dad,” I say, “I have to work. I have children and grandchildren and a husband and a home to take of and I live on the other side of the county, and I see you every week at least once.” He’s still not with me…”Why do you have to work?” he says. “Isn’t the money I make enough?” I see where this is going and tell him that I love him very much and that I think that we have a great relationship. I explain that I am working because I enjoy it and because I have financial obligations. Slowly, he begins to understand.

I realize that we are gradually letting each other go…and that he’s right…I don’t see him as often as I used to when I was doing his laundry, his grocery shopping, counting out his pills for the week and taking him to his doctor’s appointments. I miss him and do what I can to balance my life…sometimes it seems like so many plates are spinning at once–I wonder how we can hold on, even while we’re letting go…

Hold on to what is good
even if it is
a handful of earth.

Hold on to what you believe
even if it is
a tree which stands by itself.

Hold on to what you must do
even if it is
a long way from here.

Hold on to my hand even when
I have gone away from you.

– NANCY WOOD –

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Let us be at peace with our bodies and our minds.
Let us return to ourselves and become wholly ourselves.

Let us be aware of the source of being,
common to us all and to all living things.

Evoking the presence of the Great Compassion,
let us fill our hearts with our own compassion—
towards ourselves and towards all living beings.

Let us pray that we ourselves cease to be
the cause of suffering to each other.

With humility, with awareness of the existence of life,
and of the suffering that are going on around us,
let us practice the establishment of peace in our hearts and on earth.

– THICH NHAT HANH –

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