Tuesday, July 24, 2018


Baz and I are up here for the night. It's 82 degrees right now -- at nearl midnight -- and this trip has been one of the hardest things I've ever done with him. He's a real toddler now. It's hellish and sweet at the same time.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Frank Ostaseski

Heart Practice

The thread of heart runs through everything. For me, a path with no heart is not a path for human beings. That seems to be an important part of spiritual practice to recognize and appreciate the heart of Being. It is also what helps us deal with conflict and difficult emotions.

Have you ever noticed what happens when your partner gives you that disapproving look?  Or maybe she/he uses that tone of voice, (Isn't it interesting how in our mind she/he is the only one in the world that uses that certain tone of voice?)

The trigger happens and out of nowhere, there’s this whole felt sense of dread or anger, refusal or deep sadness.

Usually, we are not even aware of what is happening. Te nervous system is just firing away in response to a collection of object relations. Before I know it I'm reacting and defending in the way I did as a teenager! I realize—at a cellular level—that my entire personality was designed to never go toward this particular feeling of being helpless, unloveable, inadequate or vulnerable.

Before I know it, we get sidetracked with our words, with thoughts about our emotions with all our strategies, which are always designed to move away from the felt experience. And the inevitable result is that the emotions escalate.

I’m sure this only happens to me….probably not any of you!

Meditation can help interrupt this pattern. We can develop the capacity to allow us to feel strong emotions, live them, taste them, gain insight into them.

Suppose we didn’t battle with our experience. Allowed it to change, stay the same or go away. That is really is not your business. Our work is to hold it with loving awareness.

One way that works for me is to allow the emotion in all its glory and then to ask. "Is there any part of me that can be with this experience?"

Just that question inclines me toward discovering the deeper resources of my nature. The thread of heart.

Frequently it helps to unhook me from the habitual pattern which includes the way I attach stories to my emotions which escalates them and causes me to swept away, losing all perspective.

When I ask, "Is there any part of me that can be with this experience?"  I find much-needed perspective an often something more essential like compassion emerges. Then I allow the two to meet allowing the destructive out of control emotion and its physical manifestations like my clenched jaw, my tight chest to mingle with the compassion or other wholesome qualities that have been evoked by the question.

I’ve found relief from my suffering not by turning away but by turning toward what is most difficult with heart. This helps me to regulate…and gradually I see and feel something that is more substantive and more true that my emotional reactivity.

So, the balance doesn’t come through control or denial. There is no value in denial. There is no freedom in those strategies.
Freedom comes from seeing more of the truth and feeling the thread of heart.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Albert Einstein on problem-solving

No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it. We must learn to see the world anew.

Monday, July 16, 2018

My junior conductor

This, after I deactivated Facebook

Granted, editing your real life isn't always as easy as erasing a line of text. If you've carried emotional baggage or held on to an unhealthy relationship for a long time, these may be difficult to edit out. But when you do cut out what isn't working from your life, you'll feel lighter and more alive. Editing out activities that you find stressful, disassociating yourself from people that drain your energy, and letting go of your emotional baggage are all beneficial cuts you can make. In the empty spaces that are left behind, you can add in anything you like. Just as you have the power to edit out negative situations or beliefs that you no longer wish to have as part of your life, you can now include the kinds of positive experiences, people, and beliefs that you would like to fill your life with. 

Friday, July 13, 2018

Take it from Aesop

There was once a Wolf who got very little to eat because the Dogs of the village were so wide awake and watchful. He was really nothing but skin and bones, and it made him very downhearted to think of it.
One night this Wolf happened to fall in with a fine fat House Dog who had wandered a little too far from home. The Wolf would gladly have eaten him then and there, but the House Dog looked strong enough to leave his marks should he try it. So the Wolf spoke very humbly to the Dog, complimenting him on his fine appearance.

"You can be as well-fed as I am if you want to," replied the Dog. "Leave the woods; there you live miserably. Why, you have to fight hard for every bite you get. Follow my example and you will get along beautifully."

"What must I do?" asked the Wolf.

"Hardly anything," answered the House Dog. "Chase people who carry canes, bark at beggars, and fawn on the people of the house. In return you will get tidbits of every kind, chicken bones, choice bits of meat, sugar, cake, and much more beside, not to speak of kind words and caresses."

The Wolf had such a beautiful vision of his coming happiness that he almost wept. But just then he noticed that the hair on the Dog's neck was worn and the skin was chafed.

"What is that on your neck?"

"Nothing at all," replied the Dog.

"What! nothing!"

"Oh, just a trifle!"

"But please tell me."

"Perhaps you see the mark of the collar to which my chain is fastened."

"What! A chain!" cried the Wolf. "Don't you go wherever you please?"

"Not always! But what's the difference?" replied the Dog.

"All the difference in the world! I don't care a rap for your feasts and I wouldn't take all the tender young lambs in the world at that price." And away ran the Wolf to the woods.

There is nothing worth so much as liberty.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

As seen on Facebook

Every time I write to a former friend, I'm sorry I did it.
Every time I post something that I consider something significant on Facebook, I'm disappointed in the lack of response.
Every time I eat an entire bag of peanut-butter cups from Trader Joe's, I have regrets.
Somehow these things all seem connected.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Gilman and San Pablo

I used to hit this intersection every day on my way to work. Half the time my car's engine would flood and it would die. One day my naive ass ran over to the guy lying on the bench. "Sorry, honey," he said when I asked for help. "I've been pushing bottles all night."

Oh, I thought. Poor man. He works in a bottle factory. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Today's Daily OM

And life is more of an improvisation than it is like a play whose lines have already been written, whose end is already known. Like an improviser, we have choices to make and the more we embrace the illusionary quality of the performance, the lighter we can be on the planet, on others, and on ourselves. We can truly play with the shadows cast by the light of the projector, fully engaging without getting bogged down.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Beginning of an essay

Life, Abridged

You would be pressing up against 13 now. Could be we wouldn’t get along at all. You’re not guaranteed a friend when you have a child. You’re not even guaranteed that child will be born healthy or be born at all.

Daily OM nails me

Drama, however disastrous, can be exciting and stimulating. But the thrill of pandemonium eventually begins to frustrate the soul and drain the energy of all who embrace it. To halt this process, we must understand the root of our drama addiction, be aware of our reactions, and be willing to accept that a serene, joyful life need not be a boring one. 

Many people, so used to living in the dramatic world they create, feel uncomfortable when confronted with the prospect of a lifetime of peace and contentment. The drama in their lives serves multiple purposes. Upset causes excitement, prompting the body to manufacture adrenaline, which produces a pleasurable surge of energy. 


When you confront your emotional response to drama and the purpose it serves in your life, you can reject it. Each time you consciously choose not to take part in dramatic situations or associate with dramatic people, you create space in your inner being that is filled with a calm and tranquil stillness and becomes an asset in your quest to lead a more centered life. 

Sunday, July 1, 2018


I highly recommend taking 24 hours away from your life. Rent an AirBnB, get up early, listen to the hum of the window-box air conditioner and the chatter of Animal Planet. Drink coffee. Grapple with the fact that it's going to reach 98 today. Plan your trip to Murphys. And then home. Blessed and sweet, and missed.