If you insist on having expectations, go ahead and have them. Just be sure that you’ll be able to relinquish them at a moment’s notice! (Therein lies wonder!)
If you insist on having expectations, go ahead and have them. Just be sure that you’ll be able to relinquish them at a moment’s notice! (Therein lies wonder!)
From a reader:
I’ve been practicing your idea of radiating love, and I want to tell you some things that I have noticed.
The first thing I want to tell you is how good it feels! I practiced it like you said, all the time. All the practice must have paid off, because now I find that I’m not practicing it any more, but I’m just doing it. And I am awed by how wonderful it feels. It’s like I walk in a circle of sparkling energy. I automatically feel great appreciation for how I feel.
But it’s more than feeling good. All of a sudden I realize that I’m not as envious of other people as I have always been. It’s like I’m forgetting to be dissatisfied. Also, I’m not as bothered by things as usual. Not even as bothered by politics. It’s not like I don’t care, I’m not saying that. But I’m not all anxious and afraid.
I don’t know how I seem to others. No one has told me anything like I look beautiful, or I’m so calm. But beautiful and calm is exactly how I feel. Thank you for all your teachings.
I’ve got a string tied around my finger.
We’ve been on our fall migration south, and in all the activity and stress of moving, I misplaced my intention to radiate love and practice receptivity. It’s relatively easy to maintain my practice when my days are more or less regular. But sometimes I need a reminder, and tying a string around my finger does the trick. Plus, it’s kind of fun.
Love and receptivity. One string will do for both.
Did you notice that this is the 200th Tenacity Notes?
When I practice receptivity, I can feel all my defenses and protections fall away. It is exhilarating!
It is also terrifying.
Then I realize that the terrifying part has to do with having stepped into the future. Or more accurately, attempting to step into the future. It’s anxiety about what it might mean to be so free of defenses. When I stay in the present, in the experience of the fall away, there is only exhilaration and wonder.
Maybe there’s a lesson here about stepping out of present time. Why do it?
How much of our fear, anxiety, depression, apprehension, disappointment, etc. is the result of stepping out of present time?
I’m trying to reconcile two images:
1. Arms thrown wide open, saying Yes! to life.
2. Radiating love.
There is a powerful vulnerability in arms thrown wide open, a vulnerability that I don’t sense in radiating love. So I wonder, with radiating love am I creating a safe place from which to live my life? A place to hide in? How do I reconcile the vulnerability of arms thrown wide open with the contentment of radiating love?
If I add the energy of receptivity to radiating love, I accomplish the reconciliation. Receptivity fosters vulnerability. And the other thing it does is it prevents my radiating love from becoming some form of giving. It’s too easy for me to involve my ego and feel groovy that I’m radiating love to all and sundry — and then it isn’t actually love that I’m radiating. Including the energy of receptivity brings a vulnerability that my ego can’t tolerate. And without the involvement of ego, I can radiate a truer, purer love.
So this week, it’s all about love and receptivity. Also this week, and next week and the week after, it’s our autumnal Snowbird migration. We’re on the way to our winter home in Blanco State Park in Blanco, Texas. Yee-haw!
The more I practice radiating love, the more aware I am of when, and how often, I’m not radiating love.
At first, I practiced simply shifting from not radiating love to radiating love. It is a lovely practice, and I appreciate it. Truly, I cannot radiate love and at the same time be fearful or judgmental.
But now I’ve begun to ask myself, and often this is after the fact, if I’m not radiating love, what am I radiating? And why? And then I ask, why not radiate love in this situation? What is so scary about surrendering to love right here and now?
I have come to recognize that there are forces in the universes that are more proficient at managing details than I am. When I focus on the details, all I really do is limit possibility.
When I concern myself with what the effect of my radiating love should be, I am focusing on details and putting limitations on the effect of my radiating.
If however, I just radiate love, and let the details sort themselves out, or be sorted out by those forces in the universes more proficient than I, then what will be the effect of my radiating? Who knows? And who am I to limit it?
So I just radiate love. That is sufficient. That is the very best I can do.
Sometimes I catch myself imagining the energy of love traveling out from me and touching others. Even more, I imagine those shorts bursts of energy influencing the others.
But that’s not radiating, that’s directing. Pointing. Attempting to control. Judging the others as needing that energy. And that’s not love. And so I return to radiating. Just that. No other intent.
Appreciation and gratitude beget more opportunities for appreciation and gratitude.
Radiating love begets joy.
A negative perspective begets more opportunities to be bummed out.
I’m radiating love! Here’s how I do it.
I imagine that the energy of love appears as short bursts of sparkling energy. Rather like these dashes – - but bright.
Radiating love is simply this: imagining those short bursts of bright energy radiating out from me. That’s it.
I practiced radiating love diligently for a couple of years in the min-1980s. Every moment I could, I imagined short bursts of sparking energy radiating from me — walking down the hallway at work, petting the dog, doing the dishes, driving, grocery shopping, getting my hair cut, gardening, on hold, in line, falling asleep, waking up, cleaning the house, etc. etc. The results in my life were very nice indeed at the time, and they have been ongoing and long-lasting.
That’s all it is. I don’t to try to feel any particular thing, or think any particular thing. I don’t imagine myself as beautiful or bright or righteous or holy. I just imagine that I’m radiating short bursts of sparkling energy, and I know that it’s the energy of love.
It takes awareness. And it takes practice. I invite you to practice it with me all this week. (I think you may notice that it’s impossible to radiate love and at the same time hold onto any gloomy or judgmental or otherwise negative perspective.) But let me know how it is for you.
FYI I’m putting all the old Breath and Water Club newsletters on a site that has a search function. I don’t have them all on there yet, but you can visit the site at breathandwater.com
Helen Keller said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
I must view this business of radiating love as a daring adventure, or it’ll turn into nothing. What I mean is, it’s not a walk in the park!
There are times when I steadfastly resist the whole idea of radiating love — times when I’d rather be crabby or feel put upon. But when I can remind myself that radiating love is a daring adventure that I’ve set off on, then I can surrender my resistance and just do it — because I want to be on an adventure, and I want to see where the adventure lands me.
I have no doubt that this practice of radiating love is taking me on a path to me to discovering me. And I trust that where it lands me will be somewhere that I’ll recognize as a place where I’ve always wanted to be.
I’m curious about where this practice will take me, and my curiosity drives me on.
I have decided that there is nothing more important for me to do in my life than to radiate love.
Shall I tell you how I’m doing it?
Mirror, mirror everywhere.
I am more and more aware of the way other people provide a mirror for me. For example, at the Y the other day, the woman at the desk scolded me soundly because I had my cell phone in my hand as I checked out. I wasn’t talking on it, and I’d put it in my hand to remind myself to go to Natural Harvest Co-op after I left the Y, but she didn’t know that.
Going to my car I said aloud to myself, “Jeez, bossy!” Then I had to laugh, because the thing is — I have been every bit as bossy and unpleasant as she, and not just once either.
Every time I am inclined to be even the least bit judgmental of someone, I look around in my life and discover that I have been the same at some point, perhaps yesterday, perhaps 40 years ago. Really, every time!
This realization helps me to be compassionate towards others, and compassionate towards myself. It’s a practice in humility, and it’s rather fun — I get to laugh at my own foibles, and I get to appreciate the ways I’ve changed.
This week, pay attention to the mirrors in your life.
(Warning: disgusting image ahead)
When I find myself indulging in old, not-helpful, habitual patterns of thought or feeling, I suggest to myself that I am “stewing in my own shit.” That image is so thoroughly disgusting that all I can do is roll my eyes at myself, and switch. I take a breath, chuckle at myself with fondness and a touch of chagrin, and switch to a thought or feeling that lifts me out of that noisome stew. No matter how stubbornly I want to stay put in the old way, after I bring that image up there is no way I can stay. I mean, yuk. Try it, you’ll see.
Once I get out, and shake myself off, as it were, I can look at the situation and see how I managed to end up in the old pattern. Then I can re-live the situation in my imagination, and choose a different path to a different and sweeter outcome.
Maybe my image is just too disgusting for you. I can understand that. For me, it’s so outrageous that it pulls me right back to present time, back to the me that knows a thing or two, and can make different choices. For that reason, I like it. Go ahead and pick a different image to try if you want, you don’t have to use mine. But pick one that will get your attention. And pick one that makes it clear that it is your response to a situation that causes the stink, not the situation itself. It’s my shit, and therefore I can do something about it. If I’m convinced that it’s somebody else’s shit, I’m powerless. In fact, if I’m convinced it’s somebody else’s shit, I’m the victim, which is an old, habitual, and definitely not-helpful pattern of mine!
Let me know.
I’d been thinking about structure and the freedom that can be found within it, and about the value of practice, when someone sent me a link to this Oprah/Deepak Chopra 21-day on-line guided meditation thing. Hmmm, I thought, synchronistic timing. Structure and practice.
It can be easier to build your structure on an already existing one, rather than trying to do it all alone. And the support of a group can be very helpful. Think AA. Think the Breath and Water Club. Think Tenacity Notes!
So I checked it out, and here’s my report. Today is day 1, although day 1 stays current on the web site for a few days, so it’s ok to start late. The guided meditation is not long, nor, if today is any guide, is it directive. There is also an online journal, with a few questions to ponder and write about. And a thought for the day. It’s free. Maybe you’ll want to check it out, and hitch up with this already existing structure and practice.
https://chopracentermeditation.com/home/?acode=oprah (It was a bit of a puzzle to get signed up, but maybe that’s just me.)
Let me know.
Readers sent these questions about Everyone Is Doing The Best They Can: You say everyone is doing the best they can, but wait — what if someone is being mean to me, is treating me disrespectfully? What if my son-in-law is cheating on my daughter? What if my brother is mean to his dog? What if other people’s best is just not good enough?
What, you asked me, do I say to that?
Well, there’s way more to say to that than I can fit into this newsletter. Disturbing people bring great gifts. You’ll have to read my book! By the way, before I go further on the path to publication, I could use a few readers to read the manuscript and tell me what you think. Let me know if you’re interested.
But one thing I can say for sure: do the best you can. Live your life to the best of your ability. Don’t do to anyone else what you wouldn’t want done to you. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Have faith — faith in yourself, in your ability to live your life to the best of your ability. Have confidence in yourself and have curiosity about life. Practice appreciation.
Let that be the context within which you interact with those others.
And let me know.
I’m on a vacation of sorts for the next couple of weeks — grandchildren are visiting. But that doesn’t mean that I am unavailable. Please call me and write to me as you wish. They may be young and energetic, but they do go to bed!
In the meantime, please don’t forget about generosity. Increase it. Enhance it. Dwell in it. Become it. Surrender to it. Allow it. Love it. Just do it!
Again this week, throw your arms wide open and say “YES!” to life as you find it.
Please let me know.
P.S. I added a page to my Web site, on the Where Is Jett? page http://www.savvypsychic.com/whereisjett.html. If you go to that page, and then click on See where I am now, you’ll see where I was last summer, which is also where I am this summer. I’m sorry I didn’t post last summer’s page sooner. I thought I had, but when I recently went looking for it, it wasn’t there. I finally found it, and posted it. I hope you enjoy the photos.
Living as though everyone is doing the best they can is an act of generosity.
Are there other ways you can be more generous? Ways you can take your generosity to the next level?
Think about any way you might be a bit stingy in your life, and turn it around. Are you stingy with your affection? With your approval? With your stuff? With your money? With your time? Do you tend to expect the worst from life? Are you stingy with self love?
This week, catch yourself being less than generous. Turn it around.
This week, throw your arms wide open and say “YES!” to life.
Let me know.
This week, live as though everyone is doing the best they can.
I may think that this one or that one should do better, but then thinking that wouldn’t be me doing my best, and I know it. Let me just assume, for just this week at least, that everyone is doing their best. Where will that take me? In what way will my life be different?
This week, have tremendous compassion. Everyone is doing the best they can. As Pat Humphries sings, “We’re all swimming to the other side.”
Try it. Where does it take you? How is your day-to-day life different?
Let me know.
Take it to the next level.
Do you practice conscious breathing every morning? Add a few minutes. Do you run a mile every day? Run a little bit more. Do you write 500 words a day? Write 550. Or maybe it’s something you’re not doing. Are you trying to smoke less? This week, smoke even fewer cigarettes. Are you trying to complain less? This week, make appreciation your main perspective.
This week pick one thing in your life and take it to the next level. Take the next step. And let me know how it goes.
I’ve quoted from Nygaard Notes before. I’m doing it again. I consider Nygaard to be a clear thinker and a clear communicator, and his idea of “anchors” is useful. I suggest you read the entire issue, #532. http://www.nygaardnotes.org/ Here are parts from that issue. Read to the end and see my comments.
Question: What kind of fish performs brain operations?
Answer: A neurosturgeon!
You may or may not think this is funny (I think it’s funny), but the point here is that one cannot “get” this joke—or any joke—without connecting it to some things that one already knows. You’d have to know that a sturgeon is a kind of fish, for instance. And you’d have to know the name for a person who does brain operations. And you’d have to know that fish don’t generally perform surgery (as far as we know). The point here is that every joke relies on the listener having some previous knowledge, and this odd little answer to this odd little question becomes funny ONLY when connected to that previous knowledge.
Here’s the thing: This doesn’t apply only to jokes. Actually, no fact or bit of information that we come across has any meaning unless and until it is connected—in our brains—to something that’s already there. …So, we should all be very interested in what is “already there” in our brains, since it gives meaning to your world and mine. And, when enough people share the same existing base of ideas, then the meaning shifts, in practical terms, from being your world or my world to being the world.
…In previous issues of Nygaard Notes I have referred to this pre-existing knowledge of the world as our ABCs: Our Attitudes, Beliefs, and Conceptions about how the world works. …Since incoming information needs to attach to something in order to stick in our brains and mean something, the things to which they stick can be thought of as “anchors.” Sometimes these anchors can be trivial, such as knowing that fish don’t do surgery. But sometimes they can be quite important, shaping our understanding of the world in critical ways. An example from the personal level will illustrate.
One important idea that is believed by many people is the idea that “I am a bad person.” This is the basis of the “shame dynamic” that I discussed back in the year 2000 in Nygaard Notes #100 (“The Psychology of White Racism, Part 2”).
When a person with this belief is told, for example, that he or she has a book overdue at the library, the meaning of that fact will be something like, “Here’s more evidence of what an idiot I am!” The anchor here is my nature as a person who is stupid, incompetent, unorganized, or otherwise “bad” (as I define it), which the fact of the overdue book serves to reinforce. Such little things can be sufficiently embarrassing for a shame-based person that they may put off even longer the returning of the book. If, on the other hand, my anchor, or underlying belief, is that “I am a good person,” then the same overdue notice will likely produce a feeling of gratitude, or relief, for having been given the information needed to do the right thing, which is after all the primary concern of a “good person.” This is an example of how one piece of information can have different meanings, depending on the “anchor” that exists in the mind of the listener before the information ever comes in. Any incoming fact (like an overdue book) gets attached to that anchor and takes on its meaning only when it is so attached. And, as we see in this example, the same bit of information can be immobilizing or paralyzing for the person who anchors all incoming messages to their feelings of shame, or activating or motivating for the person whose anchor is high self-esteem. The facts don’t change, but meaning changes, and thus behavior changes, depending on the nature of the anchor to which the facts attach.
I have said before: I stalk my beliefs. This is why. I want to be able to name my anchors, my ABCs — my Attitudes, Beliefs, and Conceptions. Our ABCs determine our perspective and inform our expectations. What are your ABCs — about yourself, about the world, about what should be, about everything?
Let me know. Thanks.
By the way, I was wrong about no more frost before Labor Day. Scattered frost all around up here this morning! Had to cover the tomatoes!
I want to revisit appreciation.
Do you ever wreck your present time experience by worrying about what might or could or should happen in the future? Or by thinking about something that happened or didn’t happen in the past?
Try appreciating your present experience instead. Let go of all the what ifs, should haves, could haves, and mights. Be in your present time moment with as much appreciation as you can muster. And let me know how it goes.
In case you’re wondering, I’m living in Iron (also known as Iron Junction) Minnesota for the summer. The North Country. It’s beautiful up here. We had a hard frost last week, but now people are planting their tomatoes, so hopefully there’ll be no more frosts before Labor Day!
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote:
“Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
I’ve been thinking about demons, and about being possessed by them, and about what a commonplace experience that is.
If a demon is something outside of you that can posses you and take you over, then your beliefs, your expectations, even your values and goals can be demons. A demon is anything that is not of your own essence and that can control you.
What are your beliefs? What are your expectations? Your values? Your goals? Are they truly yours? Or are they demons that stalk you, that perhaps have been stalking you for most of your life?
Do you doubt your own beauty? Consider that doubt a demon. Banish it! Do you believe that life is meant to be hard? Another demon! Perhaps you have a goal to achieve this or that. Is it truly your own goal, or was it imposed upon you by your family, your culture, your religion? If so, consider it a demon. Banish it!
I know “demon” is an odd word for me to use, a religious word. But it is a good and useful concept. Because, really, who would want to consort with demons? Name your constricting beliefs demons and you may find it easier to stop hanging around with them. Get thee behind me, demon!
What demons stalk you?
While navigating a difficult situation with a commitment to make the best of it, I found that the situation did not have the power to confound me. Challenge me, yes. But not cause me distress. And as it went along, I kept finding silver linings. If I hadn’t been making the best of it, if I had been grumbling, feeling like a victim, being judgmental — any of the ways I have of being defended — I wouldn’t have noticed the silver linings. Making the best of it revealed silver linings that I would otherwise have sworn could not be there.
Notice: My internet provider has informed me that my email address must change. (Another opportunity to make the best of it!) My new address is email@example.com. My old address, firstname.lastname@example.org, will work for a while yet, but please change my address in your address book now, since I’ll begin using the new address soon. That way, you’ll avoid having Tenacity Notes end up in your junk mail. Thanks.
If you’re curious, we’re staying in a campground in Apple Valley, a southern suburb of Minneapolis, and we’ll stay here for 2 weeks. It’s very nice to be back in the Twin Cities for awhile.
I’m having plenty of practice in making the best of it. I find that at my best I am open-hearted and undefended. I also find that I am at my best in fits and starts. I trust that I’ll get better with practice!
We’re in the midst of the spring snowbird migration, and grounded in Osceola, Iowa for awhile. Another week and we should be in the Twin Cities, where we plan to stay for a week or two. Then up to northern Minnesota for the summer. At least that’s the plan as it stands now.
A reader writes: “I have a lot of distress in my life, and your idea that it is self-inflicted was insulting. At first. But since the idea came from you, I gave it my consideration. Grudgingly, I admit that you’re probably right. So I’ve made a list of all the things that cause me distress, and one at a time I’m trying to figure out how not to be distressed by them. This is a big deal for me, and it is not easily done. But I’ve told myself that I’ll try it religiously for two months, without judging the process as I go, then I’ll evaluate. I’m keeping a daily journal about it. Since you instigated this, I may be calling on you for your wise counsel. (That last sentence is meant fondly. Picture it with one of those smiley faces.)”
I like this reader’s organized approach. I’m eager to hear how it goes, and what her final evaluation is. And yes, she can call my any time. As can any of you.
I was sick in bed for awhile with pneumonia. Thus no Tenacity Notes last week. I’m pretty much better now. Having pneumonia put me in mind of death, and I’ve been thinking about a couple of people I know who’ve died. One of them thought a lot about how people — her children, her landlord, etc. — were messing with her. It distressed her greatly. The other spent a lot of time fussing about the people in her life, wanting them to live their lives differently. It distressed her greatly. And now they’re dead. I wonder: “Why? Why didn’t you focus on fulfillment? Why did you shroud yourself in defenses? Why didn’t you step free of them?”
Of course it’s not for me to analyze them. I don’t know their paths or purposes. I don’t know what they were learning here. (Unless of course they were clients, but that’s a whole different story)
But thinking about them has caused me to think about myself, and to wonder about the ways I inflict distress on myself. And so I ask of myself what I’d asked of them. These can be useful questions for all of us. What patterns of thought or behavior, what beliefs, what expectations do you have that hinder your happiness, that cause you distress, that move you away from fulfillment? Name them, recognize them when they show up, and then find a different way to think or act. Which is often easier said than done. Sometimes it will seem that you’re stubbornly committed to distressing yourself! But give your attention to it, and you’ll soon find that you’re not distressing yourself quite so much as you used to.
What do you think about this: most, if not all distress you experience is self-inflicted.
Let me know how it goes.
I was watching the wind as it was swirling the dust and blowing the leaves, and thinking how the wind is only known by the effects it causes. Love is like that. Love has no physicality — it can’t be described, like a tree or a person can be. It can only be described by the effects it causes. But unlike the wind, which is external to us, love can also be known by the internal effects it causes. And I can’t generate the wind, but I can generate love. How do I know I have done so? And what exactly are the effects that love causes? How exactly does one generate it?
Did you notice that the wind was swirling the dust and not the snow? While Minnesota is still in a snowy deepfreeze, I am in the midst of spring, spring about to turn to summer. We’ll be leaving Texas early in April, and hope to be back on the Iron Range by early May. We’ll follow spring, and the wind that accompanies it, to the northland. It’s been a great winter for me in Texas, and I’ll be sorry to leave my friends and clients and activities here. But I’m also eager to get back to the far northland, and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, and friends and family and clients up there. See you soon, hardy Minnesotans!
Wherever you are, I hope your seasonal transition is delightful.
Remember to always leave a conflict better than you found it.
Let me know how you do so.
This entire issue is from readers. The first 5 items are a list of things one reader noticed about gratitude while doing his daily list of 10 gratitudes.
1. It is possible to invoke a feeling of gratitude by an act of will. That surprised me; I thought one was either grateful, or one was not grateful. Apparently there is a latent gratitude there… all the time?
2. As I expected, there are many things that I take for granted and rarely think about. When I think about them, I remember how grateful I am for them. E.g. my fingers. my sense of smell; my legs. Ten trillion things!
3. Every difficulty seems to have a mirror — or mirrors — of blessing, and the choice to focus on one or the other is up to me. E.g. Do I curse my poor vision? Or give thanks for having vision in the first place? Or give thanks for my vision being fully correctible? Or, give thanks for all the things I’ve seen up to now, regardless of what I may see at the moment? etc etc.
4. When making the lists, I often felt grateful for my ability to feel gratitude.
5. One surprising thing that came into clear focus, and remains there: I am grateful for my ability to take things for granted. Just “doing” or “being” without consciousness is a tremendous gift! Then, when I can also bring these taken-for-granted things to my consciousness, that’s also a gift! Then I can be grateful for being so “OK” that I don’t have to think about it most of the time.
Another reader spoke to #5 in a way. Gratitude, she said, conscious gratitude, serves to slow down a life that is too busy. Gratitude gives her the space to have her experiences, as opposed to allowing her busyness to gloss over much of what she experiences. Yet another reader said much the same thing.
What did you notice?
Throw caution to the wind! Risk being your whole, unadulterated, unprotected, awesome self!
from Edna St. Vincent Millay:
“My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends —
It gives a lovely light!”
“Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand:
Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!”
Have you been writing your list of 10 things that you’re grateful for every morning? What have you noticed? Any particular insights?
If you haven’t been, why not?
Let me know.
It’s a wonder, our bodies’ natural inclination to heal and be whole. Sometimes a little nudge helps to support that natural inclination.
Debra taught me a technique she learned someplace. It’s a bedtime technique for healing. I use it a lot, like a mantra as I fall asleep, and I love it.
“Tonight my dreams solve the problem of my sore toe and cure it.” Fill in the blank — my sore toe, my anxiety about________, this cough, etc.
And it’s interesting to notice how the healing comes about. Sometimes it’s straightforward — my toe is soon just better. Sometimes it’s in strange and mysterious ways, ways that tell me that all of creation participates with our natural inclination to heal and be whole.
Hug Your Heart
Your heart is nestled in among the lobes of your lungs. When you breathe fully, your inflated lungs press on your heart. Think of this as your lungs hugging your heart. Breathe, and get a sense of your lungs and your heart interacting. See if you can inflate your lungs enough so that they exert a pressure on your heart. With practice, you will be able to feel it. You’ll be able to hug your heart.
We all experience a heartfelt yearning to be connected. That yearning is a thing of the heart — the heart knows unity and seeks it. The yearning for connection is a multi-leveled thing, and it has a physical component. Your heart knows the touch of your lungs, and your heart knows when that touch is not present. Which, with most of us, it seldom is. Little shallow breaths do not allow your lungs to embrace your heart.
Use the Hug Your Heart Breath during your morning breathing time. Especially use this breath when you become aware of a yearning for connection. Hug Your Heart. You will learn that connection is possible and that your yearning can be met.
This week, pay attention to your lungs.
Can you? Pay attention to your lungs?
Breathing with awareness can help you can get a sense of your lungs. Noticing your ribs in action can help you get a sense of your lungs. Practicing the Hug Your Heart breath can help you get a sense of your lungs. (Do you remember Hug Your Heart?)
When is my life?
Keep the question close, and ask it of yourself during the day. Ask it when you’re impatient, or worried, or judgmental. Ask it when you’re happy or sad. Ask it, but don’t be too quick to answer. Stay with the effect of the asking.
When I ask it, I get goose bumps. I get a jolt. Often I burst into laughter.
What happens to you when you ask “When is my life?”
About last weeks request for help:
I have contracted with an editor. Several of you said you’d like to read my manuscript and offer comments. When I’m through working with the editor, I’ll get in touch with some readers. Thanks a lot for your help.
This week’s Note is a request for help.
I have a manuscript that I have been working on, off and on, for about 8 years. Mostly off, actually. Nonetheless, it has reached the stage for an editor to look at it. I’ve gone over it several times, and a friend who is a writer has looked it over. I think it’s in pretty good shape. I know that some of you are writers, and some of you are even editors. If you might be interested in undertaking editing my MS, which I plan to publish as an eBook, please email me. Or if you know an editor you think I should contact, please tell me how to reach that person. Or if you’re interested in reading it and commenting, I imagine that would be helpful, too. It’s not a very long book, and it’s based on classes I taught for many years in Minneapolis.
I remember, when I first started teaching (1989), in one class hearing myself talk about 2013 as a time of great possibility. Not frequently, but sometimes when I was teaching, I’d say things that I didn’t intend to say and that I didn’t know I knew. I always thought of those times as inspiration.
From time to time over the years, the idea of 2013 as a time of positive development has come up again. Last night I dreamed I was driving a bus through old neighborhoods that were in the midst of a lot of positive development. I had a benevolent guide on the bus, someone with the voice of Morgan Freeman and the love of Martin Luther King, Jr. He guided me through the neighborhoods — communities of active, involved people — and out onto a broad and beautiful boulevard.
I hope that 2013 is a time of positive development for all of you.
Happy New Year.
After three days in bed with some kind of flu, my comfortable bed made it to my daily List of 10 Gratitudes. I’ve had my bed for many years, and I love it. As I put it on my list, I began thinking about all the people who made it possible for me have such a good bed — those who designed my bed, the people who built it, the UPS driver who delivered it so many years ago, the oil that powered his truck, the workers who got the oil, and those who built the truck. And on and on. My gratitude list expanded to include all of them, all of the entire story of my bed.
How far can my gratitude spread? Can it encompass the whole world? Not the whole world in general, but the whole world in it’s every specific manifestation? I don’t see why not.
To answer a sometimes asked question: Yes, you can give someone the gift of a reading from me. It’s easily done — simply reply to this email and tell me that’s what you want to do.
This holiday season, drink Sacred Water. (Sacred Wine, Sacred Soda Pop, Sacred Coffee, Sacred Tea, Sacred Cocktails, Sacred Juice, Sacred Milk…) Imbue everything you imbibe. Imbue it with a quality you’d like more of in your life.
Do you remember Imbue and Imbibe from the Breath and Water Club newsletter? In that example, I used the energy of appreciating the beauty all around me, but it could be any quality — joy, passion, humor, fun, tranquility, grace, robust health, loving others as they are, loving myself as I am, curiosity, generosity, acceptance, appreciation — anything. Bless whatever you imbibe — make it Sacred, make it Holy. Then drink it.
Here’s a reminder from issue #16, November 2005: For example, I pick up my glass of water, close my eyes, inhale, and feel myself filled with the energy of appreciating-the-beauty-all-around-me. As I exhale, I direct that energy into the water. I see, sense, imagine, know that the water filled with that energy. Then I drink it. I imbue the water, then I imbibe it. Imbue one glass at a time, or imbue a larger amount to drink during the day.
Happy, holy holidays!
Over the years, during readings, people have asked me about the New Age 2012 phenomenon. Is it really the end of the world, etc?
Every time I’ve been asked, I have “looked” anew. And every time, I’ve “seen” the same thing: there appears to be a shimmer of opportunity at this time; “this time” being a period of a few to several years. A shimmer of opportunity being a kind of thinning of the boundaries between dimensions; a kind of opening to possibility.
I’ve noticed that now people are talking about the specific date of December 21, 2012 as having some kind of significance in this New Age scenario. Will this be the actual end of the world, etc?
Every breath affords us the opportunity to send our lives down a particular path. There are times in our lives when a developmental shift accentuates that opportunity, and even seizes the opportunity if we don’t. Such developmental shifts do not happen in a day, or a month, or sometimes even a year. But they do happen. We experience such developmental imperatives throughout our lives. One example: when a child is ready to walk, the child will walk. It is a developmental imperative. And it is a process. And it cannot be stopped, except by extreme measures.
This whole 2012 phenomenon feels to me like a kind of universal developmental shift. It is a universal imperative, and, as with any developmental shift, it is a process.
Now, and for the next while, ride the shift. Enjoy yourself. Be curious and filled with wonder. (“Something is happening here, but you don’t know what it is, do you Mr. Jones?”)
Breathe. Drink water. Always leave a conflict better than you found it. And remember that there are two essential elements to any performance (any life) — joy and passion.
FYI: the quote is Bob Dylan.
A man I know told me that every morning he makes a list of 10 things he’s grateful for. I’ve been doing the same for the past couple of weeks, and I like it.
There are some ground rules: when you’re done every day, put your list in a drawer, or into a file someplace. Don’t look at yesterday’s list before you write today’s. At some point, a month or two down the road, look at your lists. But don’t look every day. Also, don’t use your list as an opportunity to compare, such as “I’m grateful I don’t have the unpleasant thing that so and so has.”
Try it, let me know what you think.
That which you resist persists. Resistance to adversity amplifies the adversity.
This week, observe, in yourself and others, resistance and non-resistance.
And practice the Breath of Wonder:
Inhale deeply. Look up, as if seeing the Northern Lights (or a swarm of butterflies, or the Milky Way).
Keep your eyes open while looking up and exhale, and out loud say “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh.” You know the sound — it’s what people exclaim when they see a stunning display of fireworks.
Do this for three consecutive breaths.
You can’t help but smile while you use this breath. It opens your heart.
Can you relinquish resentments?
Can you let go of grievances?
This week, uncover any grievances and resentments that you hold. Can you be done with them?
Let me know.
Here’s a good question to keep handy: “How can I make the best of this situation?”
Too often we expect someone else to make the best of the situation. We expect our boss to be more fair, our spouse to listen better, our children to be more forthcoming, our friend to be more supportive. But really, the only person on earth that you have any control over is you.
Try having it as your goal this week — to make the best of it.
In the past few weeks, it’s been reported to me or I’ve actually seen the following conditions either eliminated or vastly improved solely through people increasing the amount of water they drink every day: headaches, itchy skin, a bloated feeling, chronic cough, chronic constipation, cranky joints, muddled thinking, feeling stuck, feeling depressed.
What’s a therapeutic dose of water? Eight to twelve 12-ounce glasses of water a day, for at least several days. It depends on your body. There are 128 ounces in a gallon. And that’s water; not coffee or juice or tea. Water.
Add 15 minutes of intentional breathing twice a day, and Look Out! The sky’s the limit!
Have a good week.
By the way, we have arrived in our winter home — Blanco, Texas. As you may know, we live in a state park in Blanco, Blanco State Park. I’m sure when I was a girl I said, “I want to live in a state park!” It’s not unusual for me to find myself in situations that I’d wished for in the past. It’s fun to recognize them when they show up. Recognize and appreciate.
Blooming vs. remaining tight in the bud; take the utmost care and kindness in all things; smile; love the one you’re with; what do you emanate?; there are two essential elements to any performance – joy and passion; don’t do anything to anyone else that you wouldn’t want done to you; eschew expectations; always leave a conflict better than you found it; practice appreciation and wonder.
In one way or another, they’re all the same thing; and they’re all in Tenacity Notes. This week, practice something. (#90)
And read the back issues.
Many of you replied with appreciation for the question: “Am I tight in the bud, or am I blossoming?”
I was hiking one day at the Laurentian Divide recreation area, just north of Virginia, MN. It was a stunningly beautiful autumn day. I thought to wonder if I was tight in the bud or if I was blossoming. Immediately, and without any conscious intent on my part, I felt my shoulders move down and back, and my chest expand. And, briefly, I shifted from feeling joy hiking in the autumn woods to being joy in the autumn woods.
Many of us have long held patterns of remaining tight in the bud, patterns that are unlikely to just slip away. If you are at all intrigued with the idea of moving from being tight in the bud to blossoming, I have a suggestion. Practice diligently. Ask the question of yourself many times a day for many weeks. Right now and right here, am I tight in the bud, or am I blossoming?
What is it they say? If you practice an act for 30 days, it becomes a habit?
At work, at the grocery store, driving, at the beginning of your day and at the end – ask yourself if you are tight in the bud or blossoming. Practicing yoga, cooking supper, reading a book, surfing the internet – ask yourself if you are tight in the bud or blossoming.
Talking with your children, praying in church, paying bills, making love, vacuuming the living room, doing laundry – ask yourself if you are tight in the bud or blossoming.
Ask all the time. Create a habit of awareness. Create a habit of blossoming.
We’ve begun our 9th annual trek to our winter home in Blanco, Texas. We plan to be there by the 1st of November. We’ll be on the road between now and then, but I’ll still be available for readings in the evenings. Call or email to schedule a reading.
I have never enjoyed yoga, but I keep trying. It’s supposed to be so good for you. But those teachers are always correcting your posture – a quarter inch here and a tiny fraction there – and telling you to hold a position longer than you want to, and making the whole experience uncomfortable. It’s never fun. Maybe yoga’s not supposed to be fun. But I keep trying – I take a class for a while, then get frustrated and stop, then I take another class in a few months or a few years.
Then came last week’s Tenacity Notes, and your suggestion that we feel in our bodies the difference between remaining tight in the bud and blossoming. Blessings on you Jett! In my daily life I paid attention as you suggested, and it was very interesting. Then I went to my yoga class. And because I’d been paying attention all week, I automatically paid attention during yoga – was I tight in the bud or was I blossoming? I realized that yoga has always been a tight in the bud experience! Is “tight in the bud” the nature of yoga? Or is that just the way I’d learned to do it?
So I stopped paying attention to the teacher and her irritating corrections, and tried to allow myself to feel like I was blossoming into the poses. What a difference! And I gave myself permission to hold the pose only as long as it felt good to me. When I felt like I was tightening into a bud, I released the pose, no matter what the teacher said. For the first time ever, yoga felt good! I am becoming a yoga blossom! Thank you.
Interesting. I also heard from a reader who used the same concept with dancing. Before and during a dance she’d say to herself, “I am blossoming.” She reports that her dancing has improved by several degrees.
Try it this week with your physical activities. Do you swim, work out at the gym, hike, bike, do tai chi, play football, basketball, soccer? Are you tight in the bud? Or are you blossoming? Let me know.