Do I Look Fat In This? A Definitive Answer

Do I Look Fat In This? A Definitive Answer

Say she is getting dressed—she being any woman in your life—assessing herself in the mirror.

Say she turns to you.

Already you know what is coming. Already you know you are in a lose-lose proposition.

In an instant you assess her mood, the time of day, the event she is preparing for. You contemplate answering the question to come, then not answering. You look for an exit—a non-obvious exit. With none found, you try to find a way into a joke or attempt to create a distraction.

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If You Don't Know Your Brain, You Don't Know Jack

If You Don't Know Your Brain, You Don't Know Jack

I’m a dreamer. Yes, the visionary kind, but also the nighttime kind. 

For many years, I have been taught through what I have come to call my “dream teachers.” I have no idea who they are, where they come from, or why they started coming to me. I have a sense they may be two masters from the orient I've run into elsewhere, but I really can't be certain. All I know is that each time they visit, my life takes a leap.

The dream with Daphne and Jack offered a catapult like no other.

This complex dream of twists and turns begins with Daphne, a high school student from the HBO series Queer As Folk. I’ll make it as quick as I can, as there’s nothing more boring than someone else’s dream.

Dream Daphne is meeting with Jack, a guy friend in a college class, catching him up on the homework assignment he missed. They are to write a Shakespearian style play.

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From Changing The World To Changing The Paradigm (It's A Paradigm Shift)

From Changing The World To Changing The Paradigm (It's A Paradigm Shift)

We toss around words like "changing the world" pretty easily these days. I just added it to a blog title earlier this week. Seems like I've been saying it all my life. I recall the wise words you can love the world or want to change it, but not both. True confession: Until age 35, I never loved the world. I could not. 

Even today, when girls (and boys) are stolen across the globe to fulfill men's (and women's) agendas, I want to change the world. When someone is bullied, afraid to live and wanting to die, denied every part of the spirit of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," I want to change the world. When someone is free to take out a gun and shoot anyone he wants, and when that someone wants to do so, I want to change the world. When corporations have human rights and they use those rights to create profits that poison our food supply, so that a single healthy meal is hard to find in countless neighborhoods across the US, I want to change the world. 

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How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?

Oh, how do you solve a problem like Maria?

How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?

--The Nuns, The Sound Of Music

Last night over dinner with a friend, I realized that after years and years of working with myself and how I relate to the world, I still have a problem.

I still don’t work well under standard business practices, because I want to be real more than I want to be some else’s version of a “success.”  I don’t get a sense of belonging from most organized spiritual gatherings, church or otherwise, because I have my own truth and I follow it relentlessly. And I just can’t enjoy shooting the breeze for hours on end at neighborhood parties, because I simply don’t know the latest news. I don’t even own a TV.

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Beyond Type A: How Five Women Who Don’t Know What They Are Doing Are Attempting To Change The World

Beyond Type A:  How Five Women Who Don’t Know What They Are Doing Are Attempting To Change The World

#5inLaCasa

As houses go, Casa Las Artes is flat out extraordinary. A main house and a casita, it boasts six perfectly appointed bedrooms, five fireplaces, three tricked out kitchens, half a dozen cozy indoor spaces, and lots of big, luscious outdoor space.

It’s more than you need for five women, but in some ways that is the idea. I recall a song preaching “wide open spaces…room to make a big mistake” and feel this is something like that. My first visit, it has the air of timelessness and is so very much the Santa Fe I have heard of.

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Wabi Sabi: The Beauty of Imperfection

Wabi Sabi: The Beauty of Imperfection

Tucked away in the deepest heart of Japan, somewhere beyond city life, probably beyond country life, resting in a humble shack on a simple shelf in a nearly bare room, you can find a really powerful idea about beauty. This idea, this way of life, this way of being, goes against everything the contemporary American culture sells. It is so radical, it goes toe–to–toe with any notion that the way things are—even when they are falling apart—are not the way things ought to be.

The idea is scoffed at by those who offer something more beautiful, and bigger and better. Yet if we can find our way past the standard–issue scoffing, hunt down this old idea, and recognize it as the pearl of great price, we can heal these painful beauty obsessions of ours. Really, we can.

 

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A Story Of First Love And What We Don't Know

A Story Of First Love And What We Don't Know

First love.

You hear a lot about it. How you never forget. If I’m honest, I had a lot of “first loves,” and not a lot of love. What can I say? It was what you might call a rough adolescence.

As it turns out, though, one was different. I just didn’t know it.

Rob was an awesome guy, and more popular than me in high school. He was cool. He was liked. He was handsome. But he had something else going for him. While I would not have been able to name it then, today I’d say it was substance and soul.

I might have had substance and soul as well, but I was an outsider. Not as pretty as his girlfriend. Not as popular. You don’t try to compete with girls like that. You don’t even think to. 

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The Barn Dance

The Barn Dance

There is a story as old as time, yet it happens every day, perhaps ever minute of every day. It's hard to know. Such stories don't lend themselves to numbers so well. They don't even lend themselves to telling so well, for how can a true story ever be fully told? It is like trying to catch a fruit fly between two fingers. Still, for the sake of all people with more courage than they know, I'll set my fingers a grasping...

There once was a woman with more courage than she knew. As a child, she felt this courage and expressed it proudly.

"I will not play your violin," she told the orchestra conductor. "My great-grandpapa made me my own fiddle. He said it was tuned just to me, to play to the beat of my heart, and sing out my own special laughter and my own little tears."

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Training Your Inner Warrior: 31-Day Online Course

Training Your Inner Warrior: 31-Day Online Course

Back By Popular Demand…

June 1-July 1, 2014

People often ask how I get "so much done," how I have "the time and energy" and why I don't get bogged down by seeming inner and outer "obstacles." 

This 31-day daily online "Training Your Inner Warrior " course will answer all that and more. 

(Click on "Read More" below to hear an audio interview on the course.)

With a focus on training the mind to think more effectively in service to spiritual intentions, you can expect results to include personal insight, changed awareness, and "aha!" perspectives that turn into the capacity to change habits--including sustained follow through despite your best inner-trickster shenanigans! With one goal chosen at the start of our 31 days, you will learn about how the mind works in conjunction with spiritual "goals" as well as discover the unique intricacies of your own personal motivations and patterns. Partners (in business, family or friendship) are encouraged to join the class together. 

These are the essential tools I use myself in my own daily life. They are designed to work in harmony with your higher spiritual aspirations, and in fact to dissolve conflicts within your more human aspects of self

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BUT… Who Are You?

BUT… Who Are You?

(This is a long one… and it goes deep… so why not settle in with a cup of tea?)

Recently, a new acquaintance in yoga class asked what I “do.” Since that can be a long and variable conversation, and since we were nearly out the door, I opted to limit my response to a “quick and dirty” half-elevator speech.

“I teach about being who you are,” I said. “Who you really, really are.”

She nodded, taking it in, and asked me for my web address. When I replied “BeWhoYouAre.com,” something in the repeat hit her hard.

She took a moment, looking as if some kind of strange light bulb went off inside her head, and then asked in all earnest:

“But how do you be who you are, if you don’t know who you are?”

Exactly.

Exactly the right thought. Exactly the dilemma. Exactly the whole human conundrum in one… single… impossible… question.

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Not For Nothing, If…

Not For Nothing, If…

One of my friends is going through a difficult divorce and another looks like she is about to. Yet another friend is in bankruptcy while yet another looks like that’s going to be her only option. One friend just lost a son. Another is helping a community still reeling from violence against several children.

As yet one more friend often says: “Oh Holy Hell.”

With a thousand friends and a thousand possible troubles, it’s bad out there for someone pretty much any day of the week, any week of the month and any month of the year.

So as we come upon a holiday season where it so often feels wrong to be anything but merry, it seemed time to once gain put it out there that all this challenge, pain and outright heartbreak… It is not for nothing, if…

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Fear: 101

Fear: 101

 

When I queried many of you as to what you most want me to write about, fear came up again and again. It was brought up in a wide range of topics, from starting a new business to leaving an old and outdated relationship. But in the end, the questions made it clear that most people who battle with fear don’t really understand its dynamics. They don’t understand the dynamics of bravery, pushing through, or knowing when a fear is real. Since I play with the fear-fire a lot in my life (it’s not exactly comfortable battling darkness in the shamanic realms, let alone launching a new business venture), I thought I’d break down what I have learned and offer it up here.  

We all know the basics: Fear is a general term for an emotion that is built into our human condition. No one bypasses the churning gut, the heart palpitations, or the urge to run like hell. Fight or flight is a genius human response system that keeps us alive. On those long nights when the fire is low and the lions are on the prowl (literally or metaphorically), it keeps watch for us. Like a fierce guard dog… it’s there for us. Just. In. Case.

Fear helps to alert us to danger. It’s one of our most intuitive emotions and it moves lightning quick, before we even have a chance to evaluate the actual reality or level of danger being presented to us. A fake snake jumping toward us and a real snake being tossed by a prankster are completely different in terms of real danger, but just try to tell that to tell our glandular wisdom. Either way, we’re going to freak out a little.  

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How To Get Angry Without Losing Your Enlightenment

How To Get Angry Without Losing Your Enlightenment

 

Anger. It’s a bad thing, right? It’s low-brow for spiritual types. Better to “OMM” your way through, don’t you think?

No. I don’t think.

Anger is not primitive on the journey of enlightenment. Jesus overthrew the tables when he got angry at the moneychangers. Buddha might have been grieving for the world at large when he left his wife and child and the life of a prince, but my guess is he was also just a wee bit angry that his family shielded him from the true nature of the world for those less fortunate throughout his entire early life.

Anger is real. It’s normal. It’s natural. And I believe it’s holy, in the right expression.

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Staying Awake: Notes From Surgery

Staying Awake: Notes From Surgery

I admit it: I live a charmed life in a small town on a farm. I work for myself and love what I do. About the only real complaint I have is this 50-year-old feminine body wearing out a little faster than I’d expected.

But, like any good vehicle, I suppose repairs must be expected.

And so it was I was squeezing in a reasonably major surgery just a day after my work team was here for a long weekend and just a few days before my next 9-month of teaching would start.

It would have been so easy to get into the surgery assembly line along with all the others that parade through our hospitals every day. To not say things, or see things, that are out of the realm of “normal.” But that’s not what I’m about.

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