REPORT A PROBLEM
Dear One: Love, Don't Hate. This one word need be permanently deleted from vocabulary. Do not use “hate” ever Not even once. Don't let it enter your psyche. If you hate something, know this: you are avoiding a deep wound or sadness. It is simply that. So, dear one: Love, don't hate. If you can’t feel love, sit still. Wait. Do not hate. James Baldwin said: “I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.” Feel pain. Love, You.
Dear Speed Demon: Slow Down. There isn't an emergency. Well, most of the time. Habit has a way of making things more urgent than they need to be. Ever wonder why we cram relaxing into a day off? It is because we don't take enough time in the in betweens. Take little moments. Micro-moments. Slow it down. Luxuriate in quiet moments. Don't skip over them. Create them. Too easy to have a hurried life and then hit a screeching halt on the weekend. Halt daily. Find a balance in between the land of the doing and being. Love, You.
Dear Observer: Look Around. The best meditation is simply seeing. Like the way the sun falls on an ottoman, a fireplace lit, a chessboard perched in the corner. See everyday objects as treasures, not things to be dusted or displayed. A book that sits on a mantle: Robert Adams: The Place We Live. Candles melted. A turkey feather. Beige blankets. Art pens. A memoir of a life interrupted: Between Two Kingdoms by Suleika Jaouad -- pick it up and grab one quote: the one by Miguel De Cervantes: "Until death, it is all life." Objects have life. Everything does. Love, You.
Dear Existential One: Allow Mystery. Imagine the womb. A baby screams leaving that familiar, warm, water. Cord cut. It seems like death. Pushed out in terror, screams, blood. Instead: birthed. Life. If we are lucky, a long one. Maybe when the body stops breathing, there is a new life. Maybe death is a new beginning. Or maybe we simply enter another warm, womb like place: the heart of people we loved, who loved us. Or we are reborn. Maybe. Maybe not. We get to live without knowing, and embrace mystery. Regardless! Let's live like this is it. Okay? Love, You.
Dear Dear: Be Not Afraid. This bares repeating. Risk rejection. Put art on the wall, a book on the shelf, write more haikus. Paint. Be scared. Expose yourself to rejection, or clothes that reveal your curves. Be less afraid. Later in your years, succumbing to fear will be your only regret. You will regret that you didn't take more risks, and push through fears. Georgia O'keefe was known to say, "I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do." Take more risks. Love, You.
Dear Comfort Seeker: Sit. Be enveloped in comfort. Let the blankets be messy around you. Relish in the weighted blanket of the cat. Don't feel an ounce of shame that a chair can be a big hug. Be embraced by the history of it, the cushion of it, memory of what it meant, what it means now, and the perch of it. Comfort is a birth right and one that not everyone gets to have. Sit. Be still. Read. Breathe. Rock. Lounge. Look up to the sky from it. Swish of a cardinal, a blue jay. Comfort measures. Love, You.
Dear Sleeper: Earlier Morning Please. As much as lounging is delightful, even more delightful is watching the sun rise over the mountain as it spreads rays through cantaloupe colored curtains, see the way it lands on a cat and reflects through a curio, and that lemon tree oh so pretty. These moments of early sunlight allow for a longer day before 9 am on a Sunday morning when CBS tells you the sun is rising. No, it already rose. In real time. It rose. Live life in real time dear one. On occasion, please rise with the sun. Love, You.
Dear Gardener: Let Flowers Grow. Garden and grow your own flowers, and lettuces. Even if it seems impossible. Watch things grow when the snow melts and grass is green once again. Gardens are nurtured, not fretted over. So let the garden of your life grow, and let it all be. Even Mary Oliver spent more time in her head than the garden, in her words, "I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers flow in the right direction, will the earth turn as it was taught..." So you are not alone. Gardens grow. Worry less. Love, You.
Dear Sifter: Sift, Sort & Mine. Information saturation is real. It is toxic. Every day please sift through your media mindfully. Use a timer and that day planner, or time blocking -- whatever kind of tool you need. Do so wisely. Mine your day. Where is the most important place to spend time. Scrolling Facebook? Opening random links leading to another and another? What can you distill into chunks that have essence and gold. Design a day filled with jewels in between mundane tasks. Get out the sifter. Sift, sort, mine the matter. Your days will be richer for it. Love, You.
Dear Seasoner: Trust Change. You can't control it. Reflect on seasons and barren winter browns against the sunlight. In spite of darkness of long days, snow, freeze: spring arrives on time. The planet is aging and melting, but for now, spring comes around the corner. Circular seasons as Joni Mitchell might say: "...and the seasons they go round and round, and the painted ponies go up and down, we're captive on the carousel of time, we can't return, we can only look, behind from where we came, and go round and round and round, in the circle game." Love, You.
Dear Commander In Chief: Lighten the Commands. There are always things to accomplish and daily demands. Tasks can be endless in life. Let's be mindful to not turn demands into commands. Always be aware of the part of you that leans toward doing vs being. Even creative things can turn into commands. If that is the case, they are no longer creative. Commando free moments and days matter. What then creeps in is a quiet peace and embrace of this present moment. This one centered action at a time. Not a command, but a gentle call to action. Love, You.
Dear Builder: Build A Life. Scaffolding, foundation, beauty. During the course of your life, create. People you will help shape their lives. There is such e profound gift in that. Help build their foundation and the universe they live in. Also, build things. Build words, art, gifts that are tangible too. Something for others to hold in their hands, see with their eyes, read with their minds. Small things. Forever things. As John Ruskin shared, “When we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for a present delight nor for present use alone..." Love, You.
Dear Heavy Lifter: Look underneath. What you fear will be in the last place you look. Emotions hidden under the hood or the hatch. Rare that one wants to casually flip it open, dive deep underneath to find that crust of fear, an apology unsaid, unknowns, or the sheer and utter terror of illness, or dying, or contentment. You might say: pass the surface salt please. Safer there. Under the hatch is safe too. You'll be surprised. Go there. Do the heavy lift. There might be grease, grime, fear. Or, even more frightening, quiet, peace, slivers of contentment. Love, You.
Dear Enlightened One: Quiet Epiphanies. There is no such thing as magic arrival. Strive for enlightenment, and know that once you arrive, there is another hurtle. Remember humility keeps you on level ground. As the old zen proverb states: "Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water; after enlightenment, chop wood, carry water." Stay close to humble yourself. Keep tabs on your runways, and if you think you arrived at the perfect place of epiphany, that is when you return to the starting line. This level of humility will keep you endlessly growing and quietly enlightened. Quietly. Show, don't tell. Love, You.
Dear Thinker: Use a Mantra. Your first thought is not your friend. The brain will default to negative, so find that word or a series of words or mantras or affirmations or whatever mojo you can manage to NOT believe that first dark thought: "ugh" or "I can't" or some sort of dread when you do not even believe it. So borrow that simple countdown of "5,4,3,2,1 Go" or the phrase from DavidJi of "Allow, Accept, Soothing, Healing, Love" or "what do I need" or the most simple way to restyle a thought: "Gratitude." Love, You.
Dear Talker: Shhhhhhhh. Talk less, breath more. In exactly 100 words without judgment, here is the golden rule and simple, loving observation. On the whole: Talk less, breath more. What does that look like? All emails can be cut in half and still make the point. Same with writing. Same with conversations. Note please that all the thoughts swarming around your head can dissipate without attaching words to them. They are simply thoughts. They come, and go. Like clouds passing. Like mist. Less is more. People will get the point with less words. Try some quiet one liners. Love, You.
Dear Resistor: Trust The Process. Healing takes longer than imagined. Sometimes relationships are unhealed because it requires discomfort, conflict resolution, digging and excavation into past hurts and poking around at wounds that are now scars. If people are not curious and equipped, it won't happen. If it does, it will be natural and not forced. Lao Tzu says it best, "Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like." Even if that means, letting go. Let go. Love, You.
Dear One: Grow Till Tall. The title of a Jonsi song and in that song over and over there is the line: You'll know, You'll know, You'll know. So, if you need to figure something out, stop for a bit, quiet down all the pros, cons, best case scenarios, worst case scenarios, yeah buts, what ifs and musts. Let all that is unsettled in you lay dormant until it grows taller, taller. Wait for insight that is unsaturated, natural, real, alive. Sometimes things remain a seed and it cannot be over watered or harvested too soon. You'll know. Love, You.
Dear Overthinker: Stop. One forceful way to quiet the mind when it hops into a mode of over-think, over-tink, over-take, over-talk, over-wondering, over-resenting, over-anything -- is this: get up, move. Do that 5-4-3-2-1 thing, do a quick shot walk, do a blast of fresh air, do a phone call to talk about anything OTHER than the loop that is looping. A brain will loop if we don't shift it into another gear by MOVEMENT or a toggle switch into something other than the loopy loop. Then return, refreshed. Love, You.
Dear Wounded Healer: The Wound Is The Way. It is easy to avoid wounds. Who on earth wants to be in an old or new wound? Avoidance is much easier! Especially if the wound is scarred up. Alert: it is where growth lives. It does not mean we act from the wound. It means we acknowledge when feelings are intense, it typically means you are feeling wounded or an old wound was poked. Take a moment, breath deep, reach out to safe people or wait for the stillness to come again. It will. With it is more healing. Love, You.
Dear Cuddle Queen: Blanket Up. Comfort your fine self with many a blanket. Lay or sit your body down with softness, a touch of memory, love, warmth. Maybe its that dad blanket - thick brown and fuzzy white, or the tiny crocheted blue baby blanket made with love by your Momma, or her wide quilted comforter with green stems and pink roses, or maybe that new fad weighted blanket for sleep still and steadiness. Or the weighted blanket of the cat or dog, or, if humanly possible, a human. Mostly? You cuddle you. Blanket up. Luxuriously. Messily. Haphazardly. Daily. Love, You.
Dear Toggler: Everything Is A Setting. Each day you set the temperature for your attitude. It is a settling created from the beginning of the day, and throughout the day. Constantly you get to switch things up and change your setting. It starts with not giving power over to excess: excessive thinking or excessive anything. If you are going to get excessive about anything, excessively toggle back to the setting that is neutral, contented, moderate, balanced, calm, peaceful, other centered, grateful, self-loving. No one is pointing the remote at you changing your setting. It's in your hands. Love, You.
Dear Gem Seeker: No Grit, No Pearl. Without effort there is no reward. Put in the work with less complaint or no complaint. Sacrifice a bit of time, money, energy, listening. Do so without seeking reward or accolade. This, my dear, is the formula for manifestation, peace and contentment. Feel the dark blue feelings of life to get to the yellow light feelings. As Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Zen Buddhist spiritual leader, has said, "No mud, no lotus." One must suffer through some mud in order to find the bliss in the lotus flower. Remember this simple truth. Love, You.
Dear Sculptor: Step Back. All this work on yourself matters, but please take a break from the sculpting of endless self improvement. Back up, take a look from afar and see the magnificence of the masterpiece of the work in progress. Hold up on the chiseling, shaping, researching, molding, self-helping, non-fiction reading. Michelangelo didn't give himself credit for undone works, but you can. Put the tools down even if you like chiseling. Take breaks and then you'll dive back in raring to go. In the meantime, step back and see the masterpiece that is your life. Love, You.
Dear Extravert: Listen Up. There are beautiful qualities of an extravert, like storytelling, excitement, social butterfly-ness, curiosity, boldness, inquisitiveness, talking, talking & talking. A dirty little secret is that, more often than not, extraverts are not excellent listeners. They are quick to give unsolicited advice and are ready at the gate with a response. They don't breathe. Don't be too "ex" or too "in" on the intro/extrovert spectrum. Being able to toggle beautifully with your social skills is where it is at. Reflect on the people you feel safest with: they listen. So, listen more, talk less. Love, You.
Dear Timekeeper: Don't Waste It. Watch it. Turn a sand timer upside down. Meditate as grains fall, sifting through a narrow passageway where it gathers and stands still for a mere moment, settled. Keep looking for that 27th minute on the clock. Send the kiss. 1:27 am/pm. Watch the clock move not too slow, not too fast - with an inevitable imperceptible shift. Accumulate wrinkles and stories. Don't dread time passing. Let yourself gray - from hair color to watching the way the mind thinks in extremes. There are no extremes in time. It is all made up. Love, You.
Dear Beader: One Bead At A Time. Think about habit changing as one day at a time, or, aesthetically speaking, one bead at a time. Think of a beautiful Mala necklace with 108 beads. Each day you change a dark habit, hold or string one each day. Habits are ingrained. Healthy habits can be ingrained too. By healthy, new fixed ways of thinking or acting through repetition and pushing through resistance. Collect days together as a creative reinforcement to sustain change. To rephrase that famous Ghandi quote, "Bead the change you wish to see in the world." Enjoy. Love, You.
Dear To Do'er: Write a Done List. List makers are quick to write endless "to do" lists. Long, meandering, categorical shopping lists, cleaning lists, human doing lists with endless ways to feel defeat at the end of the day. So, hear this with list making: review in your mind or with a pen what you DID in a day. Even if it is simply: brushed teeth, made breakfast, sent an email, called client, paid bill, wrote list, washed dishes, cooked, walked, breathed, lived. Before long you see the 100's of things, big and small. You do plenty. Plenty. Love, You.
The Tip Jar