Friday, August 29, 2014

Joan Borysenko: The Light of Our Own True Nature

The process of healing is one of self-realization. It is a peeling away from the fears, concepts and negativity that obscure the light of our own true nature and its innate essence of compassion, creativity, wisdom and love. 

May you be at peace, 
May your heart remain open, 
May you awaken to the light of your own true nature, 
May you be healed, 
May you be a source of healing for all beings.
Joan Borysenko

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Janet Quinn: I Am a Woman Bathing in the Bliss of the Company of Other Women

 Celebrating Women, Celebrating Ceremony, 
Celebrating All That Helps Each of Us Awaken

This weekend I will sit in circle once again with beautiful women of all ages as we come together for the Women of the 14th Moon Ceremony. I have been participating in this ceremony since 1999 and it - among other blessed experiences - has changed my life. There may be 130 of us from all over camped out on beautiful wild land sharing and laughing and crying and celebrating and sitting in ceremony as we honor our life stages of Maiden, Matron, Crone. For years I sat in the Matron circle; today I am deeply honored to sit in the Elder circle. My experience of growing older has been completely transformed. Much of the time I am now mindful of holding myself with kindness and respect. And that empowers me to be mindful and hold you with kindness and respect.

I am profoundly grateful for each experience, each human being, each connection and more which has illuminated the preciousness of being alive, of being a woman, of being a thread in this Sacred universe. May we all find what we need to heal and awaken to the beauty of who we truly are.

With love, gratitude, and blessings ~

Sitting in a circle, women beside me; women across from me; women around me; women embracing me; women supporting me; women listening to me; women understanding me; women appreciating me; women admiring me; women comforting me; women laughing with me; women keening with me; women celebrating with me; women outraged with me; women creating with me; women allowing me to create my own way. Women healing each other; women healing the world; women longing for peace; women uniting for justice; women choosing love and forgiveness; women visioning; women in the world; women in the home; women mothering children; women tending men; women nursing parents; women running institutions; women struggling; women overcoming; women growing ; women dying. Women, huge and tiny, bold and shy, wide and full, long and athletic; wise, strong, tender, holy, compassionate, vital brilliant, magnificent, multicolored, multitalented, multifaceted, sparkling, glimmering, light-giving gems of Creation, women! I am a woman bathing in the bliss of the company of other women.

 - Janet F. Quinn Ph.D., I Am a Woman Finding My Voice:
Celebrating the Extraordinary Blessings of Being a Woman

Jane Hirshfield: To Hear the Falling World

To Hear the Falling World

Only if I move my arm a certain way,
it comes back.
Or the way the light bends in the trees
this time of year,
so a scrap of sorrow, like a bird, lights on the heart.
I carry this in my body, seed
in an unswept corner, husk-encowled and seeming safe.
But they guard me, these small pains,
from growing sure
of myself and perhaps forgetting.

- Jane Hirshfield, Of Gravity & Angels

Brené Brown: Fear and Joy

Most of us have experienced being on the edge of joy only to be overcome by vulnerability and thrown into fear. Until we can tolerate vulnerability and transform it into gratitude, intense feelings of love will often bring up the fear of loss. If I had to sum up what I've learned about fear and joy, this is what I would say:
The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. 
It's our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.
- Brené Brown, excerpted from The Gifts of Imperfection:
Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

Jon Kabat-Kinn: Invitation To Awareness

Photo by Molly
 Mindfulness Practice

Mindfulness practice means that we commit fully in each moment to being present. There is no "performance." There is just this moment. We are not trying to improve or to get anywhere else. We are not even running after special insights or visions. Nor are we forcing ourselves to be non-judgmental, calm, or relaxed. And we are certainly not promoting self-consciousness or indulging in self-preoccupation. Rather, we are simply inviting ourselves to interface with this moment in full awareness, with the intention to embody as best we can an orientation of calmness, mindfulness, and equanimity right her and right now.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are:
Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life
Also excerpted from The Buddha Is Still Teaching

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross: The Light Within

People are like stained-glass windows.
They sparkle and shine when the sun is out,
but when the darkness sets in, their beauty is revealed 
only if there is light from within.

- Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Thomas Merton: Our Job Is To Love

 Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not
they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is
nobody's business. What we are asked to do is to love, 
and this love itself will render both ourselves 
and our neighbors worthy.

Thomas Merton: The Present Moment

You do not need to know precisely what is happening, 
or exactly where it is all going. What you need 
is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered 
by the present moment, and to embrace them 
with courage, faith and hope.

Brené Brown: Choosing Authenticity

Choosing authenticity is not an easy choice. E. E. Cummings wrote, "To be nobody-but-yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody but yourself - means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight - and never stop fighting." "Staying real" is one of the most courageous battles that we'll ever fight...

Given the magnitude of the task at hand - be authentic in a culture that wants you to "fit in" and "people please" - I decided to use my research to develop a definition of authenticity that I could use as a touchstone. What is the anatomy of authenticity? What are the parts that come together to create an authentic self? Here's what I developed:

Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think wwre're supposed to be and embracing who we are.

Choosing authenticity means
- cultivating the courage to be imperfect, to set boundaries, and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable;
- exercising the compassion that comes from knowing that we are all made of strength and struggle; and
- nurturing the connecton and sense of belonging that can only happen when we believe that we are enough.

Authenticity demands Wholehearted living and loving - even when it's hard, even when we're wrestling with the shame and fear of not being good enough, and especially when the joy is so intense that we're afraid to let ourselves feel it.

Mindfully practicing authenticity during our most soul-searching struggles is how we invite grace, joy, and gratitude into our lives.

  - Brené Brown, excerpted from The Gifts of Imperfection:
Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

Monday, August 25, 2014

Pema Chödrön: Overcoming Unworthiness

Remind yourself, in whatever way is personally meaningful, 
that it is not in your best interest to
reinforce thoughts and feelings of unworthiness.
Even if you've already taken the bait and feel the familiar
pull of self-denigration, marshal your intelligence,
courage, and humor in order to turn the tide.
Ask yourself:
Do I want to strengthen what I'm feeling now?
Do I want to cut myself off from my basic goodness?
Remind yourself that your fundamental nature is
unconditionally open and free.

- Pema Chödrön, from The Pocket Pema Chödrön

Rumi: Be Kind

Be kind to yourself, dear - to our innocent follies. 
Forget any sounds or touch you knew that did not help you dance. 
You will come to see that all evolves us.
- Rumi

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Christopher Germer: From Acceptance to Self-Compassion

The mental health field is discovering the importance of accepting emotional pain. Ordinarily, when a person come to therapy saying "I'm stressed out," the therapist tries to help him or her reduce the stress, perhaps by teaching relaxation skills. Therapists are very obliging that way. Sometimes they try to change the distorted thinking that seems to make a person depressed (for example, "I'm stupid," or "I'll always be abandoned in the end.") These strategies fit into the category of "Tell me the problem and we'll fix it." In essence, therapists and clients unwittingly join forces, trying to uproot negative experience.

These approaches have met with reasonable success. Recent research indicates, however, that the healing mechanisms behind successful therapy are not what we thought they were: It's the process of establishing a new relationship with our thoughts and feelings, rather than directly challenging them, that makes the difference. This new relationship is less avoidant, less entangled, more accepting, more compassionate, and more aware. Leaning into our problems with open eyes and an open heart - with awareness and compassion - is the process by which we get emotional relief.

- Christopher K. Germer, Ph.D., The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion:
Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions

Chögyam Trungpa: The Awakened Heart

When you awaken your heart ... you find, to your surprise, that your heart is empty. You find that you are looking into outer space. What are you, who are you, where is your heart? If you really look, you won't find anything tangible and solid. Of course, you might find something very solid if you have a grudge against someone or you have fallen possessively in love. But that is not awakened heart. If you search for awakened heart, if you put your hand through your rib cage and feel for it, there is nothing there except tenderness. You feel sore and soft, and if you open your eyes to the rest of the world, you feel tremendous sadness. This kind of sadness doesn't come from being mistreated. You don't feel sad because someone has insulted you or because you feel impoverished. Rather, this experience of sadness is unconditional. It occurs because your heart is completely exposed. There is no skin or tissue covering it; it is pure raw meat. Even if a tiny mosquito lands on it, you feel so touched. Your experience is raw and tender and so personal. It is this tender heart of a warrior that has the power to heal the world.

- Chögyam Trungpa, Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior
Also excerpted from The Buddha Is Still Teaching

Stephen Levine: Such Relief

Such Relief

Pain becomes suffering as we harden to it. Softening is such a relief, such grace to just sit lovingly with a modicum of discomfort, remembering all those others at this moment with this same pain in this same body of pain and compassion.

Some, such as one old monk who thought that people, like a dying horse, should suffer to the end, think suffering is somehow noble, that pain is holy. I have seen all too many Judgment Day-fearing people dying in great pain because of this hopeful, tortured self-negation.

This is nothing holy about pain. We need to stop deifying our suffering.

Pain, though, does have its benefits. As the Dalai Lama has pointed out, if it were not for pain, there would be no compassion. Pain draws compassion like its opposite, stillness, draws wisdom.

- Stephen Levine, Turning Toward the Mystery: A Seeker's Journey
Also excerpted from The Buddha Is Still Teaching

Jean Shinoda Bolen: Caring For Your Soul


You have the need and the right to spend part of your life caring for your soul. It is not easy. You have to resist the demands of the work-oriented, often defensive, element in your psyche that measures life only in terms of output -- how much you produce -- not in terms of the quality of your life experiences. To be a soulful person means to go against all the pervasive, prove-yourself values of our culture and instead treasure what is unique and internal and valuable in yourself and your own personal evolution.


- Jean Shinoda Bolen

Jean Shinoda Bolen: Only When Women and Children Are Safe

Only when women and children are safe
from violence, deprivation, and abuse
will the cycle of violence begetting violence
- which underlies terrorism and war -

- Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D., Urgent Message From Mother

Photo from:

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Shelter Through the Storms

May we be tender and brave and remember 
to love and shelter one another 
through life's storms. 
 ~ Molly

Clarissa Pinkola Estés: The Doors to the World of the Wild Self

The doors to the world of the wild Self are few but precious. 
If you have a deep scar, that is a door, 
if you have an old, old story, that is a door. 
If you love the sky and the water so much you 
almost cannot bear it, that is a door. 
If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, 
that is a door.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

John O'Donohue: To Come Home To Yourself

To Come Home To Yourself

May all that is unforgiven in you
Be released.

May your fears yield
Their deepest tranquillities.

May all that is unlived in you
Blossom into a future
Graced with love.

- John O'Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Jack Kornfield: When We Let Go of Our Battles and Open Our Hearts

Photo by Molly
We must look at ourselves over and over again in order to learn to love, to discover what has kept our hearts closed, and what it means to allow our hearts to open...

When we let go of our battles and open our heart to things as they are, then we come to rest in the present moment. This is the beginning and the end of spiritual practice. Only in this moment can we discover that which is timeless. Only here can we find the love that we seek. Love in the past is simply memory, and love in the future is fantasy. Only in the reality of the present can we love, can we awaken, can we find peace and understanding and connection with ourselves and the world.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Joanna Macy: The Most Remarkable Feature

The most remarkable feature of this historical moment on Earth is not that we are on the way to destroying the world—we’ve actually been on the way for quite a while. It is that we are beginning to wake up, as from a millennia-long sleep, to a whole new relationship to our world, to ourselves and each other.

- Joanna Macy 

Tara Brach: Holding Ourselves With Kindness

The intimacy that arises in listening and speaking truth is only possible if we can open to the vulnerability of our own hearts. Breathing in, contacting the life that is right here, is our first step. Once we have held ourselves with kindness, we can touch others in a vital and healing way.