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So, here we are..

when we think we are someplace other than where we are, we are not being honest with ourselves. we are, of course, where we are. but what defines that? are we where we are in time and space?

I begin my talks and writings with the word “so.” To me it indicates that I am continuing an ongoing thought. We are never at the beginning, and we are never at the end. We just are where we are. and so, here we are.

when we think we are someplace other than where we are, we are not being honest with ourselves. We are, of course, where we are. But what defines that? Are we where we are in time and space? Right here, right now? Well, I suppose we are just that in physical form. Except that as I continue my practice I see my body become somehow smaller and beginning to become translucent. That is surely a vision. or is it?

where are we, anyway?

But we are also where our mind takes us. Our thoughts transport us to other places, other times, and sometimes to other dimensions of consciousness. This is why most meditation classes and apps aim beginners to a practice of following the breath. Breathing in and out, while noticing the breath going in and out, and only noticing that, is the preferred method. And it is a quick way to understand the difference between ‘i am here’ and ‘i am there.’ When thoughts arise and distract us from our breathing, we are clearly ‘there.’ When we return to the breath, we are ‘here.’

But this is very simplistic. concentrating on the breath is still limiting; one is not really ‘here’ if one is ignoring all that is around. So how do we be here, now?

Well, they say that the spirit quest is a practice, an art. We practice following the breath. We practice noticing stray thoughts. We notice when we start projecting into the future, or reliving the past. And then..

we allow all of it. The true observer of life recognizes the usefulness of planning and past analysis. At the same time, the true observer understands that our art is in the crafting of the moment. We don’t project into the future to be afraid. Instead we go deep into the present, and reach into ourselves to understand what we can do today, and what is wasted effort.

what do you mean?

as an example, I can notice in the moment that we are running low of milk. But what do I know do with that thought? Do I think about going to the store, and planning when, and vowing to remember that I need milk. Every time I open the fridge, oh right, I need milk! Or do I keep a shopping list. In the moment, I understand I need milk. I put it on the list and no longer need to project into the future whether or not I need milk. I will simply get milk when I take the list to the store.

similarly, do I obsess over the conversation that went badly at my last meeting? or do I recall what I observed then, and invest in the moment right now about my feelings about that interaction. I quickly sense that I took a mis-step, or if I was above board.

in either case, the next question is critical: what can I do now to honor the situation that I find myself in. for the milk situation, I decided that I should write ‘milk’ on the list. in the conversation issue, I decided that I was not ‘showing up’ with love, rather I was presenting with fear and anger. and so what, right now, can I do? I can decide to be more loving, and less fearful. and then, honoring the present moment, I work on that in the moment.

and here we are..

this is practical. it clears the clutter of anxiety. it allows us to stop obsessing on our next move. when we pay attention to where we are now, as the most important thing in every moment, then we can use the future and the past to inform our actions in the present. and so, I will live now with the confidence that there will indeed be milk in our house soon. I also know that I am amplifying my compassionate, loving self. Now, when I am faced with a challenging situation, I might show up in that moment, with more practice, and less reactivity.

may it be so for all who desire..

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Paradise Found – My Day as Guest Reader!

Hi all!

It was a really great day today, with sessions all afternoon.  I was at the premier “good vibes” store in Santa Barbara: Paradise Found.  You may find them here. Today I saw a variety of clients, some returning and some new! I had a blast, and walked out of their really zoned.  There is much beauty in being a witness to people’s transformation.  Being present for people who are in their own personal transition from one state to another is remarkably rewarding.  We all have experiences that seem very real, and very immediate.  These can be emotional, mental, relational – they could involve jobs, significant others, family, friends.  But mostly it is all about how we look at ourselves.  It is our own perspective about our jobs, family, friends, etc., that controls our feelings, and determines whether we are happy or filled with anxiety.  Stuff happens and it is our reaction to that stuff that determines our fate.

And I like to think that the fate of the precious people that showed up today at Paradise Found were impacted for the better.  So to those whose change I was privileged to witness, thank you!! It was an honor to be in the presence of such wonderful souls. I thank each of you for your trust and your belief.  Many blessings…

Is that all there is

If that’s all there is then let’s keep dancing!

My life changes continually, in part because of teachings, trainings, seminars, life experiences, search, research, meditation, consternation, dreams, discussions, and just by living in World that seems both real and unreal at the same time.

Somehow, I have made it my path to find how to gain meaning from the discovery that life has no meaning.

Continue reading “Is that all there is”

The Weight of the Situation

USA Today posted an article about dieting in America. Here is a link: USA Today Diet Article.

It says that not as many people in America are dieting anymore. Hmm. How many of you reading this think about what you eat? Calories? Fat? Cholesterol? Pounds? Health? BMI? Carbs? If any of these words enter your thoughts when you eat or when you think about eating then you are probably dieting in one way or another. The article suggests that the percentage of those saying they are dieting may be reduced because:

“Dieting has negative connotations, so it’s possible that people were trying to lose weight but didn’t call it a diet…”

Well, I have been doing that for years! I never liked the meme associated with the word dieting, so a long time ago I started a “voluntarily reduced calorie intake plan.” That is not a diet.

However, the magic of those words has seemed to wane for me as well, and recently, I’ve just been saying that I am dieting. Whatever I call it, I have been a slave to the meme for most of my adult life. I only know a very few people that don’t watch what they eat in some way.

But once again, that is changing for me. Interestingly, this survey analyzed 51,000 people and determined that being overweight is healthier than being underweight. This survey pooled 97 studies and 3 million people to conclude that being “overweight” does not shorten life expectancy. I also remember reading a book called “Big Fat Lies” by Glenn A. Gaesser that explains clearly through scientific review of many previous surveys the same thought: dieting to lose weight does not increase life expectancy. Dr. Gaesser also concluded that it does not increase quality of life! Wow!! Continue reading “The Weight of the Situation”

Rabbi Solomon Installation Speech

We are all dreamers. Aside from the occasional nightmare, we dream of happiness and of success. We dream of money and food and running through green meadows and scoring the winning touchdown and finding our soul mates. We strategize and plan, and we daydream and we muse.

I believe that whatever it is we dream about, whatever it is we focus on, we bring about in some way. The trick is to hold an intent close to your heart: to dream it and vision it so clearly that you are at one with your dream. And then, when you have your goal firmly placed within your being, to somehow let go of needing to plan the details. Instead, focus on love for yourself, and love for God. And focus on the certainty that God loves you.

When your faith in this process is well underway, it is then time to notice what happens. Opportunities start to show up in your life. You end up finding yourself closer to your dreams than you could have ever imagined, and you discover despite your best planning, the path to your dream was beyond your imagining.

One example from my life is here today. Continue reading “Rabbi Solomon Installation Speech”

Every Act is Done When it is Conceived

Today, I woke up knowing that I would later in the day do a soul retrieval. I intended to do ceremony and journey with the specific purpose of gaining back the fragmented pieces of self that were lost along the way. I knew in my heart where these pieces were. Some were lost as long ago as when I was three years old. Some were lost a month ago when I underwent painful surgery and recovery.

For the past several months, and specifically for the last month, my story has been one of suffering and woe. Almost for 15 years, this physical pain has defined me in many ways. I have been in someway, in part or in whole, to varying degrees, in victim mode. The pain has drained me emotionally, spiritually and physically.

In the few weeks since the surgery, I have felt violated,cast aside and traumatized. Continue reading “Every Act is Done When it is Conceived”

Rosh Hashannah 2009

Shannah Tovah!

As I think about the last year, I recall feeling a mix of emotions ranging from love to loneliness, gratefulness to thanklessness, humility to arrogance. I suppose that I am no different from any of us. one particularly challenging time for me occurred just last month when I was hospitalized for pain management following surgery. In those solitary moments when I was left alone, wondering my fate, I asked if I could find purpose in the agony of recovery. Now, as I am in the final stages of physical healing from that ordeal, I reflect upon the meaning of my dark night of the soul. And I find that what carried me through were the moments in which I felt connected: to my wife, to my mom, to my clergy, to my therapist, to my patient advocate, and to my dog. I also noticed a profound shift from the moment that I asked to be put on the Mi Sheberach list.

Sometimes I get so caught up in my own stuff that I forget that I am part of a community. Continue reading “Rosh Hashannah 2009”