Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Wisdom from Mbali Creazzo, Fiona Robyn & some 5th Grade Writers PLUS A FREE BOOK!

"When you practice mindful connections with others your life feels meaningful and so it is." --Mbali Creazzo, from the book "29 Gifts: How a month of giving can change your life" by Cami Walker

My friends Fiona and Kaspa over at Writing Our Way Home are having a busy week. They are hosting the first-ever Mindful Writing Day, they are preparing to teach not one, but two, mindful writing e-courses in November (Finding Your Way Home and Writing & Spiritual Practice) AND they are promoting our new anthology, :"A Blackbird Sings: a book of short poems."

Yes, I said our. One of my small stones is going to be published in this lovely collection of mindful moments. AND this book will be available for FREE download on Amazon.com for one day only, Thursday, November 1st.

So hop on over to Amazon on Thursday and grab your free copy. Write a rave review - and your own small stone - and have it published on their blogzine, A Handful of Stones. Then sit back, relax and enjoy that feeling that comes from being more mindful, more connected to your world.

In the spirit of Mindful Writing Day I would like to share a few small stones written by some students earlier this month at 5th Grade Camp. 

My heart drops as I wake up 
In the freezing, shadowy black light.
Remembering where I am, I curl up and wait
For the sun to make its slow way across the sky.

--M.O.

Seashells

Crackles
beneath my feet
rainbows with only
pink and purple
as if someone put all
of their eggs on 
a beach
I walk.
CRACK!

--N.P.

The Tide

I see the calm blue water
gently glide across the 
small colored pebbles and
blonde sand. 
It retreats 
to its ocean home.
It does it again,
and again.
and again. 

--W.V.  

And here's one I wrote about 5th Grade Camp (previously published on my small stones blog, pebbles are small stones):

camp

a blazing fire
52 voices singing as one
a moment they'll never forget

Be mindful out there today!
  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wisdom from My Son's Soccer Coach

"In time and space...if you just look for what's right - in others, in relationships, in yourself and your journey - you'll always find it. Same when looking for what's wrong." --The Universe, from www.TUT.com

Last week I sat and watched my son's soccer practice instead of just dropping him off with his coach.

As I sat there, I was temped to read or check email or otherwise pass the time by doing something else, but I kept getting the message that I needed to watch.

So each time the multi-tasking reflex struck, I gently reminded myself to focus my attention on the field.

It soon became clear to me what I was doing there. I was there to watch a little positivity in action.

My son's coach found something positive to say about everything that happened on the field that day. If a kid got his foot on the ball, even if it was ultimately taken away from him, the comment was, "Way to get in there." If a kid tried to pass and the ball went astray, the comment was, "Good idea."If a kid made an attempt on the goal and missed, the comment was always, "Nice try."

And it wasn't just the blunders that got positive feedback.

If a kid made a great pass, or a great block, or scored a goal with their weak foot, all of these got a "Way to go," from the coach.

This didn't change at the game on Saturday.

Although I had been present at most of the games this season, this time I was watching more closely, watching for more "looking for what's right," and I found it. In spades.

In this game my son made four attempts at a goal (something he does not usually have the opportunity to do because of his strong preference for playing defense), none of them successful. Not one.

Nonetheless, the comments from his coach went as follows: "Way to go! Nice try! You were SO close! I am so proud of you!"

And he was.

His coach was as excited about my son's four misses as he was about any goal scored in the game. Not that he wasn't excited about those too.

The best players on the team (the ones who score every week again and again and again) get as much encouragement as those who are still learning the game and none of it rings false because he truly focuses on every positive thing.

And you know what I have noticed? These kids are getting better every week. Each and every one.

Even the kids who, to the untrained eye, maybe seemed a little bit hopeless.

So here's another thing I am adding to my list of "Things to Try:" I'm looking for what's right. In what goes wrong AND in what goes right and in everything in between. Because I'm learning that there's always a reason to say, "Way to go!"

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

ParaNorman/ParaNormal

"There's nothing wrong with being scared....long as you don't let it change who you are." --Grammie's Ghost in ParaNorman

Some of the quotes I collect I write down because they teach me something, or give me hope, or make me smile; this one was like a kick in the gut.

I know that throughout my life I have let fear change who I am many, many times. I have behaved in ways that are not the "me" I want to be because I was scared more times than I can remember or perhaps even count. I still do.

We all do, I think.

Fear may be the number one emotion that drives us here in the United States. And there is so much to fear. Crime. Disease. Job loss. Retirement. Natural disasters. Death.

But I am not sure it is these larger fears that drive us day to day so much as the smaller ones: being found out, being known and disliked, being seen and rejected, being judged and found wanting.

The irony, I think, is that if we did not allow our fears to change who we are we would be likable. It is the part of us that reacts out of fear that lies, cheats, steals, deceives, abuses.

What would happen if each of us, the next time we were faced with fear, reacted not with bad behavior, but with compassion and curiosity? What if we sat with it for a time? What if we felt it long enough that it dissipated before it could change who we are?

I think maybe this could change the world.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Wisdom from Maisie Dobbs

"Coincidence is a messenger sent by truth." --Jacqueline Winspear from her book "Maisie Dobbs"

I have been reading a new mystery series, about an intuitive detective ("inquiry agent" as they say in Olde England) in the 1930's.

The series is quietly brilliant, each novel holding my attention, but not requiring that I stay up until all hours to finish; rather savoring each one as it unfolds. And marking more than a few pages with notable quotes.

This one, however, is my favorite: "Coincidence is a messenger sent by truth." Ponder that for today and see what perks for you in your life. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Stay Present, or Get Burned!

"When one is rising, standing, walking, doing something, stopping, one should constantly concentrate one's mind on the act and the doing of it. " --Aśvaghoṣa

I burned the sausages again today.

It's the second time this week that I've burned the sausages because I wasn't paying attention.

Here's my morning routine:

I get up, take the dog for a walk, wake the kids for the first time and then start breakfast. My kids do better with a bit of protein in the morning, so I try to make bacon or sausage or eggs for them most mornings.

I throw some meat in a pan and then I feed the dog, set the table, make lunches, wake the kids a second time and check the sausages

But sometimes I get....distracted.

Usually by my email.

"I'll just check it 'real quick'," I say to myself. And the next thing I know the fire alarm is going off and breakfast is ruined.

The thing is, I know this.

I know that the secret to life is to stay present. It makes life easier. It saves a lot of heartache. And sausages.

But still I forget. Or I go un-present in spite of knowing. And when I do, I always get burned.

So, "Thanks Universe," for another reminder to stay present. And the dog thanks you for the sausages :)