Thursday, March 31, 2016

28 Days of Abstinence - Day 11 - What Wakes YOU Up?

"Nobody but yourself can tell you what to accept and what to reject...We begin to figure out for ourselves what is poison and what is medicine, which means something different for each of us....we are the only ones who know what wakes us up and what puts us to sleep." --Pema Chodron

What are you learning about yourself this month? What can you accept and what do you need to reject? What is poison and what is medicine for you? What wakes you up and what puts you to sleep?


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

28 Days of Abstinence - Day 10 - The Seven Stages of Abstinence


"Control is the enemy; grief is our friend." --John Eldredge 

When I first choose this quote for today I was thinking about the need to grieve whatever it is we are letting go. Even our bad habits have some positive benefits otherwise they would not have become habits. They may also bring to mind happy memories: great times with friends when we were drunk out of our minds, our favorite co-worker who was always willing to join us for a smoke break or a certain time we had a certain food with a certain special person. I could go on (and on and on). Our habits are intertwined with our memories and must be grieved.

That led me to consider the Five Stages of Grief as they are commonly understood: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. I think I have moved through each of these stages at least once every time I realized that I needed to abstain from something I had previously enjoyed.

That got me wondering if perhaps there might also be five stages of abstinence and I discovered that, for me at least, there are actually Seven Stages of Abstinence. I have identified them as: Resolve, Questioning, Rationalization, Cheating, Regret, Re-resolve.

Here's how they generally go for me:

Resolve. I am determined to give up the thing that is no longer good for me. I know I can do it. I have complete confidence that it is going to be easy and that I will master my desires in a short time and with little struggle.

Questioning. I am tempted - usually this happens at a party or the grocery store or sometimes at home if my husband and/or the kids is/are having what I am abstaining from - and it starts to get real. The questions mount: "Do I really need to give this up?" "Could I just 'cut back' instead?" "Maybe I could have a little bit today and then start again tomorrow?"

Rationalization. The devil on my shoulder starts to make the case for NOT abstaining. "I'll just have a little bit." "Just this once." "It's a party/my birthday/a special occasion." "I don't want to offend the host/hostess."

Cheating. I indulge. Sometimes, as rationalized above, only "a little bit;" often quite a bit more than that because once the floodgates are open I remember just how much I love this particular thing and I let go of all resolve.

Regret. Sometimes it happens immediately, more often the next day, when I am suffering the consequences of whatever I indulged in (hangover, lack of sleep, increased desire for the thing itself). I beat myself up and feel defeated and weak, which leads me to....

Re-Resolve. I take a stronger stance with myself and re-resolve to abstain, perhaps with a bit more humility and a more realistic view.

Acceptance. After one or two (or three or four or more) rounds of the first six I eventually break the habit and accept that this food/habit/behavior is no longer a part of my life. I feel a sense of accomplishment and no longer question my decision, rationalize my way out of abstaining, or cheat. This final stage may not always last forever and I may at some point down the line question, rationalize, or cheat, but usually only in a small way and regret sends me quickly back to re-resolve and acceptance.

Today I find myself moving into Stage Two, Questioning.

I tried to make a wheat-free quiche crust with uneven results and that has left me wondering: "Can I really do this? Do I really want to?" I will let you know after tasting the final product.

What about you? Do these stages ring true for you? If not, what are your stages of abstinence? How many of them are there? Where are you at today?

UPDATE: Once the crust was cooked it improved significantly in taste and texture. It's still not "as good" as the wheat crust I remember, but I am pleased with it and it has, for now, staved off my questioning. FOR NOW.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

28 Days of Abstinence - Day 9 - It's About Freedom

My sister, feeling FREE!
"Freedom is about cutting off and eliminating a rigid persistence of basic needs. If you are hungry, you want food; if you are cold, you want clothing; if you are sick, you need your mother's and father's love. As you grow older, these many needs accumulate in the heart and mind to trigger emotions, creating every kind of possible sorrow. Freedom is about letting go of all of these attachments, all of these figments of the mind." --Nassim Assefi, “Aria”

Wow! I LOVE this quote so much. It pretty much sums up why I began my spiritual journey in the first place - to find FREEDOM. From my Ego, from my many wants and desires, from my resistance to what is, and from the sorrow I cause myself and others because of these "figments of the mind."

It is also a powerful quote for us to contemplate this week as things may start to get a bit more squiggly and difficult in our abstinence practice. When you deny yourself the thing you are abstaining from how do you feel? What emotions come up? Where in your body are these feelings located?

I would like to suggest you add-in the following meditation this week in order to strengthen your practice of abstinence and stay on course. Try and practice this meditation for at least ten minutes a day, more if you are an experienced meditator:

Sit in a comfortable meditation position, either with your legs crossed, or upright in a chair with your feet on the floor, or even lying flat on your back with your legs stretched out in front of you and your arms at your sides (corpse pose). Take three deep breaths.
Starting at your feet, feel into each part of your body, taking stock and noticing what you feel. Don't make judgements about what you find, or allow worries or thoughts to take over, simply observe. 
Keep breathing as you move up your body. 
If you come to any areas that you cannot feel, or if there is a sensation that makes you curious or uncomfortable, stop in that place and observe for a few additional moments. 
Ask questions, if you would like: What is this? Where did it come from? What is it trying to tell me? 
Work your way up your body to the top of your head and then see if you can feel your entire body all at once. Take one more deep breath and then end your meditation. Or continue to sit for as long as you would like. 

Whenever you feel temptation or any sensation related to abstaining this week, ask these same questions: What is this? Where did it come from? What is it trying to tell me?

Monday, March 28, 2016

28 Days of Abstinence - Day 8 - More Tea Bag Wisdom


"If you're brave enough to say 'goodbye' life will reward you with a new 'hello' --Paulo Coehlo, YogiTea tea bag

Yes, I drink a lot of tea. It's what I said, "hello" to after giving up coffee. What will you say "hello" to today? What is popping up to replace whatever it is you are abstaining from?

If you don't know yet, that's okay. It's early days after all, but spend some time today thinking about what it might be. What would you like it to be? What are some possible options?

In my own life, meditation has replaced compulsive doing, side salads have replaced French fries, kindness has replaced anger, kombucha has replaced wine, and rooibos has replaced coffee. I consider these all to be exchanges in which I got the better end of the deal, although of course these new "hellos" weren't always easy and I didn't always say, "goodbye" willingly (or in some cases, permanently).

Try this exercise whenever you are tempted to cheat this week:
Say "goodbye" to whatever it is you are abstaining from - out loud if you are alone or silently if you are with others - as a way of reinforcing your decision to let it go.
Repeat your "goodbye" as often as you need to in order to cement the idea in your mind that you are letting this thing go (for now at least). 
 Remind yourself that a new "hello" is coming. One that is most likely better than what came before. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

28 Days of Abstinence - Day 7 - Tea Bag Wisdom



"You can't reach for anything new if your hands are still full of yesterday's junk." 
--Louise Smith, from a Good Earth Tea Bag

Saturday, March 26, 2016

28 Days of Abstinence - Day 6 - BE STRONG!

"Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go." --Herman Hesse

Be strong out there today. Continue to let go - bit by bit - of that food, habit or behavior that is no longer serving you. You are doing great. Even if you have cheated a little bit (or a lot) you can always start again this moment and let go again.

Friday, March 25, 2016

28 Days of Abstinence - Day 5 - Caring for Ourselves

"Saying 'No,' can be the ultimate self-care." --Claudia Black

I think most of us when we hear this quote will immediately think of saying No to other people. And that is a good interpretation. For the sake of our challenge I think it also works to say that saying "No" to YOURSELF can be the ultimate self-care.

But don't we say "No" to ourselves all the time? "No, don't take a break, keep working." "No, don't make plans with friends this weekend, stay home and be with the kids." "No, don't sit down and read, do the dishes instead." 

No. No. No. No. No. We say "No" to ourselves all of the time, but not when we should. Which may be one reason why we have been saying "Yes" to whatever it is that we are abstaining from. Often we say "Yes" when we should say "No" and "No" when we should say "Yes." 

So today let's turn that around. Say "No" to whatever it is you are abstaining from, but say "Yes" to something that would really feed your soul. A long walk. A hot bath. An evening out. Whatever it is that you are longing for, say "Yes" to yourself today as well as "No." 

Now that really IS the ultimate self-care. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

28 Days of Abstinence - Day 4 - Letting IN

"Letting go clears the way for letting in..."--From a UNITY Direct Mail Appeal

Here's a question: What are you clearing the way for this month by letting go of something that is no longer serving you? What do you want to let in? 

I want to let in more raw foods (like crunchy organic carrots), more healthy foods (like baked goods made from almond flour and applesauce instead of wheat and sugar), more savory foods (like a quinoa cabbage salad with peanut sauce dressing and cashews). Food that energizes my body and makes me say, "Ah-h..." instead of "Ugh. I wish I hadn't eaten that."

I also want to let in more energy, more vitality, and more freedom because I am not so weighed down trying to digest all of that heavy wheat.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

28 Days of Abstinence - Day 3 - My First Time


"Where things are not equal, balanced, or healthy, they need to be let go of or re-negotiated."--Harmony 

The first time I remember consciously abstaining from anything was during my junior year of high school. I am sure I had "given up" things earlier than that, certainly I tried to give something up for Lent each year as a young Methodist, but this was the first time I made the decision of my own free will to forego something I loved. 

I was sixteen and I was having some very intense periods. Every few months on the first day of my period, I would feel sweaty and light-headed, and sometimes my vision would tunnel and I would feel like I was going to pass out. On one particularly intense day, I went to the nurse's office and my mom was called to come and take me home. As we walked down the hill from my high school I had to sit down two or three times before we made it to the car. It was in that moment I decided: NO MORE FRENCH FRIES. 

In addition to a cafeteria, my high school also had a snack bar that sold hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and French fries, and it was where many kids - if not most - got their lunch every day. My standard lunch that year was a packet of French fries and an apple. Sometimes a chocolate chip cookie for dessert. In spite of the apple, I knew this didn't really qualify as a "healthy lunch" and I felt this was being made abundantly clear on this particular day. 

So I quit, cold turkey, and began bringing my lunch every day. A peanut butter sandwich on wheat bread and an apple. Sometimes I would buy a cookie, but I tried not to do it everyday. 

I still had intense cramps, but that was the last time I can recall having a sweaty, tunnel-vision period. I'm not sure quitting fries made the difference, but I definitely felt better when I ate a better lunch. 

It didn't last, of course, and by the time I graduated from high school I was eating fries again as often as I could. And I wasn't just eating them, I was consuming them. Eating fries for me was like eating a first meal after being stranded on a desert island. I ate them like I hadn't eaten in months - fast and furious. I loved the crunch, the grease, and the ketchup, laced with mounds of black pepper.

I continued my unhealthy obsession with French fries until I was in my late twenties. One Easter season I gave them up for Lent, just to see if I could, and I during that forty days I realized that my relationship with French fries was not a healthy one. That something needed to be re-negotiated. 

After the forty days was over I decided to give them up for good and I threw in soda for good measure. I didn't eat French fries or drink soda for at least two or three years after that. After awhile I completely forgot what had been so seductive about them. I didn't miss them and I didn't crave them. They were just something I used to love. 

Over the past few years French fries have eased their way back into my life, but in a way that is more healthy and balanced. I will sometimes bum a few fries from my kids or split an order with my husband and I still enjoy them - the crunch, the grease and the pepper-laced ketchup are as good as I remember - but they no longer hold the same power over me.

And now I stand at a similar crossroads with wheat. I know it is not good for me in the amount I consume, and I am not entirely in control of my relationship with the wheaty treats in my life. I have tried to let go of it a couple of times, but it keeps coming back and I keep letting it back in. So once more into the breech my old foe. Let's see if we can find balance this time. 

~  *  ~  *  ~  *  ~  *  ~

Here are a couple of questions to consider today: In what ways is your relationship with the thing you are letting go of this month unhealthy or unbalanced? In what ways does this relationship need to be re-negotiated? 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

28 Days of Abstinence - Day 2 - Beginners

"Be willing to be a beginner every single morning." --Meister Eckhart

Day two. How's it going? If you have already cheated, start again. If you are already struggling, repeat the letting go meditation from day one. We are just beginning. Be gentle with yourself and be willing to begin again (and again and again and again).

Monday, March 21, 2016

28 Days of Abstinence - Day 1 - Spiritual Warriors


"Generally speaking, we regard discomfort in any form as bad news. But for practitioners or spiritual warriors – people who have a certain hunger to know what is true – feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we're holding back." --Pema Chodron

Hello! And welcome to 28 Days of Abstinence. Come on in. Pull up a chair and get comfortable while you still can. :) I am not going to lie to you, this is not going to be easy, especially if what you are letting go of (I prefer this to "giving up") is a long-ingrained habit or addiction.

Abstinence, I think, scares people because it brings up right-wing politicians trying to rescind our abortion rights or keep girls "pure" for marriage while looking the other way while boys (and men for that matter) do whatever they want.

If you can, send any preconceived notions you have about the word "abstinence" out of your mind and let's take a closer look at the word itself.

The basic definition on www.merriam-webster.com is, " the practice of not doing or having something that is wanted or enjoyable." I think this is fairly close to what most of us think of when we hear the word abstinence. So let's dig a little bit deeper.

A second definition is, "voluntary forbearance especially from indulgence of an appetite or craving." This is more what I have in mind for us this month. We all have indulgences and cravings that inform our lives to some degree and the difference between "healthy" and "unhealthy" lies most often in finding the balance between some indulgence (life isn't really worth living without some indulgence, is it?) and overindulgence.

There are exceptions to this, of course, when something is just flat-out bad for us: for instance if we are allergic or it is causing or exacerbating a negative health condition.

So I hope you will choose something to abstain from this month which will be a bit challenging and which will make some positive difference in your life to let go of, either for a time or permanently. (You don't have to decide now. Start with twenty-eight days and see how it goes...)

I am choosing WHEAT because I LOVE bread (and crackers and cookies and croissants), but in recent years it hasn't really been returning the favor. After eating it I feel bloated and often get the sniffles and stiff joints. I have tried to give it up here and there in a less formal fashion - and I eat A LOT less of it than I used to - but it never sticks and I end up on that slippery slope to full on WHEAT-eating. (Croissants are my gateway drug.)

Once you have chosen your "thing" - this could be a food (meat, wheat, sugar, or something else) or a habit (nail biting, cigarette smoking, etc.) or a behavior (lying, cheating, stealing, any of the ten commandments or the seven deadly sins would work) - allow yourself to have it ONE MORE TIME today and then let it go.

This meditation/exercise should help:

Find a comfortable meditation position, either sitting cross-legged, or in a chair with your feet on the floor or even lying down with your legs straight out in front of you and your arms at your sides (corpse pose in yoga). Begin by closing your eyes and taking three deep breaths. 
Imagine that you are holding the thing you are letting go of in your hands. Take stock of it. What are its qualities, both good and bad? What does it give to you? What does it take away? How do you feel about it right now?
When you are ready, physically hand it over to The Universe, or God, or whatever power greater than yourself you believe in, for safe keeping, knowing you can always take it back after the twenty-eight days. 
Breathe deeply a few more times, then open your eyes and go about your day. 

Congratulations, you have begun the twenty-eight day ABSTINENCE challenge! Let any discomfort show you where you are holding back and transform you into a Spiritual Warrior.

Check back daily for information, inspiration, and support, both here or on the Being & Becoming Community Facebook page.

[N.B. IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY IN THE GRIPS OF A SERIOUS ADDICTION TO DRUGS, ALCOHOL OR ANY OTHER HIGHLY ADDICTIVE SUBSTANCE, PLEASE DO NOT GO IT ALONE. I AM NOT A DOCTOR AND THIS CHALLENGE IS NOT DESIGNED TO ASSIST  YOU IN RECOVERING FROM A SERIOUS ADDICTION. 

Having said that, please feel free to follow along either before, during or after professional treatment.]

Friday, March 18, 2016

28 Days of Abstinence - Coming Monday!



"To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness." 
--Bertrand Russell

Today I am pleased to announce that beginning Monday, March 21st I will be leading another month-long spiritual challenge. This one on ABSTINENCE (I know, FUN, right?).

By abstinence I don't mean twenty-eight days without sex (unless that is the particular monkey that is on your back right now), by abstinence I mean taking time off from anything - a food, a habit, or a behavior - that may be in some way detrimental to your health or well being.

Over the course of twenty-eight days I will be sharing daily inspiration as well as my own struggles and successes with abstinence. At one time or another I have given up French fries, soda, talking, coffee (notice I didn't say caffeine because I cannot bear to think about giving up dark chocolate), alcohol, and meat. Each experience of abstinence included both challenges and gifts. I will share these with you and more.

So please join me on Monday either here on my blog, on Twitter or on the Being & Becoming Facebook Community.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Non-attachment for Beginners (like me)

"Love Locks" from Osaka, Japan 
"We are flawed receptacles of wisdom moving between moments of seeing a little clearly and moments of being in the darkness." --Kaspalita Thompson

I have been on a bit of a Buddhist trip lately. It started with Wake Up: A Life of the Buddha by Jack Kerouac, which I started reading for my bookclub, veered off into Just As You Are: Buddhism for Foolish Beings by Kaspalita Thompson & Satya Robyn, which I read because it was free on Amazon, then back to Wake Up and on to Zen Mind, Beginners Mind by Shunryu Suzuki and Why I am a Buddhist: No Nonsense Buddhism with Red Meat and Whiskey by Stephen T. Asma, PhD (the latter I am not sure I would recommend, but it has further deepened my understanding of Buddhism, from a decidedly American academic perspective).

Perhaps the most fruitful outcome of all this Buddhist literature has been a rededication to my meditation practice, which had been in a bit of a maintenance mode. I was consistently doing twenty minutes a day, with the odd hour-long meditation thrown in here and there, but it had become something I just "did" because it was something I did, if you know what I mean.

As soon as I started reading Wake Up, however, I remembered why I had started meditating in the first place: to achieve enlightenment.

Seriously. I was a young mother, a sleep-deprived insomniac, on the verge of insanity and full of anger. I wanted OUT of the situation I had found myself in - not parenthood, but the pain of constant exhaustion and worry - and nothing else offered me true escape, true transcendence, so I turned to meditation and I meditated as Pema Chodron suggests, "like my hair was on fire." And it saved me in a sense.

At least it started me down the road of my own salvation, which has been paved with a lot of letting go (caffeine, alcohol, control, anger), a lot of movement (yoga, running, swimming, walks), and a lot of meditation. Except not so much recently.

Twenty minutes a day is a solid practice for a beginner and it is something to aspire to when you are just starting out, but for me, it was becoming rote and I wasn't really deepening my practice at this amount of time. Since I started reading Wake Up, I have had the goal of meditating for an hour every day and I can feel the life in my practice again. I am being challenged. I am having to dig deep to stay in position. I am growing wider in understanding.

One thing in particular that has become clearer to me is the concept of non-attachment. It's like a light went on in that room that was previously dark.

I have always understood the concept when it comes to material possessions. It makes total sense to me that being attached to one's car or one's boat isn't healthy from a spiritual perspective. That's not to say that when both of our sons' new bikes were stolen within months of their purchase I didn't have a hard time with it. I understand the concept, I have yet to perfect it. But I have always struggled with the idea that you should not be attached to other human beings, to relationships.

Our culture it seems is all about being attached. Attachment parenting, monogamy, endless articles in endless publications about how to bond with your children, create a more lasting attachment to your spouse, make lasting friendships - in the area of relationships we are all about attachment. And I have fallen for it hook, line and sinker.

When my kids come home from school I make it a point to "connect" with them. I try and keep date nights with my husband on the radar, even if they don't happen as often as they "should." And I am constantly scanning my calendar for opportunities to catch up with this or that friend all under the guise of "attachment." So what is up with the Buddhist thing about not being attached to the people in your life? What is up with that?

This morning during my meditation something shifted and I began to understand this non-attachment in a new way. I began to think about my sons and my husband and to imagine what it would be like to be "non-attached." Surprisingly, instead of feeling odd and weird and just wrong as it has in the past, it felt safe and open and loving.

The Buddha didn't mean by non-attachment that we don't love our loved ones - not at all - only that we don't cling to them. They are not MY son, or MY husband, or MY friend, but rather they are who they are. A fellow human, a soul with a body, an independent and free person that we hold in high regard and for whom we have feelings of affection and love.

But it doesn't stop there. Something about seeing my loved ones in this new non-attached way, also made more room to love others - strangers, acquaintances, even my enemies. My love wasn't targeted, directed, limited, only to those I love and it wasn't for them only when they were making me feel LOVE. It just was. It was a non-attached kind of love and it felt lovely.

It didn't last, of course. Yesterday I mistakenly thought my younger son forgot his lunch and I decided to walk it over to him during his lunch hour. BIG MISTAKE.

I walked into the school cafeteria lunch in hand and with a big smile on my face. My smile dimmed as soon as I approached my son's lunch table. There, spread out before him, was another lunch and there, right in front of me, was my son with a look on his face that said, "WTF?"

"I already have a lunch, MOM," he spat at me. The "duh" was silent.

"I'm sorry," I replied and turned and walked away.

That's right, I apologized.

In that moment I felt so rejected and so small, so disconnected. I had tried to do a nice thing and was lambasted for it. It came out of nowhere. My first truly "teen" parenting moment wherein they experience total embarrassment at your very presence. I can't lie. It hurt. A lot.

I walked home feeling sad and rejected, my insights about non-attachment completely gone. Writing about it now though I can see how attached I was to the idea of myself as THE GOOD MOM, the provider, the rescuer even. And I can see how this idea hurt us both.

So as I sit in meditation today I will hope to re-attach to the concept of non-attachment. To grasp it again and perhaps hold onto it for a bit longer this time.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A Mud Day

Another "mud" day, when my husband's car got stuck in the sand on Long Beach, WA

"...[S]ome days are magic, some days are mud." --Donn "Murph" Murphy


I am having a "mud" day today. My body feels heavy, everything feels hard and the darkness seems to be squeezing out the light. 

At first I fought against it. I sat at my desk, "to do" list in hand, waiting for inspiration to strike. Nothing. 

I surfed the Internet. Checked my email. Wasted time on Facebook. It only got worse. I decided to take a walk. 

At first it didn't help. Instead of sitting in the mud, I was trudging through it, but I kept going. And going. And going. 

And then I remembered this quote, which I heard many moons ago in Xcalak, Mexico, and I remembered: some days are just mud. And there is nothing you can do to change that. But there are things you can do to make it more bearable. And soon the darkness cleared a bit. 

Here are some ideas for what to do on a "mud" day:

1) Sit down in it and have a good cry - Let it all out and allow the tears to wash away some of the mud. 

2) Make mud pies - What DO you feel like doing today? Maybe it isn't what you planned to do, but perhaps something positive can be created from all that mud.

3) Throw it at other people - Not recommended, but it is an option, and one we sometimes choose. I invite you to choose something else. 

4) Wash it off - take a long, hot shower or a salt water bath. Go for a swim. Hit the beach if you live near the coast. Wash some of the mud off and see if you don't feel cleaner and lighter. 

5) Play in it - Mud can be a lot of fun if you accept that you are going to get a little bit dirty. How can you enjoy this "mud" day in spite of itself? This might mean taking a walk, talking to a friend or treating yourself to an extra coffee break or lunch out. 

6) Remember that the mud will not last forever - it is likely that the mud will clear tomorrow, or the next day and you will feel the magic again, or at least a return to neutral. 


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Write Your Life! - The Book


 "And we should forget, day by day, what we have done; this is true non-attachment. And we should do something new." --Shunryu Suzuki

After almost five years - and more drafts than I can remember (fifteen? twenty?) - I am pleased to announce that I am publishing my first book today.

What began as a class I first taught in August of 2011 at East West Bookshop, was scribbled out long-hand in a series of sketchbooks during a somewhat uncomfortable weekend writing retreat in New Mexico, and revised and designed over the past nine months since I began my blogging hiatus in May of last year, is now complete. It is not perfect, but I am proud of it.

I hesitate to say proud because pride brings to mind an overabundance of good feelings about oneself, but checking the dictionary just to be sure this is the word I wanted to use, I found that "overabundance of good feelings about oneself" is actually the secondary meaning of proud and that it primarily means feeling pleased or satisfied as a result of one's own accomplishments or qualities. So proud works for me.

And now it is time to let go.

When I first imagined publishing a book it was with much fanfare - a New York publisher, a book party, a cross-country tour - but once I really started to write I realized just how much the publishing wasn't the point. The writing is the point. What happens next is not up to me. I am grateful to Shunryu Suzuki for this reminder today.

The quote above is from "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind," which is the book I am reading before my meditation time right now. Today's passage was about giving (the Buddhist concept of dana prajna paramita) and about that Suzuki says, "'To give is non-attachment,' (quoting Dogen-zenji) that is, just not to attach to anything is to give." Then later, "To produce something, to participate in human activity is also 'dana prajna paramita.'" 

My hope then is that Write Your Life may be dana prajna paramita, that through writing and non-attachment I may give something to the world that may benefit someone in some way.

If you would like to order a copy of Write Your Life, it is available on Blurb.com in either paperback ($12.99) or ebook (for iDevices only, $1.99), follow these links to purchase.

Blessings, love and best wishes to you as you write your life!