Sunday, April 30, 2017

As a human, I have to deal with hard situations. One of the hardest is when someone I care about gets mad at me. It's hard for me because it happens when I have let someone down. It is not my intention to let people down, but it happens. When it does, I take it up as an opportunity to practice what I preach.

First, I pay attention to my breath. Am I holding in my gut and breathing in my chest? If I am, I let my diaphragm go and take my breath back.

Next, I notice the difference between what I can control an what I can't. When I find something I can't control back on my plate, I let it go.

Then I think about my four practices; acceptance, forgiveness, gratitude and service, and I pick one and do it.

Then I notice what is going on around me. How does the air smell? How warm is it? What is the light like? Out of my mind, back to my senses.

Then I remember that whatever I did, I did it with the information I had at the time, doing the best I could. This usually gives me the energy to remember that I can't change what did, but I can use the experience to effect what I do now.

Now that I'm back, what do I choose to do next?

Saturday, April 29, 2017

I have seen hawks fly so high that I could barely tell they were hawks. There is no practical reason for them to fly that high. They can't hunt from that high up. All they can do is soar.

When I sit behind the cabin at night I am reminded that there is no physical boundary between me and the limitless cosmos. The boundaries I place on myself are just that; boundaries I place on myself.

Today, I am remembering to pay attention to the choices I make and the limitations they create. The night sky reminds that there are no tangible limitations. Hawk reminds me that I always have the option to soar.

Friday, April 28, 2017

7 Billion Geniuses-Cultural Myths V-Are You Doing Something You Love?

When I no longer have to build a fire in the wood stove every morning, the dog that lives with us and I go out on the west porch for breakfast. This morning her line got caught on an old rotten stump. As soon as she realized she was stuck, she barked for me to come and get her un-stuck. 

 She reminded me that when I realize I'm stuck, I can wait to ask for help as long as I want. Or I can just ask right away.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

For me, thoughts that are fearful, judgmental, accusatory, angry, or critical are negative thoughts. They serve no purpose and contribute nothing to my life. 

Today, I am grateful to be able to recognize these thoughts when they enter my mind. 

Once I recognize them, I can allow them to pass by, like the wind blowing through the trees.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

I'm very interested in distractions. Distractions divert me from fully being in this moment. All magic is about distraction. The magician gets us to focus in one direction so we don't notice what is going on in another. I went through a tough patch this week, and I am grateful because it reminded me of couple of things. First, it reminded me that my practices don't remove the traps of distraction that I can get caught in, nor do they make it impossible for me to get stuck. Next, it reminded me about the difference between what I can control and what I can't. Finally, it reminded me about the pain associated with getting connected to those things I can't control. 

One of my teachers was a Coopers Hawk. She lives about 20 yards off the West side of the cabin. I'm pretty sure she's the reason why the Robins don't live on the other side of the house anymore. Some days the Robin gets the Worm, some days the Hawk gets the Robin. Getting connected to the possibility of seeing the Robins make and raise a family distracted me from the flow of everything. 

Hawk reminded me that death is a part of life, and that all I can count on is this moment right here, right now. Thank you Hawk.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Today, I am remembering to be grateful for the moments of peace I find in my day.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Busking is about moments. People rarely stop for a whole song. A nod, or slight change in gait, a quick dance move or a thumbs up are usually all I get to indicate that I have connected with someone.  
When I was young I used to think that there were things I could do to keep bad things from happening. Now I know that there no bad things that happen. Yes, there are difficult moments, but they are surrounded by simple and joyful ones. 

A nod, a slight change in gait or a quick dance move. Today, I'm remembering to pay attention to what I do with the moments of my life.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

There are Phoebes nesting on the Eastern side of the cabin. While I was sitting outside this morning I didn't see them, but I noticed two squirrels alarm calling in a pine tree to the South. In the moment, I thought they were annoyed with me, or each other. I didn't put the two thing together until later. Glancing out the Northern bedroom window, I saw a Coopers Hawk fly by. She was flying West, so her starting position couldn't have been more that a few yards from where I was sitting earlier. 

She reminded me that there are always answers if I am willing to wait patiently and pay attention.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Friday, April 21, 2017

Yesterday, while I was out busking, I saw an old soul. She was seven maybe nine, I can never tell with old souls. She had walked by me a couple of times with her family, but then she stopped and looked at me. Her parents noticed and stopped, too. She turned to her father and asked him for a dollar. He gave it to her, and she walked over to my case and put it in. She looked up at me and smiled a little before walking away with her family. 

Today, I am grateful for old souls because they give me hope. They are born with old wisdom, and don't forget. I am also grateful for new souls. They help me not take things so seriously.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

7 Billion Geniuses-Cultural Myths IV-Doing Nothing?

If evolution were only about survival of the fittest, we all would have evolved into a single most fit species, leaving behind our less fit progenitors. It seems evolution attends to the importance of diversity as variety as we all follow our paths toward becoming. 

Today, I am remembering to attend to the importance of my unique path.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

There are those that say that before we humans spoke, we sang. 

Today I am remembering to sing.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

There are still places on our Earth where, on the night of the new moon, the only thing that stands in the way of your being able to see the millions of stars that make up our Milky Way is the willingness to look up. Unfortunately, the closer we get to what we call civilization the harder it is to see the beauty of our galaxy. People who grew up in and around cities may have never seen this amazing beauty, so they don't miss it.

This got me thinking about freedom. As we are seduced by promises of safety, small lights of freedom are obscured. The process is slow so we don't really notice the change. Eventually, though, the light of freedom is snuffed out. And since there are some people who have never experienced the star shine of true freedom, they don't even miss it.

Today, I am remembering to be grateful for the freedom I still have, that it might be a beacon guiding me toward what is still possible.

Monday, April 17, 2017

As we surveyed the garden, my 92 year old father in law put his hand on my shoulder to steady himself. He was still weak from his last foray with ill health. 

“What a great day to be alive,” he said. 

Yes it is.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

A guy came up to me while I was busking in Kittery yesterday. He asked if I knew where the Tributary Brewing Company was. He said is nephew was gong to be playing there. I said I didn't know where it was, and directed him to some folks who might.

After I was done playing, I thought about going over to the brewing company to see the band. I drove over to the parking lot of the bar, and reconsidered. I wanted to go in, but I was nervous about going into an unfamiliar place. I left.
On the way home I remembered something my son once told me. He said he never wanted to look back and wish he had done something in stead of doing it. So he does things, even though he might have to push himself. He said this was how he was gong to avoid regrets. I turned the truck around and went back to the bar.

I listened to a couple of songs. The band was really good. Not my thing, though. Dead head jam band sort of stuff. I decided to go home.

As I walked out the door of the bar, a warm evening breeze washed over me. At the same time a wonderful feeling of calmness settled on me like a soothing blanket.

This week one of my folks told me about the idea of “doing it anyway, even if you don't want to.” She said it was one of the most important things she ever learned from a therapist (she didn't learn it from me, by the way). Walking out of the bar, I think I got a sense of why it is such an important idea for her. Even though nothing really memorable happened in the bar, I don't think I'll soon forget the feeling of freedom I felt walking back to my truck to head home.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

We had to go through my great uncles things after he died. As was not uncommon for men of his generation, he had a sizable collection of pocket knives. We went through them one by one, passing them around the circle of assembled relatives. People who knew him better then I told stories about the knives they recognized. He had told them where he picked it up and which moment of his life that particular knife was connected to.

Eventually, we came to a knife we all greed must have been his favorite. Not because of the story attached to it, in fact no one remembered seeing that knife before. Nor was it because it was gleaming and pristine. We knew it was his favorite because the blade was almost completely warn away.

No matter how fine the quality of the blade, if you use a knife, it has to be sharpened. The process of using and sharpening means that eventually the blade wares away. It reminded me that change is always happening. No matter what I do, everything wares away like the blade of my uncle's well loved knife. What I can do is choose how to spend the time I have been given. I choose to sharpen the blade of my life till it too wares away.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Less than 100 years ago we believed there was nothing smaller than the atom. 

I wonder what today will bring?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Today, I am remembering that my self esteem can be based on; 

a) things I can control, like the choices I make and the actions I take in this moment right here, right now, or 

b) things that I can't control, like the opinions other people hold about me, what I did last Wednesday, or the way my hair looked when I got out of bed this morning. 

I choose option “a.”

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Today I'm remembering that creativity is not something that I make happen, it is something I surrender to. 

I can believe that I control the river if I want to. 

It is happy to flow around me.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

7 Billion Geniuses-Cultural Myths III-Stressed Out?

Today I'm realizing that I never know when I will light the last fire of the season. I simple wake up one morning and it is no longer necessary to have a fire in the wood stove. 

Things change. 

Today is its own day.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Today, I am paying attention to how often my mind informs my body, and not the other way around. 

This connects me back to balance. 

Not one or the other, but both and.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Today, I'm remembering to be grateful for the possibilities that manifest when I least expect them.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

In the woodpile I found a chipmunk nest made of the feathers of a small bird that had been killed and eaten by a bird if prey. 

It reminded me that outside what we call civilization, tragedy is not about death, but about waste and meaninglessness. 

I used the nest as tinder for this morning's fire.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Today, I am remembering that in difficult times it is especially important for me to pay attention to moments of peace and joy.

Thursday, April 6, 2017


Dear Mom, 

I got a letter from an MIT student today. She said she had tagged some carbon atoms with trackers and had been following them. She told me one was now part of me. She said they had originally tagged my carbon atom on a beach in Alaska. After they tagged it, it had been washed into the sea by the rain. Then it was swallowed by a Humpback Whale. The whale was pretty old and it died. It was eaten by a tuna. The tuna got caught in a net off the coast of Japan. It ended up in a restaurant in Portsmouth. That's how it got to me. It feels pretty neat to be a part of all that. It got me thinking about how it all started with you and dad. Just wanted to write and say thanks. 


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

I leaned up against the great brick hearth that forms the heart of my cabin, and felt the tiniest part of it crumble in my hand. I remembered that nothing is permanent, and that even these bricks will, some day, turn to dust. I am grateful for this moment in which I am not yet dust.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Today, I am remembering that the only difference between being lost and not being lost is believing you aren't where you're supposed to be.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Today, I am remembering that the most important acceptance practice is accepting that everyone and everything is an essential part of a vast, wondrous, interconnected cosmos, where each contribution matters.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Having been taught to call a gray squirrel gray, gets me to pay attention to its grayness and miss out on its redness and whiteness and lots of other thing about it. This gets me thinking about other descriptions I have been taught that have me missing out on richer descriptions of what goes on in my life.