Archive | December 2014

Relax, Observe, and Allow….

Take time to go within. You will find your solutions there.

Often it is easy for us all to get caught up in accomplishing too many tasks during our busy days. We can lose touch with our inner wisdom, peace, calm, and feeling of contentment and joy. Following this practice several times a day allows each of us to stay connected with and present for ourselves. Practice being with what is. Right here. Right now. So for yourself…

RELAX: Release rushing. Hand over my pushing–every minute, every hour, every day–> leads to tensionless living.  Release resistance to what is or what isn’t. Release from all of the entanglements of your mind. Release from fear, striving, and all worry. Have no agenda or judgment about what is happening. Go easy. Let things be as they are. Ah…tension diminishes as you allow non-doing.

Body Scan

  • Slow down. Release all goals and ambitions. Allow yourself to FEEL the process of being awake and alive. Open up to all of your senses. Don’t just live in your head. Feel yourself awake and aware, completely in the present moment. Take time to celebrate your journey of life!

  • Release speed. Own where you are. Release the need to rush to the next thing. Own your place on the earth. Move more slowly throughout the day. Ah…

  • Know what is enough. Watch greed (and compulsion) for accomplishment–things like e-mails or computers, numerous projects, or lists of things to do. Notice the heaviness of obligation that might come over you. Consider leaving your lists behind! How can you allow lists not to run or rule you? Perhaps simplify your life? Cultivate the feeling of inner contentment and peace. Remember: When I get lost in the field of tasks, I feel buoyed up and validated from them…and exhausted by them. Choose to simplify and prioritize, and be still.

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OBSERVE: Tune the light of awareness into your experience. Really notice (look at) what’s happening with your body, your mind, and with your emotions. Check out the Four Foundations of Mindfulness: body, feelings, mind, and all phenomena. Take time to just be present in your life. Open fully to all of your senses. Just be. Through observation you make the unconscious, known. You see your problems and your patterns. Gently look into the areas of your discomfort. Observe and then later transform them through skillful substitution.

  • Be in the moment. Don’t live your life, look at your life through thought. Rest your attention on your direct experience of walking, eating, washing the dishes, etc. Not “thinking about” or creating a “story line” about what you are doing, or remembering the past or planning for the future while you are doing each task. Be in the moment–know where you are at in this life. Be in the “crosshairs” of this moment. Pull in your mind. Stabilize your attention.


ALLOW: Don’t push away or fight anything. Allow tensionless living. Trust! Release the ego’s need to control or defend! Allow whatever is present in the moment to be there. Perhaps pain, distress, anger, anxiety, tiredness, or delight, appreciation, and happiness. Whatever it is, just be present with it and allow it. Following this process allows ease of well being–a deep acceptance of what is or isn’t– to arise.


Do You Experience a RAIN of Feelings?

Release the tried and failed method! Move on!

Take Time

This practice was shared by Rodney Smith at an insight meditation retreat. To hear the talk, visit Rodney’s site:  and go to individual talks to the talk on 7/05 Explore his many excellent talks including Distortions of Mind. Check out especially Distortions of Mind– The Driven Mind


Develop a love for the present moment.

Learn to reconnect with our bodies and our lives.

Come to know what nurtures you and what depletes you.

ASK: What might lead me to greater openness, honesty,

and a deeper capacity to love myself and others?


Nourish awareness in every moment. Cultivate a peaceful response about your life, acceptance of your present  circumstances, and kindness towards ourselves and everyone else. Frolic around these wonderful books:

Peace Is Every Step (1991),The Miracle of Mindfulness, by Thich Nhat Hanh, (1976), Beacon Press, Boston In Thich Nhat Hanh’s book Present Moment Wonderful Moment–Mindfulness Verses for Daily Living*, Parallax Press, (1990). See also Parallax Press Resources for Mindful Living: *From the introduction: This book contains short verses to help us dwell in mindfulness. We often become so busy that we forget what we are doing or even who we are. We forget to look at the people we love and to appreciate them…we don’t know how to get in touch with what is going on inside and outside of ourselves…To meditate is to be aware of what is going on in our bodies, our feelings, our minds, and in the world. This is a delightful book that promotes a feeling of joy and of the sacredness of life.
Practicing The Power of Now, (1999), by Eckhart Tolle, New World Library Sounds True has audio and videotapes of this book, and many other titles. 800-333-9185 Provides suggestions and insights to experience the joy of being, to enter the now, to accept whatever is happening (to see impermanence and the cycles of life), and to transform the “pain body” in us.

Stillness Speaks, (2003), by Eckhart Tolle, Namaste Publishing and New World Library. From the Introduction, “The only function of a spiritual teacher is to help you remove that which separates you from the truth of who you already are and what you already know in the depth of your being.” Enjoy discovering your inner being!

  • Namaste Publishing promotes Eckhart‘s books and other materials. Their mission is: “To make available publications that acknowledge, celebrate, and encourage others to express their true essence and thereby come to remember Who They Really Are.” Find them at:  

Delve into other areas for ideas:

Overwhelmed? Are you TOO Busy??!!

  Overwhelmed? Too Many Empty Calories?

Are you over busy?

Burning the candle at both ends gives a great light…

but drips wax on the carpet!!!

                                                                                      Taken from The Economist magazine

Are you feeling a bit stressed out? Agitated? Exhausted? Burned out? Do you feel like running away from all of your daily responsibilities? What happens to your healthy living patterns when you feel this way? Do you still find that you eat healthfully? How about your active lifestyle? Do you feel nourished by your activities or do you feel drained by them?

4-Stop Believing

Have you been absorbing too much information? Experiencing too many meetings, too many phone calls? Too much stimulation? Do you feel that you are on a treadmill running around in circles? Do you find that you love all of life but there is just TOO MUCH of it? I certainly feel this way at times! Watch the mental pressure cooker. Look seriously. Make choices wisely.

I encourage you to take some time to shine the light of attention towards yourself and notice how your body and emotions respond to the way you are presently creating your daily routine.

Do you hunger for some alone time? Time just to BE and not DO? Time just to relax, nurture yourself, and restore balance to your life? Ah…

5-Being The Fastest

Perhaps you might benefit from taking in some beneficial, wholesome, calming, nurturing nutrients. Step back from the RUSH of your life. Give yourself some space.

You might find that this feels uncomfortable and difficult to do. Perhaps you’ve developed the HABIT of being always rushed and harried and don’t know HOW to slow down. I encourage you to explore other sections of the Cultivating Balance section, especially :

See below the Self-Nurturing and Self-Esteem ideas: Learn the skills for emotional nurturing. They’re euphoric and non-caloric! Learning and practicing these skills will help to transform emotional eating.

Body Scan

Begin to notice that if you choose to keep your life over busy, you might find yourself spontaneously and uncontrollably turning to food to help you numb out and manage the stresses that you are feeling. Consider exploring:

Developing and Maintaining a “Personal Plan of Eating”


Before you begin, it would be helpful to review the insights and suggestions from the Dieting VS. Non-Dieting section. Remember that all of this is an experiment. As an example, for me, I discovered that super-chunk peanut butter is a trigger food.

There are some schools of thinking that suggest that if you always have the food around and allow yourself a small amount of it whenever you want, without any denial or guilt, that you will come to a place of eating it in moderation. I tried that out, time after time, and for me found that it did not work. I would almost always end up eating more of than I had planned.



So I came up with another plan that worked better for me which I share in the section of how I discovered new foods. For most foods that I eat, having unlimited quantities around the house works very well. I don’t overeat them. It’s really important to develop your own inner kind-wisdom and self-discipline for yourself and your life.

Perhaps read over my story of how I learned about myself and found new foods and choices that were more effective. Remember that you are on a journey towards increasing health and well-being and you are planting the garden of your life with seeds of well-being–and nurturing them, and will reap your garden of health and friskiness!!

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You learn about yourself through:

  • Personal discovery through experimentation and practice in making skillful choices that honor and respect ourselves at every level of our lives.
  • There is no “right or wrong”. It’s just what works for you. You update or change your strategies depending on what you notice about yourself through your daily self-introspection.
  • Once you recognize the pattern, you can plan a new response for a situation.

EXPLORE: Notice The Web of Existence: Patterns, patterns everywhere. Not a moment’s peace! and  Which Puzzle Pieces Contribute to Your Overweight?, and What Does It Look Like When Things Are Going Well?


AIM FOR The Inner Oval–Focus On: Healthy Maintenance Schedule

  • Daily choices of foods, skills, and activities that support a healthy lifestyle, as well as, mental and emotional well being.
  • Foods, activities, and daily patterns that naturally keep you feeling balanced, happy and glad to be alive.
  • List all foods, beverages that do not cause you to want to overeat and activities that support your flexible plan of eating.

The Middle Oval: The Gray Area

  •  “In this situation it’s best that I not do it for now…and in this situation, I can handle it quite well.
  •  Foods of which we are uncertain about
  • Foods and situations that could lead us to the outer oval of imbalances and problems
  • Potential binge foods—come up with behavioral strategies to manage them

The Outer Oval: The Problematic Area

  • Be honest and gentle. List all foods, beverages, and activities that trigger you to eat much more than you had planned. Be specific. These are the foods and activities that will go in your outer oval.
  • Foods and activities in this oval are carefully chosen (for now) and should be monitored to observe your reactions to them. Be gentle. Be honest. Be aware.
  •  List foods and activities that keep us in isolation and fantasy.
  • List the foods and activities that many times have triggered a binge.

What works for you? To print off the EXAMPLE: Defining A plan of Eating-EXAMPLE.pdf

To print off a BLANK Ovals sheet: Blank The Ovals.pdf


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The Grace Of Eating


In this food,

I see clearly the presence

of the entire universe

supporting my existence.

Taken from Present Moment Wonderful Moment by Thich Nhat Hanh

Food. The Magical Gift–Eating is essentially an act of communion

 with the living forces of nature.

We often take it for granted. We forget that food is precious.

Let us bless the source of life that brings forth bread from the Earth, let our lives be a blessing to the Earth that sustains us, and to all the creatures that, like us, call this planet home.


A Grace Before Our Meal


In this food we see the mysterious creativity of nature and the hard work of the countless people who participated in producing it, to whom we give thanks.  Just as this food provides sustenance to us, may we, through our work and our moment to moment interactions, help to benefit others.  Bon appetit! Provided by Jon Dickman


Kiss the Earth
By Thich Nhat Hanh

Walk and touch peace every moment.
Walk and touch happiness every moment.
Each step brings a fresh breeze.
Each step makes a flower bloom.
Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Bring the Earth your love and happiness.
The Earth will be safe
when we feel safe in ourselves.

Adapted from Thich Nhat Hanh: Buddhism in Action, by Maura D. Shaw (Skylight Paths, 2004). Shared by my friend Michelle.

Kiss The Earth and Walk as You Touch Peace in Every Moment!

Taking time to say grace not only blesses the food,

it blesses the people who take the time to say it.

  • Bless this food.

  • Bless these people.

  • Bless this house.

  • Bless this world.

  • We give thanks for this food.

  • We give thanks for each other.

  • We give thanks for our lives.

Adapted from: May All Be Fed, by John Robbins

Before eating, practice breathing to calm down:

  • Breathing in, I calm my body.

  • Breathing out, I smile.

  • Dwelling in the present moment,

  • I know this is a wonderful moment!

Taken from Present Moment Wonderful Moment by Thich Nhat Hanh

The Four Gratitudes: to parents, teachers, friends, and all organic and inorganic species that support and enrich our lives. Taken from Present Moment Wonderful Moment by Thich Nhat Hanh

Five Contemplations before Meals


  1. I contemplate how many blessings I have accumulated in order to receive this food given by others.
  2. I contemplate my own daily practice (of generosity, ethics, kindness, patience, gentle awareness, healthful choices, joyous effort, and compassion), constantly trying to improve it.
  3. I contemplate my mind, cautiously guarding it from wrongdoing, greed, and other spiritual and emotional defilements.
  4. I contemplate this food, treating it as wondrous medicine to nourish my body.
  5. I contemplate the aim of spiritual, mental, and emotional evolution, accepting and consuming this food in order to accomplish it.

By seeing this food as medicine, I will consume it without attachment or hatred, not to increase my arrogance, strength, or good looks, but solely to sustain my life.

May all those who offered me food attain happiness of total peace. May all those who offered me drink, who served me, who received me, who honored me, or who made offerings to me attain happiness which is total peace.

The five contemplations and other thoughts are from Thubten Chodron ( Slightly edited.

Finishing Your Meal

The plate is empty.

My hunger is satisfied.

I vow to live for the benefit of all beings.


Consider dedicating everything in your life for the benefit of all people: Dedication for a Meaningful Life

When Society Becomes An Addict!

To Transform Addictions

An essential part of changing or recovering from harmful life choices (ADDICTIONS) is education about the patterns, how they began, what forces influenced their creation (conditioned them), and what are the inner and outer forces that may cause them to reoccur or continue.

When I read the following two books it gave me understanding about how my my family and society deeply influence me, what warning signs to look for that I’m being pulled into OLD ways of responding, and how to take corrective measures to transform my addictions. I realized that I come from a “big dysfunctional family”–the human family and the American culture, and as such, I have been deeply influenced and conditioned by them.

When Society Becomes An Addict by Anne Wilson Schaef. To look inside (table of contents, introduction, excerpts, and index)  the book at Amazon– Available new and used.

In1987 Anne wrote: Our society is deteriorating at an alarming rate. As we watch the news and read the news papers, we are increasingly made aware of corruption in high places, financial collapse, and a lack of morality in settings ranging from preschools to meat packing plants….our “healers” are taking sexual advantage of their clients. As a society, we are responding not with action but with a widespread malaise…Apathy and depression have become synonymous with adjustment. Rather than looking for ways to change, to save ourselves, we are becoming more conservative, more complacent, and more defensive of the status quo.

Those few individuals who notice and draw attention to these growing problems are met with massive denial. When they run for for public office, they are not elected. When they confront us with what they know, they are ignored, dismissed, or discredited.

…Our society is the fact that the system in which we live is an addictive system. It has all the characteristics and exhibits all the process of the individual alcoholic or addict…Just as with the addict, one has to say that the society has a disease. It is not itself the disease. If it admits having the disease, it has the option of recovery…The good news is that, like the individual alcoholic/addict, the Addictive System can recover. Before that can happen, though, we must name and accept the disease. We must admit that the society we care about has a disease and can recover from that disease. We must also be willing to do the necessary work toward recovery…”

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Anne continues to define ADDICTION as: “any process over which we are powerless. It takes control of us, causing us to do and think things that are inconsistent with our personal values and leading us to become progressively more compulsive and obsessive. A sure sign of an addiction is the sudden need to deceive ourselves and others–to lie, deny, and cover up. An addiction is anything we feel tempted to lie about. An addiction is anything we are not willing to give up…like any serious disease, an addiction is progressive, and it will lead to death unless we actively recover from it…

An addiction keeps us unaware of what is going on inside us. We do not have to deal with our anger, pain, depression, confusion, or even our joy and love, because we do not feel them, or we feel them only vaguely. We stop relying on our knowledge and our senses and start relying on our confused perceptions…We lose contact with ourselves, we also lose contact with other people and the world around us. An addiction dulls and distorts our sensory input…eventually we lost the ability to become intimate with others…An addiction absolves us from having to take responsibility for our lives. We assume that someone–or something–outside ourselves will swoop down to make things better or help us to deal with what we are going through.

Addictions can be divided into two major categories: substance (alcohol, drugs, nicotine, caffeine, food, and people) and process (accumulating money, gambling, sex, work, religion, or worry). Anne goes on to describe and explore the addictive system as a hologram, recounting all of its characteristics.

The Addictive Personality: Understanding the Addictive Process and Compulsive Behavior by Craig Nakken To look inside (table of contents, introduction, excerpts, and index)  the book at Amazon– Available new and used.

This is the second edition of a work that aims to explore the processes of addiction. It examines how addiction starts, how society pushes people towards addiction, and what happens inside those who become addicted, examining topics such as genetic factors and addiction, cultural influences, the progressive nature of addiction and steps to a successful recovery. It may be of use to health practioners, as well as,  those setting out on the road to recovery.

For nearly a decade, Addictive Personality has helped people understand the process of addiction. Now, this revised edition brings new depth and dimension to our understanding of how an individual becomes an addict -including cultural influences and genetic factors-as he examines addiction’s causes, stages of development, and consequences. Nakken covers genetic factors tied to addiction, cultural influence on addictive behavior, the progressive nature of the disease, and steps to a successful recovery.

Consider exploring: Thoughts on Healing & Helping Yourself and Others


Venerable Robina Courtin- Addiction VS Freedom! MP3 (Just click on link to listen to it)

(File takes 5 minutes to upload, or “right click” and “save target as”)

Why We Should Treat, Not Blame Addicts Struggling to Get ‘Clean’: Journalist David Sheff talks with Judy Woodruff about his new book, “Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy.” See video from PBS Newshour:

Addiction is a preventable, treatable disease, not a moral failing. As with other illnesses, the approaches most likely to work are based on science — not on faith, tradition, contrition, or wishful thinking.

These facts are the foundation of Clean, a myth-shattering look at drug abuse by the author of Beautiful Boy. Based on the latest research in psychology, neuroscience, and medicine, Clean is a leap beyond the traditional approaches to prevention and treatment of addiction and the mental illnesses that usually accompany it.

The existing treatment system, including Twelve Step programs and rehabs, has helped some, but it has failed to help many more, and David Sheff explains why. He spent time with scores of scientists, doctors, counselors, and addicts and their families to learn how addiction works and what can effectively treat it.


Clean offers clear, cogent counsel for parents and others who want to prevent drug problems and for addicts and their loved ones no matter what stage of the illness they’re in. But it is also a book for all of us — a powerful rethinking of the greatest public health challenge of our time.

The Center for Addiction Management  Provides research-based solutions for an age old problem.

My is an online educational and informational website on Addiction and Recovery which includes information on addiction categories such as nicotine, alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, prescription drugs, sex, gambling and eating disorders.

Restoring Balance and Inner Harmony During Our Busy Days

Tis the season to sometimes get over busy!

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Gee…there are SO many things to do….work, shopping for special gifts for those we love, cleaning house, connecting with family and friends, shopping for and cooking healthy foods, trying to fit in some time for physical activity, attending numerous parties and pot lucks, possibly attending your spiritual group…and the list goes on and on…

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Has any time been set aside for rest, maybe a nap, or some time for contemplation and personal restoration??!! What tends to happen to you if you get too out-of-balance and frazzled? Do you make the most skillful and effective life choices at that time?

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This has happened to me recently and I revisited my “tool kit” of helpful practices to get centered….ah…that felt better! I set priorities…and slowed down! I can’t do it all.

Here are a couple of previous articles from my BLOG that I revisited (even I need to read these things over too!!! ):



Wishing you peace and contentment during this holiday season!

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By the way…my birthday is on Christmas Day.

The Tree Story

Remain centered, balanced, and rooted,

just as a tall, strong tree in the forest,

whose top leaves and branches are blown all about by breezes and strong winds.

The tree sways to and fro, to and fro,

but the base and roots remain unmovable.

Rooted in stability, perspective, and calm.

So too, you be like that tree.

Remain rooted in your loveliness and deep wisdom.

Treat the being that lives inside your skin with unmovable kindness, self-honoring, and respect…sweetheart, I love you forever.

Praise & blame, gain & loss, pleasure & sorrow come & go like the wind. To be happy, rest like a great tree in the midst of them all. The Buddha