LOVE AND QUICKSAND

heart

 

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

Aristotle

 

What else would I talk about this week, but love? As the quote would indicate, love is a practice, not a gooey feeling. But, what kind of love are we practicing? What is excellence in love?

 

Love can be a super- power, because it can erase fear, and not much else can.

Love can be freedom, because it can create an expansion in our spirit and open us to a whole new perspective on the world and a host of unexplored possibilities.

Love and intelligence combined can result in wisdom.

But love without detachment, can be quicksand for the giver and the recipient. Love that is not detached from judgment is entirely conditional, and can make the giver a puppeteer and the recipient resentful. Love not detached from the fact that we are not anyone’s saviors can ruin our health, take us off of our own path and ultimately take our loved one off of theirs. We can’t save anyone from all pain or consequences, even our children. Any and all efforts to do so only result in the erasure of us.

Love with detachment, gives us the ability to be compassionate and forgive. It allows us to love from the appropriate distance, so we don’t get stepped on for putting ourselves between someone else and their destiny.

Love is an attitude, an intention practiced daily, or even more often, to see others as a gift, a blessing, and a lesson for who they are right now at this instant.

 

 

6 SCANDALOUS PRACTICES I’M USING IN 2015

good fireworks

 1) Serenity first and foremost. There is nothing and no one on this earth worth sacrificing my own peace of mind. Getting myself in a mental muddle won’t help anyone or make the world any better. I will engage in any practice necessary to preserve my serenity, no matter how unusual or subversive, including the following:

 

2) Brazenness. I simply will not accept shame from anyone, including myself. Shame is a tactic, not a truth. I’m also going to refuse any guilt that I myself haven’t earned.

3) Keeping an open mind. As unlikely as it may seem, there may be a different point of view even from my most dug- in perceptions and beliefs.

As Voltaire said, I’m going to enjoy my ability to make up my own mind and let others enjoy the dignity of making up theirs. How could I ever hope to earn someone’s respect, if I don’t try to respect his or her thinking and beliefs?

Practicing # 3 will inevitably lead down the slippery slope ending in # 4.

4) I might have to utter the dreaded phrase, ” you might be right.”

5) I’m going to re- learn the now seemingly extinct practices of consensus and compromise, and ask myself, “how important is it?” before endeavoring to assist anyone to get back on the side of the Angels. Am I really sure I’m on the right side? A difference of opinion isn’t a personal attack. The more emotional I am about something, the more likely I am to have distorted perceptions, which may lead me away from the solution or resolution I seek.

6) In law school we learned the rule of reasonableness: what would a reasonable man or woman do in the same situation? It’s kind of bizarre that with all the lawyers roaming the earth, I never hear this word. I’m going to attempt to resuscitate this all but extinct practice, and use it as the criterion in my interactions, instead of my feelings and perceptions.

Who knows what will happen? I’ll keep you posted.

In your small way, you can shake the world.”

Gandhi

 

5 PRICELESS GIFTS I HOPE YOU ALREADY HAVE FOR CHRISTMAS & HANUKKAH

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(BOOK EXCERPT)

“ I overheard a conversation recently which was life- changing for me.

The man whom I was pretending not to overhear was giving a definition of integrity that I had never heard: it simply means undiminished. This is the first gift I wish for you for Christmas, Hanukkah and the New Year: that you go through this season and this life with passion and dignity undiminished. Love undiminished. Faith undiminished. Influence and ability to help others undiminished. Joy and lust for life undiminished. Beauty and purpose undiminished.

 

Audacity

I hope you are already audacious enough to realize you are ageless and timeless and to love wildly and unconditionally, especially yourself. I wish you the audacity that provides you the certainty that you were created intentionally for a reason and that your life and your individual experiences will ultimately matter to others, and that makes them not only valuable, but also sacred. May you always have the audacity to question those who judge and question you. May you be audacious enough to ask for answered prayers and even miracles and to expect those answers and miracles to arrive.

 

The Simplicity necessary to actively look for, perceive and receive those answered prayers and miracles with clear sight. May you never second- guess, analyze, or explain a blessing or miracle away, just because it didn’t arrive in the predicted packaging.

 

I wish you Freedom to find and lose and find your authentic self yet again within the safety of a group that provides you the sanctuary to do so without the hindrances of:

Deadlines

Shame

Dogma

Labels or

Limitations”

 

May you have happy, joyous and peace-filled holidays and beyond.

God bless us, every one:)

 

Undamned, My Escape From the Old Testament 

 

PEACE IS INTERSTELLAR

Hubble_deep_field

 

Each moment has its life and its death; otherwise, existence is impossible.

The Tao.

 

I saw the movie, Interstellar, last night in IMAX and I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s a Sunday morning, and I should be in church, but I am still thinking about this movie instead. I keep thinking about how so many seemingly random and unrelated things in this movie turn out to be inextricably intertwined and, in fact, dependent each upon the other. I keep thinking about the vast number of spiritual parallels to this theme.

The film is almost indescribable in its artistry and overlapping themes, but David Brooks of The New York Times writes a stunningly beautiful review of the movie entitled, Love and Gravity, that is, I think, a work of art in and of itself. In his review Mr. Brooks points to the movie pointing to this interconnection of seemingly mutually exclusive things: science and faith, and science and our love for each other. In fact, they are intertwined, and faith and love become their own field and dimension.

And so it is, I think, with Peace. It can be a super- power, but it is dependent upon and intertwined with so many other things. Like the movie, it is dependent on our attraction to and seeking out of something or someone out there we cannot see, who spans time and space, generations, life and death—a God who is invisible but is still reaching across time and space to be with us. It is impossible to connect with him if we don’t extend ourselves to meet him. That is the cosmic, fun side.

There is also the mundane side of peace– muscle memory. Peace is a practice.

I suffered a brain injury as a result of a car accident about two years ago. I am now ok. Before the accident, I was a fairly accomplished pianist and was in a band singing and learning the guitar. I lost my memory of how to play these instruments. Because I lost the intellectual memory to process these things, I didn’t even try. Because I didn’t even try, I lost the muscle memory. When my intellectual memory of the chords and notes returned, my hands and my voice would not respond to the commands. Once I just started moving my fingers it was terrible at first, but within a couple of weeks, the music began to sound like something a human being would want to hear. I played a tape of a friend singing to teach myself to sing again. I thought that regaining command of my instruments was dependent on my mind but it was dependent on my love for them and their need to be played.

Peace is like this. If I wait for it to just happen to me, I won’t experience it. To have peace I have to surrender to the partnership with my unseen creator, and for that to happen, I have to practice being mindful that there is a partnership It is dependent on my love for my creator, his love for me and my ability to practice this, if only for a few moments a day. Peace, and the lack of it, is related to control, powerlessness and fear, but especially self worth and humility.

I can’t have peace if I am afraid of the future, regret the past, or don’t approve of myself. I can’t get rid of these afflictions unless I practice peace. I can’t cure my mind and it’s ridiculous thought patterns with my mind. Back to the partnership and the eternal dance.