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Posts Tagged living well

Heres to Your Wild and Precious Day

Alphonse osbert muse at sunrise

Write it on your heart
that every day is the best day in the year.
He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day
who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.

Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in.
Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with your old nonsense.

This new day is too dear,
with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on the yesterdays.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Heres to your wild and precious day..

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Becoming Holy: Three Questions to Ask Each Day

frampton Saint Dorothy

I listened to a talk by Jean Houston on Gaiam TV today and was moved tremendously by one observation she made in particular. She noted that each of us gets wounded during our life times, and that if we live long enough, we become so full of holes that we ultimately become holy.

My own life has taught me that my wounds will ultimately diminish or enrich me, depending largely upon whether I meet them with a closed fist or an open heart. Ive also come to understand to my amazement that an ordinary day can be transformed from the mundane to the holy not so much by what happens during the course of it, but by what questions I choose to ask of myself when I first encounter it.

Michael Beckwith urges us to ask the following three questions each and every day.

How can I grow?

How can I give?

What can I celebrate?

Ive found that every morning that I ask myself these three questions and then commit to living the answers by the end of the day, my life is so much more likely to be experienced as the profound gift that it is.

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Living with Grief and Listening to Winter

hughes Heart of Snow

The sky is grey today.  My boots crunch and my body tenses when I first step out into this frigid January morning.  I move slowly, huddled against  the cold,  still baring the gravity of  grief and the weariness of long nights with too few exits and too many echoes.

Getting out of bed took little effort yesterday,  my mind was alert,  my movements fluid, and the sun was shining.  I breathed a sigh of relief, finally able to recognize the promise of a morning  without my mother in it.  I didnt have to force myself to leave my house, and I jogged and jumped and danced during my water aerobics class. My body felt light and graceful.  It was going to be a good day.

Someone began to sing, these boots are made for walking and I cheerfully joined her in song, hands on my hips and legs lifting high.  And then my eyes met those of a woman who is older than my mother and the pain slammed into my chest without warning.  I was breathless as a memory consumed all of my oxygen. My young and sexy mother is singing that song while I  prance around her in my imaginary boots.  We are pointing at each other, warning that one of these days these boots are going to walk all over you.  In that moment, all was perfect.  The depression had not found her, she was cancer free - healthy,  happy, and ALIVE.  I was safe.

My eyes filled with tears and to my horror, it occurred to me that I could start crying in a public pool surrounded by perfectly nice and normal women. I took a deep breath, clenched my jaw, called upon my well practiced will, and pulled myself together.

Rumi wrote that our lives are like guest houses. If my life truly is like a guest house, then grief, an unwelcome guest, has settled in for the time being. I cannot move out, and there will be no eviction. And so, If Im to avoid structural and collateral damage, then Ill  need to make accommodations.  Grief, I will make a place at my table for you, but I will not feed you.  Instead, I will infuse my cooking with love and gratitude and nurture my family with them.  And I will stop wasting energy trying to lock you out, instead, Ill open all of my windows and invite beauty in.

My walk is complete. I return to the home that I now share with grief, close the door, absorb the heat, and resolve to not long for spring, but to listen to winter

The Winter of Listening

No one but me by the fire,
my hands burning
red in the palms while
the night wind carries
everything away outside.

All this petty worry
while the great cloak
of the sky grows dark
and intense
round every living thing.

What is precious
inside us does not
care to be known
by the mind
in ways that diminish
its presence.

What we strive for
in perfection
is not what turns us
into the lit angel
we desire,
what disturbs
and then nourishes
has everything
we need.

What we hate
in ourselves
is what we cannot know
in ourselves but
what is true to the pattern
does not need
to be explained.

Inside everyone
is a great shout of joy
waiting to be born.

Even with the summer
so far off
I feel it grown in me
now and ready
to arrive in the world.

All those years
listening to those
who had
nothing to say.

All those years
forgetting
how everything
has its own voice
to make
itself heard.

All those years
forgetting
how easily
you can belong
to everything
simply by listening.

And the slow
difficulty
of remembering
how everything
is born from
an opposite
and miraculous
otherness.

Silence and winter
has led me to that
otherness.

So let this winter
of listening
be enough
for the new life
I must call my own.

David Whyte

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One of the Greatest Discoveries of Our Era

Diane Ackerman wrote in the New York Times, A relatively new field, called interpersonal neurobiology, draws its vigor from one of the great discoveries of our era: that the brain is constantly rewiring itself based on daily life. In the end, what we pay the most attention to defines us. How you choose to spend the irreplaceable hours of your life literally transforms you. A message well worth reminding ourselves of daily.

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What Can Offer You More Money, Power, Freedom, Greater Health and Can Help Save the World? Ask Roger Doiron.

In a funny, thought provoking, (sometimes scary) and inspiring TED talk of less than 20 minutes, Roger Doiron (one of Maines own) shares how growing our own gardens can improve our health and well-being, increase our wealth, power and freedom, and help save the world. Here are just three of the many facts that Doiron shares during his talk:

Around the world both Hunger AND obesity is on the rise

To keep up with our expanding population, more food will need to be grown over the next fifty years than has been produced thus far during the past 10,000 years COMBINED and we will need to produce this food with LESS less oil, water, soil, climate stability and time.

Our yards need not simply be yards, they can truly be full service green grocers!

You might want to visit Doirons wonderful site, Kitchen Gardners International: A Global Community Cultivating Change where youll find information, community, recipes, resources and more.

Heres just a very small taste of what this website can offer you:

How to plant a garden in the snow
How to give Eco-friendly and budget-friendly gifts
How to connect with and learn from other gardners in your community and around the world
How new low tech technology can assist in growing food in arid environments

Disclaimer: I do not personally know or have ever had contact with Roger Doiron. I simply believe in his work and want to promote it. I firmly believe in the healing power of both nature and community, healthy eating, and living sustainably, consciously, and responsibly.

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A Question to Ask When Your Life Hurts

When we encounter times in our lives that disorient us, frighten us, or wound us, we generally view them as unwelcome interruptions or unfortunate detours that have been inflicted by some outside force, or are the result of our own misguided actions. Seldom do we recognize that the discomfort that we’re experiencing may in fact be originating from a very deep and wise place inside of ourselves that is calling to us. Calling for us to stop and to listen, to explore the meaning and purpose of our lives, and to assess whether our actions and choices reflect what is best for us and in us. A voice that calls us to answer the question, “is the path that I am on now one that will constrict or enlarge me, hollow me out or deepen me, distract me or teach me, harm me or heal me?

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It has been an incredibly beautiful week here as we begin to make preparations to move the retreat and training division of SagePlace to the lake house in central Maine. During this process we discovered a 5 page goodbye letter written to the house and hidden away in a secret hiding place for twenty-seven years. The lettter was written by a man and his children who had lived here then and while sad to leave, were also grateful for the healing which took place and wrote with tremendous honesty and beauty about their experiences. The letter concluded with a riddle written by a young child (who would now be a middle aged adult) to whomever might discover the letter in the future. If we solved the riddle correctly, it appeared to imply that there was a treasure that lived in the heart of Wayne the house itself. We tucked the letter safely back in its hiding place and have decided that over the years we will add our own letters to these very dear people who remain unknown (but very much appreciated) to us in the hopes that far off into the future they will all be uncovered again and will touch the hearts of future residents of the house as our hearts were touched.

Following is an untitled poem that speaks to me of all of the holy places available to each and every one of us

I do not have to go
To Sacred Places
In far-off lands.
The ground I stand on
Is holy.
Here, in this little garden
I tend
My pilgrimage ends.
The wild honeybees
The hummingbird moths
The flickering fireflies at dusk
Are a microcosm
Of the Universe.
Each seed that grows
Each spade of soil
Is full of miracles.
And I toil and sweat
And watch and wonder
And am full of love.
Living in place
In this place.
For truth and beauty
Dwell here.

By poet and activist, Mary de La Valette

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Study Proves that Psychotherapy Saves Lives

CNN Health reported on a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine last week indicating that group cognitive behavioral therapy appears to have the ability to protect people with heart disease from dying of their illness. On the other hand, almost a decade ago the largest study ever to examine whether antidepressants have the same long-term, lifesaving effects in people who have had a cardiac event came up negativethe group CBT intervention focused on the following five goals: education, self-monitoring, skills training, cognitive restructuring and spiritual development.

University of California Television has made a highly informative lecture entitled, Coping With Stress: Cognitive-Behavioral Stress Reduction available that you can view via the youtube video above.

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On Gratitude

As Thanksgiving approaches, I’m reminded once again of the benefits to each of us of integrating a gratitude practice into our lives. Allowing ourselves to fully experience a sense of gratitude on a daily basis has proven to be highly beneficial to our minds, bodies, and souls (for more details about how this is so you might want to read, “Giving Thanks: The Effects of Joy and Gratitude on the Human Body” .)

Episcopal priest and author, Matthew Fox declares that gratitude is at the heart of his spirituality. Roman Catholic theologian, David Steindl-Rast, advices that gratitude is the source of our happiness, and Greek Philosopher, Epictetus, maintains that gratitude is a characteristic of wisdom. My own experience supports the assertions of these grateful sages.

When I practice gratitude on a daily basis I not only feel better, I believe that I become a better person. I’m more generous, appreciative, peaceful, and more easily open to wonder and awe. When my practice slips away, it’s not long before I notice the difference. I’m much more likely to be vulnerable to envy, discontentment, and anxiety. I worry more and sleep less; hoard more and give less; work more and celebrate less.

Melodie Beattie observed, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity. It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” My life is fuller when I practice gratitude, it makes more sense, and it offers so many more gifts as my heart opens wider to them.

Gratitude Resources:

Gratefulness.org

Selfless Gratitude

Spirituality & Practice: Gratitude


Lets Create more Grateful Organizations

Selfless Gratitude


Highlights from the Research Project on Gratitude and Thankfulness

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