Living Inside Out (Linking-Thinking #4)

Have you ever witnessed two people experiencing the same event and they each have completely different or even opposite reactions to that event? In today’s post-Covid world, polarized reactions and behaviors among groups of people exposed to a similar experience seems commonplace and practically normative. For many folks, myself included, these equal and opposite behaviors amidst our family and peer groups is hard to reconcile when the reactions are opposite our own.

Perhaps, we could reduce the discord and negativity we feel towards others who think differently from ourselves if we would pause to consider that the reason we react differently to a shared experience is because we each have a lifetime of past experiences. And none of our experiences will ever be exactly like another’s. If we could only hold back judgment and condemnation of the others, and instead consider that ‘reactions’ are nothing more than each person acting out their own true story as written from the script by the author of their each and every past life experience.

Consider this example set in this ‘neutral’ setting from a day at the beach. Observe two opposite reactions which two people might have as a result of their past history. The first person goes to the beach and expects to enjoy the day playing and swimming in the ocean. Whereas when the first person invites their best friend to join them at the beach for a day of fun, the friend experiences anxiety and declines the invitation because they witnessed a drowning and/or nearly drowned in the ocean when they were a child or young person. So this same, neutral place, creates for these two people, two opposite reactions. Isn’t it a little easier to accept that this seemingly neutral place, the beach, may cause differing reactions among all people when we realize that it is each person’s past history or experience which informs their present perceptions about a place or experience?

”There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”

William Shakespeare

Again, we all know what it feels like to live in a world of either/or belief systems. Taking sides with or making decisions based on how closely others feel like we do about ‘neutral’ events, places, or activities gives group think its ability to steal our most precious super-power: CHOICE! Each and every life situation we encounter is an opportunity to make a conscious practice of our choosing. What if we were to neutralize our thinking about every day events before making value judgments about them? Could we teach ourselves to take a moment to re-view or re-frame a situation by placing it in a judgment free box and acknowledging that the event or situation IS WHAT IT IS? How would that feel, in our body, and in our emotions If we took a moment to be still and quiet ourselves when encountering difficulties, and simply give these things a time out from our thinking? Might we reduce our anxiety, stress and anger by simply acknowledging that it is our own thoughts about a situation that causes us to suffer?

“When you live in complete acceptance of what is, that is the end of all drama in your life.”

Eckhart Tolle

I am by no means suggesting that taking a pause or neutralizing our thinking is an easy behavior to master. We are human, and human nature is positively wired to behold and attach negative meaning to things first and foremost. It is partly why we have survived the eons. However, because we are human, we have capacity to evolve and improve upon our base instincts and nature. And I am neither so naïve as to suggest or believe that the presence or experience of evil in this world can be positively negated by our good thinking. Rather, what I am asking us to grapple with and wake up to for ourselves is this: A life well lived, is lived from the inside out. And as Eckhart Tolle so succinctly teaches, “Life is primary (to life circumstances).
Life is your deepest inner Being. It is already whole, complete, perfect.”

“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it. Observe your thoughts, don’t believe them.”

Eckhart Tolle


Towards the Light? (Linking-Thinking #3)

“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.”

Og Mandino

Literature, poetry, science and spiritualty are rife with evidence and anecdote comparing our material bodies and lived experience as infused with the same energy and essence as light. Yet to be human is to live life in the experience of the equal and opposite energy of light, which is felt and intuited as dark. Almost everyone has heard it said that if you are having a near death experience, then you should go towards the light. But consider this: going towards the light may also be a life giving experience! In fact, you essentially obeyed the imperative of going towards the light on the day you were born. On your birth-day, you were forced out of the darkness of your mother’s womb and expelled into the light of Mother’s Earth.

“Human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but…life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.”

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Where or when in all creation has anyone or anything been able to parse, sever, or obliterate this cycle of dark to light or death to life? And yet a great human desire is to resist the dark of night and separation. Why do we so strongly desire to experience living only in the light? Can you not feel the strong connection we have, to the cycles of dark and light? To death and life? To the the cycles of our Mother’s Seasons?

“People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”

Carl Jung

The cycle of death and life is an infinite loop. And if we consider all created things, might we soon realize that LIFE always finds its way back from death? Can we eschew gloom over those things which look and feel like death or darkness to us; might we forgo assigning the dark things to the ‘pits of despair’? Perhaps then, we may remember, again and again, that the dormancy of darkness is required to recharge, reinvent and reinvigorate life’s energy and light. Let’s flip dark thoughts to life with this reflection: it is the absence of light which points to the promise of an eminent birth experience. If we could embrace the vitality of the dark, then we might realize it is only from this place where we may go forward towards the light.

“I have learned things in the dark that I could never have learned in the light, things that have saved my life over and over again, so that there is really only one logical conclusion. I need darkness as much as I need light.”

Barbara Brown Taylor

For consideration/meditation:
What looks or feels like darkness and/or death to you?

setbacks; defeats; difficulties; misfortunes; failures; misunderstandings; shortages; loss; reversal; obstacles; illness.

When you’re in the dark, what can you do to go forward towards the light?
Reframe your perspective; rest; refrain from judging yourself or others; accept; forgive; ask questions; seek answers/counsel; test your beliefs.


BELIEVING is SEEING (Linking-Thinking #2)

to believe (verb) – to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so.

to see (verb) – to have the power of sight; to understand intellectually or spiritually; to give attention or care; to find out; make inquiry; to consider; think; deliberate; to look about; to observe.

THE AMERICAN HERITAGE® IDIOMS DICTIONARY

If you have known me for any amount of time, you know this one thing about me: I like to run, and I really feel like a runner when I run fast. However, this one thing is also true: I am not a fast runner. But I am a runner none the less, no matter how slow or fast I run, simply because I run. And because I run, I believe that it is possible to achieve my goals of running longer or faster when I follow those training plans designed to prepare and adapt my body to go the distance.

What you believe has more power than what you dream or wish or hope for. You become what you believe.

Oprah Winfrey

This belief of mine is essential to my productive running life. If I did not believe it possible to become the marathoner I desire to become, then my doing would be disconnected from my thinking and believing. In other words, I believe I can complete a marathon distance race, because I have trained my body and my mind to adapt to the increasing stresses of marathon training. Every day I perform the exercises prescribed in my training plan, I am a marathoner. These BELIEFS I have about myself and my running, make it possible for me to SEE (realize) the results and accomplishments of my training and of my believing. Truly, I become a marathoner even before I toe the line of any marathon race.

“In running, every step you make and every push forward changes you – it transforms you into a different person. Every single run adds something to you and then it also takes something away. You are not the same person you have been at the starting line and by the time you come to the finish your inner self has been reinvented and reimagined.”

The Zen Of Running

And now it has been a one week since I completed my third marathon. Two weeks ago, I felt fully trained and prepared to complete the 26.2-mile distance within my targeted finish time. And thankfully, race day weather conditions under the giant redwood trees were absolutely perfect. Yet within the first three miles of crossing the starting line, my legs were feeling heavy, tired and less than energized to meet the challenge of running a marathon that day. And of course, upon my less than optimal body scan, my mind began streaming all matter of unpleasant, unacceptable possibilities for me to consider as I braced for a day’s worth of suffering; last but not least, my spirit was straining to grasp for reasons so as to play the ‘name and blame’ game. Surely someone or something is responsible for this unexpected waning on my most important day to be a runner.

What does this all mean? Why, after fulfilling every detail of training and preparation of the past four months, did I feel so flat and impotent on this most anticipated race day? I could conjure no plausible explanations; though as the miles passed I came up with a few theories which might explain my less than stellar performance. But in the present moments of my race day, reasons were not helpful… only by dealing with the current controllable items could I maintain a peaceful mind. And what were those controllables? I gave up on what I believed I deserved that day, and resigned myself to doing what I had trained myself to do for the last four months: move forward, whatever the pace, keeping the highest, most positive mindset possible.

Every response you make is determined by what you think you are, and what you want to be IS what you think you are. What you want to be, then, must determine every response you make.

A Course in Miracles

Accepting the reality that everything was as it should be, I let my mind be bathed in the peace of the shimmering light filtering through the vast array of the redwood forest; and I reconciled myself towards enjoyment of the day, no matter the outcome. I would embrace this unexpected difficulty and practice my Linking–Thinking techniques, namely: give no matter to the thoughts swirling in my head; and there was a considerable amount of negative thinking streaming past my eye screen. So the work of the day was to distance my Being self from the negativity, and turn my Doing self towards awareness. I had everything I needed to cue me towards peace: the sound and tempo of my footsteps and breathing. And no matter what else was streaming through my consciousness, the one thing I hung onto throughout the 6-hour wog (i.e. walk/jog) to the finish line was this: I AM a runner!

Indeed, I have much to learn yet about myself and my chosen sport. And though I am disappointed with the outcome of my third marathon finish, I am grateful for the experience and learning it has provided me. If this was easy, I would already have lost interest in the doing of this sport. And most importantly, this lesson has led me to the point of my writing this post. I hope you too might know that Believing is Seeing. I challenge you to try it on for yourself; perhaps you will discover that standing in this belief, truly transmutes the im-possible things into I’m possible.

What about you? Have you ever felt like Seeing is Believing rather than Believing is Seeing? I would love to hear your thoughts!


We Need More Betty’s!

Betty Marion White Ludden, died peacfully in her sleep on December 31, 2021. She would have been 100 years old on January 17, 2022. Honestly, I am in shock…I thought she would live forever. And I know I am not alone in this sentiment. But what better way to keep Betty alive and close to us than to emmulate her beautiful life and soul force. Shortyly before she passed, People Magazine interviewed Betty about her life on and off the Hollywood scene. I’ve included some of Betty’s own thoughts about her successful longevity. I think she has left us a very clear road map for navigating our own lives through the days we have yet to live. Perhaps we can continue her legacy…of long lived grace and cheerful optimism? I’m all in for that…How about you?

According to Betty:

being “born a cockeyed optimist” was the key to her upbeat nature. “I got it from my mom, and that never changed,” she said. “I always find the positive.”

Her secret to long life:

“Having a sense of humor” is the key to a long and happy life: “Just looking at the positive side and not dwelling on the downside. [It] takes up too much energy being negative.” and also, “I try to avoid anything green. I think it’s working.”

Her great passion in life: was always animal welfare; the dues for her fan club, Bet’s Pets, went to animal rescue charities, and she received many accolades for her work for animals.

Her motto for life: make the most of every day.

“You better realize how good life is while it’s happening,” she said. “Because before you know it, it will all be gone.”

Betty White

Before we know it, our lives will become like the vapors…so let us be alert to the gifts wrapped up in the minutes, hours, days, weeks, and months of this new year 2022. Let’s remember to ask ourselves, whenever we think of Betty Marion White Ludden: What would Love do? What would Betty do?


October Ode

Impatiently we await your arrival,
October, most favored month of the year.
September teases, foreshadows,
Your brilliance; your orangeade gold.
Luxuriant, intoxicant, provocative,
Deeply we drink your medicine; we steep ourselves,
In splendored awe, whenever our gaze looks upward,
Into impossible spaciousness, your blue canopy, your crown.
Our breath draws deep, full of you,
Your essence, fragrant, brash and bold,
Pricks our affections, our sensibilities.
October air crisp, awakes us, awakes possibilities,
Like so many autumn leaves cast adrift,
Frees us from Earth’s hold.


Not-Knowing

Cast your cares for the stones they are,
Cast away, cast away, cast them near or far,
Throw away, far away, small, medium and large,
Worry not where for the stones may land,
The power of casting comes from the hand;
Now cast away, cast away, cast away all,
So feet may trample over stones carefull cast; now
Trod across, trod across, yes, trod across brave,
Across stone path trusting heart has paved.
Brave heart, true heart, pure heart behold,
Mystery perceived, embraced, and imbued,
Life lived not-knowing is knowing life true.
~DEBreen


What the world needs now…love!

These days, this year, 2020! Oh, how we the people, the created ones, we who have seemingly given so little thought to all the many, many days which preceded today. We who have been like sleeping babies, we who are living as though we have been suddenly awakened. And indeed, we have been awakened by the labor pains of our own birthing process. Yes, we are being born again into a brave, new world; a world which has been made by our own sleepwalking lives. Today, yes and every day hereafter, we are living the day as though it is our final exam. We have been tested and are even now being tested and pressed. Look around, our sanity is pulling away from us. We are pulled apart from our better selves and our communal bloodshed testifies against us. What shreds us to pieces? What dislodges us from our moorings, from the safe harbors of our former complacencies? Is it not our combined complicity and greed to blame the other one(s), the other side, those ones outside of our beliefs and traditions, which when combined with our self-righteous, impoverished, and dull thinking only births and extracts more hateful behaviors. Atrocious, stunning, inexcusable, vile. These are the outcomes which abound in today’s headlines.

When the tentacles of hate have reached their full maturity, there can be no more life as we know it. No more civility…no more peace. Hate, fully overgrown into our hearts, the one true source of all cancer, can only go stronger every day in our midst while we demand our rights to be heard and our right to be freed from our past. Hate will indeed choke, blind, and silence us all to the doom of our own making.

It is LOVE, human and divine which overcomes death in nations and generations and in all horrors of our time . Death is given power over everything finite especially in our period of history. But death is given no power over LOVE. LOVE is stronger. It creates something new out of the destruction caused by death; it bears everything and overcomes everything. It is at work where the power of death is strongest, in war and persecution and homelessness and hunger and physical death itself. It is omnipresent and here and there in the smallest and most hidden ways as in the greatest and most visible ones, it rescues life from death. It reaches each of us, for LOVE is stronger than death.

Paul Tillich – The Boundaries of Our Being

Oh, how we are being tested, pressed, and yes even pulled apart from every one of our perceived safe places; our moorings and safe harbors are nowhere to be found. There is only ONE ANTIDOTE…ONE CURE for our current sickness: REFUSE TO HATE the other! Refuse it and we shall make ourselves well. This tonic is not an easy one to take, and we will have to dose ourselves liberally, daily, moment by moment…but take our medicine we must. There can be no other remedy for our survival. We must choose to sacrifice our need to be right in order to become healthy again…otherwise we will be consumed by the monster in our midst. The monster which can and should be slain because it brings us only death and suffering.

What does it mean to be nonviolent? Coming from the Hindu/Sanskrit word ahimsa, nonviolence was defined long ago as “causing no harm, no injury, no violence to any living creature.” But Mohandas Gandhi insisted that it means much more than that. He said nonviolence was the active, unconditional LOVE toward others, the persistent pursuit of truth, the radical forgiveness toward those who hurt us, the steadfast resistance to every form of evil, and even the loving willingness to accept suffering in the struggle for justice without the desire for retaliation.

The battlefield in which we currently inhabit our struggle for well-being is waged in one venue only. Lest we think it is someone else’s fault and not our own. Lest we think and believe this fallacy, then we are without remedy. But if we were to realize that our battlefield engages only one solitary combatant, then perhaps we have found hope for a peaceful future. Our hope may be rescued when each one of us, lay down our weapon of right and privilege. Because our survival (individual and collective) is dependent upon the battle being waged for each of our singular hearts and minds. Wake up we must to the war set before us. The war we wage is fought against and within the confines of our own thinking and believing. On this battleground we must refute the desire and the need to be right whereby we give hate for another any purchase in our thoughts, words or deeds! Check yourself today…check the pulse of your thinking and feeling…of your posts on social media and in your conversations with your close others. Check yourself please, I implore you! There can be no higher nationalism, no better self-indulgence than to love…one another…the good…the bad…the ugly…the undeserving…and yes, even the enemy. How far we have wandered from our homeland…LOVE!

We think fear, anger, divine intimidation, threat, and punishment are going to lead people to LOVE. Show me where that has worked. You cannot lead people to the highest level of motivation by teaching them the lowest. The sacred scriptures of all faiths call us to LOVE as we have never loved before. This requires effort, vigilance, and radical humility. Violence is easier than nonviolence, yet hate only perpetuates hate. The wisdom teachings remind us that LOVE—active, engaged, fearless LOVE— is the only way to save ourselves and each other from the firestorm of war that rages around us. There is a renewed urgency to this task now. We are asked not only to tolerate the other, but also to actively engage the LOVE that transmutes the lead of ignorance and hatred into the gold of authentic connection. This is the narrow gate Christ speaks of in the gospels (Matthew 7:13). Don’t come this way unless you’re willing to stretch, bend, and transform for the sake of LOVE.

Fr. Richard Rohr
What the World Needs Now

The Cure For Our Sickness?

Kindness: First, Last, Always!
What if each one human, would decide each one and every moment, with each and every thought, word, or deed, to first cause no harm…to oneself or to another? Would not all creation resound with music round the sphere?

“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.

-The Dalai Lama

If we no have peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
-Mother Teresa

There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.
-Louis L’Amour

Exercise Challenge: Week 26 – 2022

Lying Flutter Kicks and Scissors Challenge: perform as many repetitions as possible maintaining good form. Do this exercise for at least five days of the week. Keep track of your repetitions on your calendar or journal. Which day did you perform the greatest number of repetitions? Celebrate your improving strength and share your outcome with … Read More

Exercise Challenge: Week 25 – 2022

Reverse Lunge with Dumbbell Row & Triceps Kickback Challenge: perform as many repetitions as possible maintaining good form. Do this exercise for at least five days of the week. Keep track of your repetitions on your calendar or journal. Which day did you perform the greatest number of repetitions? Celebrate your improving strength and share … Read More


Not-Knowing Is Knowing

Rambling thoughts have rattled around in my head today, however, I have to admit I prefer this disposition over the roiling emotions I was experiencing last week. It has been a month of living with the ‘stay at home’ order and there does not yet appear any soon relief from our social separations. Honestly, these days of pandemic provide a full spectrum of emotion for the unsuspecting, home-bound furloughed working person.

And in all of this, I want to know something. Don’t you? I mean I think I really want to know! I want to know WHY? I want to know HOW MANY will live or die? I want to know WHEN will this end? I want to know WHO started this insanity? Most of all it seems we all want to know WHO is TO BLAME? WHO is IN CHARGE? And last but not least, WHO IS GOING TO PAY FOR ALL OF THIS? I think we all feel like naughty children banished to the corner. HOW LONG must we stay in our rooms?

Must we go on in this dungeon of not-knowing? I want to KNOW why…why must we? Must we, ALL OF US, EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US…go through this great disturbance? And then I wonder, would knowing those things I don’t know really help me right now? My next thought is this: Could I actually handle knowing the truth(s) of my recent, mad-raving questionings? Could any of us handle such knowing? Because when I think about this for any amount of minutes, it seems that once we gain a knowledge of what we don’t know, the unveiling truth becomes like a death to us. Our innocence dies; our peace of mind dies; our hope dies…everything we think we have a right to know about something, anything really, actually brings us to a point of living death.

Examine these thoughts, because they are fears about outcomes. But this worry is based on your need to know. Break the cycle of those thoughts by being aware of the now. Savor the quest, not the finish. The Cool Impossible ~ Christopher McDougall and Eric Orton

There are only a few certainties in this life, namely, we are born, we live, we die…of these things we may all agree upon…we all know these three to be truth. So how does knowing these things help us or make the hard things of not-knowing easier? Is it better to know or not know? Do we want to know to ease our discomfort? Or should we consider our not-knowing is given for the purpose of expanding our character and humanity.

We cannot feel good about an imaginary future when we are busy feeling bad about an actual present. When we try to overlook, ignore, or set aside our current gloomy state and make a forecast about how we will feel tomorrow, we find that it’s a lot like trying to imagine the taste of marshmallow while chewing liver. Daniel Gilbert – Stumbling on Happiness

Perhaps we might do ourselves a favor and acquiesce our need-to-know so we may apprehend how to exist meaningfully…in what each moment reality reveals to us. Perhaps then we might grasp the real reason we have been given a life to live…perhaps our being and doing is for the sole purpose of living from Source…which is LOVE!

Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.
~ Eckhart Tolle ~

Lest you think me daft, may I remind you these thoughts of mine are simply the rambling, house-bound webs of perception which have rattled around in my head today. Thank you for reading them…I hope you may find some comfort from my sharing them with you. It does seem, especially in these days, that life is pure mystery, and yet I am okay believing that for truth. Really, I do believe that reality, life as we know and experience it, is actually very kind to us. When I consider how I may live comfortably with not-knowing, I make peace with what IS. Yes, the need to know is the beginning of death.

Cast your cares for stones they are,
Cast away, cast away, near and far,
Throw away, far away, small or large,
Worry not to see where stones land, for
The power of casting comes from the hand;
So cast away, cast away, cast away all,
Throw stones hard, throw stones fast,
Watch feet trample over stones cast; now
Trod across, trod across, yes, trod across brave,
Across the stone path trusting heart has paved.
Brave heart, true heart, pure heart behold,
Yes! Mystery perceive, embrace, and imbue,
Life lived not-knowing is knowing life true.
~DEBreen


Shine the Light!

Click to listen: SHINE THE LIGHT~CHOIR

Your eyes are windows into your body.
If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light.
If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar.
If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!
Matthew 67:22-23 The Message

What is the meaning of this?
Why do words fail to assist in comprehending?
While emotions spew panoptic across the course of heart and soul.
Why then, during these days of troubling pandemic,
Why then, do tell, am I feeling so keenly alive?

Shine the Light, for all the world to See!

The body too, informs of these psychic extremes,
It buzzes with edgy, wired, bursts of manic synchronicity.
The physicality of these days is really over the top,
Red-alert, fight or flight, move over, take cover.
Why then during these days of troubling pandemic,
Why then, do tell, am I feeling so keenly alive?

Shine the Light, for all the world to See!

These days of COVID-19…days foreboding, otherworldly, connoting;
These days of solitude and distance between us looming,
Reminiscent, these days, of shadow lands walking;
These days, they bring dark clouds of aprehension,
Why then during these days of troubling pandemic,
Why then, do tell, am I feeling so keenly alive?

Shine the Light, for all the world to See!

Are these pains we currently notice, the pangs of labor pushing?
Pushing us from our dark tombs of unknowing?
What else should we think now, surmise or predict now? for,
Change is our air now; our breath and our death now.

Shine the Light, for all the world to See!

Yes, of course, this must be the reason;
The times are ripe and in due season,
The cosmos has spoken; the shift has awoken,
All nations, and peoples, and nature is broken;
For these are the days of troubling pandemic,
No time to waste our living…asleep, apathetic.

Shine YOUR Light, for all the world to See!