Archive for the ‘feeling’ Category

This is a performance by Perpetuum Jazzile, an a cappella jazz choir from Slovenia doing Toto’s 1982 hit song “Africa” - especially moving is the beginning. How amazing is THAT?!

Of special note is the guy doing the air drums and percussion (with his mouth!!). This was the geeky, pimply dude annoying you with that sort of thing during high school, right? You know the types I mean. All he needed to do to become brilliant was to find the context that worked for him and he becomes glorious for everyone. There’s a lesson in there…


Excuse me Seth Godin. Even EXCEPTIONAL Designers (and though I won’t name any names, you know who they are flagyl 400…) are going through what this video so excellently shows. 

Look for us now disguised as massage therapists, taxi drivers and tap dancers.


Sitting smack in the middle of 2009, I wonder.

Slowly, slowly, the ugly head of doubt is beginning to wipe the sleep out of its eyes – as messages filter through that drowsy, still-flooded sea of dreamworld impulses that are all too captivating – giving itself the last little nudge into wakefulness… slowly, slowly. It has, quite clearly, no choice.

Is doubt the right word, I wonder, again? Perhaps we could term it “reality” - or simply the “is-ness of now” or perhaps even – dare I think this? - “awakening”?

There are things to be done, places to go, people to meet, choices to make. Every little, last relationship, big or small, minute or grand - the taxi driver, the stinging bee, the lover, the sister, the cashier, the sunny day - weaves in and around us and affects how we go about our “NOW.” Each day, every day, every second, these interactions shape who we are. We shape who they are. It’s a non-stop dance that we are always, always in the middle of, patiently watching. Stoically bracing for the next twirl, the unexpected twist, the uplift and a tango-ic sink. Without this patient, clear and passionate observation from a mysteriously unflappable center, life would be painful, even unbearable today. These days.

Are we indeed learning that “Virtue consists in a will which is in agreement with Nature.” Nature being everything around us, everything we plant, destroy, walk upon, breathe, touch, see, eat. Agreeing with all of that is obviously not a small task. Especially with challenges like this:

I posted two short tweets back-to-back a few weeks ago. The first one was a very stinging article related to torture. Pertinent and timely. I would link back to it, but due to internet posts now rapidly becoming a “let go” phenomenon, the link is lost to posterity. Whatever you do, don’t try to hold on to what you say. Or what other people have said or written. It’s very zen, actually. To give an impression, though, this link works just as well for more on the topic of torture.

Everyone has an opinion about torture. Some are very vehemently opposed. Others have a more blasé - as long as it doesn’t affect me - attitude. Others are all for it in the name of whatever sees that route as a means toward a cause (stopping/fighting/ridiculing terrorism, for example).

I rather expected the response I got. People looking up. People re-tweeting.

What I didn’t expect was that the tweet that followed, one about a family that was forced to choose between keeping their home or paying for their cancer-stricken son’s medical treatments, got virtually no response. You could hear the virtual pin dropping in the great void of buzzing digital activity.

My point was, and still is, that torturous situations are rampant this year. Perhaps it was that way EVERY year from the get-go of becoming humanoids. You don’t need to be a prisoner of war, or a prisoner at all. You can be a very normal human being, going about your business and WHAM! it hits you. The leather belt of foreclosure from the right. WHACK! The steel-studded whip of unemployment. Or BOOM! the din of debilitating illness coming upon you or yours that you cannot find appropriate treatment for because you cannot afford it - despite having sustained so much pressure, for the profit of others, for so long.

In agreement with nature means, for me, in agreement with human nature. There are, of course, common-sense charters and proposals (from the United Nations, for one) that agree on some basic premises like the fact that all people should have enough food to eat. Which is, quite obviously, not the case. Isn’t hunger a form of torture? Doesn’t it make sense that now would be a good time to take a look at making sustainable humanity more than a buzz word? Making that “virtuous will” a basic skill set for going from “politically correct“ to “human(e)ly correct”? 

Failing that, it’s all anyone can do - myself included - to focus on the unflappable center. To stoically brace while the madness whirlwinds around your ears.


An amazing film from an amazingly gifted artist.

I know which painting I would buy and proudly display…

And there are some inspiring people behind this…


April 1, 2009
Tricycle’s Daily Dharma

Medicine for the World

For all those ailing in the world,
Until their every sickness has been healed,
May I myself become for them
The doctor, nurse, the medicine itself.

Raining down the flood of food and drink,
May I dispel the ills of thirst and famine.
And in the aeons marked by scarcity and want,
May I myself appear as drink and sustenance.

For sentient beings, poor and destitute,
May I become a treasure ever-plentiful,
And lie before them closely in their reach,
A varied source of all that they might need.

- Shantideva, from The Way of the Bodhisattva


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Life is an amazing process of growth. There are things you can do to heighten different aspects of any particular path you happen to find yourself upon. For one, you can take a cooking course to learn how to prepare delectable meals that are dramatically different than the standard fare that begins to become habitual after a while. Or, you can go to tantric seminars to learn how to enhance your sexual experience. (As a pertinent aside, people are now starting to realize that tending to their sexuality in the same way one attends to a program of general physical fitness directly affects the immune system, aging process (i.e. slow it down) and overall well-being in a way no amount of jogging can. Talk about saving health care costs in an effective way… this is bound to become the next big “tipping point”…) Or, you can do any type of self-betterment class, seminar, method, trip, and so on and so forth. Opportunity abounds. 

You may discover – indeed I have discovered – that heightening your sensual sensitivities brings some challenges with it. This is especially true if you were sensitive to begin with. Take these few example that I have been observing:

There is a cloth towel hand-drying dispenser in the bathroom at a sports club. Do you, after drying your hands and mussing up the cloth, pull down the cloth you soiled so the next person has a fresh piece? Or do you pull down their soiled piece to be able to wipe your hands on a clean stretch? Wouldn’t you be totally disgusted if the same were true (oh, sorry, it often is!) of the toilet  itself?

I wait patiently in line at a coffee shop, order, pay, and – as is the usual procedure nowadays – wait for my order to “come up.” There is a bit of eye contact communication going on with the person preparing my beverage, and she makes note of me because I’m the unusual one that has ordered soy milk. She places my cup on the little tray table counter space and makes certain I am aware this is mine. This irritates an impeccably dressed elderly woman (who was in line well after me), who believes that this particular order simply must be hers. Alas, it is not. My hand on my take-out, we make eye contact, hers fuming and hissing, mine trying to exude patience, compassion and understanding with her outright aggression toward me. Because of a cup of hot drink!

The next example is a bit more closer to home, but I feel it serves a purpose. Relationship is, in my opinion, one of the major reasons for - should we be able to, hypothetically, determine whether or not we want to do this - “manifesting” into a human body. We come down in order to rub noses with others who have done the same. That does NOT necessarily mean that it’s all twinkle-eyes and starry nights. There is stuff to be learned in conflict, to be sure. Like: how do you react when someone has a fight with you about something? We may be evolving slowly, slowly, into cultures that prefer to fight verbally as opposed to physically when engaged in 1:1 “combat” about who is responsible for taking out the garbage. Or for initiating sex. Or getting dinner together. Or responsible for what client. This list goes on, obviously. 

How do you react? Can you avoid words darting out of your mouth with intent to spear someone through and through? 

How do you deflect their sword attacks?

How do you process what the exchange means?

This is an essential skill, both in private and professional worlds. The great designer, the compassionate citizen, the “spiritual warrior,”  the true lover should be a few steps ahead if he has learned to hone his sensibilities, if they have practiced their art. If they want to step into the responsiblity of building a sensitive, compassionate planet. 

One exchange at a time.


3 Quotes: 3 perceptions: 3 intentions: one day: march 25th.

“A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.” Carl Reiner 

“It is what it is.” Erich Fried

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson




A few weeks ago, I would have blamed it on PMS hormones (that actually never irritate me as much as they apparently affect my surroundings), or the dreary weather (it has since become sunny, though it’s far from t-shirt and nothing else temperatures), maybe it’s the state of the nation, the world, my apartment (how do kitchen floors do that, become really grungy in no time at all, even when you’re really careful?)… Today I could rightfully blame it, perhaps, on lack of sleep and chemical imbalances after a long night out: a peculiar type of gloom-and-doom mood. There are several ties that loop around, hovering time and again to bring the mood down upon me like a unbelievably thin blanket that I find very difficult to shake.

I try to leave the last quarter of 2008 behind me, thinking it was just one of those years, the type of year anyone prefers far, far away – but it comes up often lately. Two women, one a member of my family, the other not a member of my family, both well over 80, both full of complex physical maladies, both loved dearly for different reasons, passed away. I can rightly say I’m no stranger to death, this year marking two large anniversaries: my father’s death (30 years) and my mother’s death (10 years). But the latter of the two women was the first person ever that had given me the privilege of holding her hand, being there with her, as she took her last breath. A very basic, and often neglected, “sensual” experience.

Fast-forward to an event taking place next year, my 30th high school class reunion. There are regular and jovial updates (that serve to get me more and more excited about the whole thing) via email. It seems like it should be a snap to get the entire class together, as wired as the world is, but … there are many, many holes. Some never to be filled, as now and then news will appear that this classmate or that has passed away. I leaf through the yearbook and let the faces connect with the names… thinking about how many classmates attended the 20th year reunion (myself included), noticing with sadness that the list of potential participants has dwindled down way below that.

One of our most colorful and lively classmates passed away during high school, his funeral was unforgettable – as were the rumors surrounding his death (ominous, “it happened at home” sort of news that certainly had a deep and lasting affect on quite a few of us young adults). The news of classmates passing away now, when everyone should be in the prime of life, doing the final tweaks on their children’s upbringing or perhaps already bouncing a few grandchildren (but very young ones) on their knees… has a completely different impact. An “it could be me…” impact.

I feel obligated to report that I do possess an element of indifference as the blanket falls softly around my shoulders, while I feel the delicate material move closer to my nostrils when I breathe in and move away again when I breathe out. Not because living isn’t nice, isn’t a joy, a challenge and a generally fascinating preoccupation. I think it has to do with the “mid-life precipice” that I heard people talk about when I was little. Leave it to my generation to reach their precipice precisely at the moment the world falls apart at the seams in ways it has never before. (And how could it? It has never seen such an amazingly large, aging populus. This is a fact I gleaned from Frank Schirrmacher’s book „Das Methusalem-Komplott“  (Caution: published in German – not sure if it ever made it to an English edition, but I rather doubt it). So there is a segment of society called boomers, mid-agers or best agers running around … (and they have successfully pushed that deadline to 50 as opposed to 40) … make that, there are millions and millions of them. And they are (or used to be?) a very sought after segment for marketing departments the world over. 

As one of those millions, you stand there looking down, looking up, looking sideways. Reorienting, as it were. If you’re out there looking for a job at this advanced stage of your life - as millions are - you will need nerves of steel, they say. It will feel like you have just been released from Shawshank Prison and if you don’t have a basket of connections and barrels of luck, you can hope your nerves of steel don’t meet with live wires much. Some companies (and some 150 passengers of a plane that landed on the Hudson River recently) know the value of this tremendous reservoir of 40-and-up skill and experience. But don’t hold your breath. In fact, that’s a good way to fall off your precipice sooner. You could stand there, terrified, or you could use all of the experience you have gathered, every last scrap of professional lifeblood and scar tissue … to re-build. But why believe me? Why not scan the interesting bits of news that pop up digitally more and more often such as this: The Science of Visualization: Maximizing Your Brain’s Potential During The Recession. If it helps?

Looking around in my circle of friends and family, the reports vary widely. Being on my own little precipice myself, I know that – for me – it really doesn’t matter where up or down is. If I march forward or pull back. It seems almost as if I am programmed to be and do what I must do in this life I’ve been given, for better or worse. I re-read an entry from a very special friend made in my high-school yearbook: “You must learn to be like a cell with a selectively permiable membrane - only let in what you want to… /… the key to success is confidence in yourself…” He had also predicted we would be part of each other’s lives for a long time. Does thirty years qualify as long? Then he was right. But what he had written then, in 1980, could just as easily have come from him in an email yesterday. In fact, it sort of did. So my membrane remained permeable, too permeable to protect me from the blanket.

The small deaths we endure before the “big death” finally grabs us… the fears we endure, the injustices we witness, the disappointments we mourn, the loves we have lost or never fulfilled … each one loses a bit of magnitude as the years go by. The small deaths aren’t as potent as the impending big one, which is testament to the ingeniousness of nature, how it readies us whether we are aware of it or not, ready for it or not. We may wish grey hair never touches us, or that our bones never stiffen, but they always do at some point. And dust from all the roads travelled encrusts us.

How to contribute to society from the precipice? How to share the beauty and joy of the moments that were also experienced along the way? How to feel alive while dwindling down into the natural order and with that, ultimately, ceasing to be? Years ago, I was given a birthday gift: a small pot with a white orchid. It was in full bloom and, over five years later, still is. It never stopped. It wasn’t as if I was particularly careful with the care of her, I wasn’t. And I’m not the born green thumb, either, though I do okay with most plants. This lovely plant gave me hope and comfort in the worst of moments, constant if silent encouragement and simple, permeating beauty, again and again and again. At one point in her development recently, she was … I realized, crazy with growth. She was, essentially, “pregnant” and had shot off a few daughter roots. Cautiously, both mother and two daughters were re-potted and re-situated very near each other. They are all doing very well, and it’s truly beautiful to watch. While pondering this and writing this post, my own daughter came in with a chocolate cupcake (she’d been baking) and a cup of coffee for her mother. As she watched me carefully eat her creation (not too fast, not too slow) and enjoy the unexpected feast, she dreamt aloud of her future as a baker and having her own coffee shop à la Starbucks. It was, I think, the first time she has pondered career choices, and I was pleased at the way she let this one take shape in her mind. Naturally, I told her: “Great idea! And I can do your logo.” She smiled and nodded, enjoying the idea, too. And I can just see myself getting physically smaller but patiently, happily kneading dough in the back room of her shop while she serves clients and the grandkids come in loud and excited from school. Re-potted perhaps, but thriving. It appears to be a question of the right windowpane.


Awakening is Up to You

Breathing in, breathing out, feeling resentful, feeling happy, being able to drop it, not being able to drop it, eating our food, brushing our teeth, walking, sitting—whatever we’re doing could be done with one intention. That intention is that we want to wake up, we want to ripen our compassion, and we want to ripen our ability to let go, we want to realize our connection with all beings. Everything in our lives has the potential to wake us up or to put us to sleep. Allowing it to awaken us is up to us.

– Pema Chodron, from Comfortable With Uncertainty (Shambhala Publications)

Another Daily Dharma from


I do so love these blurbs some days. This one was particularly good this morning after a disastrous night. So how comfortable ARE we with uncertainty? Every day brings a bit of uncertainty, which explains weather reports, which are often useless. I love it when they all yell “rain! snow! sleet!” and I wake up to blue sky. I’m certainly compassionate about the fact that they do try to pin the weather down (pilots and hanggliders, after all, really depend up on it) and it’s a respectable field of employment.

What will wake me up today? What will put me to sleep? I’ll be taking a look at that.


An exercise in communication. With a bit of stripping to boot.


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