Archive for the ‘not doing’ Category

Taking the Pilot’s Seat: Controlling Airspeed

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

When I walk on the beautiful land in the Sutherland Valley, beneath the Catalina Mountains, the land reminds me that Mother Earth has a heartbeat, a rhythm. Being in nature attunes my body to her rhythm and reminds me of my own natural pace. So does meditation—it is a way of stopping to check in with the Source, and with my own body/mind, and re-calibrating.

I need to change my “attitude,”—an aviation term for the angle of the airplane– to pull the nose of my airplane up a bit and slow my speed.

When I think of the idea of slowing my pace, my “small mind” immediately panics at the thought. What will I miss? What will I not accomplish?

Fortunately my “larger mind” responds by asking, “Where are you going so fast? What is your destination or goal that is so crucial? Isn’t the journey the point?”

My small mind says nothing.

I remember Thich Nhat Hahn’s cautions about our pace, his advice about mindful walking and mindful eating and avoiding multi-tasking.

My small mind points out how many things I accomplish by multi-tasking. Is that really true? Recent research points out that our brains don’t operate at maximum efficiency when we do more than one thing at a time. Maybe we are sacrificing focus, intensity and depth of thought, excellence in problem-solving.

Perhaps I suffer from the aviator’s dreaded plague, “get-there-itis,” the disease that leads to unwise decisions like flying too late, or into bad weather, or when sick, or in conditions outside our expertise. If we crash, we might ask ourselves what was so important about that destination and how much time we really saved.

If I take time to gaze out the window, perhaps I’ll really see something like the scene in the photo of the water and cloud formations along the Sea of Cortez. What’s the hurry, really?

These are thoughts each of us must bring to consciousness as we pilot our way through a year that may challenge us to drop old patterns, to take responsibility for our own energy, to ask treasured family and friends to support us as responsible pilots who have taken the left seat. We may not be able to manage the strong winds of life, but we can manage ourselves.

What are your thoughts?  Interact with us at!


Pura vida

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Costa Rican turtles

While I was on an idyllic vacation in Costa Rica, I was shocked to have a disturbing nightmare that “woke me up” with a warning.

In the dream, I was driving a car too fast around a curve. To my horror, straight ahead of me was a toddler standing alone, right in the middle of the narrow road. I recognized her as a young version of my precious daughter, Erin (now a mother in her own right.) As in many other dreams I’ve had, little Erin seemed to represent everything innocent, beautiful, creative and fragile.

There was no time to come to a stop. To avoid hitting the toddler, I began to swerve right, onto the shoulder where there was a small store. At the moment a mother and her toddler came out of the store and walked in front of my car’s path. Confronted by the choice of hitting my own toddler or a mother and her new life, I woke up in a sweat, wondering what this nightmare could mean.

By the middle of the next day my frantic mind stopped long enough to see the simple truth. “Slow down,” the dream was saying to me. “Slow down before you mow down innocence, femininity, creativity, beauty and new life.”

And I was in the right place to practice. Costa Rica has a much slower pace than the U.S. That’s why their favorite expression is “Pura vida,” which means life is pure and good. They seem to get more juice out of every moment than I have in my usual pace. These turtles are good at practicing slowness, so I will hold them as totems.

I take my dreams seriously, so I am still practicing at home. Slow down. Breathe. All I have is this moment–with all its innocence, beauty, creativity and new life.

How do you keep your pace slow enough to make sure you experience “pura vida?” I’d love to hear your comments.

Slowing down long enough to see

Friday, April 30th, 2010

speedAmong the many prophesies about these challenging times we are inhabiting, the Hopi have commented on how things will continue to speed up. And their advice? “When things speed up, slow down.”

Isn’t it true that when we do slow down, the days seem longer? When we were children, time went so slowly. As we grow older and accelerate our “progress,” time speeds up. Proof that time is relative.

And isn’t it true that right now everything seems accelerated? For me it seems harder to stay in touch with everyone on a deep level, in spite of all the social media. Lives are getting more challenging and complex. Things are speeding up.

All the mindful meditation practices encourage us to notice all the elements of this very moment. That is slowing down to the now. And when I do that, I can actually see where I am. See better what drives me, what delights me. See more clearly what action I’d like to take next.  See more wholly how I can serve.

What do you think about time? Is it running you? Are you “running” out of time? Or are you pausing, stepping out of time? Slowing down long enough to see and be?


Friday, April 2nd, 2010


Being is wide-hipped

and wide-lipped.

She is like honey spilled

all over myself

spreading, oozing, sticky, adhering

to all my persistent doing.

Gumming up the works,

widening my cells, opening my heart, expanding to connect with all.

Being is curious.

She follows each feeling, each perception

without having to do anything at all.

She listens and sees

by moving under the thought or feeling

and simply holding it,

being it. Knowing it.

And then the most curious thing something happens

without will.

Something occurs, just appears

and then there’s a bit of doing to be done.

Not out of effort, just out of responsiveness.

And Being says that’s all we have to do. Really.

Just fully be and see what occurs

and respond to that.

That’s all.

Good bye to the hard case of doing,

to the constricted determination,

to the marching and the gritting of teeth,

to the stridency, to the striving, to the pushing up hills.

Hello to the honey, my honey, who is Being.

To the Mother who holds the seed,

the womb of the stars,

to the One within me who has already done it all

who knows it

and who simply