Archive for the ‘humor’ Category

Humor and style

Monday, January 24th, 2011

This is one of my favorite Sand Spirit images!  I talked about this one at a recent presentation at the Escape! conference for cancer survivors and advocates. They were an inspiring and humbling group of people who have been through a daunting spectrum of challenges. Not only have they navigated these with incredible grace, but the participants all were accepted at the conference because they chose to give back by creating programs for their communities.

So back to the Sand Spirit. When I was diagnosed over 10 years ago, I could see that I’d need some humor and style to make it through surgeries, chemo and whatever treatment or possible complications might follow. This image helped me see how I might summon that humor and style. I see a woman who appears to be wearing a plumed hat, cape and scarves, and who is sauntering along the beach with grace and ease. I think this is partly because she doesn’t take herself too seriously and employs a healthy dose of humor to challenges big and small.

How could this image help you today with your own challenges? Could it be that having some humor and style could help you in practical ways? Just shifting our attitude can make all the difference.

Try writing down three ways that humor and style can help you right now with whatever is on your plate. I look forward to your ideas!

7 Tips for Riding the Wave

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

the waveCan you believe this wave machine? This surfer was one of the only ones who stayed on for any length of time. And that included people who appeared to have surfing experience. Probably that’s because this is a new kind of wave–harder to ride than the usual ones. Kind of like the events and changes out in the world that are new kinds of challenges, harder ones to ride than the usual ones.

So here are some surfing tips I picked up from my early history as a surfing groupie, and from my observations:

1. Watch first. Good surfers check it out, watch how the waves are breaking, observe how other surfers are doing, see where the wind is, and know whether the tide is in or out. Whatever your challenges are, be the detached observer before you try to act.

2. Pick your spot. You don’t want to sit and wait for a good wave in a bad place. No point in being in too thick a crowd, or too near the pier pilings or in a place where the waves aren’t breaking well. Position yourself to get the best ride possible. Be smart about where you start and how you place yourself before you try to make a move.

3. Be in front of the wave. Clearly surfing is about being carried by the energy of the wave, so you have to have it at your back. This is like the old Irish blessing about having the wind at your back. That’s the only way to get assistance from the Universe.

4.  Paddle like hell until you catch the wave. You have to act. it’s about timing, and it’s also about effort, at least until you know you’re being carried. Then you get to play and experiment.

5. Get all you can out of the ride. Surfers don’t come toward the beach in a straight line; they angle so that they are at the breaking edge of the wave or sometimes then inside the curl, so that they get the maximum time and opportunity to try out their skills. When the Universe is carrying you, get all you can while the getting is good!

6. When you wipe out, try again. It’s clear that wipeouts are part of the deal. We get tumbled and crunched. So we paddle out and give it another go.

7. Have a blast. If it isn’t fun, then why are we surfing? This is a ride on earth, and it’s meant to be a joyous one whenever we can make that happen.

And your tips? Let’s hear them!

Food and the Life Force

Thursday, February 11th, 2010
rainbow carrots

rainbow carrots

Wow!  Have you seen these rainbow carrots? I thought they were so lovely that I decided to buy them no matter what the high-end grocery store was charging. They would be so fun to cut up! I couldn’t wait to see how much they held their color when cooked.  And would the purple ones taste any different from the plain ol’ carrots I’ve been eating all my life?

I love it when something fairly simple and completely natural takes my breath away. Somehow it’s proof of persistent innocence. And of the real things that tend to give us the  most pleasure.

It occured to me when I roasted these carrots with garlic and good olive oil, rosemary potatoes next to them, that food we consider beautiful probably gives us extra nourishment. All the research being done about the mind/body and about the body’s propensity to open with pleasure and close with fear on all its levels of functioning–well, the facts are a blur. But the impression I have is that when we take time, when we choose foods that are beautiful and pleasurable, our body breaks out into a big purr and is able to use the nutrients in the food to bolster the life force. And life force is what we want.

I had a client the other day who has been through such a major trauma that I feared she might be in a depression too deep for me to handle. I asked her how big she pictured the life force inside her to be.  I asked her to picture it in the form of a flame, figuring she might tell me it was the size of a pilot light.  She floored me by telling me it was as big as a house. I’m not worried about her now. Sure, I’m empathetic about the grief and the pain she has to go through, but I’m not worried about her in the long run because she has a life force as big as a house.  She has rainbow carrots inside her.

Know Where You’re Going to Land

Thursday, February 4th, 2010
Flying Lessons

Flying Lessons

Want to fly?  Especially if you’ve seen Avatar, you know what I mean. Don’t we all long to soar in that free, powerful way that connects us to everyone and everything? It’s an image as old as humankind–soaring above our earthly cares and the solidity of the material world.

There’s only one catch–the one I learned when I was in flight training, earning my private pilot’s license back in the late ’90’s.  The catch is that the scariest part of flying isn’t taking off or soaring or looking down on the little ant houses below. It’s getting that heavy piece of machinery back on the ground in one piece. It’s landing.

And yet we have to address that catch, because it’s basic. That is, who would be crazy enough to take off and soar if you didn’t think you could get back on solid ground? We are human, after all, and subject to gravity. So sooner or later we have to come home.

When I was learning to fly, and especially through the years that have followed my training, I’ve chewed on the metaphor of flight and on the many lessons for life my female flight instructor, Clio, taught me. Clio didn’t intend on being a spiritual teacher or the “aviation therapist” I called her, but I thought the spiritual training I got was pretty cheap at $65 per hour.

So now I’m writing a book:  Flying Lessons for Life. And as I work on Lesson #1, Know Where You’re Going to Land, I’m full of thoughts about how important this concept is to me and to the clients I see. Almost everyone these days is “in transition–” a polite word for deep doo-doo in some area of life. The economy is hard, relationships and systems are falling apart, and the universe seems intent on decomposing anything that isn’t sustainable for the new future it must have in mind. So knowing where we’re going to land is more than just a handy skill; it’s a basic necessity.

Where do you go when everything falls apart?  How do you find solid ground? Do you go to outer things?  To family and friends?  To substances? Activities?  Or do you go inward?  If so, how do you find center, that place where you can stand no matter what is going on around you?

I’m working on some ideas around these questions, but I’d love to hear from you.  How do you know where and how you’ll land?

Happy flying!

A Twelve-Step Program to Break the Trance

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

When I was preparing to teach a seminar on Nourishing our Sense of Self, of course I wanted to feel my own Self in all her magnificence! I wanted to feel radiant, enlightened, and certain of what to offer.  Instead I was filled with an unnamed and unwelcome sadness, an emptiness, a not knowing, a forgetting, and a disorientation.

On a meditative walk, I asked for guidance.  I heard, “These are signs of an under-nourished Self or soul.”

I thought, “Oh, great.  I’m failing at the subject I’m about to teach.” And so I asked my elusive Self, “So what do I do?  How do I nourish you?”

What unfolded over the next two days was a process or practice for reconnecting with and nourishing the Self, or Essence.

Think of what is challenging you as you read this process. Bringing a challenging issue with you is a good way to see how the practice works.

First, I realized that I was stuck in an old addictive way of thinking. I was pulled into listening the ego, the mask or protection we have carefully built to protect the Self.

When the Great Forgetting occurs during the course of growing up and relating more and more to the outer world, we fall into the addictive pull of believing that the ego or mask is the self. I needed a process for breaking this addiction, for returning to my Essence.

I hope you find it helpful—and I would love to hear your comments!

The Self_opt

The Twelve-Step Program for Breaking the Addiction to Ego

and Nourishing the Self


Just remembering the there is a Self of Essence within, and knowing that we have become disconnected is a powerful act in itself. Nothing more can happen until this remembering occurs.


The ego works through the mind, and the mind chatters, nags and sometimes screams through “headphones” we wear when we are tuned into what author Annie Lamott calls “Station KFUK.” As humans, we have the unique ability to change the channel and go within and simply listen.


Whatever your idea or language is for a higher power, ask for help from the universe. You are not alone, and thinking that you are is an unnecessary form of suffering.


Tell your higher power or angels, guides, ancestors, saints or nature spirits what you’d like to co-create with their help. Focus on an experience like love, peace, inspiration or abundance rather than a specific outcome. Include your willingness to show up and do your part to create this experience, but don’t dictate how.


You need to be fully on the earth and standing on your own two feet, so picture them sprouting roots that go all the way to the center of the earth. Feel the energy of your first chakra building, filling you with a sense of safety, security and belonging.


Breathe into your second chakra in your belly.  Imagine a golden cord attached there that moves down into the earth to the center.  Picture the spirit of the Mother, the Divine Feminine at the center of the earth, filling a basket of her power for you and sending it up the cord to your belly. This is the power that births babies, seeds and stars.


Breathe into the third chakra at your solar plexus and imagine your Essence or true Self taking a form that reflects the beauty of your soul-force living here. What does s(he) look and feel like? What are her powers? Her standards? How does she speak to you? Take time to meditate and feel this experience.


Return to the issue that has been challenging you and to the feeling of powerlessness or fear you’ve had around the issue. When you are “in” this energy, how old do you feel? Acknowledge that there is a smaller you inside that needs compassion and help.


Put her or him in the pilot’s seat. Embody her. Explain to the small one within that you are not abandoning her. She does not need to handle this issue; you will be in charge.  Feel your being fill with essence and notice what happens in your body and mind.


Look at your world and the issue you brought with you through the lens of essence, soul or true self. Any change in perception?  Miracles can happen just because of shifts in perception. What is true now?


When we are embodying Essence, we don’t need to be able to see control everything.  When we have returned to a place of faith and grace, all we need is a flashlight, not a searchlight.  We are pioneers out in uncharted territory, so all we need to know is where to put our foot next. You know your next step.


Lock in means asking your True Self to give you a physical sign that will wake you up if you forget again and go into a trance. The twitch in the stomach or pain in the neck will lock in the mechanism for remembering and returning to Essence.

Now, just let go. Let it all go, expressing your gratitude.

So, how did that work for you?  I welcome your comments!