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Embracing the RAIN to be with unpleasant experiences and discomfort in our lives

Using RAIN to be with unpleasant experiences and discomfort in our lives

The mindfulness quality of curiosity asks us to be interested in our experiences when they are pleasant, but also when they aren’t pleasant! We live in a society that often tries to avoid unpleasant/discomfort. We live in a controlled weather environment, can avoid much physical discomfort, have tons of distractions for our mental/emotional discomforts. What would it be like for us if, instead of trying to quick fix or avoid unpleasant situations or discomforts in our life, we took a pause and brought some curiosity to our experience?

Because, inevitably, we will all face unpleasant and uncomfortable situations that we find we can’t avoid or distract ourselves from. What if Mindfulness was actually a powerful tool to be with these experiences in a way in which we could grow in wisdom and equanimity?

Let’s see if the RAIN acronym can support us with that, both in the day to day of our lives, and as we do our meditation practice

R – Recognize – what’s actually happening. Not exaggerating it, and not minimizing it. Just noting/recognizing this calms our brain and gives us more capacity. Rather than resisting or trying to push what’s happening away.

A – Allow/accept what is happening. Avoid judging it, just be interested, curious. Take a breath, a pause. Not to control it, just to be with it. Stop fighting it.

I – Investigate –an embodied investigation – . notice how you feel it in your body. Not a mental investigation. (where do you feel it in your body? What am I telling myself when I feel this? What’s underneath that? What does this part of you that feels most reactive, need in this moment? Ie acceptance, forgiveness reassurance, safety, love)… and reconnect back with your Intention

N – Nurture yourself. with kindness, loving kindness phrases, hand on heart, etc. Soothe yourself. Feel love from a loved one coming to you, or your being held by all the love of the universe. After you nurture yourself, see if you can Non Identify/Non personalize your experience – not unique to you or your fault, just part of being human. Then you can respond to the world with more of your full intelligence and creativity. Shift sense of your identity from a scared, stressed self to a loving, present human being.

Frye Mindfulness Talk- A Veteran’s Experience

This is from my sharing at the Frye Art Museum on Veteran’s Day Nov 11, 2015
November 11, 2015 Veteran’s Day at the Frye
So, in honor of Veteran’s Day, I wanted to share a story about a Vet’s experience with MF, help underscore how MF plays a role in his experience, and then guide us through a MF meditation.
This story comes from Jack Kornfield, who is an excellent meditation teacher, speaker and author:

Jack Kornfield often tells a story about a young Marine with deep anger issues who he worked with to feel into his body in such a way that he was able to sense very quickly when his anger was triggered. Through ‘coming back to his senses’, he was able to create a conscious space in which all his reactions could be experienced from enough distance to allow a sort of loving calm in the middle of his storms.
The soldier was at the supermarket at the end of a tough evening, the lines were long, and a couple people ahead of him was a woman holding a baby with too many items in her cart. This triggered his anger immediately and his mind raged with angry assessments: “I’m exhausted, these lines are ridiculous, she shouldn’t be in the express lane but of course she doesn’t even think about where she is…” To make matters worse, the woman hands the baby over to the cashier, another woman who cooed and snuggled, and so the line was held up even longer. And the officer suddenly realized, “Oh! This is anger!” and he started to breathe deeply, sense his tense, contracting body, observe his pain and anguish, and become aware of the stories he was telling in his mind. In a few moments something in him started to relax and open. He looked out again and saw that, oh, he’s actually a cute kid.
When he got up to the cashier, he said, “That was a cute little boy.”
“Oh, did you like him?” she said, “He’s my boy. You see, my husband was killed in Iraq last year, so now I have to work two jobs now. My mom takes care of him and she brings him in so I can say goodnight to him.”

When we train in mindfulness, we cultivate the flexibility of not only our thinking and self-awareness, but our hearts become more open, and in doing so we increase the possibility that we can more fully know the human beings around us, and the fact of our kinship can come alive.

So, in addition to being a touching story, it’s an example of skillful mindfulness, so I wanted to break it down a bit to make it applicable to all of us.
We all get triggered by life.
First step, once triggered, is to notice. To pause.
For some of us we’ll get clued in to our struggle by a Thought: “She shouldn’t be in the express lane”
For some of us, it will be by an emotion: Anger, Frustration, and Annoyance
For some of us, it will be our body sensations- tension, contraction, tightness in the body.
Any of these can be powerful tools/ flashlights shining on our state of upset.
We are then encouraged to Pause – notice what is with awareness and curiosity. Bring an attitude of acceptance, acknowledging what is (“anger”), a patience to let it pass through the body rather than reacting to it. And of course, the power of sitting with our breath, to keep us from running away or acting out, to create some stability to allow our own wisdom and good intentions to arise.
Then bring our intentions to mind – for example, to respond to life in a kind and skillful, compassionate way.
The other thing I want to highlight, and we’ll use in our guided meditation – is how MF helps us go from a narrow, tight, self-focused attitude, to one of noticing our common humanity, our connection and caring for others. I often like to use the phrase: Just Like Me, to help cross the bridges of our seeming separations from others.

The importance of attitude, notes from the Frye July 22, 2015

Frye July 22, 2015 The Importance of Attitude

Two weeks ago I spoke a bit about three key aspects of mindfulness – intention, attention, and attitude.
I want to focus today’s session on the importance of setting a kind and friendly attitude. (Attitude: view, viewpoint, outlook, perspective, stance, position, inclination, temper, orientation, approach, reaction)
I wanted to especially thank Teresa for so tenderly leading us in last week’s meditation while Carolyn was off on vacation. The attitude she offered us was that of openness, inclusion, welcoming, kindness, curiosity, acceptance, love. These are exactly the qualities of attitude we want to bring to our practice.
When we don’t make the effort of attending to our experience with these open warm hearted qualities or attitudes, we often slip into self-judgment, condemning or shaming of our experience. Have you ever found yourself, while meditating, thinking: ‘oh, my mind is too busy!’ Or ‘what’s wrong with me? Why can’t I meditate?” Often these thoughts are not said in a very friendly or compassionate tone of voice. We can actually end up cultivating patterns of criticism and striving, instead of equanimity and acceptance.
With intentional training, one becomes increasingly able to take interest in each experience as it arises and also allow what is being experienced to pass away. Through intentionally bringing the attitudes of patience, compassion and non-striving to the attentional practice, one develops the capacity to not continually strive for pleasant experiences, or to push aversive experiences away.
We can greet whatever arises, even when what is occurring in the field of experience is contrary to deeply held wishes or expectations. However, it is essential to make the attitudinal quality of attention explicit. It is important for the practitioner to consciously commit, e.g. “may I bring kindness, curiosity, and openness to my awareness, may I infuse my awareness with a generosity of spirit”
So we will work with some of these attitudes, and cultivation phrases during today’s meditation.

Excerpt from An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, by Chris Hadfield:
In space flight, “attitude” refers to orientation: which direction your vehicle is pointing relative to the Sun, Earth and other spacecraft. If you lose control of your attitude, two things happen: the vehicle starts to tumble and spin, disorienting everyone on board, and it also strays from its course, which, if you’re short on time or fuel, could mean the difference between life and death. In the Soyuz, for example, we use every cue from every available source – periscope, multiple sensors, the horizon – to monitor our attitude constantly and adjust if necessary. We never want to lose attitude, since maintaining attitude is fundamental to success.
In my experience, something similar is true on Earth. Ultimately, I don’t determine whether I arrive at the desired professional destination. Too many variables are out of my control. There’s really just one thing I can control: my attitude towards the journey, which is what keeps me feeling steady and stable, and what keeps me headed in the right direction. So I consciously monitor and correct, if necessary, because losing attitude would be far worse than not achieving my goal.

Hiking as an analogy for mindfulness meditation, Notes from the Frye, July 8th, 2015

Notes from the Frye – Hiking as an analogy for Mindfulness Meditation July 8, 2015

I’ve been doing some lovely hiking lately in the Cascades, and as I was hiking, I had some thoughts about how hiking can be used as an analogy for mindfulness.
Mindfulness is often defined as: a particular way of purposefully paying attention to present moment experience, in a non-judgmental, kind and accepting way.
The three key aspects of mindfulness: intention, attention, and awareness, are also key aspects of hiking.

First, let’s look at intention, which refers to the purposefulness of the activity. Our intention when we hike might be to get to a beautiful lake to swim in or sit by, or to get some exercise in a beautiful, natural setting, to have some time of solitude, or to share a peaceful experience with a friend. Likewise when we meditate, we set an intention – perhaps it is to find a moment of quiet or ease, perhaps it is to develop a sense of stability to stay present to some suffering or difficulty in our lives currently, perhaps it is to cultivate qualities that we aspire to have more of, such as compassion and/or mindfulness.

So we set off on our hike, having our intention. But intention isn’t enough.

We also need to bring along our attention – The act of directing awareness to whatever arises in the present moment experience – a broad sustained attention, to external environment ( what we see, hear, smell, the temperature, observing the weather, the trail surface and conditions, etc) and our internal environment (are we hungry, fatigued, off balance, as well as noticing our thoughts, feelings, emotions, etc) If we aren’t paying attention, we may take a mis-step and fall, or miss the trail and get lost, or many other consequences.
And equally important, is our attitude – an open, non-judgmental, kind, curious, not knowing attitude towards our experience. We don’t hike and have an attitude of : ‘wow, why is it so rocky here, they should have paved the path.’ Or ‘gee, it’s steep, why wasn’t this mountain less steep’. Or ‘I know exactly what this trail will be like, I think I’ll just watch a youtube on my phone til I get to the destination’.

And we can see how we can circle through these three aspects. Because conditions may change – weather suddenly changing, or a bridge across a deep stream washed out – and we have to be aware of these changes, and perhaps re-adjust our intention (which is sort of like our desired destination) and also our attitude – we may find ourselves a bit disappointed or annoyed at not being able to reach what we’d hoped to be our destination, but we need to be able to let go of that and become present again to what’s in front of us, aware of our environment and circumstances (inside of us and out) and what our options are in the moment – not how we might think we want them to be. (definition of suffering – from a friend/teacher of mine Margaret Cullen– ‘suffering is the difference between how things are, and how you think you want them to be’.)

And to take this one step further –– if/when we get to the beautiful mountain lake and have the good fortune to jump in and cool and refresh our bodies, we can be mindful of that, really take in the wonder and wonderfulness of our experience. And, be willing to let that experience go when it’s time, and maybe face a rough trail back to the car in hot/dusty conditions – and ideally be able to stay present to that, too.

Each step on the path – we need to be in that moment – or we might trip or miss the trail – and we can also hold our intention to help support/motivate us to stay present to potentially reach that place of calm, beauty, clarity, etc.

So with our sitting meditation today, we’ll check in with our intention, our attention, and our attitude.

Before we start, I wanted to share a simple parable about being in the moment, with right attention and awareness, offered by Thich Nhat Hahn:

In discussing what some call “present state awareness”–experiencing and savoring the present—he offers a simple parable:
Let’s say that you want to eat a peach for dessert one evening, but you decide to only allow yourself this luxury after washing the dishes. If, while washing the dishes, all you think of is eating the peach, what will you be thinking of when you eat the peach?
The clogged inbox, that difficult conversation you’ve been putting off, tomorrow’s to-do list?
The peach is eaten but not enjoyed, and so on we continue through life, victims of a progressively lopsided culture that values achievement over appreciation.

And a poem, read at the conclusion of the meditation:

Walk Slowly, by Dana Faulds

It only takes a reminder to breathe,
a moment to be still and just like that,
makes space for imperfection. The harsh
voice of judgment drops to a whisper
and I remember again that life isn’t a relay race;
that we will all cross the finish line;
that waking up to life is what we were born for.
As many times as I forget, catch myself charging forward
without even knowing where I am going,
that many times I can make the choice
to stop, to breathe, to be and walk
slowly into the mystery.

Notes from the Frye, June 10, 2015 Patience and Compassion as we rewire our brains

Notes from the Frye, June 10, 2015 Patience and Compassion for ourselves as we re-wire our brains/try to develop healthier habits that align with our values.

I want to xpress my gratitude to the Frye and Swedish Hospital for ongoing support of this weekly event. I was reminded again this week of the research that shows the number one way to improve our sense of well-being is to bring a gratitude awareness or practice into our life on a regular basis. Perhaps we could just take a moment and all breath in and notice our good fortune to be here, to be able to come here, surrounded by kind and friendly people, who, just like you, want to bring more mindfulness, compassion and well-being into their lives. Let’s take another breath or two, in and out, and just ponder for a moment some aspect of being here that you appreciate. Maybe if you are new today, you can appreciate your own courage to be here and try out something new. Maybe if you come here often, reflecting on some aspect of why you come, what gives you meaning from this experience.

So before we start our guided mindfulness meditation, I wanted to make a couple points re this process of mindfulness, which is really a practice where we re-wire our brains to develop more stability, presence, compassion, patience, non-judging, non-reactivity.
Has anyone seen the video going through the social media this week about the guy who was trying to learn how to ride a bike with steering that is reversed? (google:The Backwards Brain Bicycle – Smarter Every Day 133, to watch this 7 minute video)

The story – this guy’s engineer friend modified a bike, so if you turn the handles to the right, the bike goes left, and vice versa. The task was to see if he could re-learn how to ride a bike- i.e. break an old habit and learn a new one.

Sounds easy, right? You think you know what to do and that you should be able to override your habit pattern. But he couldn’t get further than a few feet without losing his balance. In fact, he went on tour with this bike, offered to pay anyone $500 to ride the bike the 20 feet across the stage. No one could do it.
But he kept at it – practiced for 5 minutes a day – and finally – after 8 months – suddenly he felt his brain ‘get it’ and he was able to ride!

He decided to give his young son a chance – I think he was 6 or 7 years old and had been riding a regular bike for at least a couple years. He, too, couldn’t do it at first. But, as an incentive, he promised his son, who loved astronauts, that he would take him to meet an astronaut if he learned how to ride the bike. The son, with a short daily practice, was able to re-learn in 3 weeks, as compared to 8 months for his dad.

So, what are the mindfulness take homes from this?

1. It’s hard to change habit patterns! Especially ones we grow up learning. And though any of us are capable, and we now know the brain has the neuroplasticity to rewire our brains in the ways we want, to align with the things we value, it takes a lot of effort. It’s important we have compassion for ourselves for our old or unhelpful habit patterns that we’d like to change.
How many of you, find yourselves struggling to let go of unhelpful habits? Perhaps the first step is to have self-compassion for the difficulty, and remembering the common humanity aspect of this – that this is true for all humans.

2. It is possible to change. With patience, persistence, kindness, – in this case, 5 min/day for 8 months, it was possible to change an old habit pattern. The other quality I might bring in here is support – which is part of what we offer each other by coming here together every Wednesday to practice together.
“Mindfulness accepts that life is simultaneously beautiful and difficult, and it asks us not to turn away from either. It suggests that it is helpful in this matter of being alive in a beautiful and difficult world, to foster an attitude of warmth and curiosity, this allows us to live with a more open heart and mind, and to notice what happens when we do.”

“Our mindfulness practice, whether it is on the cushion paying attention to the emotions and thoughts that weave between the breath and bodily sensations, or whether it is in the world paying attention to our actions and behaviors which emerge from our emotions and thoughts, is always a reminder that in order to change any unhealthy or harmful patterns – in order to transform any suffering – we have to first become aware of the patterns themselves. We cannot change anything that we are not aware of. This is also true of our collective transformation into a culture that meets the needs of greater numbers of people and beings: we first have to become deeply aware of the conditions that we are living within, and then that will guide us into transforming the world into a better place to live.”
~ Larry Yang

Today’s Guided practice focused on breath awareness, gratitude, and our interconnections.

Quote sent by email after today’s meditation , from one of today’s participants:

“I had been being really hard on myself the past few weeks and sitting yesterday reflecting in gratitude for other’s was lovely in itself, but then turning it inward, onto myself, being grateful for the times when I have been there for others was huge for me. It allowed me to see one of my much overlooked and I believe greatest gifts and it is the kindness that I so happily extend to other’s when they are in need. I really needed to see that yesterday and I left feeling lifted and filled with a sense of self-love/self-compassion that I have not until then experienced.”

notes from the Frye – April 29, 2015 – Your Brain is not your Fault!

Your Brain is not your Fault – Notes from the Frye April 29, 2015

So, I’m curious.
How many of you searched around a bit before deciding on what house to buy or apartment to rent?
And how many of you, take your time, try clothes on, see if they fit, see if they’re flattering, before buying new clothes?
And yet, how many of us choose our brains???
We have these brains, which are truly amazing organs. About 3 lbs of tofu like consistency, consisting of about 100 billion neurons, each neuron can make thousands of links with other neurons, giving a typical brain well over 100 trillion synapses. Some individual nerve cells can be as long as 5 feet long in a human. This organ regulates itself, and every other organ in the body, including the heart, lungs, digestive and elimination and reproductive systems! Though the brain weighs only about 2% of the total body’s weight, it uses 20% of the energy expended.
And yet, do you ever have days when you wish you could turn your brain in and get a new one, or at least have a bit more say over how it works? We may feel this in day to day life, – ie when we find ourselves stressed, anxious or worrying about something that we wish we weren’t – or we may feel this way when we’re trying to meditate and we keep noticing how busy our minds are about everything else except focusing on the breathe or the present moment.
As one of my favorite authors and researchers, Paul Gilbert, says – our brains are not our fault.
They are the result of evolution – brain wired to notice the negative at least 7 times as much as the positive, as a way that has kept us alert to danger, and hence, alive.
They are also the result of our particular genetics – some of us are just ‘set’ a bit more anxious or depressed than others, due to our particular genetics. If any of you have had more than one kid, or been close to children from the same family from an early age, at least some part of our particular wiring and personality traits are there from birth.
Then there is our environment and our experiences – where we grow up, what circumstances – with parents who have the skill, time and attention to care for us, or maybe parents fighting an addiction and don’t have the skills or attention to give to us. Or maybe we grow up in a peaceful family and country, or possibly not – as the news is sharing about the 40 year ago withdrawal from Vietnam, some young Vietnamese kids were orphaned by war, and lived through early violent times. Whether we are exposed to enriching activities, or have our minds bombarded by too much noise, violence, etc.
None of this is our fault. We did not choose our brains.
And, as Paul Gilbert says – once we understand our minds, then it is our responsibility to work with them.
So, for many of us, we find our brains – focusing repeatedly on the negative, ruminating about the past, worrying about the future. This is evolutionarily how our brains work.
Yet, the beauty of this complex and intricate organ, is that we know that we can also re-wire our brains, based on what we put our attention on, and the experiences we seek out.\
The route back in to rewiring our brains in the direction we want, is through mindfulness, particularly mindfulness in the body, in the present moment. Taking the moment to notice when your mind has spun out to ruminating thoughts, fears, anxieties, and to just feel yourself sitting in your chair, to notice how the breath moves through the body, observing how your eyes feel when they are truly seeing.
So, though we did not choose our brains, we can choose how to remodel, or rewire them, so our ‘home’ can become a place more in line with our values and aspirations.

Quote from Mattieu Ricard:
“The reason why we emphasize mental training is the realization that although outer conditions are important contributive factors to our well-being or suffering, in the end the mind can override that. You can retain inner strength and well-being in very difficult situations, and you can be totally a wreck where apparently everything seems perfect. Knowing that, what are the inner conditions for well-being and suffering? That’s what mental training is about, trying to find antidotes to suffering and to afflictive mental states – antidotes that let you deal with the arising of hatred, for example, to dissolve it before it triggers a chain reaction. Mental training is gradually going to change the baseline. It is the most fascinating endeavor we can conceive. Mind training is the process of becoming a better human being for your own sake and for the sake of others.”

Notes from the Frye – May 13th – Contagious Compassion

Thanks so much for being here. It happens to be my birthday week – at my age, I get a whole week to celebrate 
And so I decided to give myself permission to talk about my favorite topic – any guesses? Yes, Compassion!
I have been so touched as I teach the compassion cultivation training class, hearing stories back from participants how they are finding new ways for compassion to show up in their life. Some are seemingly simple, some big, life changing stories.
I really believe compassion is contagious, it’s who we are, how we want to be in the world. The beauty of compassionate behavior – it benefits the recipient, the giver and the bystander that witnesses it.
Study of organ donors – chains of up to 60 people – starts with altruistic donor who is willing to give a kidney to a stranger who their kidney is compatible with, then a loved one of that recipient pays it forward to another stranger who their kidney is compatible with. Beauty is that the compatibility transcends race, gender, age – these external physicality’s that we sometimes see as us being separate or different from.
We know, just by virtue of being human, the pain of suffering and our own experience of suffering – for we have all had suffering in our lives – whether physical pain, loss of loved one, either through death or an ending of a relationship, conflict, confusion, fear, anger, jealousy.
And as long as we feel connected to each other, we naturally want to help relieve others of their suffering.
It is only when we get isolated, when our more primitive fear and survival based brain areas get activated, when our negative fear based bias kicks in and we see the negative instead of the positive in others, that we forget to be compassionate.
I am privileged in my work to hear people’s stories, to facilitate conversations with people about compassion – both how it shows up in their lives naturally, where their fears about compassion show up, and how they are working to cultivate more compassion in their lives. These are rich and deep conversations – but you need the courage and willingness to have them, to talk about what matters, and be open to these conversations. Someone from one of my classes sent me an email, as he had been talking to me after class about how he just maintains a very work focused relationship with his colleagues and was considering, off of taking the compassion class, how to connect more with his coworkers. –as I read about how he made an extra effort this week to check in personally with his coworkers, these may sound like small steps, but they are clearly having a huge impact on him and how he sees the world. So don’t underestimate the impact of your ‘small’ efforts. It is one of the ways we stop ourselves, by thinking it won’t matter, it won’t have an impact.
As we step into this work, it is useful to also build the awareness of your underlying strength and stability to be present with the suffering in the world in a way that it does not overwhelm you.
So we will work on both of these in today’s meditation.

Turning to One Another – poem by Margaret Wheatley
There is no power greater than a community discovering what it cares about. Ask: “What’s possible?” not “What’s wrong?” Keep asking. Notice what you care about. Assume that many others share your dreams. Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters. Talk to people you know. Talk to people you don’t know. Talk to people you never talk to. Be intrigued by the differences you hear. Expect to be surprised. Treasure curiosity more than certainty. Invite in everybody who cares to work on what’s possible. Acknowledge that everyone is an expert about something. Know that creative solutions come from new connections. Remember, you don’t fear people whose story you know. Real listening always brings people closer together. Trust that meaningful conversations can change your world. Rely on human goodness. Stay together

Notes from the Frye Museum Mindfulness Meditation, April 1, 2015

Notes from the Frye, April 1, 2015, April Fool’s Day and Mindfulness

Today, being April Fool’s Day, and one of my mother’s favorite holidays – I thought I’d speak for a moment about the relationship between Mindfulness and Fools!

I couldn’t find a reliable or historically accurate explanation of the origins of April Fool’s Day, but it was interesting to note that many different cultures have had days of ‘foolishness’ around the start of April. Perhaps there is something about this time of year, with the turn from winter to spring, that lends itself to light hearted celebrations.

Interestingly, many people either really love or hate April Fool’s Day, and I think it may have to do with how one approaches the idea of a ‘fool’. Perhaps too often it is used in a way to humiliate or make fun of someone in an unkind way. I’d like to explore more around the idea of being a fool in a more positive sense of the word, perhaps this idea of encouraging laughter, light heartedness, not taking one’s self too seriously.

So, in the spirit of April Fool’s Day, here are some of my thoughts:
• Avoid the tendency to judge others, or yourself, as a fool (in the negative sense of the word). Remember we often have no idea of someone’s current situation/circumstances. What they look like, how they act, what they say or do… Consider this an opportunity to watch our judging minds, and to kindly let go and give the person the benefit of the doubt. Mindfulness qualities of: acceptance, not knowing, kindness, compassion.
• It’s particularly important to not judge yourself as a ‘fool’ – if you try something new and don’t succeed, or things don’t turn out as you thought they might, or you literally or figuratively ‘fall on your face.’ Can you try to allow this to be an opportunity for self compassion? Celebrate your willingness to try something new, to not know, to not be overly attached to outcome. To remember a sense of our common humanity and remember we can’t all be ‘winners’ all the time. It’s statistically impossible for all of us to be ‘above average’ even though 85% of people consider themselves to be ‘above average drivers!’ Can we allow ourselves to see things as they are, and not criticize ourselves for trying something new?
• And, can we be willing to do something that might possibly be interpreted by others as foolish, because for us it aligns with our values or intentions. For example, smiling to a stranger, going out of your way to open a door for someone or help someone out, or starting a conversation with a new person without knowing how you’ll be received. We can use our mindfulness to notice how often the urge to help someone arises in us during the day, and how quickly the self talk that rationalizes why we shouldn’t help comes in quickly afterwards. We worry that our help might be misinterpreted, or we’ll be rejected or seen as foolish.

My invitation today, is to allow yourself to do something that may look foolish, that aligns with your values and intentions. A moment of spontaneity, joy, to connect with someone, to offer a shared smile or laugh.

Hafiz Poem:
Admit something:
Everyone you see, you say to them, “Love me.” Of course you do not do this out loud, otherwise someone would call the cops. Still, though, think about this, this great pull in us to connect.
Why not become the one who lives with a full moon in each eye, that is always saying, with that sweet moon language, what every other eye in this world is dying to hear?

And, finally, two jokes for the occasion:

Two men meet on the street.
One asks the other: “Hi, how are you?’
The other one replies: “I’m fine thanks.
“And how is your son? Is he still unemployed?”
“Yes, he is. But he’s meditating now.”
“Meditating? What’s that?”
“I don’t know but it sure beats sitting around and doing nothing.”

And finally, just remember, the best vitamin to take to be a happy person is B1.

May we all be ‘fools’ who are sending loving wishes out through our eyes and hearts.