four love-based experiments I plan to try

1)  Slow Sundays:  I like the ring of Slow Saturdays even better, but realistically, Sundays have more space in them for this experiment, in which I reduce the speed of my normal movement by at least half for as long as possible, and resume doing so as soon as I notice that I have forgotten all about it. I might set an hourly chime to remind me. I tried it out this morning and made it all of about 3 minutes, but it was intriguing, and it did bring me closer to the speed of tenderness. I'd like to play with it a lot more. 

look for the love

been thinking about that quote from Mr. Rogers about looking for the helpers, and realizing it doesn't go quite far enough to satisfy me.  Maybe this is what he really means, but for me, it feels even better to intentionally look for the love.

Because love is there in any situation. Even the most egregious acts of man and nature stir up the circulation of love in the world.

words of comfort and wisdom from mr. rogers

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of 'disaster,' I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world."
  - Fred Rogers

slowing down to the speed of tenderness

this post is a reminder to myself of something very important that I once knew to be true but keep forgetting:

My life feels much sweeter when I think, speak, and act at the speed of tenderness.  

eating the elephant one bite at a time

This Daily Om struck a chord deep within me:
 http://www.dailyom.com/articles/2012/35974.html

Although it's been diminishing in a big way recently, I used to believe that I would feel a lot better if I knew how things were going to turn out for me in the end:  Will this relationship become a partnership? Where will this job take me?  Is this health issue serious or just a fleeting inconvenience?

seems pretty simple

stumbled upon this lovely little item the other day:

http://www.uncommongoods.com/product/five-rules-for-happiness-paperweight

it sweetly displays five simple rules for happiness:
1) Free your heart from hatred.
2) Free your mind from worry.
3) Live simply.
4) Give more.
5) Expect less.

but you know me - I always think I can improve (read: karen-ize) everything, so here's my version:

the myth of forever

The concept that anything at all, particularly a human relationship, could or should last "forever" still seems bizarre to me.

Evidence that change is the norm can be found all around us in nature, and yet many consider a divorce to be a failed marriage, a series of jobs a sign of instability, a change in perspective a flip-flop, and a person who moves frequently a drifter who can't put down roots.

I would like to make the case that the failure, if we must use that word, is in our cultural expectation that we can overcome the natural dynamic of change and motion by using effort and will to force any situation to remain static.

the futility of punishment

I heard a story the other day about a prisoner who was about to be released from decades of solitary confinement directly into society, with no parole officer or halfway house to ease the transition.

Some folks might shrug and say that he should be free to go because he has 'paid his debt to society.' Which makes no real sense to me - how exactly does sitting alone in a small room for dozens of years make up for anything?

A more practical and relevant question, in my opinion, would be:  
Has society paid its debt to him?

before


before you tell your child not to be upset or cry,
understand your own discomfort with strong emotions
and tears

before you command your child not to touch,
determine how you will help him satisfy his innate curiosity
and honor his intense drive to explore his environment

death as inspiration

I was recently invited to join a book discussion group about A Year to Live by Stephen Levine. I recall checking out his book Who Dies? from the library many years ago and enjoying it, so I googled him and found this lovely interview:  http://www.bodhitree.com/lectures/love.html

His basic premise, as I understand it, is that keeping our mortality in our conscious awareness enhances and enriches the quality of our decisions and therefore our lives. I find nothing to argue with in that! 

And I want to take it a step further, by suggesting what I think may be an even more powerful transformational thought-experiment:

halfway

things I've learned in the first half of my life that I look forward to enjoying in the second half:

- When my attention is focused on the present moment, trust becomes a meaningless concept. I just deal with whatever happens as it arises. I don't need to worry. I don't need to suspect. I don't need to diagnose intention or determine motive. I just swing when the ball comes over the plate. Simple.

- I will be okay. I've seen myself and others bounce back stronger than ever from serious illnesses and injuries, unemployment, and all kinds of other crises. I've seen beautiful deaths. I've seen blessings within suffering, compassion within pain, and opportunity within destruction. There are gifts of love available for me everywhere, in all experiences. If I don't notice them at first, I can simply pay closer attention, and they will reveal themselves to me.

life lessons from people.com

I know, the title of this post sounds kinda crazy. And yes, I am revealing my little compulsion to visit people.com every day. I find the stories riveting.

It's totally irrelevant to me that the folks involved are celebrities -- I am equally as enthralled by the daily ins and outs of the lives of random strangers, which is why I spend so much time reading blogs. I spose this news is not shocking to any of my readers given that one of the labels for my blog posts here is titled humans fascinate me.  

Anyhoo, this post of reminders to myself has been brewing for months, and today's announcement that Seal and Heidi Klum are splitting up drove me to finally write it up.

Lesson #1:  Relationships change.