Here’s a quote from It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your KeysIt so aptly describes my life:

"I brought those books into the house, every one made of ground-up trees.  I read them, yes, and loved them, but I have easy access to three good libraries.  I didn’t need to house a library of my own.  I piled up those books because I am impatient; I want to look up a quote or a fact instantly.  Because I fend off worries by escaping, and books are my escape mechanism…The books are an expensive, troublesome, heavy, space-occupying fortress against having to confront my inner bugaboos.  I guess that’s also true of…the closets full of rarely worn clothes.  Stuff taken from the earth to bolster fantasy or foist off fear, stuff our non-affluent household paid a fortune for, stuff I’ve housed for decades, stuff that occupied the space of real life.

Picture all that stuff wrested from the mines and forests and soils of the earth and, finally, unceremoniously, dumped…The price we’re paying for our stuff–in money and time and space and resources–is tremendous."

Environmental activist, Dana Meadows, coauthor of Limits to Growth

I’m reading a book called "It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys."  In it, is this quote from Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist teacher.  I thought I’d share it.  Kathy Beal’s word for the year is sacred so I thought of her:

"The attitude of sacredness towards your environment will bring drala (magic).  You may live in a dirt hut with no floor and only one window, but if you regard that space as sacred, if you care for it with your heart and mind, then it will be a palace."

Remembering this bit of advice would be so helpful for me.  Then I could appreciate my life and face the bumps with lightness.

"Ego is like a room of your own, a room with a view with the temperature and the smells and the music that you like. You want it your own way. You’d just like to have a little peace, you’d like to have a little happiness, you know, just gimme a break.

But the more you think that way, the more you try to get life to come out so that it will always suit you, the more your fear of other people and what’s outside your room grows. Rather than becoming more relaxed, you start pulling down the shades and locking the door. When you do go out, you find the experience more and more unsettling and disagreeable. You become touchier, more fearful, more irritable than ever. The more you try to get it your way, the less you feel at home."

–Pema Chodron, Start Where You Are

I took a class at Kapiolani Women’s Center today called Mindfulness in the Workplace.  I ran out the door, twenty minutes late.  Boy! Did I need this.  I thought I’d share the list we were given as I thought it would be useful.

1. Take a few minutes in the morning to be quiet and meditate – sit or lie down and be with yourself…gaze out the window, listen to the sounds of nature or take a slow quiet walk.
2. After getting in the car – take a minute to quietly pay attention to your breathing or your posture.
3. While driving, become aware of body tension, e.g.:  hands wrapped tightly around the steering wheel, shoulders raised, stomach tight, etc. Consciously work at releasing, dissolving that tension…Does being tense help you to drive better?  What does it feel like to relax and drive?
4. Decide not to play the radio and be with yourself.
5. Stay in the right lane and go within the speed limit.
6. Pay attention to your breathing or to the sky…tress, etc. when stopped at a red light.
7. Take a moment to orient yourself to your workday once you park your car.  Walk mindfully (feel your steps) from your car to your work place.
8. While sitting at your desk, keyboard, etc. monitor bodily sensation – tension levels, again consciously attempting to relax and let go of excess tension.
9. Use your breaks to truly relax rather than simply “pausing.”  For example, instead of having coffee and a cigarette, take a 2-5 minute walk or sit down and recoup or try closing your door and take some time to consciously relax.
10. Be mindful of the activities in the bathroom.
11. Be aware of likes and dislikes mental states without clinging or judging.
12. Decide to “stop” for 1 – 3 minutes every hour during the workday (an hourly chime is helpful).
13. Use the everyday cues in your environment as reminders to be present.  For example, the telephone ringing, time at the computer terminal.  Pause and relax and/or have one or two mindful breaths or simply be mindful of what you are doing.
14. Remind yourself from time to time to be present.
15. At lunch, changing your environment can be helpful.  Chose to eat one or two lunches per week in silence.  Use it as a time to eat slowly and be with yourself.
16. At the end of the  workday, retrace your activities of the day, acknowledging and congratulating yourself for what you’ve accomplished and make a list for tomorrow.
17. Pay attention to the short walk to your car – breathing the crisp air.  Feel your steps, the feeling of the cold or warmth or your body.  Try to accept it rather than resist it.  Listen to the sounds outside the building.  Can you walk without feeling rushed?
18. After getting in the car, feel your breath or y our posture.  Make the transition from work to home – take a moment to simply be – enjoy it for a moment.  Like most of us, you’re heading into your next full-time job – home!
19. While driving, notice if you are rushing.  What does this feel like?  What could you do about it?  Remember you’ve got more control than you might imagine.
20. When you pull into the driveway or park on the street, take a minute to come back to the present.  Orient yourself to being with your family members or friends.
21. Change out of work clothes when you get home; it helps you to make a smoother transition into your next “role”.  You can spare the five minutes to do this.  Say hello to those at home – center yourself at home.  If possible, make the time to take 5-10 minutes to be quiet and still.

Adapted from "List of 21 Ways to Reduce Stress During the Workday" by Saki Santorelli.

You gotta love this. 

"When I was four years old,
my mother used to bring me a cookie every time she came home from the
market. I always went to the front yard and took my time eating it,
sometimes half an hour or forty-five minutes for one cookie. I would
take a small bite and look up at the sky. Then I would touch the dog
with my feet and take another small bite. I just enjoyed being there,
with the sky, the earth, the bamboo thickets, the cat, the dog, the
flowers. I was able to do that because I did not have much to worry
about. I did not think of the future, I did not regret the past. I was
entirely in the present moment, with my cookie, the dog, the bamboo
thickets, the cat, and everything. It is possible to eat our meals as
slowly and joyfully as I ate the cookie of my childhood. Maybe you have
the impression that you have lost the cookie of your childhood, but I am
sure it is still there, somewhere in your heart. Everything is still
there, and if you really want it, you can find it. Eating mindfully is a
most important practice of meditation."

–Thich Nhat Hanh,
Peace Is Every Step

can only be saved through non-violence, because democracy, so long as
it is sustained by violence, cannot provide for or protect the weak. My
notion of democracy is that under it the weakest should have the same
opportunity as the strongest. This can never happen except through
non-violence . . . . Western democracy, as it functions today, is
diluted Nazism or fascism.

Mohandas Gandhi

“You do your best work and you hope that it pulls out
the best in your audience. And that some piece
of it spills over into the real world and into people’s
everyday lives. That it takes the edge off the fear. And allows us
to recognize each other through our veil of differences. I always
thought that was one of the things popular art was supposed to be.”
Bruce Springsteen, accepting his 1994 Academy Award for “Streets of Philadelphia,”
the theme song for the film “Philadelphia.”