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The Perennial Philosophy

images-1For the past several months I have been offering a teaching that I call “Living the Beautiful Questions.” This teaching is based on the “perennial philosophy,” a term that describes the precepts and teachings that are common to all wisdom traditions. Yes, there are many ideas that ALL great spiritual teachers, great religions, great philosophies have in common. Seems we would be well-served to pay attention to these ideas.

In this intensive, two-day workshop, we will identify many of these “core concepts” that most of the wisdom traditions embrace. If you have read the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, the Bhagavad-Gita, the Upanishads, or any of the work of Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now), Marianne Williamson (A Return to Love, or A Course in Miracles), Gangi (I am That or Diamond in Your Pocket), Ken Wilber (Grace and Grit), Andrew Cohen (Evolutionary Consciousness), Michael Brown (The Presence Process), or Sarah Susanka (The Not so Big Life), you will be familiar with some of the core work that will guide me as I lead us in the discussion and exercises. We will deal with big ideas:

integral theory
resistance and letting go
acceptance of what is
essential self
and of course, living life creatively.

And there’s more: In addition to learning these concepts and how they affect our twenty-first century mindset, we will examine some of the advice and practices that have grown out of these core concepts. You’ll practice ways to drop resistance.   You’ll come to see your own shadow side more clearly. You’ll understand the confusion that has kept most of us in a frustrated state of blaming and judging others, and thus derailing our own personal growth. And you’ll come to see that we all have only one problem.

In essence, you’ll get closer and closer to living your life with freedom and equanimity, instead of guilt, shame, fear, or frustration. If we work well together, we’ll all become more aware who we really are, and what is truly possible for each one of us.

I’m thrilled about this work, and I want to share it with you, too. In the past year, I’ve presented this teaching in 5 two-hour sessions spread out over two months. This coming June and July, I’m going to offer the work in a two-day intensive session over a Saturday and a Sunday (9 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) The May sessions are filled, but four weekends are available in June and July, and I would be honored to share this approach to living happily and productively in this “one wild and precious life” we’ve been given.

If you find yourself stuck with a problem, or stymied in a life goal, or hindered in relating to people the way you want to, this intensive workshop might just offer a new lens through which to view your world and the ways you respond to that world. Check out the dates below, and if you have the time and the interested to take a deep dive with me, a dive that I promise will lead to a greater degree of awareness, clarity, and joy in your life, let me know and I’ll put you on the reserved list.

June 10-11 (9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)
June 24-25 (9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)
July 8-9 (9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)
July 22-23 (9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)

The fee for this two-day workshop is $195.  Contact me here to register for one of the weekends.

Call me or email with any questions or concerns you may have. You’ll know if this is the right experience for you. Listen to your heart. You’ll know.

I wish you well, always and always.

much love,

Dancing with Urgency

images-1One of my favorite sayings is “Be bold, and mighty warriors will come to your aid.” But most of the time, we don’t  recognize our “warriors” when they actually appear. They may come in the form of a formal sermon; or a book; maybe a line from a song you hear as you’re driving to work; maybe advice from a wise friend. Warrior assistance is with us always; the trick is to be aware of it.

So today,  just home from a Gracious Living Lifestyle retreat in Nicaragua, Seth Godin showed up as my personal warrior. And now, I take up my extended ruminations on the value of retreat because Seth Godin’s blog offered me exactly what I most need to hear this morning:

The why of urgent vs. important

You know you should be focusing on the long-term journey, on building out the facility, signing up new customers or finishing your dissertation.

But instead, there’s a queue of urgent things, all justifiable, all requiring you and you alone to handle them. And so you do, pushing off the important in favor of the urgent.

Of course, everyone has this challenge, but some people manage to get past it. Even you, the last time you made a major move forward. Think about it–those urgencies from a few years ago: who’s handling them now?

The reason we go for urgent is that it makes us feel competent. We’re good at it. We didn’t used to be, but we are now.

Important, on the other hand, is fraught with fear, with uncertainty and with the risk of failure.

Now that you know why, you can dance with it.

I have done battle with urgency my entire life. It just may be the cause of virtually every form of suffering I’ve experienced. And there is no better time for my ego to give me an extra dose of urgency than right on the heels of a healing retreat. That’s the way growth works: first you experience what you need, then you get yet another dose of what you need to let go of. And so I feel the stickiness of urgency all around me this morning. This “stickiness” around habituated patterns is called shenpa in the Buddhist tradition. Shenpa is getting hooked into an old and familiar way of responding, even if that way has not proven to be useful.

A week on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua has happened to me. I rested deeply, moved mindfully, meditated often, ate well, listened to the ocean, watched astounding sunsets, conversed with fabulous people, and listened. I listened to the ocean’s constant roar; I listened to heart-felt stories; I listened every morning as the jungle came alive with bird songs I’ve never heard before. They began tuning their exotic instruments at 5:00 a.m., and by 5:30 the fowl orchestra reached peak performance. Loud, raucous, demanding, assertive—screaming their aliveness to the puny creatures who lay awakening beneath them. Tangled in dream-soaked sheets, I felt their visceral aliveness.

Seven days of retreat, and my heart is open, my mind is clear, my intentions ravenous. And still, stealthily, the urgency emerges: I want to be more, do more, have more, offer more. I want to align my heart and my head, my body with my spirit, my story with my soul. Yes, I want to gobble up life even more than before. . . and urgency sets in quickly when you want to gobble.

So I sit quietly, this first day home from a foreign world—foreign in so many ways, at so many levels—holding this urgency lightly. Just watch it, I tell myself. Do not resist.

This new behavior reveals evidence of small improvement: I am not perturbed by this shenpa, as I once would have been. I go easy on myself. I recall the Three Meditations on Dying that we pondered during our retreat, stated most succinctly by Pema Chödrön:

“Since death is certain, the time of death is uncertain, what is most important now?”

I make a list. What is most important now?

paint/draw/make marks
read/study more, learn more, understand more
be willing not to understand
take notes/remember what is happening
move mindfully
eat healthfully
clean the house
order the closets
get rid of stuff
work in the garden/plant colorful flowers
pay attention to friends
be kind
drop urgency
know that all is well/remember it always
accept the love that is all around me/ be deeply grateful for it
accept what is right in front of me
learn from what is right in front of me
drop grasping and clinging
embrace imperturbability
be of benefit
remember my divinity

It’s a start.  And there’s no rush.  All is well.

How about your list this glorious Sunday morning? Make one, then see what unique warriors come to your aid. Be assured they will arrive exactly when you need them.





What You Need To Know About Publishing

patricia-charpentierHello and Happy New Year!

In this first post of the year, I am happy to announce our first Creative Momentum Gathering of the year, Tuesday, January 24, featuring Patricia Charpentier discussing “What You Need to Know About Publishing.”

LifeArt Studio, Writing Your Life, and Writer’s Block Bookstore are joining forces to offer an informative evening on how to give your ideas, your writing, your memories the beautiful form they deserve. Whether you hope to be traditionally published or intend to produce your book in some other way, Patricia Charpentier knows so much about how publishing works and how to avoid its many costly pitfalls.

As many of you know, Patricia Charpentier is founder Writing Your Life and LifeStory Publishing and a seventeen-year veteran of the industry. She’ll discuss

>     traditional publishing vs. concierge or self-publishing

>      how to be an informed author

>       the question of hiring professionals

13895054_10153643578296237_6688182899136835694_nIn addition, I’ll tell you all about my own experience of working with Patricia, for she has just published my recently revised book, Twelve Doors: Writing for Pleasure, Self-Expression, and Insight. Writers Block Bookstore will be on hand with copies for sale, as well as Patricia’s Eating an Elephant: Write Your Life One Bite at a Time. And, her Five-Year Journals, just in time for the new year, will also be available for sale.

“What You Need to Know About Publishing” is free event, but reservations are required. To reserve your place, send a request to me here.

This event takes place on Tuesday, January 24th from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Cocina 214 just off Park Avenue in Winter Park., at 151 Welbourne Avenue East, Winter Park, FL 32789.

Come early and grab dinner and drinks at Coquina 214, and meet other writers. Light appetizers will be provided during the session.

Seating is limited, so don’t forget to reserve your seat here.  I hope you can join us!