June Workshop at LifeArt Studio

imagesIf you think about it, most of us seek more freedom, in one way or another—from habitual negative thinking, from annoying relationships, from disappointing ourselves, from worry and despair. We spend so much time in our heads stressing and planning and controlling and judging, and mistakenly thinking these states of mind are going to get us out of the funk we’re experiencing. But the only thing these states do is gobble up the precious energy we need to create a life that is full and happy and beneficial.

LifeArt Studio offers a two-day intensive workshop that explores some of the reasons we find ourselves in this unfortunate state, and examines practices that quickly disarm the conditions of this unfortunate state.

The workshop is called “Living the Beautiful Questions,” and it shows how asking a powerful question can disarm obstacles and direct us to new ways of thinking about what is possible. The quality of your life is directly related to the quality of the questions you’re posing to yourself every day. Think on that!

What Will I Learn?

In this workshop, you’ll learn how you are resisting, how to stop blaming and judging , what issues or conditions trigger you into negative states, the role focus plays in creating artfully, the mistake we have all made about cause and effect, and more.

The workshop is limited to 5 participants, giving us the time necessary to identify patterns in your own thinking that are keeping you from living your life with more ease and joy.

When Do We Start?

We’ll meet on Saturday, June 24, from 9-12 and 1:30-4:30, and again on Sunday, June 25 from 9-12 and 1:30-4:30. This is a deep (and fast) immersion into the core ideas of the great Wisdom Traditions and how the lessons of these traditions are valid and constructive for many of the negative states of mind we find prevalent in the 21st century.

What Does This Workshop Cost?

The fee for this two-day workshop is $195 and includes a celebratory happy hour on Sunday, and a follow-up practice session in July.

If you’re ready to live your life with more freedom and more equanimity, join us for this weekend of “living the beautiful questions.”  Please contact me here to register.  Your place will be secured upon payment, which is non-refundable after June 19.



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,

Contemplations on Death

images-1When I returned from retreat in Nicaragua back in February, I wrote a blog post about my experience in retreat, and in that post I mentioned the Buddhist practice of the “three death contemplations.” Since that post, several people have written asking about “the three death contemplations,” so I thought I’d elaborate upon them a bit.

As we know, many spiritual traditions place a good deal of attention on death as a point of contemplation, as a pathway to living more fully. The Christian Bible says “Anyone who wants to save his life must lose it. Anyone who loses her life will find it.” (Matthew 16:25) Most traditions of Buddhism speak of dying to the false self and taking refuge in our essential self. Meditation is often used as a practice in dying. Kathleen Dowling Singh calls this form of meditation a way to “relieve ourselves of all of our mistaken identifications, loosening our attachments to them, letting them go.” And in some sects of Hinduism, monks sit in the presence of bodies being cremated on platforms—a practice of becoming profoundly intimate with dying.

All of these practices are designed to teach us not to recoil from death, but to use it as a reminder of how we want to live in this moment. The traditional Buddhist practice of the “three death contemplations” poses three questions we can (and should) use every day to bring alertness and awareness into our lives.

1) Is death inevitable?

2) When will death come?

3) What will be meaningful to me when death does come?

I think it’s obvious that we move through the first two questions fairly quickly. Of course death is inevitable. And of course we never know when death will come. (Even though most of us act as if such an inevitability is way off in the future.) We have a keen array of defenses surrounding our fragility and mortality.

The third question, though, is disturbingly provocative, and not so easily addressed. And as it is phrased by Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön, it instills a high degree of urgency: What is most important now? We have to ask this question (over and over) while we still have the capacity to thoughtfully make decisions and choices.

So here’s a common Buddhist teaching designed to help us address this last question without becoming overwhelmed by its enormity.

First, ask yourself, What do I care about above all else? Make a list of those things.

Next, ask yourself, What exactly am I giving priority to in practice in my daily life? Make another list. Be honest about the ways you spend your time, your money, and your energy.

If you find a striking mismatch between these two lists, you are not alone, and your work is cut out for you. If you find that the two lists look pretty much the same, you are well into sainthood.

Now you’re in a position to decide how to adjust your practices or your lifestyle or the company you keep so that these two lists align. What needs to change to allow you to live the life you say you want to live, and be committed to the ideas you say you want to be committed to?

No judgment allowed in this exercise. No denigrating yourself or others. Simply use the exercise to learn how your aspirations and your habits are aligned. Each day, we get to choose what we do and what we say and what we think. And if we do that daily, with care, devotion, and compassion, our final death contemplation will be much, much easier. It will be simply another practice.