Staying Calm Amidst the Shattered Glass of Life

Not long ago I made two mistakes on a one-way street. The first was entering the street in the wrong direction. The second was not fully examining the reflection in my rearview mirror while turning around. I knew there were no cars, but what I didn't see was a tall metal protrusion at the edge of the street that shattered the back window of my van as I backed up.

The crackling gash of glass into a web of ruin rattled the quiet morning. I flinched and my heart sped, but I felt calm, composed, and unruffled, and this surprised me.

I stepped out of the van to investigate any damage to the metal structure, and finding none, cleared the glass from the street and proceeded to my next business appointment, and then directly to a glass shop to order a new window. I then felt impressed to go back to the scene of the accident and find to whom the structure belonged and report it, which I did.

As I stood in my driveway and sucked thousands of shards of glass into my wet/dry vac, I marveled at my state-of-mind that morning. I also thought of how differently I would have told and lived this story from a younger understanding of  life, and I felt deeply grateful.

At an earlier time, I would have likely stayed calm on the outside, and had a flood of feelings on the inside. Shame and self-annoyance for not being aware. Guilt for smashing a perfectly good window. Fear of legal repercussions and facing my actions. Anxiety in finding the "just right" repair shop. Avoidance of my business appointment altogether. Overwhelm at cleaning up the mess and taping the window with plastic.

In short, I would have driven straight home, called my mom and husband, and then slowly faced the task at hand while wading through my emotions and overthinking everything.

What was it then that made the difference for me that day between being rattled and reposed? Between feeling foolish and simply human? Between driving straight home in overwhelm and handling business straightway without fanfare?

What I have come to know through personal daily miracles like this one, is that the clearer we see where our emotions are coming from, the easier life becomes on the inside, and the wiser we navigate the world.

I'll say more about that in a moment, but I share this story of the broken window to state the obvious fact that life happens. We live in a finite world with human frailty including our own, as well as abrupt edges we don't often see until we do. Accepting my own and other's humanity and realizing that no matter how hard I try, I cannot control this sphere called earth, has transformed my everyday experience into moments of peace that exceed my wildest youthful hope for a happy life.

This doesn't mean I never fear, or that I always fully accept my blazing imperfections, or that I don't cry with deep distress over my children because I want them to find joy. I suffer with great self-doubt at times, with disappointment, regret, sadness, hesitation, and the desire to put a paper bag over my head so nobody sees me.

The difference is, and this difference is the difference that's made all the difference - I now know where my emotions are coming from every single time no matter what, and they aren't coming from the finite world. They aren't coming from a broken window, my lack of skill, my teenaged daughters, or even a swaggering politician.

Our emotions then, do not come from an inanimate object, an event, or another person, no matter how true that might look in the moment. Our feelings come from a place inside each of us through the divine gift of thought - a potent gift of infinite creation that came with each of us at birth.

What this means (and hold onto your hats because this is so sweet) is that we do not experience the world directly. Yes, we physically interface with the world, but our experience of it is always via thought. My husband may well press his lips against mine, but it is my thinking in the moment about him that creates my experience of that kiss.

This understanding of the inside-out nature of life is utterly life-changing, and often comes drop by drop as we keep looking. Like during an ordinary day we'll notice we are scared, anxious, or lonely like we've been in the past, but we don't make a big deal of it snap out of it like a flash. Or we'll notice that something that would have unsettled us before just doesn't, and we glide through the moment kinda wowed.

I know what it's like to be wowed every-single-day. To understand in glimpses that no matter what happens on the outside, I have a wellspring of worth, peace, and resilience at my core. To see with wonder and curiosity through the fog my personal thinking to the bright light of what is true.

Walking on broken glass isn't


















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Taking the Mic, Even When I Feel Off Key

Sometimes I feel so inadequate, so average, so lacking in skill and smarts and so unqualified for the task at hand. I see brilliant and talented people all around me and I think, “Why should I write, or create, or speak or give that project a whirl when a million someone elses could do it better?”

But for some reason, I press my small, trembling, hesitant, and behind-the-curtain-loving-self onto the stage and grab that blasted microphone anyway and then I sing my heart out. It’s just what I do.

I refuse to believe the lifelong and persistent voices in my head that tell me I’m not worthy or qualified or that I don’t really belong here like other people do. I showed up on this earth to be a full participant, and I am not bowing out until I have opened my heart and spilled out all of my gold, small or great as it may be.

What I know for sure is that when I am quiet inside, a still small voice that is clear, calm, and filled with unbounded love rises from the deep and reminds me of who I truly am and who every other person is too.

And while I still entertain rude and noisy guests inside my head, I know the living voice of peace is waiting by my fire’s warm hearth, to show me what I’m made of, and to bring me truly home.

Photo by Ray Hennessy on Unsplash


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Instead of saintlike hymns today between

sermons, I indulge in a book of poetry about

long capers of cattails, the quiet loyalty

of breath, and the astonishment

of autumn-

Hugh’s arm around me

 his clear tenor voice

in faithful unison

while I

in unshod wonder

sashay across forests of

leafy umber

under pink skies

my heart a sway

with birdsong

praising each tree

 by regal name

 to the  tune

of hallelujah.



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Galaxy of Melody

You are a miraculous creation of jiving jubilation,

a galaxy of melody who serenades the vales-

a mystic wearing neon shades outside his castle gate,

a patriot with eagle’s wings, a sideways figure eight.

An eyebrow dancing confidant, a full-moon wide awake,

a visionary heart so pure, it brims twelve-thousand lakes.

A pilgrim of the holy grail who waits on bended knee,

and tunes his soul to hear his call from grand eternity.

Four years ago, a young man read my blog, wrote to me, and asked me to teach him everything I know. Four visits from afar, fast family friends, and many missives later, he turns 20 this month.
A little tribute to him.
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Listening with a Quiet Mind: My Session with a CEO

Have you ever dared listening to another person without much on your mind? 

I recently coached a successful CEO who wanted my professional input on how to introduce an innovative educational program to his employees.  As he walked through the door and sat across from me, a few thoughts raced through my head.

  • A guy this successful will want cutting edge tips, tools, and a creative plan of action to leave with to feel like he’s gotten his money’s worth. 
  • I’d better also come up with some great metaphors, connective stories, and relevant references, so his experience is rich.
  • His line of work is not entirely familiar to me.  How can I effectively speak to his situation with authority? 

And so forth.

Instead of giving my thought stream any real airtime, I decided to simply let each whim go as it came. In short time, instead of pretending to listen to this man while chatting with my ego, I just listened. Not to my own agenda, but to him. He spoke for a good fifteen minutes straight, and instead of sharing every thought that seemed relevant, helpful, or impressive, I let each one go as it arose and came back to him with full presence.  

The quieter I became, the clearer it became that my job was not to find his solution; it was to listen deeply enough so that he could find his own. 

At some point, an authentic question rose up and out of my mouth and I asked it. He paused, put his two fingers on his chin to think, and spoke until he began to spark with his own a-ha’s. They were small a-ha’s at first, and at first I wanted to jump in with affirming words and personal insights. Instead, I trusted for his own wisdom to settle in, and I waited for him to see it for himself.

I began to notice that the more I listened to him freshly with nothing on my mind, the more clear, direct, and simple my insights came, and so did his. So when he finally asked me a question about his own potential foolishness and credibility, I answered him with the five-word observation, “It seems you’re just curious.” 

And that was it. What once looked to him like taking a nervous risk, now looked like a fun game of marbles. What once looked to him like pinheaded prattle, now looked like innocent inquiry and play. In the moment he saw it for himself, his “bonus package” of pluck and perception and how to proceed arrived, and he brimmed with mirth. 

Now the tendency of course is to say, “Hey, that was cool. Let’s unpack what just happened in that conversation and turn it into a strategy.” As if the genius of true creative intelligence could be replaced with a gimmick, which alas, it cannot. 

This is why the often showy practice of ‘active listening,’ like leaning forward, nodding, making eye contact, and paraphrasing every 30 seconds or so in a effort to appear like we’re listening, doesn’t garner rave reviews. Stepping off the stage long enough for another person’s wisdom to shine through, however, can reveal the whole presented drama for what it is. A creative expression of thought, costumed in a motley of emotion, and acted out in the theatre of life. 

 Could it then be possible that the quality of our emotional experience in any given moment is not a result of a particular set, scene, or fellow players, but is in direct relation to the quality of our thinking about these things?

Could it also be possible, that when we listen to life with a quieter mind, we may more easily hear the truth of our divine identity, and our potential for peace and creation? 

I’m curious what might happen if we began to listen to our spouse, children, colleagues and friends without the need to fix, affirm, negate, prove ourselves, or set the world straight. It might be a relief to trade in the director role for a seat in the balcony, eating our popcorn of peace, and cheering for one another with brightened trust. 


Photo by Imani Clovis on Unsplash

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The Humble Insight and the Ordinary Creator

What would you just love to create?

I am assuming that since you are a human being and not a squirrel, that like me, you have talents, habits, and dreams you’d love to see materialize. Perhaps again like me, you have bookshelves bursting with help, friends at the ready with advice, and digital pins of images and articles for a lifetime of go-get-em inspiration.

And then there’s that voice inside your head. You know, the one with the spotty counsel, telling you one day that you’re the bees knees, and most of the others that you just don’t even have the “it” factor to boil a pot of water.

We’ll talk more about that voice in later posts, but for now, I want to share a little something with you about the humble insight, and how it is the single most powerful gift for lasting change.

insight = sight from within 

A little story to illustrate: 

When my husband Hugh was twenty and single, he found himself playing soccer in a dirt field with a teenaged boy in Cañete Peru named Mario. Mario kicked the ball with skill, holding his left arm behind him as he traveled across the hot dust to the goal.

After their first formal introduction and a spontaneous connection, Mario invited Hugh home for dinner.

Mario lived with his parents and his older brother and a younger sister in a home with a dirt floor, corrugated metal walls, and a cardboard roof. Their food came by gleaning the fields after the harvest, and since Mario had lost his left hand when he was a small child, his parents and older brother told him he was useless to help, and would never make anything of himself.

One night by candlelight, Hugh sat with Mario in his home and spoke to him in broken Spanish of what he saw about Mario’s divine nature, his infinite worth, and his innate agency to choose liberty in his life through the power God.

In that unplanned moment of sharing, Mario saw something about himself he never remembered seeing before, and even more keenly, he felt it. Beyond the words being said, beyond the limits of language and context, Mario glimpsed something new that also felt true – a simple, humble insight into his deeper nature and identity, which sparked a hope for a brighter life, and an energy to take real action.

My teacher Michael Neill once said:

“When a stick floating down the river gets stuck, it doesn’t need psychotherapy, it just needs a nudge.” 

Despite years of pain and derision, that nudge of in-sight, that “sight from within,” was all it took for Mario to spring into action with a bold fearlessness he’d never known before. According to Hugh, when Mario glimpsed his true nature and potential, he began by taking a leadership role in his family. Instead of being the one who was picked on, he began to be the protector of his younger sister, a counselor and guide to his brother and parents, and a leader in his community.

He even created a plan to earn enough money to travel alone to another country in South America, and share with other people what he’d seen – and he followed through.

Just before Hugh stepped on the bus to leave for home, Mario took off his prized soccer pin from his shirt and with emotion, handed it to Hugh.

Leaving Cañete Peru; 1988

From the stillness, light will appear. 

What intrigues me about this story is that it didn’t take a library of books, a stack of credentials, or a star-studded seminar for Mario to see something new that would change his life forever. And while Hugh pointed Mario in a fresh direction of thought, the insight didn’t come through Hugh. It came straight through Mario.

What I’ve found to be true is that we influence another most profoundly when we do not try to change them at all, but simply love them, and respond to them in each moment with full presence of heart. I have also found that it is through this quiet place of open stillness, through this readiness to listen and to hear what we’ve never considered before, that our humble insights will come. And when they do come, and they will, ordinary people like you and me will possess exactly what we need to actualize our most extraordinary dreams.

Now I have nothing but admiration for the clever squirrel, but we can realize our talents, habits, and dreams because we are human beings. As such, we are each born with an inner light, a wellspring of wisdom, an innate intelligence, a creative force, an agency to choose, and an infinite, unchangeable worth.

I’ve noticed for myself that the less I pay attention to the noise inside my head, the more space opens up for fresh insights to come through. And when that happens, I find myself creating desired habits, skills, projects, and goals with more ease and less fuss than I ever imagined. The fun part is that like Mario and his dream of a better life and world, insights by nature come with a bonus package of ideas, energy, and initiative to know how to proceed, to make connections, and to create that very dream.

To all ordinary creators and friends, a day of miracles and insight to you! 

(Photo by Babak Fakhamzadeh on Unsplash)

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Dating, Self Trust, and Living Baggage Free

I stood at the sink washing dishes with my single friend this past weekend who bemoaned her online dating trouble with a conversation that went back and forth like this:

“What if the guy turns out to be like my dad and ends up leaving me like my dad did my mom?”

‘That’s an interesting projection.”

“I’m sorry, but I have lots of past baggage and I just don’t trust guys to be who they say they are.”

“Can I ask you a question?”

“Yes, please. I love questions!”

“Do you trust yourself?”

“Well, no, of course I don’t, and here are the reasons why…”


The great guitarist Carlos Santana once said, ”Everybody sooner or later has to drop the luggage and the baggage of illusions.

Santana is onto something, but I’m curious. What if the real illusion is that we have this “past baggage” at all?

What if my friend’s fear of a guy’s rejection isn’t a “thing” inside of her from the past that needs to be pried from her soul or unloaded like smelly socks from a suitcase into the abyss before she can have a happy relationship?

What if there was just one thing she needed to glimpse that would change her experience with men forever? And what if in that glimpse, she realized she no longer needed to poke, prod, patch, and proclaim this pesky story of her past anymore because she could see it for what it was?

This is the conversation I love to have with people. A conversation about solid principles that are simple, timeless, and freeing. I know, because in this light I can see more clearly that I’ve always been free. In this light, I can see that having thriving, peaceful, loving relationships is possible no matter my past because I know where my experience of life is coming from.

From what I can see, our experience of life is not coming from the past, no matter how popular that theory is, because that theory doesn’t hold true in all circumstances for all people. That’s the difference between stable principles, or laws of nature, and current conjecture. True principles bear out in the world of form every single time for every person no matter what we think of them. Conjecture, theory, or our very best guess, is often hit or miss.

Here’s a principle, said in a few different ways that I’ve been able to take to the bank with stunning returns.

  • The only thing standing between me and my well-being is a thought.
  • A thought is just a thought. They come and go, and I can watch them like clouds passing in the sky.
  • I do not feel the past, my current circumstances, or the future. I feel my thinking about these thoughts. 
  • At any moment, I can have a new thought, and experience a whole new feeling about life.
  • The more I see that my thoughts are like clouds that will pass, the less I try to manage them. 
  • The less I try to manage my thoughts, the more I can feel the warmth of the sun behind the clouds, which is always there.
  • No matter the circumstances and thought storms of my life, the sun was shining then and is still shining today.
  • I do not have to wait to be “healed” to experience this deeper feeling and a wonderful life.
  • Peace is what is real and what’s on offer at any moment.
  • All I need to do is look beyond my transitory thought and I will see. 
  • Peace is what I’m made of, and it’s free.

Looking back, when I asked my friend if she trusted herself, I wasn’t asking if she trusted her momentary thinking about herself. I was asking her if she trusted that clear, bright, untouchable place inside of her that tells her the truth in love, guides her to her promised land, and is the birthright of every single human on the earth.

Life is easier than we think, and surprisingly baggage free.

For upcoming classes or a conversation on practical peace and a wonderful life, don’t hesitate to be in touch with me.

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Shining When We Feel Like Shadow

I drive home every day next to a river which runs into the Columbia River Gorge which pours into the Pacific Ocean. On certain occasions over the years when I’ve felt particularly low, I’ve wondered what it would be like to float down that river, out of the pain of this temporal world, and into what I imagined was the timelessness and peace of heaven.

Living in this world of form with what has seemed at times to hold absurd, pretentious, and arbitrary rules has been difficult for me, and when I see the world from this spot of ground, I tend to glamorize the river float in favor of making dinner and living life.

That river has become a great reflector of my level of clarity, and for the past few years, most of the time I’ve been grateful to see the river as just a river, and life as just life, and dinner as just dinner.

So a few months ago I felt a bit low. Nothing like before but still a haze of gray and a woman coming in the morning to meet me who had heard somewhere that I knew something about how she could pull out of depression and anxiety. Ah yes, the irony, I reminded myself, asking myself how I was going to speak to my work and understanding in my current state of mind, and then I caught a glimpse of something. Not sure how I did, but I glimpsed it. My state of mind is just fine as-is, and there is nothing I need to do to fix it.  I will stop thinking about myself at all,  show up and speak to her from a genuine place of where I am, and it will be well.

She sat down on my sofa and we somehow opened with a discussion on our shared love of classical music, art, and the humanities, and she told me about her first experience as a child at the symphony, and how she spontaneously teared up at the emotion of it all. We spoke of Gregorian Chant, and quietness, and listening, and feeling the presence of the divine.

Somehow the understanding of how we experience emotions began weaving itself into our conversation and I found myself at my well-used whiteboard, asking her if she’d like to see a few things that have been helpful for me. She sat on the edge of the sofa and said yes!

I drew a few lines, and some circles and squiggles, and by the time we were done, we’d had the most elegant, simple conversation about the human experience I think I’ve ever had with anyone. We spoke of innate wisdom, and wellness, of spontaneous healing and grace. We spoke of the thought feeling connection, of illusions and choice, of noticing the feeling, and her level of insight was huge. She appeared entirely lit. In two hours of easy, light, engaging conversation, I’d used the term depression once in what seemed like half of a sentence and that was it.

I was reminded again that heaven is not a place at which we will someday arrive. Heaven is a state of mind, and heaven is here. It is who we are.

*          *          *          *          * 

So I’m curious:   It’s often said that clearer our state of mind, the better our performance, but is this true?  Can we still experience everyday miracles, even in the midst of being bumbling, hazy-headed mortals? Can letting go of self-assessment and simply being present to another human being yield surprising outcomes?


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Are you the loser in your marriage?

Are you the loser in your marriage, or are you the finder? I happen to be the loser, and have always been the loser. My husband Hugh hasn’t so much as lost a stray crumb to the counter, or left a sock on the floor in 18 years of marriage. I, on the other hand, have lost both of the key fobs to our new car and now we can’t drive it. This morning Hugh planned to take the car for a tuneup in Vancouver, but instead we spent the morning together looking for keys.
He could choose to see me as a thoughtless loser who still hasn’t gotten it together, or decide he’s no longer attracted to me, or rant and rave about the time he wasted today, or ask me the question of how hard can it be to simply put the keys in the drawer when I come home. But he does none of these things. He simply calls the car place, cancels the tuneup, and asks our youngest girl if she’d like to go on a daddy-daughter date to the Pancake House in the van.
And then he sends me a text from the Pancake House thanking me “for such a valiant search for the keys this morning,” adding, “no worries. I’m sure the keys will show up in a day or two.”


I guess you could say I’m both a loser and a finder because I somehow found a guy who sees in me my formless intrinsic beauty and worth instead of subscribing who I am to the temporal and fleeting faux-pas of everyday life.

(And please, any well-wishes on finding our keys are welcome!)

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I Am Awake, and Everything Has Changed

Hello early morning. Hello world. I am awake, aware, and alive. I am here. I am curious. I am ready. I am listening. I can hear the fridge breathe. Its breaths are deep. I can hear the whir inside my head, and the deeper me comes forth to listen.

There it is. Instant calm. As though my deeper self is royalty, and my mind quiets in reverence upon its approach.

Something has happened to me, ye friends of the earth. I have come to play good chess and I have captured the king. I have been shown something extraordinary and instead of a cursory look I chose to truly see and it has changed me. Everything has changed my friends. Everything.

I used to think life was noisy but I now can hear the quiet everywhere. Listen to the leaves and you will hear it too. It’s there. Come listen with me.

I used to think that a life pressed between the stones was the way to success and salvation, but I now glimpse the reality of an easy yoke and a wind against my back.

I am an ordinary person who has seen something true, and there is no turning back. No looking back at the broken city I once thought was real. May you hear and see today that which has been waiting for you to see and hear all your life. And hello early morning. I thank-you for waking me today.


Photo by Ahmed Saffu on Unsplash

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My Early Life: The Wonder Woman I Call My Mother

When I was a kid I wasn’t a kid. While other girls my age were gliding on skates under the disco ball to Le Freak, their plastic yellow Goody combs in their back pockets, their Sour Grape Lip Smacker slathered on their pre-teen lips, I pressed myself against the wall of the hallway to spy on my mother, whose status as my childhood hero surpassed Wonder Woman by seven skyscrapers high. She’d settle in her gold velvet chair in our living room, take a single long sip of her Tab soda, and lean forward to hear the anguished young couple’s tale of infertility and subsequent plea for help, as if she’d never heard it before.

From my vantage point in the hallway, I could see my mother’s right profile, her short platinum blonde hair swept back like Blue Bonnet margarine waves against her confident head, her hazel eye laser focused on her guests, her mouth fastened shut, and her perfect seashell ear, adorned with a clipped hoop earring, listening for everything.

Awake and behind me in their bedroom cribs were four babies from Mexico with more on the way, my mom’s and mine as I considered them, and my sole intent was to keep them quiet and happy until the end of the live living room show. To the end when this childless couple now fastened to our chartreuse loveseat, would stand at last and embrace my mother as if she were a genie in a bottle granting their deepest wish.

The story and events that followed this scene would put our lives under an intense microscope of national and international scrutiny, get us publicly disowned by our extended family, run us out of our small conservative farming town into the mountains, and drain our financial, physical, and emotional bank accounts for years to come.

Because of this, when I was a kid I wasn’t a kid, and I didn’t become a kid for a few more decades. And while I must now be a grown-up, I sometimes just want to be a child and play.  I want vintage Avon lipgloss, and a pink fur beanbag for read-a-thons, and my own pair of gaucho boots. The ones about which I rolled my eyes, telling my mom that I refused to wear anything in style, just because it was in style. Ha. The ones girls wore with their their Jordache denim culottes, bouncing around the cakewalk circle with smiles of childhood during recess, as I stood aside with what felt like the weight of a station wagon at my back.

The funny thing was, I kinda liked all that weight back then. I thought it impressed my superstar mother, and because of it, I would spend many years keeping up that charade until finally giving it up.

Our local roller skating rink finally shut down for good, but not after happy birthday parties there with my girls, and me, skating in my peasant skirt around and around the rink, the air whipping my hair, my legs aching with bliss until the lights went low.

Be blessed, be happy, and love the gift of your life.


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Look, Listen, and Feel Beyond the Words

Despite my best efforts from the time of my youth to be otherwise, I remain a person of average intelligence and feel inadequate to write anything of great insight or value that hasn’t already been written with brilliance by so many others, including my very own friends.

I do not mean to say that the ponderings of my soul are shallow, because they are quite rich, flourishing, and as deep as a shining, bottomless lake, but there is so much I do not know of the world. So much I want to understand about history, nations, science, literature, the arts, people, places, and all that which lies in, above, and below the earth.

Because I am keenly aware of the sweeping gaps in my understanding of so many things, as well as my lack of skill in adeptly expressing the resplendent and glorious glimpses of that which I do understand, I am reticent to put anything on paper, electronic or otherwise.

So I hope you will forgive me for my simpleness of expression here, and if possible, do what you can to look beyond my words, to listen and feel beyond the surface of my obscure little lake, and allow that flowing divine intelligence that is greater than the all the collective wisdom in the world guide you to your own answers.

Be blessed and rejoice to be alive today. Our earth truly celebrated the day you arrived, and your presence matters here, no matter how small you may feel.

img: Donner Lake from the Summit. Albert Bierstadt, 1873

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Wizwald and Me: A Million Bucks

People ask me in social conversation what I “do” with some regularity. Sometimes I tell them that I hula hoop for an hour at a time while memorizing poetry. Or practice my signature late at night with my husband’s fountain pen. Or spend twenty minutes talking to the homeless lady who plays cards in the civic circle every time I drop off books at the library. Or wear peasant skirts and furry boots to the bus stop while I read Latin roots to my daughter as we wait.

I mean really, people. I appreciate the need for chit chat, but if we have to play these social games, let’s play fun ones. Like maybe instead of asking someone what they do, ask them instead if they are engaged in a work that they are passionate about. And then talk about that. Or just observe and see if you can perceive if someone digs their life and then ask them about it.

Like today, for example. I step into the gray world of the indoor ice-skating rink at the mall, and pass the ticket booth to join my husband kids on the ice. I don’t get far when a fairly young, dark-haired dude with an otherworld charisma and an electric presence of sincerity asks me how I’m doing today. He’s passing out wristbands to the would-be-skaters, and he’s beaming with happy, bouncing light all over the place.

“I’m exceptionally well,”I tell him, and he smiles and says, “wonderful!”

The second time I pass him, he smiles asks me how I’m doing “this time,” and I tell him I’m doing at least as well as I was the time before, and I smile back at him. By this time, my girls are at my side, and so he asks them how they enjoyed skating, and what other talents they have, as he makes them laugh and me too.

I decide that besides skating with Hugh and the girls, meeting him was the highlight of my day, and so I ask if I can snap a picture.

“Yes, but you have to be in it too,” he says. And so we did, and it was fabufun, and though the only personal question I asked him was his name, I felt more human connection with him than during 27 “professional” conversations over sushi and special crackers. I felt like I counted and I mattered, not because of a list of titles or a a resume, but just because I was there.

His name is Wizwald, by the way. And he rocks the ice skating rink in Portland, Oregon. So if you want to feel like a million bucks, go there and see what it looks like to “do” something with panache and passion and without pretense. Then rip around the ice a few times too.


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Pop Rocks and a Peaceful Mind

Question: Is it true that every thought that whirs through our mind in a day manifests itself somehow in “real” life?

This is a valid question, and entire cultures and sub-cultures are built around such superstitious ideas, otherwise known as “magical ideation.”  But our thoughts actually have no power unless we give them energy and attention. It’s like that Pop Rock candy we loved as kids that sat dormant in the package until it tangoed with our tongue and sizzled with our saliva. Only when we consciously engage with our random thoughts do they begin to appear real and start popping around our emotional center.

Hey-it’s a two-for-one! Choose to believe a thought to be real, and get an attached emotion for free! What a deal.

Question: Does this mean that if we really focus on a particular thought, it will become real in the world of form?

Well, I’m thinking of a pink flamingo dancing around my bedroom right now, and so far the only party going on is inside my head. And that feeling that is attached to the thought of anything, is the point. While a pink flamingo won’t suddenly pop out of a magic hat upon its mere thought, the emotions of humor or fear might arise if I actually imagine it to be a real possibility.

In other words, thoughts aren’t real, they’re just thoughts. Unless we give them the spotlight, they just dissolve into the wings without fanfare. It’s in the moment we choose to give them diva status that we become spellbound, emotions and all. We then become wholly drawn into the dramatic performance as if it’s real, until we remember we are sitting in a theatre seat, and we are the director of the show.

Question: I’d rather enjoy a bag of Pop Rocks and a concert than talk about something as esoteric as thought. Why should I care about this?

There’s been an explosion of discussion on the power of thought in the self-help world, particularly in the past decade or so. And while the popular conversation seems to have increased awareness of our innate gift of thought, it has also more deeply ingrained the illusory idea that our happiness and well-being are something to be obtained outside of ourselves through hard work.

The truth is, as our wisdom has told us all along, that no acquisition of material things, prestige, or perfectly arranged circumstances will bring us the peace, freedom, and joy that we are seeking. This is because our wellbeing and happiness really do lie within. Most of us has glimpsed this truth from time to time, but we aren’t quite sure how to keep seeing and feeling it from the inside-out long enough to ground it in our everyday lives.

What I know for sure is that true lasting peace and pure genuine love for ourselves and all others is our birthright. And because we were born with this gift, the only thing we must do to access it again is to keep looking in its bright direction, and allow the clouds of personal thought and well-meaning emotion to pass which obscure its view. From real experience, the more I look to see that a thought is just a thought, and allow it to lie dormant in the package, stream down the river, or swish across the stage and into the wings without much ado, the more clarity, ease, patience, trust, love, play, and joy are mine. And that my friends, pretty much rocks.



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