Community Drop In Group 5/5/20
I want to start with the Cinderella story. The basic gist of this well known story is:
Cinderella, after an early sweet childhood, finds herself at the mercy of a cruel step mother and step sisters. Even so, she does the work they ask of her without complaint. Eventually through the help of a fairy godmother, she makes her way out of this situation back to happiness.
One thing that is really interesting about this story is that this is one of the most common archetypal stories in the world, and by some estimates, it is the most common. Versions of the story appear back in ancient times all the way to present Disney, and in cultures across the world. The name and details vary widely, but the basic gist of that young woman in an oppressive situation who finds her way to joy and happiness is amazingly common, and in all of these stories, she is an embodiment of kindness and balance throughout her journey.
This last bit has given her somewhat of a bad name in modern times. The Cinderella figure can
be reduced to a sort of saccharin sweet do-gooder who needs rescuing by others— but the true
Cinderella archetype is actually quite powerful, and it is an image that obviously resonates
deeply in the human mind considering how far spread through both time and space this story
Community Drop In Group 4/15/20
I was recently reminded of a story I first heard from one of my mindfulness teachers at UMass years ago who knew the person in the story. It is a beautiful story of meeting challenge in a way that disarms the challenge, changes its nature.
It is interesting how a story can take on a life of its own. The version I came across last week was a very watered down version which had lost sight of Terry Dobson, the actual person it happened to. So I want to share his version with its full depth of insight.
He was an American Aikido student who went to study with a teacher in Japan. After 3 years of study, he found himself becoming restless with the basic ideas. He had learned high level martial arts moves, but always with an instruction that to resort to using this is not needed in true Aikido.
His teacher, who was actually the founder of Aikido, taught that the art of aikido was devoted to peace. Dobson quotes his teacher as saying:
Community Drop In Group 4/8/20
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
— Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks
Community Drop In Group 4/1/20
Today we are looking at the quality of curiosity as inspired by the Unwinding Anxiety app. This is a beautiful app for very practical mindfulness based skills for working with anxiety that can make a big difference.
One of the first steps named on the app is learning to catch when we are getting hooked by our anxiety— and therefore doing all of those things that in the long run are just compounding the situation, driving us deeper into an anxiety vortex — and instead, finding that beautiful witnessing possibility that allows us to step back, unhook, begin to patiently learn a different freer possibility.
A key to this new step is curiosity. Judson Brewer, the lead author of the app, says it this way:
Inviting curiosity allows us to hack into our brain’s natural reward system in a way that actually feels good.
Mindfulness Community Drop In Group
A long time ago in an old kingdom, there was a king who had five sons. These five sons loved to do nothing better than go out and hunt together for the whole day. One day while hunting, they went further and deeper into the woods than they have ever gone before, and they became hopelessly lost. They also realized they were terribly thirsty.
Mindfulness Community Drop In Group
I recently took my daughter on a college trip to a small school in Wisconsin. It was a wonderful school, very strong and supportive both, and it was very far away. That my daughter has this opportunity to go here brought up a complex mixture of emotions.
So I, as I’ve learned to do with mindfulness, I choose a time to sit with this mix of emotions in practice. On one level, it was fairly easy to identify my now familiar set of parental fears and desires for her about this possibility… Those, I’ve done enough work with to recognize, acknowledge and then, as much as possible, let go. I do my best as a parent, and then allow her the space to figure out her journey, instead of trying to drive her journey from my fears or desires.
Community Drop In Group Week of 3/25/2019.
Last Saturday, we had our first annual organizational retreat for CCM. This is a time we intend each year to pause, reconsider our Mission and Vision, what we have done over the past year well, what were our challenges, what we would like to do moving forward— especially priorities. The meeting was deeply inspiring and re-affirming of our passion for this organization and its mission to share mindfulness as a healing resource.
In sharing about our retreat, I want to start with my recent spring break trip to New Mexico. I do this because I found the trip had surprisingly relevant insights for me in regards to our organizational retreat.
I lived for 3 years in Albuquerque, NM during my Family Practice medical residency, and I had not been back in 20+ yrs. I had no idea how important it would feel to me to go back. What made it so moving for me was the mountain— Sandia Crest a 10,000 ft mountain that rises straight up from the eastern edge of the city.