Peace is This Moment Without Judgment

 

Do you think peace requires an end to war?

Or tigers eating only vegetables?

Does peace require an absence from

your boss, your spouse, yourself? …

Do you think peace will come some other place than here?

Some other time than Now?

In some other heart than yours?

 

Peace is this moment without judgment.

That is all. This moment in the Heart-space

where everything that is is welcome.

Peace is this moment without thinking

that it should be some other way,

that you should feel some other thing,

that your life should unfold according to your plans.

 

Peace is this moment without judgment,

this moment in the heart-space where

everything that is is welcome.

 

Dorothy Hunt

 

I saw this in an article on best running advice.  Like all good running advice, it’s good life advice too:

Lauren Fleshman, 2010 U.S. 5,000M Champion
On Mark Rowland, her current coach:

“‘The race always hurts, luv. Expect it to hurt. You don’t train so that it doesn’t hurt. You train so you can tolerate it.'”

 

I’ve been thinking lately about how to pull strength and inspiration from the people and animals around us.  I’ve seen some great examples recently.

Chief Al Stager of the Mount Currie First Nation spoke at my Dad’s funeral.  What a sweet sweet man.  He pulled out his sax to play “Amazing Grace” and at the top of the sax was an 8 inch wide wooden eagle emblem.  It was white and painted beautifully with a red and black pattern.  Al said, “see my eagle?  I made it myself.  It gives me strength”.  And then he played beautifully for my Dad.

I had the good fortune of hearing Dr. Condoleezza Rice speak last week.  She said that some of the days when she was Secretary of State were her hardest days.  She said that she had the pictures of 4 previous Secretaries on her wall.  One was a photo of William H. Seward.  He was the guy who managed the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867.  At the time he faced incredible opposition.  He spent 7 million dollars on what people thought was a chunk of frozen wasteland and the papers called it “Seward’s Folly”.  She said she used him to remember that what we think of as impossible, later becomes commonplace.  Today no one even remembers that Russia used to own a piece of North America.

I had a long drive home the other night, four hours which would put me home at 1:00 a.m..  I really wanted to do it because i missed my kids and wanted to be there when they woke up.  But I just wasn’t sure i could pull it off.  Then I thought about my brother who drives a logging truck for a living.  He’ll get up at 3:00 a.m. and do a 12 hour shift, every day of the week to support his family.  I thought if he can do that, i can do this lousy 4 hour drive to see my family.  Thinking of my brother flipped the switch for me.  I went from, “can i do this?” to “I’m so doing this”.  Once that happened I just needed to figure out the details.  My stubbornness kicked in and with the help of caffeine, sugar and loud tunes I made it home in one piece to sleep in my own bed.

It doesn’t have to be big things but like my trip home, it was an important thing.  And thinking of my brother gave me the strength to pull it off.  It was really powerful.

So what do you need to invoke in your life?  What will help you get through the inevitable hardships that come up?  Are you keeping an eye out for powerful symbols, people and totems that you can use to remind yourself of the strength that’s available to you?  If you ask, the Universe will provide them.

 

My Dad passed away on Labour Day, a fatal heart attack.  I immediately started packing while Honey Bunny booked a flight for me for the following morning.  It was such a shock.  We all holed up in the mountains at the brother’s place, it was so nice to just be together and talk about Dad and be there for Mom.

I agreed to write the eulogy, so i started gathering up stories.  There was a question of who would give it and as i was writing i realized that no one else was going to do my personal stories any justice, they were mostly meaningful to me and my bro’s so I’d have to give it myself.  It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it felt so good to do something for my Dad.  I like to think it would have made him happy.  Here’s what I read:

Thank you all for being here with my family today to remember, honor and celebrate my Dad.

I’m Al’s only daughter Corilee, although i prefer to say “favorite” daughter.

It’s been such a gift spending time with my Mom and my brothers, drinking a hundred pots of coffee and talking about Dad.  Some stories make us think, and plenty of the stories make us laugh and lots make us dive for the kleenex box.

But it’s all good because for Dad, if there was emotion to be shared or tears to be shed he was ok with that.  No shame.

Dad loved people and talked to everybody.  My family and I were laughing about the *hours* we spent in the car when we were kids waiting for him to finish talking to someone.  He had to hear every story, get an answer to every question.  He was wide open and curious.

He had a great love of adventure.  He rode an Indian motor bike in high school and he’s travelled around Canada, the US and the world with Mom. But his favorite adventures were going flying with his best friend Randy.  He was also in his element in his beloved truck with the camper on the back, coffee in hand, driving through the mountains with the southern gospel tunes blaring.

My Dad always worked hard. I understand that when he was young he worked on the farm from the time he could get his feet on the tractor’s gas pedals.  Even retirement didn’t slow him down, he just changed jobs, working nightshifts for the RCMP so that he could build up his travel fund.

Dad’s idea of fashion was red stripe jeans in the winter, and in the summer orange tshirts, shorts and sandals, even to weddings.  He was proud to wear his Lions vest complete with pins to represent his local Pemberton Chapter at conferences. He was told he bore a striking resemblance to Sean Connery.

My Dad was a GM man who loved music, loved to laugh and never met a kid or grandkid he didn’t want to tickle until they begged for mercy. His love for God was simply part of who he was, it wasn’t a religion or something he needed to do.

My Dad had a quiet strength.  He could capture in a few words exactly what was going on in a situation.  But he also knew when to stay quiet.

Dad collected all the Louis L’Amor books, the old western novels.  i think they appealed to him because the characters are self-created.  Who they are isn’t about their  background, where they were from or their education.  They define their lives through their choices, their actions and their adventures and that’s just like my Dad.

He loved food – a favorite was ginger cookies with Nabob coffee while looking out at Mount Currie in the living room with Mom.  He also loved licorice tea, a good steak, preferably with lobster, fig newtons and jalapeno cheese.

My Dad never held anyone back because he never wanted to be held back.  He was never one of those overprotective fearful parents.  When we told him there was something we wanted to do, he’d say “do it” and “have a ball”.   When i was a kid and told him my hair brained idea about opening a store that sold rabbits at the end of our driveway he told me it was a great idea.  When my Mom made the big scary move to go back to school as an adult, Dad was there with her at her first class.  When i, as a brash 20 year old, asked what he’d do if Mom made more money than him he said, “i’d help her spend it!”.

My Dad had his own roofing business when we lived in Surrey and taught us by example how to be entrepreneurs.  Thanks to him we know how to manage a business or run our own and all his kids know how to shingle a roof.

He taught us that there will always be people who try to make you feel small.  Don’t let them.

It was such a shock when he passed earlier this week but you know, i think his body just couldn’t support the size of his spirit anymore.  My Dad was larger than life.

Al Fox will be sorely missed, by his wife Marianne, us 4 kids, his 11 grandchildren, his extended family, his many friends and his community.

Poem

The spirit
likes to dress up like this:
ten fingers,
ten toes,

shoulders, and all the rest
at night
in the black branches,
in the morning

in the blue branches
of the world.
It could float, of course,
but would rather

plumb rough matter.
Airy and shapeless thing,
it needs
the metaphor of the body,

lime and appetite,
the oceanic fluids;
it needs the body’s world,
instinct

and imagination
and the dark hug of time,
sweetness
and tangibility,

to be understood,
to be more than pure light
that burns
where no one is —

so it enters us —
in the morning
shines from brute comfort
like a stitch of lightning;

and at night
lights up the deep and wondrous
drownings of the body
like a star.

Mary Oliver

Our bodies hold a lot of intelligence.  I did a 10k run on Sunday and it was hotter than any heat i’ve been running in so far this year.  Also, the course was more hilly than i expected. At one point toward the end I was running a hill and then suddenly I was walking.

Cor’s first rule of racing is that you run, you don’t walk.  But after my initial freak out about walking, I heard my breath.  I was panting like a dog stuck in a hot car with the windows closed. Walking was the best thing I could be doing.

I walked a few more times before the end of the race.  I made peace with it because i figured I was better off taking more time than suffer a heat stroke.

I often tell the folks in my yoga classes to check in on their breathing.  Are they holding their breath?  Start breathing again.  Is their breath uneven or labored?  Then they’re doing too much, working too hard, it’s time to back off just a bit and notice if they’re breathing evens out.  If not, back off more.

In yoga we learn how to tune in to our internal world.  That’s the kind of body awareness that helps us tune into our intuition, our gut feelings.  So often we forget how to listen to that intelligence.  We hear about a new job and our gut goes, “i don’t think so”, and then our head jumps in with, “hells yeah! it’s more money!  mom will be so proud!”.  The loudest voice wins.

Before you know it you’re in the job and it’s lousy and all the money and Mom pride in the world won’t make you feel any more sane.

Sometimes following your gut can make you feel like a nutty woo-woo chick in our world that loves rationality and pro/con lists.  I broke up with a nice guy once.  We’d been together for a while and it didn’t feel right.  He just wasn’t right for me.

But i couldn’t put it into words, especially ones that would make sense to my friends.  I remember one said, “but he’s such a nice GUY!!”. I just couldn’t explain it, other than, he wasn’t the right nice guy for me.

It’s funny because sometimes i see him, our kids take lessons at the pool and we’ve talked a couple times.  He’s still a nice guy and would have been the wrong fit for me in the long run.

Sometimes our gut knows before our head does.

I read somewhere that love can’t co-exist with fear.  I’m still mulling that one over but had an experience lately that helped me understand it.  I work with a real mega-keener who recently did a few work tasks that are in my territory, that should have been mine.

Did i ever have a reaction to that.  Firstly i’m a control freak, so don’t be stepping into my zone, this is my stuff.  But also, i like my work, I like to add value and to feel valued.  So if she’s doing my stuff then uh-oh, it might impact all that juicy goodness I get from my work.

And then it went even farther downhill.  If i’m not doing 100% of my job then sheesh, what’s to stop me from being laid off?  I know,  it’s a stretch but this was total unadulterated fear talking.  I might have headed straight to a future living in a cardboard box under a bridge.  Thankfully i didn’t go all that way because i recognized that these thoughts, as well as the icky feeling in the pit of my stomach were all totally soaked in fear.

So i asked myself –  could I look at the situation without fear?  Well, let’s see.  I could have thought, wow i’m finally getting some help around here!  I could have seen her as a team player and a teammate that i could coordinate with to get work done.  Use the opportunity to get closer rather than allow the fear to distance us. Because looking around there’s always plenty of work to do, there’s no need to fight over it.

Also, in the big picture, will this matter?  Our focus at work could change tomorrow and we could be off doing something else.  Or maybe we’ll work even closer one day and I’ll be so glad we got a headstart on being team mates.  And even bigger picture I know that some day, at the next job,  i won’t even remember her name.

So now i’m coming around to this understanding about fear.  I’m becoming convinced that nothing good can come from fear.

My friend and i were talking about wanting to change things in our lives – say eating well and achieving our fitness goals.  And we talked about how using the Big Stick works for about five minutes.  You know the approach?  It’s based on a “you suck” judgement and therefore you *have* to do x and y to make yourself better and overcome your imperfections.  It simply doesn’t work.  It’s totally fear-based.

The alternative is valuing yourself and treating yourself with respect.  Soaking in self love.  Wanting to feel good all the time.  Treating yourself like something precious.  If you hold all those values then you want to take good care of yourself.  Then there’s no judgement and nothing to live up to.  It means that if you nap instead of going to the gym,  that’s good because clearly you needed the rest and you’ll have an even better workout later.  The Big Stick and the fear that makes us use it just aren’t effective.

So i’m going to keep on this investigation.  Looking for the feelings and beliefs and reactions that are fear-based.  And then turn them on their heads so i can understand what the love-based response would be.  OK so here’s the funny thing.  A few days later at work i won an award for Going Above and Beyond.  Isn’t that funny?  I got all freaky about this keener doing my work and it had no impact whatsoever.  In fact it made me see that at work i’m seen as a keener.  So this person who made me feel fearful is actually just like me.  Maybe we’ll start a support group together.  Until then I’m looking for fear and trying out the alternatives.

Great article on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on things he wished he’d known at 30.  Here are my faves:

16. Don’t be so quick to judge. It’s human nature to instantly judge others. It goes back to our ancient life-or-death need to decide whether to fight or flee. But in their haste to size others up, people are often wrong—especially a thirty-year-old sports star with hordes of folks coming at him every day. We miss out on knowing some exceptional people by doing that, as I’m sure I did. I think the biggest irony of this advice is that it’s coming from someone who’s black, stratospherically tall, and an athlete: the trifecta of being pre-judged. And I have a lifetime of hurtful comments to prove it. Yet, that didn’t stop me from doing the same thing to others. You have to weigh the glee of satisfaction you get from arrogantly rejecting people with the inevitable sadness of regret you’ll eventually feel for having been such a dick. A friend of mine told me he routinely attends all of his high school reunions so he can apologize to every person he mistreated back then. He’s now on his fortieth reunion and still apologizing.

19. Do more yoga. Yes, K, I know you do yoga already. That’s why you’ve been able to play so long without major injuries. But doing more isn’t just for the physical benefits, it’s for the mental benefits that will come in handy in the years ahead, when your house burns down, your jazz collection perishes, and you lose to the Pistons in a four-game sweep in your final season.

20. Everything doesn’t have to be fixed. Relax, K-Man. Some stuff can be fixed, some stuff can’t be. Deciding which is which is part of maturing.

Wild Rose Detoxers are always searching out good salad dressing recipes.  Because the food options are limited in key areas for dressings (like vinegar and dairy), it can be tough to come up with tasty options.

I put together an Avocado Dressing recipe that’s creamy and delicious, you can find it in Volume 2 of my cookbook.  You can also look for classic caesar dressing recipes (oil, egg, little fishies) because those ingredients are on the detox food list (skip the parmesan cheese).  I also ran across a Lemon Dressing that is simple and tasty.

In Gwyneth’s recent Goop issue, she interviews Jamie Oliver and he goes through some Jam Jar Dressings (as in “I make them in jam jars so i can see what’s going on”.  I love that).  Here it is:

Jamie Oliver’s Lemon Dressing 

Put 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil into a jam jar with a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon. Put the lid on the jar and shake well.

My parents had their 50th wedding anniversary celebration in the summer and there were lots of friends and family in attendance. One of my Mom’s old friends was there with her husband, he’s a pastor of a church and it’s likely similiar to the one i grew up in. And they gave me a gift. They made me think again about the God i grew up with and the one I’ve come around to.

My Mom’s friend has a daughter my age and one of the first things out of her mouth in a kind of snotty voice was, “Darla’s kids are all grown up”. Now this likely makes no sense to you but let me decode the meaning for you. In the church I grew up in a woman’s #1 goal should be to get married and have kids the minute she can pull it off.

If she holds a job, the best kind is a retail sort of job, it’s easy to ditch and besides University is staffed by humanists who will turn you into a god-hater. So my Mom’s friend was pointing out to me that because i had kids later I therefore completely missed the mark, unlike her much more successful daughter.

The only response that came to mind and out of mouth was, “yeah i was having way too much fun to have kids young.” By which i meant travelling, building a career and finding a really great partner, but i’m sure she assumed it meant sleeping around or something.  And that’s ok.  I didn’t get angry or feel hurt or anything. I more enjoyed remembering why i stopped going to church and how my view of God has evolved.

I read somewhere that your image of God is the one you need. And those folks are a pretty fearful things-need-to-be-a-certain-way-or-i-can’t-cope bunch. So of course their God, even though they say he’s loving, also sits in judgement of you on things like whether you have kids later in life (they probably have a number of bible verses to back up their views).

So after ditching church i pretty much ditched God too. I didn’t really want any part of a cranky narrow-minded God who didn’t approve of the kind of person I was.

Later i read “Money Drunk, Money Sober, 90 Days to Financial Freedom”, by Julia Cameron (the Artist’s Way gal) and I loved what she said about God. Basically she said if you grew up with an image of cranky God, find a better image, find the one you need. Which i thought was awesome, like i get to pick? But what i took from that is that if i’m evolving, and I sure I hope i am, then my picture of God is going to evolve too.

And then i read Tattoos On The Heart by Gregory Boyle.  He’s a Jesuit priest who runs Homeboy Ministries in LA, working with gang members and helping them start a new life.  This book nailed my “grown up” conception of God.  I can’t say enough about it, so let me just quote you some of it.  And then go out and buy a copy of the book to support his work.

So Father Boyle goes to hold Mass in a detention facility and before it starts he talks to Rigo and asks him about his family. Rigo tells him a story about his heroin addicted father beating with a pipe when he was in fourth grade and cries as he tells it.

But I ask, “And your mom?” He points some distance from where we are to a tiny waoman standing by the gym’s entrance.

“That’s her over there.” He pauses for a beat, “There’s no one like her.”…”I’ve been locked up for more than a year and a half. She comes to see me every Sunday. You know how many buses she take every Sunday–to see my sorry ass?”

Then quite unexpectedly he sobs with the same ferocity as before. Again, it takes him some time to reclaim breath and an ability to speak. Then he does, gasping through his tears. “Seven buses. She takes…seven…buses. Imagine.”

How then to imagine, the expansive heart of this God–greater than God–who takes seven buses, just to arrive at us. We settle sometimes for less than intimacy with God when all God longs for is this solidarity with us…Our image of who God is and what’s on God’s mind is more tiny than it is troubled….

The desire of God’s heart is immeasurably larger than our imaginations can conjure. This longing of God’s to give us peace and assurance and a sense of well-being only awaits our willingness to cooperate with God’s limitless magnanimity.

Now that’s my kind of God, the seven buses kind :-)

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