Strengthen Emotional Warmth

Strengthen Emotional Warmth

One of the things I’ve come to appreciate about mindfulness strategies is the way some core internal obstacles can be unraveled without necessarily needing to solve a related narrative puzzle.

Natural Community

Excerpt from "Sick Love" by Stephen Schettini (Jan. 14, 2013):

I loved the Buddha’s teachings. I found them invaluable and still do. However, I mistook Buddhists for the Buddha and lost my way. Still, I was lucky and my eyes opened one day to the contrived righteousness of communal life. I understood that it was time to move on. Technically, I was free, under no physical and only gentle psychological pressure to stay. However, it took me a full year to extricate myself, to let go of my need for love and validation from this group, to give up the image of myself on a holy and righteous path and return to the plain truth that purity is an illusion, that there is no security and that I had to pursue my mundane way alone.

That in fact, I’d been alone all along.

There is life after a spiritual community. There is such a thing as natural community, not contrived to support your fondest wishes but to commiserate with on life’s hard byways. There is no preexisting group out there waiting for you. Real community forms organically, spontaneously. Prepare yourself for it by traveling light. People of like mind are not found in any particular monastery, school or social group. It’s rare to meet others with whom we truly commune. We know that. You know that. Locking yourself into a gated community, pretending you’re safe and sound, is a sure way to not bump into anyone intimately.

Get out there, vulnerable and honest. Admit you’re alone on your path through life and you’ll sooner or later meet fellow-travelers. You’ll share your insights as equals. Some of them may for a while become mentors or guides. Bear in mind though, that relationship will deteriorate the minute you abandon your discernment, the instant you stop taking your own risks.

Otherwise, how will you know when they’re speaking nonsense, as from time to time we all do? How will you realize that they’re manipulating you, as they might if they see you can’t hold your own? They might even be doing it because they love you.

How would you know what sort of love that is?

Read entire essay...

What Can You Call Your Own

July 18, 2012

"And your way, is it really your way? . . . What, moreover, can you call your own? The house you live in, the food you swallow, the clothes you wear — you neither built the house nor raised the food nor made the clothes. . . The same goes for your ideas. You moved into them ready-made."

~ Henry Miller, from Stand Still Like the Hummingbird

[Discovered on Brain Pickings]

Feeling Slightly Out of It Most of the Time

Feeling Slightly Out of It Most of the Time

"actually, it may be that just being yourself as a human being means feeling slightly out of it most of the time. And that a form of enlightenment is to understand that you'll never feel quite at home in the world and you're not meant to, because your sense of compassion for the rest of creation and for others depends on your understanding of exile — how far a creature, especially a human creature, can feel from true parentage, from their true inheritance, from their true home."

~ David Whyte

Before & After: My Imperfection is My Nature

Photograph by Amy Arbus for The New York Times

From “Last-Minute Doubts, New York City,” interviews by Joanna Miller, The New York Times, May 1, 2011:

ANNA MEDVEDEVA, 24: The photo was taken the night before my breast-augmentation, chin- and neck-liposuction surgeries, and I was very confused and was thinking, What are you doing with yourself, girl? I spent all that day at home preparing for surgery. I was alone with my fear that night, and I was thinking that I wanted to change my decision. So I tried on the bandage that I would have to wear on my face after the surgery. I felt scared and called my best friend, who really helped me so much. My friend and I talked as Amy took pictures of me. In some, I was nude, and when the light went through the window from the street and I saw myself, I thought, I’m already perfect. My imperfection is my nature. Now, after everything is done, I love it so much. I look to the mirror, and I’m like: “Wow, you’re so sexy. I want you, girl.”

AMY ARBUS: A week before this photo session, Anna told me she was having plastic surgery, and I asked to do before-and-after pictures. Toward the end of this shoot, she started getting nervous about the surgery, and I said, “You can still change your mind.” She was on the phone a lot with her girlfriend, and when we were done, she was looking to see if she had heard back, and that’s when I took that picture. It was the last one I took.

The Bright Home in Which I Live


The House of Belonging
by David Whyte, from The House of Belonging

I awoke
this morning
in the gold light
turning this way
and that

thinking for
a moment
it was one
like any other.

the veil had gone
from my
darkened heart
I thought

it must have been the quiet
that filled my room,

it must have been
the first
easy rhythm
with which I breathed
myself to sleep,

it must have been
the prayer I said
speaking to the otherness
of the night.

I thought
this is the good day
you could
meet your love,

this is the black day
someone close
to you could die.

This is the day
you realize
how easily the thread
is broken
between this world
and the next

and I found myself
sitting up
in the quiet pathway
of light,

the tawny
close grained cedar
burning round
me like fire
and all the angels of the housely
heaven ascending
through the first
roof of light
the sun has made.

This is the bright home
in which I live,
this is where
I ask
my friends
to come,
this is where I want
to love all the things
it has taken me so long
to learn to love.

This is the temple
of my adult aloneness
and I belong
to that aloneness
as I belong to my life.

There is no house
like the house of belonging.


Strangers No More


This 39-minute film about a school in south Tel Aviv gets my vote for best Oscar-nominated documentary short subject. The principal and teachers of Bialik-Rogozin School enthusiastically embrace the challenges of educating children from all over the world, many of whom have experienced extraordinary violence, loss, and displacement. It is a remarkable and inspiring study of resilience nurtured by providing a safe environment, finding common ground in the midst of dizzying diversity, and igniting passion for learning.

Excruciating Vulnerability

“When you ask people about love, they tell you about heartbreak. When you ask people about belonging, they’ll tell you their most excruciating experiences of being excluded. And when you ask people about connection, the stories they told me were about disconnection.”

~ Brené Brown, from “The Power of VulnerabilityTED Talks, June 2010

Still Lost

"I never, in any city I've ever been in, never remember the names of streets. The longest place I ever lived in was for five years and I didn't know the name of the next street over. Why bother! I think there's such enjoyment in just getting lost in a city. Having no idea where you are, how you're gonna get out of it. Getting to be the middle of the night, you're still lost, walking around. That's the best way to discover a city. That's how you're born into life. You got no freaking idea which way's up or down."

~ Christian Bale, in an interview with John H. Richardson for Esquire

See also: The Business from KCRW (December 13, 2010)