Most lives are spent waiting. Waiting for dreams to manifest, for trouble to end, and for life to be happy. Golden Zen reflects on the brillance of the NOW and the winks we receive from our Source to remind us we possess it all. Golden Zen is practical and mystical, instructive and reflective. You are my invited guest.

Me and Wild Elephants

Training Wild Elephant Project - Harmony Thiessen- Goldenzen

This gorgeous elephant is the work of Peggy Krantz. Inquires at

I decided to participate in a group project for awareness and it’s got me following wild elephants!

I have been fascinated with elephants this year.  I have watched them on video, doodled them while waiting,  and planned to paint them – in fact a series of them, in an abstract fanciful style.  (Then I saw Peggy’s work done for her daughter. I fell in love and asked if I could please show it on this blog for this series.  I highly recommend you check out her work at PEGGY KRANTZ

How To Train A Wild ElephantThen I happened upon Lisa Wilson at Life  She is hosting a group based on the book  How To Train A Wild Elephant And Other Adventures In Mindfulness by Jan Chozen Bays.

A lovely group has committed to a new awareness practice each week for a year (I am starting very late unfortunately) and sharing their experiences, if they choose ,on Facebook in a group.

I have chosen GOLDENZEN for my place to reflect on the experience.  Each week there will be a post for the practice and my application of the practice. If you want to stay advised, simply subscribe.  Of course you can unsubscribe at any time.


Smelling Wild Elephants

Remembering to Treasure People

And if you want to join the project yourself – visit Lisa Wilson at the link above for more information.

You may want to buy the book also – to give the author a token of appreciation for her efforts (it’s not Lisa). 


What If They Should Die Before I Wake?

Training Wild Elephant Project - Harmony Thiessen- Goldenzen

This gorgeous elephant is the work of Peggy Krantz. Inquires at

This weeks lesson in Training a Wild Elephant is about the moment we are experiencing with others.  Do we realize, are we aware that moments are fleeting and passing and gone.  So too the precious people in our lives are gifts.  They are here at the moment.

((Learn About Training Wild Elephant series here)

I am forced to think about things I don’t want to think about.  To consider the emptiness without my precious loved ones – family and friends.  I don’t tarry there long.  And yet, these few moments of consideration help me remember:

  • how blessed I am to know them
  • how blessed to journey with them
  • how  precious the memories – much more valuable than the gifts
  • how sweet the laughter, the jokes, the practical jokes, the funny stories
  • how important are the big moments
  • how significant are the quiet moments that would sneak by me if I wasn’t watching
  • how much I learn from each relationship about life

What would life be  without him, or her, or them?  With that in mind, does it change how much time I will afford each one?  What if they were gone in am  when I wake up – would it change how I treat them tonight?

Are my priorities of time respectful of my value of persons?

My dad passed away over 20 years ago.  Just the other day I thought of him as I used a cookbook he gave me.  Before I could stop myself, or monitor my reasoning or harness my emotion, the thought passed though my mind and spoke clearly ” I miss you daddy.”

Funny enough, I never called him daddy.  I wasn’t close to him actually.  But my heart loved him.  And whether he was here in person or not, and irrespective of the timing, my heart spoke.

I don’t want to lose anyone.   I am almost always aware of the delicate balance of here and now and gone. It directs my behavior much of the time.

And still – this discipline reminds me to live with a healthy understanding of the now and a deep respect of the present which has already passed since I began writing this post.

Smelling Wild Elephants



Training Wild Elephant Project - Harmony Thiessen- Goldenzen

This gorgeous elephant is the work of Peggy Krantz. Inquires at

(Learn About Training Wild Elephant series here)

No I don’t mean US  SMELLING hopefully(although be sure you check out the PS) – but our noses are part of our awareness – to relish the sensation of smell.  To notice. To allow our sense of smell to open the world and ourselves to us in ways we don’t normally acknowledge.

I am a sniffer anyway.  Smell is pretty important in my life and I avoid the smells I don’t like.  Which has me thinking…

Of course it’s smart to walk away from stink.

But if things do stink – must I walk away? Is that my only option?

And if it smells heavenly – like my ocean breeze, like my puppies fur in my face, like my grandchild’s lovely skin at my side – how do I respond?

MY PRACTICE – To notice the smell, to notice my reaction, and to ask “what then?”

Wild Elephants and Goldenzen

I know – she is not wild. She and I looked at each other through the fence at the zoo.

WHAT THEN – is a tool I use for awareness – to take me beyond just the notice…Which is tough enough in our busy lives, but to say -” what then…is there more, does this connect, am I directed”?

Almost every time my “What Then” leads to gratitude for something, which keeps me young, soulful, vibrant, alive and radiant.    Sometimes “what then” leads to action that I would not have taken had I not noticed and listened.

I offer this to all who train wild elephants.

PS  Notes on STINK.  I remember the camping trips – backpacking actually, I used to take with my husband (at the time) and my two teen kids.  We were in backcountry, and sweating like wild animals.  It was so hot and so muggy and we were hiking hard.  So STINK was inevitable.  We turned a rather smelling experience into a contest – WHO COULD STINK THE WORST at the end of the trip.  If you could have smelled the insides of our tents, you would not be my friend, on Facebook, or anywhere else.  Your instincts would have said RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!   Such a silly thing, and yet, a treasured memory.

So the question begs itself – should I always run when it stinks?

What are You Waiting For?

You and I both know that you have a great idea for your life. (At least one!)  You have seen it, heard it, thought about it, maybe even talked to others about it.

You may have researched it, studied for it, changed majors for it, borrowed money to do it, left friendships because of it, or lost your job in search of it.

‘There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth…not going all the way, and not starting.’ ~Buddha

You might have written essays on it, talked to counselors about it, put off important things for it, changed gears to find it, or lost love in the pursuit of it.

Whatever you can dream about – you can begin if  you so choose.

Not tomorrow, or yesterday, or next year, or when the kids grow, or kids come, or husband leaves or you lose weight, or friends confirm –

Today you can begin.

TOday can be the day.

toDAY can be when you put your first foot forward and DO something for your dream.

What can you do today?  Will you do it?

How about you go and do your first step (or any step) and come back and leave a note here saying…did it!!!!!!!


Talking About Yourself – Is It Vain,  Should you Force Your Way Into a Conversation?

SO, here is the story – short and sweet.  I met up with a really great friend of mine today for coffee.  We were discussing friends of ours over the years and she said that some of our friends thought I had a dull, nothing, DUDD, borseville life.

I kinda dropped a jaw and burst out laughing.  My lovely friend said part of the problem was mine.  According to her, and frankly she is far from the first person to say so,  I am a great listener, but rarely say much about my life or what is going on.


You see I drop clues, hints, suggestions, subtle remarks thinking:

if this is remotely interesting this person will inquire for more details, show interest, maybe even be excited.

Seems I am wrong.  The way of this world is that you need to BRING IT my friend says.  You let your interest and enthusiasm for what you have to say capture your listener.


SO I need to ask – Do you talk about yourself even if people don’t ask?  Do you keep on talking if they don’t seem all that interested?

I am ALL EARS HERE…Talk to me and each other below.  YES I AM LISTENING. :-))))

Next Year This Time

Will You Care About This Issue Next Year At This Time?

When you think about it, will the stuff that’s bugging you today bother you in 12 months?

WILL IT MATTER IN APRIL 2013If we look at the calendar April 30, 2013 right now – and you don’t  get your nails done this week, the oil changed on Saturday, the new running shoes you want for Friday’s group run or the job your friend recommended you for…


Can you remember what happened to you on April 30, 2011?  Do you think you were worried about stuff, ticked off, mad, irritated, frustrated that things were not panning out as you thought they might?  Chances are: YES.  But can you remember, probably not.

WHY?  Cause they just don’t always matter..most of the time, not even a bit.

So whatever has you puffing smoke or biting nails today, may well be worth forgetting about now.  Save yourself the endless struggle.  TRUST

KNOW YOU ARE good to go. And you will be, good to go in the future.

Here’s to memory failure!

I saw this video today on one of my favorite blogs The Kind Life. If you click on the video it will take you to that site and you can do a quick read on the status of these marvelous creatures. Jane Goodall is still working to change our mindsets and ignite our awareness.
My hope is that we as humans begin to evolve enough ourselves as to drop the arrogance and recognize the magic of life all around us – much of it is much more sophisticated than we think.

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