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.

Archive for the ‘zen’ Category

Remembering to Treasure People

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 krantzfarms@dfn.com.

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

This week we are SMELLING WILD ELEPHANTS

 

Training Wild Elephant Project - Harmony Thiessen- Goldenzen

This gorgeous elephant is the work of Peggy Krantz. Inquires at krantzfarms@dfn.com.

(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?

Me and Wild Elephants

Training Wild Elephant Project - Harmony Thiessen- Goldenzen

This gorgeous elephant is the work of Peggy Krantz. Inquires at krantzfarms@dfn.com.

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 Unity.com.  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.

FOLLOW MY SERIES HERE

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). 

The Power Broker Bust (pt 2 of 4)

Somethings I Just Don’t Control

There is an art to controlling what you can, and letting go of the rest.  I call it BEING in your own business.  So much time is wasted focusing on what is not in our control, that we are left fatigued, emotionally depleted, and oftentimes depressed.  It feels helpless to be in a driver’s seat, with no power to move.  It can leave you exhausted.  It is a power broker bust!

I have listed 5 VERY IMPORTANT “NOT MY BUSINESS” reminders later in this article, but first let’ see what you had to say.

You don't always get to drive!

You don't always get to drive!

I asked some of the Goldenzen community if I could repeat some of the comments they made in the recent article “Are You A Control Freak” in today’s article.  They graciously agreed to share their wisdom.  

Here is what they had to say, somewhat “harmonized”:

Robin of Let’s Live Forever: She is not responsible for what food her spouse puts in his mouth!
(It’s tough enough watching our own bellies!)

Davina of Loving Pulse: A self-confessed control freak says what other people’s attitudes are is not her business.

Gloria Chadwick of Zen Coffee: “  You can’t control other people or situations. You’re in charge of your emotions, your actions and reactions.”  (Now she is exceptionally bright due to the Zen + Coffee strategy she adheres to so we would expect as much from her!)                       

The Urban Panther at (you guessed it) The Urban Panther: Admitted to being slightly “catty” about accurate and inaccurate blog posting – however, says she knows it is not her business to insure that others write open and honest blog posts.

ToBeMe at ToBeMe (I forgot to email for his permission, but he and I go way back, so I think I am good here) said, most profoundly I think, that he is not responsible for the decisions his adult children make.  (for those of us that have them, this one is a toughie!)

Barbara Swafford at Blogging Without A Blog (although she seems to have quite a good one!) said: Choices that are made by someone else are not her business. Period.  Unless, they agree to choose together and then it’s a joint venture.

Lance at The Jungle Of Life bravely said “Its not my business to be overly concerned with what others think of me.”  (Maybe a wee bit off concern is okay? :-))

Stacey at Create A Balance shared: “One thing that is not my business is how others take care of their health.” (Again, ours does seem to be a full time job!)

Late Breaking News: Writer Dad, now known as Sean, at Writer Dad arrived on the scene with a comment I just can’t pass up: “If I’m not where I’d like to be, a good place to start looking for reasons why are the last several decisions I made.”  (Ouch! So what is now OUT of my control is a consequence perhaps of what I did with what was in my control!)

Five Additional Totally Out Of My Control, Not my Business and Completely Draining Scenarios:  

 (WARNING: Content may be offensive to some readers- which, by the way, is none of my business!)

1. What the weather is doing.  Why would I allow rain, snow, wind, cold, sun, or other basic weather patterns to affect my mood for the day – when I am powerless to change it?  (Hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes are exempt.  You can worry about that. :-))

2. Global economy I can save, spend, invest, work hard or work little and effect my own economic life to degree, but what Wall Street does, and how it affects my world, is out of my control- therefore not my business.

3. If my lover stays true to me– How can I control that?  Tie a string around his ankle?  Make her take a polygraph test every night?  What you can control is how you respond, how secure you are in yourself, how trusting you choose you can be with others.

4. If I get promoted over the next person – I can do my best, offer my all or offer very little, and experience reward based on merit.  But life rarely rewards according to merit – so the outcome is up to someone else, and my power is in what I do from there.

5. If I die.  People get so off balance on this subject.  My dear readers – you can take supplements, run a few miles four times a week, get a lot of good sex for the prostrate, eat organic, and meditate hours a day – and still die. You don’t control it, so it’s not your business.  This particular fear is the source of much of today’s behaviors, that paradoxically, shorten one’s life through obsessive worry and stress.

The more you let go, the more power you have.  It seems so simple that it appears on surface irresponsible.  But in reality, detachment from outcome is the most powerful tool in your toolbox – and that is your business!

In our next post let’s look at HOW and WHEN do you let go?  Do you have strategies for chillin’ out and “letting it go” that have worked for you that you care to share with a VERY ATTENTIVE audience?  We are listening! 

In the Grace of the Moment,

Harmony

PS.  THANK YOU SO MUCH to the t photograpers whose talents bless us with such good imagery of verbal communication:   http://www.flickr.com/photos/42972350@N00/  – Alatriste (child in the drivers seat)

Are You a “CONTROL FREAK”?

Control. 

What does it mean when someone says that you are “too controlling” or,
“Look Jane, this is out of your control!”

Two seal pups deciding who is in control!

Two seal pups deciding who is in control!

Out of our pop psychology generation, we picked up a lot of terms that show we really understand what is going on.  (Or NOT)

  • “This is my issue, not yours.”
  • “It’ not you, it’s me.” (Thank God Dr. Seinfeld and Georgie taught us that one!)
  • I need some “downtime” or a “time-out”
  • I don’t feel “centered”

Right up there with “unresolved anger,” and “significant other” is a term we have become quite familiar with – c.o.n.t.r.o.l.

The dictionaries suggest we think of phrases like “to be in the driver’s seat” or “hold the reins” to help us get a mental picture of what it means to control.

But I suggest another approach.

Is it my business? 

Being in control means= that I make everything MY BUSINESS.

Maybe it’s not my business and not in my control.  It could be my neighbors business, or God’s business – but it’s often not MY BUSINESS.

For the next few posts I would like to explore with you the ART OF BEING IN MY OWN BUSINESS.

Can you let it go?

Can you let it go?

Will you help?  What I am asking of each reader is to take just a moment or two and comment telling us one thing you know is your business, and one thing you know is NOT your business even though you might be tempted to make it so. 

Then if you will, subscribe to the comments RSS for this post and keep an eye on what others are saying.  If you find that it triggers yet another “this is my business” comment, or “this is not my business” comment in you, please come back and comment again.  (You can certainly UNSUBSCRIBE to the comments whenever you are tired of it all. (that is easily done in the email where the RSS notice arrives)

You never know, what you share might not be something someone else really needed to read.

I am going to kick it off, by sharing in the first comment below with the Goldenzen avatar .  Take a look – make it your business to know! 🙂

Upcoming Blog Entries: The Art Of Being In My Own Business    

  • When is it My Business?
  • What is Not My Business?
  • How Can I Let it Go?
  • When Should I Let It Go?
  • Help, it’s back!

Thanks for your participation!
In the Grace of the Moment,

Harmony

PS  Does all the news about stocks plummeting, banks closing and economic distress drive you to your own  “controlling issues”?  Check out my latest post: ECONOMIC MELTDOWN at the Best Life Blog.

Thank you to G’na at Flicker for the animal photo – http://www.flickr.com/photos/g-na/2344863442/ your gift sure helps me share mine much more effectively.   Her photostream of animals is beautiful!

Silver Medal – Golden Effort

I watched in awe tonight as Olympic athletes dazzled millions of viewers and challenged my courage and determination.

I couldn’t help but wonder why I have given up so easy, been persuaded to lose, lost sight of my goals, and quit because I was exhausted.   I am of course inspired and bewildered.

Tonight a BC athlete won a silver medal after a grueling 11/2 hour triathlon competition.  I could go into long detail about the race and the competition, but the point might be lost.

Simon Whitfield wins a silver Medal

Simon Whitfield wins a silver Medal

Simon Whitfield taught me a great lesson.  In the last 15-30 seconds of the triathlon, when every cell in his body screamed in pain for oxygen and relief, he executed his winning KICK.  Running in a pack of 4 outstanding male athletes, he repeated what won him a gold medal in the same sport in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.  He kicked it into high gear and sprinted.  All of a sudden, after falling at the back of the pack, he astounded the crowds with a surge that came, not from his weary body, but his unwillingness to cross that line 4th or 5th.

How unwilling am I to quit what I know is my life intention?  Racked with pain, drenched in humid heat that drained every once of energy, and apparently falling behind, Simon used his intention and transmuted that energy into physical stamina and determination.  He just wouldn’t give up or in.

Oh sure, I am proud that he is Canadian and from my own province.  I am proud of all the athletes from around the world.  It’s not the competition that I find arresting, it is the single-mindedness, the pinpoint intention that allowed Simon Whitfield to experience the joy and the honor you can see in this photo.

In Zen, we see ourselves in others, in nature, in space, in all things.  If Simon can move through pain into the pursuit of his dream, you and I can run our race to the finish.

My blessed readers, we have so much to cheer about.  We are in life to live it to its utmost. 

Thank you to all the athletes who have inspired the world to “be” our best selves.  And thank you in advance to my readers – would you share what you do get yourself to the finish line of your dreams?

In the Grace of the Moment,
Harmony

PS  Many thanks to RICHARD LAUTENS / TORONTO STAR for the brilliant photo and story at http://olympics.thestar.com/2008/article/480975

The Eclipse

Facing Shadows

This Saturday, August 16th, 2008 there will be a partial lunar eclipse.  Those folks living in Africa, Europe, parts of Australia and South America will be able to view the variance of light and form.

No light and therefore, no shadows.

Always at my side

My other self- always nearby

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get weary of seeing my shadow and maybe the shadows of those I love.  I am all for being the best I can be yada yada yada.  But honestly, my shadows, my darker side – the behaviors and secret intentions I try to hide can be disturbing and sometimes ugly.

I know, I know.  The Zen way would embrace the shadow and recognize the unity of all things.
And, I should do that. 

But sometimes, I prefer an eclipse. 

I love the light.  Although I look a lot older when I see myself in full daylight,
(did someone say WRINKLES!), I like the warm and enchanted feeling I get from light rays, both solar and lunar.  Yet hidden within the bright dance of atoms, there is the haunting shadow that lurks behind, waiting to appear at the most unsuspecting moment.

Have you been surprised or even scared by the shadows of those you love the most?

If it’s not my darker mishaps I have to deal with, it seems to be those ugly monsters slinking behind those I adore that cast a spell on my senses and send me reeling.

When I don’t know what to do, and my silence has been muddled in a gong show from my ego, I know where to go.  I go to my GOLDEN Zen: Ginger.

She reminds me that light shines from within and happiness is a fleeting plaything.   She can be content in any situation and offers little resistance to what she dislikes.   Instead, she changes focus.

She rests much more than I and makes no apology for being quiet.  She forgives me before I ask. Her love knows no resentment and welcomes even my dismal displays.

Sometimes self-forgiveness and forgiveness of others is just an acceptance of shadows.  Part of being in the light is our agreement to live in unison with what is hidden.

…Making friends with ‘ID,” as Freud would say.

But for this weekend, Saturday night (early Sunday am), I am going to relish in the dark and enjoy the lack of expectation I experience when I can’t see my way and everything is a surprise.

In the Grace of the Moment,
Harmony

PS I am so grateful to the artists who help me say what I try so hard to say with words.  Special thanks to: I. Anton who has an amazing display of photos at Flickr: flickr.com/photos/7153354@N04/  and to Daniel Piulet for the use of his enormous gaze into the sky and moon.  You can find his display of photos at http://flickr.com/photos/piulet/

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