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.

Posts tagged ‘awareness’

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 if You Lost Your Mind?

When is the last time you walked by a homeless individual and secretly thought to yourself that you were so glad that human being was not you?  Even worse, if they are mumbling long streams of undecipherable words strung together by expletives, perhaps you gave them a wide berth.  They seem to have lost their mind somewhere in the pain, memories, or chemical warfare and they are left undesirable, unpredictable and unpleasant.

We call them mentally unstable.  They seem to search for something they can’t find, and if they do, they instantly begin the search again.

The mentally ill often live a life of turmoil and isolation.  However, I have noticed within myself and countless others, some similarities with our minds that can be disturbing.  Those seen on the streets are sometimes men and women just like you and I who forgot to pull the curtain on their ludicrous thoughts, or just don’t care who “sees” them anymore.  Their minds seem out of control with obsessive thoughts and fears while they remain highly intelligent in various disciplines of science, mathematics or history.

How Well Does Your Mind Serve You?

  • Have you noticed that you mumble to yourself about other people, their behavior, what you think of the rain etc?  Perhaps you don’t verbalize your thoughts.
  • Do you find yourself worrying about the same issues almost daily, if not hourly? 
  • Are you content to be quiet and still or do you need the more sophisticated diversions and stimulation – in your case maybe you have a TV, iPod or laptop?
  • Does your mind always tell you the truth about what others think about you? 
  • Do you wonder at times if people were just talking about you behind your back, or if the driver in the car behind you is talking to her passenger about you? 

The street people are called paranoid, what’s your label?

  • Can you ever find an escape from your thoughts or do you need a drink after work or a joint to set a new mood?  At least you are not sharing a needle, so I it’s a more sane approach, and less risky.

Losing your mind, as presented in this series of articles can be refreshing, revitalizing and healthy, if you lose it by choice. What you find could signal a transformation, a state of contentment, and at times euphoria.

The key is to know how to lose one’s mind by conscious choice; how to empty your thought generator long enough to experience your real self, rather than replacing the pain and anguish for an escape into non-reality.

Your mind, which in fact is best defined as craziness, can mislead you and cause you undue suffering.  The unconscious mind injures relationships and stymies your ability to become all that you want to be.  And the unconscious mind, without the normal control panel set properly, will appear to the world to be insane.

I propose there is a place for losing one’s mind and finding the inner tranquility of a presence more vast, more intelligent, more stable than anything our “right mind” could conceive.  Each Monday, for the next 4 weeks we will address this topic and offer practical ways to lose your mind and find yourself.  You won’t appear mad, or lose your job!  In fact, you will excel and become highly proficient at the things you decide to do, because of the renewed focus and energy. Life begins to reveal new dimensions when you have the awareness to see them.  I invite you to join me for the journey and share your thoughts and experiences along the way.

At the very least, you will see the homeless (not to imply that all that are homeless are insane) or “insane” with a new perspective that could change the way you feel when you walk by them or they sit next to you on the commuter train.

Here are some highlights of the weeks to come:

Help! I Need To Lose My Mind: How to begin a conscious process of seeing life anew.
Help! My Mind Is Back: How to allow a gentle process (or awakening) of consciousness in you.
Five Sure Fire Signs To Be Sure You Lost Your Mind: What does awakening, awareness or consciousness “feel” like?
How Will My Lost Mind Save My Relationships?  : Allowing your new life to penetrate what matters to you most.

Be sure to sign up for my RSS feed and stay tuned.  This may be the spring of a new mind for you!

In The Grace of the Moment,

 My sincere thanks to the generousity and talent of the photographers at Flickr. Names and URL’s are listed relative to the placement of the photo in the post.



snowdog 101:


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That is MY Seat!

“Wait just a minute, that is MY seat,” the commuter demanded as she maneuvered around several younger people to take her seat of choice on the bus.  Momentarily stunned, the small group moved themselves and their belongings aside so this 40-something year old woman could have her “reserved” seat.  Although she got her bum on a cushion, there was nothing soft about her ride.  The energy around her seemed to simmer as the shock wore off and fellow passengers sat rife with animosity.

Over the years I have discovered the easiest way to familiarize myself with the “awakening” concept is to look for practical applications in everyday life.  If you have the chance to be with a crowd of people, your lessons are close at hand.

I live in a quiet oceanside community in British Columbia.  I teach business development downtown in Vancouver and commute to the office by bus.  The commute is quite pleasurable for me and I enjoy driving, but I made a decision that about 75% of the time I would ride the friendly transit system and give Mother Nature a break.

If you don’t use public transportation you may not be aware of the “positioning” that often precedes the ride.  Most people don’t want to have to stand for the hour-long commute, so they maneuver ahead of time, before they ever leave their home, to have a fighting chance for a soft seat on the bus.

People can experience intense anxiety, in advance of ever arriving at a bus stop or train station, wondering if and what seat they will occupy for their journey.

Can you imagine- actually raising your blood pressure, releasing toxic chemicals in your cells, and depleting your daily dose of energy so that you can worry in advance that you may not  have a seat?
Present moment awareness means you are awake in the moment you are in – right now.  Thirty minutes before the bus or train arrives, you notice that you are good, and life is good.  While catching a ride with someone to the station, you notice, that again, this moment is quite pleasurable.  The sun is shining, or there is a gentle rain.  Even the windstorm is okay, because in this moment, you are safely nestled in the shelter of the car.

It is a “practice.”  You simply choose to pay attention to this moment.

Today, I arrived cheerful at the park and ride only to find an extended line of close to 35 waiting passengers.  My anxious travel partner said,” You see, I told you we should have parked along the bus route and caught the bus ahead of these people.  We will never get a seat!”

I am smiling of course.  You see, in the years I have traveled the bus or train to and from work, I have NEVER ONCE not had a seat, unless I chose to give it away.  In fact, I am writing this post from my cozy aisle seat. 

How can you guarantee you will always have a seat?  Quit caring one way or another.  Loosen your tight grip on the future outcome, and embrace the seconds you are in, now.

If this moment finds you balancing yourself on a crowded train and holding the handrails for dear life, notice the strength of your body and your innate ability to remain solid while being tossed to and fro.  Discover within yourself how the experience changes if you let go of the frustration, and the way you wish it was, and how you deserve a seat.  Once you entertain a different perspective, you may be very surprised at what the moment has in store for you. 

Sit down and cozy up, your moment waits.

In the Grace of the Moment,




Photo Credit (1) Jodi Warren
Photo Credit (2) Jon Rawlinson


The ABC’s of Golden Zen

ABC\’s Of Golden Zen       Enjoy the 3 min audio version of the ABC’s.

I believe I could take any structure: 1-10, the alphabet, types of cars, types of trees, or names of people and share the principles of Golden Zen thinking as an application to that form.  Golden Zen not a belief structure or set of rules or way to “think” really, it is about a way of “being,” which is always vital and alive.

I am writing nothing new.  I am no guru or spiritual leader.  My intention is simply to take the essence of the concepts I am constantly learning and communicate them with my sense of being or my “take on it,” so that others may find a better understanding of the universal truths for themselves.

I chose the alphabet mainly because we rarely use it as adults.  The idea is playful.

Over time, I will write more on most of these concepts, but for our purpose now, I present this overview of Golden Zen.

 A- Awareness: This is not thinking about things.  Awareness is like when you see things you didn’t realize you saw with your peripheral vision.  The police investigator says, “What did he look like,” or “what did you see in the room?”  Unbeknownst to you, you saw a lot more than you thought you did – and it wasn’t with your thinking mind. 
Awareness is about the presence of you behind your thoughts, the sensation you have when you first awake and have no thought.  (Usually, that lasts no longer than a couple seconds)  Awareness is about the stillness you feel on that occasional moment in nature when you forget yourself and are surrounded by, and immersed in, the dense stillness around you.  Awareness is when you experience something for the very first time and you are left speechless, awestruck.  You can actually live moment by moment in awareness.

B- Breath: Our breath is a constant reminder of our Source.  We breathe without thinking about breathing.  Our breath brings a burst of oxygen to our hungry cells and transports our toxic residue outside the body.  Our breath connects us to others.  As we breathe in the air around us, we take in the presence around us, including people.  In fact, the air I breathe today in Vancouver may have been in Hawaii day before yesterday!  Golden Zen practice reminds us to become aware of our breath as often as possible throughout the day, and notice the grounding and centeredness that accompanies a conscious breath.

C- Compassion: Emotional response is not necessarily compassion, sometimes it is just drama.  Pity and “feeling sorry” for someone is a thought and a feeling that may or may not accomplish much.  Compassion as I describe it for Golden Zen is a space around a person/s that allows for the moment to be as it is, the grief or challenge to exist, and yet to remain present with support, no judgments, kindness and room for the next moment to bring fresh “manna.”  (Manna meaning daily bread or provision of what you need when you need it.)  The moment one moves into “this shouldn’t be this way” with the accompanying anger or ignited reaction, we move into resistance and create more suffering.  Compassion is a force to be reckoned with no doubt, but comes from a place of peace and abundance, not drama.

You have your own stories to tell around awareness, breath, and compassion.  We grow from sharing and listening, so feel free to do either.

 In The Grace Of The Moment,


Photo Thanks to

Connecting In the Blogosphere


The more I wander around the Big “B,” the more facinating it becomes.  There are a lot of great BLOGS out there, and I am “seeing” my thoughts in many other voices.

Years ago, it would have upset me to think someone else said what I wanted to say, and said it better than I could.  Now, (maybe it’s the age thing!) I enjoy knowing that I am thinking the cosmic thought of those living in awareness.  We may say it differently, but we are coming from the same source.

Speaking of source, I found a great spot to learn about different blogs that enhance a spiritual journey.  You may want to check it out: besides he writes some great content! 

I have not checked out the whole list yet, but I have found some great sites from his list and I’m sure I will refer to them in the future.

Lastly, I am aware that at the moment, I may not be writing to anyone in particular but myself.  Yet, I know I am writing to you.  Thank you for searching out my early blogs and know you are always at home.

In the Grace of the Moment,


Here is the link:



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