Saturday, January 21, 2017

Weekend Zen, January 21-22

And one has to understand that braveness is
not the absence of fear, but rather the strength
to keep on going forward despite the fear.

~ Paulo Coelho 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Daily Zen - Friday, January 20

Walk with the dreamers, the believers,
the courageous, the cheerful, the planners,
the doers, the successful people with their
heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground.

Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to 
leave this world better than when you found it. 

~ Wilfred Peterson

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Daily Zen - Thursday, January 19

It is not only for what we do 
that we are held responsible, 
but also for what we do not do.

~ Moliere

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Daily Zen - Wednesday, January 18

Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do.
Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries
and predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.

~ William Faulkner 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Monday, January 16, 2017

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Daily Zen - Thursday, January 12

When one tugs at a single thing in nature,
he finds it attached to the rest of the world.

~ John Muir

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Monday, January 9, 2017

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Friday, January 6, 2017

Daily Zen - Friday, January 6

We never do anything well till we cease 
to think about the manner of doing it. 

~ William Hazlitt

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Daily Zen - Thursday, January 5

Your vision will become clear 
only when you look into your heart.
Who looks outside, dreams.
Who looks inside, awakens. 

~ Carl Jung

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Daily Zen - Wednesday, January 4

Don't think about it, just do it. 
Most of your stress is in thinking about 
what you have to do, but if you just do it 
you find the doing is easy. 
It's the thinking that's hard. 

~ Ajahn Brahm

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year, Maybe

Every year at the end of December we naturally reflect on how our world has changed in the previous twelve months. We remember, we yearn, we celebrate, we regret. We look back on our lives --- our failures and accomplishments, significant events and milestones, the happy times and the not so great moments --- while the media feeds us a steady diet of historical retrospectives and pop culture lists to ponder (the worst, the best, and this year, especially, the dead).

By almost anyone's standards, this has been a shit year.

As the new year has drawn closer, social media has increasingly reflected the challenges 2016 foisted upon us. I can't swing a dead cat around my Twitter feed without hitting a "Hey 2016, Go Fuck Yourself" meme. Things are a bit more tame on my Facebook timeline, but the general sentiment is the same...things will get better next year. Because they have to.

But they don't.

While I don't know the larger personal context around many of the "Can 2016 Just Die Already" social media posts (after all, that's the magic of the internet - we learn a fragment of the truth without ever working to get the whole story), I am concerned that our expectation may be that somehow just making it to January will be enough to turn the tide, that simply flipping the calendar page will reset the game.

But it won't.

There is no magic at midnight on December 31st. Not this year, not ever. Robert Pirsig said, "The only Zen you find on tops of mountains is the Zen you bring there." That's how I'm choosing to think about 2017. If you want a happy new year, you better bring some happy.

I want 2017 to be a better year. I want to be less anxious and more joyful. I want my friends and family to experience more kindness and less bitterness. I want the world to be filled with more justice and less tragedy. It occurs to me that this is a simple but aggressive list of wants, and I have limited control over the outcome of most, if not all, events on this planet. That doesn't mean I'm helpless though. I determine my attitude. I decide how I present myself to others. I choose how well I listen and learn, how I communicate my message, how I adapt. I choose my own actions and reactions. I can shape the conversation.

And I will.

Weekend Zen, December 31 - January 1

The happiest moments my heart knows are those 
in which it is pouring forth its affections 
to a few esteemed characters.

~ Thomas Jefferson