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Inspiring Stories

A potpourri of thought-provoking posts on many different daily-life subjects.
  • Whoever You Are, No Matter How Lonely


    Whoever You Are, No Matter How Lonely
    The title of this post may be familiar to many of you as a line from Mary Oliver’s poem, “Wild Geese,” in which she writes, “Whoever you are, no matter how lonely/ the world offers itself to your imagination.” I’ve been thinking of these lines, particularly the first one because of what it says about loneliness. Sometimes, when I’m traveling for work especially, I find myself feeling just a little lonely. Calling my 16-year-old son at home, I discover he’s a little lonely too. While...

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  • Forgiveness: Let Go of the Past, Turn to Your Dreams


    Forgiveness:  Free Yourself
    Part of being free means learning how to forgive. Forgive yourself first and then extend that forgiveness to those who have harmed you.

    You see, one of the biggest misconceptions about forgiveness is that by forgiving someone we somehow make right what they did. We believe that if we forgive, then we condone their actions.

    Nothing could be further from the truth.

    You see, your dreams and your journey are present-time things. They know nothing of the past and are unconcerned with the future. Dreams manifest in the now. The energy of your journey only exists...

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  • On Retreat


    On Retreat:  Heading to the Woods
    Once every year, I go to the woods, to a small Catholic retreat center in northeast Kansas, which may not seem like the likely place you would find a Jewish girl from New York and New Jersey, but it is the perfect place. I arrive on a Thursday at Shantivanam: Forest of Peace where, after greeting the caretakers of this center, I head out to a small cabin in the woods. There is no internet, only phone service when standing on certain hills when the stars are aligned just so...

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  • Yoga as Sabbath


    Sabbath Yoga — Taking Time for Yourself
    Years ago, I read that if you don’t make time for your sabbath—or shabbat in Judaism—it will be made for you. In the middle of six grueling and adventurous months of chemotherapy at the time, I gasped in recognition. My cancer had felt all along like a kind of spiritual sabbatical after years of pushing myself too hard without taking care of my health and healing. As a practicing Jew, I had become an expert at squeezing in extra work on weekends between driving the kids all over town...

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  • Impermanence: Of Tulips and the Transitory (Part 2)


    The Reality of Impermanence
    The reality of impermanence was one of the first insights I had when I began meditation practice. As my mind began to quiet I could see for myself that the physical/mental/emotional sensations I felt were all in constant flux. As I learned the freedom of letting go, phenomena in my present reality, whether physical, mental or emotional, began to pass through with even greater speed. I was no longer hindering their movement by holding on.

    This insight has changed my life in many ways. I no longer grasp on to material things I...

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  • Impermanence: Of Tulips and the Transitory (Part 1)


    Impermanence and Appreciation
    I wish tulips bloomed all summer. Two weeks of glory is far too little. During their spring performance I find myself making excuses to sit among the tulips lining the walk leading to my front door. I can’t resist shooting tulip photos year after year, hoping to preserve them somehow but knowing that two-dimensional images can never do them justice.

    I love everything about tulips—the simplicity of their form, their unabashed brightness. I love their tenacity, how their leaves lance the near-frozen ground in the gray days of February to begin their annual emergence...

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  • Don’t Give Up


    Don’t Give Up:  When Things Don’t Go Our Way, It Might be a Gift
    A lot of people tend to think, when they are pursuing their dreams, that when things aren’t going the way they “want” or the way they “planned,” that they should give up. Many people want to give up when things get a little tough. And it’s interesting to me to see how easy it is for people to believe the negative voice in their heads, far more than their positive and neutral voices.

    It’s almost as if we are so afraid of...

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  • The Power of Thoughts


    The Power of Thoughts or The Power We Give Our Thoughts
    I realized something very different today. Here’s a liberating thought:  You don’t have to believe every thought that you think. And, not every thought that you think is true.

    You might be conditioned to think, “This always happens to me.”

    Or perhaps, “I don’t deserve love.”

    Or even better, “I don’t deserve to be happy.”

    Since when did you let thoughts like this run your world? And who said you should believe them? And why do you believe them?

    Today, here is...

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  • Don’t Stand Down


    Don’t Stand Down:  You Just May be Right!
    In what ways do you make yourself wrong?

    I don’t know about you, but there are tons of ways for me to make myself wrong.

    No matter how hard I try, even when my intentions are pure, I am queen of making myself wrong when my actions don’t please someone else. Even when in my heart I know my actions are pure, when someone really disagrees with me, or my actions cause someone else to react in anger, I’ve immediately toned down what I was saying. I...

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  • Define Yourself


    Define Yourself:  Live in Fullness
    In the Western world, we spend a lot our time rushing around trying to “accomplish” something. Fill in the blank and we are trying to get it done. Make more money. Lose more weight. Find more love. Finish our to-do lists. Have more energy. Get a better job. Have more free time. Love ourselves more. Get to work on time. Get home on time.

    Western society is dominated by “achievers.” Nothing wrong with achievers; I myself have an achiever within me. But, like everything, if the achiever...

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