life is falling down and getting back up

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The process of growth is, it seems, the art of falling down. Growth is measured by the gentleness and awareness with which we once again pick ourselves up, the lightness with which we dust ourselves off, the openness with which we continue and take the next unknown step, beyond our edge, beyond our holding, into the remarkable mystery of being.

stephen levine

photo emilio labrador

Hold things lightly


February has begun rainy and very wild and windy here in Ireland. I am reminded of how Ryokan worked with the mental energies, thoughts, feelings and moods which passed through his body-mind. We can learn a lot from these monks on how to work in a practical way with our daily experience:

Not being so attached to our facts,  or even our “alternative facts”, and how to let go of certain types of thoughts which are just not important.

If someone asks about 
the mind of this monk, 
say it is no more than a passage of wind 
in the vast sky. 

Ryokan, 1758 – 1831, Buddhist monk, hermit and poet.

The wonder of this day


All that is eternal in me
Welcomes the wonder of this day,
The field of brightness it creates
Offering time for each thing
To arise and illuminate.

May my mind come alive today
To the invisible geography
That invites me to new frontiers,
To break the dead shells of yesterdays,
To risk being disturbed and changed.

May I have the courage today
To live the life I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.

John O’Donohue, Morning Prayer

Keep starting over

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Research by Carol Dweck at Stanford University says that it is better if we develop a “growth mindset”  which sees challenges and mistakes as opportunities to grow and does not give up when things go wrong. A learning organization is one that is prepared to make mistakes. And, as someone said to me yesterday, even the challenge of a person’s mood can be an occasion to learn:

If I had a message to my contemporaries it is surely this: Be anything you like…. but at all costs avoid one thing: success . . .

If you are too obsessed with success, you will forget to live.

If you have learned only how to be a success,

your life has probably been wasted

Thomas Merton

photo: cc-by-2.5