Reader comment on Leonard Mlodinow's passage ...

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    On Dec 30, 2011 Ricky wrote:

    We may see it as randomness, but this is why all the greatest writers and orators, and elders of the ages state that while we may set out to live our lives with the best intentions and hopes for a favorable outcome, it is the constant buffeting, changing, challenging, poking, prodding, upheavals and so on and our responses to these that begins to lay out the life we do end up living.  Pema Chodron:  "To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest."  Personally, I love birds and watching their activities, and this visual never fails to remind me of what being thrown out of the nest looks like!  “The winds of grace are always blowing.  All we need to do is set our sails.”  Ramakrishna.  Go with it, and understand deeply that this existence is the infinite experiencing the finite.  It's not easy, it just is. 

     

    The reading seems like an especially appropriate posting for this time of the year.  The story told is from a horrific time in the continuum of existence for the human race.  My own parents made decisions based on the outcome of that era, and immigrated to America for a better life for the family they wanted to start.  The memories of the war for both of them shaped how they think, what they say, how they view life, how they define themselves, and how they live.  My father died almost 30 years ago.  My mom has since stated many times that we would not have struggled so much had we stayed in Germany, to which I usually state I am thankful for every day I live here, for my upbringing, for the opportunities, for the experiences, even the most difficult, negative, and challenging ones, and I remind her that I am grateful that the decision was made to come here.  She is always surprised by my response. 

     

    Thoughtful planning and reflection also goes hand in hand with the newness of the beginning of the next year.  Setting resolutions is big business for fitness centers, life coaches, sporting good stores, self help book sales, storage companies, health food stores, health magazines, and juicers, just to mention a few.  When we set resolutions, we are under the impression we either have an enormous capacity to change overnight, or since it is the new year, we are required to give something up, add something, change something because we are not enough as we are, implying we have a do over this next year.  How about looking at it this way.  The New Year isn’t a do-over:  it’s an opportunity to take your next step.  When you change a small habit, you teach yourself that you can change anything.  (paraphrased from “Whole Living”, February 2012, page 89)

     

    I work with teens.  Students during the second decade of the 2000s are dealing with changes beyond what we could have imagined in our lives when we were growing up.  I believe my job has become to help them find some answers, to listen to their frustrations, to offer some hope in the face of changing schools in the middle of the school year or moving between one parent and another every other week, sexual verbal and emotional abuse by parent, guardian, or partner, lack of food, clothing and stability, illness caused by weakened immune systems, and even homelessness.  I remind them the only thing they can change is their outlook on the situation, and that clarity arrives with each mindful breath.  Being fully present and clear of thought can help guide each choice along the way.  And finally, “If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path.  Your own path you make with every step you take.  That’s why it’s your path.”  Joseph Campbell 

     

    Praises and anticipation for 2012-the year of the shift.  

     


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