Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and July 31st

On Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Hanukkah, July 31st, or any day that matters:

Be alive.
Be kind.
Be real.
Be present.
Be there for someone, even if it hurts.
Share yourself with a visit, a phone call, a card, a letter, or however you can.

This past year I received nine cards for July 31st - eight from my wife's friends and family, and one from a coworker.  They meant a lot.

Here's to caring every day.  Merry Christmas and beyond.

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living

Standing Still

Solstice in Latin means sun standing still because the seasonal path of the Sun, as seen from Earth, comes to a stop before reversing direction.  Might be a day to pause and reflect.

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living.

Decisions, Decisions

Our paths (lives) are full of decisions.  Sometimes quiet reflection and being in touch with our inner voice (true self) brings answers while other times it's not so clear.  Sometimes we have to take a leap of faith and act, to participate and be willing to fail.  Most often success comes after a series of what others call failure, but I call steps along the way.  

Rarely is any one decision good or bad on it's own, but a series of decisions and actions strung together bring an outcome.  Bill Gates and Steve Jobs had two very different business models - both worked.  Be willing to experiment and learn.  Life is art.

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living

Right Action

Right action - doing the right thing - with the right intentions, for the right reasons, and with no attachment to outcome.  This requires understanding, compassion, faith, mindfulness, and strength; all of which are interlaced and feed each other.

Life brings us hard lessons and is the ultimate teacher.
When we feel unrewarded we remember "with the right intentions".
When we are mistreated we remember "for the right reasons".
When we fail, we remember the no attachment part and we learn compassion.

We are presented with a multitude of lessons and choices every day.
Everything we do has a consequence and all of our actions matter.
What will you learn and do today?

The power of kindness

True kindness is caring without pity or judgement.
True kindness is seeing to the core of the human condition.
Constructive caring is empathy not sympathy.
True kindness is listening and offering support.
Ultimately we are responsible for our own happiness and well-being, but it sure helps to have loving support and know that someone is there for us because they care ,day in and day out.
I hope I can be kind.

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living.


You are like me.
I like you.  
I like you enough that I'd like to spend time with you.  
This thing we share is fun or important or special.
We should rally together and promote this thing we share.
If you feel threatened or need help in life's day to day struggles, I'm here for you.

Above are the ways tribes, clubs, and social groups begin.  Being a part of a group binds us together, gives us a sense of belonging, and enriches our lives.

We are right.
They are wrong.
Their beliefs threaten ours. 
They are others, they don't belong.
We should change their minds or intimidate them, they are a threat.

And so a tragedy begins.  Many groups start because a minority or individual is persecuted or made to feel as an outsider by the majority.  How sad when it turns and they perpetuate the wrong that brought them together.

Debating Minimalism

I was invited to participate in a lively discussion/debate on the merits of minimalism this morning. Instead, I sat out and enjoyed two cups of coffee with my pups and watched the sun ease it's way up the sky, while looking forward to my wife coming home this evening.  Hurry home Ann.

Fully Alive

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand

I was twenty years old and driving down a highway in rural Alabama, approaching a humongous junkyard full of rusted vehicles, when I encountered a sign that has had tremendous impact upon my life. On the fence surrounding the junkyard was a sign that read "It's Your Life". Those words pleasantly haunt me every time I start to settle for less, every time I think of conforming, and every time I think of accepting comfortable.

When I find that I'm doing what is easy or expected of me I remember that it's my life, swallow my fear and say to myself "Let's do this". I only feel fully alive when I'm going against the grain, taking a risk, and doing it my way.

My Dream ( A Hidden Place )

A late start, a canyon walk
Climbing steps to a hidden spot
A place I could'nt see from where I stood.
Fate smiled as I past the tree
I was blind to the sights
but the Universe played and I could hear
the sound of bees.

I heard a voice, turned behind to look
and found myself gazing forward.
Not believing what I saw (it seemed unlikely),
but I knew the face
walking my way, radiating light
answering a long forgotten question
in a hidden place.

Life is full of surprises.  Never lose hope.

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living

Puzzles vs Art

I see many people treat life like a puzzle; trying to fit the pieces together as if there were a given way to do it with the pieces pre-cut and the final outcome pre-determined.  I've often done the same myself trying to make things work.  When we treat life as such we limit it.

I've found that much like art, there is no fixed way to do it.  We are given a blank canvas and a plethora of materials to work with.  There are techniques and methods (values, routines, habits) that we can use as guiding principles, but beauty rarely comes from keeping within the lines.  An artists plays with the known techniques and rules, sometimes using them and sometimes casting them aside, breaking new ground.

A friend recently commented that I seemed so happy and wanted to know my secret.  I probably couldn't answer the question if I wanted, but more importantly I wouldn't if I could.  They are not me and probably wouldn't be satisfied with my life.  Seek your own guiding values and principles then experiment - create beauty.

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living