Thursday, March 28, 2013

Most Spiritually Influential

Bonus discovery to listen to while you read - two musicians I love - teaming up.

#1 - I accidently ate beef today.  It was mixed in a rice dish and I thought it was mushrooms. I believe the last time that happened was in 2000.  That is a pretty long streak now that I think about it.  In 2000 I bit into a burrito that I thought was labeled vegetarian but after a few bites clearly was not.  I took a few moments to process this info and then told my friend sitting beside me, "I think I just ate some beef, and it didn't kill me."

 "Not yet," he replied gravely.

 It took all my seriousness away!

 #2 - I invited a friend to an event last night and told her to get tickets beforehand because previously it sold out.  She followed my advice, I did not (or at least I followed it too late).  Anyway, she sent an email saying, "I loved it!" which I appreciated since I was the one who asked her to go.

#3 - I made an appointment to get an eye exam on Saturday.  This seems like a really small thing, but I don't do that often.  I'm pretty sure I'll need a different prescription.  I mostly wear my glasses when I'm on the computer and they don't seem quite right.  I hope they can just replace the lenses in my frames.

 #4 - I heard Eckhart Tolle mention a while back that he was listed as the #1 Most Spiritually Influential Living Person in 2011, but had fallen to #2 in 2012 (he was laughing about it, the Dalai Lama beat him). Since those two are my favorites I was curious to find if I'd resonate with the rest of the list.

 Today I found that list. I think it tells what I am most drawn to. If you had a list of the 100 most influential business people or TV stars or musicians or human rights advocates I would probably know far fewer names.  There are names unknown to me on the list, but I know more of them then I don't. In the top 10 there was only one person I did not know beyond hearing his name before.  Anyway, I listened to him (Ken Wilber) a little on YouTube today and enjoy the idea of exploring more of the unfamiliar names.

 #5 -Here are the top ten and what I know about them.
 1.  Dalai Lama - #1 & #2 are beyond words to me, so here is a photo.
 2. Eckhart Tolle
  3. Thich Nhat Hanh - In my early 20's I read a lot of his writing.  I deeply admire his activism and his peace.
4. Deepak Chopra - I've never really gotten into this guy, tried reading one of his books, but stopped.
5.  Paulo Coelho - The only person (besides Jason Mraz) that I have the library send me an alert anytime they get something new from him.  And I understand his books in Spanish too, which is rare and I love.
6.  Elizabeth Gilbert - I guess I've read all her books too.
7. Iyanla Vanzant - I'm familiar with her name and some of what she does, but no firsthand knowledge.
8.  Ken Wilber - he's new to me.
 9. James Redfield - I've read a couple of his books.
10. Rhonda Byrne - seen the movie (The Secret) - which I thought had a really materialistic focus, though I understand the "thoughts create reality" theme.

What a joy writing about that list was!

Now I've discovered they have a 2013 list.  #17 is the first one I don't know on that list. 

1. Dalai Lama
2. Thich Nhat Hanh
3. Eckhart Tolle
4. Deepak Chopra
5. Rhonda Bryne
6. Dr. Wayne W Dyer
7. Oprah Winfrey
8.  Paulo Coelho
9. Nelson Mandela
10. Byron Katie
11. Alice Walker
12. Alex Grey
13.  Doreen Virtue
14. Richard Bach
15. Desmund Tutu
16. Francis Chan
17. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (Just heard the name.)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Second Time

  •  The first performers at the Gingko Coffeehouse open mike, a 13 year old girl and her father.  #1 - She could really sing.  #2 - The songs her Dad wrote were beautiful.  #3 - It was so refreshing to see a 13 year old and her father enjoying being creative and expressive together.
  • The second performer said the radio confirmed today that he was the only person over 13 who didn't have a cell phone, and his song was about why not.  I raised my hand and said, "I don't have one."
  • The fourth performer was a man that was kind of like wallpaper, in that before he got on stage I hardly noticed he was there, and after he returned to his spot he seemed to melt into the wall again.  However, on stage I was riveted by his performance.  He said he was playing a whole show at this coffeehouse on April 6th...
  • Earlier on my way, as I neared the coffeehouse I asked myself, "Why am I doing this?"  It was a way to recognize the Equinox, but still...I looked up at the sky and saw a bald eagle flying right over the middle of the city...
  • "Why am I doing this?" I asked once again as I was singing on stage.  The remaining 15-20 people in the room were mostly quiet except the woman sitting right in front of me who was talking loudly.  To me it seemed as loud as my singing.  And then the chorus of my song came through my mouth.  It goes, "How to engage fully yet unattached to results?  How to engage fully yet remain unattached?"

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


The richest person is not the one that has the most, but the one who needs the least

- Author unknown

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

MN Capitol

#1 – I spent most of the day at the capitol, and then this evening tuned in via internet, to observe the committee meetings on the Freedom to Marry Act.   This bill would allow same-sex couples to be seen as equal human beings under Minnesota law.  I found the day touching, encouraging and heart-opening.  It is not often that we have the chance to give people such a simple, yet profound gift.  I am grateful to all the legislators and citizens who understand this.  Additionally, I understand that some people are afraid.  It seems important to honor this as well.  I was especially touched by the testimony of Representative Tina Liebling of Rochester and Melissa Hortman of Brooklyn Park.  

#2 - Lynne Osterman – a former Republican representative in MN.  She began her testimony before the committee and I wasn’t clear what side she was on.  Osterman said she served as a Republican because of her interest in a smaller government, but for a politically expedient vote, she voted for DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act).  She has regretted that vote ever since.  She asked the committee members to lead in fairness and respectfulness and not do what is politically expedient.  Her sincerity brought me to tears and I was reminded again that it is through our vulnerability that our strength shines through.  

Osterman’s rockin'testimony -

#3 – The pastor of Lyndale United Church who stated in April of 2006 their congregation decided to no longer perform civil/religious marriages until ALL marriages are recognized.  Instead they perform blessing ceremonies.

#4 – The bills passed the committees.  In the next couple months it will go for a vote.  If you live in MN and you’d like your legislator to hear what you think, here is a link to find who represents you.  You can call them and leave a message whether you are for the Freedom to Marry Act, or against it.  I went to my legislator’s office to ask his aide because I wasn’t certain of his vote.  He happened to be standing there, so I talked to him instead.  He said if it comes to a floor vote (which it will because of today) he will vote for it. 

#5– Bill Clinton, who signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law, has a piece in the Washington Post asking it to be overturned.

Monday, March 4, 2013

What's Working

March 1st marked three years of this daily gratitude experiment.  Does the gratitude come easily with all that practice?  Sometimes.  Many days, like today, I have to remind myself, "Think small.  Think small."

#1 - My sister-in-law pointed out to me how beautiful an individual snowflake was on her sleeve.

#2 - Michelle Obama said kids need 60 minutes of exercise each day.  I remember when I was working in an elementary school and a highly skilled kindergarten teacher took away recess from her kids as a consequence for their behavior.  She asked me about it afterwards, I guess she doubted the decision herself.  I didn't have any advice for her, she was clearly much better/more experienced at classroom management than I was.  However, I did say and think, that what those kids most needed was recess.  Michelle also mentioned a school that did exercises led by their gym teacher next to their chairs during the lunch hour and that besides being active they had a namaste moment.  I have not heard the phrase "namaste moment," but she meant a still/quest moment.  I like it.  It's so nice to have a woman like her in the White House.

#3 - I pretended to be asleep, my niece hesitantly crept up behind me and tapped me.  I grabbed her and she screamed and laughed.  We did this well over 20 times, 30 times...and I was able to remain enthusiastic and engaged in the activity.

#4 - As I was making some sort of judgment about my life today, I heard another voice in the back of my mind - It sounded like -

 "In the end only these things matter:  
How well did you love? 
 How fully did you live? 
 How deeply did you learn to let go?" 

The Buddha (maybe)

#5 - I did not have a 5th gratitude. While I was writing this a friend called, who does not read this, but knows I write gratitudes, to ask about this practice because he wants to pay more attention to what is working in his life than what isn't.