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Archive for the ‘reflections’ Category


I have been trying to put up with a description of people I know well, like my sister, my husband, or even myself. I realize I can’t. I cannot say my sister is sweet because sometimes she is firm and not sweet at all; I cannot say my husband is easy going because sometimes he gets very upset and looses his temper; I cannot say I am determined because sometimes I change my opinions by the hour. So I asked myself: “How can I say I know a person if I can’t describe that person?” My best answer is “I can only describe someone through what that person does or says.”

That is why good novels show what the characters do.

The physical appearance is an exception, that I might be able to describe, provided I have the person in front of me… or at least a photograph. If I wanted to describe my mother for example, who died almost 30 years ago, just relying on my memory, I would be in trouble, I have a sensation of her, I can feel her, but describe her!…?

She had a peculiar upper lip but it is so difficult to describe. It was thin but full and alive. It had a special way of slightly pricking forward.

She had beautiful hands and nails but I can’t describe them neither but I do clearly remember the noise her long plum painted nails made when brushing against the plastic KEM playing cards and the way she could hold in just one hand, like a fan, the whole range of eleven perfectly displayed cards.

I clearly remember the energetic way she had of doing whatever she would do: getting into or out the car, prepare a meal, speak on the phone, saddle her horse; but how do I describe an energetic way? I can’t. It was a way of being like an eternal glowing fire, not burning her surrounding but rather keeping it warm and quivery. How can I describe that?

I rarely liked how she dressed, it was to plain, to functional; but sometimes she would be spectacular and perfect, like when she wore a turquoise very light cotton outfit in which she would look like a tropical happy and peaceful yogi or a black and gold evening dress in which she looked like a gleaming star in a deep night.

So if I can’t describe a person, can I say I know that person?

 

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Attachment


The release of attachment is powerful. It changes your life if you dare. It heals. When you have the courage of freeing yourself from your beliefs, from the situations you are attached to, or the people; you will discover the magic of life, the blessing of inner freedom & infinite strength.

Maybe it’s a partner who is not happy with you (or vice-versa), maybe it’s a job which is not fulfilling you, maybe it’s the image you want others to have of you or maybe just the way you want things to be.

First, let’s see, why are we attached to what we are attached to?

Because we believe we will be safer.

Or, Because we fear change.

Or, Because we believe these things (or people) give us value.

Or, Because it’s easier to live with solid structures (not to call them rails), with no doubts.

We might also be attached to feelings like guilt or love or longing or loneliness, because they fill our life with unrest, they fill our life with what we are familiar with.

It requires courage to let all that go and remain only with trust and curiosity.

Trust in LIFE, trust in OURSELF.

Curiosity about what LIFE has planned for you… which is ALWAYS awesome.

But.

There is a problem.

If we want to achieve deeds in our life…. How can we be detached?

We HAVE to be attached to some outcomes – the ones we are fighting for – to see them happen, to focus our efforts. Don’t we? How can we conciliate detachment and achievements?

With humility.

But.

If we want to achieve some deeds it is because we are ambitious, aren’t we? How can we be ambitious and humble at the same time?

With humor and lightness.

My guess is that a key attitude is trying not to be attached in the first place.

You graduate with honors? Don’t take yourself to seriously, don’t attach yourself to success.

You are getting married? Remember you don’t own your partner, remember you can loose him/her anyday, be attach to build the most beautiful and fulfiling relationship but respect the freedom of each one.

As Rudyard Kipling wrote in “IF”, treat triumph and disaster the same way: they both are impostors. Your essence is much more than your Ego.

Bottom line. Life is about learning and growing. When life forces you to release, there is for sure a beautiful lesson or opportunity awaiting for you at the next corner! Try not to resist to much before you let go… Why exhaust yourself if change is part of life?

We will all have to let go some day and risk ourselves into the unknown…

Note: Thanks to the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for triggering the reflection.

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Love is not a feeling


Thanks to my friend Yana, I have been reading David Richo’s books excerpts. I found lots of very creative perspectives. For example, he invites the reader to face the fact that change is inevitable, that we might gain much more by letting go than staying attached to what is… But where he really surprised me was with this affirmation: “Love is not a feeling, it is a choice.” It made me remember of my Philosophy teacher  Emeterio Gomez who invited us to reflect upon the differences between “Loving your child, loving the cashier at your local supermarket and loving the person that had harmed you.” That reflection is a good way to perceive what love might be, what love can be.

I love passion, I love being in love, I enjoy the feeling of loving all my loved ones, as something that springs naturally from my heart, something that overwhelms me, that makes me feel alive and it seems to me so very different from a choice! A choice is a mental decision isn’t it? How can be love a mental decision? That wouldn’t be love then!

Well, I think David Richo is right. There is a choice prior to love, the choice of allowing the feeling to rise and grow, the choice to put fear aside, the choice of opening our heart. There is also a choice, once love is there, to nurture it, to make it as sublime as possible, to remain mindful of it, to avoid controlling the loved one. And when love has been hurt, there is also the choice of keeping our heart soft and not let the pain harden it, the choice of feeling the grace of forgiveness, the choice of acceptance.

It looks like what David Richo is inviting us to do, is to focus on our heart rather than our ego! And I like the invitation! You can read more and download the free book at: http://davericho.com

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Thank you Aldous Huxley!


In “A brave new world”, Aldous Huxley shows us a society living in happiness. People are conditioned to love their job and place in society, people have no family nor durable partner, so there are no struggles nor attachments, therefore there is no pain, therefore everybody is happy. People are never alone so there is neither individuality nor boredom. After this reading, I wonder if the pursuit of happiness is really a good thing to achieve. As I have written here before, our culture despise for sadness, weariness and loneliness might be leading us in the wrong direction: We don’t have to be happy at any cost! When we are sad or lonely maybe it is precisely when we are most connected to our humanity!

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Views of Daoism


Dao is “The way”, the way we live our lives, the way the universe works and the way we think about those things and understand our lives.

The concepts we use to think are projections of our own concerns, we use them to attribute properties and value to things that have no intrinsic value. These projections distance us from reality and make it imposible to us to see reality in its infinite manifestations and shades. We ought to stop labeling, stop making distinctions, stop cutting reality in chunks. Reality is a whole. When you see good, you create bad; when you see winner you create looser…

To make decisions we just have to act spontaneously, following our intuition and passions, staying in harmony with all things. We should get rid of wisdom, reason, justice, kindness, cleverness, profit and rigidity; Wear the undyed, hold the uncarved, return to nature…

We are just participants of a vast array of processes, our achievements are the consequences of many processes in which we play only one part. We can never say:” I made it, I succeeded” because for sure, several circumstances made possible that very success.

“Our self-centered, goal-directed behavior is often exactly what gets in the way of accomplishing our goals.” This is a nerve breaking affirmation for any “occidental” individual because we are formatted to define goals and do as much effort as it is required to achieve them, the bigger the effort, the bigger the success. Daoism presents a completely different perspective: be spontaneous, follow your instinct, be align with your true self, experience effortlessness, tune in with the whole and you will see your goals achieving in cooperation with the whole.

2 important points of view of daoist are the following:

1-Cultivation and effort appear only when we lose our character, the Dao urges us to recover our spontaneity and natural state. The artificial values of society we learn through “cultivation” often lead us to decadence and corruption.

2-When the way is lost, virtue appears, when virtue is lost kindness appears, when kindness is lost justice appears and when justice is lost, ritual appears. That means: When we have lost our ability to go with the flow of the whole, in harmony with all things, we will need to be virtuous; if we cannot be virtuous, at least we will expected to be kind and when we are not able to be kind, we will need justice to oblige each one of us.

Daoism tells us to live our life as if we were water: not resisting, going with the flow, making our way around obstacles, manifesting our very nature and spontaneity, nourishing everything we make contact with.

Possibilities are just as important as achievements.

Rigidity is death, softness & weakness is life.

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Because children bring the lessons we need to learn in life, they are our masters.
You could answer: “I don’t want any lessons! I want to succeed in my job and enjoy life!”
I say: -Why do you want to have success and enjoyment?
You will say: -To feel fulfilled.
and I will add: -Growth and flourishing are the best way to fulfillment.
You might insist:-My personal way to flourish, is to find success and enjoyment.
I answer: -Success is external and enjoyment is ephemeral and limited, growth is about you and is limitless.
You will go on: -And what about all the money and all the time I will spend on my children…?… I can learn much more anywhere else!
My answer is: -That is exactly what you will learn: How to make that time enjoyable and meaningful. There is no other way to learn than from the heart.

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What is the highest good of all, what is our highest aim as human beings?
Pleasure?… Aristotle says it is not distinctive of humans.
Honor?… It is more about who confers it than who receives it.
Excellence?… You can excel in one area of life and be miserable in another one.
Wealth?… Is just a mean to something else.

We do look for Pleasure, Honor, Excellence, Wealth, because we believe through them we will be happy.
What really makes us happy, our highest aim, is to flourish.
How do we achieve that?
Aristotle says we need:
From within: Virtues, Practical Wisdom, and Moral strength.
From the external: Material goods and Connection with others.

Happiness requires actions in accordance with virtues, actions require choices, choices require wisdom and actions need moral strength to be executed.
Practical wisdom gives us the skills that enable us to attain our goals.
We need more that good intentions and good character if we want to accomplish things: to put our desires and thoughts into actions we will need Moral Strength.
Moral strength is being able to postpone gratification, to resist immediate temptation and to be able to face pain.

Virtue: Virtue is not a natural behavior but what is interesting about it is that once you have practiced the virtue, it becomes natural to you and pleasurable, that’s why educators and parents are so important in developing children’s virtues: the child has to face the pain of practice virtue in order to experience the benefits and feel the pleasure of flourishing. (Have you ever thought of Aristotle as an alternative to Dr Spock?)
Virtues are means between two extreme vices:
Courage……… between Cowardice and Rashness
Generosity…….between Stinginess and Profligacy
Dignity……….between Self-deprecation and Pomposity
Wittiness……..between Tediousness and Buffoonery
Friendliness……between Grouchiness and Promiscuity
Honesty……….between Dishonesty and Tactlessness

Serenity………between Inaction and Stress
Acceptance…….between Passive and Demanding

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