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At the Center of a Beautiful Life: MEDITATION (Calm, Nourished & Totally Lovable… Every Day)

“Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment
I know this is a wonderful moment.”
–Thích Nhat Hanh, Being Peace

Quan Yin Meditation

Quan Yin, Goddess of Great Compassion (with wish-fulfilling and healing willow branch)

Some time ago I began searching for a daily practice that could provide nourishment on all levels — from my outlook and state of mind, to my physical and spiritual well-being. I’d been meditating for years, and could make a simple switch to drop into a deep state of Fierce Presence at will, but I wasn’t able to sustain a daily meditation practice for more than a month or two without intermittent pauses.

The thing is, my meditation practice has been the cornerstone of my life path for many years — a sanctuary of sanity — and I knew I was holding myself back by not committing to a regular daily practice. So, I resolved to cultivate a practice of mindful awareness on all levels, every day, led by my morning meditations. Since then I’ve experienced remarkable stretches of clarity, and some fascinating revelations!  Continue Reading →

Breathing and Being Peace with Thích Nhat Hanh

“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”
– Thích Nhat Hanh

thich nhat hanh omThích Nhat Hanh (born October 11, 1926) is a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist. He lives in the Plum Village Monastery in the Dordogne region in the South of France, traveling internationally to give retreats and talks.

I witnessed one of his talks at the Riverside Cathedral in New York, just after September 11th, 2001. I can that say without question he is the living embodiment of his teaching.

Here is an excerpt from the book, Being Peace by Thích Nhat Hanh:

“From time to time, to remind ourselves to relax, to be peaceful, we may wish to set aside some time for a retreat, a day of mindfulness, when we can walk slowly, smile, drink tea with a friend, enjoy being together as if we are the happiest people on Earth. This is not a retreat, it is a treat. During walking meditation, during kitchen and garden work, during sitting meditation, all day long, we can practice smiling. At first you may find it difficult to smile, and we have to think about why. Smiling means that we are ourselves, that we have sovereignty over ourselves, that we are not drowned into forgetfulness. This kind of smile can be seen on the faces of Buddhas and bodisattvas.

“I would like to offer one short poem you can recite from time to time, while breathing and smiling.  Continue Reading →

Lucky You {Freedom endless…passport optional}

airport of the soul

where do you want to go today?


In a world that’s ever changing,
a life that won’t stop moving.
a mind that keeps on ticking,
there’s only one constant.
One thing in the world you can count on.

It’s you.

Not the little you,
“small mind you,”
with its fears and doubts and neuroses.
That one is a bit of a mess.
Let’s face it. Messy…like life.
Continue Reading →

The Energy of Mindfulness – with Thich Nhat Hanh (The simple, elegant, powerful solution to just about Everything?)


When we drink a glass of water, and if we know that we are drinking a glass of water, if we’re concentrated on the fact that we are drinking water, mindfulness is already there. And the water drinking becomes deeper, truer, and real. – Thich Nhat Hanh

Driving in the car on my journey north in search of magic and lost treasure — from Southern California to Southern Oregon — I’m listening to a talk by Thich Nhat Hanh, the wonderful Zen master and peace activist. I’m present and focused on listening as I drive…. (Being fully present with just driving can be exhausting after a while.)

Life can only be touched in the here and the now — the here contains the now, and the now contains the here — and that is why the practice is to go back to the present moment in order to touch life. Life has so many wonders within it, and if we do not go back to the present moment, we can never touch life with all the wonders….

Our appointment with life is in the present moment. If we miss the appointment, life is not for us. And that is why the practice of mindfulness is first of all the practice of being back to life and touching life in the present moment.

Continue Reading →

Original Mind: A Zen practice for greater beauty and flow every day

“In beginner’s mind we have many possibilities, but in expert mind there is not much possibility. So in our practice it is important to resume to our original mind, or inmost mind, which we, ourselves — even we, ourselves do not know what it is. – Zen master Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, Beginner’s Mind lecture, 1965

Beginner's Mind

Beginners mind — original mind — is a daily practice, a way of approaching life. Since adopting this practice I’ve found it helps me experience a more joyful, fulfilling and fluid experience of life…more ease and flow in each moment of the day. The concept is known in Zen Buddhism as shoshin.

Shoshin enables a tangible sense of wonder and a deeper connection to my spirit as I go about daily work and life. This state of mind offers a rich foundation for living in alignment with my spirit, and being more effective in helping others have more fulfillment and ease in their own lives and goals.

Original mind is a practice along these lines: Continue Reading →

Hello Clarity Old Friend, Goodbye Confusion: Dialing In the Love

dial in the love - los angeles

{Los Angeles skyline ~ via}

I was feeling hazy this morning and resistant to writing, but I have a commitment to stick to: Write at least one article per week, and publish on Tuesdays by 12 noon.  I’m doing this for a few reasons, but overall I know it’s good for my own growth and for my people

(Aside from last week for my birthday I’ve been pretty good about it, though sometimes late on the noon deadline — !)

The problem is that sometimes I’m hazy, cranky, jumpy or overwhelmed with life/work, and it’s not the most fertile ground (a lot of times lately, it seems!). Because I’m working with a certain flow of energy that corresponds to what’s happening in my life and the world, I can’t write articles more than 24 hours in advance as I inevitably end up scrapping them.

Today I found a decent solution to cutting through the haze and resistance, so I decided to share that with you. A fun mini spiritual practice… 

Dialing In the Love Continue Reading →

The Lion’s Roar in the Eyes of a Skull: Serve Up the Greatest Truth from the Platter of Your Soul

A monk asked Tosu, “Is there a dragon howl in a dead tree?”
Tosu said, “I say there’s a lion roar in a skull. ”
~ Zen master Dogen Zenji (1200-1253)

Nick Brandt Sitting Lionesses

Nick Brandt, Sitting Lionesses, Serengetti

Somewhere inside most of us is a belief that living from the truth of our essence is somehow in conflict with worldly success — that we must suffer long and hard before we can enjoy the fruits of this life. It’s an old belief that carries through from our ancestors and ages of hardship and struggle through time.

And perhaps there is some truth in this. The yin and the yang — darkness and light.

But have you not suffered enough already?

It is my experience that has showed me, that has demonstrated time and again, that the choice I make to transmute this darkness determines the outcome. It is a process of life, death and rebirth. And only through my conscious choice to complete this cycle from darkness and back to light again, am I able to serve up a great feast of love and abundance.

Having experienced the sadness of suffering and dissatisfaction in your life, you are free to choose your lessons from a great platter.

From this great platter you serve up the wisdom of Truth. That which you have chosen to transmute through your seeing.

This is seeing from the eyes of your primordial truth — the essence. Seeing from the face of your essence, through the illusion of your victimization.

The suffering transmuted, it is gone — dead — burned in the fire of love. What will you serve up from these great ashes?

This is the lion’s roar in the eyes of a skull.

Share the feast of your heart — that thirst which can only be quenched by bringing it out to the light, and offering it up to us. Let us feast on the light of your truth. The Fire of Love.

Perhaps you can feel the emptiness and dissatisfaction inside you now.

Why not ask, ‘what is this great thirst inside?’

It is only waiting to be quenched by the light of your heart — the eye of love — to be seen and plucked up from the darkness. Served up from the platter of your soul…

The Fire in your heart — the great thirst — is the Dragon’s howl. It is the lion’s roar in the Eye of Love.

We are thirsty too. Let our thirst be quenched from the light of your wisdom — the wisdom of transmuted suffering.

A monk asked Kyogen, “What is the Way?”
Kyogen said, “A dragon howl in a dead tree.
The monk said, “I don’t understand.”
Kyogen said, “Eyes in a skull.”

dragon howl & lion roar: ‘the great life following the great death.’ Rediscovery & reawakening of the whole potential after liberation from bondage to conditioning [thought-forms and belief systems]. Seeing the truth in things.
dead tree & skull: nirvana, the great death.
Is there life after the great death of awakening? What does the dragon say?

Eyes in a skull: seeing after enlightenment; understanding, but not in (of) the ordinary mind. [...]

The dragon howl, the lion roar, are never completely hidden. What is hidden is ‘Who is hiding it?’”

~ Thomas Cleary, Rational Zen: The Mind of Dogen Zenji (quoted from the zen site).


In Love and Truth,


From the eye of love — the lion’s roar — I offer this now:

Fire of Love Healing and Life-Work Whispering – private sessions to guide you through the transmutation of sadness, confusion and doubt into clarity, strength and the flow of your life’s great work. (Limited availability — in person or via skype.)

Lion Heart Immersion – a deep immersion into your soul’s fire to create paid offerings, and offer up your truth to the world via the web and in person. (Limited availability — in person or skype, with an upgrade option to have one of only three more websites we build before Feb. 9th 2012, the end of the Year of the Dragon.)

Both of these new offerings are available by application. See the consulting page for more info.


Share this if it resonates with you — on Facebook, or Twitter, Email or Google+ — thank you. :)


On the Quest for Affluence and Creative Flow ~ My Most Essential Practice

I’m back at the blog after three weeks of Silence here! Today I’m sharing about something very dear to my soul. If I’ve accomplished anything good in the past couple years, and you’ve benefited from it in any way, this is why…

Sunset Ocean View Costa Rica

A recent sunset near my current home on the Central Pacific coast of Costa Rica.


A couple years ago my life was forever changed when I met a man named David Elliott at a breathwork healing circle in Ashland, Oregon. He was touring for his newly released book, Healing.

I’ve done so many spiritual practices in my life I was hardly interested in a new one, but my good friend and healer Michael Baker was traveling 600 miles to attend this event, and urged me to make the jump to meet David in person too! I knew I had to be there, even if the cost of the event felt a bit steep at the time.

Well, I made it to the circle that night and my life was forever changed. I was inexplicably drawn to work with this master healer and attended David’s Healer Training courses Level 1–4, finally receiving the Breathwork Healer certification a year later with his support.

This week I was able to host a group call with David for the Fire of Love Community. It was an eye-opening reminder of the power of this work, and how far I’ve come since starting on the Healer Training journey. I hope this post helps explain a bit more how and why it matters…


Continue Reading →

Enjoy the Silence




“The mind can go in a thousand directions.
But on this beautiful path, I walk in peace.
With each step, a gentle wind blows.
With each step, a flower blooms.”

~Thich Nhat Hanh

Each step you take with a quiet, present mind also brings greater peace and tranquility to the world around you. This is true of any work you do, and how you engage with others online.

It is a basic function of resonance.

res·o·nance  / Noun: {Oxford Dictionaries}

1. the quality in a sound of being deep, full, and reverberating:
the resonance of his voice

2. the power to evoke enduring images, memories, and emotions:
the concepts lose their emotional resonance

3. Physics the reinforcement or prolongation of sound by reflection from a surface or by the synchronous vibration of a neighbouring object.

We overlook the significant resonance of silence, because our minds are busy delighting themselves, and because the feedback loop is more gratifying when it hits all our senses (and perhaps because we have not quite refined our more intuitive ones).

Silence is delightful!

To really enjoy it is to know peace. It’s a matter of turning the mind inward, and reining in the innocent whimsies of the mind doing what it does best. Then there is more space for enjoyment without needing external stimuli.

Going into a state of more relaxed and present awareness — just even 5% more present now — do you feel the silent essence of this writing?

(Does it not bring some quiet sense of peace and tranquility to your heart?)

:: So I ask you to consider again, what is the significance of bringing a clear and silent mind to your own life? ::

This is one definition of walking in beauty.

Enjoy the silence,

I’ve recently landed from a whirlwind adventure of beautiful crazy, and using this as a daily practice to rein it all in now. Will you join me? (…and please let me know how it goes for you too.)

Thank you also for sharing this in mindfully present solidarity! :)