Becoming a Buddhist Minister and Mindfulness Coach at 47: Sunada’s Story

I’m very honored to be interviewed on the blog Next Act for Women, featuring women who reinvent themselves in midlife. Thank you to Hélène Tragos Stelian for arranging this. Here’s a link to the full post.

Becoming a Buddhist Minister and Mindfulness Coach at 47: Sunada’s Story

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16-Year-Old Malala Yousafzai Leaves Jon Stewart Speechless With Comment About Pacifism

malaladailyshow-2What an amazing young woman. After being shot in the head by a Taliban member, she has come back fighting. Fighting for the right of Pakistani women to be educated. She is now the youngest person ever nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. And though she …

Why we love to worry, and what to do about it

worryJanet, a woman in one of my mindfulness classes, was feeling nervous. She was afraid of speaking up in class. It was a fairly large group – 20 people – and she felt self-conscious about the prospect of so many eyes on her. But she also worried that by staying silent, she wasn’t taking part enough in the supportive community that was forming. And thinking these thoughts made her worry all the more.

I reassured her that there was no requirement to speak up. Everyone was free to talk or not, to the extent they felt comfortable. Just listening in was perfectly OK. Her presence alone was what mattered. But she couldn’t stop fretting about it.

I think we all have a bit of Janet inside us. We start with a little uneasiness about something, and before we realize it, it grows bigger and bigger. Even when we know it’s irrational, we feel pulled in by it.

How to get out of your own way

I used to write and blog regularly – for many years. But then last summer I went through a major house move that totally disrupted my life and brought my writing to a halt.

But that’s mostly just an excuse. I’ll admit it’s inertia and my inner critic that’s getting in my way now. Despite my wanting to do it, I’ve always found it hard to write. And when I fell off my routine, and weeks and months passed, it just got harder and harder to get restarted.

I’m wondering if this sounds familiar to any of you out there. When it feels like YOU are the main thing getting in your way?

Practice when life gets tough

Sometimes life comes at us full force and overwhelms us. That’s what happened to me the last few months. Things happened that were so overpowering that all my usual routines went out the window just so I could get through each day. My work, my social life – and yes, my sitting practice – pretty much dropped off my plate.

At times like this, people often say, “Life got in my way.” But that’s so not true. This IS my life. Just because I don’t like it, doesn’t mean it’s standing in my way. Actually, I think it’s exactly the opposite. It’s showing me exactly where I need to go to push beyond my comfort zone. It’s like a custom designed life lesson created just for me.

The dance of allowing

There is no controlling life.
Try corralling a lightning bolt, containing a tornado.
Dam a stream and it will create a new channel.
Resist, and the tide will sweep you off your feet.
Allow, and grace will carry you to higher ground…

I recently discovered this wonderful poem by Danna Faulds (which is an excerpt — the full poem is here.) It has really struck me because the themes of letting go and allowing have been coming up everywhere for me.

Lessons from Those Who Lost … and Found

What an inspiring trio of life stories. Three people who went through a major loss — one that took away arguably their biggest gift in their lives — and used it to become all the stronger and wiser because of it. The three are Grant Achatz, a chef who lost his sense of taste; Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroscientist who suffered a stroke; and Govindappa Venkatswamy, a surgeon with crippled fingers.

What the internet does to our minds

Some words of caution on web surfing, from Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains:

“When you’re constantly taking in new bits of information – as we do when we browse the Web, check e-mail or …

The Seven Fears of Highly Successful People

This is an excellent post by Martin Murphy about what it takes to live up to our potential. As he puts it, “Your ability to create and experience more success is equal to your potential (which nobody knows), minus the resistance… Successful people experience the same challenges as everyone else but they respond effectively as opposed to reacting out of fear.”

Steps to facing uncertainty and unleashing your potential.
“We all know fear.
But passion makes us fearless”

– Paulo Coelho
The Transformation Age is here and we are all going to have to step up our game. Now is not the time to play small; it is time for amplifying your vision, unleashing your passion, unlocking your potential and going after your dreams.
Success = Potential – Resistance
Your ability to create and experience more success is equal to your potential (which nobody knows), minus the resistance. The resistance can be many things but the biggest challenge humanity faces is fear.

How “letting go” helps us get things done

Joe, a student in my online class, was worried that meditation would hurt his career. He works in a very competitive business where everyone is single-mindedly pushing and driving hard all the time. The whole idea of “letting go” seemed absurd in that context. But at the same time his stress and anxiety levels were sky high. He knew this wasn’t a sustainable way to live.

Yes it’s true that in meditation, we’re told to drop everything and let go. But that doesn’t mean becoming passive and ineffectual. There’s more to this instruction than meets the eye.