A Meditation on Empathy

I knew that if I didn’t heed the call, winter would be arriving soon and I’d miss my yearly visit. Quiet time in a cozy cabin sitting at the edge of the lake at Rocky Point is one of my most favorite weekend retreats. I simply adore reading, writing and being still by water and also reflecting on all the precious times  in the last 25 years I’ve shared here with loved ones. If you asked people that know me, most would say I am an extrovert but those closer in would answer differently. They’d say I have extroverted energy because I’ve had introverted time.  Periods of solitude create consistent inspiration and genuine generosity. That’s how it’s worked in my life.

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15 Summers: Living in the Moment with a Vision

Tonight, having dinner with a friend in the oldest restaurant in London, Rules, built in 1798, I am reminded why I have been coming to this beautiful city for 30 years. I adore musical theatre, art museums and history and I find an abundance of all three easily accessible here with the Underground and my two enthusiastic feet!

Surrounded by the past and enjoying friendship in the present, my conversation with Ashok landed on a discussion he’d had the week before with an English chap he’d known for years. His friend had just celebrated his 60th birthday and sat down with himself to calculate, based on statistical information, that he had approximately 15 summers left!  This was the non-working time he had looked forward to and planned for every year of his adult life. Now, it seemed to him there were fewer going forward.

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Reflections on Belonging

Years ago I read a quote that only people that are already married can get married. I’ve suspected that would be me one day adding to the familiarity of the story I heard tonight.

As they sat together in their hot non-air-conditioned apartment in San Francisco and I on my breezy terrace overlooking the ocean in Mexico, I had the privilege of learning about Tyler and Molly’s unique love story. At times like this I adore technology. In spite of the occasional internet interruptions on Skype, I felt as though we were meeting in person.

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On Mexico Time

When I don’t have to do anything, what do I do? I don’t mean for an hour or a day. I mean for months, 3 months to be exact.

Most of us can’t or would never ask that question. I’ve been a perfect example! Each week I wrote my intentions on seven sheets of copier paper stapled together with much the same repeated, (ie…meditate, take vitamins, get exercise, etc.), plus work responsibilities, chores, social engagements, etc. There was one sheet for every day of the week and very little white space.  I’ve probably been more compulsive and hard core than most but I suspect most of us that pride ourselves on being “responsible” have some sort of a system to stay organized and focused. I woke knowing what the ‘plan’ was for that day and credited this list writing ritual for being a successful doer. Maybe you are similar, we get shit done!

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Acceptance is not for the Weak of Heart

It takes courage to speak and live from one’s integrity and to listen openheartedly to someone else’s integrity. It’s vulnerable. One who comes mainly from narcissism, a false persona and worthiness seeking patterns, will find that kind of vulnerability impossible to access. The neuro pathways aren’t there. True empathy comes from self compassion and there needs to be a true self for which to have compassion. Listening without defense or blame is usually the most a person with narcissistic tendencies can do and that can even be highly challenging. Validation may not only be sought for the effort, taking priority over any additional understanding of your needs, but the listening may come with a certain emotional distance or arrogance.

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