Getting out of the nest

I stumbled on this quote from Pema Chodron in a book I was reading this week:

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.”

Isn’t that counter-intuitive? When you’re organized and doing good work, doesn’t that mean you keep control of your time and your days? And when you’re truly engaged with your work, isn’t that when you feel fully alive and awake? And when you’re “continually thrown out of the nest,” doesn’t that feel crazy and chaotic? Continue reading

Walking the Artist’s Path

I met last night with a group of 11 women to start working our way through the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I read this book about 20 years ago with a couple of friends. Reading it got me back into the theater – first teaching it to kids. That lead to getting back on stage. Then I started writing for the theater, and now I’m writing, directing, and running a theater group. All good. All high energy!

What I like about The Artist’s Way is that it assumes that creativity is part of everyone’s nature but that it can get lost in the day-to-day shuffle of life. The book has fun, simple exercises that help you remember who you are and get you back to practicing “the art of creative living.” Continue reading

Free Meditation Challenge with Zen Master Sharon Salzberg

Sharon Salzberg offers a 28-day meditation challenge each February. If you’ve been thinking about starting a meditation practice, Sharon’s prompts cover a lot of territory which is a great way to find something that works for you. Recent studies show short-term and long-term benefits from meditating even for short periods of time each day. Meditation helps you be calm. It helps you focus. It helps you detach from the day-to-day crazies. And it helps your body heal itself. What’s not to love!?

And when you do something for 28 days, guess what? You’ve formed a new, healthy habit. Yay!

I met Sharon over a decade ago at a weekend retreat in NYC. The irony of having a meditative retreat in the heart of NYC is not lost on me. :). When I signed up for Sharon’s meditation challenge this year, I remembered why I like her so much. I’ve told you this story before, but here it is again.  Continue reading

Welcoming conflict as an opportunity

When you’re trying to get something done, the last thing you want is something, or someone, standing in your way. But sometimes conflict is exactly what you need to stop, to reconsider the direction you’re heading, and to make a change.

I’m in the middle of a great book called Sacred Instruction by Sherri Mitchell. Here are some of Sherri’s thoughts on the beauty of conflict. Continue reading

The Joy of Color

I’m reading a great new book: Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness by Ingrid Fetell Lee. Lee opens the book with studies and thoughts about what makes a moment joyous and settles in on something quite simple: color.

If you want to change a drab day, a drab building, or a drab party, add bright, warm colors and you add a pop of joy to the world. Think birthday party balloons. Chinese dragon parades. Maypole ribbons. Hot air balloon festivals. Fields of wildflowers. Can you picture any of these in black and white? No! Just thinking about these colors brings up a bubble of joy.

“Color is energy made visible.”

Lee believes that energy is all around us and that bright colors have high energy that’s contagious.

If you need a little pop of energy, you could try something as simple as… Continue reading

Standing firm in a time of change

From your first breath as you emerged from the water of the womb to your last sigh as you leave the earth, each breath connects you to nature, to your work, and to fellow human beings across the world.

Can you tell I just finished reading a book on Wind work? 🙂

Author and shamanic healer Renee Baribeau’s book, Winds of Spirit, blows you around in all manner of directions. Here’s my #1 takeaway:

If you’re feeling disconnected from your work or your life, take off your shoes, step outside, and take a “wind bath.” Start off with a few deep breaths. Then ask yourself a question. Continue reading

Is singing the new exercise?

No matter what type of work you’re doing, finding a “like” community can help you accomplish more and have more fun with what you’re doing.

In Daniel Pink’s book, When, he writes about the benefits of choral singing – a unique kind of community. If you’ve ever sung with a group, you know how it lifts your spirit even more than singing solo. “Happy” countries, like the Netherlands, have regular gatherings where everyone sings. And I think group singing is why so many of us love theater – both participating in it and being part of the audience.

It’s not a stretch to think that singing makes you feel good. But check out the other benefits Pink lists for choral singing: Continue reading