‘The degree of love we manifest determines the degree of spaciousness and freedom we can bring to life’s events.

Imagine taking a small glass of water and putting into it a teaspoon of salt. Because of the small size of the container, the teaspoon of salt is going to have a big impact upon the water. However, if you approach a much larger body of water, such as a lake, and put into it that same teaspoonful of salt, it will not have the same intensity of impact, because of the vastness and openness of the vessel receiving it. Even when the salt remains the same, the spaciousness of the vessel receiving it changes everything.

We spend a lot of our lives looking for a feeling of safety or protection – we try to alter the amount of salt that comes our way. Ironically, the salt is the very thing that we cannot do anything about, as life changes and offers us repeated ups and downs. Our true work is to create a container so immense that any amount of salt, even a truckload, can come into it without affecting our capacity to receive it.’  Sharon Salzberg


TFFT: Compassion is Powerful, Find Out Why.

Compassion hurts

It is hard to be tender hearted.  Despite the best efforts of my grandparents who raised me, my teachers, all the cruelty of the world and the mean heartedness of some people, I have survived.  I stopped fighting it as a young woman when I finally realized that despite the pain, it was also my greatest gift, affording me sight and understanding that not everyone else had.

But compassion is not just a gift, it is a necessity for our lives, and especially for the future of our children.

The ability to feel compassion means you have a connection to the world around you.  It is what causes us to stop from bullying someone when we have been bullied.  We can remember how painful it was for us so we can understand the hurt our actions will cause someone else.  It is what allows us to respond with a hug and kind words when we see that someone is depressed.  It is what can even spur us into action to do away with injustices.



But there is an even greater power in compassion.  Not only do we know understand that the emotions we hold in our bodies have a direct impact on our DNA and the life affirming or life denying chemistry that is released in our bodies, we know that compassion has the most  powerful impact of all the positive emotions.  (See Emotions Can Change Your DNA.)

Dr. David Hawkins in his book Power vs. Force created a Map of Consciousness of the effect of emotions on the energy level, which can be measured through applied Kinesiology.  He shows how the presence of just one person who resonates at the higher levels of compassion and empathy are capable of positively impacting the energy of the masses.  You can test out and try many of the things he talks about in your own life.  It is a fascinating book, well worth a read.

We all have had experience with how the energy of a positive or caring person can alter a room for the better and how someone who is depressed and negative can seem to suck the life right out of people.  I have experimented myself by noting the change in my office staff with a change in the emotion I hold in myself.  I have learned the power of learning to catch the negative emotions as they happen and channeling myself through simple exercises and practices to a more positive place.


Inner Peace


It has brought me such joy to realize I can enjoy what is natural for me instead of being an emotional football that is at the mercy of how others treat me.  It has given me a sense of purpose and a firm resolve to honour what my heart asks of me.  As I work to improve my ability to overcome my many failings and shortcomings I am moved that in doing so I can make a difference in the world around me and in the lives of those people I love.

Looking at the world and others with compassion has helped me feel more connected, more forgiving, more willing to do what may seem difficult and beyond my reach.  I know that all that is needed for all of us to find peace and joy is simply for us to love one another, support one another as each of us find our own ways and determine what our journeys are about and how we will journey them.  Defeat is what happens when you focus on the impossible.  Success is what happens when you find one thing that you can do right now and do it.


“And therefore, all of those for whom authentic transformation has deeply unseated their souls must, I believe, wrestle with the profound moral obligation to shout form the heart—perhaps quietly and gently, with tears of reluctance; perhaps with fierce fire and angry wisdom; perhaps with slow and careful analysis; perhaps by unshakable public example—but authentically always and absolutely carries a a demand and duty: you must speak out, to the best of your ability, and shake the spiritual tree, and shine your headlights into the eyes of the complacent. You must let that radical realization rumble through your veins and rattle those around you.”  Ken Wilber

Pray For Peace. Compassion One Heart At a Time.


It is easy today to point to people in other countries and situations and talk about their shocking lack of compassion.  How could they kill innocent children like that?  How could they do that to women?  How could that woman have done that to her child?

But I live in a world, in my small corner of life, where there are people living their lives without compassion.  Their happiness seems predicated on making other people suffer.   These are not random acts that occur that one could say it was a mistake, they didn’t mean it …. these are systematic, prolonged efforts to destroy other human beings with unkindness.  These are people who are not only openly practicing hate in their own lives, they are teaching their children how to do the same.

Peace is not something that has to happen in a third world country or at the neighbour’s house.   It has to begin within our own hearts and govern our actions.  It has to start with the ability to act with compassion in all things.  We can be firm, have principles, effect laws . . . with compassion.

Because the only other choice is for people to join together to cut out the cancers in our society, to start saying “No” to the people who fill our lives with their hateful words and conduct.  I know for me, once there is a clear pattern of behaviour that says, “no matter what I choose to continue to act with malice and hate.  It is my intent to continue to hurt and destroy others.”  I am out of there.  THEY have to find their hearts.  THEY have to effect change in their lives.

Choosing peace, choosing compassion is as much about what we do not choose.  There is no place in a world of peace for people whose view of life and love is so narrow that they require people around them to hate others in order to be “loved” by them.  This is the mindset of the sheep herd.  This is the mindset of bullies.  This is the mindset that leads to war and death.  It is not something “over there” it exists all around us and we have to start saying “no” to it in our own lives, and making sure it no longer has any place to be comfortable.





“In life, we think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem.  The real truth is that things don’t really get solved.   They come together for a time,  then they fall back apart.  Then they come together again and fall apart again.  It’s just like that.

Personal discovery and growth come from letting there be room for all of this to happen:  room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.

Suffering comes from wishing things were different.  Misery is self inflicted, when we are expecting the “ideal” to overcome the “actual” or needing things (or people, or places) to be different for us so we can then be happy.

Let the hard things in life break you.  Let then effect you.  Let them change you.  Let these hard moments inform you.  let this pain be your teacher.  the experiences of your life are trying to tell you something about yourself.  Don’t cop out on that.  Don’t run away and hide under your covers.  Lean into it.

What is the lesson in this wind?  What is this storm trying to tell you?  What will you learn if your face it with courage?  With full honesty and – lean into it.”  Pema Chödrön

Moses, Briefcases, and Crinolines. A Sunday School Take Down.


While other kids were getting their “Strawberry Shortcake” back packs I was insistent on a briefcase. I had some important stuff and no way was I going to trust it to some pony that sparkled or that dimwit Barbie.  I firmly believed that if you were going to be taken seriously, you had to dress the part.

It was really effective in church. They would herd us into Sunday School class – I am serious … this bell would sound and  this guy who looked like Moses leading the Israelites (only we were more miniature and in fluffier dresses)would take us through the wilderness (the pews) to the promised land of milk and cookies.  It would be years before I found out that “Moses” was a woman and that yes, women could have facial hair like that and really ugly brown sandals.

Sunday School was basically a babysitting service for parents.  I am not sure any of them were really that committed to church. They kind of picked and chose what parts they wanted to follow which was usually the required outfits, singing (albeit off-key) most of the words in the hymns and standing and sitting when required. After that it was like a free for all, make up your own rules as you go. They rejected the hard stuff like loving one another, not drinking themselves stupid the night before, and honesty.  In fairness some of them may have just forgotten some of it.  There are 10 rules and 6 days in between reminders and if is hard when you really really want your neighbour’s wife.  I think they just liked the idea of getting a break for a couple of hours on a Sunday morning – who cared if they all had to dress up and sing to get it.  They were puppets jumping up and down and responding to the old lady with the purple hair waving her arms in the air.

They would get the kids into the basement, closing the door to protect the parents, and make us sit on little painted chairs like somehow we would be excited to sit some more just because we were lower to the ground. People really underestimate the intelligence of children when they think they can be distracted with some bright colours and smiling, cut-out suns. First we had to perform – singing “Jesus Wants Me for A Sunbeam” – which I could never figure out. I thought Jesus knew everything and if he wanted sunbeams he should have just made us sunbeams.  I actually had a few suggestion on who to sacrifice first.  I dreamt about it …

“Aria where is Biff and what have you done with him?”

“Nothing!”   And I would go to the window and point up into the night sky.  ” Jesus wanted him for a Sunbeam … so he went.  He gave his life to the Lord.  You should be proud.”

Also – it should be noted that none of my dreams concluded with me and my grandfather alone in my bedroom with Mr. Belt.  For years that was how I could tell the difference between reality and fantasy.  Fantasy did not have a “Mr. Belt.”  The leader of the fantasy party had outlawed belts long long ago and there were never any elections.  Fantasy world is a dictatorship where my butt is NEVER under attack. Reality sucks.

So we sang to Moses about being Sunbeams and Wise men and Foolish Men who were builders. I struck construction off my list of possible careers early on – just to avoid that thin line between ending up a wise man or a fool. We would have to do all these songs with actions in them because singing about fishing without the casting and reeling in action can actually put people into a coma. I tried really getting into it and making it more realistic by screaming once when I hid “this little light of mine” under a bushel which is evidently your hand. Why can’t they just say “hand?” How are little kids supposed to know what they are even talking about? Anyway I screamed because come on people, if you put a candle under your hand it is going to burn.  How many times had I been told NOT to put my hand over the birthday cake candles because I would get burned?  And then there was Moses smiling and singing and telling us to put our little light under our hands.  So I screamed that my hand was on fire and I stopped, dropped and rolled.  I just want to put that out there that I was stopping and dropping and rolling long before that became a famous saying.   Later my butt was on fire and I learned never ever to get carried away with the song actions. Sunday School song actions must be contained.  A good rule of thumb is if what you are about to do gives you that “whee” feeling in your stomach like when you go up and down hills really fast in the car … probably not a good idea.

Notice how the teacher always thinks it is a fun idea to divide the kids in half and do a “sing off” to see who wins? Ya well don’t get sucked into that. There is never a prize.

And then our singing would be done and we were given cookies and milk.    I refrained from clapping my hands together and barking like a seal.   I did however balance a ball on my nose once in hopes of a second cookie but Moses failed to see the talent. I was not being a good Israelite. Moses insisted on realism in her class, she would make us Israelites if it killed her and seriously what was I thinking? How many Israelites are Harlem Globe Trotters or working at Sea World?

When the teacher was ready to get into the meat of the lessons and we were all sitting around the table, I would slap my briefcase down on the table and pull out a couple of stone tablets, and my thick black rimmed glasses.  I would clear my throat often and squint at the teacher, then frown.  Squinting and frowning are a lost art.  You have no idea how effective they can be as social tools.  I am campaigning Facebook to include those as optional responses to postings.  We are not one trick ponies here.  We can “like,” of course, but we can also “squint” and “frown.”  I can’t be sure, but I think it was effective.  “Moses” was definitely thrown off but I was never sure if it was the tablets or the 3 year old with a briefcase that made him pee his dress.

I eventually just took over my whole Sunday School Nursery class. I wore Moses down. I gave myself a standing ovation often. I would stand on the table and twirl my fluffy dress and swing my briefcase… just so they knew I meant business. I would steal the cookies from the other kids and stuff them into my mouth before “Moses” could catch me and make me give them back. Eventually I learned to stuff them in my panties and that way I could enjoy them later and Moses never crossed that line. I think it is in the 10 commandments.

I was heady with power.

That’s what a good briefcase can do for you.  You have to grow up a bit to be able to learn restraint.  Oh … and also to be able to tell a girl “Moses” from a boy “Moses.”  AND understand you can buy your own cookies and eat the whole pack without having to share with any of the other Israelites, or going to church, or wearing underpants.

Some day Harvard is going to do a study to understand the impact of fluffy dresses and a briefcase on brain cells.  I am sure they will find they have been the downfall of many a good woman.  I blame all those crinolines for the insanity of my childhood . . . and Moses of course.   That’s my story and I am sticking to it.