Ki Moments Blog

Support for life’s “key” moments.

  • July 13, 2021

    One Positive Thought

    One Positive Thought

    I'm listening to an audio CD by Pema Chodron, Buddhist nun and teacher. Called Embracing the Unknown: Life Lessons from the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the content is fascinating and readily applicable to everyday living. You can find it on Amazon and on Hoopla.

    Toward the end of the audio, Ani Pema* talks about heaven and hell in the Buddhist tradition. The Tibetan Book of the Dead is a guidebook. In explaining the Tibetan view, she says she's not suggesting we necessarily adopt the view as truth but rather use the teachings as support for living life more mindfully....

  • June 29, 2021

    The Non-Comeback Comeback After an Insult

    The Non-Comeback Comeback After an Insult

    Tammy Lenski is a frequent guest on my blog. I read her posts consistently, and I love sharing them. This one gave me pause not only because the Zen koan was so poignant but also because I have been on the other side of Tammy's story. I've had moments of judgment about mask wearers. I've never spoken my judgment out loud, but I've been there. Most of the time I center myself and shift fairly quickly to wonder, curiosity, and non-judgment. And now, thanks to Tammy's story--to compassion.

    As always, I'm grateful to Tammy for sharing her wisdom, and for the insight I gained. Enjoy this great story and the Zen koan.....

  • June 15, 2021

    The Gift of Asking for Help

    The Gift of Asking for Help

    Last week my car battery died unexpectedly. Early in the day, I went into my garage and put a CD into the car player to check if the CD still played (my home player wasn't working). It did (yay!) so I ejected the CD, came into the house and went on with my day. 

    About 2:30, I looked for my keys to get ready to drive to an appointment about 20 minutes away. My keys were not in their usual place. I got a sinking feeling. I went out to the garage, and there they were in the ignition (in "alt" position) where I'd left them five hours earlier. Oh no. No juice left in the battery. I'd drained it.

    My husband was unavailable and so was his car. I thought of a few friends I might call. Although this was an appointment I didn't want to miss, I hesitated. I don't find it easy to ask for this kind of help--for someone to drive me somewhere or (heaven forbid) loan me their car, especially on such short notice. It felt like a big favor, and I went back and forth for a while. Do I cancel? Reschedule? Call someone? ....

  • June 1, 2021

    Should I Say Something? When to Speak Up In a Group

    Should I Say Something? When to Speak Up In a Group

    A reader wrote in recently with a difficult (and common) question about when to speak up in a group, and what to do if you speak and then wish you hadn't.

    From my reader:

    I read your message on how you can always center yourself--anytime and anywhere. However I have a hard time knowing when to speak up in a spiritual circle I belong to. We’re supposed to listen and not acknowledge our reactions, and this is hard for me. Sometimes I speak and have a tough time feeling okay afterward, as if I'd done something wrong. Any advice?

    I love this question because it hits on something that happens to me quite often, and I know from experience what it's like to wonder whether I should say something or stay quiet in a group setting....

  • May 18, 2021

    Thinking Again: Why "What We Don't Know" Is Important

    Thinking Again: Why

    The more you think you know about something, the less you actually do. I just finished reading Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know, by organizational psychologist Adam Grant. 

    The book's full of great stories and interesting facts (and great cartoons!). For example, here's an exercise directly from the book:

    Compared to most people, how much do you think you know about each of the following topics--more, less, or the same?

    • Why English became the official language of the United States
    • Why women were burned at the stake in Salem
    • What job Walt Disney had before he drew Mickey Mouse
    • On which spaceflight humans first laid eyes on the Great Wall of China
    • Why eating candy affects how kids behave

    You might be surprised by the answers, I know I was...

  • May 4, 2021

    Questions About Common Conflicts

    Questions About Common Conflicts

    In my workshops and coaching, I'm often asked about how to resolve specific conflicts. Especially now that workshops are happening on Zoom, the questions that appear in "Chat" will often have similar themes. Two themes that appear frequently are ones around new relationships and others around "letting go."

  • April 20, 2021

    Noticing the Now: The Power of This... Ki... Moment

    Noticing the Now: The Power of This... Ki... Moment

    On my newsletter and website, I use the slogan "Support for life's 'key' moments..." to help readers understand how I use the word "ki" and how to pronounce it. This constant association between "ki" and "key" in my writing and my thoughts--as in: "Each moment is a 'ki moment' or "Make this moment a 'ki moment' --has reinforced for me the awareness that all we really have is this... ki... moment. 
     
    When I first named this blog and newsletter Ki Moments, I had just a general idea of what I meant by it. I still like this as a working definition, and the phrase "this... ki... moment" has come to mean more...

  • April 6, 2021

    Building Muscle: The Benefits of Meditation

    Building Muscle: The Benefits of Meditation

    A few years ago, I found myself in a skid on an icy bridge. I reacted, turning the wheel in one direction and then another. In that perilous moment I forgot all I knew about how to handle a car.

    High emotion can cause reactive states. Neuroscience tells us that when emotions are triggered, our fight-or-flight sympathetic nervous system activates and our mind and body lose connection with each other. At those moments the limbic brain proclaims an emergency, recruiting the rest of the brain and body to its urgent agenda. The hijacking occurs in an instant, triggering a reaction crucial moments before the thinking brain can glimpse what is happening. 

    In this past year of pandemic, according to clinical psychologist Christine Runyan, we have been in a constant state of fight-or-flight, our nervous systems continually on alert. In her revelatory interview--What’s Happening in Our Nervous Systems‪?--on Krista Tippett's "On Being" podcast, Runyan explains how and why we are feeling exhausted, our emotions on short fuses, and tending toward despair even as we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel....

  • March 23, 2021

    Sleepovers at Baba's: Coming Back to Home Base

    Sleepovers at Baba's: Coming Back to Home Base

    Once upon a time when I was very young, maybe between three and seven years old, I would often stay overnight at my grandmother's house. My grandmother, my grandfather, and my aunt Mary lived together in Oak Park, Illinois. I've written several posts about Mimi, which is what we cousins called our Aunt Mary. My grandmother we called Baba. She and my "Gramps" emigrated from Greece as teens and built a strong life and family in America.

    One of my fondest memories continues to be sleeping over at their house--Baba, Mimi, and Gramps's house on Maple Avenue. The photo that heads this story is that house. Of all the lovely places I've lived in my life, I think my memory of that house brings the most peace. Here's why....

  • March 9, 2021

    Centering, Not Centered

    Centering, Not Centered

    Beginning again and again is the actual practice, not a problem to be overcome.
    --Sharon Salzberg

    How centered are you right now? Are we ever completely centered, or centered for very long? The more I teach and practice centering myself in this life, the more I'm pretty sure (at least for me) that being centered is really a continual RE-centering process. 

    Life is always changing, as difficulty and conflict arise and recede. The continuous losing and coming back to center is natural. There may not be a Perfect Center. Only Centering, as we make continual little adjustments and return again and again--a natural and beautiful part of what it means to be human and to be aware.

    So let's practice....

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