Ki Moments Blog

Support for life’s “key” moments.

Showing posts in the category “Happinessoptimism”

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  • December 1, 2021

    The Path Is Made by Walking

    The Path Is Made by Walking

    Traveler, your footprints


    Are the path and nothing more;


    Traveler, there is no path,


    The path is made by walking.

    ~ Antonio Machado, excerpt from Traveler, There Is No Path 
    (Trans. Asa Cusack)

    Last summer my friend Melodee related a story about centering that stuck with me. When Melodee was a teacher she had a centering bell she'd ring for her students as they returned from recess. 

    As they flowed back into the four walls of her classroom, wired with frenetic energy, she'd let them get somewhat settled then ring the bell. She'd explained the purpose on day one, so they knew the ringing tone meant for them to take a breath, exhale, and go to the quiet, centered place that was uniquely theirs.

    There is No Path

    This time of year is alive with energy--frenetic and flowing, excited and solemn, relished and resisted. All kinds of ki flowing in, out and around, so much that we're not sure what to do with it all. Families celebrating, children anticipating, workplaces buzzing with holiday joy, preparations, and even fear about what the holidays might bring this year.

    Recently I was reminded of the Antonio Machado poem, Traveler, There Is No Path, an excerpt of which begins this post, and--for me--its reflection on living a more intentional life....

  • November 1, 2021

    Thankful to Be Thankful--It's a Practice

    Thankful to Be Thankful--It's a Practice

    From early on in my professional career, and probably my whole life, I've been thankful that I'm thankful. Because I'm an aikidoist who teaches conflict skills, and because aikido teaches that the attack can be a gift when we embrace the energy, my ability to notice what's good has grown.

    My first book, Unlikely Teachers: Finding the Hidden Gifts in Daily Conflict consists of 28 stories dedicated to this theme. And my blog is filled with posts about gratitude as a path to center, and the people in my life who have shown me how to be thankful, even when there seems to be nothing to be thankful for.

    And there are days, of course, when I forget to practice. I don't start the day with gratitude and I don't say "Thank you very much," when someone gets in my way. And that day isn't usually as easy or as fun. I notice what's hard and what's not good in my life, instead of what is.

    But because I do practice most days, I usually find my way back. And sometimes I get reminded. 

    I was reminded recently by a movie....

  • October 4, 2021

    Be the Vaccine: An Inoculation for Stress

    Be the Vaccine: An Inoculation for Stress

    My sister works hard. She's a lab tech in a busy university hospital where she's been a valued member of her team for many years. As you might imagine, her workload and the pressure for accuracy have only increased during the pandemic. Sometimes the stress is more than she can take, and so we were talking recently about ways to de-stress in a stressful environment....

  • 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? ....

  • 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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