life is not messy

Life is straightforward; a continuous cycle of beginnings and endings.

That’s it.   It’s not messy.  It’s not neat.  It’s not complicated or controllable.  It just is.

We’re fond of saying “life is messy” when we forget that.

We show that we have forgotten it when we concretely label the ups and downs of life as good and bad, when we react to situations with disbelief that something like this could happen to us, when we are frequently overcome by heavy emotions that are weighted down with distorted thoughts or even when we are running high on ecstatic thoughts at finding “it”, the answer to our problem.

porch solitude

In any moment when life seems particularly messy, pause, breathe and dig deep to find out what your underlying expectation or unspoken belief is for that particular moment. Then challenge it, exhale it and remember that the cycle is beyond good and bad.

It is just what it is.

If you don’t become the ocean, you’ll be seasick every day.

Leonard Cohen

moaning michael stops by with clarity


It wasn’t serious.

Just a whopping sinus cold that kept whispering ominously in my ear “I think you’re getting sick” for a day or two until it cold-cocked me, knocking me down and out, and almost immobile for three solid days.

Sound sleep eluded me. Eating was entirely optional. And all the liquid in the form of tea and soup I had didn’t make even a dent in my hydration levels. My head felt as it if weighed more than the rest of my body and my teeth hurt. It hurt just to be awake.

And there was nothing to do. All my favourite distractions, in my condition, turned out to be only irritating. Books required too much focus. The computer screen light was too bright. Even watching Olympic events, as they happened instead of the replay, was less than satisfying and a good sleep would have been preferable.  But, as I said, blessed sleep was nowhere to be found.

Then came the stories.

I can’t afford to be sick. (How is my need for rest connected to a financial term?) 

I hate feeling bad. (Was I feeling bad about not working?  Or was it that the distractions weren’t enough to cover up the discomfort as usual?)

I wish someone would help me. (Seriously?  What did I want them to do? Chopping off my head to stop the pain would’ve been a long-term solution for a temporary problem but it did cross my mind.)

I hope nobody stops by, I don’t want to see anyone. (Yes, that’s more like it.)

Despite the epic whine-fest, being sick was extremely clarifying for me. As the brain-fog cleared, so did my mind mess.

The work to-do list now seemed more manageable. Concerns about family and friends fell into perspective. The free-floating anxiety about long-term options and plans seemed out of proportion and settled into an odd form of acceptance.

The time that I was forced to stop moving/ producing/ earning/ evaluating/ progressing/ teaching/ learning turned out to be a great way for me to realize how fast I had been going and that where I was going was nowhere important.

While I was sick, I was in touch with my body’s sensations; all things achy and phlegmy. I was aware of the self-absorbed stories that my mind was creating.  And there was no escaping the feelings that were coming directly from the plot lines I’d created.

Isn’t that presence? Mindful awareness? Isn’t that I want or say that I want? I guess.

Adam Cohen, in his song, Cry Ophelia writes “Pray for rain, but you don’t want it from a storm”.

Mindfulness doesn’t differentiate between comfort or discomfort.  Through both, it sits and notices without evaluating.

Mindfulness; the gift of illness.




how to know if you’re a bot

Something you did just made us think you might be a bot.

This was part of surprising note that popped up in a window as I was attempting to log into a web site I use regularly. And even though it was simply a case of this site’s computer system set to automatically detect odd activity of potential cyber-bots, for a split second, I was slightly offended. What could I have possibly done that was so odd to make them think I was a bot?   If they knew me, they’d know that I am so technologically-challenged that spamming still means getting creative with that weird canned mystery meat to me.



After I got over myself, I thought it might actually be cool to be a bot every now and again. Wired for one task. Equipped with the precise tools to accomplish that task. And an unswerving, determined march to the finish line with sweet clarity.  As a bot there would be no question about the meaning of the path, the choice of a particular route or the estimated time of arrival at the destination. No emotional or energetic obstacles or distractions that cause wondering or wandering. Efficient. Masterful. Simple.

But not being a bot means being awake.  Intentionally embracing the inefficiency of all those emotional and energetic obstacles on the messy path to mastery. And maybe it means occasionally, while still awake, consciously shelving some of the messy distractions to provide some much needed rest and clarity.  And the fluid flexibility to be both.

To be bot or not to be bot. That is the question.