5 Ways to Give Yourself a Hug

Weekly Photo Challenge--Reflection

Weekly Photo Challenge–Reflection

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a hugger. I hug my sons 20+ times a day; the Hugging Saint, Amma, is my guru; I hug trees, dogs, large fruit, unsuspecting acquaintances; you name it, and I’ll hug it.

I grew up in one of those households where no one hugged, so I guess I’m making up for lost time.

At certain times in my life, I didn’t have anyone to hug–sigh. I know the feelings of loneliness that are immune to social interaction–the kind of loneliness that one can feel in a room full of friends, music, and good food. Looking back, I wish someone had taught me how to hug myself.

So I offer you, 5 ways to hug yourself: Continue reading

The Animated GIF: The Antithesis of Mindfulness


People who like GIFs (a series of images that create the impression of movement) are the same folks who slow down on the freeway to try to catch a glimpse of something gruesome after a car wreck. Ok, that’s a bit of an over-generalization taken out of context meant to be incendiary, which is a pretty good definition of an animated GIF. Continue reading

Re-hydrate Your Spirit

Shirin K. A. Winiger / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Something counter-intuitive that I learned recently is that when we get really dehydrated, we stop feeling thirsty. This is a problem for me because I get so consumed in what I am doing that I often disregard feelings of thirst. After a while these feelings of thirst subside even though I haven’t drunk anything. Since a majority of our body consists of water, major dehydration leads to huge crashes.

The same can be said for spiritual dehydration. I believe that like water in the body, the spirit is a major part of who we are. Sometimes we get so caught up in what we are doing that we ignore signals of “thirst” sent by our spirit. Soon these signals stop coming, and this is when we are headed for a huge crash or crisis. Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: Thankful

Itadakimasu

My youngest bowing before enjoying a meal at VeggieGrill

One of the things I appreciate about Japanese culture is how we were taught to bow–bow before eating; bow before entering church; bow before entering a martial arts dojo; bow before fighting. Every chance I get, I try to teach my sons to bow. The bow is like a pause that not only shows respect, but also gives one the opportunity to be thankful for what one is going to experience. Continue reading

Mr. Rogers: The First American Guru?

dogwelder / Foter / CC BY-NC

When I really think about it, Mr. Rogers was the first guru I ever encountered. He walked like a guru, talked like a guru, and even his opening song espoused many of the teachings of well-known gurus:

“It is a beautiful day in this neighborhood”–be here, now

“I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you”–“when the student is ready, the master will appear”

“So let’s make the most of this beautiful day”–Carpe Diem

“Since we’re together, we might as well say..Won’t you be my neighbor”–equanimity, interdependence, unconditional love and acceptance Continue reading

The Emergency Guru: 5 Lifelines for hitting rock bottom

nathansnostalgia / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

I have had the good fortune to meet many masters, many gurus, many teachers from many traditions. Do you know which master, which guru has most inspired me? It is life itself. Life is our best teacher.–Godwin Samararathne

This is my bumbling attempt to lift up 1) my fellow blogger Bodhisattvaintraining who got some intense news this week and 2) all our friends and family on the East Coast who probably can’t read this because they have no power. Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreign–“Tako” Bell Then and Now

Grandpa and Tako

“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
T.S. Eliot

When I was a kid, my Hawaiian grandfather used to take me octopus fishing. After we cleaned our catch, my grandfather would always force me to eat a piece of octopus. Being a good suburban boy, I retched at the thought of eating a slice of slimy steamed octopus tentacle with the suckers hanging off. Having watched my grandfather routinely rip the back off living crabs and suck the meat out while the crab’s legs clawed at the empty air had already given me reason to distrust my grandfather’s palate.
Continue reading