Posted in A bit of history, Beach, Books, Exploring, Mindfulness, Quotes, Spirit, Sychronicity, TLC Book Tour, Water, Writing

All Our Waves Are Water

Mission Beach, California. (November 2007)

In Yoga philosophy, as with all the great faiths, God could never be captured in words.  But if you tried, you might say God is an intelligence akin to the Force in Star Wars or what Voltaire seems to have been getting at when he wrote that “God is a circle whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere.”

I know there are as many yogic philosophies as there are scientific theories.  Samkhya, Vedanta, Tantra.  There is probably now a yoga philosophy they sell exclusively online for just $99.99 with a limited edition organic recycled yoga mat.  Humans love to brand and argue.  But the truth of our original nature must be singular.  And yogis would note that meditation, religion, service, science, philosophy, and those funny pretzel poses are all paths to God.  But none of those paths or methods encapsulates God.  And none is better than the others.  The paths are simply fingers pointing at the moon, rafts across the ocean of suffering, different strokes for different folks.  Or to use my favorite metaphor, the paths — like all things subject to birth and death — are waves.

God is the sea.

~ Jaimal Yogis, All Our Waves Are Water: Stumbling Toward Enlightenment and the Perfect Ride

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Posted in Books, Garden, Gifts, Life, Lovingkindness, Photography, Quotes, Spirit, TLC Book Tour

Book Review: The Compassionate Achiever + a giveaway

One compassionate achiever is all it takes to start spreading the ripples of success through a community.  It begins with you and how you interact with people on a daily basis.  All of your personal interactions are like small stones of compassion dropped into a pond, creating ripples that reach far beyond you.

Approach each day with a compassionate mindset and take actions to reinforce your commitment…

~ Christopher L. Kukk, Ph.D., excerpted from “The Compassionate Achiever:  How Helping Others Fuels Success”

As regular visitors to my blog know, I occasionally do book reviews for TLC Book Tours.  The publisher sends me a free copy and in exchange, I read and review of the book.  When I was asked to review The Compassionate Achiever: How Helping Others Fuels Success, I jumped at the chance.  My theme or word for this year is Lovingkindness, and compassion (of course!) fits right in with that theme.

In The Compassionate Achiever, Dr. Kukk posits that it is through compassion that success is most likely to be achieved, and he writes that compassion can be taught.  He lays out a four-step program for cultivating compassion:  Listening, Understanding, Connecting, and Acting (or LUCA).  He teaches several listening skills that include reviewing what was said by questioning, and how to ask the right questions to help you better understand the other person’s point of view.  In the section on understanding, Kukk defines emotions and feelings, and writes about the gap between the emotions (the physical reaction) and feelings (the mental reaction) where you can take the time to stop and think:

By taking a moment to simply think about what you’re feeling, your behavior becomes an act of reflection, not of instinct.  During that moment of silence you are filling the gap with reflection and self-awareness.

Christopher L. Kukk, Ph.D.

As a nature lover and tree-hugger, one of my favorite pieces of advice from the book is what to do to help yourself when you’ve been practicing/experiencing empathy (taking on the feelings of others, which can be tiring and stressful and lead to burn-out) rather than compassion (feeling kindness toward others, which can lead to happiness and optimism).  Dr. Kukk suggests you “try taking a WIRL (walk, imagine, read, and listen).”  He even has a trail on his property called “the Pondering Path” which he walks.  I may borrow that idea when it comes to naming our trails here at the Wabi-Sabi Ranch.

I like the premise of this book and think that it would be a fantastic book for everyone to read, especially given the current state of political affairs in the United States where those at the top appear to be rattling their sabers, practicing little or no compassion towards anyone other than themselves.  I would highly recommend this book for those in schools, businesses, the government, and in what is referred to as “the resistance.”  We could use a lot more compassion towards each other in this world.

The publisher accidentally mailed two copies of the book to me which means… A GIVEAWAY!!  Yay!  I’m so happy to be able to pass on this book to others.  I am going to donate the copy I read to the local library in hopes that some of our local organizations will find it and use it.  (It is for that reason I refrained from my usual practice of margin notes and highlighting.)  If you are interested in a copy of this book, let me know in the comments.  I’ll have a drawing for the book on or about May 9.  It will be a low-tech drawing of putting names in a hat and letting M blindly pick one.

I will leave you with one more quote followed by the publisher’s release with more information about the book and the author.  Thank you for stopping by.  I hope to be back again this weekend for a coffee chat.  In the meantime… Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

A rosebud for you.  The roses will be opening soon.

A country led by compassionate achievers would collaborate, coordinate, and cooperate its way to political, economic, and civic success.  Every country, just like every person and organization, has its weaknesses and strengths, but by walking with compassion, a country can avoid repeating historic mistakes while simultaneously strengthening its current society.

… From the human right to clean water to the rights of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community, legal policies are still perpetuating injustice.  Compassionate achievers are the people striving to make clean water a basic human right (even though people die in seven days without water, it is not considered a human right in most developed countries, including the United States), and they are the citizens and organizations standing up to governments that have legalized LGBT discrimination.  Compassionate achievers eternally embrace justice even when the law deserts or forsakes it.

~ Christopher L. Kukk, Ph.D., excerpted from “The Compassionate Achiever:  How Helping Others Fuels Success

About The Compassionate Achiever

• Hardcover: 256 pages
• Publisher: HarperOne (March 7, 2017)

A powerful, practical guide for cultivating compassion—the scientifically proven foundation for personal achievement and success at work, at home, and in the community.

For decades, we’ve been told the key to prosperity is to look out for number one. But recent science shows that to achieve durable success, we need to be more than just achievers; we need to be compassionate achievers.

New research in biology, neuroscience, and economics have found that compassion—recognizing a problem or caring about another’s pain and making a commitment to help—not only improves others’ lives; it can transform our own. Based on the most recent studies from a wide range of fields, The Compassionate Achiever reveals the profound benefits of practicing compassion including more constructive relationships, improved intelligence, and increased resiliency. To help us achieve these benefits, Christopher L. Kukk, the founding Director of the Center for Compassion, Creativity and Innovation, shares his unique 4-step program for cultivating compassion.

Kukk makes clear that practicing compassion isn’t about being a martyr or a paragon of virtue; it’s about rejecting rage and indifference and choosing instead to be a thoughtful, caring problem-solver. He identifies the skills every compassionate achiever should master—listening, understanding, connecting, and acting—and outlines how to develop each, with clear explanations, easy-to-implement strategies, actionable exercises, and real-world examples.

With the The Compassionate Achiever everyone wins—we can each achieve success in our own lives and create more productive workplaces, and healthier, less violent communities.

About Christopher L. Kukk

Christopher L. Kukk, Ph.D., is a professor of political science and social science at Western Connecticut State University; founding director of the Center for Compassion, Creativity and Innovation; and faculty advisor for the University and City of Compassion initiatives. He is also cofounder and CEO of InnovOwl LLC, a research and consulting start-up for solving micro and macro problems through innovative education. He was an international security fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, a counterintelligence agent for the United States Army, and a research associate for Cambridge Energy Research Associates. He lives in Brookfield, Connecticut.

Find out more about Dr. Kukk at his website, and connect with him on Twitter.

Posted in Books, Exploring, Life, Quotes, Spirit, Spring, TLC Book Tour

1,001 Ways to Live Wild

1,001 Ways to Live Wild coverAbout 1,001 Ways to Live Wild

• Hardcover: 384 pages
• Publisher: National Geographic (March 29, 2016)

Bestselling author 14,000 Things to Be Happy About Dr. Barbara Ann Kipfer pours her creativity into an irresistible book of bite-size inspiration for leading an adventurous, happy, and fulfilling life. 1,001 Ways to Live Wild is filled with light-hearted quick hits of encouragement for anyone looking for a jolt of “get out there and live.” Short entries—musings, things to do, and inspirational quotes—are paired with stunning artwork, creating a beautiful keepsake to give as a gift or to keep on your bedside table. Presented as one continuous list accompanied by whimsical sidebars and thought-provoking quotes, the text touches on many and varied themes such as: following your passions, staying curious, appreciating nature, traveling, trying new things, and living life with courage.

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Purchase Links

National Geographic | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Dr. Barbara Ann Kipfer

Barbara Ann Kipfer has written more than 60 books of wit and inspiration, including 14,000 Things to Be Happy About, The Wish List, Instant Karma as well as numerous others. Kipfer holds Ph.D.s in linguistics, archaeology, and Buddhist studies.

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Posted in Air, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Family, Fire, Gifts, Life, Love, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, New Jersey, Photography, Play, Portals & Pathways, Quotes, Spirit, Spring, TLC Book Tour, Travel, Walking & Wandering, WeekendCoffeeShare, Wonder

If we were having coffee: Traveling edition

Brilliant spring color.
Brilliant spring color.

Each day holds a surprise.  But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us.  Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy.  It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity.

~ Henri Nouwen

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Posted in Books, Life, Love, TLC Book Tour

Where Have I Been All My Life?

Where Have I Been Al lMy Life

Well, I wrote a book.  But it’s not about helping my mother die.  It’s about helping myself live.  It’s about how losing my best friend, the person whose voice I trusted most in this world, called me forth to befriend myself and claim my own voice in deep, unprecedented, and vital ways.  And it’s about learning to exchange a fantasy life, fueled by a stark fear of intimacy, for a real life fueled by the vulnerability and messiness of real love.

~ Cheryl Rice, Where Have I Been All My life?

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Posted in Books, Exploring, Faith, Gifts, Quotes, TLC Book Tour

Lemonade Revealed + GiveAway

Lemonade Revealed

I had no idea where I was — everything was black.  I gathered that I was lying in a puddle of wet sand, as it felt cold, coarse, and prickly all over my back.  I opened my eyes, and the first thing I saw was a blinding light — it was piercing.  I blinked hard to flush the tears out of my inflamed eyes, but they kept welling up.  I could see three big men towering over me like curious giants gathered over their prey.  The men flowed and ebbed with my teary vision.

~ Will Chluho, Lemonade Revealed

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