How a Child Changes You

Soleil at Glen Echo

I’m personally thrilled to participate in two charitable efforts to help children this month because of the incredible impact my daughter Soleil has made in my life.

It’s just amazing how love for a child changes you.

This love eclipses anything you could possibly know beforehand.

For example, I would do anything for Soleil. I would die if it meant she would live, and I’ve never felt that way about anything else. Cliche, but true. It’s just like that.
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Onions

Onion
Image by DBduo Photography

When you peel an onion, you find a new shiny layer. Then if you gently peel this second onion layer, you find a third one.

Each layer yields a new fresh layer, different from its predecessor.

The onion represents life, particularly for those who continue to challenge themselves to grow.

Difficult situations present opportunities to dig deeper, peel that onion, and perhaps change and evolve to better meet the times.
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Vacationing in the Rockies w/ Thich Nhat Hanh

tnh_lama.jpg

Once in a while you get to meet one of those people you greatly admire in life. Caitlin and I will meet Thich Nhat Hanh, a world reknowned zen master, this Friday in Estes Park, Colorado. He is hosting a retreat dubbed “Awakening Our True Potential – Mindfulness” at the YMCA there.

This retreat comes at the right time for me as I am struggling greatly to overcome some character defects, in particular, shortness of temper, impatience, etc. which seem to be my personal Achilles Heel. I find these defects ground themselves in reacting to the present (and how it either inspires fear and/or reminds me of the past). And before this turns into a self-wallowing post, let me say that I am also very aware of the assets I bring to the table and how they benefit others.

The greatest ways to confront the defects so far are developing enough awareness and presence of mind to pause and respond rather than react. Another critical aspect of this is taking care of myself so I am rested and capable of being pleasantly present for others. Road travel just wrecks me, and often I am unable to respond intelligently after successive trips.

And so as I work on this comes the retreat with one of the people whom I respect the most from a spiritual level. Thich Nhat Hanh wrote the greatest book on love that I have read, and his other works like Going Home: Jesus and Buddha As Brothers and A Guide to Walking Meditation have really helped evolve my spiritual awareness. What will I learn from Hanh and the monks from Plum Village?

I don’t know! LOL, but it’s sure to be enlightening and peaceful. There will be more insights not only on my personal agenda for the trip, but I am sure on other things I am not even considering. Openness and a willingness to explore new things represent the best course. With those attitudes in mind, new tools and insights will surely come. Ultimately, if I can be of better service to others as a result of this trip, I’ll be happy.

And what a beautiful place to have the retreat. We are sure to enjoy some great hikes and photography in Rocky Mountain National Park during our retreat. I’m looking forward to it!