Thursday, February 25, 2010


Here is something that caught my attention and interest recently:

A person with autism thinks in a totally different way than most of us do. Thinking typically implies the use of language to ponder, sort, consider and store information. Dr. Temple Gradin, a scientist and writer whose life is currently being portrayed on HBO, shows us that her autism allows her to think in pictures instead of words. The movie, titled simply, Temple Gradin, gives a sense of what it might be like to be her. Although she is quite well known in her professional field as well as in the world of autism, I was unfamiliar with her name. I hadn't seen any HBO promotions for the movie, just happened on it by chance. It had already started when I began to watch it and about half way through, I turned to Richard and said, this is so amazing, it must be a true story! Googled right then and there on my Blackberry and confirmed it.

I'm not sure exactly what stirs my fascination more - that someone would devote her life to designing better and more humane ways of leading cattle to slaughter (Gradin's field of expertise) or that someone with what is so often considered a crippling diagnosis could actually draw on the strength of her differentness to contribute so much to society. "Different, not less," is the message throughout. I highly recommend seeing this.

I am often surprised at what catches my attention, what excites my energy. A glimpse into the life of someone who thinks in pictures gave me much to muse about. Life is rich with so many possibilities.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day Thoughts

I've been thinking lately about "discipline." It's going to be the topic of a teleclass panel I'm on, on Feb 23. My friend, author Susyn Reeve, of, recently sent out, in her "daily inspiration" newsletter, a note about exercising her "discipline muscle."

For so many couples (dare I say most?), a daily routine to connect with one's most beloved partner is a challenging discipline to implement. Even when we reap a tangible benefit, even when it's something we enjoy, there's some kind of resistance we give in to. Or maybe it's simply a matter of forgetting.

For my husband Richard and me, the 10 minutes of our Peaceful Passion, using the energy principles of Tantra Tai Chi, while physically keeping lingam in yoni, is so mutually fulfilling to both of us that we manage to "remember" and show up for it almost daily. (Yes, sometimes we have to remind each other. It's still easy to get lost in whatever else we're each doing.)

I wonder how we decide which "disciplines" become routine in our lives.. For example, I have not ever - at least not yet - managed to discipline myself to a daily stretching or yoga routine, which I "keep meaning to." Maybe we don't make a decision about most of them, we just get into the habit of whatever we do - or don't do - regularly. Writing in this blog is an activity I show up for, albeit quite irregularly, even though I love writing. (How delighted I am to be here right now!)

We make choices every moment, and if we don't choose, the choice is made for us, maybe based on either momentum or entropy. We keep moving because we're moving, or we run out of steam. Discipline, habits, routines... A lot to muse about, yes?

Temperament plays a role. Some of us are born with a strong discipline muscle, or have it trained into us. Some need "new" everyday, are addicted to the brain's pleasure center that lights up for novelty. For others, routine and discipline are comforting.

I don't have any answers but I do believe that each of us can enhance our lives by creating - and sticking to - rituals that matter to our health, our relationship, our life. And I am grateful that Richard and I both find Peaceful Passion valuable enough to show up for it every day!

Odd thoughts, perhaps, on Valentine's Day, thinking about discipline, ritual, routines. Or not odd at all, since the whole idea of Valentine's Day is an annual routine, an annual ritual. We've been trained as a society, that at least once a year (well, maybe two or three times, including birthdays, anniversaries and those December holidays), we "show up" to express love for our partner. What if we only went to the gym three times a year? Not much exercise of our "discipline muscle" would occur.

Susyn proposes that when we stick to an exercise routine, a physical workout, it helps strengthen our ability to be more disciplined in other areas of our life. I wonder though, if some couples might do better to trade in some of that exercise time for at least a brief daily loving time with each other. When we nourish our relationships on a regular basis, we live in joy. Surely that's a way to make Valentine's Day last all year!