Chicken Marsala Monday

Chicken Marsala thoughts from the melange to help you start your week:

MASTER assumeawe WITH EYES jpeg copy 2.jpg Almost every spiritual tradition offers a form of this thought: make no assumptions. Sometimes it is called ‘detachment.’ Sometimes it is called ‘the middle way.’ Often, it is referred to as ‘presence.’

It sounds so simple. Be where you are. Be here now. Aspirations always sound easy but are never easy to realize.

In my past life as a consultant/facilitator I regularly issued two “caveats” prior to beginning the work of the day. The first was, “Have the experience first, make meaning of the experience second.” The idea of opening to an experience, that they might actually be capable of stepping out of their roiling story of assumptions, was a revelation to my clients.

And, that’s the point. The revelation, the insight, the heaven-that-you-seek is just on the other side of the story-fog that obscures your experience of life. That is why it shows up so often in all-practices-spiritual. Quiet your mind. Make no assumptions. Open to what is there beyond what you think is there.

However, we are human. That fast running inner monologue, that incessant storying of experiences, pre-and-post occurrence, is what we do. So, a good first step toward the quiet mind, toward the suspension of assumptions, is to make life-giving assumptions. Our runaway minds chug down a track so why not put that train on a generative track: assume awe.

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read Kerri’s thoughts about Assuming Awe on Chicken Marsala Monday

 

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Play The Ukulele

888. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Last night I was at Ukulele practice in a garden on the shores of Lake Michigan. I am a rank beginner and learning to play the Ukulele with 47 other people. We were laughing our way through Over The Rainbow. I was playing air Ukulele pretending that I was expert at my chord progressions, when a sphinx butterfly circled us, flew into the garden right next to me, and began drinking from the flowers. It was close enough to touch. I’d never seen anything like it before. I was so captivated by the butterfly that I forgot to pretend that I was strumming.

A sphinx butterfly looks like an exotic hummingbird. It is shaped like a hummingbird, its wings beat like a hummingbird, it hovers like a hummingbird, and yet it is not a hummingbird. My section of the ukulele band completely dropped their chord progressions and joined me in gaping at the butterfly. We entered an intense debate about whether it was a hummingbird or indeed a sphinx butterfly. The people seated to the left of the garden voted for hummingbird. Those of us on the right were solidly in the butterfly camp. I had no idea so I went with those seated around me. Each camp had solid justifications and good reasons for their point of view. The butterfly paid us no attention. It was not concerned about our debate or our need to identify its species. It continued feeding regardless of the label we attached to it.

I can’t help it. In moments like this I step into the role of witness. I watched people enrapt by a butterfly. I watched their loving debate, their laughter, their awe. I watched this group of amazing people hold their treasured ukuleles of many colors – green, purple, midnight blue, orange, red, pink and sky blue, white and black – watching a butterfly of many colors – pink, orange, purple, salmon, white, blue and black – and I was in awe of their awe. They did not see how beautiful they were as they admired the beauty of the butterfly.

This is the role of the human being isn’t it? To see the beauty of the world. To appreciate and give a name to the awesome and unimaginable. To engage with the beauty and then to join in a simple way with the creation of beauty: this group who gathers each Wednesday night to play their ukulele’s together and laugh and drink wine and gape in utter amazement at a butterfly.

Await

696. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

I awoke this morning to snow. It has been bitter cold during my days in Illinois but no snow. I put on my boots and took a walk across campus so mine might be the first footprints across the quad. There is rarely snow in Seattle so it was a treat to leave tracks, circles, arcs and squares in the fresh snow. And then I was very cold so ran into the Union for more coffee. The Barista said, “Welcome Back!” My first cup of coffee came just before my walk so it hadn’t been an hour since I was last at the counter looking desperate. “Your nose is red,” she said. I replied, “Yeah, I’ve been on a bender.”

My taxi didn’t show so the front desk called another cab. It, too, did not show up. The third and lucky cab came and the driver got lost on the way to the airport. I have been really bad at some of the jobs I’ve done in life and I wondered if my cabbie was having a moment of career revelation. I was certain I would miss my flight and busy making back up plans when we found the airport. Dashing into the counter, I learned that my flight was delayed for more than an hour due to snow in Chicago. I laughed and loitered and finally went through security. I’d be worried about my connection to Seattle but so far tmy assumptions have been distinctly off the mark so I’ve decided to deal with what’s in front of me and not what I think is in front of me. Lessons re-learned!

Megan-the-brilliant despairs and I am to blame and at a loss for words. Isn’t that an interesting phrase! I’ve lost all of my words. It is a blatant lie – clearly I am using words now – and yet I remain speechless. So, I sit in the airport more alive than I have been in years. It is not yet noon and the day has already been full of experience and texture and stress and forgiveness and snow. And coffee. And cabs. And, unexpected tours of Champaign. And, baseless assumptions (like all assumptions). I am in awe of a language that without question makes sense of a phrase like, “full of holes.” I am full of holes or perhaps full of wholes and either way I await what the next step will bring.