NANCY G. SHAPIRO

FINDING CALM IN THE MIDST OF CHANGE

ON the Road to Calm

July 27, 2019

let go of your hold

to your former selves

allow the river to carry you

this new trust

is the undercurrent

holding up your bones

float

- AKU_MATU* -

Four months have passed since I’ve written a blog. I found myself having nothing to write, as I took the March blog’s quote to heart and let the river of life carry me, trusting that my bones would be held and that I would indeed float.

I can’t say the last four months were easy. The turbulence was strong, and from what I’ve heard from friends and can sense in the air and in others’ eyes, I don’t imagine it’s been so calm for many of you either. 

Yet allowing myself to trust that tu...

December 16, 2018

“. . . I’ve come to honor a deeply held assertion 

that ordinary everyday life is, in truth, extraordinary.”

- from The Book of Calm -

I came across Pat Schneider’s poem The Patience of Ordinary Things the other day and it moved me to tears and appreciation for the last six months—days and weeks of immersion into an unscheduled, come-what-may experience full of the extraordinary ordinary, and the time to reflect on the specific beauty of every day. 

I share her poem with you here as my end-of-year blessing, with gratitude for your continued readership, and wishes for a bright New Year.

It is a kind of love, is it...

October 19, 2017

“Ambiguous losses are a particular type of loss that lack definition and lack closure . . .

hope lingers on, and it’s really hard to live in hope that is not met . . .

Humans don’t do uncertainty well.”

– Kelly Maxwell Haer, PhD.*

Similar to this moment in history, I grew up during the unsettled fifties, sixties and early seventies during years of nuclear threat, self-interested political leadership, ongoing war, social unrest, and the early years of environmental warnings. Within my own family, the silent unraveling of my parents’ marriage in my teen years, and my father’s sudden suicide when I was nineteen left me with...

August 30, 2017

" . . . Be kind, but be fierce. 

You are needed now more than ever before . . ."

—Winston Churchill. 

I am not feeling particularly calm today, and so I am using the "Yes, and..." awareness practice from The Book of Calm

"YES, I am feeling extremely jaggedy today, AND I am grateful for everyone and everything in my life—near and far, wide-open to both the beauty and turmoil around me."

Once admitted to myself, I can sense the conflicting energies within. I remember that beneficial actions are an antidote to such unease and confusion. My action today has been to be vulnerable, courageous, and awake to how connec...

July 31, 2017

“Oh you need to say yes a lot!” ­

– Naomi Shihab Nye. 

An idea can take hold of our lives and not let go, even if we have no clue how to manifest it, even if it seems to disappear for long chunks of time, or an old belief nags us with its whispered No. In the midst of finally listening to the idea and doing something about it, extreme emotions and physical aches can become the norm, and contrary to logic, this idea becomes the very inspiration that gets us up in the morning (often in la madrugada—the dark before the dawn).

Or at least that is what has happened to me over the last year, as old memories and stories jo...

December 2, 2016

Here it is, the first day of the last month of 2016. November disappeared while I finished the first draft of my book while attempting to navigate the sea changes happening in the world.

After five months, the manuscript is with the editor. My body is refusing to sit longer than ten minutes in a chair. I am taking a month off from social media and writing, and enjoying the connections with family and friends and the beauty around me. This blog is a November/December letter dedicated to calling in our wiser and larger selves even, and especially, in the midst of seeming chaos. 

In the spirit of Pema Chodron’s a...

November 1, 2016

Back in March I read a review of a book with a title much too similar to the working title of my own book. My first reaction was a nauseous feeling in my stomach, accompanied by the thought, “Well, that’s it. Might as well throw it in the trash.” The next day a friend’s questions led me to talk about my work. The finality of the “throw it in the trash” thought disappeared as I spoke to her with energy and excitement about coaching and writing. Feeling thankful for the conversation and relieved to once again connect with the foundational inspiration of all I do, we said our goodbyes.

...

September 26, 2016

I have been deep into the writing of my non-fiction book, a mid-November deadline lurking at the edge of things. Time has been speaking to me. Some days hours are spent at the computer, words flowing, my mind able to dance among the moving narrative that more often than not sways away from the outline and toward its own internal rhythm. 

Other days, like yesterday, I came to my desk late afternoon after a slow start to the day, the flow surprising me with its energy. Today, errands and a pile of “must-do-by-this-date” sort of details have eaten up the hours, leaving me frustrated and bereft of inspiration. Th...

August 29, 2016

Flowers as they are / in the lotus pond: / My offering to the spirits. - Basho Matsuo.

I write, learn, and hopefully grow wiser from what I call "open doorways"—experiences, words, images, or dreams that show up in daily life and give me a glimpse of something that makes me re-imagine or remember what is important. One such doorway appeared two weeks ago when I left on a trip to visit family and friends. 

"The roar of the lotus." This is the phrase I suddenly saw in my mind's eye years ago in a meditation. The phrase has come to me often and without warning through the years, and always it sings of a place whe...

July 26, 2016

This blog is dedicated to the future.

“When we express something, express ourselves as to what we stand for, not what we stand against. For example, Mother Teresa said she would not march against war; however she would march for peace. Such a simple shift.”  - from the Foundation for Inspired Learning.

It’s the end of July and another month has passed, the news still heartbreaking, the energy irratic. Looking through some of my writing notes I found this undated scribble: “I’ve been plugged into a socket that isn’t my own.” An ah-ha moment on a scrap of paper (I see now how 'unplugged' I was much of last month) has been...

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When the Parts Become a Whole

August 29, 2019

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