ON the Road to Calm

June 25, 2018

"We shape our dwellings and afterward, our dwellings shape us."

- Winston Churchill - 

Ah! What weight and meaning we give to our homes. The months of planning and conversing about our five-month adventure on the road and the actual realities are bumping heads after only three weeks in our sweet little camper. We didn’t expect to be so side-swiped by this surprising feeling of homelessness— an untethered free-fall from the habits and familiarities of our old life into a great void of possibility (or nothingness, depending on the day).

Even though the possibilities have been calling us for a long while—while our old...

January 21, 2018

As dark and crazy as the world currently is, something bright resides beneath the darkness—and it’s the light of a single awakening human soul, multiplied by tens of thousands, in many cities, towns and countries.” – Mark Borax.

I used the above quote to begin a blog five years ago. The first draft of A Ritual to Read to Each Other, William Stafford's* poem about staying awake during times of deep darkness, is dated June 23,1953 (pictured above**). The subject of darkness and light as metaphors about time is a timeless subject—be it geological, religious, political, philosophical, cultural, cosmological, quantum, or pe...

November 29, 2017

It is hard to remember what fulfills and nurtures us alongside the challenges and moods that disrupt our day. We can view all that comes our way with curiosity while comprehending what is, and isn’t, out of our control. Or we can push and shove against the reality of the moment, with anger and a why-me stance digging us deeper into a hole going nowhere.

“Savage and beautiful country” is how writer Diane Ackerman has described life. Poet Ben Okri portrays life lived as, “ . . . gently / with fire.” The Dalai Lama writes of our days as “whatever happens to us, whatever occurs—the arising of something and b...

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...

April 9, 2017

It was a week of waiting for the proofread edit of my book, wondering at some of what I’ve written. Not the parts taken from actual experiences that have made me stretch and grow beyond limiting patterns, but the learning that has come about from times when no matter how sincerely I’ve shown up with everything available to me, things remained unsettled. 

Experience is experience, however it turns out, and sometimes people and situations aren’t going to come together in understanding or collaboration or even an agreement to disagree. Things just might stay tangled or confusing or messy or horrible....

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...

June 29, 2016

"To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest." - Pema Chödrön

Traveling for the last four weeks has been a kaleidoscope of people, events and places— laced with family and friend reunions; spending precious time with my indomitable mother immersed in her increasing frailty, her laughter, and make-the-most-of-it attitude; a remarkably beautiful wedding filled with love and authenticity; and experiencing the diversity of nature from desert to ocean. It’s also meant we’ve been in a car for over 2,500 miles (one-way so far), and a spontaneous 2,000 mile round-trip detour...

April 25, 2016

A word has been flying in and out of my awareness these last two weeks.

Soft.

As in soft eyes. It’s a phrase I’ve been saying to my husband when his eyes scrunch up in painful determination as he exercises his newly reconstructed shoulder. My friend Cinda’s new horse just arrived from Spain, and she’s been talking about how he has soft eyes, an indication of the intelligence and steadiness he embodies and that she intuited when she first saw him halfway across the world.

Soft as in the underside of the ridged leaves of the hostas plants in the lower yard of our friends’ home where we are staying, the breeze that comes th...

April 13, 2016

We humans are fragile, and incredibly strong. We can grab onto familiar yet flimsy habits oh-so easily, and leap almost simultaneously into the unknown spaces of adaptability and resilience as if we were superheroes. Perhaps nowhere does this play out more in daily life than when our health is compromised. 

I am sitting in a room on the sixth floor of the University of Washington Medical Center. In his hospital bed next to me is my husband, sleeping. Two days ago he had a long-awaited shoulder replacement surgery, and between the anesthesia, shock of surgery, medications, the painful exertion of a 5x/day exercise...

Please reload

JUST PUBLISHED!

Sitting with Hope and Courage

March 23, 2020

1/3
Please reload

January 26, 2020

December 27, 2019

November 24, 2019

September 21, 2019

Please reload

RSS Feed

NANCY G. SHAPIRO

FINDING CALM IN THE MIDST OF CHANGE