May 17Liked by Zanny Merullo Steffgen

Reading and listening to this post this morning following my own "meditation class", once again I experience the divine synchronicity of life, of reality, of how life works in harmony with all of existence~Toward the ONE! So grateful for this moment. Thank you to you for what you offer to reality. Blessings and peace that surpasses understanding, Mirabai

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A blissful and elusive feeling! Thank you for your comment.

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Thank you, Mirabai. We are all going there and it's always amazing to me how, in Ram Dass' words we 'walk each other home'.

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Thanks for sharing this gem.

I want to pass along one I have encountered.

Mike from Quincy



A Psyche Resident had to evaluate 35 patients each day! This would be so stressful and non-therapeutic for patient and clinician. To calm, center, and focus herself before knocking on the door for each patient encounter she developed the "Stop-Breathe-Be" practice below.


I heard this helpful feature on coping positively with stress on NPR Morning Edition 1/4/24.

For the entire excellent 4 minute piece or transcript go to www.npr.org/morningedition. There are lots of good suggestions like: "don't check cell phone/texts/news /social media too frequently because this often causes negative stress/anxiety/depression.

Best of all was this "reset". Her technique takes seconds anytime, anywhere, for anything. Just say to yourself:


Breathe.(take a full, deep breath)

Be. (peaceful...smart...patient... loving - whatever you need )

This is a very simple and effective mantra/affirmation that can help us especially in these troubled times.

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"In any case, I was afraid of my own grief."--Allyn Field

A fascinating concept, to fear your own grief. Sooner or later, I suppose we all reach a point in life when we grieve, unfortunately. The emotion is inescapable. I certainly have my share of reasons to grieve, and I know of no one in my life who doesn't have reasons to grieve. And I suppose we all find ways to live with grief. I tend to accept its presence, but to keep it at a distance; always there, because again, it's inescapable, but at a remove from my conscious thoughts and actions, from my living in this world. As a way to live with grief, it sometimes works, but not always. Or more precisely, it never works or doesn't work, but instead takes me down a path different from the one I'd been walking before the grief arose at that moment in my life, a slightly darker path, but nonetheless a path as livable as it can and must be, the prior path no longer reachable.

I'll also occasionally try the converse, going beyond accepting grief's presence but keeping it at a distance, to embracing its presence and making it front and center in my conscious thoughts and actions. Doing so can serve as a kind of remembrance of what's been lost, the presence of absence, loss usually for me the source of grief. That latter way of living with grief is riskier, though.

That said, I've never considered fear as a way to live with grief, never explored the undesirable and perhaps inescapable emotion of fear as a way to live with the undesirable and assuredly inescapable emotion of grief. I suppose fear would then serve as that distance between my grief and my conscious thoughts and actions, another way of keeping grief at a remove. I rely on fragile obliviousness to serve as that distance, tenuous at best in its effectiveness, like fog, which only partially obscures. Fear might be the better architecture for living with grief. I need to think more about this possibility.

Thanks, Allyn. And thanks, Roland and Zanny, for the post.


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Bob, If I can risk a comment on Zen here, I'd say that Allyn's remarks perfectly reflect the philosophy, which is often expressed in terse, poignant word-gems. "I was afraid of my grief" is one of those remarks, and it--and the philosophy--reflect a deep and clear-eyed exploration of our mental workings. To me, it's like psychotherapy, but quieter. A few times on meditation retreats I've seen people burst into tears---or burst out laughing--as they scrape away the defenses and mental busyness and explore the depths. The example he gave here of weeping in a retreat speaks volumes. Thank you for your openness and for this contribution to our discussion. The photos, too, 'brought so much to mind' as we say.

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