Life is too short to live on the surface all the time. Our depths are where all the richness is, even though it can be scary to dwell there. My Zen practice is about being brave and doing things that are hard to do. My Hula practice is just the same. Much inner growth can come from the practice of fearlessness.

I’m not saying that anxiety doesn’t ever arise. It does, but there is a way to work with it.

I’ve been learning about emotions and how they are designed to alert and move us to do something. If an emotion “gets stuck,” a mood can settle over us. Regulating emotions isn’t about repressing them or acting them out. It’s about recognizing and working skillfully with them when they arise. There are eight core emotions: anger, sadness, fear, shame, jealousy, disgust, happiness and love.

And there are 8 steps to help you regulate these emotions.

  • First, identify the emotion
  • Second, rate the intensity on a scale from 1 to 10.
  • Third, identify the trigger—the situation from which the emotion arose.
  • Fourth, notice the interpretation—what you tell yourself about what happened.
  • Fifth, check how your body feel about what occurred.
  • Sixth, note the actions you want to take.
  • Seventh, note the actions you actually took.
  • Eight, notice the aftereffects.

Next, apply these basic steps to your emotions by writing them down in a journal.

Last week, at my writing group, we had an opportunity to write for five minutes on four questions. There we could read our responses aloud if we wanted to. There questions could be answered deeply or superficially—either was ok. Here were the questions:

  • What is an important goal for you?
  • What is something very fun that you’d like to do in your remaining time on earth?
  • What helps you bear the cold days of early spring?
  • Write about an important personal issue.

I decided to be brave and go deep with my writing—though five minutes isn’t much time to write about subjects that could easily take much longer. But I felt safe diving deeply because I’ve been meeting with this group of women monthly for several years now.

When I returned home that evening, I felt that something had opened in me. I felt so energized. I decided to do the 8 step process and write in my journal. It was quite revealing. The trigger for my happiness was my feeling that this group of women listened deeply with empathy to thoughts I’ve revealed to few.

The power of listening is such a gift to others. I felt so nourished by how they listened without judgment or a misplaced desire to “fix me.” What a wonderful way to transform the feeling of a cold wintry evening into a bright warm dawn.

Malama pono (take care of body, mind and heart),

Sensei June Ryushin Tanoue

Posted in Articles by June Tanoue, Everyday Zen, Listening, Mindfulness, Zen-inspired Life | Comments Off

I dream of many
In the fabric of time
yet return to my
Ancient home
whilst playing with gusto.
in these
empty fields.

Maezumi Roshi

Posted in Everyday Zen, Quote of Week | Comments Off

One of the great teachers of our time has passed away. I had the good fortune of studying with him for several years beginning in 2002. Marshall’s teachings have touched thousands of lives all over our planet. We have incorporated his Nonviolent Communication as a major part of our Core Curriculum at Zen Life & Meditation Center. Robert Althouse

Dear all,

It is with great emotion that I write to tell you that Marshall Rosenberg passed from this life 3 days ago, on Saturday, February 7th.

It was recently discovered that he had late stage prostate cancer. He passed peacefully at home, with his wife Valentina – who shared the news with me a few minutes ago – and all his children by his side.

I know no way to describe the impact this man had on so many people – for his work and for his being, and for the extraordinary power the balance between these two unleashed. He was a beloved teacher to countless people on every continent, people whose hearts were touched and shone with the possibility his work made tangible.

To many of you reading he was also an inspired and inspiring colleague who changed the course of your lives and brought an inestimable sense of meaning and the potential for transformation to every area of your world. And who, at each moment, did this with utmost simplicity, humility and humanness.

In great mourning, and with the most profound reverence and soaring gratitude for the spirit he released in us, and whose light we carry forwards,

Dominic
President, CNVC Board

Posted in Nonviolent Communication, Zen-inspired Life | Comments Off

“We face complex problems and challenges in our world today. So the world needs you awake and sane. It needs you without pretense and without self-deception.”

Roshi Robert Althouse

Posted in Saying for the Day, Zen-inspired Life | Comments Off

meditation at ZLMCJust go into the room and put one chair in the center. Take the one seat in the center of the room, open the doors and windows, and see who comes to visit. You will witness all kinds of scences and actors, all kinds of temptations and stories, everything imaginable. Your only job is to stay in your seat. You will see it all arise and pass, and out of this wisdom and understanding will come.

Achaan Cha

Posted in Meditation, Quote of Week, Uncategorized | Comments Off

“We are beginning to play with ideas of ecology, and although we immediately trivialize these ideas into commerce or politics, there is at least an impulse still in the human breast to unify and thereby sanctify the total natural world of which we are.”

Gregory Bateson

Posted in Connecting with Others, Creativity, Quote of Week | Comments Off

O Birther! Father-Mother of the Cosmos,
you create all that moves in light.
Focus your light within us—make it useful:
as the ways of a beacon show the way.
Desire with and through us
the rule of universal fruitfulness
onto the earth.
Help us love beyond our ideals
and sprout acts of compassion
for all creatures.
Grant what we need each day in bread and insight:
substance for the call of growing life.

Untangle the knots within,
so that we can mend our hearts’
simple ties to others.
Don’t let surface things delude us,
But free us from what holds us back.
Again and again, from each universal gathering—
of creatures, nations, planets, time and space—
to the next.
Truly—power to these statements—
may they be the ground from which all
my actions grow:
Sealed in trust and faith.
Amen.

translated by Douglas-Klotz

Posted in Compassion, Quote of Week, Zen-inspired Life | Comments Off

“Praise those with virtue; pity those without it. If kind speech is offered, little by little virtue will grow. Those who hear kind speech from you will have a gladdened countenance and a joyful mind. It is the basis for reconciling rulers and subduing enemies; it has the power to turn the destiny of a nation.

Eihei Dogen

Posted in Everyday Zen, Listening, Nonviolent Communication, Quote of Week | Comments Off

Meditation is not just a rest or retreat from the turmoil of the
stream or the impurity of the world. It is a way of being the stream,
so that one can be at home in both the white water and the eddies.
Meditation may take one out of the world, but it also puts one totally
into it.”

Gary Snyder

Posted in Connecting with Others, Meditation, Quote of Week | Comments Off

Albert EinsteinAlthough I am a typical loner in daily life, my consciousness of belonging to the invisible community of those who strive for truth, beauty, and justice has preserved me from feeling isolated. The most beautiful and deepest experience a person can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion as well as all serious endeavors in art and science. Anyone who never had this experience seems to me, if not dead, then at least blind. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is a something that our mind cannot grasp and whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly and as a feeble reflection, this is religiousness. In this sense I am religious. To me it suffices to wonder at these secrets and to attempt humbly to grasp with my mind a mere image of the lofty structure of all that there is.

Albert Einstein

Posted in Everyday Zen, Quote of Week | Comments Off