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Not Present

Posted on by Matthew Kramer-LaPadula

What is causing us to suffer in this moment, right now? The thought of something yet to happen? The thought of something that has already happened? And yet, what is actually present here with us in this moment that is making us suffer? Usually very little. Thankfully, each moment offers a new chance for joy and happiness because what has happened can not be changed and what will happen can not be known with certainty.

Distance

Posted on by Matthew Kramer-LaPadula

It is important to understand our interactions with others. Some people may have beliefs or lifestyles that are corrosive. Allowing them to get too close can damage our ability to be compassionate. Being a friend does not mean not speaking up about such things. Quite the opposite. A friend should be able to speak honestly and openly with you, without offense. If we feel that we can not speak with someone, who we consider a friend, then perhaps our relationship is not what we believe it is; perhaps they or we are not as open as was thought. By misunderstanding the true nature of our relationships, we can set ourselves up for future disappointment.

Cracks

Posted on by Matthew Kramer-LaPadula

To shy away from our flaws is to avoid an inevitable challenge. We should not feel embarrassed by our failures. To do so is to deny our journey. We also should not denounce an opportunity to become better people by overcoming our shortfalls. To do so is to be satisfied with dissatisfaction. These cracks in our life make us human; they bring character; they define who we are. Let us show them proudly as part of our story … the journey of our life.

Without

Posted on by Matthew Kramer-LaPadula

We want to be understood; we want love; we want to share our lives. And yet these things can not in truth be possible if we do not understand ourself, love ourself, and share with ourselves. This is the essence of silence. To sit with your eyes directed at your own soul, your heart, your animus. To see who you are and what thoughts and feelings pull at you. And to accept, without judgement. So that we can go out into the world without judgment. Because how we treat others is a mirror of how we treat ourselves and vice versa.

Undo

Posted on by Matthew Kramer-LaPadula

Regretting our experience can be painful. Sometimes we look back on our actions and instead of accepting what we have done, we close our minds and project the anger at our past out into the world today. This is not productive. We must see the past for what it is … experience … and accept and move forward with our lives in understanding. To live every day fully, we must be present for the experience of life, not mired in our past failures.

Stars

Posted on by Matthew Kramer-LaPadula

It is difficult to believe, when we look up at the vast heavens, that we have arrived here on their account. We are a part of them as they are a part of us. Made of dust and light. The mysteries whose answers we seek out there in the great beyond can also be solved by pointing our gaze inward. The infinitude of space stretches within us as well and there are wonders and miracles within each of us that have yet to be realized.

Face

Posted on by Matthew Kramer-LaPadula

By creating a habit of looking at other people’s lives and condescending or gossiping or evaluating or judging, we avoid the most necessary observation of all … ourselves. There will be no true understanding of the world outside until we can face ourselves and shed light on our insecurities and feelings. Feeling without knowing why we feel is blind wandering. How can we point our fingers in such blindness? We know neither what we are pointing at nor why we are pointing.

Tumbling Stones

Posted on by Matthew Kramer-LaPadula

We can not know what or how our lives would be under other circumstances. We should not guess. The house we have now we built with the stones given to us from weathering life’s situations. Pieces of other people’s lives tumbled down into ours. And we picked them up and created something new and beautiful. We should not regret this life we have … for even though our stones are different than others, they are ours and ours alone.

Fate of the Lightbringer

Posted on by Matthew Kramer-LaPadula

Choosing a life of loving kindness, we must shed the distress from helping others. Carrying light in a dark world means bringing joy and inspiration in every moment. Do not be discouraged by the negative actions of others. Persevere. Bring compassion to each situation, showing others how a sincerely kind and giving nature can soften even the strongest demeanor.

Bright Sun

Posted on by Matthew Kramer-LaPadula

Step outside. Breathe the air. Is it cool? Is it warm? Feel the light of the sun on your skin, which brings light and life to Earth’s flora and fauna. And that life, Earth, breathes life into you. As you breathe back and forth so your breathe is taken in by the world around you and recycled. We are mixing together, part of a giant stew of life. Ubuntu. We are together. We are one.

Will Nots

Posted on by Matthew Kramer-LaPadula

I hear people say that they can not do something. They can not forgive. They can not let go. They can not understand. In reality, when it comes to emotion, we are empowered. You can almost always assume that, when making a “can not” statement regarding your feelings or emotions, that the statement may as well be a “will not”. To say that we can not put space between us and our feelings to look at them objectively is in opposition to what mindfulness and the scientific study thereof has taught us: that we ARE in control. Objectively then, it sometimes helps to be clear and restate. Instead of “I can not forgive,” we say “I choose not to forgive,” and instead of “I can not let go,” we say “I choose not to let go.” By doing so, we admit our role in continuing our suffering.

Sunrise (mindfulness post for 2/18/17)

Posted on by Matthew Kramer-LaPadula

We wake up every day expecting things. We expect the sun to rise. We expect to have job or see our friends. We expect to breathe and see and touch and feel. And yet, none of these are actually given. They are miraculous each and every day, but because of our expectation, we fail to see the deep and powerful miracle of their continued existence. Moreover, when our job or friends or sight or hearing does disappear, we mourn because we expected otherwise. By not setting these expectations, we can wake each morning with a renewed sense of wonder and joy at the gifts that that day has brought us that were not promised. Each and every day is a miraculous journey in which nothing is guaranteed, despite our expectations.

Gratitude (mindfulness post for 2/16/17)

Posted on by Matthew Kramer-LaPadula

Gratitude is such an important feeling. It is an ignored feeling, an outlier. A consistent daily feeling of gratitude motivates us and brings light into our darkness. I am asked sometimes how to feel gratitude when you have nothing. First, the perception of having nothing is an illusion. You have life! Otherwise, you would not have a perception. Now you might say, great, I’ve got life. But what is that? Life is the overlooked miracle. You are breathing. You can feel and taste and smell the world. Maybe you can see. Maybe you can hear. These are all miracles. Did you have breakfast today? Was it good? Did you talk to a friend? Did you experience love? Did you read a good book? Did you see inspiring artwork? Real gratitude isn’t in thankfulness for winning the lottery. It’s in what most people would consider mundane. But we only consider a thing mundane because we’re so focused on other, typically less important, things. We’ve got bills. We’ve got stress at work. We’ve got relationship problems. Our car broke down. All of these pale in comparison to the miracle of life. Find something in your day, something small, something overlooked … and see the value and beauty in that thing. See what you DO have instead of what you DON’T.

Anger is Fear (mindfulness post for 2/15/17)

Posted on by Matthew Kramer-LaPadula

It might be difficult to believe, but fundamentally there are two emotions: fear and love. How we manifest these emotions changes though based on the situation. If a dear friend dies, we might become afraid of the unknown and cry out. If someone cuts us off on the road, we fear for our safety and we express that through anger. If someone tells us something we don’t want to hear about ourselves, we might fear facing the truth and resist through an expression of anger. So it is when we learn to accept our situation (and ourselves) that we stop fearing and everything falls into place. Without fear, there is only one emotion left: love.

Diversity of Life (mindfulness post for 2/13/17)

Posted on by Matthew Kramer-LaPadula

It's hard to imagine living in a world where every being is the same, or living in a world where we do not rely on each other. These are important parts to the miracle of life. The fact that we are all alive and different and yet strongly reliant on each other, not just as humans but as animals. We rely on the trees, and vegetation, birds, and bees. And similarly, they rely on us. Only through responsible and caring stewardship of this planet can we continue to maintain this miracle.

Force of the Wind (mindfulness post for 2/12/17)

Posted on by Matthew Kramer-LaPadula

In order to offer loving kindness to others, we must accept the fact that our emotions are our own. No one is forcing our hand. No one is making us hate. No one is making us spiteful. No one is making us angry. We choose these things. And in this way, our feelings and emotions are like the wind. They come and they go on their own. Although an experience may stimulate a response in us, by attaching ourselves to thoughts we choose to cling to them and allow them to continue affecting our lives. And this is where the choice of loving kindness can enter our hearts. Instead of saying “you made me angry,” we can say “I feel anger, but I choose love.” In this choice, there is no blame; we accept our emotion as having risen on its own; and we select a positive, constructive emotion in place of the destructive one.

Control (mindfulness post for 2/11/17)

Posted on by Matthew Kramer-LaPadula

Despite our beliefs to the contrary, we have a significant control over our lives. We can choose how we respond to situations. We choose whether to be angry. We choose to allow our fears to overcome us. We choose to be healthy or unhealthy. We choose to make a person’s day brighter or darker. Although it is tempting to tell ourselves the story that our responses and feelings are “out of our control”, this is actually a lie which attempts excuse our negative behavior. You have complete control. You can bring joy and light into this world and create a better place for yourself and others through compassion.

Reverie (mindfulness post for 2/10/17)

Posted on by Matthew Kramer-LaPadula

Sometimes I sit and remember a moment that has passed. Even if the memory of that moment is pleasing, the feeling of remembering does not surmount the joy of the moment itself. This is part of the reason that being present is so important. When we live our life through memory, we are not fully in tune with what is going and so we fail to experience the entire joy offered by what is happening right now. Leave the memories for your nighttime dreams, travels to the other side. While you are awake, come back to now.