I’m Losing

I’m losing the ability to see people as perfect women only gorgeous in my eyes men with the perfect way of being the idea that some version of me

will be seen as a perfect knight in perfect shining armor what I’m left with

is just us messy humans pooping and sweating getting older making mistakes trying to love one another and doing a piss poor job of it most of the time

us messy humans being scared with our pasts and history our reactions our wounds and anger

us messy humans trying and failing giving into temptation spending all day watching tv and polishing off a bag of chips

this world is made new in its messiness in its ordinariness in its boringness

I’ve never seen it this way without the rose colored glasses the streets have more homeless people your face has more pimples my body isn’t as thin as I would like

but in losing that layer of fantasy and dream I’m finding something new to fall in love with

a kind of love closer to my heart and the truth of what it means to be human this life is so unsatisfying even in the present moment and yet it’s more than enough so much more than enough


Is it enough?

Each day
Waking to a question in my mind

Is it enough?

This body
with some muscles and some fat
some wrinkles creeping in around my eyes
some part of me leaking out when I don’t want

Is it enough?

This life of making coffee
doing work I love
but making less money than other people make
and more than many do
having less fame then other people have
and more than many do

Is it enough?

The noise of traffic outside
a few plates in the sink
things mostly in their place
but clutter too

Is it enough?

A walk with friend to pick up dinner
talking about things we’ve talked about before
and yet enjoying the new curiosity on old pages

Is it enough?

Knowing the I’ll get old and die
well actually not knowing about the old part

Knowing it will be forgotten
all the laughter and angst

Knowing the earth is getting hotter
that racism is still a thing
that I don’t respect our leaders

Is it enough even though it’s never enough,
more days
I could handle anyway
more money
than I could spend
more life then
I have stomach for

Is it enough?
And what if it was?


How I Reply To Social Media Posts I Don’t Agree With

Anti-vaccination posts.
Anti-mask posts.
Posts about Bill Gates being a Lizard King
Posts that spread racist or sexist ideas

You see them all the time. You don’t agree with them. But what do you do about them?

This question comes up for me all the time. And each time I’m torn.

On the one hand, I know that allowing misinformation and bigotry to spread unchecked only makes things worse.

On the other hand, EVERY time I respond to one of these posts I get attacked, piled on, dismissed, or even worse I somehow seem to invite more conflict from both sides.

So what do you do?

To be honest, this is why I avoid commenting on posts I disagree with, but when I do I have found one way to offer a different perspective that seems to create the most space for people to connect around their shared values.

Here’s what I do:

1) Talk about your own experience – Instead of telling people they’re dumb or crazy. Simply share your own experience of you’ve grown and changed in your understanding.

For example, this year I bought a gun for target shooting. I believe in gun control and yet when I went to buy my gun I found the process frustrating. It seemed like there were so many loops to jump through and details to manage. But then I remembered that if I was angry or bent on violence all the steps and safeguards may have given me space to really think about my actions, it might have helped me calm down, and decide to not hurt someone I cared about. I get how annoying it is, but I’m glad we have laws that help keep us safe.

Now when I talk to people who are against gun restrictions I can share this experience. Not from a place of ‘guns are bad and you’re a violent nut for liking them,’ but from a place where I truly honor the desire to do something you enjoy and the frustration with laws that seem to get in the way of that.

By sharing your own experiences of how you relate to an issue, you make your opinions about you. You invite people into a story of your life, rather than creating a story about theirs.

2) Honor other people’s feelings – Often when we disagree with someone we discount how they feel. How can they be angry at immigrants? How can they be scared of something that’s been proven safe? How can they feel so reassured by false facts?

But even though they may have come to a different conclusion, their feelings are real.

SO when you talk to people honor their feelings. Express empathy with their desire for freedom, the longing for safety, their sense of unfairness, and then offer a new way to look at the same issue.

“I understand that you get angry at the thought that people who break the law might take jobs from law-abiding citizens, it makes sense, and I learned something the other day about immigrant labor that made me think differently about that.

“I understand that vaccines feel scary and that after hearing some people’s stories you feel cautious. When I hear those stories a part of me feels worried too.”

When you do this, you’re letting them know, ‘ You’re not crazy to feel that way’ and I have a different take on it. When you really hear people, you make it easier for them to hear you.

3) Don’t make other people wrong – Finally, if you can, don’t make the people you’re disagreeing with wrong. We usually do this by saying things like

“people who don’t wear masks are idiots” or “anyone who doesn’t get their kids vaccinated is a bad parent”

If someone is calling you an idiot or a bad parent, you’re not likely to listen to them.

So instead let them be who they are and simply offer an alternative point of view.

“I get that people who don’t wear masks care about their personal freedom, but for me, I realized that in this case, my freedom might hurt someone I love.”

“I can really feel the love anti-vax parents have for their kids. I care about my kids too and I’m scared they might get sick from some of the horrible diseases we have vaccines for. . . “

By understanding and honoring their intentions even if you disagree with their conclusions makes a big difference.

At our core, we all want the same things. We want our friends and family to be safe and happy. And while the strategies we use to get there might be different, the desire is the same.

Learning how to tap into this, is sort of like a magic spell. One that helps us connect with the deep humanity underneath opinions and points of view. If you can learn to come from this place consistently there’s so much that’s possible. ANd it’s this kind of deep compassion that our world needs now more than ever.


Sometimes You Fight Slug Monsters

Why I didn’t post a blog today:

An Essay By Toku The Martyr of The Slug Monster War

Somedays everything comes easy. You sit down at your computer to work and it’s like magic. The words flow, the ideas congeal, and you become a veritable ass kicker of clear and succinct prose.

And then there are the other days where you stub your toe, you space the super important phone call, and writing or working feels like an epic struggle against gargantuan slug monsters that latch themselves to your brain and extract every decent idea you have while they slowly drip self doubt and hopelessness directly into your blood stream.

For me today was one of those days.

But that’s ok.

The key to being happy and mindful is knowing that these days happen.

And that even though the slug monsters won today, tomorrow is another day and another chance to fight the evil hordes of doubt and unclarity, and more likely than not emerge victorious.

Please remember we all have bad days.
Sometimes it’s just your turn.



#Blog Slug Monsters Small


The Truth About Loneliness

Interdependence and Loneliness
As a Buddhist I have often been told we are all one inter-being.

We might imagine this as being different cells in the body of Dharma. Or perhaps even a subtle part woven into the machine of Karma.

Sometimes this idea seems perfectly inline with my human experience. Sometimes it seems in conflict with it.

The young attractive woman who is lonely The Truth About Loneliness Mindful Fitness Mind Fit Move

The Monastery
I lived at Great Vow Zen Monastery for 2 years.  I had many experiences of being part of a seamless system. It was an organic heart that shared it’s beat with so many people.

I also had experiences of deep and unyielding loneliness. It’s funny for some people to imagine feeling alone at the monastery. There is hardly any time where someone is not close at hand.

I slept in a room where other practitioners were a mere cubicle wall away. I could feel and most definitely hear their presence. Yet I often felt very, very alone.

The Experience of Loneliness
The experience of loneliness always comes as a sickness. A distinct longing to be seen and heard. A desire to be known in a deep and fundamental way. A hope and desire for intimacy.

Sometimes this longing manifests as a desire for a romantic partner. Sometimes as a distinct and dull depression.

It comes as a sense that something just isn’t quite right. I often wondered, ‘how does loneliness happen if we are all one being?’

Leaving the Monastery
Since leaving the monastery I have struggled with loneliness from time to time. Entering lay life is a challenge after the strict discipline and strong container of the monastery.

I have done many things to help contain my mind. Still, loneliness comes up.

Deep Connection
When I feel lonely I wonder if my heart is expressing its deep connection to the other human beings around me.

I feel a deep compassion and love. Yet my day-to-day experience doesn’t match the felt truth of inter-being.I live in a world with suffering beings one of which is me.

We are often caught up in our own agendas, our own ego games, and our own complex defenses to realize how deeply connected we all are.

This dissonance can amplify our suffering and lead to a feeling of disconnect and misalignment we call loneliness.

Nothing Is Amiss
Even though it is hard to bear.  I think part of me knows that this deep feeling of longing, the well in the pit of my stomach, is not a sign of something wrong with me.

Rather it is an indication of inter-being in my life. Even my casting about for new friends and new romance, demonstrates a true desire to be connected

No Cure
I will not any particular cure or remedy for  loneliness but rather a question.

How can I use the longing of loneliness to serve the dharma and strengthen my own heart?
How can we use the depth of this feeling to deepen our own connection to others and out understanding of suffering?

Accept It
Feeling lonely is hard no matter how you look at it. It is my own hope and deep wish that by acknowledging it as part of my reality and practice that it may offer relief to others who experience it’s effects.

Deep in my heart I truly believe that we love each other more than we are willing to admit. And sometimes it is only through this subtle pain called loneliness that we can realize the truth and power of this deep and abiding inter-heart.

This post was originally published in Ink On The Cat
ans subsequently published on The Under35 Project


I Love It When You Screw Up

WTF ?!?
WTF Are You Talking About?!?
That’s what the look on her face said.
I could tell she was tired. So I repeated it again.
“You don’t have to go down that far.”
“But I’m doing overhead squats!”
I love her, but she wasn’t doing overhead squats.
To be honest I wasn’t sure what she was doing.

I love it when you screw up mindfitmove

The Woes of CrossFit
Let me back up. This all happened the other day at Crossfit. I finished my workout and went over to cheer my partner on.

When I got to where she was lifting she seemed to be doing a kind of mini thruster. She would dip half way into a squat and then come up and do a shoulder press. That day we had to do 50 overhead presses and 50 front squats.

I thought she was doing overhead presses, but she was squatting down really far. So I told her she didn’t need to dip that far. That’s when she said she was doing overhead squats. I tried to explain the mix up to her, but it didn’t seem to help.

After a short discussion she realized her error. She had been doing an extra shoulder press with each front squat. She looked defeated.

Almost everyone in class was done or close to it.  She still had several reps to go.

I stayed with her and encouraged her to keep going. She made it to the end. But I could tell she felt stupid making that mistake.

We were able to laugh about it later, but I realized there was a valuable lesson in the experience.

Aaaaawk –warrrrd.
Grace is something most of us value. As a kid being awkward is painful.

You can be a nerd, a band geek, even an outcast, but if you’re awkward it’s the worst. So we spend much of our time trying to be smooth and cool.

This all adds up to a strong desire to do things perfectly and to never let anyone see you make a mistake.

Mistakes Help
The problem is that mistakes help us. If we are not making some mistakes, we are not learning. When we go for it we’re bound to stumble and fall. We may even embarrass ourselves in front of other people. But that’s ok.

Making mistakes helps us see we have veered off the path. That way we can get back on track.

It also releases our fear of screwing up. We see that making a mistake isn’t that bad. We didn’t die and often no one even notices.


The Value Of Mistakes

But our mistakes can also be a great asset to us. For example in the world of photography mistakes have led to great works of creativity. Take for example Jill Greenberg’s Monkey portraits. The artists reports in several interviews that she took the pictures by mistake. She was doing some client work and just liked the attitude of the monkey. And it led to an amazing series of portraits admired by photographers all around the world.


Just look at this picture for example. It shows so much of personality of the monkey all while still holding Jill’s unique way of lighting and painting the subject. She makes the monkey seems both very human and at the same time very clinical. The background reminds one of any studio portraiture and yet the personality elevates the subject to the realm of the human and maybe even further to the divine.

And yet this picture never would have taken place. Had it not been for Jill’s mistake. She executes her technique with great skill and clearly by this picture and the others in the series has a plan, but she’s also open to something random and new.

Ms. Greenberg went on to try other bold projects like that of End Times a series of works that depicts children crying. This project went on to get her in trouble with many people because well she made kids cry.

But much of her success has been due to the fact that she is willing to take risks.

Whether or not you feel that these pictures depict art or cruelty her boldness has served her well.

Disclaimer: No girlfriends were harmed in the writing of this post.

You Can Read My Partners Blog Wordsavant by clicking here. 

Photo Credits


This Sucks! Zen and the Art of Difficult Emotions

I’m the worst person alive!
Over a year ago, I made a vow to make amends for all my unskillful actions. This process involved doing a moral inventory.

It’s a technique I borrowed from 12-Step work. (In the spirit of full disclosure I’ve never done 12-step work and am not an authority on that process.)

I decided to make a list of every bad thing I’ve ever done. This is super hard. At times, I felt like I was the worst person alive.

Photo of Crying Kid

Tell me how I failed!
The first list I made was long, but I knew there was more. So each night before bed I would sit and say to myself,

“I want to live a life of integrity. I am willing to accept the mistakes I have made. If there is any action I have forgotten and I don’t feel good about, I invite it to come into my awareness.”

After I said this, I would sit in silence for a few minutes. Often something would bubble up to the surface. No matter what it was I greeted it with gratitude and wrote it down.

Make it hurt!
When we start to improve our lives, we open more space. This leads to a sense of freedom and joy. It also allows unfelt emotions to surface.

When these emotions surface, it can feel like we’re moving backwards. In truth it means you are really digging in to real transformation.

The challenge is to face these emotions without trying to fix them. Allow them to arise, feel them, and then be willing to let them go.

5 Steps For Creating Space for Difficult Emotions

1. Set aside time.
You need at least 10-15 minutes, but it’s better to give yourself some wiggle room.

I found that just before bed was the best time for me. It helped me process the day. It also meant I didn’t take these emotions to bed.

2. Find Somewhere to Be Alone
It’s hard to be with difficult emotions around others. They may try to consol or distract you. The point is to just be present with what’s arising. Nature is great, or your bedroom, but if all else fails the bathroom is a good standby.

3. Invite the Emotions to Come In
An invocation can be helpful. State your intention, your willingness to accept what comes, and then invite any hidden emotions to arise.

3. Feel Your Body
If emotions arise, try not to focus on the content. Instead, focus on how the emotions feel in your body. Notice any beliefs that arise especially any absolute statements.

If these emotions become intense try to stay with it, but if your mind starts spinning, focus on your breath or your feet to become grounded.

4. Write it down
Once you have watched the emotion arise, exist, and ebb, write it down. Name the emotions and any beliefs that came with them. This can be a few sentences or much more, it’s up to you.

This gets it out of your head and gives you perspective.

5. Gratitude and Release
Now thank whatever came up for arising. Thank your heart for being willing to feel these hard feelings. Thank yourself for being willing to do this work. Then ask yourself, your heart, and/or a higher power to help you let these feelings go.

Remind yourself that you will do this again soon and that anything else can wait until then.

6. Grounding
Working with difficult emotions can be agitating. Afterwards take ten breaths, do a short yoga routine, or maybe read something inspiring. If you are still reeling try doing something to get in your body: light house work, a more vigorous yoga routine, or a longer meditation.

This practice can be very powerful. It’s not about wallowing, it’s about giving space to the powerful forces inside of us. When we are willing to be with challenging feelings, we gain the courage to face challenges in every aspect of our lives.

Discussion Question: How do you work with difficult emotions?

Disclaimer: For some people this practice is not suggested. If you notice the consistent arising of thoughts involving self harm or suicidal ideation stop using this technique and consult a licensed counselor or therapist before continuing.

If you feel like you need to speak with someone right away call your local crisis line or call A Lifeline Crisis center at 1 800 723 TALK (8255)

Photo Credits


How Flipping A Coin Made Me Perfect At Yoga

Guy jumping in yoga poseI’m failing at yoga.
I mean totally blowing it.

My warrior two looks like warrior one. And my warrior one looks like someone broke off the top a bowling trophy.

An Endless Path
The other day a classmate observed that the path of Yoga is endless. We are always working towards greater subtlety and clarity. When he said this, I felt a lump in my throat.

In Yoga school, I am a neophyte extraordinaire. I’ve only practiced with a well-trained teacher for a few months.

Before this, I did mostly guerilla Yoga. It was fun and loose, and my teacher had studied at Youtube academy. I loved Yoga, but I didn’t have a lengthy, formal education.

They’re Pros
Most of my classmates have been practicing for years if not decades. I find their knowledge, skill, and flexibility to be humbling. I often feel like Bambi caught in a forest fire.

Still, Yoga’s not a competition right? Well I’m an American male so everything can be a competition. So there, I was in class thinking about how bad I was at this infinite art.

Then it struck me. There is another side to this coin. The side that sees my yoga as perfect.

Two Sides
There are two sides to every situation: the side that takes an ideal and compares us to it and the side that always sees wholeness. The first side we see all the time. The second side is hardly looked at.

No one can do my Yoga except for me. No one can face my body’s challenges except for me.

My whole life; karma, dharma, and everything else has brought me here.

Every step I make is a step on the path. I may stumble and fall, but I must walk.

There is no me some place else that’s doing it better. There is only the me that practices here and now. There is no moment other than this one and this moment is perfect.

MindFitMove Practice
Reflect on these three questions.
What if everything I do is perfect as it is?
What if everything everyone else does is perfect in this same way?
What if I could see this perfection in every moment?
How would it change my life and how I live?


A Big Turn Off

This will be a short blog.
Turn off this computer and go do something real with someone you care about. Take a walk, sing a song, or make a meal, no matter what this time of the year can help us remember that the best things in the world are analog. 
Happy Holidays!


What’s one thing you’ll never hear a personal trainer admit?

Ok I can’t believe I’m saying this, but working out is no fun at all. Am I right here people?

Sometimes when I go to work out I just don’t feel like it. Then my muscles start burning, I’m breathing really heavily, and everything kind of aches. It feels a little bit like I’m dying and not in the Sylvia Plath sense.

People who are “into fitness” don’t like to admit they feel like this, but we do. We like to act like it’s fun and enjoyable which it is, but it also sucks.  We don’t tell other people this because it’s hard to explain to anyone why we would do something so arduous. If we admitted this they would ask why we encourage others to do the same thing? Are you guys like sadists or something?

There is this idea in the fitness world and in society that everything should be fun light and easy. When you see work out commercials on TV those people are having a blast doing puncherobics or taicyling or whatever. When you see people working out for real often they have this look like someone just stole their milk money and shoved them in a locker.

So why do I work out? Because I know that it makes me feel better. Counter intuitive right?
When I work out my brain works better, my moods are less extreme, food tastes better, sex is better, and I just feel better day-to-day.

Even after a hard workout that kicked my booty I feel much better than I did before. There is something thoroughly satisfying about being completely used by my efforts. Discomfort and fatigue force me to be in my body to be in this moment to get out of my head and into THIS INTENSE EXPERIENCE!

That’s why I love to exercise even when I can’t stand it. So go ahead and admit that working out is hard. It’s supposed to be that way. That’s why it’s called working out instead of hanging out. It’s work.

Once you’ve done that then get out there and run, swim, bike, skate until you feel exhausted. We all have to do unpleasant things sometimes, but exercising mindfully is one occasionally unpleasant thing that actually makes almost everything else a little better.