Mocha Angels 365. Day 37.

“Our personal attempts to live humanely in this world are never wasted. Choosing to cultivate love rather than anger just might be what it takes to save the planet from extinction.”

– Pema Chodron, The Places That Scare You

I’m reading this book right now, and it is a stellar work. Chodron, an American Buddhist nun, most known for her bestseller When Things Fall Apart, gives clear instruction on how to open the heart (and keep it open) especially when we don’t want to do so. A review is coming soon. If you’ve read the book, or any of her books, let me know what you think.

Mocha Angels 365. Day 26.

“Life can only be found in the present moment. When you look at the beautiful blue sky, where is it? In the present moment.

In order to not miss the beautiful blue sky, you have to go back to the present moment. Because it is in that moment that you get in touch with the beautiful blue sky, the beautiful rivers, the beautiful trees…

Everything wonderful, everything refreshing, happens in the present moment. Therefore, running to the future, or getting lost in the past, you miss life. Breathing in and out gets you back to the present moment where you have an appointment with life.”

– Thich Nhat Hahn, The Art of Mindful Living

Mocha Angels 365. Day 24.

This is a follow-up to Mocha Angels Day 23: “I speak from the heart today.” A subscriber said to me, “Speaking from the heart can cause all sorts of problems. The heart is full of emotion both good and bad.” Our conversation led me to clarify the intention behind speaking from the heart.

I learned the technique from a minister. The exact mantra is “Allow me to speak from my heart center.” It’s to be said to yourself, silently or out loud, when you are alone, not in front of other people. You say it when you are alone because this is about shifting your energy. Saying it in front of others invites judgment, and that’s not what you want. If you can’t get away from other people, say it silently. It’s said before a tense conversation (or confrontation) in order to de-escalate the situation.

Be sure to say it before you open your mouth. The intention is to speak with love to the other person. When you do speak, love, compassion, and clarity will flow from your mouth. It’s almost magical. It’s simply a shift in your thinking. You go from “I’m right, you’re wrong” (the ego) to “I want to hear you and understand where you are coming from” (the heart).

The other intention of “Allow me to speak from my heart center” is to heal the relationship. This works for everyone and anyone with whom you want to have a positive relationship.

The challenge is to remind yourself of the mantra when you’re angry or fearful, or worse, consistently an asshole/difficult/brash/rude/selfish/self-centered, etc. I’ve been that person, on all counts. I had to learn, in the hardest of ways, that insisting that I’m right all the time was leading me down the wrong path of self-righteousness aka “why can’t people just act right?” I’m the one who needs to be checking myself. I don’t need for everyone else to behave.

There are times when it’s appropriate to fight and defend yourself, or to get out of a dangerous situation. You don’t put up with anyone’s toxic bullshit or abuse. I think the heart center mantra is a gentler way of moving through life because you are being guided by love.

Hatred never ceases by hatred but by love alone. This is an ancient and eternal law. – The Buddha

Mocha Angels 365. Day 10.

From The Art of Mindful Living by Thich Nhat Hanh. Audiobook links are below.

Breathing is the essence of Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings. The technique in the photo is called “In/Out.” We stop thinking so much when we focus on our breath. We all think too much. Our body is present, but our mind is lost in the past or anxious about the future. The first fourteen minutes of The Art of Mindful Living, Part 1 is about this breath. It’s worth a listen.

Mocha Angels 365. Day 326.

I’ve been listening to an audio book called Being Love- Teachings to Cultivate Awareness and Intimacy by Zen Buddhist Master Thich Nhat Hanh. The audio is about an hour and twelve minutes long. Around the fifty-five minute mark, he talks about self-love.

Hanh says ( I’m paraphrasing and cutting it down a bit), “May I learn to look at myself with the eyes of understanding and love. Many people cannot accept themselves. They are at war with themselves. If we look deeply inside ourselves, we find out the conditions that made ourselves. And then we accept ourselves with our suffering and our happiness at the same time.”

He follows with talking about our relationships with other people, not just intimate relationships: “And we know that to love is to accept ourselves as we are…to accept the other person as she is…as he is…and looking deeply to see how that person was made.”

Hanh shows us how to cultivate the four basic qualities of authentic love: Maitri (lovingkindness), Karuna (compassion), Mudita (joy), and Upeksha (freedom). It’s a very grounded approach to love. It teaches how to sincerely listen to others and love them in a way that is freeing for both people. Being Love is a beautiful book. I’ll be listening to it over and over again.

10 out of 10 Mocha Angels.

Click to listen.

A Short Buddha Story To Calm Your Mind.

I saw this short two-minute video a few weeks ago. It basically says when you are emotionally agitated, straining your brain to figure out a problem, let it go for a while. Chill. Relax. Meditate. Sleep. Practice yoga.

Trust that the answer will come to you, if you allow it do so. I did exactly that at least three times in the past few weeks. I’m sharing the video because the technique really does work.

Trust in love for all your days.

Up next on Media Wednesdays: A review of the Netflix original movie Dolemite is My Name. Wednesday, November 27.