The Path to Enlightenment can change your life.

by Jim Hatton

 As a very young man, I remember hearing about “Enlightenment”.   The Buddhists talked about the Buddha being enlightened and that that was the ultimate goal in life.  When you were enlightened you were wise, people wanted your advice, you were peaceful and did not have problems, you remembered past loves, and people wanted to be around you. Once you were enlightened, you made it, that was it and the work was done.  Therefore, I prayed and prayed for God to enlighten me right now, all at once.  After all, I was ready and deserved to be enlightened and not have to be a monk, wear an orange robe, and live in a far off place and eat only vegetables.  Oh, and never take a lover when I grew up. Yes, God, do it to me right now I begged. 

I prayed for this for a long time…and just knew that the light would hit me and all of a sudden, “boom” I was enlightened.  I prayed some more…but It never happened. What did happen was every so often I would have a “Satori” or spiritual insight.  I would realize or understand something that I never knew before.  I loved the feeling of having a spiritual “ah-ha”.

Therefore, I started looking at my thoughts, my actions and re-actions, how I reacted to people and situations.  When I reacted in a strange, rude, or hateful way to people and things, I would ask myself why I respond this way. Is this how an enlightened person, spiritual master, or Buddha would act?  What was my fear?  I then I would set my intention to act or do something different the next time a similar situation or event would present itself.  After a while, I understood that the buttons that people pushed, previously installed by me, disappeared. All I had to do was to become conscious of them and then set my intention.  I thought that after addressing quite a number of “buttons” that pretty soon I would finally be done. Would enlightenment then come?

What I did notice is that the buttons I found were getting smaller and smaller, less significant, and easier to dissolve.  Things in my life started to change.  Energy began to return, there were peaceful people in my life, the various challenges seem more easily solved and my prosperity increased. I became more and more unattached to situations and their outcome.  Was this what the Buddhists talked about “non-attachment”?  I used to think that would be boring and I would have the personality of cardboard.  The discovery was not being attached did not mean that I did not care about people or situations; it meant that more unconditional love was entering my life.  I love things, gave thanks for more in my life, and allowed people to be who they are.  My love was not conditional on how they acted or what the outcome of a situation would turn out.  Ah ha!  Non-Attachment!

I still have “buttons” but now I call them thought structures.  They may not be so blatantly obvious anymore; they hide in the corners of my consciousness.  But as I seek them out discovering more and more about who I am, I find myself becoming more and at peace.  Now, I am at Peace with the world, people in my life, and with myself.  Is this the Path of Enlightenment?

   Jim Hatton, Author: “A Spiritual Master’s Guide to Life” available on Amazon or at


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Peace, Presence and Relationship

Peace, Presence, and the Relationship  by Ed Hirsch


If you are not at peace in your intimate relationship, then your life will not be at peace. To gain some insight here, let’s step back and consider the typical stages of intimate relationships.

                The first stage can be called falling in love, the honeymoon phase, romance, or infatuation. In the midst of it, it can seem like true love. It has elements of fantasy, and especially it is fantasy if you take it for real love pure and simple. But to demean it as mere fantasy, or to reduce it to a chemical cocktail that amounts to being on drugs, is itself to be in fantasy. What is learned on “drugs” can be quite valid and only becomes fantasy if we translate that into “How easy this is! How wonderful I am! How enlightened I am!” And yet even this is a glimpse into truth, for love in itself is essentially easy, we are indeed wonderful, and we are essentially enlightened already. This stage of the process is provided by nature to get us to mate, and to help us to weather the storms of sustained relationship. But beyond that, it can be a glimpse into your own and your partner’s True Nature, and into the nature of True Love.

                You might naively think you have arrived, but then comes the stage called falling out of love, the power struggle. You might think you have gone from Heaven to Hell, or that you were addicted and now have hit rock bottom. You might think you’ve been deluded and now have seen the (awful) truth. You might think that this is now the real thing, simply the way life is. You might make your partner wrong and struggle with them in order to get them back to what they were in the previous stage. Or you might bail out and seek another partner (with the sense that obviously this one can’t be the real deal).

                If you weather this storm, and somehow wake up from the pain so that you can step back from it to a larger perspective, then you might enter into the stage of conscious love, or real love. Here is where there can be an integration of the previous two stages, recognizing that life is a process that includes both love and challenge. You might come to understand that you were a bit naive and culturally conditioned to suppose love is so easy, and that you had found the right partner for this easy love. You might become sober enough to recognize that real love in a long-term relationship requires real work, relational skills, and commitment. And you can recognize that it all serves as a mutual growth opportunity, wherein each partner takes responsibility for their own process.

                This can now seem to complete the stages, but there is another stage, which really can come at any point in the process. This is the opening to what we can call Essential Love (including Essential Compassion), the Loving Presence that is an aspect of your Essential or True Nature. You can learn to access this (supported by other essential aspects of Presence, such as Peace) at any stage. If you do make this your foundation, anchored in your body and heart, then you can apply this at any of the above stages, and transform the journey through every one of the stages. If possible, begin before the first stage, so that you can enter into it consciously, from a place of Presence. In any case, the journey is still not going to be ideal, and human loving is never going to be without challenges. Both partners will still have egoic delusions and shadows. And that’s OK, for now you will be able to relate to those challenges from a place of Presence. You can cultivate the Loving Presence by yourself, and you can cultivate it with your partner. And then you can bring that to any stage of your process and to the process of relationship. Sometimes outside help is needed to support this when you lack perspective.   To cultivate this, become still and open to the Presence that is always Here Now.


Ed Hirsch teaches an OLLI course on Presence and conducts a small committed group centered in the practice and process of Presence. He is available for sessions for those who want to explore this for themselves.  Contact him at for information.



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Inner Peace from Beyond the Grave

Inner Peace Beckons From Beyond the Grave

by Janai ‘Grandma Boom’ Mestrovich



 Florida captured a part of my heart during childhood when, as a family, we would drive straight

through from Kansas City to Wildwood, Florida, Mom’s childhood home.  Every summer we would venture that way to see Mom’s relatives and other friends she grew up with. They had children we played with. The sandy soil, humidity, lush vegetation, and that southern accent coupled with the hospitality on front porches were the closest thing to southern heaven next to southern cooking.

 We sometimes stayed with the Cochran family and always felt the kids were cousins and their parents, Annette and Son, were like an aunt and uncle. Clear up into adulthood when visiting my parents in Florida, the Cochran’s were an essential part of the visit. Daughter, Teedlee, kept a loving kind of glue connecting everyone with her service minded love, helping my parents during their decline, especially Mom. Needless to say, there was always a closeness that brought warmth and loving care between our families.

 It was 2001 and I was living in central Oregon when I was awakened by the phone at 5:30 a.m. “Hello,” I said sleepily. No one responded, but I heard talking. I said ‘hello’ a couple more times. It sounded like Sheilah and Teedlee, the Cochran sisters, talking. This incident took place just a day or so after the funeral of their mother, Annette. Teedlee lived in Wildwood but Sheilah and family were residents in Oklahoma. Sheilah was in Wildwood for the funeral.

 “Sheilah? Teedlee?” I said, but they kept talking to each other and not me. It was beyond me why they didn’t answer me. Maybe they didn’t realize I had picked up the phone. I understood enough of their conversation to know they were talking about their mom and post funeral goings-on at the house. I couldn’t understand why they wanted me to hear this conversation anyway. It was private family stuff. So I hung up.

 Later that day I called Teedlee and asked why they had called so early. Teedlee said they had not called. I repeated snips of the conversation I had heard. Teedlee was astounded. She told me when they were talking about those things they were walking outside. I told her the call registered on my phone as being from Sheilah. But Teedlee said Sheilah had left her cell phone back at the house.

 This experience defies rational explanation. Sheilah thought it was their mom trying to make contact with them through me. Whatever the case, we all know something extraordinary happened. Some events don’t fit our views of how the world works, and we just have to accept that they happen.

 I had an unsettling inner sensation with my nerves and in my heart area all day after that call came. It felt awkward to hear a personal family conversation that was none of my business. But I trusted that it happened for a reason.

 I was not at peace until I shared with Teedlee and Sheilah what I heard them talking about. They knew their mom was trying to connect with them. I believe Annette was unsettled in her post death journey and needed to give her daughters a message regarding life after death. When this all settled down, a grace came into my heart. I knew it was Annette thanking me for being receptive and giving her girls a message. How it all manifested with no real phone connection but through the phone is beyond me. I simply found inner peace accepting the extraordinary gift from connecting a mother beyond the grave to her daughters. I also knew it brought Annette peace in her journey.

 I am grateful to have been an inner peace emissary between the worlds as the veil that separates the living from the dead lifted for that short period of time. (Parts of this sharing are extracted from Janai’s Self-Help Memoir, The Grandma Boom Chronicles…More Alive at 65!)

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An Ego Free Day

This Wednesday, UN Peace Day Sept. 21st

Choose to be ego free! 

The International Day of Peace, sometimes unofficially known as World Peace Day, is observed annually on 21 September. It is dedicated to world peace, and specifically the absence of war and violence, such as might be occasioned by a temporary ceasefire in a combat zone for humanitarian aid access. The day was first celebrated in 1982, and is kept by many nations, political groups, military groups, and peoples.  Source Wikipedia

This year the theme is “The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks of Peace” a worthy goal however in 2017 or the near future the theme could be: “The Sustainable Individual:  Take Your Peace Temperature.”    The UN could lead the way in encouraging the practice of personal peace and promote the daily “hygienic” practice of taking one’s peace temperature everyday like brushing teeth or combing hair.  Are you a peace maker or a trouble maker? We know Global Warming is heating the planet with dire predictions but something that we can do something about is the temperature of our mind.  

For example, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being peaceful, what is your temperature today?  If encouraged to perform the task of accessing our daily inner temperature we would look inward: Happy or sad; upset; what can I forgive or accept; what do I need to do; a walk in the park; write an apology or thank you; what am I thinking and should I believe it; what I am judging; projecting and can I find it also within myself so I can let it go. 

In taking my temperature I am responsible for looking at my thoughts and change them if they cause pain, grief or misery of any kind.  Who or what part of my mind is running the show that translates into my judgments and thoughts?  Unless I choose differently it’s the ego.  I don’t have to believe every thought or the drama attached to it that can escalate to a war pitch in my mind.   When we are aware of the escalation and how we feel and think we can say:  “Do I want this thought; is it true? Can I refuse to believe it or see it another way?”  

Question every thought and when a judgmental thought crops up (and it will) say: “Oh there’s the ego again – no big deal” merely look and let it go.  If  I take the time to look within and name the annoyance or the judgement and acknowledge it is also in myself, it has to be otherwise I would not see it out there, then I can let it go or see it another way.   All condemnations are from the ego, a master in projection, if we let it be chairman of our thoughts.

Salvation from the ego is within your powerful mind.  You are the decision maker and can put the controls on the ego; switch channels.   Go to the sanity within and say “I choose peace; I want to see this differently.”  Find the “mute” button and turn off the ego insanity.  Maybe carry a small symbol as a reminder in your pocket to choose peace.  This practice of watching the mind will reduce the ego.  It is imperative for inner peace.  

The ego is not your friend.  You are a loving mind, a higher Self, a Spirit and you have done nothing wrong.   As we become less identified with the ego, the quiet truth will emerge from the Love within the One mind we share.   We live in a world that screams of distraction and misery, especially with the current war in the Middle East, refugees flooding Europe and the general election.  But there is always something screaming at us.  A mind at peace will find the loving thing to do when called upon and if we don’t buy into ego doom and gloom we will see clearly what the right thing is.   No longer living as a puppet of the ego we take our inner peace temperature daily allowing the love within to be projected outward to do the good it will.  Take your inner peace temperature next Wednesday September 21 and have a nice day!

Sally McKirgan facilitates one of several ‘A Course In Miracles’ study groups in the Rogue Valley and the Ashland Daily Tidings inner peace column and community blog.  Contact her at


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Celtic Evensong, Sunday, September 18

A CELTIC BLESSING  by Bert Anderson


Church is not the first place most people go to today to find inner peace. They might go to be inspired by the sermon, a personal witness, or outstanding musical performance, but I seldom hear people who do attend report they are touched at the level of soul or spirit.

Fewer people go to church these days, even though a majority say that they believe in God. One woman I talked to recently said that she was lapsed Unitarian and was now a  Buddhist.  Others in my group of friends do not deny their Christian heritage, but they are more likely to attend a Thich Nhat Hanh mindfulness meditation than a church.

I’ve been a member of the Episcopal Church for eighty years. I love the prayer book services, and here in Ashland, the music is excellent, but I am one of those people with an active mind, always on the go, needing to do the next thing.  I don’t have the patience to keep a daily routine of meditation and prayer and going to church has often become an obligation. Not until recently have I found the quiet, meditative atmosphere that I crave in a service.

I began attending a monthly Celtic evensong at Trinity Episcopal Church, an unusual service for Episcopalians.  When I enter on Sunday evenings, I am handed a folder so I can follow the service. An offering plate sits on a chair to one side for anyone who wants to make a donation.  Candles flicker in the church and lights are low. A Celtic harp is played. I light a votive candle to remember someone who needs healing, or for myself, and then I slip into a pew and become part of the meditative silence.

The service begins with a familiar hymn and a reading that draws on wisdom of the ages, perhaps that of Rumi or another Sufi poet. Thich Nhat Hanh would not be out of place here. After a short reading from the Bible, one of the church members tells a personal reflection of his or her faith. A few minutes 0f silence follow. Then comes a brief communion, where everyone is welcome to join in or not. After a final hymn, the service ends as it began, with silence. People leave as they will, no minister is at the door, and one walks out into the quiet of the night.

Celtic Christianity is about “original blessing,” instead of “original sin.” There is no contrition, confession, creeds, or long litanies.

One member writes, “I love the quietness, the candles, the music, and the words said. I feel at peace with myself and God. It is hard to explain the whole sense of spirituality that I feel, but when I leave, my cup is full.”

Another writes, “The solemnity of the Celtic service urges me to set aside my daily complexities and invites me into God’s love.”

The Celtic evensong and communion originated as an alternative to morning worship at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, Virginia. Members of the group that plan the Celtic services at Trinity, have visited St. Stephen’s and have gone to the island of Iona, Scotland, a center of Celtic spirituality, to learn more about this form of Christianity.

People from all faiths or none are invited to find inner peace at the next Celtic Evensong, Sunday, September 18, at 7:00 p.m., Trinity Episcopal Church, 44 North Second St., Ashland.

 Bert Anderson is an assisting clergy at Trinity Episcopal Church. He has written four plays since he retired in Ashland, including Mister Brightside and the Bonfire Nights, and TRaNZ. Currently he is working on a memoir.



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I don’t know by Dan Fischer

My core philosophy: I don’t know  by Dan Fischer

“There is no hole in the bottom of the universe out of which you can fall.” I am alive. Someday I will be dead. I am not going to speculate on what happens after I die.  I don’t know. If there is a life after death we don’t know anything about it because no one with any credibility has come back and told us about it. So, I’m not going to talk about it. I’ll deal with it when I get there. . .  Or, I won’t. . .  Meanwhile, I’m alive and I’m going to die. I can enjoy the ride or complain about the ride and the scenery.

For years I remembered John Merritt, with whom I shared a hospital room back in the spring of 1959. He had bone cancer and was dying a terrible, painful death. His wife was sweet and gentle. Neither of them deserved the pain they were enduring. It frightened me. And I stayed frightened for years. 

After many kidney stones and intestinal blockages I have learned that pain is inevitable but suffering is a choice. I have chosen not to suffer. (Most of the time.)

When I was young and starting into the world I spent some time leaning about goal setting. Goal setters and their gurus make rules for goals. Like: Goals must be positive. Goals must be measureable. Goals must be specific. Etc.

“I will make a million dollars by five years from now.” Meets the criteria for a good goal but it didn’t satisfy me. It was incomplete. So I took it a step further. Why do I want a million dollars? What would I do with it? What would it do for me? A million dollars is a pile of paper or a bunch of marks on paper. It only has value if it does something. So I sought what I really wanted. After careful and long search I found that what I want and wanted is internal Security, personal peace and joy. Oh, and a million dollars couldn’t buy them. There is some security in owning a lot of money. It can provide some peace (or anxiety). And it may provide some joy, . . . or not.

When I got, really got, that there is no hole in the bottom of the universe out of which I could fall I understood that my goals were in my reach. My kidney stones and intestinal blockages helped me to understand that pain does not necessarily stand between me and my three goals. I can feel pain and have my internal peace. I can have joy. My internal security is in knowing that I am, nothing can change that until I am not. And then I won’t care!           

This seems so simple to me. It is so clear. I am reminded of a time when I was working for Univac and learning their 1108 super computer. It had a concept that was strange to me. The manual explained it on about two pages. I read them and didn’t understand. I re-read them and still didn’t understand. I went to my boss and asked him to explain it. I spent more than two days struggling with the concept and finally got it. It was simple. I could summarize t in about two sentences with which my boss agreed. 

One of my General Semantics gurus said “I’ll see it when I believe it.”  The simplicity of my three goals is like that. I didn’t see it until I believed it.

So, how do my three goals fit into the greater world? How do they relate to morality, to family? I get joy from doing, doing for others, doing for myself, sometimes, just doing. My joy is greater when I do for others than when I do to others. When I was a little boy I pulled the wings off flies, (didn’t we all?). When I reached a certain level of enlightenment, I no longer took pleasure in torturing lesser or weak creatures. Now, when I find a spider in my sink, I gently catch it and take it outside to freedom.  I do to it what I think it would like me to do to it. It brings more joy than hitting it with a magazine would. It could be considered a selfish act. (But, not to the spider.) Morality is its own reward.

Internal security comes from knowing that I will endure and I can endure until I am no more.  I know I can focus on the pain or the pleasure. I can enjoy just being alive. If that gets too tough and I’d rather not be alive I can just stop breathing until I remember how wonderful a full breath can be. This is how heroes survive torture and imprisonment. I’d rather live without pain but I’m not going to let my pain interfere with my pleasure.

I can know no one like I know myself. We are locked in an existential aloneness. I can appreciate your pain or pleasure but I can’t feel it like you do and you can’t feel mine.  When I finally got that, I relaxed into my personal peace.  (I wish I could always get it. Sometimes, I forget.) It is still a goal.

My three goals: Internal Security, Personal Peace and Joy. I achieve them and then I lose them. But they are always my goals.

Dan Fischer lives in Ashland. He occasionally teaches at OLLI at SOU. His blog is or google “The Crazy Mud Caper.” —–


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Beware of What you Tell Yourself – by Summer Raven

Beware What You Tell Yourself  

By Summer Raven, 1975

 (Thanks to Dan Fischer for sending this to the inner peace blog. 

It comes from a song that was sung at The Living Love Center in Berkeley in the 70′s)

Beware what you tell yourself,

Children of light.

Demanding and judging

Will alter your sight.

And forcing your way

Always leads to a fight,

’Cause nothing is wrong

More than anything’s right.


Wherever you wander,

Don’t leave love behind!

Whatever you’re giving

Is what you will find.

Accept what life shows you

Or live like the blind.—

The beauty or ugliness

Comes from your mind.


When life didn’t please us

We made ourselves sad.

When we couldn’t control things

We made ourselves mad.

This kept us from loving

What we already had.

What we want we call good,

What we don’t we call bad.


Remember our spirit

And follow your heart.

We can make our own troubles

Or take them apart.

When the tragedy ends,

Watch the comedy start.

In the story of life

You’re just playing your part.



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Love or Hate? You decide!


During this political season you probably “hate” one candidate and “love” the other

or maybe you like neither?


We harbor both love and hate within our Mind however, your true identity is attached to light and love.

Go through the clouds and enter the light that is your guide to peace.

Hate is the unwanted intruder into your beautiful mind.  You are in “charge” of what you thin.

You are the boss!  You can decide not to hate anyone – including yourself.  You have that POWER!  You are the decider!

Say: ”I refuse to hate myself or anyone – it makes me miserable and I let all the grudges and judgments GO!”  Really!  You can do this.  Why do you hold onto the old grudges that make you miserable.  Do you like being miserable?  Nope –  so let it ALL Go!

It is that EASY!  TRY IT!!

For example – Decide you will be happy for the next hour!  Look at the clock – write down the time.  State your decision….I will let go of thinking about _______ and worrying about ______ or fretting about ________.  I will spend the next hour releasing and breathing and focusing on being pleasant.

You are the Decider!  You are the Boss of your thoughts.  Oh yes  you are!  Don’t believe every thought that occurs to you.

Sally McKirgan facilitates the Tidings Inner Peace Column and a study group on the spiritual book:  A Course In Miracles.

Contact her at  or visit her blog at   for more information about A Course In Miracles

AND If you or anyone you know is contemplating suicide visit:


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Is Eternal Life Possible by Jim Hatton


By Jim Hatton

 The prospect of eternal life is a very attractive one. Especially when it is combined with the idea of living in a peaceful, blissful state with endless beauty and all the material items one could want. As Morgan Freeman pointed out on his recent television series, the Story of God, on National Geographic, many of the great traditions has used the offer of eternal life as a tool to draw people into the tradition and a Heavenly State will be achieved if one acts in certain ways and professes certain beliefs. Mr. Freeman also demonstrates the idea of someone or something keeping track of the actions and deeds in our lives helps to control the masses into conforming to a pre-subscribed group of ideas and beliefs.  I call this the “Great Scoreboard in the Sky”.  It is a common belief both in and out of religion especially in western society.

 In doing spiritual counseling I find that, the greatest fear that many have is the fear of Death. That fear of death is not so much the fear of eternal punishment but the fear of Non-Existence.  In other words, many have the fear of after this physical life is over, we “go blank” or ‘wink out”. There is nothing left of us, we go unconscious forever.

 I recently attended a Celebration of Life service.  During the service the following passage was read:

 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have not hope. For since we believe that that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.

Christian Testament: Thessalonians 4:13-14 NLT   

 As I listened to these words being read, I had the thought that in order to have the prospect of eternal life, we must assume that we are not eternal already. The common fear I spoke of earlier of “winking out” must weigh heavily and consistently on many people’s consciousness.

 But what if we didn’t have to worry about doing the right things, and believing the right way to obtain eternal life?  What if we already knew that after we are done with this “space suit” body that our awareness, soul, consciousness, or whatever we want to call it is, in fact, eternal?

 In the tradition of the Kabbalah, we humans are all Emanations of the Divine.  That is the qualities, likeness, presence of the Divine are part of our inherent nature.

 Earnest Holmes writes:     Man is born of eternal day, not because he wills or wishes it, not because he labors or strives toward it, not because he earns it as a reward, but simply because the Spirit has breathed life into him. And the Spirit which has breathed this life into him has breathed Its own Life and cannot unbreathe It or take It away.

 You Will Live Forever-Holmes Star Publishing 2012

 The idea of eternal life is not one that we live in our current physical bodies forever, although ancient texts elude to living 800 years or more. Our current bodies are a specially designed “space suite” in which to enable us to experience the physical world.  Although closely tied and connected, our bodies are not “Us”. We will eventually discard this magnificent vehicle to move on to greater and greater expression; much like a lizard out grows and sheds its skin as it grows in stature.

 If we can accept and embody that what we are, which is pure consciousness, does not have to do anything to obtain immortality, but that we are already immortal, we can set aside all fears and live with a deeper inner peace.  

 Jim Hatton, is the author (under the name James Apollonius Alan) of “A Spiritual Master’s Guide to Life” available on Amazon or at


The above article appeared in the Ashland Daily Tidings, Inner Peace Column on Saturday July 30, 2016

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Quieting the Mind by Lucie K. Scheuer

Quieting the Mind produces peace 

by   Lucie K. Scheuer

I recently completed a 21-day, guided meditation provided by Deepak Chopra and the Oprah network. As I opened my eyes on the last day, I felt empty, almost let down. I asked myself: “why?” The answer came very quickly. It was the first time, in a long time, I had allowed myself to really relax and let go. I actually had set aside half an hour each day to just be quiet and listen.

It wasn’t easy at the start. Thoughts would swirl up like a swarm of bees. I had to gently brush them away.

It wasn’t until ten minutes or so into it – that I could feel the tightening in my arms and legs begin to give way.  As I followed my breath, I noticed it became more regular. As the air flowed in and out, I began to realize how out of sync I had been with my own existence. Eventually I jump-started the practice on my own, and it has recharged my life.

We are bombarded on a daily basis, by sounds, requests, demands, obligations and news. These ever-present stimuli can be extremely stress-producing. It is easy – not only to become distracted, but to become used to the negative feelings all this bombardment produces. Adrenaline and cortisol begin to run our lives. Stress becomes less of a motivator and more of a curse.

With these daily meditations I realized, I was barely getting things done; while playing catch up all the time.  It was like sitting at a red light with my internal engine in overdrive. I knew if I continued in this manner, I would eventually burn out.

I think sometimes we forget that stress is an energy created from many sources: our thoughts, our assumptions, our environment, the weight of our responsibilities and our relationships.  If we don’t take the time to occasionally examine these sources, we run the risk of becoming addicted to the stress they create, or worse, losing ourselves and a sense of purpose.

Ask yourself, “Do I have a safe place in my home to unwind? Do I take time during the workday to unplug from the noise and hectic schedule? Am I able to say “no?” Are my expectations of myself and others causing me to feel a constant sense of disappointment and/or frustration? Have I lost interest in things that I love or that used to matter?” Your answers should tell you a lot about what you need to do next.

Years ago, my husband, formerly a photo-journalist, decided to take up landscape painting. With his photographer’s eye it wasn’t long before he was sharing his views of the Ashland rolling foothills in beiges, browns, violets and greens. My favorite still hangs in our bedroom.  It is a simple painting off Eagle Mill Road looking towards Mt. Ashland.  At the base of the painting sits a familiar octagonal sign. It reads STOP – sending a bright red message with a sense of urgency. And then you see the hills rising above the sign and suddenly – there you are – in the present.

Find your now; it is in the afternoon pauses; the short walks; music in the headphones; a half-hour comedy; maybe dinner with good friends.  Don’t forget to play. Run with the dog.  Play hide and seek with the cat. Read to your children. Make S’mores. And on a daily basis, don’t forget to put the work away and if you can, learn how to meditate.

As the mountains reach up into the clouds gathering water from the sky to send

down to the lakes and rivers

to flow into streams

bringing renewal

thank the mountains and the heavens

thank the clouds for their benevolence

earth molds and forms according to the laws of the universe

as do we

Lucie K. Scheuer is a Writer, Substance Abuse Counselor, and owns a consulting business to nonprofits in the Rogue Valley, “Silver Lining Solutions.” Contact her at:

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  • About This Blog

    The Inner Peace blog is a place to share wisdom about peace practices and inspire, learn and explore all aspects of inner peace. A team of writers will discuss varied qualities –€” intuition, courage, fearlessness, friendship, forgiveness, gentleness, giving and receiving, tolerance, faithfulness and kindness –€” that help us all through the tough times, the challenges, the joys and the sorrows with inner peace as the ever-shining goal. Whether 2 or 92, your inner peace is up to you.
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