One of my circles keeps in touch by email and a monthly conference call. We rotate leadership and each leader suggests a topic for our check-in. This month a circle sister from Canada suggested we focus on the word authenticity and what it means to each of us. The sharing was both deep and diverse. Becoming conscious of our authentic self is no less than a revolution of the soul. It requires a commitment to go [...]
This is a warning; I’m getting up on my soapbox in advocating the arts, especially music, in our schools. Music has been a thread woven into the fabric of my soul. In early childhood, on Saturday mornings I eagerly opened my album of Prokovief’s picturesque score of Peter and the Wolf. It contained three 78 rpm records which I never tired of listening to with rapt attention. I believe it was narrated by Richard Hale. Then [...]
As I cope with Michael’s passing, I know that I would not be as strong as I am right now if it weren’t for his belief in me. He didn’t care much for material gain; his heart and mind were intensely focused on seeking wisdom and expressing his highest potential. His vision was infectious. I can honestly say he was instrumental in helping me not only find my passion but to express it in the world. [...]
As most of you know, my dear partner of 41 years, Michael, passed away on Jan 24th peacefully in his sleep. He had been experiencing a slow but steady decline in his health for some time due to diabetes. On Wednesday January 30th I, along with some close friends attended his cremation. It was poignant and powerful. Five of my circle sisters joined me to drum Michael into the ethers. They included Alexandra Hart, Suzette Burrous, [...]
Michael Toms, co-founder of New Dimensions, passed at 5:45 AM Thursday, January 24th. Michael was 72 years old. Please see Justine’s announcement and more information about Michael here.
Like a German shepherd playing with a ragdoll, an insight grabbed my heart and mind and powerfully shook me from side to side. Over the Christmas holidays I realized I’m holding New Dimensions in trust for all who may be served by the wisdom, inspiration, and hope in these weekly broadcasts. New Dimensions has grown beyond its visionary founder, Michael Toms. It belongs to you and you’ve entrusted me to keep it healthy, strong, and viable. With [...]
On the Monday before Halloween, I set off on a road trip with my truck and trailer and little doggie Layla. As we were crossing the Navajo Nation, I hit a very rough spot on the road. The trailer began bouncing, fish-tailing, and at times jack-knifing. I fought very hard to keep us on the road because there was a very steep 50-60’ drop on the left. Finally we slowed down, but we were headed toward [...]
In a recent newsletter from Clarity International by Gary and Cathy Hawk a comment grabbed by attention, “When does anxiety seem to have more power over enthusiasm?” I pondered that question because my friends describe me as a normally enthusiastic person, easily excited by life. And, for the most part, it is true. However, if I find myself setting up house in the village of anxiety, worry, and distress then I know it is time for [...]
Recently I was struck by the words of Tulku Thondup Rinpoche in an interview from the New Dimensions’ archive. He said that the only thing we take with us when we die are our habits of mind. I’ve heard this before, in fact I’ve heard it from various masters for more than thirty years. Yet this time the words had a visceral impact on my mind and body. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s that I’m [...]
Alan Clements speaking with Michael Toms about the quote from St. Frances of Assisi, “There are beautiful and wild forms within us.” Heard on program #3433 “The World Dharma of Freedom and Non-Violence.” Clements: It is interesting you bring that quote up. I learned meditation by seeing the beauty in myself. This is something that is very little known about the Burmese meditative tradition. The word meditation I learned from my teachers, Sayadaw U Pandita and [...]
Almost every day I hear from a friend who’s feeling overwhelmed by the pace at which life is coming at them. So many of us are struggling to find ways to avoid becoming overwhelmed by the immensity of what is required to keep our emotional and physical bodies above water. My saving grace is to remember to circulate not isolate. It’s essential to get out of the house and rub shoulders with life even as we [...]
Denys Cope, author of Dying: A Natural Passage, has said, “My dream is that everyone be able to find the support that allows the fear of dying to be replaced by a richer, more positive experience which embraces the gifts that are available during this extraordinary time.” I’m struck by this statement because my own dear aunt, 91 year old matriarch of our family, has recently passed away. She instructed the family that no extraordinary means [...]
As many of you know, I participate in several “friends of the heart” circles. I have my women’s circle that has been meeting for almost 30 years and my circle of men and women who have been meeting for nearly as long. I’m one of 23 conveners of the Millionth Circle which has just celebrated its 10th anniversary. This circle meets in several different ways. Once a year we enjoy a “deepening,” sitting together for 3-4 days. We also meet in smaller groups, [...]
One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn is to accept and ask for help. I’ve had a lifetime to prefect self-sufficiency and going it alone. Care taking others, figuring out systems for them, and taking on tasks to ease their way, is a piece of cake for me. This strategy has helped me develop many talents, and learn new ways of doing things. That’s the good news. However, there is a down side to this constant giving: the muscle that, asks for and receives help, has atrophied. Even so, there is some hope for me yet. Lately, some events have forced me to start exercising this less used muscle, and it is because of some small things, and then some very big things.
This year I celebrated International Women’s Day with several friends by attending “Women and the World,” a performance art event, that benefited the Center for Domestic Peace, of Marin Abused Women’s Services. The benefit was sponsored in collaboration with the United Nations Association’s San Francisco, Marin, andSonoma chapters. The evening included a performance of Playback Theater by the Social Therapy Production Company, formerly known as Black Rose Film and Theatre Arts. Directed by Deborah French Frisher, MPA, [...]
Imagine you are asked to watch a short video in which six people-three in white shirts and three in black shirts-pass basketballs around. While you watch, you must keep a silent count of the number of passes made by the people in white shirts. At some point, a gorilla strolls into the middle of the action, faces the camera and thumps its chest, and then leaves, spending nine seconds on screen. Would you see the gorilla? [...]
New Dimensions’ guest, Susan Moon (see program #3374, airing Jan. 5, 2011), tells the story of her mother’s circle of women friends. They call themselves,”Mother’s of Daughters” and would have a gathering each time a daughter came to visit from far away. Although their hands were shaking and many used walkers to help them get around, they had each lived vibrant and interesting lives. So often we are quick to dismiss our elders. We can be impatient with them as they amble slowly down the grocery store aisles blocking our way as we rush around in our “busy” and “important” lives. There was a day, however, when I was stopped in my tracks by a young man who had a different view from mine.