What Are You Plugged Into?


We all have our ways of plugging into the wrong things to “light us up;” to make us feel alive. For some of us its food or alcohol or shopping. For others its screen time, gossip, or working too much. And for others, its dysfunctional relationships or being stuck in the past.

Somehow, somewhere along the way, we stopped experiencing the aliveness that flows within us naturally. A kind of uninhibited vitality of living that does not require permission, cajoling, or anything outside of ourselves.

I recently experienced a profound image around this. I saw a figure climbing higher and higher into the Universe. Wearing a backpack, she was very focused on the climb; on “getting there.” It suddenly occurred to her that it did not matter where she landed in the world, only that she knew her place, and inhabited it fully.

At this point, her place was a star in the heavens. Sitting there she noticed electrical cords coming out of the back of her star and plugging into all sorts of things; what others thought, misguided attempts to create safety, limiting expectations she was living by. While looking at all the ways she had restrained herself, a shooting star streaked across the night sky in a blaze of light and mystery coming seemingly out of nowhere, and moving back into the vastness of the cosmos. She heard the words; “Every time you see a shooting star, know that someone has pulled free from being plugged into the wrong things.”

We are not here to be plugged into false sources of ourselves, but to discover The Source that most allows us to find our place in the Universe, and then, to spend the rest of our lives inhabiting that “star” as fully as we can.

Undying Attention

It is as though our children have a kind of technologically induced ADD. Their focus shifts all around and is anywhere but where they are. They leap to the sound of every ping, chime, and buzz no matter the circumstances, no matter who they are engaged with. And even when it looks like they are listening, they are not; far too prone to utter the words “Wait, what?!” when someone is talking to them. They scroll, check, text, and post in the middle of whatever they are doing; seemingly unable to stop themselves.

Because there is always something else to devote their attentions to, some other choice, another place to be, another thing to see or “share,” another person to be with, they are rarely focused on where they are, what they are doing, or who they are with. Why expect or train the mind to settle on one thing when being scattered is the most easily accessed, and most socially accepted form of attention now? Why should they bother to hone their focus? The machines do not require that of them, why should anyone else?

Who knows, maybe they’re right. Maybe it is better to lay back into the screens when you have trained your attention to be so short-lived, conditional, non-existent, and where the constant offering up of increasingly louder and more stimulating ways to grab your focus is so readily available. All of this and more is theirs without expecting anything of them, or asking anything in return. Except of course, for their undying and short-lived attention.



I am in morning practice recently feeling quite overwhelmed by the world, and its ways of late. While my mind spins, I find myself automatically going into tree pose. Immediately, I feel more rooted. This welcomed grounded-ness holds me despite the wavering of my upper body. Once established in  balance, I look up only to be met with the purest of reflections from all the trees outside my window.

I sense, feel, and intuit guidance from what I am looking at. I hear how some things in Life are meant to remain beyond the reach of the changing world. Equally, there are some things that are ever-changing. I wonder to myself how it is that I can stay sourced in those things that are meant to remain fixed. And I consider how it is that I can access those places that know how to bend, flex, and are meant to be mutable.

I realize that these polar opposites, taken together, are the qualities of a life well-lived. A life fully expressed. A life that recognizes when to stand firm, and when to yield. A life that nourishes and is nourished. A life that dies and is reborn.

Some of the very best teachings I have ever received have come from the natural world. This requires, though, a kind of slowing down, openness, and receptivity to seeing beyond the daily; beyond the man-made. And so, if you were to be open to the teachings of the trees, one question might be; How could you hold yourself both more flexibly, and with greater conviction?



As awe-inspiring as it is to take note of the capacities of the thinking that has created the technologies, we must also include the ways in which our creations have magnified and exacerbated the troublesome sides of the human brain. One example of this is the ordinary mind, and how often it believes that some where, some one, or some thing else, is better than here. More desirable than where we currently are, or are with.

As someone who has been watching her mind for decades through a combination of practices, including mindfulness and meditation, I daily, and sometimes even moment to moment, watch how my mind will tell me that there is another place to be; a more superior place to be than wherever I am. I see it when I am sitting in meditation thinking that when I am done, and getting to have breakfast, that will be better than where I am. I see it when I am doing errands and catch myself believing that when I get home, it will be more of where I most want to be. I see it mid-week when I start to feel that when the weekend is here, and I am done teaching, then I will finally be in the better place.

Only… What I regularly notice is that whenever I get to the some where else, or some thing else, or some one else, not only am I not necessarily better, there arises a whole new set of places, conditions, and circumstances I would rather have or be experiencing. I am even doing it now as I write, believing that when I am done with this section, that life will be better. That it is somehow more desirable for me to get on to the next thing instead of being exactly right here; where I am.

Enter the mobile devices. The ones that travel with us through all of our here and now’s. The very same ones that connect us to an infinite array of some other place, some other person, and some other thing to do. If we choose, this can happen in a virtually non-stop kind of way. And when we use the screens in this way, it feeds the distorted notion that there is not much value in being fully wherever we are; compounding our tendency to try and escape what is happening, or who we are with, or how we are feeling. With the devices, there is always a way out. There is always a way to pacify the part of the mind that needs to have another experience, feel another way, attain the happiness it seeks someplace else. Anywhere else. Except of course, for here.

But the truth is, no where is better than here.   

Yoga Nemesis

Every Wednesday I take a yoga class in at a local studio. This is the only day each week that I practice with others. As someone who usually practices on her own, this means a great deal to me. There is so much that I learn each and every week. And while I go to this class to practice in community, and to be challenged on the level of physical yoga, it is often a great surprise to me what it is that I end up learning.

For instance, I get to see each week exactly what I want to happen, or wish would happen, and then, what actually happens; along with my response to the gap between my fantasized reality and the actual reality. I get to see that because this time is so special to me, I want others to feel and act the same way. I want them to line up with my version of how we should be together, what this should mean to us, and therefore, how we should act.

I most certainly do not want to accept the woman who comes in late almost every single week, and then disrupts the class while she gets her things, and then somehow manages to get other people to rearrange their mats for her, even though the class has started. I do not want to accept her side-talking with a friend, or the way that she takes up so much of the teacher’s attention, or the overall space in the room. And I definitely do not want to accept her sighs and her huffing and puffing when the teacher offers something she can’t, or doesn’t want to do.

Last week, 15 minutes into class, this same woman comes in and winds up right in front of me. Based on the configuration of the class, I am actually facing her. A mirror. Even with my eyes closed, I can see her. I can feel her. I am thinking about her. What am I thinking? I am thinking about how she, in her selfish self-absorption, is killing the yoga vibe. And right as I am about to self-righteously launch into how often in life the wrong things or the wrong people get all the attention, or at least the right of way, I am suddenly struck dumb in my thinking. What comes in behind the disruption of my thoughts is; I am the one who is giving the wrong thing attention. I am the one who is giving the wrong thing the right of way. I am killing the yoga vibe. I am keeping the wrong thing alive in this room within me, based on what I have chosen to focus on, giving it the right of way, and allowing it to take up my precious time, energy, and focus.

As my first yoga teacher used to say, “Keep your eyes on your own mat.”