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When you wake up in the morning, what is the first sensation you feel in your body? What are the first thoughts seeping into your awareness?

And when you sit down to meditate or pray, and you allow the silence to settle around you, what kind of voices interrupt the silence?

Do you focus on your thoughts, or do you ignore them? Do you feel tension in your body, and if so, where?

What do you listen to, and what do you believe about what you’re “hearing?”

Back in the day, I sang a song with my ex-husband, Harry Robert…

That’s me on Mama’s lap looking longingly at the shiny array of Christmas bows

My mother raised me, well, all four of her girls, to make our beds, to be prompt for dinner, and to do our homework before we watched TV. She ran a tight ship.

While this probably doesn’t sound very remarkable, please consider the setting. My precious (late) mother was the wife of entertainer Pat Boone, and upon hearing or speaking that singular aspect of her resume, she has always been swift to add that she never expected, or even wanted, to be the wife of an entertainer. She had married a 19-year-old Tennessean who aspired to be an English teacher…

Stuff I’m Thinking About

The mind is a scary place. Do not go in there alone.

Although this phrase has been repeated by many people in many circles, the first time I heard it, it was my sister who was sharing her wisdom.

And she was right to do it.

I have a habit of bouncing back to anxious thought patterns like a boomerang. Compulsion. Like a rat who keeps slapping the sensor in the cage knowing that there will be an instant reward.

What exactly have I been awarded by nurturing this habit of mind?

From the compulsion standpoint, standing knee deep in…

Stuff I’m Thinking About

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Mornings set the tone for the day, no doubt about it.

We are either consciously giving ourselves a push in the right direction, or we’re allowing ourselves to be pulled by the tide, getting sucked passively wherever the current takes us. No telling where we’ll end up. I have a fledgling routine to set intentions for the day, and even though I’ve been practicing components of it most of my life, 2020 has pulled me off track so many times that I’ve kind of lost the coordinates directing me to where I want to go. …

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Concerning meditative prayer, a young friend recently asked the question, what kind of mantra do you use when you’re spinning out into obsessive thinking?

Hmmm. Maybe we should start by defining mantra.

According to Merriam/Webster, a mantra is “a mystical formula of invocation or incantation,” while the Oxford dictionary adds that it could simply be “ a statement or slogan repeated frequently.”

For my purposes today, let’s sidestep the eerie notion of incantation (like, a spell), and slide a bit more comfortably into this idea of mantra as prayer, or as a deliberate statement, an element embedded into the discipline…

Photo by Cherise Evertz on Unsplash

When I was in my thirties, I dreamt a lot. Maybe it was because I was parenting young children, and sleep was often interrupted, giving me an opportunity to catch a glimpse of those in-between twilight moments, the seconds that exist as a transition between the conscious and the unconscious mind. I love when that happens.

In one of my favorite dream moments, I lay on a sun-drenched rock out in the ocean, maybe 50 yards from shore in a Caribbean style bay, with gulls flying overhead and ocean spray on my face. Perfect.

I jump into the water, taking…

And It Doesn’t Have to Be “Good.”

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I used to think I was a good dancer. Or a decent dancer.

I’m not sure about that self-evaluation, but at least, I used to enjoy dancing, and the reflection I saw of myself in the mirror-of-my-mind. And, if I’m honest, I enjoyed my swaying silhouette in the mirror of my childhood bedroom while blasting the Jackson 5. It felt buoyant and celebratory.

Some of my most satisfying dance moments have been communal.

Spontaneous dance parties have been a part of my life since my children were little, and we all remember fondly how Michael, Sara and Rachael indulged me…

Photo by Mohammad Metri on Unsplash

Reflections posted immediately after the 2016 presidential election

This week, my country elected Donald Trump to our most powerful and respected office.

Many of us have been watching to see what the fallout will be, searching news networks, scanning Facebook, and reflecting with friends and family if we feel we can be honest about where we stand. Personally, I haven’t even wanted to talk politics with all of my people; my friend says it's wise to avoid issues that will most likely end in a food fight. Mostly, I seem to find myself oscillating between being irrationally frightened or just plain argumentative.

Now, I’m just shocked. Stunned. Truthfully…

and compulsion isn’t your friend

Photo by Ian on Unsplash

I was having an in-my-mind conversation with a friend who is suffering (as one does when that friend isn’t present), and the “conversation” went something like this…

If you experience compulsion, isn’t it still a “program" moment whether it’s substance abuse or something else? In other words, we’re all addicted to something.

What confuses things or muddies the water is this idea that some of what we are addicted to are things to which we feel entitled.

Love, food, relationships, etc.

These are all things that we assume should rightfully be ours, and therefore, it creates a fly in the…

Laury Browning

A teacher/writer, the youngest daughter of Pat and Shirley Boone. Perspective: a member of a family with a public persona, and a sort-of preacher’s kid

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