Weekly Photo Challenge: Resolved

“Meditation elevates the soul from the body, mind, and intellect to absolute peace and bliss.”–Amma

young boy meditating

This year I resolve to will sit in meditation for at least 30 minutes everyday for the entire year. (#sit365) I have been sitting everyday for about 40 minutes for the last 5 months and have seen tremendous changes in my life. I can’t imagine what the effects of 17 months of daily meditation will be.

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him” Psalms 37:7

One of the surprising side-effects of this daily practice has been the introduction of meditation to my sons. Although they won’t sit with me for 40 minutes, they do understand that Daddy has to meditate everyday. Rather than ask, “Daddy, will you sleep with me?” my two year old commands, “Daddy med-tate by my bed.” Continue reading

5 Ways to Give Yourself a Hug

Weekly Photo Challenge--Reflection

Weekly Photo Challenge–Reflection

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a hugger. I hug my sons 20+ times a day; the Hugging Saint, Amma, is my guru; I hug trees, dogs, large fruit, unsuspecting acquaintances; you name it, and I’ll hug it.

I grew up in one of those households where no one hugged, so I guess I’m making up for lost time.

At certain times in my life, I didn’t have anyone to hug–sigh. I know the feelings of loneliness that are immune to social interaction–the kind of loneliness that one can feel in a room full of friends, music, and good food. Looking back, I wish someone had taught me how to hug myself.

So I offer you, 5 ways to hug yourself: Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: Thankful

Itadakimasu

My youngest bowing before enjoying a meal at VeggieGrill

One of the things I appreciate about Japanese culture is how we were taught to bow–bow before eating; bow before entering church; bow before entering a martial arts dojo; bow before fighting. Every chance I get, I try to teach my sons to bow. The bow is like a pause that not only shows respect, but also gives one the opportunity to be thankful for what one is going to experience. Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: Broken Buddha

“The saints of God dare to be ordinary.”–Hugh Prather

A friend of mine who owned an import/export shop gave me a large Buddha statue that had been damaged irreparably in shipping. Like everything else I receive for free, I didn’t give it much thought. When I was forced to live in my car, I left the statue with my mother who placed it on her front porch in the wind and rain like an Asian garden gnome. Years later, this battered moss covered Buddha became one of my prized possessions. Although my wife and I own other Buddha statues, this broken Buddha is still my favorite.

For me this faded sea green Buddha reminds me of the real Shakyamuni Buddha. Although many depictions of the Awakened One are artistically crafted in gold, we often forget that Siddhartha Gautama was a broken man right before he attained enlightenment. A former prince, Siddhartha abandoned his wife and newborn son to pursue a spiritual life as an ascetic. Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreign–”Tako” Bell Then and Now

Grandpa and Tako

“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
T.S. Eliot

When I was a kid, my Hawaiian grandfather used to take me octopus fishing. After we cleaned our catch, my grandfather would always force me to eat a piece of octopus. Being a good suburban boy, I retched at the thought of eating a slice of slimy steamed octopus tentacle with the suckers hanging off. Having watched my grandfather routinely rip the back off living crabs and suck the meat out while the crab’s legs clawed at the empty air had already given me reason to distrust my grandfather’s palate.
Continue reading