Pieces of a Puzzle

Each lifetime is the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
For some there are more pieces.
For others the puzzle is more difficult to assemble.
Some seem to be born with a nearly complete puzzle.
And so it goes.
Souls going this way and that
Trying to assemble the myriad parts.

But know this. No one has within themselves
All the pieces to their puzzle . . .
Everyone carries with them at least one and probably
Many pieces to someone else's puzzle.
Sometimes they know it.
Sometimes they don't.

And when you present your piece
Which is worthless to you,
To another, whether you know it or not,
Whether they know it or not,
You are a messenger from the Most High.

--Lawrence Kushner, Honey from the Rock

Photograph by Right Eye

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posted by ashley


Videos: Dialogue and Art

A couple of videos I've enjoyed lately.

The Century of Dialogue by Ben Dridge

Featured in the Seeds of Compassion Youth Voices Blog.

And for a great laugh, Creature Comforts USA - Interviews about Art.

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posted by ashley


Love, Courage and Being Human

We’re so human.

Sitting in the hospital has the effect of causing me to think a lot about being human, having a body, how the body works, how we humans are connected to each other, and particularly the many, many different life experiences that we each have, the infinite possibilities that there are.

I’m in the ICU waiting room right now. Sleeping relatives, people reading, conversations, pacing,cell phones, tappering fingers at the computer, reading the newspaper, staring. What brings them all here? What is their loved one experiencing? How long have they been in ICU? Was it a planned visit like ours is or was it an emergency that brought them here?

A question passing through my head… How does each person cope?

And then I hear a laugh, and a woman somewhere on the other side of the plants says, “Ahh… you’re such an optimist!”

I woke up this morning thinking about bravery, courage and love. My dad continues to astonish me with the courage that he’s showed throughout this entire experience. Coming out of major surgery, he baffled all of us with his completely lucid, spirited, curious and informative self. Really, this guy just spent four hours in surgery. He had his stomach opened and then his entire digestive system was re-organized (gallbladder removed, part of pancreas removed, part of stomach removed, bile duct removed, and a tumor removed). Everything was sewed back together in new ways and his stomach stapled shut. Now he’s asking if we took a picture of all of us in the waiting room, he's telling us about the synchronistic connections with the anesthesia doctor and making jokes with the nurses. How is that possible? How amazing is our human spirit and the ability to not just survive but to do so with the will to flourish.

I really believe that a lot of his success has to do with his bravery and courage. I would say he walked into this surgery open-heartedly. For me an open heart has trust and is available to connect with what ever is coming its way and even surrender to it. I continually see him taking in the facts, meeting what is known about how he (and his body) are experiencing life, and then being with what arises. That includes being with his fear, his nervousness, the hinting inevitable ‘what-if’s. Being with it all… and not stopping there… having the courage to push beyond what-is to hold the perspective of what could be – healing, fast recovery, his own bed, LIFE!

As I write now, it is day 3 after the surgery. He’s out of ICU. This morning he took his first walk around the nursing station. This afternoon he made three laps. One by one the tubes are coming out and at the moment his legs are dancing under his covers to the Keb Mo playing on the CD player!

He believes that so much of his progress is from his huge network of love, support and care. He is a man well loved and respected by those in his life.

And so the questions that sit with me right now… How might each of us touch that place in us that feels well loved and respected (especially loved and respected by ourselves)? What happens when we live from that center? How do we allow that to be medicine that empowers us to have courage to move towards the possibilities of what could-be that feel alive and vibrant?

And as for my dad, you can follow his journey on The P Train.

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posted by ashley


Seeds of Compassion - Get Involved

Seeds of Compassion is here.

Some of the event details will follow... but first I'm so proud to share a video and article about a first and second grade class at my school that is using the Seeds of Compassion curriculum and was visited by Lama Tenzin a few weeks ago and King5 news. Please watch.

“I think you can get a little bit of compassion out of everybody. I think everybody is somewhat compassionate.” Mila Kopp, age 8

If you're in Seattle and don't have tickets, you can still participate. There are 80 amazing workshops happening at the Seattle Center Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Take a look. They are all free and first come, first serve. You can also catch many of the ticketed events on local television or online and/or go to a viewing party somewhere in the Seattle-area.

And for those of you around the world, you too can enjoy this historical event. Seeds of Compassion will be making available live and archived webcasts of the events. All webcasts are translated into 24 languages for a global audience.

You can also host a viewing party or a Compassion Circle in your area as a way to connect with others who see the value in and importance of a growing compassion movement. And finally, the Seeds of Compassion website and Wiki are filled with information and resources about all things related to Social and Emotional wellbeing and fostering more compassion in our world. Please take advantage of this collection of materials.

"Because we all share this planet Earth, we have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other and with nature. This is not just a dream, but a necessity."~ The Dalai Lama


posted by ashley

A Learning Journey

The journey continues. For me, that's one of the beauties of being alive... the journey always continues! My dad got the best possible news yesterday (huge sigh of relief). So I step out of one type of unknowing, a complete unknowing that has a verdict to be delivered... and continue walking along a path that is adorned with an infinite array of other unknowings (a bit more seductive of a path). That would be life, of course!

If you're curious about the details of my dad, hop on The P Train. He's been sharing about this adventure in heart-full, honest and humorous ways. And what a community of love and support he's got around him/us.

On a different journey note, Chris Corrigan talks about the treasures of asking questions and being curious about the answers. He has invited others to join him in a 30 day learning journey. Chris shares how it works:
"I run these little research projects. I get curious about things and start noticing them in my life and work and I usually use a combination of this blog and a moleskine journal to record my results. It keeps me moving forward.

So, I’d like to invite you to try this approach out and see if there is something that gathers your attention and piques your curiosity enough that you’d be willing to engage in a a somewhat public 30 day research project.

Choose a question and engage in a research project as well. See what we can learn."
My questions: What helps me to stay centered, connected and breathing... especially in challenging times? How does it feel when I show up as Ashley, being just enough as I am, accepting and surrendering to that? How does it effect the environments I'm in?

Nature helps me tremendously. Returning my attention to the natural world, listening with, learning from and connecting to nature's patterns and rhythms grounds in me, brings a visceral and emotional feeling to me of what it feels like to feel connected and centered.

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posted by ashley


Ever-changing States of Being

Life is a wild trip. A little over a week ago I was very busy, holding many different threads. I was working on many projects, bringing delicious things into being, maintaining my usual jobs and trying my best to stay balanced and keep up with it all. I was on the edge, close to being totally overwhelmed by all my involvements, but I hadn't tipped. I felt delicately balanced. For the most part, I was feeling content with how I was showing up.

Then I got some big news. My dad updated me about what-is in his life right now, a major health scare. His big news brought forth a whole lot of new information -- a full spectrum of emotions and thoughts, a stream of possibilities for what could-be in the short term and long term for me and people I love. My experience of being alive shifted.

One thing that I notice now is that my relationship with attention has changed over the last week. I need to focus on different things and in different ways. I don't have the energy or the interest to pay attention in the same ways and to the same things as I did last week. I find this fascinating. I've given over a lot of responsibility to others. I think this has been an important thing to do. I also feel guilty that I'm walking away from my commitments. And I know this is necessary (can you hear my uncertainty, mixed with certainty!!).

It is clear to me that I must slow down. Center. Breathe. It is essential that I connect with greater stillness and silence... living more intimately with what is happening right now. Sometimes it is hard for me to be in this way, to simply be. My mind races. Go, go, go. Do, do, do. I feel confused. What am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to be feeling? Slow down. Breathe. Center. Connect with the essence of this moment. Listen carefully to what is present now.

Planning for the future is very challenging at the moment. Holding together details for how to make things happen requires a lot of effort. I don't have nearly as much energy to give to others or patience for the little details. The fire of my passion and curiosity continues to rage.

Beauty, stillness, connection and curiosity are medicines right now. I am grateful that timing has been on my side and in a time of waiting-to-see-what's next, I've been on spring break from my job at the school and in a most sacred place to find stillness and reconnection. In general, I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude. May we all find peace along this journey.

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posted by ashley

Here! Take My Fin!

Fish Friends
by Clara, Age 9, Brookside Elementary
"My piece of art is compassionate because one fish is helping the other."

From the What Does Compassion Look Like Campaign?

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posted by ashley

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