10 seconds to Zen, creative thinking, Poetry, random thoughts

What are you doing to save yourself today?

“The world is violent and mercurial — it will have its way with you. We are saved only by love — love for each other and the love that we pour into the art we feel compelled to share: being a parent; being a writer; being a painter; being a friend. We live in a perpetually burning building, and what we must save from it, all the time, is love.”  ~ Tennessee Williams

I have read this quote many a time before, but I don’t think I fully appreciated until now, the few short months before I turn half a century young (!). However, we won’t need to refer to my age beyond this point since I have decided that age is only one POV after-all.  Instead, I volley this quote out to you, my friends, as a point of reflection today.  Reflection.  How often do you reflect?  In my short life, I have found reflection to be integral to finding meaning and purpose in life.

I know that for myself, this Tennessee Williams quote rings as true and as pure as the characters he brought to life with his plays.  I still remember desperately attempting to use my research on A Streetcar Named Desire on my AP English exam, so inspired I was by his poignant work (it may have worked, but I am still traumatized by the Sylvia Plath poetic analysis of The Sow that dominated the exam.  No offense to the brilliance of the poet, of course.).

Creatives (artists, poets, playwrights, designers, musicians, etc) often have a way of striking the ore of truth.  I am going to save myself today by devouring the words of this genius playwright. It only takes 10 seconds to get down to the good stuff.  Hold your breath, and Love, love, love.  What will you do today?

10 seconds to Zen, random thoughts


In this period of life when we hustle and zip about, relationships can get lost in between the characters in our texts and pithy lines of social media prose.  Caught in the metal world of platinum, plastic and other types of alloys that I didn’t research to make this post, we are super saturated in heavy metal, and I only wish it was the musical genre.  I am not going to get pedantic and tell you to throw the devices away that you have grown to love for their ease of hurtling you towards the chaos of democratization so fast that you can’t tell the difference between truth or fiction.  At the end of the day, it probably doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that your soul is demanding some human play time.  Dolphins do it, dogs do it, and I found out today that ants do it.  They get together, they have play time.  It’s time to do things (madly) like water balloon fights when it is 100+ degrees outside.  You need this joyous physicality much more than the click-clack and whir of metal tech and the ever-evolving digi-sphere (a universe itself, to be sure).  Go on, the evening’s warm air is ready to take your hand, and bring you to the glee of your children’s eyes.  It will only take about 10 seconds to throw the balloon and see the dazzle of spray caught in the glow of dusk:: Zen.



10 seconds to Zen, random thoughts

When times get tough, remember your practice (10 Seconds to Zen)

When was the last time you checked in with your practice?

It is one thing to talk about how quick it might be to get to Zen when you take the time to begin a practice.  It is quite another to become accountable to the practice.  So here is a quick check-in.

Have you made a routine of one or two things you have done to get to your own brand of Zen?  If so, have you checked in recently?  For me, this is the time of year that is so fast-paced and crazy it is easy to forget your routines.  However, routines save us and work to make us feel like some things are in our control.

Just today, I realized I better check-in with myself. This is a week where my oldest will graduate from 8th grade, and I am the one in charge of the graduation events at his (my) school.  It is a frenetic pace, and I have been riding the bullet train since last month.  Yesterday, I was vanquished by a four-day long migraine that made me cranky and zombified in my thinking.  Thanks to my darling partner, he took some time to help me with a quick massage.  But, here is the thing, over the course of those four days, I hadn’t put into place some of my rescue techniques.  I did my daily meditation, but I hadn’t done the extra 10 seconds to Zen practices because of the pace at work.  Today, I woke up and remembered without the practice, we become a mess, and then we are no good to anyone else.  And I don’t know about you, but I want to be fully present this week to enjoy my son’s graduation events since this is a milestone event.  Truth be told, I do have some jitters.

So right now, I am diffusing some essential oils that take me back to my favorite place (Rome!)…a shout out to my sister-in-law, Angel, for posting these recipes!

It only took me 10 seconds to put these drops into the diffuser and turn it on.  In less than a hot minute, I am floating away to Roma in my mind.  I am rejuvenated (and ready for the house cleaning that must commence post-haste)!

10 seconds to Zen, creative thinking, daily draw, Poetry

10 Seconds to Zen (post 5)

Rhapsodomancy (in honor of National Poetry Month)

Go. Go now to your bookshelf (do you have one in your home or office? I sure hope so.).  Quickly glance at your books of poetry or literature, and pick the first one you find (no more than 5 seconds) Close your eyes (6).  Open the book to a random page (7). Open your eyes, and wherever they focus, read (8,9,10).  What hits you?  What word or phrase stuck with you?  Was there some magic or message for you?  Just this act alone can bring a sense of peace very quickly.  In 10 seconds. You might want to take more seconds, but the initial action to change the moment, the first ten seconds is the most important. You can change how you feel with ten seconds of effort.  Evolving your mindset gets easier with practice.

This practice of randomly picking a poetic passage and finding meaning is called: Rhapsodomancy. Besides being an awesome word, it was once a great poetry reading series run by a favorite writer of mine, Wendy Ortiz. Rhapsodomancy captures two of my loves: poetry and random magic.  I practice this kind of whimsical divination often; it is great for curing the blues.

Today’s 10 seconds–from the book I selected off my work shelf…

The Great Religions (by Hafiz)


Great religions are the


Poets the life


Every sane person I know has jumped


That is good for business

Isn’t it


If you have never tried rhapsodomancy, try it today. It might just give you a little weekend peace!

10 seconds to Zen, daily draw

10 Seconds to Zen (post 3)


Have you heard of Forest Bathing?  Nope?  Neither had I until recently.  It’s a Japanese thing that is becoming a phenomenon in the states (probably urban areas).  It is basically what it sounds like.  Walking through a forest and letting it bathe you in sensations.  Humans are a part of the world, and we need a connection to nature. Living in a dense metropolis, we can find ourselves metalled out in a digital world that gives us no sense of being.  So it is little wonder that  the LA Arboretum forest bathing tours are sold out through May.

However, never fear, with the right planning and practice, you can have a moment of this peace if you cannot get to a forest today.  In this 10 Seconds to Zen, I want to share the wonder of essential oils and what they can do for your emotional well-being.  There are physical health benefits as well (see this study), but today, I will share about the mood boosting benefits of breathing in the aroma of an essential oil, that only takes seconds to put a few drops in the corner of your shower in the morning.

Tangerine EO (empty bottle flavors toothpicks)

I put three-four drops of tangerine, one of my favorite aromas, in the corner of my morning shower, and in ten seconds, voila– peace, calm, and a sense of joy come over me, and I can greet the day with a positive mindset.  If tangerine is not your power aroma, it is easy to play around and find one that is.  I have a friend who loves to put peppermint in her shower in the mornings– she has noted that her mood change is palpable.  Find your Zen.  It only takes ten seconds. 🙂


10 seconds to Zen, daily draw

10 Seconds to Zen (post 2):

Peace in an ordinary world


Take a long slow inhale counting to four as you breathe in, stop. Now hold it for a count of three at the top, and then slowly let it out– three, two, one. Done.

It has been ten seconds, check and see if you have slightly more head space. In these few seconds you have made the way for a little moment of peace. Even better if you did this with your eyes closed, because then, when you open them again, you might see something new in your ordinary world: the bright green leaf on the rose bush outside your window; the way the cement smells just after the drizzle begins; the flicker of fairy lights atop your mantle, and the fire place is crackling and warm. Breathe and observe. Ahhh. That feels better.

Peace finds me when I delight in the ordinary.

When I am particularly peevish, this is my favorite ten seconds to zen: sipping on Relaxer tea (by Tiesta), fireplace on (it’s a switch on one, so it doesn’t take long to start) ambient scene on the smartv (search via YouTube), staring out the window to a little white rose bush. Dreamtime commences.

What is something ordinary that you can notice that will provide you with a moment of peace today?