Author: Donna Pierce

Mindful Monday: Control Issues?

Buddhism, Challenge, contemplation, mindfulness, overwhelmed, Spirituality
Do you have control issues? I do. In the past five years, my family has experienced a long string of stressful events—terminal illness diagnoses, deaths, breakdowns, emergencies, chemo and radiation, surgeries, and alarming revelations. Life kept falling apart. It still is. I struggled to control the outcomes of these events because I found myself terrified by suffering and loss. Surely if I knew how to do just the right thing, I could make a situation turn out well, solve the problem, or keep people from dying. When I couldn’t, which was most of the time, I felt like I had failed: bad mother, bad daughter, bad wife. Self-loathing escalated. Margaret Wheatley, a consultant, writer, and student of Pema Chödrön, sheds light on this idea of hating oneself because we think we fall short whe

Mindful Monday: Getting out of your own way

conflict, listen, mindfulness, spiritual practice, Spirituality
This post is the third of three on the topic of mindfulness and listening. Like most of us humans, I tend to listen from an unconscious stance of reactivity. That is, I hear what someone is saying, and I react quickly to the surface meaning of the words, the tone in which they're spoken, and the facial expression that accompanies them. Not mindful! I'm smack up against my identification with the words and emotions with no mindful breathing space between them. I hear the words, but I'm not listening because I'm reacting. I take a breath to reply, but I'm not taking a breath to consider and then respond. This can be a problem in most conversations, especially the challenging ones. In The Wisdom of Listening, Margaret Truxaw Hopkins, a hospice chaplain in Santa Clara, CA, writes about simpl...
Mindful Monday: Listening to Fear

Mindful Monday: Listening to Fear

body, Buddhism, Challenge, Grief, mind, mindfulness, Spirituality
This post is the second of three on the topic of mindfulness and listening. ~~~ My mother had pulmonary fibrosis during the last four and a half years of her life. This disease slowly steals your breath, hardening your lungs until you die of heart failure or suffocation. Her illness angered and terrified me, as much as it broke my heart. I never overcame the fear, to my regret, and a lot of times, I didn't know what to say or how to be. Rodney Smith, a former hospice chaplain and the guiding teacher at Seattle Insight Meditation Society (SIMS), urges us to listen mindfully to our reactivity when we listen to someone else, including the sick or dying. He asks: "Can you connect with [another] person's humanity? Can you access his [or her] pain? Are you able to own that anger that you proj...