Friday, August 26, 2011


As Hurricane Irene approaches Virginia, I make my blessings to all things. Water, wind and changing weather is symbolic of the living energy that both sustains and changes us. When I show reverence for all things, amazing things happen. Aligning myself with wise earth teachings I touch profoundly what has heart and meaning.

I have recently learned of a wonderful ritual that honors all things called Despacho. This is ancient Peruvian ceremony pays sacred tribute to sending and receiving Earth prayers. This ritual creates a union of our mind, body and spirit as we show our gratitude to our interconnection with all things.

In a Despacho ceremony participants offer their gratitude to Pachamama (Mother Earth) and the Apus (Mountain Spirits). Attendees place prayers of gratitude in their offering. These prayers are then "dispatched" to the Guides and Spirits when the offering is burned or buried by the shaman or ritual leader. This ritual calls bridges the " Seen " with the " Unseen " in order to open to expand awareness and possibility.

This ritual establishes a link between the physical universe, our personal power, our source of our love and wisdom. During this despacho it allows us to transcend our literal and symbolic domains. As we express our appreciation in very beautiful offering bundle. A sequence of items are placed on a flat surface, each representing the dedication of some aspect of life, back to the wholeness. The process itself is an opportunity to reflect for all who participate. As the ceremony progresses, all involved form “kintus”, little groups of three leaves, and, with their own breath, place their prayers and offerings into these, and then add them to the ceremonial bundle.

The despacho gives respect and creates communion with our beloved world. Pachamama, or Mother nature for the closely connected to the group. Inti Tayta, the Sun or the powers of Light,and the guides or guardians of the spirit world who help and provide for the community, the family, the individual person.

Also, these ceremonies may be offered to communicate a specific need: a healing; assistance or other challenging circumstances. Very often a despacho is made for right relationship – among individuals, communities, families, or between man and Nature. The Quechua term is “Ayni”, so this is an “ayni despacho.”

In closing I wish to observe those unrecognized beings that sustain us. It has been recently estimated that roughly 8.7 million living species are life support systems that produces the planet’s air, water, and food. We know next to nothing about 99 percent of those unique species except that many of them are going extinct. May we bow to these beings that bring us life and pray for their survival.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Taking the Greatest Care

Our deepest fear is that we not inadequate. Our deepest fear is we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
- Marrianne Williamson.

My greatest life challenge is to how to see things as they are so to best take care of myself. There are so many ways I take care of others while I may neglect my very self. Also if I become too excessive and selfish then I become isolated and alone. My freedom is based on more heartfelt to self caring and so I can best be service. The question arises is how to a best balance these two differing scales of being kind to others while also being kind to me?

Understanding how I can best show up versus checking out is what my freedom requires. To fully expand my heart is in question.

My life consists of many patterns and habits. One pattern is I give to much away since I have a worthiness issues. Also I can easily spiral downward when I do not create good boundaries. My inner critic becomes amplified and my shortcomings become I have the opportunity to change my perspective or foster a new attitude. ..

What an invaluable exercise when I get beyond the story of the self. However it is not easy to ignore it, become preoccupied or too busy to cultivate another. My life becomes better aligned when I get out of the deprecating self to a more caring one.

How can I can overcome what I think my sense of the unacceptable allowing me to become more free? To venture in those difficult places can liberate me from the ghosts that haunt me from my past blunders. If I practice forgiveness we gain stimulate increased happiness.

When I remember of my habit of not self caring that I can lessen my suffering. Also this challenges me to embrace the mystery and accept what is happening. What this calls for me is a profound listening to what is true. When I reconnect with my authentic being I find the courage to get out of my habitual roles and the comfort of the familiar. When I shift my “I” identity to welcome the “we” from the ego self I change my own experience.

Remembering to have courage and trust is critical for me in this loving-friendly adventure to see how I can face myself doubt. What patterns can I change and which ones do I accept? Where is the wisdom for this change? Finding support to accept what is and change what I can has bountiful rewards.

By cultivating a greater compassion I can show up and accept thus empowering me to overcome my self-destructive patterns. When I awakened to free myself from my taking care of everyone instead of myself I cultivate the most inclusive and holistic love.

As I increase my self compassion I also increase my courage to act with greater kindness, love and wisdom. Self care takes care so that we can act with the greater reverence in all our life experiences.

So why is caring for the divine self so challenging? It takes self care to fully behold this precious world!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Champ’s Tribute- Grace, Optimism and Devotion

Your task is not to seek love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”-Rumi

Have you ever won a perfect set? Well Pauline Betz Addie, aka Champ, gave me the confidence to make this once happen. We shared a perfect love set or 24 straight points. Also we shared a the other type of love off the court. Pauline’s game in life was all about excellence. Through focus, practice and preparation she freely excelled herself. Graceful, Optimistic and Devoted were the divine or GOD virtues she bestowed.

Pauline had boundless physical and mental grace. Her ensuing kindness, gentleness and humility complimented her physical poise. Whenever I wish to visualize championship form I would just emulate Pauline’s grace. When things get bad I recall how Pauline would transmute the situation into looking how I can benefit from such difficulty. Finally her devotion to excellence inspired me greater to purposefulness to find explore my divine potential.

Pauline was my beloved friend, teacher, employer, and partner. She gave me the courage to be the beauty I loved by her very presence. We shared a devoted friendship for forty years. She demonstrated to me not for the importance of outcome but the value of a developing the grace of process- cultivating keen concentration.

My greatest fear always has been not using my full potential. Pauline was my Zen Master teaching me the art of living. She showed little distinction between her work and play. Her labor was her leisure. Uniting her mind with her body, her education was her recreation. Pauline’s love and her spirit you could hardly tell which from which. She tapped into excellence in whatever she pursued. All her life you could never tell whether she was working or playing

Pauline was the ultimate optimistic. She always said to me “you never know what bad is” and always made the best out what was given to her. Maybe that is why she so enjoyed playing duplicated bridge transforming bad cards into winning hands. Always she would see good or the silver lining. Her gift was she would transform sow’s ear into a silk purse with whatever presented her. We would go on many a Florida golf trip and laugh and after I would make some horrendous shot and she would always share some positive comment.

Pauline was devoted to so many things. She cared deeply about others and her world. She was always helping those less fortunate either giving them work or loaning them money. When she was given a hotel room she would share it with many other players and even give up the bed and sleep on the floor. She would worked with me at soap kitchens or help me in so many ways. Pauline would recall how she waited tables two days after and worked spooning corn on customer’s plates after winning her first U.S. Forest Hills Title. She was a wholehearted tennis instructor. She loved teaching so much when she came on vacation to visit me in Florida she ended up help teaching my lessons for me.

Her life was filled with both prosperity and setbacks. Pauline enjoyed some of tennis greatest feats while in the last years of her life some of the greatest perils. She exemplified boundless possibility and astounding freedom.Through practice and preparation to what has heart and meaning death comes not as defeat but a triumph to a glorious life. Yes she embodied the If quote as you walk through the doors on Center Court of Wimbledon, “If I can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same.” Her entire life was based on this theme of taking whatever adversity or honors came her way with evenness and balance. I once joke with her in her 70’s when she was dating Washington most prominent businessman does this mean she was going to stop mopping the courts up with towels when it rained. Of course she did not.

She only cared about being free to excel in new experiences whether it was a late night balancing of the tennis facility books or when she could change the spark plugs on her VW bug. Whether it was, bridge, ping pong, golf, piano, flute, tax preparation, accounting or whatever she endeavored here was a chance for her to compete with herself. She learned it was not so much about overcoming her opponent yet how she could reach her fullest potential.

When I was developing her timeline for the Pauline Betz Addie Center I asked her what was your best match. With her usual grace she responded her 1945 Forest Hills Final loss to Sarah Palfrey Cook. “ I played my best match ever. Sarah was such a terrific and so under rated player who never fully recognized for her incredible talent”. How many champions would give a lost as their best match ever?

Years ago Pauline shared with me that when she was at her highest point of tennis achievement it was a dark and lonely time.

Pauline lead a life just like Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Her speed made her a champion and she was outcast by the flock. She loved to teach beginners and blaze a different trail.

“And the more Jonathan practiced his kindness lessons, and the more he worked the nature of love, the more he wanted to go back the Earth. For in spite of his lonely past, Jonathan Seagull was born as an instructor and he his own way of demonstrating love was to give something of truth that he had seen to a gull who asked only a chance to see truth for himself” .

…”If our friendship depends on things like space and time, then we have finally overcome space and time, we have destroyed our own brotherhood! But overcome space and all we have left is Here. Overcome time, and all we have left is Now. And in the middle of Here and Now, don’t you think we might see each other once or twice?

Pauline exemplified grace, optimism and devotion. Like Jonathan Livingston Seagull her friends and students CAN FLY! Once in 1943 Tri-State Championship finals Pauline won a perfect love match, no point lost. Yes a perfect love match is freedom. Now whatever stands between our very liberation may be overcome. I believe what Pauline sought both in life and death is what frees us.

Pauline’s death serves to liberate me to what life is all about . What brings you grace, optimism and devotion? Do these virtues free you with a greater sense of possibility? With grace, optimism and devotion I am awakened by Pauline’s death and will always cherish how she exemplified the same liberation during her tribulations and triumphs.