A Lesson in Mindfulness

Bob and I have a very nice laundry room in our home.  I did not realize how spoiled we were until the dryer went out.  We live full-time at a lakeside resort and there is a laundry room on the property.  In fact it is less than a block from our house.  But I quickly learned that dragging hampers full of wet laundry even a short distance in not fun.  The first two times I tried I hurt my back and neck.  After weighing my options I decided to take the laundry into town when I took Bob to the YMCA and dry the clothes at the laundromat while I waited for Bob.  Seemed like a great idea.  In fact earlier this week the laundry was all washed and ready to go when Bob decided he was not up to the Y.  Not wanting to drive into town just to dry clothes I decided to schlep them down to the laundry room.  But this time I did something different.

So what did I do?  The first two times I was trying to dry clothes while also trying to work online and prepare lunch, with frequent trips back and forth between home and laundry room.  It was a mess.  I was a mess.  Everything got done, but not well.  When I was finished I was in pain.

So… this time I decided to devote my full time and attention to the laundry.  I sat down and waited for the clothes to dry.  I read magazines.  I drank a bottle of water and had a nice conversation with a neighbor who came in to wash her clothes.  What I had been seeing as a burdensome chore became a welcome break.  And since I was not worried about getting everything done at once, my muscles did not tense up when I picked up the laundry baskets, and I was not in pain.

Another gentle reminder of how we create our own reality and a good lesson in living in the present moment.

Seeing with New Eyes

Copyright 2015 by R.A. Robbins

Yesterday morning as I was walking toward the lake I stopped suddenly with a “Whoa… Cool!”  The beauty of the morning mist hovering over the lake stopped me in my tracks.  This is not an everyday occurrence,  but it is also not that rare.  It does leave me in awe every time I see it however.

I continued on and stopped for a minute to take a moment to soak in the beauty of the moment.  When I turned back to the trail I saw someone on their porch and said, “I was just admiring the mist on the lake.”  He looked out and had obviously not noticed it.  Then I said while pointing, “That bank of clouds over there looks like it is actually touching the lake.”  He then paused for a minute, looking, and said. “Yeah, it does… Cool!”

As I continued on my walk, I realized that this is what my life is all about.  Living my life, walking in the truth and sharing it in gentle and subtle ways as I go.  I need to be reminded of that a lot.  When we first moved here people laughed at me… a lot.  I was just that crazy woman who walked all the time.  But now after watching me for three years I am seeing people making changes in their own lives to become more healthy and mindful.  Our best teachings come not from our words, but from the way we live.

As an artist I believe it is my joy, pleasure and responsibility to let people get a glimpse of the world through this artist’s eyes.  In fact all awakened beings share in this, artists or not.  It is only through seeing glimpses of what life not only can be but is if we only open our eyes to it that people will begin to realize the reality that they have created for themselves does not have to be so.

So as you walk through this life be open to your own opportunities to see the world through new eyes.  Live and walk in truth and love and others may have the same opportunity through you.

The Wisdom of Depression – A Guest Post by Steph Ruopp

“You can be still and still moving. Content even in your discontent.” – Ram Dass

Over a decade ago, I was visiting Portland, Oregon when I saw a flyer advertising Ram Dass was in town and speaking that night. It felt like one of those special deliveries from the universe. My exposure to Ram Dass at that point had been some older interviews and his indisputably trippy book, “Be Here Now.” I was geeked at the idea of being able to see and hear him in person, though I knew he’d had a stroke and had no illusion that he would be the vibrant soul I’d seen in interviews.

The joke was on me.

He was not wildly gesticulating, his speech was slow and he was in a wheelchair. That was all true. But the unmistakable vibrancy and that metaphorical twinkle in his eye remained, despite the stroke. Or perhaps in spite of it. For it would be untrue to say that he suffered this stroke, as that was not his terminology. In fact, he used the term, “I was stroked.” In doing so, he changed his entire perspective of the situation to more clearly see the learning aspect that comes in a challenging situation.

After all, having a stroke and being stroked are two very different things.

Three years later when I was in the throes of a serious and debilitating depression – the third episode of its kind – I felt unable to draw from the inspiration that came that night from Ram Dass. I suppose I wasn’t ready. So I allowed fear and depression to consume me.

But then in the past two years, when depression knocked on my door again, the memory of Ram Dass came back to me. And rather than rage against the machine, I went gently into that dark night of the soul. Taking this different perspective allowed me to learn from depression rather than be consumed by it. Like a houseguest, I attempted to welcome it, befriend it and figure out what it was trying to tell me.

Most importantly, I continued to remind myself that this particular houseguest, like all houseguests, would eventually leave.

I know now that depression is a reality in my life. It’s a part of who I am. But like Ram Dass, in changing my perspective – in surrendering to what is rather than fighting a losing battle – I have found a new teacher and ultimately a better me. And yes, it’s uncomfortable. Even agonizing at times.

But I know how to move in the stillness now. And I’m learning to be content in the discontent.


Like many before her, Steph Ruopp is a human. In her title of human, she serves as a writer, yoga instructor, educator, special needs caregiver, nanny and dog walker. She’s comfortable in many hats.

Thought for Today

Yellow Iris Buds Copyright 2015 by R.A. Robbins
Yellow Iris Buds
Copyright 2015 by R.A. Robbins
“Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.” — May Sarton

Thought for Today

Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Thought for Today

Copyright 2015 by R.A. Robbins
Copyright 2015 by R.A. Robbins
“In this moment, there is plenty of time. In this moment, you are precisely as you should be. In this moment, there is infinite possibility. (17)” — Victoria Moran, Younger by the Day: 365 Ways to Rejuvenate Your Body and Revitalize Your Spirit