Monday, March 12, 2012

Is meditation making me “soft?”

For the past several weeks, I’ve been practicing my call to a more formal meditation practice and have been engaging with Susan Piver’s “Open Heart Project.(It’s fabulous, by the way, and I highly recommend checking it out no matter what your level of experience with meditation practices.) In this week’s post, she speaks about the power of sorrow and a sense of permeability that allows us to receive input in fresh new ways. As I pondered this “softness” in myself, several instances immediately came to mind...

Recently while coaching a brilliant young woman, I heard her utter the words, “I’m not pretty enough” and my heart nearly broke wide open with sorrow. I thought perhaps I would burst into tears in our session because all I notice when I’m in her presence is the sheer beauty of who she is—both inside and out. Rather than fleeing my impulse to hide my tears as she spoke, I breathed more deeply and shared with her my experience. Our mutual acts of courage and tenderness left us both sniffling for several moments as we compassionately connected.

Yesterday while walking through Seattle’s Experience Music Project with my visiting 2nd cousin, I felt myself go all soft and mushy as his twelve-year-old, slightly sweaty palms entwined with my own fingers while he guided me through the horror exhibit and led me gleefully into the “scream room.”

And, you might as well knock me over with a feather and send in the box of tissues when I receive a compliment or praise on my book, As I Lay Pondering. I continue to be humbled and thrilled as others reveal how my words are touching their lives and helping shape their days. I can’t imagine my tender emotions ever abating on this topic.

I also saw “The Artist” today and found myself with a lump in my throat as tears dripped down the heroine’s cheeks and when “The Dog” repeatedly plead for his master’s well being.

I’ve always sniffled at Hallmark commercials and wiped my tear-filled eyes when the princess finds her prince, but something about this new “softness” feels rich and strong. Piver speaks about becoming “both more resilient and more gentle.” Yes. Strong and tender. Bold and humble. Fierce and mild. Open. Willing. Able to meet the world in new ways. Colors are more brilliant. Rain feels like a gentle cloak rather than a suffocating torrent. And if there were an 8th dwarf in Snow White’s crew (and I were it), you could just call me Softie.

So, is it meditation that’s making me soft? Hmmm... I’m off to ponder if that’s the case for these feelings or perhaps they are simply the residual effects of an increasingly open heart. Whatever it is, I think I like it.

Finally... when and where do you notice tenderness in your life? Would you prefer a little more softness? Or do you hold onto the notion that tenderness is weak? What if you could be both fierce and mild in the same moment... or greet the world with Technicolor vision? Would a few minutes of meditation each day be worth the time? How might you “soften” to this experience? I’d love to know where your pondering takes you!

btw - today's photo scene was so overwhelmingly beautiful to me on a recent walk, i implored my dear husband to stop and snap the shot... just one more example of having an open heart, methinks.

I hope you'll check out... As I Lay Pondering: daily invitations to live a transformed life by Kayce S. Hughlett Available here and at Get your copy today!!

Friday, March 09, 2012

Come Fly with Me

If you can imagine it, you can live it!

Part of my practice for the year has been increased attention toward a quiet meditation practice. In her book, Comfortable with Uncertainty, Pema Chodron talks about “surprise mind.” You sit down and —wham!—a rather nasty surprise arises. So be it... Then—wow!—a delicious surprise appears. Okay. This part is not to be clung to but compassionately acknowledged... and let go. The surprises are endless.

I love “surprise mind” (although it does provide some interesting challenges in meditation)! Today’s “surprise” was the birthing of Come Fly with Me. Take a moment. Stop. Breathe. Listen. Pause right now and notice if you can imagine your dreams—yes, yours—spreading out through the world on gossamer wings... reaching and extending through the soft breath of whispering clouds until they permeate the universe. Now imagine this happening at daybreak over the Sonoran desert within a vast silence punctuated only by the generated heat to fill a multi-colored balloon and the delight of playful adults on a bold adventure. Immerse yourself into this landscape and imagine your personal dream rising with the balloon. Next hear your name being whispered into the crystal blue sky. Finally witness both dream and name gently released into the world with love, grace, and delight.

Sound good? Can you feel it? Yes? Then you are personally invited to join me as I embark on a magical mystery tour over the Sonoran desert where I will be releasing beauty, love, and OUR dreams into the world. Dorothy of Kansas never made it into her hot air balloon, but I have a reserved spot to climb into mine next week... And, the surprise is that my heart is compelled to take YOU along with me. A few spirited sojourners will physically join me, but since basket space is limited, I have created another way for you to come fly with me and simultaneously support our dreams!

Flying with me is simple...

· Between now and Wednesday, March 14 @ Noon Pacific Time, send me a note requesting that I share your dream. If you want to include dream details, please keep them brief as the ride is only one hour. That’s it! No strings attached.

If you feel compelled to join the dream-sharing fun, then read on...

· My dream is for my new book As I Lay Pondering: daily invitations to live a transformed life to spread around the world and touch countless hearts and lives in meaningful ways.

You can select a way (or two) and help spread my dream...

· Purchase a copy today (for yourself or someone else).

· If you already own it, tell 5, 10, 20 + new people about it this week.

· Invite me to appear as a guest on your blog.

· Feature the book in a Facebook, Twitter or other social media post.

· Contact your favorite bookstore, gift shop, or newspaper.

· Interview me or recommend me to someone else for an interview. (I have lots to say!)

· Invite me to your locale for a book signing, workshop, or speaking engagement... and help make it happen.

· Spread the word through your own amazingly creative ways!!

... and please, please, please let me know. Your support always fills the wind in my sails!!

Dreams grow and come into reality when we share them with others. This I believe to be true. So, are you ready to Come Fly with Me and watch OUR dreams grow?

As I Lay Pondering: daily invitations to live a transformed life by Kayce S. Hughlett Available here and at Get your copy today!!

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Wildly Wonderful Team Encounters

“... it’s wonderful—deeply, wildly wonderful—to meet “strangers” who are up to their ears in the self-same drive to heal humans and the world.” Martha Beck

Synchronicity and/or happy coincidences are two of my favorite topics. They spread deeply within my soul from encounters with others in the most unexpected places. Last week while visiting Tulsa, Oklahoma for my book launch, I had the opportunity to meet nearly 100 people over a few days time. As I think back on the time there, I could get myself all hung up on the fact that “only” 20 arrived for the physical book reading. Or that my “friends” were caught up in busy schedules and didn’t have much time or interest in me or my visit. But as I sink into the overall experience, I realize that exactly the right people showed up at the most opportune times and “strangers” contributed to deep personal encounters and offered instance after instance that left me covered in goose bumps... or as one of my favorite Team members describes: “truth bumps.” (You can learn more about “the Team” in Martha Beck’s new book called Finding your Way in a Wild New World.)

Today I'd like to share a few examples of what it looked like for me to meet others on "the Team:"

• I met Debbie at a Cabi party as I overheard her mention a name I recognized and felt drawn to have more conversation with her. For the next several minutes, we huddled together like co-conspirators as we reveled in the things we had in common. She whispered to me after several minutes, “Have you noticed that not all people think like we do?” This came on the heels of our conversation regarding a passion toward living life more fully and authentically. (Check out her passion at

• Shonda arrived at the same event and I felt her presence before I met her. She quietly scooted in and sat down beside me and I could sense she was someone very special. Later my sister-in-law Carol (a bonafide Team member) introduced us and let me know that Shonda would be “working on me” come Monday. She is a fabulous massage therapist and body worker whose healing power moves magically through her hands.

• All-business Stephanie served us breakfast and Carol handed her a postcard inviting her to the next evening’s book reading. She returned to the table with a softened appearance and gentle candor as she confessed to a challenging existence and knowledge that this was exactly what she needed.

• Martha looked at me through teary eyes when I told her I was an accountant-turned-artist and simply said, “Will you be my counselor?”

• Suzzi and I became acquainted after our eyes locked from across the room of the coffee house where I was to read later that night. I felt compelled to go speak to this “stranger” who sat in the corner reading a book. Come to find out, she teaches centering prayer and our personal stories were so overlapped that I could only shake my head in wonder as I walked away from our 5 minute chat. (Suzzi now owns a copy of my book and I’m certain we have not seen the last of each other.)

• Dian showed up at The Coffee House on Cherry Street when a friend of hers “randomly” sent her the Facebook invitation to my event. As in the other meetings, our stories had an intertwined aspect and the synchronicities continue to grow.

• Greg may still be trying to figure out what happened when he opened the cover of my book at a meet-n-greet party and found himself captivated by the words. He thought it a fluke, so opened to another page and again was enthralled. After the third try with similar results, he pulled me aside and spent several minutes quizzing me on how I could get inside his head so completely in just a few short sentences. My hunch is that Greg is a member of the team who is newly arriving. ☺

• Amy (another friend of Carol’s) arrived at the restaurant after the reading, because she felt compelled to meet me. As I listened to her story, I knew I’d found another mate.

• There were also Deb, Will, Kelly, Renie, Scott, Britt, Jennifer, Anitra, and more...

My hunch is that if you visit this site very often then you are a member of the Team! I’d love to hear your stories of synchronicity and “random” encounters. Whaddya say, mates?

photos: Me with Martha Beck 5/11; Aslan reads "Finding Your Way"

MY NEW BOOK: As I Lay Pondering: daily invitations to live a transformed life by Kayce S. Hughlett Available here and at Get your copy today!!