Andy

Twice a week, I hang out with ex-convicts, recovering addicts, former prostitutes, homeless men and women, and the occasional drag queen. I lead two support groups at a center in Greensboro. Monday is a meditation and mindfulness group, open to HIV positive men and women. Thursday group is for HIV positive men. If I'm having a bad day, I go check in with these friends and get a sweet, gentle dose of "the real-real world". The real-real world is so much better, so much more immediate and so much more real than anything I'd ever see on Facebook, or on television. You can't make this shit up. It's too real for reality t.v., and it's more compassionate, gorgeous and messy.

Walking My Talk.

In The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, the first agreement is Be Impeccable with Your Word. Words have power. They have magic in creating new ideas, setting goals, new standards, and showing ourselves and others how accountable we are. Words also have the power to wound, destroy confidence, and destroy trust and accountability. As …

Jumping Off.

After three weeks watching other boys and girls do it, I climbed the ladder, twelve feet above the blue water. 12 rungs for twelve apostles, and I mouthed the name of each in silent prayer until I reached the top. When both feet were on the white, sandpaper surface of the diving board, I whispered …

It’s Coming On Christmas.

I love this song. There are other Christmas songs I love, and I've noticed the ones I am drawn to are infused with a sense of longing and acceptance, of joy and sadness in equal parts. It's my way. From the time I was small, there seemed to be a sense of abundance with the giving and shopping, mixed with a sense of poverty and the acknowledgment that there are those for whom the holiday is a mixed bag of coal and candy canes.

A Lesson in Mindful Housecleaning.

Not just recently, but all my life. From the time I was a little boy, if I could find a "something" I was passionate about--drawing pictures, building with Legos, playing the violin--I would pour 100% of my focus into it, until I became exhausted by it and ultimately, bored. I had to learn to balance the short-burning fireworks of passion with the fire-pit maintenance of pragmatism.