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Posted By Opening the Heart

 Front Cover


  Two weeks ago I received the author's copy of my first published book. I had been working on it for so long, making so many proofreading corrections, consultations, and reworks. After all the doubts and excitement- to finally have it in my hands was just awesome.

   I say in the Introduction, that I did not write it for praise, recognition or immortality. People's continued ability to awe me through their courage and efforts to heal and redeem their lives, whether in my office or at the Opening the Heart Workshop - this is what gratifies my life and work. I feel priveleged to witness this redemptive process over and over again. Evidence of impact: seeing people's faces at the workshop on Sunday morning or seeing kindness and compassion replace cynicism and self judgment. This is why I wrote this book. I am hoping that it impacts you if you should come to read it.

   We will be doing the workshop again the last weekend in July at Kripalu. Come and join us.


   With Respect and Love, Jon

Back Cover




Posted By Opening the Heart

  "The initial mystery of every journey is how the traveler got to the starting point to begin with". Louise Bogan

Have you ever been really lost? No, I don't mean in an existential way where your soul yearns for a way home. I mean when you've taken the wrong turn on the Mass Pike and you end up in Worcester instead of Boston and it's 45 minutes before you even think that if you were going to Boston (east), then the sun would not be behind you at 4 pm, instead of directly in your eyes.

   My son and I have a dominant FAI gene ("Fuggetaboutit!") when it comes to finding our way someplace. We have actually come to use our own Berenson Positioning System which calls for us to go home first and then find our way from there. This actually works pretty well, except that we are often hours (or days) late getting somewhere.

   You might say "My God, Jon, why aren't you using GPS? They're really inexpensive now?" And I would say, in my technophobe-rehearsed way "I don't think so. I'd have to go back to graduate school for two semesters to learn how to use it." Then you might say something that no one should ever say to a technophobe: "No, Jon, it's really simple." Because saying this to me only makes me feel like a heavy brick when I just can't figure out how to use it.

   So I start thinking about GPS in a different way. I am really good at languages and I have a very good ear for words, sounds and accents. I was driving on the New Jersey Turnpike once and I stopped to ask the toll taker where the Elizabeth exit was. After he told me, I asked him if he was from Bristol England, where I'd once spent a summer. His face brightened and he said "How did you know?"

   I do believe this whole technology deal is nothing more than a language that I'm having a hard time learning. I started thinking about the basic principles of GPS and translated them to my own "language" and personal context. What I do when I feel disconnected from self, others and the world is that I start by going home. For me that's reconnecting with breath and going inside and finding a way to calm myself, waiting for solid ground and perspective to come back.

   Then I ask myself where it is that I want to go. I want to be reunited with my source. I want to feel lighter, more positive, grateful. This is what I call my "intention". On the GPS, it's the address I want to end up at. Well, I have learned some skills along this highway. I practice being the witness of my experience, my "lostness". I become aware of how disconnected I feel and I practice saying "Isn't this interesting". By practicing watching my experience, I step out of the parade and, even for a few moments, observe the parade from the stands, I keep attention on my breath. I may invite an experience of gratitude. I may practice some positive self talk. The scenery doesn't always change. This isn't a "trick" to feel better. The key to staying on the right roads is to keep practicing being in the present.

   I have come to call this my own GPS (God Positioning System), finding my way to a destination by using intention, skillful means, the breath, and continuing to bring myself back to the present. I think, actually, that going home first to find my way somewhere may not be such a bad idea.

With Love and Respect, Jon