Violin Lessons for the Writer

I am taking violin lessons because (well, I confess I don’t know all my reasons). Someone recently asked me why I have a few strands of red hair. A story comes to mind: the gist of this story is that we must seek enlightenment like a woman with her hair on fire seeks the pond. But as I got my hair cut a month ago I simply felt like getting a strand of red added. Call it a nudge. Same with violin lessons really: I felt this internal nudge. I trusted these nudges enough to explore them. So here I am taking lessons from … Continue reading

My Valentines to You, Love Julie

Accidents   She said, “There are no accidents.” I didn’t know how this could be true. how can everything hold meaning? dark accidents made beneath shadows, discovery of a dead chickadee under the apple tree, red-blooded accidents of visitors from the past, wine spilling, i didn’t mean to say that, in that way, it was just an accident, golden accidents of passion, down by the horse barn out of sight, a secret is discovered, the timing of your visit, what filled the emptiness when you were gone, the rippling accident of water splashing over the edges of the bowl that I carry to put out the fire. … Continue reading

US: Exceptional but not The Exception

“We may be exceptional, but we are not exceptions.” This above insight was shared with me recently by a friend. At the time I felt I was having an exceptional experience. And it was. Exceptional. But this in no way made me, or others involved exceptions. What does this mean? It means we are not special in a way that sets us apart from others or the natural world. We are all bound by natural (nature’s) laws, and ideally, we are internally directed by ethical boundaries and spiritual principles that remind us of this interconnectedness. Whatever this exceptional experience is—some … Continue reading

What The Tree Taught Me by guest blogger Kerstin Kuentzel

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”  – Neale Donald Walsch I chose the above line as personal mantra and reminder for this year. Little did I know that the ink of my pen would have barely time to dry before a series of unexpected happenings would test my stamina and perseverance. Over and over again, I only had to look outside into my backyard where my old friend, a river birch has taught me free survival lessons for eighteen years. When my husband planted the young tree, our neighbors were skeptical about whether it would make it on the chosen … Continue reading

A Love Story

LOVE AFTER LOVE   The time will come when, with elation, you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror, and each will smile at the other’s welcome, and say, sit here. Eat. You will love again the stranger who was your self. Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart. Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, the photographs, the desperate notes, peel your own image from the mirror. Sit. Feast on … Continue reading

For A Beautiful Life: Take Two & Go To Bed

I write this to you from the 2nd day into my weeklong (city) writing retreat. On my first night (Saturday), I planned on going to the comedy club on State Street. A woman comedian seemed like a perfect fit for what I needed. Going solo meant I would be placed with a table of strangers. An opportunity to meet up with either a good social experience or material to write about. Likely both. As I unpacked and then went to the co-op to get food for the week, I felt I was having an allergic reaction to my space at the airbnb. I … Continue reading

How to Write (and Live) “IT.”

How do we write about grief, beauty, endings, beginnings, missed opportunities, luck, divine intervention, spiritual experiences and epiphanies? Today’s Writing Wednesday blog shares how I write about such themes and scenes in both my spiritual nonfiction books and in my (yes, I’m working on my) novel. When I am having a particular experience, I write about it. I  have been writing in my journals since the age of sixteen. (A friend promises to burn them on my death). For my nonfiction, I can write from the present experience and use some teaching point as a thematic thread throughout the piece. So if I am writing … Continue reading

Privileged with Time (to Write)

“We should never allow our fears or the expectations of others to set the frontiers of our destiny.” –John O’ Donahue’ from Anam Cara Each morning I use passages from favored books to inspire my meditation practice and to direct my attention throughout the day. This following passage is a great read and reminder to help us in this New Year, taken from John O’donahue’s Anam Cara: One of the Greatest Sins is the Unlived Life   In the Western tradition we were taught many things about the nature of negativity and the nature of sin, but we were never told that one of the greatest sins is the unlived life. … Continue reading

A Love Letter to You, Me, and the World

“Here, take this gift, I was reserving it for some hero, speaker, or general, One who should serve the good old cause, the great idea, the progress and freedom of the race, Some brave confronter of despots, some daring rebel; But I see that what I was reserving belongs to you just as much as to any.” —Walt Whitman, “To a Certain Cantatrice”   I take time in my morning meditation to consider simple and recent things I am thankful for. The other morning I was grateful for a simple email a friend sent me recently. Here are some extracts … Continue reading

The Reshaping Light

 “Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty. It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language.”  –Aldo Leopold, Sand County Almanac I write this message to you on Solstice Eve. Tomorrow brings the longest stretch of darkness, with a promise of the returning light. My favorite time of day is the crepuscular hour before all goes dark. True twilight. Dusk. When I lived in Minneapolis my large picture window happened to be placed so that I could enjoy the light as it crossed the room in its departure. I would regain energy and purpose in … Continue reading