Join The Noise

There is a community of the spirit. Join it, and feel the delight of walking in the noisy street, and being the noise. –Rumi, A Community of The Spirit Each year at Write-By-The-Lake I work with 15 other writers to help them bring their world into word. I understand my main role is to help them translate their meaningful experiences into captivating stories that become meaningful to their readers. Fortunately, there are many points of success for us writers (or we would give up too soon). Success comes in getting our ideas and stories down in our journals. Success comes … Continue reading

FREEDOM Right In On Time

It’s freedom we truly want. And fear. Freedom from attachment, freedom from anxiety, freedom from bad relationships, freedom from our habitual and negative states. We want freedom to create, to love, to speak up, and to be ourselves. We were born free. Yet, dependent. Those who raised us either trained us toward freedom or toward an increased dependency on establishing our worth and self-hood on outward validation. We all experience suffering; this is the core teachings of the Buddha: We suffer but there is freedom from suffering. (The Four Noble Truths). We have the capacity to bring forth lasting states … Continue reading

The Two Wells

How Everything Has A Place I take my blind dog out under the white and pink blossomed apple tree to brush her. She groans as hair falls from her old body into soft golden piles in the greening spring grass. Just moments before how I worried about where I would be a season from now. Where might I live and who will share my days? She rolls around, such a happy dog Her golden hair remains behind an invitation to the birds now collecting in the trees take me use me to build your nest. I don’t enjoy worrying or obsessing about what … Continue reading

Don’t Spare Yourself

Okay, so… I’m still taking violin lessons. Along with my violin lessons I discovered another life lesson, as well as a good lesson for writers. If I want to learn how to play the violin, I have to be willing to play poorly. Like I remind my writing students all the time — be willing to write several shitty drafts before the story works, before you “sound” pleasing.  The enjoyment found in writing several shitty drafts, as well as playing crude on the violin, is indispensable to progress in both. I delight in holding an idea and seeing how it comes out on the page. I enjoy holding the violin and … Continue reading

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

When The Soul Calls

“In This Moment” In this moment One foot in front of the other I hear chickadee I see spaciousness of blue above me In this moment One foot in front of the other The road meets my feet, while Above a flock of blue birds migrate In this moment One foot in front of the other I make my daily walk To the broken tree In this moment One foot in front of the other I host the longings in my heart As the friends they are In this moment One foot in front of the other one foot then … Continue reading

Our Secret Lives

“After all, conventional wisdom recommends the divided life as the safe and sane way to go: ‘Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve.’ ‘Don’t make a federal case out of it.’ ‘Don’t show them the whites of your eyes.’ These are all clichéd ways we tell each other to keep personal truth apart from public life, lest we make ourselves vulnerable in the rough-and-tumble realm.” –Parker J Palmer, Let Your Life Speak Writing is a true vocation for me. A benefit of being a writer is that I find clues to my own true nature’s voice in my writing. My … Continue reading

The Importance of Being

If “well-being” — [defined as] functioning well as a person, not as an instrument — is the supreme goal of one’s efforts, two specific ways stand out that lead to the attainment of this goal: Breaking through one’s narcissism and breaking through the property structure of one’s existence. –Erik Fromm, The Art of Being What Fromm means by “breaking through the property structure” is for us to focus less on doing and having and more on being. In my view, if we are secure in who we are, strongly rooted from a sense of self, our actions and “property” (stuff) will … Continue reading