Here, Take This Gift

For life to happen we have to receive the first breath. For life to continue we have to receive the abundance of light, nourishment, love and care offered us. If we don’t know how to receive, we will starve. When we are not receptive, we become like Hungry Ghosts. These are the creatures from a Bardo state, where ghosts have small mouths, so little nourishment gets in and the food just falls through their phantom bodies. As a result they are always hungry. Parker J. Palmer refers to this state of chronic hunger as the “Empty Self Syndrome.” We may even win the presidency … 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

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

The Paradox of Uncertainty

The Present   Much has been said about being in the present. It’s the place to be, according to the gurus, like the latest club on the downtown scene, but no one, it seems, is able to give you directions.   It doesn’t seem desirable or even possible to wake up every morning and begin leaping from one second into the next until you fall exhausted back into bed.   Plus, there’d be no past with so many scenes to savor and regret, and no future, the place you will die but not before flying around with a jet-pack.   … Continue reading

Dear Friend,

I had a blog written on uncertainty. But can’t seem to post it. Here is what I have, from my heart to yours: “Life happens on so many levels, simultaneously. It’s very hard at times to hold all of it in a life-giving way… Yesterday, my brother-in-law died. I grieve for my sister and her children who have lost a husband and a father. Yesterday, something that feels like a death to me happened in this country—something contrary to values I hold dear, values at the heart of this country’s unending quest for democracy. Life must go on. The quest for democracy must … Continue reading

Late Bloomers and Broken Trees

On most mornings I get in three rituals, so when I lay my head down at night I feel I have done well in self care. These three rituals attend to mind, body and soul. First, I meditate and hold a conversation with my Great Friend, then I write a bit,… and before morning gets too late I am on my (power) walk to the broken tree. If the morning doesn’t afford me time for all three, I find a way to do my walk before the sun sets.   The broken tree is my “turn around” point on my walk. … 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