From Allowing

Let it Be

When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me. Speaking words of wisdom, let it be. And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me. Speaking words of wisdom, let it be. Paul McCartney wrote this famous song about his own mother Mary, who died when…

Holy Swiss

Anything can happen at any time. This is the truth of impermanence. Last Sunday, some of us experienced this in a delightful way. Swiss, a one-year-old Service Dog in training, came to sit with us as we meditated. Recently, I was talking about dogs and there she stood, a one-year-old half Golden, half Labrador Retriever.…

George Inness, The Home of the Heron, oil on canvas, 30 by 45 inches, The Art Institute of Chicago, Edward B. Butler Collection, 1893

Giving Thanks

“Today we have gathered and see that the cycles of life continue.” Adapted from the Mohawk, this Thanksgiving greeting to the world offers thanks to the People, to Mother Earth and all her plants and herbs and creatures, to the Sun, the Moon, the Stars, the Waters, the Four Winds, and the Teachers. In the…

There Must Be More

There must be more to me than this. Have you ever thought this? It’s a little moment of awakening rather than an ordinary thought—a clearing in the clouds, a a distant memory, a knowing that there is more. More to life. More to me. This realization can feel like hitting bottom. It can arise in…

Bonfire, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A Formal Feeling Comes

“After great pain, a formal feeling comes,” writes Emily Dickinson.  “The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs.” After a great shock or loss or change, a stillness comes. We sit still and receive life without leaning forward to grasp at it or commenting on it—think of the way a king or queen receives visitors. We have…

Intention

Why do you sit? Why are you drawn to the spiritual path? It can be interesting sometimes to ask this question when you sit–not pushing for an answer but making space for it, the way you would listen closely to a very shy or quiet person. Asking this question can be very useful as we…

The Power of Stillness

This afternoon, I stood very still on the blue stone floor of my front porch, looking out the screen door at flowers and green and trees. Everything looked so still in the golden afternoon light, yet so much has changed—some of the flowers and even the slabs of blue stone I stood on were not…

Flash Flood Sutra

The practice of mindfulness meditation is so simple: coming back to the sensation of being in the present moment, coming back to the breath, letting go of what carries us away. Why yoke the Noble Eight-fold Path to this wordless and elegant vehicle? Well, you don’t have to. And yet…but still…it turns out that the…

A Net That Catches Us

On Sunday, I showed up to teach mindfulness meditation with no voice, or almost no voice. When I opened my mouth to speak a rasping, breathy whisper came out and sometimes (when I really felt moved and enthusiastic) there was a layer of squeaking and gasping. In the acoustics of my own head, I sounded…