Tagged a refuge

Elliott Erwitt, "New York City," 1958

Winter Solstice 2017

Tomorrow is the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the day when the North Pole is tilted farthest from the sun. Ancient people observed this day, watching the stars and the shortening days, patiently abiding and taking note until one day…it changed. They learned that the darkest day is followed by a little more light.…

The Art of Returning

Dear Noble Friends, I’ve been away a long time.  Now it feels good and right to come home.  Late yesterday afternoon, a group of us gathered to practice mindfulness meditation and do a bit of yoga and talk in a beautiful yoga studio in Tarrytown (Yogashivaya.com).  The yoga studio was filled with the golden natural…

The Sunlight of Awareness

“The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty, “ taught Mother Teresa.  “Loneliness is the most terrible poverty.” Every year in Japan, the ancestors are remembered and hungry ghosts are fed in a ritual called Oban.  I once experienced a Western Soto Zen version of this practice, including among the hungry ghosts all those beings that society rejects and those parts of ourselves that we forget or abandon or try to hide. But how are we to feed the hungry ghosts? Early Buddhist tradition describes the use of spells and also service to the living. …

Life Preserver

I dreamed I was being carried along by life like a leaf on a stream.  In the dream I was wearing the royal blue dress I wore at my daughter’s wedding in England last November, which seemed strange because moments before I was holding my daughter’s tiny hand as we walked down steep brownstone steps in Brooklyn.  As I floated by someone standing on the shore told me my hair looked good and that was nice but hardly enough to make a life. Here’s the kicker:  I woke up realizing that I hadn’t been dreaming and that I actually am—that…

From “I” to “We”

“‘Each one, on his own, wouldn’t be able to do it,’” said a policeman whose job it was to guard some 7 million people bathing in the icy Ganges last February, 2013.  “‘They give each other strength.’”  Can being with others–even in conditions of dense crowding and pollution–actually be good for our bodies, hearts, and…

India, At Last

From the time I was a little girl, I dreamed of being in India. I remember creeping around the living room on a bitterly cold day in Northern New York (no kidding about the cold, as I write this it is -23 degrees, F. in Watertown, -37 degrees factoring in wind chill). I remember knowing that was driving my very neat mother crazy with all this leaping and knocking sofa cushions off and so on, knowing my twin brother really wasn’t into my game, that he was just along for the ride letting me narrate an adventure in an imaginary…