Category Archives: Mindfulness

Flower Fresh

The second line in the gatha (practice poem) that we began last week is: “Breathing in, I see myself as a flower, breathing out, I feel fresh.” We can use the word “flower” as we breathe in, and “fresh” as … Continue reading

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Breathing with Images

Many years ago I learned a five-part gatha (pronounced GAH-tah) from Thich Nhat Hanh.  A gatha is a practice poem that helps us bring mindfulness and intention to our experience.  While I no longer practice it formally, I often find … Continue reading

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Habit? Maybe not!

A friend and I were comparing notes recently. Both of us can create a habit for months at a time. Then one day we don’t do it; more months can go by before we even think about it again. We … Continue reading

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The Balanced Acrobat

One day an acrobat told his assistant to climb onto his shoulders for their balancing act, telling her to watch out for his balance and he would watch out for hers. She replied that she couldn’t possibly control his balance. … Continue reading

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Senses

On our retreat this last weekend, we paid particular attention to which sense was being stimulated.           When you spend the day in silence, paying attention, the senses all get heightened.           … Continue reading

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Hugging

In the 1960’s Thich Nhat Hanh came to the US to speak out against the war raging in his country.  One of the people he influenced was Martin Luther King, who did go on to oppose the war.  Dr. King … Continue reading

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Good Morning

As you may have gathered, I’m not what is known as a “morning person.” On retreats I often used to sleep through the before-breakfast meditation period, but I have grown to cherish that time, especially at Lake Tahoe. This week … Continue reading

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Wheel

I like wheels, so when I saw this one on my walk I photographed it.  As you can see from the first photo, I was taking it into the sun, which made an interesting picture, but not the one I … Continue reading

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Numbers

Last week was my birthday. While I’m certainly a lot–a whole lot, in fact–older than in this photo of me as a toddler, I still find it hard to wrap my mind around the fact that I am much closer … Continue reading

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Simple Pleasures

Sometimes when I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by the suffering in the world, I return to simple pleasures to get some relief. I can revel in these ordinary yet pleasing experiences to renew my energy. I took this photo … Continue reading

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Being Grounded

Being grounded is one of those phrases with very different meanings. In the context of the hundred of teens I spent time with in two very diverse communities this week, it means one thing: to be stuck at home as … Continue reading

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Back Body

I still remember how startled I was when my beloved yoga teacher Angela asked us to bring our awareness to our “back body.” What? There’s something back there worth paying attention to? I’d never had back pain and seldom used … Continue reading

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Mind

As you read this, I am on a week-long meditation retreat. On retreat we maintain Noble Silence—speaking only when necessary. We don’t read or write for the most part, and certainly don’t listen to music or the radio or even … Continue reading

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Happiness

I used to have an unconscious belief that I could not be happy until everyone was happy. It somehow didn’t seem right, or fair. But then I understood that if we all waited for everyone else to be happy, no … Continue reading

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Fog

One year at Plum Village Thich Nhat Hanh—Thay—asked us not to take notes during his talks. He invited us to allow the words of the dharma to fall on us like a soft rain, not to make an effort to … Continue reading

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Home Base

To continue with our theme of working with anxiety, sometimes we realize we are in the anxiety canyon, but we may be unsure of “where to go” if we “evaporate” out of the canyon. It can be helpful to have … Continue reading

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The Soul (a guest post)

A guest post from my beloved friend Susan Juetten– The soul: what do I mean by “the soul”? Not a concept in Buddhism, but possibly contacted in the deeper realms of meditation. The term still represents something I feel inside … Continue reading

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Worry Canyon

What, me worry? I guess I dealt with anxiety from an early age! Or at least, trying real hard to figure things out… So learning about the way the brain is organized like canyons (as I talked about last week) … Continue reading

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Canyon

A metaphor for one way the brain works is a river basin. Water falling into creeks at the headwaters of the Colorado River will lead inevitably to the Colorado, not to the Mississippi. Multiple creeks and tributaries will feed into … Continue reading

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Finding Calm

“Anxiety is contagious,” said Fritz Perls, influential psychologist, in the 1960’s. It’s a good thing to notice, as you may unconsciously take on others’ anxiety and wonder why you feel that way. He may as well have also said “calm … Continue reading

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Happy New Year

Many years ago on a 10-day meditation retreat, our teacher pointed out that nothing actually happens at midnight on New Year’s Eve. One moment follows the next as usual; it’s people that give it significance. Nevertheless we decided to stay … Continue reading

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Favorite

As I write, it was 10 years ago today that Davy and I first spoke. We had spent 80 days working side by side in silence, putting away breakfast food and condiments for 100 people. We had started our work … Continue reading

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Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a beautiful holiday. To have a day that at its best is about gratitude is a good reminder to live in gratitude every day.             But you all know this! And, of course, … Continue reading

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Except…

It was a crisp autumn morning, and I was worried. My client, who had been doing well recently, came in very depressed and possibly suicidal. Fortunately, I thought to ask him this question: “have there been any exceptions to these … Continue reading

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The Peace of Wild Things

I’m on retreat at Lake Tahoe and thought you might enjoy this beautiful poem by Wendell Berry. Please take some moments for yourself to rest in the beauty that can be found even in the most desolate place by looking … Continue reading

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Letting go

This sweater was one of the last ones my mother made before she died almost 30 years ago. She was an expert knitter who would rip out many inches of knitting if she saw even the tiniest mistake. Such beautifully … Continue reading

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Lotus Flowers

    Lotus flowers are beloved in Asia, in part for their beauty.  Even more, they symbolize the purity that can come from muck. Lotuses are often found blooming in filthy ditches by the side of the road or in … Continue reading

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The Unmindful Monk

In the fall of 1986, after our small airplane landed in Lukla, Nepal, pointing into a mountain on an upward sloping grass runway, a small group of westerners and I began our trek towards Everest base camp.  Winding up the … Continue reading

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Already Broken

When my friend saw the exfoliating pot in the garden by my driveway, she gasped.  “What happened?”  Then she realized that I must have put it there deliberately. It’s a good daily reminder to me of the truth of  impermanence.  … Continue reading

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