forgetting why, believing anyway



another good day at the refuge. long early morning sit, mopped floor of the kuti, composed a long email to a friend that disappeared (not the friend but the email), nine grain cereal thanks to noah, five mile walk on valley view road, met up with a gaggle of turkeys, i did not eat the raspberries on the trail today. but i tasted a late thimble berry and wished everyone could know the delicate flesh of this tiny fruit. like the bears in the fall, i like wandering on the rain rotten trails in search of these jewel-like morsels of red perfection, hiding under spiny leaves. love the slanting light of late august, huge discussion about the value of episodic moral outrage, quesadillas thanks to noah, took a quick shower (hard to come by here) and washed my socks, bought a new tea kettle online to replace the old one which is thoroughly done, check in with joshin, scanned google news for the fourth time with worries about ukraine, gaza, ferguson, wrote a piece for my compassion book in progress, watched sunset and had a huge laugh on my deck, doing research on how to keep grey squirrels from inhabiting my humble abode (do i really have to spray my place with garlic and cayenne pepper; would rather put this on pasta………. oh well); reading dogen, reading suzuki roshi, reading pali canon, working on prep for a call from WEF organizer on subject of gender bias, organizing last minute things for nepal trip, appreciating jon stewart’s rap on white privilege and fox news ignorance (maybe garlic spray here too), listened to the darkness this evening, now tapping out my day and anticipating one more sit before full silence drops into place. do not consider my day busy. it was far from that. rather it was a patchwork of practice and delight, with thick threads of concern sewing it all together.

…..Roshi Joan Halifax

where are the tendrils that can be loosened just so? where can we sit just a little while longer? where is the most beauteous moment of your life waiting for you?

A letter to my 18 year old self….

Have integrity with your word. Say what you mean. Be clear on the agreements you are making. You can always change your mind. And if you do, then say so. Let your word, your life, mean something.

And though there is so much we don’t control, though life is painful and leaves us bruised and marked and scarred sacred, none of this is a problem to be solved. Because it’s just life being life. And you, in so many ways, you get to choose what you want.

So choose what feels good. Choose to be here, all the way. Choose what makes you go to bed satisfied, glowing with the aftermath of work well done and coconuts smashed open and words still writing themselves in all the invisible places.

Be willing to fall in love with life as many times as it will let you. Love for the terrible darkness and the glittering mystery and simple wild. Because the living is the prize.

I’m telling you all these things now, but the truth is that I only know them because of you and the risks you took and the ways you loved and the caves you crawled into and that night when you were lying out on the roof of the car and you made the silent vows to your own self that it would kill you to break.

I write and talk to you in my head as if I am somehow reaching back in time, as if to impart some kind of knowing. But it is you who has been the one teaching me.

So thank you. And here we are. Let’s have a party……Isabel

it’s a silly kind of life

Has the most wonderful moment of your life already
happened? Ask yourself that question. Most of us
will answer that it hasn’t happened yet, but that it
could happen at any time. No matter how old we are,
we tend to feel that the most wonderful moment of
our life has not happened yet. We fear maybe it’s too
late, but we are still hoping. But the truth is, if we
continue to live in forgetfulness – that is, without the
presence of mindfulness – that moment is never going
to happen. This present moment must become the
most wonderful moment in your life. All you need to
transform this present moment into a wonderful one
is freedom. All you need to do is free yourself from
your worries and preoccupations about the past,
the future, and so on.
…..Thich Nhat Hanh

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