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Monthly Archives: April 2019

Mining for Gold

 

Photo by Bill McDavid

 

I know at times it feels dark and bleak

to encounter the news –

or another day, or life.

I know when you feel uncertain

it’s the best case scenario,

as the more common alternatives are

fear and anger

and hopelessness.

I know that sometimes you wonder

how things could possibly get any worse;

and then they do

and you feel broken

all over again.

________

I also know that raging beauty

and unbounded goodness

and decency exist –

not only out right for all to see

but buried like treasure in the hearts of men,

all men.

So please, dear ones,

take my hand,

and let us become miners

in search of it.

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Winter to Spring

As winter acquiesces to springtime in the mountains,

light peals back the darkness of morning

earlier and earlier,

and stays later and later

each day.

Like a dinner party invitee,

The Light is akin to that dude who

awkwardly and unexpectedly arrives

way ahead of the appointed time of the soiree.

And later,

after all the food is gone and the dishes are put away,

and the roar of the fire is down to its flickering embers,

The Light is that last lingering guest,

begging the host to question:

What the heck is this guy still doing here?

 
 

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Humility

I think a big part of developing humility

has to do with the ability and determination

to bow one’s head,

in gratitude and reverence.

 

I bow 5 times on the daily each morning,

plus an additional bow with each meal before I eat,

and I think this simple practice makes a profound impact

on how I show up in the world.

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2019 in Growth Work

 

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All In

1.

I’m the sorta writer who’s comfortable being a one trick pony; able only to write about my own life and how I live it. I’m not a poet or a comedian but I weave words like spring blooms flowers and I find my own self hilarious on a regular and ongoing basis.

I’m a writer in the same way the seasons come calling and winter is the longest, here in the mountains of the west.

I’m a writer like I’m a Montanan, not native born but chosen – and savored as though any day might be my last. And there’s a good chance I’m a writer in the same way I’m a comic: not at all and only to myself.

I’m a writer who likes to think that one day the book I wrote will be in book form, with a cover and binding and acknowledgements no one reads.

I’m the sorta writer whose heart will be the last thing that gives up – and it’ll take a tank to take me out.

2.

I’m someone whose called to step it up in the being-a-decent-human department. I’m someone who’d much rather be seen as kind than cool. I’m someone not looking to put on airs or parade around pretending to be something I’m not – but you should know that who I am authentically is a standup dude and I have my house in good working order. So if I intimidate you or you think I appear too good to be for real, that’s your baggage not mine.

I’m someone who works hard each and every day to show up well for my fellow global inhabitants. I’m committed to a life lived with a heart open choked and full throttle and high moral standards I’m not willing to compromise on.

I’m someone who holds in high regard such things as virtues and ethics when it comes to modes of conduct and behavior. I’m someone who doesn’t think it’s dope to joke about dysfunction or how someone spends most of their time drunk or high or in a state of perpetual teenagerhood.

I’m someone for whom life is an action verb and I’m someone who is all in.

 

 

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Fun Zen Circle Project

In preparation for our upcoming spring family retreat with our Montana sangha family, in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh – for which I am serving as co-director – I worked on this fun project this morning. Ensos! An enso is a zen circle and is said to symbolize a number of different things: openness, awareness, strength, the universe. Enso’s can be created open or closed and are typically fashioned in one brush stroke.

Since our upcoming retreat will be a family retreat and we’ll have kids present, we thought it would be fun this year to create a small optional activity that we could simply leave out on a table in the main gathering area that all ages could engage in, if they so chose.

As I was brainstorming a simple community activity, I came across a post in my Twitter feed from the Upaya Zen Center in New Mexico that offered inspiration:

The tweet that accompanied this picture said something along the lines of having folks there at Upaya fill out an enso with their aspiration for their own practice during the retreat. So I took this idea and tweaked it a bit.

I made a total of 70 enso’s on small multi-colored squares of paper, using a calligraphy brush and some tempera paints I had on hand. Then I made a sample one posted with instructions that I’ll leave on the table, along with markers and some oil pastels:

This wound up being great fun to do this morning :)

I contemplated whether to put out paints and brushes for people to make their own enso’s but decided with the number of people we have attending and so many kids that it would best to keep the activity less involved/potentially messy. My plan is to collect all of the well wishes created and string them together in a collage for display. So stay tuned to see the final product!

 

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2019 in Fun, Local Retreats

 

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One Day Soon

Pic taken of Mike and I the day before he left for Deer Park Monastery for a 3-month retreat stay

 

One day soon, the other side of the bed will be occupied by him once again, and I will no longer have to utilize the services of my heating blanket to keep warm at night.

At certain times over the past 3-months, I’ve used this solo time to imagine what a life led in his permanent absence would be like; as though he were gone for good and not only for a short stint. I’ve pondered how I would manage and carry on without him. I’ve gotten a tiny glimpse as to why a widow might keep herself in mourning for a lifetime.

When you’ve married your heart to another full throttle – after weaving your lives together for a spell – there is no such thing as time spent without their energetic impression accompanying you.

Mind you, I can hold my own. I’m steady on my own two aching feet and can joy it up with the best of em, all on my own accord. But I want to keep doing all of that with him close at hand.

One day soon, I’ll shift positions in the middle of the night and in place of the open sea, he’ll be there to catch me – and it will be the utmost of grand occasions.

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2019 in writer's life

 

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Truthful & Loving Speech

The Ninth Mindfulness Training: Truthful and Loving Speech

Aware that words can create happiness or suffering, we are committed to learning to speak truthfully, lovingly and constructively. We will use only words that inspire joy, confidence and hope as well as promote reconciliation and peace in ourselves and among other people. We will speak and listen in a way that can help ourselves and others to transform suffering and see the way out of difficult situations. We are determined not to say untruthful things for the sake of personal interest or to impress people, nor to utter words that might cause division or hatred. We will protect the happiness and harmony of our Sangha by refraining from speaking about the faults of other persons in their absence and always ask ourselves whether our perceptions are correct. We will speak only with the intention to understand and help transform the situation. We will not spread rumors nor criticize or condemn things of which we are not sure. We will do our best to speak out about situations of injustice, even when doing so may make difficulties for us or threaten our safety.

To read the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings, which are the foundation of the Order of Interbeing, click here

I’ve been reading the Ninth Mindfulness Training every day for the past week, as part of a ongoing practice I’ve been doing with a friend of mine. And in rare form, I don’t feel as though I have much to say in added commentary in regards to this training. What I can say is this: I am committed to embodying this training as much as I possible can, for the sake of all beings (myself included). And, I’m a work in progress for sure.

 

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