Saturday, January 10, 2015


The Helpers knock at my door.
They are about 3 feet tall.
Sweet looks. Smiling.  Happy.
"We brought some food for you," they chirrup.
"We know you need food," they chorus together.

I let them in the door. They are so happy, so proud.
They are all over the room, chirp, chirp, here, chirp, chirp there.
The food is on the counter.  I'll look at it later.
Then, "It is time to go," they say together, looking sad, making sad faces, like puppets.
we are so sorry we must leave you now.  We know how much
you need us, our company, our food.  We leave you feeling
bad."  They're heads get bigger in front of me.

"So important we are in your life."
Their heads are quite a bit larger than their bodies.
It's hard to see they will be able to walk out of the house with such heavy
wide heads.

In fact, if they do any more "helping," they won't get out and I'll be stuck
The Helpers.

I walk to the door and open it, hoping I am subtle enough that they won't be offended.
 They do some reluctant steps, like the sadness, it is part of the game of the Helpers, but soon
they are gone.

It is hell being isolated, not feeling connected with anyone. 

Even when people are sincere and doing their best for me, there are times I don't see their kindnesses.
I get notions in  my head, concepts, ideas and can't see what is  When I see this in myself then I can accept and see this in another person.  There is someone who cannot connect with my good intentions right now. This person needs my understanding and connection in a way that works for him. It's about going deeper, things aren't always what they seem at first. It's about going deeper in me about what kindness, timing, truth and my intentions really are.  Is it my wish to change this person?

For now, there's resting in the river, not acting on anything.

Compassion is born from understanding. Understanding what? Suffering. And if you know how to suffer then you suffer much less. Second lesson: Compassion should be directed to yourself first. Our civilization has a tendency to want to run away from ourselves. Thich Nhat Hanh

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Allowing joy

I come back to my breath
I say, Breathing in
I feel, Breathing in
The breath at the nostrils.

I know Right Mind only has one object
The in breath .
I let go of Thinking.
I return to the breath, feel it's warmth, the swirl as it enters the nostrils.

My Regrets and sorrows
My Uncertainties, insecurity
Run faster, more and more they say.

Coming back to the breath
I am aware that I am
Breathing in, Breathing out

Coming back to the breath
I am aware that I am
Breathing in, breathing out

The in breath
the out breath
Like sunshine, they embrace my thinking

My body tenses
Pressure in my mind returns
It's pushing me to run
A habit energy

I invite the bell, Listen to the bell
In every cell of my body I listen
I am calm, I rest, I relax.
Right here and now.
All is well.
I am back to my true home.

I listen to the bell, all the way through
The sound ripples through air waves.
I create peace.

I walk feeling my foot touch the earth
Every step is healing.
Every breath is healing.

I invite my ancestors
To walk with my feet

I am here
Flower fresh.

I am stable.
Solid as a mountain.
I am Firm as the earth.
I am Water, reflecting
What is real,

I am Allowing joy, I have tea,
in this cup of tea, I smell the summer scents of herbs,
I feel the warmth, I see the steam making a small cloud.

Breathing in,
I see myself as the still water of the tea, reflecting.
things as they are,

Breathing in,
I see myself as space,
Space for it all, all the frustration and anger

Allowing joy,
Breathing in,
Cultivating space, freedom, stability.

Joy, in the midst of it all,
  embracing the suffering.
I smile.

Based on a talk by Thich Nhat Hanh, Nutriments for Healing. 9-25-13.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Sakkayaditthi is oozing up from under the rugs.
    Feel this cloth on the skin it says, taste this tiramisu on the tongue. 
Sakkayaditthi is peeking out from under these boulders.
    Don't want to die alone it says.
   Don't want to be sick someday and drool. 
    Don't want the body to shrivel and wrinkle. 
    Time is too fast it says.
Sakkayaditthi is doing jumping jacks and tumbling out at me while I am working my work
for a living..
    Get me out of this place it says.  Too much stress. Too many people.
       I need another job, quick.  Time is too slow, it says.

Sakkayaditthi is leaving.
Letting the Buddha breathe,
Letting the Buddha walk,
I don't have to breathe
I don't have to walk.

Buddha is breathing
Buddha is walking
I enjoy the breathing
I enjoy the walking.

May I live in well-being, in freedom from afflictions, in freedom from hostility,
May I maintain well-being in myself.
May all beings live in well-being, in freedom from hostility, in freedom from ill-will,
in freedom from anxiety, and may they maintain well being in themselves.
A bow to Sakkayaditthi, embraced by the breathing, the walking, the well-being and
the freedom from hostility.

Skipping gears

The brain slips
now and then
Skips a gear
Rattles and clinks and chinks
Chugga-chugga, galoop, galoop.
Derails eternal minutes.
Lame, limp.
Swirls of breath float to the nostrils,
Just there, just enough.
A full millisecond tasting life,
life as it is, delicious
The brain hugging the gears,
runs smoothly,
Alert, aware.

No chinks, no galoop,galoop
Life flows.  You might miss it though, if you
didn't know what to see.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Fall Leaves

Leaves fall off of trees,
the way I see what's between you and me,
like a dried leaf
falling off a tree,
 kindly finding it's way to the floor
with all the others.

That leaf won't turn green,
won't fly up, reach up and attach to the tree,
but it will lie there with many others.
It will break down over years.
Because all the leaves are together,
they create warmth
and life is reborn, mobile below. Insects, worms, new life has a shelter,
   a place in the cold and dark and uncertainty, to live and breathe.

In a few years, a flower might grow right there or a tree.
Beautiful and alive, maybe fragile like a rue anemone,
or maybe strong like the sprout of an acorn.
But deserving of life either way.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Can't get the door open

I get a ride all the 30 miles early Saturday to learn about samatha meditation,
to learn how to sit and breathe, to be with nothing to do, to be with nowhere to go.

My ride drops me off just as it is to start.

I rush up to the doors to get in the alcove. I take off my shoes.
I put my hands on the handles to the meditation hall. I pull.

Nothing happens.

Maybe they changed the doors to sliders? I try pulling the handles sideways.

I pull. Again, I pull.

The mind rises to the occasion. My energy goes into my head.
This looks like a place for me, my Mind says.
It's thinking "dinner party."
It starts in with the appetizers, "The door must be locked."
Then we bring in the main course, "They are going to do this workshop for the next few hours and I'll have to wait outside the whole time?"

Finally, dessert, "They must have started things already and don't want interruptions."

The body joins in the party.
It can't stand still, do something, it's saying. React.
I knock, knock, knock on the door. I hear people talking inside.
Nothing started yet.
But nothing happens.

Why can't they hear me? I knock louder.

The door suddenly swings open. I get in. Everyone is standing and talking, happy, socializing.
I am laughing. Oh, no. What I see is

I pulled on a door that only opens when it is pushed.

I was in a place of fear and panic then realized I was stuck in habit energy,
I was stuck in a mind that thinks the worst then realized my perception was mistaken.
I was stuck in a mind that predicts the future, then realized that that future is based on a misperception.
My mind gets so busy sometimes having dinner parties, I don't have the space to consider
things like pushing the door.

In, out
deep, slow
Calm, ease
Smile, release
Present moment
Wonderful moment.

Remembering this, coming home to the present moment leaves space for all that is.

Smiling, Pebble

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Life in the woods, life on the trail

I used to think I wanted nothing to do but to walk in the woods,
one step at a time,
breathing in the earth, the clouds, the trees,
to stop when I am tired, to eat when I am hungry,
to wash in clear streams.

Today I remember,
there is night, cold, rain, thunder, lightning, hunger,
loneliness, bruises, sores, sickness, rats, mice, hard ground, briars,
brush. There are these things in the woods also.


I have so many good people everywhere that are nurturing and loving, like
the well-travelled paths through the woods.
And the negative interactions I have with others are like the brush, the briars, the boulders,
the rocks blocking my path in the woods. Both exist.

Therapists want to help us throw out what is unwanted and keep only
what is wanted. But what is left may not be very much. If we try
to throw away what we don’t want, we may throw away most of ourselves.
Instead of acting as if we can dispose of parts of ourselves, we should learn
the art of transformation. We can transform our anger, for example,
into something more wholesome, like understanding. We do not need surgery
to remove our anger. If we become angry at our anger, we will have two angers
at the same time. We only have to observe it with love and attention. If we take care
of our anger this way, without trying to run away from it, it will transform itself.
This is peacemaking. If we are peaceful in ourselves, we can make peace
with our anger. We can deal with depression, anxiety, fear,
or any unpleasant feeling in the same way.
---Thich Nhat Hanh

Resting in the river. Transforming in the river.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Post traumatic stress

I see the older gray haired woman at the gas tank. A younger man
maybe in his 30's? is there also. They seem to be talking. He is animated, restless, walking
back and forth.
She puts the hose on the tank; she takes the hose out of the car's tank,
walks away to search the car for something, walks back; she puts the hose back
in the tank.

He is loud. He is saying she is wrecking the tank.

She ignores this, says, "How far are you going to drive?"
Full of angst he shouts, "I don't know."
His arms are crossed over his chest, like he isn't going to contribute anything,
not if he can help it.

She insists he look inside the vehicle at the gas gauge. He gets louder,
says he's not a child. He shouts at her, "I know what I am doing."

Maybe he's having flashbacks from a war.
It's as if bombs are exploding around him as he talks loudly, moving
his hands at her.

I wouldn't want to be her. I wonder if she is safe
around this person and how they got to this place.

They are only putting gas into a car and it looks like someone is experiencing
a terrorist attack on their life. But the woman isn't yelling, isn't carrying
weapons, only talking, not yelling. It doesn't appear that she is doing anything
extraordinary, just getting gas and trying to determine how much to do. It looks
like he must be the one using the car and she is paying. And she needs to know
how much he'll need.

Suffering is everywhere. There is a cause. There is a way out of suffering.
Right view, right thinking. Resting in the river.