on not making things such a big deal – let it be

Happiness isn’t about feeling pleasurable emotions. Pleasure is temporary. Genuine happiness has more to do with wisdom, being attuned to reality, and freedom from mental toxins. Nothing wrong with pleasure, it just doesn’t have much to do with happiness.

Authentic happiness comes from the long-term cultivation of wisdom, altruism, and compassion, and from the eradication of mental toxins such as hatred, grasping, judging, and ignorance. To accomplish both the cultivation of the good and the eradication of the toxins – meditate.

Why meditate? When you admire an artist or athlete, you understand that they have trained to become skillful. To train the mind is equally necessary in developing human qualities that you admire such as emotional balance and inner strength as well as learning how not to be swept away with negative emotions such as jealousy, hatred, or craving. You need mind training to develop this mindset and meditation is the training.

We all have within us the potential to be kinder, more mindful, and to experience greater well-being, but we often use just a fraction of this potential. Meditation nurtures the potential within that may be dormant, latent, or unused entirely.

“Meditation teaches us to let go. It’s actually a very important aspect of friendliness, which is that you train again and again in not making things such a big deal. When you have pain in your body, when all sorts of things are going through your mind, you train again and again in acknowledging them open-heartedly and open-mindedly, but not making them such a big deal.

Make space for honoring things completely and at the same time not making them a big deal. It’s a paradoxical idea, but holding these two attitudes simultaneously is the source of enormous joy: we hold a sense of respect toward all things, along with the ability to let go.” ~ Pema Chodron


the quiet teachers

Whether through the patterns left in snow, or geese honking in the dark, or through the brilliant wet leaf that hits your face the moment you are questioning your worth, the quiet teachers are everywhere, pointing us to the unlived portion of our lives. When we think we are in charge, the lessons dissolve as accidents or coincidence. But when we’re humble enough to welcome the connections, the glass that breaks across the room is offering us direction, giving us a clue to the story we are in.

Mark Nepo
the obstacle is the path - zen proverb

notes from my journal December 2013 – (on groundlessness)

“Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth, that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning; that there is always another dawn risen on mid-noon, and under every deep a lower deep opens.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

leap before you look

I keep coming back to this quote. Under every deep another deep opens. This is a truth I have experienced in my own life. And yet, there is such a tendency towards comfort and safety. When the dust settles from the latest shaking, the ego stamps its feet, feeling for solid ground.  Then the next shaking comes.

My aspiration is to come to a place of living comfortably with groundlessness. This feels to me like the truth of the journey — the ground is an illusion. Let go of the need for the ground to be there and endless possibility erupts in its place.

Instead, I seem to find a new truth…polish it…study it…make it the new ground. This seems to be the way of the world, always looking for safety and certainty.

So I continue to ponder, to sit, to cultivate self-reflection, to seek to understand myself. I continue to tug at the edge of the veil – what lies beyond? Can I know it, can I taste it, be taken by it as I release my fear and need for certainty? This isn’t just a metaphysical exercise, it’s a way of being in the world, a way of living with an open heart. This aspiration to befriend groundlessness is the container whose spaciousness makes it possible to welcome my life, regardless of the circumstances.

I am still enough


I am trying to withhold judgment towards myself.
Even when I don’t, I am still enough.
I am trying to choose healthier options in my life.
Even when I don’t, I am still enough.
I am trying to learn to accept myself as I am.
Even when I don’t, I am still enough.
I am trying to trust that I am still enough.
Even when I don’t, I am still enough.

(balance and blessings)


paul caponigo

As my prayer become more attentive and inward
I had less and less to say.
I finally became completely silent.
I started to listen
– which is even further removed from speaking.
I first thought that praying entailed speaking.
I then learnt that praying is hearing,
not merely being silent.
This is how it is.
To pray does not mean to listen to oneself speaking,
Prayer involves becoming silent,
And being silent,
And waiting until God is heard.

–Søren Kierkegaard

Put your lips to the world

water lilies ~ Monet
water lilies ~ Monet

Mornings at Blackwater

For years, every morning, I drank
from Blackwater Pond.
It was flavored with oak leaves and also, no doubt,
the feet of ducks.

And always it assuaged me
from the dry bowl of the very far past.

What I want to say is
that the past is the past,
and the present is what your life is,
and you are capable
of choosing what that will be,
darling citizen.

So come to the pond,
or the river of your imagination,
or the harbor of your longing,

and put your lips to the world.
And live
your life.

—Mary Oliver
(seen at Crashingly Beautiful)