Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Lawn in Bloom

My lawn is in bloom. Well, since i live at the end of the road, in the woods, my so-called lawn consists of some grass with a lot of violets, wild strawberries, and dandelions. I could eat my lawn if i had to. It's a biodiverse lawn. It's a wild lawn. And, right now, it's beautiful, really beautiful.

Each of us has a different interior "lawn-scape." Tame or wild. Flowery or grassy.

Enjoying my lawn. Just as it is.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Double Trillium

Twice Ruth has given me tiny pots of double trillium. The first time, i lost them. So when she asked about them the following spring, i was ashamed to admit it to her.

Last fall, she gave me another tiny pot, and this time i made sure to plant them, although by the time spring arrived here, i had forgotten where.

Now i know. The double trillium is in bloom!

What precious thing have you lost?

The teachings of the Buddha are priceless and oh-so-precious. In fact, the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha are called the Triple Gem. Yet's it's easy to live life ignoring them or not caring for them particularly.

Then something happens, and it's time to pay attention to the rare and precious gift of the Dharma.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Random Acts of Kindness

Image result for camp out on Brattleboro common
Yesterday was practicing-random-acts-of-kindness day. I led a meditation at a camp-out fundraiser for our local homeless shelter. Then i took a truckload of give-away plants to the garden club sale. Two hours later, i returned and took away everything that didn't sell (vases, plants, and other garden paraphernalia) and drove it to the swap program at the landfill. People there nearly emptied my truck!

 Random acts of kindness is an actual meditation practice taken from positive psychology. Do 4 random acts of kindness in quick succession, and feel how that makes you feel.

Well, yes. These "random" acts of kindness were partially planned by me, but once the kindness ball was rolling, it was easy to keep it rolling.

Pass it on.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

American Toads Mating

Image result for american toads mating
American toads, which have been singing their beautiful mating song this past week, were mating in my tiny fish pond today. The smaller male rides piggyback on the larger female, their shiny gold eyelids glittering in the sunlight.

One couple seemed content to linger in one place at the edge of the pond. I watched their nostrils--just at waterline--breathing.

The female of the other couple was in constant motion. Was she trying to get rid of the male? Or searching frantically to find a place to lay her eggs? She hopped out of the flowers and plopped into the pond. She swam to one side, then the other. She dove down to the bottom for a few seconds; she explored the waterline, underneath the overhanging rock edge. She was not content. Up. Down. Here. There.

At times, we ourselves are in constant motion, searching for something--we know not what. Comfort, perhaps. Pleasantness. Ease.

Dukkha wants something different than what we have. Contentment is a state of wishlessness--not wanting anything, other than what is. Floating in the little fishpond of life.

Thursday, May 16, 2019


Image result for black flies bites
The black flies started biting yesterday. These gnat-like insects of the North Country have a powerful bite. People have different reactions, but, in addition to the bites being itchy, my bites bleed a few drops, so i often have spots of caked blood around my hairline, ears, and neck.

Yesterday, i also harvested my first asparagus.

I love these correlations. Some others are:

  • when dandelions bloom, plant spinach, carrots, and beets
  • when lily-of-the-valley blooms, plant tomatoes
  • when lilac flowers fade, plant squash and cucumbers

When we sit in meditation, we can begin to notice the correlations in our own internal landscape. For instance, it took me years to realize that if i eat too much chocolate (more than one square), i get canker sores in my mouth four days later. If i eat wheat, i need a nap two hours later.

Thanks to mindfulness, we can begin to notice our emotional triggers. For instance, if i don't meditate, i get irritated and lose my temper that day.

Bit by bit, our emotions calm as we either avoid triggers or become extremely mindful when triggered.

I ate my first asparagus raw--right after i picked it.

Phenology is the study of plant and animal activities and when they occur each year.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Indigo Bunting

Image result for indigo bunting with goldfinches
This morning, i saw an indigo bunting on our deck. He was mixed in with the yellow goldfinches, which made a stunning combination.

I seldom see indigo buntings--maybe for just a few minutes a year--and today is the day.

Beautiful bird. Here and gone. Pleasant visual sensation. Here and gone.

This very day of my life. Here and gone.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Fishpond Gunk

Usually my sweetie rakes the leaves off the bottom of our tiny fishpond--four feet wide and three feet deep. But this year, i got there before him, so i've been using a very small bamboo rake to lift decomposing gunk off the bottom. Just think of years of leaves and goldfish poop plus the stringy green algae that clings to the sides of the pond.  When i disturb it, bubbles of methane float up through the water. Oooh. It's stinky down there.

Sitting silently at the bottom of our mental basement is the accumulated gunk of decades. Little ouches and big hurts, resentments and unfairnesses, thoughtless words and behaviors that happened so long ago.

One of my recent meditation challenges was to make a list of all the people i have ever known. Oooh. I found several pieces of gunk that i had nearly forgotten.

The next step was to forgive myself and practice loving-kindness toward each one of those gunky relationships.

After i "rake" the fishpond, the water is muddy for a couple of hours. Then it clears. And it's clearer and cleaner than ever.