Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sharing the Hay

Last evening, i went to pick-up some mulch hay. As usual, Farmer Bonnie knew exactly how to stack 21 bales into my little pick-up truck.

I delivered 10 bales to my neighbor. My gardener wants 6 bales for her goats, which leaves me with 5 bales. Just the right amount for mulching the vegetable garden.

I love sharing the hay.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Beach Erosion

  Just 2 blocks farther down the beach from where we are staying, the so-called beach turns into a jetty of giant-sized slabs of granite preceded by gigunda sandbags that are each a hundred feet long. A few of the ocean-front houses look precarious.

The ocean is washing the beach away--perhaps due, partially, to the lack of beach grass holding the little hillocks of dunes in place.

Change. Trying to stop the change of erosion with the change of sandbags and rocks.

We try to stop our own personal erosion by exercising and eating healthy foods. Still, the tide of life will have its way, no matter how we sandbag our minds with "not yet" or "not me."

The ocean is calm today. This beautiful sunny day.

Thursday, July 27, 2017


This week, i am teaching mindfulness at a Unitarian-Universalist summer camp in Maine for families. It's a fun retreat because my sweetie, Bill, is here with me. (Usually i leave him at home while i go on retreat for 8 or 10 weeks a year.)

Last evening, he sang in the choir at the evening Vespers service, and someone asked me what vespers means. Vespers is cognate with our word "west," so it's the church service that happens around the time of the setting sun. Bill, who went to an Episcopal school and sang in the boys' choir, calls it Evensong.

While being on retreat with my sweetie this week is unique, one of the things that keeps us together is our parallel spiritual paths. We have many of the same values and are continually teaching each other how to be kinder to the world around us.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Sunrise on the Beach

I took a walk on the beach this morning to see the sun rise. A new day begins. My footprints are erased by the next wave of the ocean.


Monday, July 24, 2017

Safe = Love

This week i'm teaching mindfulness at Ferry Beach Camp & Conference Center in Maine--a Unitarian-Universalist multi-generational summer camp.

The great thing about summer camp is that everyone has a chance to be a kid again. And the place is safe. Doors are not locked. Pairs and groups of children immediately bond and run loose without supervision. Just imagine feeling that safe.

Safety is an expression of love--whether that's you feeling safe in a place or people feeling safe with you.

May we all feel safe.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Middle-Aged Garden

One friend says she goes out to her garden every morning and deadheads. I take my garden cart and cut back the foliage of plants that have finished blooming. Now, in the middle of the season, plants are tall; they are middle-aged plants. Soon i have a cart full of dead bodies, which i haul to the compost pile.

Rupa dancing her way out of her living memorial service, cane in hand
Some friends die young. Rupa, a 75-year-old friend died 2 weeks ago. She was so vivacious and full of life. Yet i heard her say last winter that she was ready to go. I'm the one who wasn't ready for her to go.

Here's the chant i learned especially for Rupa's living memorial service 3 months ago--a memorial service that she attended and danced her way out of.

All things are impermanent.
They arise and they pass away.
To live in harmony with this truth
brings great happiness.

Flowers arising and passing.
Friends arising and passing away.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Aging Butterfly

I walked out the front door and almost stepped on a bedraggled monarch butterfly--quite the worse for wear. It flapped its wings lethargically. It didn't fly away. I moved it over to the flowers in a flowerpot on the front step.

This is what an aging butterfly looks like. It limps around. Its "skin" is faded and spotty.

I too am of the nature to grow old, just like this butterfly.

I just hope i look as beautiful as this monarch butterfly.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Nibbled Broccoli

Look closely to see the 3 nibbled-off stems
Since my vegetable garden is looking quite disreputable this summer, i bought a 6-pack of broccoli for 99 cents. I put it on my front step, and when i went to plant it 3 days later, 3 seedlings were nothing but stems.

Oh, those rascal chipmunks! They didn't even wait until i planted the broccoli. And really, why should they? It's so much handier to nibble them in the 6-pack. After all, we buy things in 6-packs at the grocery too.

Our good intentions to meditate every day get nibbled off by this to-do and that to-do.

If we are ever going to harvest the insights of our spiritual life, we have to plant ourselves on the cushion. Today.

Today i'm planting all those broccoli. Even the nibbled-off stems.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

White Poppies

Annual poppies (Papaver somniflorum) have reseeded themselves in my cutting garden for years. I cut these watermelon-colored beauties every morning during the last week of June and the first 2 weeks of July.

When i saw a 6-pack of white poppies, i grabbed them for my white garden. They are blooming now--big, beautiful blooms that the bees love. I counted 7 bees in each flower rushing around through the forest of stamens as if they wanted to be first. "Me first. Me first." As if they were drunk on desire. More. More. More.

I often feel this way myself about food. Eating out, a beautiful plate is delivered to my table, and i'm already making plans to order more. In reality, i can't even eat everything on my plate. I always take food home.

I can also feel this way about shopping, though i tire of clothes shopping quite quickly. Plant shopping is my major downfall. Perhaps you know something about this yourself.

Notice desire in the body, the rush toward more and more. It's delicious! But then notice that it stops tasting delicious; a numbness sets in; and habit impels us forward into more. What was pleasant has become slightly unpleasant. Notice this little detail.

The busy bees are buzzing. More. More. More

Saturday, July 1, 2017