Category Archives: Pema Chodron

Take Wing!

Bird on nest about the take flight

We all ride the worldly winds of life, but are we flailing, falling or flapping our wings more than we need to? Or do we think we can avoid the winds by cowering in our nest? We can’t. The Buddha’s Eight Worldly Winds (Gain/Loss, Pleasure/Pain, Praise/Blame, and Fame/Disgrace) are a metaphor for life itself. As long as we are alive we will be in relationship with them in one way or another.

In this week’s class, a student brought in a book that contained a partial quote by Pema Chodron: “To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land.”*

My student was both intrigued by the idea, but disheartened by the ‘no-man’s-land’,  the image of desolate arid emptiness between warring factions. I suggested that it might be the skillful ‘I don’t know’ mind or the First Noble Truth that life is suffering. But as a writer I was bothered by the mixed metaphor of a nest and a no-man’s-land as they seem to have no relationship. So I suggested that if we are always being thrown out of the nest, perhaps it’s because we are meant to fly. Our practice of meditation and our compassionate self-observations help us to learn how to spread our wings and ride the currents of the Eight Worldly Winds that blow through all of our lives. Through our intentions, words and actions we contribute to the creation of causes and conditions, but many causes and conditions are beyond our control. There’s no use making enemies of the Eight Worldly Winds. It’s more skillful to notice our tendencies to chase after some and run from the others, making our happiness dependent on which way the wind is blowing. Seeing that pattern we can choose instead to learn how to ride the currents.

I am thinking about this lately because for the past month I’ve been enjoying riding a current as buoyant and pleasurable as a fresh summer day. I feel a sense of contentment about where I am in my life right now, both professionally and personally, with a sense of purpose but no pressure or urgency. I enjoy doing what I have to offer the world and many people seem to appreciate my offerings. What could be better than to feel that what comes naturally in your life, is also of some benefit to others, whether to one person or to followers around the world?

Then something happened that sent me soaring beyond that pleasurable current, taking my general sense of well being and inflating it with surprise and elation. I was suddenly a bit breathless in the thin air of the stratosphere of amazing possibilities, hanging onto a balloon of hope.

At one point the current dipped. I assumed I was in a tailspin and was ready to crash and burn, relinquishing all hope. Imagining my little balloon lying on the ground, burst and ragged, I quickly turned away, embarrassed, and directed my thoughts elsewhere. But the person who, out of the blue, had offered me a hand-up, did not see balloons, inflation or deflation. He saw the facts. 

I was astounded to see, having read the same email response sent to both him and me, that while I just saw ‘NO’, he saw the offered name and email of the person to reach out to next. Where I saw rejection, he saw opportunity! (Is this a guy thing? Women in my family were taught to ask ‘Who am I to put myself forward in any way?”) Suddenly I understood how he had built a career not just out of talent, experience and an extensive knowledge-base, but out of the ability to see clearly and simply forge ahead. While I had built a tidy safe nest that I was afraid to leave.

This experience was a gift to me. It revealed a blindspot in my navigation in the world. Just like all of us, I am being repeatedly ‘thrown out of the nest’ and am always in a state of learning to fly in the confusing mashup of the worldly winds. And then along comes this other bird who seems to know how to navigate a current that I have always found particularly problematic. And just by flying the current in a natural way, he showed me how it’s done.

Does the metaphor of being ‘thrown out of the nest’ feel familiar to you?
Where in your life are you experiencing that?
What challenge is life giving you that you are either bravely learning to navigate its challenging currents or fearfully clinging to the nest as if you weren’t given wings to fly?

If so, how about this: Don’t cling! Take wing! And if you’re not sure how to fly, observe how others do it. We’re all birds of a feather in this life. Let’s fly together in a joyful murmuration!

Photo of bird on nest by Thomas Pedrazzoli.

*Full Pema Chodron quote: “To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again.”

Concentration & The Problem with problems

The word ‘concentration’ is so misleading because of the way we think we need to configure our brains to do it. We think of it as a tightening and narrowing of or focus. But Wise Concentration is actually a much softer and friendlier way of paying attention to what is arising in this moment.

I recently attended a daylong retreat at Spirit Rock Meditation Center on the Anapanasati Sutta led by Tempel Smith who is able to express the heart of the teachings in a way we can easily understand it. The Anapanasati Sutta is the Buddha’s sixteen-part exploration of using a focus on the breath to deepen one’s practice and perception. Tempel recommended the book Breath by Breath by Larry Rosenberg, which I have been reading and highly recommend if you are interested in deepening your meditation practice.

Because in our weekly women’s meditation class we have been revisiting the Noble Eightfold Path, I held off on discussing Wise Concentration until I had had the chance to attend that retreat, read that book and experiment with the teachings on the Anapanasati Sutta.

Ana is a pali word that means life energy that comes in; apana means waste as it is expelled; sati means mindfulness, the ability to notice in an open way. So this teaching (sutta) is all about being mindful of the whole process of the breath. If you have never meditated on the breath then the idea that there could be sixteen levels of exploration sounds improbable, but if you have spent any time noting the breath you have most likely found it to be a whole lot more interesting than you would have imagined. With this sutta we have a guide to being with the breath in a way that really deepens the practice.

The sixteen contemplations of the Sutta are divided into four groupings, called Tetrads. This week we practiced the first Tetrad within our regular meditation, first becoming aware of the breath, the quality of the breath in this moment. Without judgment we notice the breath is long, short, deep, shallow, rough, smooth, etc. Then the awareness broadens to sense the whole body in relationship to the breath. Having deepened and broadened awareness, we calm the body. The breath comes in bringing fresh air, creating spaciousness; the breath leaves taking with it all the excess energy and tightness.

Off to a good start! In the coming weeks we will practice adding in each of the other three Tetrads in our meditation.

‘There is Nothing Wrong Here’

After answering any questions about this Sutta, we had time for another discussion. I always read a little excerpt from our Pocket Pema Chodron book before beginning my dharma talk or discussion, and the one I read last week, #88 titled ‘An Open Ended Approach’ really resonated, so we discussed what it brought up for us. It is about the importance of working with rather than struggling against whatever we are finding unacceptable in ourselves and in the world. Pema talks about how when we think in terms of problems and solutions we are making an enemy and that is not the relationship that will bring an end to suffering. 

I was reminded of how in the Church of Science of Mind, where a friend of mine is a minister, there is a phrase they use when coming upon what might be considered a problem: ‘There is nothing wrong here.’ That’s a very fun phrase to play with every time something unsettling happens, but all of us can think of situations where saying such a thing would make no sense at all. For example, if someone is abusing a child, imagine saying ‘There is nothing wrong here.’ Really? It looks VERY wrong to me, and it makes me angry and I want to haul that abuser off and… 

But if we go deeper into it, we can see that making this person the enemy or even this action the enemy is not going to change anything. Bringing a more open compassionate space and a clarity of mind that is not judging but seeing all of what is going on — all the causes and conditions, all the pain within the abuser as well as the one being abused — creates a safe space for the person doing the abusing to let down their rigid defensive posture and feel he or she can look at the whole of what is going on. In class someone brought up dealing with someone who is addicted. Again, how much more helpful it is provide a loving non-judgmental but very aware space for that person to be able to let down his or her defenses and gain some clarity. Since real change comes from deep within, providing a safe space for that inner exploration is infinitely more useful than acting out in anger, making demands, making an enemy, seeking a solution to a problem.

Pema ends with: “The approach we are suggesting is more groundless…” And that reminded me of what Tempel Smith said at the daylong retreat about how with our meditation and mindfulness practice we are developing the ability to function well in the state of groundlessness we find ourselves in. For those of us who are always searching for solid ground, this is an alarming statement. But true! In this experience of life there is nothing solid, unchanging that we can stand on and make everything stop and be predictable. Instead we have better success and lots more joy if we learn how to live in this groundless state. Think of Alice as she falls down the rabbit hole finding interest in all she encounters even as she doesn’t know where this journey will take her. Isn’t that how life is? We pretend we know what will happen based on our plans and informed calculations, but then the unexpected happens and we are thrown for a loop. Why? Because we believed we were standing on solid ground, but in fact the reality of our experience is much more groundless than that. So maybe we are learning how to float in space or even fly?

How can what is difficult be the easy thing?

Anna Douglas,
co-founder of Spirit Rock Meditation Center
and my dear teacher

Pema Chodron says, ‘Move toward difficulty.’ My teacher Anna Douglas, tells me, ‘Do the easy thing.’ What’s a Buddhist student to do?

This was the basis of our discussion in class on Thursday. (We are pausing in our study of the Buddha’s Five Hindrances to let the dharma lesson sink in and speak to us through our own experiences.) This discussion arose from a tradition we have in class of transitioning from meditation into the dharma talk by reading one excerpt from the Shambala classic The Pocket Pema Chodron.

This time we read #12 (We have already read through the 108 chapter book once and are on our second go-round because wisdom is always fresh, and we learn something different each time we hear it.) In this lesson, titled ‘Move toward difficulty,’ the title itself seemed strange to us, because it didn’t sound like simply being present with what is. Why would we move toward difficulty any more than we would move toward ease and pleasure? Why wouldn’t we just stay put, being present?

But in the body of the brief reading, Pema says that we are conditioned to find fault with our present experience. So perhaps a willingness to ‘move toward difficulty’ is simply countering our natural aversion to it, bringing us into the present and a willingness to be with what is difficult.

I am currently reading a book recommended to me by a friend whose taste in books I have found to be trustworthy and in step with my own. However, it was with trepidation that I opened A Pearl in the Storm, How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean by Tori Murden McClure, wherein the author took on the self-assigned project of rowing a 23-foot boat across the Atlantic Ocean. I am still reading it and am caught up in it in a way that surprises me. My taste generally goes towards cozy English cottage cups of tea and inter-generational sagas. Either that or the joyous rigors of the Satipatthana. But adventure and purposely putting oneself in great physical adversity? Never.

Tori Murden McClure

So here was a woman who truly was ‘following the difficult!’ And how do we reconcile it with Anna Douglas’ advice to me to do the easy thing? How can both of them be right?

The key is this: For the author, who rowed for thousands of miles in a solo expedition from the US toward Europe, this activity was ‘the easy thing.’ Not to discount the incredible hardships she endured, but she very clearly states that she would much rather be stuck in a storm in a solitary quest abreast the vast ocean than to walk into a room full of people and try to come up with chit chat. She was fully living in the moment, savoring her experience. How she treasured the sounds of the dolphins chirping, the whales that passed by, including a huge sperm whale, and the starry night sky unlike any she could have seen from land. Living on power bars, desalinating water to drink, rarely being truly dry or pain-free, and rowing from early in the morning to late in the evening was all part of the experience for her.

Each of us tends to follow our own preferences and tendencies, making use of our talents as best we are able. When we are honest and authentic in what we do, when we have nothing to prove, nothing to fear, nothing to hide and something to give, we follow what might look to others to be a very difficult path, but for us, because it stems from our natural bent, it is the easy way. And even when it is difficult, there is a joy in rising to this particular type of challenge.

How very different this is from the driven way that many people live. The ‘I’ll show them’ mentality indeed gets things ‘accomplished’ — but at what cost? And what is the quality of the deed done? And when the desired goal is met, is the person even present to enjoy the achievement, the award, the accolades? Or is the mind reaching ever toward the future toward another goal, another opportunity to prove that we are worthy of being alive, breathing and eating?

One student said, “But what about the arts? Where would we be if artists didn’t strive and push themselves?’

This reminded me of the daughter of an old friend who has known since she was very small that ballet was her way in life, the most natural expression of her being, and all she ever wanted to do. I think we can all agree that the life of a ballerina looks to be about the most grueling of all the arts. Yet this young woman thrives, not on striving, but on growing and blooming into the ballerina that she is. She has danced with some of the largest ballet companies in the world and she is still in high school. Her natural aptitude and genuine passion for what she does makes this most difficult art the ‘easy’ thing for her. Even when it’s challenging, or maybe especially when it’s challenging.

I also remember when I was deep in a writing project while raising young children and I was working away at my IBM Selectric (how I loved that typewriter!) every morning for several hours. When friends would say, ‘You are so disciplined!’ I thought, ‘Ah so THIS is what discipline is: When you do something with passion, when you are in the flow of a doing that doesn’t feel like work at all.’ I had always thought discipline was something we imposed on ourselves. But here it revealed itself as something quite naturally arising.

Certainly my writing and teaching the dharma takes a great deal of time and a certain amount of effort, but it is time doing what I love, time I enjoy, time that feels authentic, true, natural, real and fun for me. It’s my kind of challenge.

Last night at a gathering of my dear art critique group, a friend told a story of a child who paints with great dedication. In complimenting her, my friend kept referring to ‘your work’ and the child asked, ‘Why do you call it work?’ Indeed!

So two Buddhist teachers say too seemingly opposite things and we are left to consider and  find the intersection of the two. ‘Move toward difficulty.’ ‘Do the easy thing.’

Wise Effort. Balance. Authenticity. Anchored in the present moment. All of these we experience when both these pieces of advice can be met at the same time.

Insight Meditation, how ‘Dharma can heal our wounds’

The short lessons we read from The Pocket Pema Chodron before my dharma talk and discussion, is often in sync with what I had planned to talk about or whatever came up before in our meeting. This week we read #87 ‘Our Predicament is Workable,” that starts with the sentence “The dharma can heal our wounds, our very ancient wounds that come not from original sin but from a misunderstanding so old that we can no longer see it.”

‘…a misunderstanding so old that we can no longer see it.” What does that mean?

We talked about how on a personal level there are many patterns that we operate with in our lives — patterns of thinking and behavior — that we see as our way of being, part of who take ourselves to be. We let these patterns define us even though we don’t know where they come from or how they were woven.

On a collective cultural level, we have been weaving certain traits as well, reacting to events such as climate, landscape, famine, drought, war and other threats to our well being. These culturally inherited or co-created traits also become part of our personal pattern. International travel is useful to help us see beyond what we believe to be ‘human nature’ when it’s really just our own localized set of patterns at work. We can see other nation’s collective patterns more clearly, without needing to judge them or prove one is better than another. Viva la difference! When we see how much variation there is between cultures and between individuals within cultures, we are less inclined to believe that there is one way of seeing the world or any given situation. This frees us from having to defend the particular thought patterns we are most familiar with, nor do we need to disparage them. We can simply begin to see them as a little more free-floating, a little less intrinsic to our very being.

Through mindfulness meditation we make the space to begin seeing these patterns more clearly as they arise and act out as passing thoughts or emotions. We can compassionately look at them, and at the defensiveness, shame or judgment that may arise with them. They are just patterns. As we give our minds the quiet to settle down and become spacious, we may wonder about some of the things we notice.We can perhaps focus our thinking mind, struggle to analyze these patterns and come to some conclusions. But what is this analysis and what are these conclusions but more judgment, blame and assumption? More of the same patterns?

In the space we create through our meditation practice, we can wonder in a more open creative way. For example, we can simply put out the question, “Is this true?” and then allow for our quiet attention to let the ‘answers’ arise in our awareness.

I shared with the sangha an experience I had soon after starting to meditate 30+ years ago. I was questioning an ongoing troublesome pattern I recognized, a place in my life where I tended to go dead. I asked “Why am I like this?” Then I let the question go (probably because I had asked it more in despair than in any expectation of finding an answer!) and I relaxed, resting a little longer before getting up to go about my day.

Because I was relaxed but noticing, three different vivid images of events from my past floated one by one through my awareness. I remember thinking how odd it was that these long forgotten memories would just show up like that, yet here they were. Because they came in a series, I looked for a common thread, and realized that each one offered a memory of getting shut down around this very area of concern, making me turn inward and go dead.

‘Oh!’ The answer was there as clear as if a spotlight and a close up lens had been offered up for purposes of self-exploration and discovery. This is what creating a meditative relaxed open attention to the present moment can offer up, if we are willing to stay present to notice.

A sangha member shared her own exploration of a particular knot of fear-based pattern that troubled her. She could see that the reaction that became her pattern was learned at an early age. Like most of our patterns, she saw how it made sense at the time but now, as an adult with other means and with the power of autonomy, she could respond with more skill to challenging situations.

This is part of the insight process. We notice, we question, we gain insight. And then what? Well, if we just stop there we can either develop a pattern of judging our patterns, or we can stay open and allow awareness to soften the patterns, releasing us from them. But there is something else we can do if we are wanting to continue the process a little further within a meditative self-exploration.

If we have our younger self in mind, we can compassionately reparent the child within. What does this mean? Well, especially if we are parents or have taken care of children, it is fairly easy to see our young self with a great deal of tenderness and compassion. (Whatever harsh views we hold about ourselves, certainly we can allow that as small children, no matter how we behaved, we were worthy of being loved, being held with compassion. Even the person we were in our early twenties, before the finishing touches were put on our brain’s judgment functions scientists have now discovered, can be reparented, forgiven for failures of judgment, etc.)

Whatever it was that we didn’t receive from our parents or guardians — love, kindness or permission to be ourselves — we can give ourselves now. We may find within us the voice of the parent that may have withheld love, been overbearing, forgot to praise or was constantly scolding or abusing us. Whatever our relationship with those who had power over us, we can fairly say they did the best they could at the time, because that’s true for us all. We each of us hold within us a set of patterns that, if we are not able to get conscious, dictate our behavior. If there is no room for forgiveness, then let that be a known knot within us, a knot that we can hold with compassion for now.

We can recognize that the still-active voice within us that replicates the parent’s voice can also be held with tenderness. It is what we have to deal with now — not the actual parent, but the internal parent voice. (So often we feel we need to have a conversation with our elderly parent, or feel we have lost the opportunity after they die, when really it’s this inner parent that is in charge now, and it’s an inner conversation that needs to happen!)

We can hold this inner parent voice with compassion, treat it with respect, listen to its concerns, and work with it in the same way we have worked with other voices or aspects of self, all of which are knotted fear-based patterns of thought-emotion that can be seen now that we are creating an open spaciousness within our minds.

In our meditation practice we have the paired intentions to be fully present and to be compassionate with ourselves and others. With these two intentions we have the very tools we need for skillful inner exploration and insight,

Making Note
When we have insights, it is often useful to make note of them. Caveat: This can turn into a compulsion to write down everything, which turns it into something different and sometimes short circuits the process. But if some words stay with us and make a profound difference in our lives, then writing those words down and keeping them close might be useful.

I have this note to self that I wrote on a retreat pinned to my bulletin board:

I have nothing to fear
I have nothing to hide
I have nothing to prove
I have something to give.

This was a realization I had on a retreat. At the moment I wrote it, it was not a hope of a way to be but my actual experience of being. Up on the board, glanced at on occasion, it refreshes me, strengthens me, puts me back in touch with myself.

Of course what I wrote down is not always true for me. I don’t use it as an ‘affirmation’ but a way to find the truth of the current moment. I can say those words and question. Is that true?

At a recent reading an accurate statement was:

I have nothing to fear, yet I’m afraid.
I have nothing to hide yet I feel the weight of the effort to keep something buried inside me.
I have nothing to prove yet I feel myself striving to be something other than what I am.
I have something to give, yet I withhold it for fear it is not good enough.

That was the truth in the moment I wrote that statement. To work with it at the time I asked questions:

What am I afraid of? (Always a great question whatever the situation!)
What am I hiding?
What am I trying to prove?
What do I have to give?

At any given moment the answers will arise differently, so I will not record them here. This is just a reminder, a suggestion, of how to work with an insight that has captured the crux of a knotty pattern within. We each have areas that are particularly knotty, patterns however created. When we have an insight that shines a light on the knot, that makes more space between the knotted threads, that makes it easier to see the threads from more angles so we can see where the threads come from and how the tangle got so tight, then we have the opportunity to sit with it and allow it to inform us.

Can we take the time to allow the process to unfold? Can we let it arise without forcing it, without jumping too quickly to grab an easy answer and claim it as proof of our enlightenment?

May we be relaxed but alert, open in mind and heart, awakened to the moment, filled with a sense of universal kindness, able to hold whatever arises in an open embrace.

Strip, No Tease

One of our sangha members arrived at class this week saying that she had just spent the morning stripping. I supplied a line of ‘ta da da da TUM, chicka boom, chicka boom’ strip tease music, and she laughed, then amended her sentence to include that she had been stripping the altar at her church in preparation for Good Friday.

After meditation I read from our next-up weekly Pocket Pema Chodron, Lesson #86 titled ‘A Process of Surrendering,’ in which she says, ‘The journey to enlightenment involves shedding, not collecting…like taking off layer after layer of clothes until we are completely naked with nothing to hide.’ Wow, with two prompts about disrobing, how could we not make this the focus of our discussion?

The word ‘surrender’ has such a negative connotation. Only losers surrender in battle after all, and no one wants to be a loser. But there are some losses that benefit us and the act of surrender in the context of our own spiritual exploration has great value. Let’s be clear that we are not surrendering to another person, letting their will dictate our behavior. What we surrender is the tight fear that holds us back from being authentic in our lives, the layers that keep our Buddha Nature hidden.

The mention of disrobing reminded me of my piece, The Dance of the Seven Veils — a process of becoming aware of how we hide behind layers of belief about who we are. We often hold ourselves to be the labels we have been given and have taken on. We let these layers define us and limit us. It is perceiving these layers of identity that happens with insight meditation practice. Once perceived, we can see beyond the layers. We shift our understanding of who we are. So it is a strip, but it isn’t a tease. Because underneath the layers we discover and allow to be known the self that is beyond label, beyond fear, beyond the need to prove anything to anyone.

When we sit in meditation our minds have the capacity to become spacious so that whatever arises is easier to see. We can see the tight knots of fear-based patterns, our defenses that we think protect us but in fact just keep us from sensing our deep connection with all of life. When we begin seeing, then the patterns begin to dissolve and we are able to let go of them. It’s important that we understand that this disrobing process, this surrender, is a letting go, not a pushing or tearing away. These patterns are to be held gently, compassionately up to the light of awareness. The light itself does the dissolving. To rip them to bits and throw them away is just another reactive destructive pattern that creates more dense layers that obscure rather than release.

So our surrender is an ongoing process. We surrender our spiritual striving, our ambition to become perfect beings. We are not trying to trade in one set of layers or labels for another that might be seen as nicer, holier, better. We surrender our striving when we become aware of it, noting it to be just another constricting fear. What are we afraid of? We fear disappearing if we disrobe from our layers. We fear that we are not an integral part of all that is, not an expression of the oneness of being.

Metta practice is very helpful for revealing our deep unbreakable connection to all that is. We send metta (loving kindness) to ourselves and to all beings. Developing awareness of the quality of universal kindness and compassion allows us to sense that we are also held by it, that we are loved, have always been loved, will always be loved. No matter what.

With a balance of insight and metta, we can begin to surrender the self-hatred that is inherent in so many of our patterns, that then ricochets against others as well.

Our Buddha nature is not on some distant mountain top but sitting quietly within us, waiting patiently to be heard.

Gratitude for Silence

Following up on my recent review of The Dhamma Brothers, last night I saw the movie based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir Eat, Pray, Love. I imagine most people have read the book or seen the movie or both, so I won’t bother commenting on anything other than how the section in the Indian ashram reminded me how glad I am that I go on SILENT retreats!

Although retreatants at the ashram could take a vow of silence and would wear a badge saying “I am in silence,’ that vow didn’t look to be the norm. When Elizabeth tried to sit quietly she was constantly accosted by a soon-to-be friend Richard, a gruff American who took to calling her ‘Groceries’ because of the amount of food on her plate. This labeling didn’t feel the least bit endearing to me, nor to her, and she reacted defensively to his running commentary on her shortcomings and misunderstandings. Yes, he did soften up, show his own vulnerability and became a friend, but I don’t understand how he felt he had the right to invade her quiet moments at every turn with his brutal instruction.

So this is a little note of gratitude to Spirit Rock and all meditation centers where silence on retreats is the norm rather than an individual choice. When we are freed of the need to interact, either through words, gestures or eye contact, with other people, then our spiritual journey is authentically our own. We have instruction from teachers, guidance at appointed times or whenever we request it, but our co-retreatants, our sangha sibling, honor our practice by giving us space and having their own. In this way, we practice together, inspiring through our dedication to a time-honored tradition.

After our disrobing discussion in class earlier in the day, watching this movie and seeing Richard’s barrage of intrusions into Elizabeth’s experience felt like watching psychic attacks, ripping off her layers instead of honoring her process. It had a violence to it and was totally inappropriate.

In class we had just been talking about our unique spiritual paths, and how none of us can walk another’s path. We can perhaps suggest taking along water, a compass, a good pair of shoes, etc. We could at rough moments offer a cup of tea and a listening ear. This is the role of sangha. But the spiritual trail we choose and the way we hike it is our own journey.

We took turns talking about our own journeys, what nurtures our spiritual sense of well-being and what inspires us. You might take a few minutes now to check in with your own journey. Whatever it is, or isn’t, it is yours and yours alone. It is only with respect that we can support each other, giving room to grow in our own way at our own pace, discovering what we need to know when we need to know it, and not a minute sooner!

In that spirit, may this blog be a support in your exploration. Feel free to peruse the list on the right for topics that speak to you at any given time.

I honor your journey.