Tag Archives: mind

Remembering reminders after forgetting.

I forgot to relate to my suffering with curiosity.

I don’t even think it was a matter of forgetting, because to forget, one has to remember, or have some sense of mind-awareness of it in the first place.

So I guess I wasn’t forgetting, but merely embroiled in a cloud of an internal swirling mix of thoughts, projections, worrying, misperceptions, feelings, & emotions.

Sounds like fun, no?

(Raise your hand if anyone out there feels things really deeply)

O hiiiiiiii!

Stop, & pause & breathe.

I forget to stop. To stop & breathe & just feel, notice, be curious about what is happening inside & outside.

Curiosity out the window

I need to invite curiosity to be my pocket roommate & constant intimate companion.

There is a kind of gentleness which comes automatically when I turn towards the critters & the wild things of this world

Even the weather outside receives the open attention & wonder

This mind sometimes not so different from a box of potatoes gone growing…


Interesting, lovely, amazing even – the will & intelligence of the potato

(Hello Compost)

This quality of attention rarely gets turned around

But that needs to change.

Meditation practice has helped yes

And I need to continue with sitting practice, & to not only read the Dharma –

(Thank you Pema for your practice & writing. thank you Margie for reminding me to re-read When Things Fall Apart, & thank you Mielle for sending me the book in 2009)

– but I seem to require listening to the Dharma as well.


It’s like a returning, a remembering, a face-palm “o yes, THIS! I forgot!”

I’ve been avoiding listening to Dharma talks, because for a while the talks just triggered the thinking about someone who (relatively) recently broke up with me & so I just stopped listening to avoid that trigger.

But it’s my medicine.

My medicine.

And since I’m not in a Dharma community, it’s up to me to surround myself with whatever medicine helps tend to this mind.

Seeding helps, working with plants helps 

Listening to the Dharma helps…

Making art…

Taking photos, noticing beauty in & of the world

Today is a new day

To practice, to remind myself, to remember when I forget

& to practice the kinder attention.

Gratuitous photo of Genuine, enjoying her grass

(Thank you, Jean, for the photo!)

May you remember the feeling of kindness as your experience of this day unfolds.

Habit mind, rabbit mind, beautiful day for a walk.

Remember this Ghost plant?
Aka: Indian pipe
Aka: Monotropa uniflora

Here’s what this lovely looks like these days

In its dramatic wintery outfit

Everything changes.

Was a beautiful day today

In the low 30s and sunny

Perfect day for a walk

Been thinking about habit mind
Or rabbit mind…
And mind managing
Mind tending

This rabbit mind has a wild imagination
As a child it heard voices downstairs that would call me halfway down the stairs in the night
Only then realizing there were no voices downstairs
But then I’d be stuck in the middle of the staircase
Too scared to go down or back up

This mind is not so different
Despite wishing it were different

With mind tending, gotta care for the mind we find
Work with what’s here

What was here was an ancient doll
At the housesitting house
Wild mind did as wild mind does
Goes wild
So, how to manage?

Whatever works.
Thank you, pillows.
(And saying a mantra whenever walking by the room at night)

Rabbit mind habit mind tracks get worn
Gotta work with what is here
With kindness

Acknowledging the aversion (wishing the mind were different, wishing I were different) & delusion (let’s not even contemplate the scary stories one could spin in the night about little miss creepy doll down the hall)

Like acknowledging the weather

Aversion & delusion akin to a wintery mix like ice & sleet

Drive slow
Be mindful
Acknowledge the hazards

And you’ll make it home



Shared mind, connecting mind.

I often feel “stopped” from within
Because of a belief that I don’t know enough

But what if it’s okay that I know what I know, and that more will be revealed in time, and that
Perhaps most importantly
It’s not for me to know or understand everything

I woke up this morning with the beginning lyrics from the song “This Land is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie

And thinking about the mind, and minds, and
Well, this land.

What if…

In the places where there is an abundant boatload of sunshine
(Hello, Southwest)
Solar was the means to harness energy…

In the places where there are many winds
(Hello, Midwest, hello, Southwest)


In the places where there are often boatloads of snow & rain
(Hello, Northeast, Midwest, Northwest)

That these continual, changing weathers and resources could be shared among all

And doing so in a way that would least harm or disrupt critters & wild places

Solar in the sunny places (on already existing rooftops so as not to disrupt wild places)

Wind turbines in the windy places (low enough so as not to disrupt the air beings)

Drains & Cisterns & pipe lines for places with abundant rains, snow, floods (pipe water instead of gas!! & maybe the heavily used rivers & aquifers will replenish themselves)

O I can hear the naysayers in my mind
O they are vicious and cruel
“What do you know?”
“You have no @$&;ing idea how to do that”

But here’s the deal
Someone, as I write this
In a plane above my head
there is light where I am even though it’s dark outside

So I may not know how
I don’t have the mind of an engineer
I wish I did

But I don’t

And that’s okay
I believe in shared mind, or connecting minds
I have a mind that sees connections & knows it’s possible to do something

For real, like, it can actually happen.

Even if I don’t know the engineering part.

There are brilliant minds all over the planet
Ones that actually see the connections, see what can be done, know how to do it.

And maybe “what ifs…” are not enough
But maybe it is?
A start or a spark?

If this little pea brain can catch the idea, then some brilliant minds can see the way how

If people fly all the time, then it’s possible to share the renewable resources that are all around us

To stop producing things which don’t break down (um, plastic, styrofoam, etc.)

Work (or if you prefer the word “jobs”) to create it, work to sustain & maintain it, and all the while in causing as little harm as possible to the land & critters who we share this place with

Work with the young
Work with the old

And a quote from William Douglas Horden

“We benefit from what our environment produces; our environment must benefit from what we produce”


Reminders, starting here, & working with the mind.


something about the days before the New and Full moons


i get to see the mind, this mind

so unwholesome, so identified with unwholesome states.

it can be quite painful.


listening to Dharma is, and has been so helpful.

very, very nourishing to me

lately it seems like the only good food


that and connecting with others

and tending to the plants

and being with cats.


(this is Artemis – from 2011)

sometimes, i think, maybe this isn’t enough.

but that, perhaps, is simply another unwholesome groove.


listening to Winnie’s talk this morning

clarifies things

offers good direction

& shines light on what i must do.

i don’t know why i forget, but i do seem to forget

over & over…


the work, the effort of training the mind is just that

work. effort.

aversion doesn’t help


as i write this, i can at least begin to see when aversion arises

like some great flag has been raised


today i wrote the words “Wise attention” on my wrist


because while i can certainly pay attention, it isn’t necessarily wise to pay attention to certain things, or thoughts

so, i used the reminder to apply wise attention

i had to re-write it a few times in the day…

sometimes, just this sort of reminder is all that it takes

to guide my attention, which often wanders around like some rabid, tortuous story-teller of misery & meanness.


we have to start where we are


and this mind can be quite unruly & wild,

(STILL) so undisciplined.

i think i thought somehow it would just happen

a calm, settled mind.

ahhh, nope.


this mind needs training.

wild horse training.

and i’m the one to do it.


with gratitude there are Dharma teachers & teachings as my guide.

no point in trying to hide or shaming myself for where i’m at, in this stage of evolution.


i have to admit

a part of me was hoping i’d be “further along”

not get ruffled, not get caught up, not spin…

nothing unsavory… or if so, then at least, short, light.

you know, like, puffy clouds…

or meringue…



i suppose it’s enough

enough to simply be a part of the living river of Dharma practitioners


i’m trying.

and i really do hope that’s enough.


a bow to all who are working with their minds

a bow to wherever you are in your evolution

a bow for your efforts

for your one step forward and two steps back

i bow to you and your efforts.


may all beings be happy.


reflections from on retreat, fixed ideas, & change

before going on retreat over new years

one of the (specific & numerous) reasons that kept me from wanting to go, was that


what i had heard from a recently married friend of mine was

that a person who was going to be on retreat tried to break up my friend’s recent marriage.

(yes, i’m intentionally being vague)

i didn’t know the details

i still don’t


and heading into the retreat, i could feel a sort of shield up

ideas fixed & hard

(one of the many, various heart-shields)

with a particular one towards this particular person.


i was polite, and (re)introduced myself before the silence began

they didn’t remember me from the wedding

(i wear my invisibility cloak a lot here in town…)

and through the retreat

even though there are no words, and a lot of silence

i could feel my heart starting to tenderize


there’s a deeper getting-to-know-you which occurs there…  in the silence, even without words.

something in me began to melt


with the realization that their own life is unfolding in mysterious ways

reflecting on the complexity of life.

and how it’s so easy to hold on to a fixed idea about something, or someone…


finding myself questioning and challenging the hard shield of beliefs and assumptions that i held regarding this person.


…what their life was like when young…

…what their own marriage was like…

…considering where life is leading them…

i didn’t know these things, and so much more.


by the end of the retreat

i could feel a softening,

and a sincere respect for their life.


there’s no knowing, as much as i would like to know, how this whole interwoven confluence of living beings is at play.

sitting here, i’m really grateful for the reminder that my mind & heart can shift, soften, & forgive.

Nadia Boltz-Weber calls this a heart transplant.

i’m reminded of the blessing (& the curse) of this beautiful truth:

all phenomena changes.


one of the things i love about this retreat #1

there is much to love about this retreat.

something that keeps returning is the teaching about rice

“it’s all rice.  you can eat all of it.”

meaning that no matter what occurs, no matter what comes up, it’s all food for practice.


i get to watch

with as much kindness as possible

(and i get to watch when there’s the opposite of kindness, too)

this mind

these emotions

this body

no matter what is going on or coming up or unfolding.

all of the weathers.


take the person i mentioned before leaving

someone i met last year

where the feeling of love arises in me

naturally, easily.

not the Eros sort of love, (okay, maybe a little) but closer to what feels like Philia or Pragma


so, i get to watch all of the stories

the multitude of ways i try to control in my mind…

there’s the t.v. channel of future – drama edition (lots of twists and turns)

the t.v. channel of future – comedy edition (wacky mishaps & mayhem)

the t.v. channel of future – romance edition (yeah, baby)

and then, if i’m paying attention, i get to drop the story.

just like that.


and over

and over…

this mind – holy crap it’s busy.


one day while washing the dishes

i saw that even the stories i tell myself, the ones where “i don’t get what i want”, you know, the tragedies (full of sadness & disappointment)

even those are a sort of attempt to control an outcome –

(not to mention missing each moment with the pot…)

this mind telling stories is an attempt at trying to control my feelings

which, for whatever reason, i try to manage or avoid, as much as possible.

it’s such an old habit

(stuff a dragon in a small box, anyone?)

the thing is

turns out, i’ve just come to know that i don’t really want to control the outcome of things.

my view is limited.

and omigosh it would be boring.

my stories are so predictable now.

like some tragic sitcom writer in a rut.


an image came

of two great gods

napping in some gorgeous sky-meadow

and here on earth, squeaking my little story (whichever edition…)

one of them snorts, still half-asleep

“did you hear something?”

the other, rolling over, and letting out a fart

“naaaah, go back to sleep”