Tag Archives: musings

moving, revisiting, & wisdom from the organs.


13 years ago this month

i moved


from Brooklyn to Ithaca

driven in a truck by my then-boyfriend, loaded with nearly everything i owned, and tucked in the back seat were my two kitties.

Birdy & Oni.

and now

this month i’m moving again to the very same apartment that i moved to 13 years ago this month.

(that would be the apartment that i moved to in Ithaca)

there’s a fancy new toilet

(a germaphobe’s nightmare)

the walls have been painted all lovely like

and there’s a mixed bag of feelings around the move.


i really shouldn’t be doing anything besides packing and bringing things down to the apartment

(and kissing Izzy & Sophie)


and certainly not writing a blog post

i should be focusing only on the move

(and kissing Izzy & Sophie)







aaaaand the apartment.

which is currently in a state of disarray

(i kinda had this hope that i’d move things in just-so & it wouldn’t be so chaotic, but that’s sorta gone out the window…)

13 years later, i have WAY more stuff than can fit in a pick-up truck.


it feels like everything is happening at once.


i remind myself of something i heard in a Pema Chodron talk –

a reply her teacher, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, said to her in response to her telling him about her life & all the changes going on in it at the time:

“we are ALL always in transition”



i seem to forget this – transitions are usually slower, benign.

these days, they seem to be more sharply focused.

not saying bad or good

just what it feels like.

i’m going to miss where i’ve been living & who i’ve been living with.


but there are many positive aspects about this move

and things i cannot even know.

i often try to know.

but the thing is

i don’t know

and that’s a damn good thing

because this rabbit-mind is quick to tell a scary story.

i don’t know how things will unfold


i will try as best i can to be present with the unfolding.

this in and of itself is challenge enough.

and speaking of challenge,

despite all the Cancer in my natal chart, i suck at arranging furniture.


i can move into a place that’s existing as is, like when i house sit, and make myself at home just fine.

but this sort of arranging furniture in a pleasing, homey way?

just awful.

instead of making myself feel badly for this lack of domestic wizardry, i’m going to ask friends for help in this regard.

someone recently said to me “some people actually enjoy that sort of thing”


which is great

because it only seems to make me feel like a prize failure.

the Heart does what the Heart does.


the Liver does what the Liver does.

the Spleen does what the Spleen does.

no need to ask any one thing to do it all

*sigh of relief*


dinner, then more packing.

and a new Good morning view coming soon.


one of the things i love about this retreat #2

one of the things i love about being on this particular retreat

is the community


the Sangha that weaves itself together

each person contributing to the whole

a living organism is created by the actions of each person

the sitting, the walking, the working, the silence

all movements a laying down of threads, creating a supportive blanket, a net, a web.


now at home

i see more clearly a sort of

ubiquitous, mundane burden of everyday life

…what i see as a flaw of this culture…

(more rice)

having to do so much of it oneself.

(rice. rice. rice.)

(not to say that i do it all myself

i certainly don’t

with a whoop of joy i proclaim my love & appreciation for the people of the plows pushing the snow by…)


it’s the little things

so many things to tend to…

food prep, laundry, hot water, etc.

yes i love my hot water

at the retreat, it was someone’s job to keep hot water in the urns


(split between two people… an a.m. shift, and a p.m. shift)

anyone could simply walk up and lift the lever and *minor miracle* hot water to drink.


here at home

i tend to the hot water

put it into the various thermoses

(what a word – thermoses)

which, in the grand scheme of things, thankfully, currently, is not difficult for me to do.

and i do very much enjoy the process of taking care of house…

still, there is laundry, food to prepare, dishes to do, general cleaning, etc., etc…


simply, there are many things to tend to.

what i love about this retreat

is the community.

each person participating

just enough, and not beyond ability.

it’s gentle.

each one contributing in some small way which supports the whole

(which supports each part of the whole)

like some imperfect perfect butcher-baker-candlestickmaker community

(or kitchen helper-cleaner-snow shoveler, hot-water-maker etc.)

like the ants working together.

or the paper mill

the gentle functional cohesion

that opens up the space for each one to practice, to sit.

i just love that part of it.

what if our world could actually be like this…?


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”

Silent meditation retreat, a redemptive story about Hate, & waffling.

i’m going on a silent meditation retreat in a couple of days.

five days in the absence of phones, reading, speaking, & gently avoiding eye contact.


for over two months i’ve been waffling between going and not going.

in the span of a day i would wake up and be sure

i’m NOT going

and these are the reasons why i’m NOT going.

(a person who i have feelings of attraction for is going to be there…  a person who i can’t stand because she tried to break up a friend’s new marriage is going to be there…  i’ll earn money if i stay and go to work insteeaad… people don’t seem to wash their hands after going to the baaathroom…  i really enjoy sleeping in my comfy bed at hooome…  trekking uphill in the snow to use the outhouse is gonna be cooooold…)

then by mid-day i’d completely change my mind and be sure


and these are the reasons why i’m GOING.

(it’s of benefit to work with my feelings, it’s good practice to just feel…  taking time off seems like a gift right now…  money isn’t everything…  helping out in the kitchen on retreat would feel good to give back to the commuuunity…  being silent is nourishing on a deep leeevel…  reconnecting with folks i haven’t seen for a year could be really greaaaat…)

i threw the I-ching (numerous times), processed with people (numerous times), wrote a “pro & con” list (at least twice)…

you get the idea.


(Lady Queen Rabbit shielding herself from my waffling with a collard leaf…)


less than two days before the retreat

i still catch my mind waffling.

but i’m going.

see, i saw this video the other day

(if you watch it you HAVE to watch it through the end of his reading… for the redemption…)

and this video is what cemented (okay, wet-cemented, slow-drying-wet-cement) my emailing the person leading the retreat that YES i’m GOING to be there yes

because my heart is similar to C. Anthony Martignetti’s heart

o the aggression.


i’m ashamed by this aggression that lives in me/is me.

and how fast it comes up

how FIRST it often arrives

aggression before the softening

(sure, i’m glad that there even IS a softening)

sadly, i’m not one of those “laid back” people

when people say “you’re easy to be around” i’m both astonished and honored

because oftentimes, especially when i’m out in the world, i’m walking around with a pretty tight heart

or maybe perhaps,

a soft heart, very much tucked away behind a lot of hardness.


sure, things soften it, open a few of the (bolted) gates and doors letting in fresh air…

…seeing an elder shopping at a store…

…witnessing couples holding hands…

…someone helping somebody else out…

…being with animals…


but i don’t go around life with an open heart, mostly.

i have to remember to soften, to be open.

and i judge myself for this.

that the aggression is more like breathing than softness is…

in that aggression is the unconscious habit.

don’t have to think about it, it just arises.

to be soft, out in the world, i have to actively practice it.


so when i saw that video, i was reminded of my heart – like looking in a mirror, hearing his story, and remembering

that while being on retreat is no proverbial walk in the park

(even though there is a lot of walking) 

there is a sort of heart-tenderizing which occurs…



if you don’t happen to see any “good morning” photos for a 5-day stretch, you’ll know why.

wishing you all a Happy New Year