Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart


tea, best friends, and beginner’s heart ~

A couple of times a year, I get to see my best friend. She lives in Oregon, I’m in Oklahoma. It’s a long time between visits. But each time we get together, it’s kind of a refresher course in Buddhism (really — bear with me here).

What’s important in our lives? Is it what we do at work? Sometimes — certainly teaching is important in mine. And Buddhism tells us that right livelihood is part of the Eightfold Path. So it’s important enough to merit specific mention.

But in my life, my work is no longer what defines me. Remember me? I’m separating amicably :). Increasingly, what’s important to me is the moment — whatever that may hold. I’m trying to build a more mindful presence

When I visit my best friend, we sit. Like good Buddhists do :) We sit in front of her living room window, looking out over the valley. We practice tonglen both together and apart, breathing for each other’s dark places.

And we have tea ~ sharing the bliss of absolutely-in-the-moment mindfulness. Choosing that day’s tea, watching as it steeps I don’t change much, choosing Keemun. She tries something new every time, today something with fruit. There is the ritual so many women (and men) have found comfort in these many many years: scones and layered sandwiches and a tiny shepherd’s pie. Then tarts and lemon curd and the privileged decadence of decadence of macarons. But it only works if you’re mindful — if you allow the dy’s disappointments, the week’s fatigue, to ride the tea’s steam elsewhere. If you take residence in this moment, pouring amber tea into flowered cups, biting through the sugar crystals on the crust of a scone. Laughing at your best friend (who might be your own sweet self…).

There is history in each of the tiers of plates. As there is history in the contemplation of tea, in the raking of white sand, in the several ways we marry life and practice. It’s what I remember when I swim in the immediacy of being with those I love. What I take with me instead of goodbye. It’s a good lesson — each time I re-learn it — for this beginner’s heart.



Previous Posts

friendship, memory, and love
My mother-in-law has a friend! This may not sound like a big deal to many of you, but those of us w/ family in elder care KNOW it's bigger than it may sound. Nursing homes -- even good ones -- aren't conducive to happiness, sadly. My beloved mother-in-law was used to her own place, her own schedule

posted 1:18:07pm Jul. 22, 2014 | read full post »

time travel
Today over lunch, my husband & I went back in time. We don't do that very often -- it's boring for other folks, and it's just not really us. At least, not most of the time... But today for some reason, it jus

posted 9:07:23pm Jul. 20, 2014 | read full post »

where memories live
This is the tag on my father's blanket. The blanket he had long before I was born, probably bought before my mother reunited with him in the Phillipines, 13 months after they married. It's a softly worn (once scratchy) wool, something like the old Pendleton three-stripe blankets (and it has three

posted 4:02:09pm Jul. 19, 2014 | read full post »

wildflowers, watermelon, and summer negligence
This is part of what I did today. Certainly the better part. After an early morning -- spent w/ a lawyer, not every my favourite thing to do -- my sister called and needed help. She'd been left holding the bag (actually, 6 bags) for her HS reunion gig tonight, and hoped her big sis would help out

posted 7:43:37pm Jul. 18, 2014 | read full post »

we are NOT failures
  A dear friend, in a recent conversation, told me that a mixup at her job was all her fault. It wasn't (just FYI), but she's been trained -- as both a female and a good person -- to accept responsibility fo

posted 4:39:49pm Jul. 17, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.