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Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

engaged Buddhism Archives

the ongoing heartbreak of American racism

The scab is off, and the wound of America’s history is bleeding. Again. Perhaps because a black man is president…? It’s a savage old wound, never really healed, and apt to erupt into pestilence at any moment. Medical terminology comes […]

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grief, time, and the saving graces of poetry

Grief knows no timetable. And it’s a sneaky devil: it will creep up on you in an otherwise nice day, and lay you flat out. You won’t know what hit you. I mean it: formerly rosy days will grey, wilt […]

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Dear America: a call to wake up

This is a time of mourning, for me. Of grieving for another America, one that we seem to have lost touch with in recent months (perhaps years…?). The America my father, my husband, my sisters and so many of my […]

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of outsiders, refugees, and the sound of hearts, breaking

Perhaps it’s because I lived so many years in places where I was the ‘outsider.’ Perhaps it’s because 10 of those years were spent in Muslim countries. Perhaps it’s because I’ve traveled. A lot. As have my children, my husband, […]

talking, listening, and pretending to engage

Yesterday I spent far more time than I’m comfortable confessing on the FB wall of a colleague (& friend). It was a discussion (as many are these days) about Baltimore. My friend had posted a piece by a young woman […]

pizza: cold or hot, and engaged Buddhism vs intolerance

We had pizza for dinner last night. So today — as most pizza eaters know — was ‘leftover pizza’ day. Here’s the deal: my beloved must heat his. I eat it hot the first night, cold after. I actually like cold pizza! […]

the importance of being artists

This is a love song to the power of the arts. It’s also a bit of a book review — in praise of a book so strong it will shatter your preconcieved notions and crack your heart open like an […]

engaged Buddhism and other people’s dirt

These are the brooms I grew up with: grasses tied together by hand, swept carefully over wooden floors. I still love them, although I have no idea where you’d find them now. I suspect I’d sweep more often if I […]

parenting as practice, or, mother as social justice warrior

As a child, I watched the monks come to the house each morning, as the sun rose in the sky. Sometimes the clouds were the same saffron color as the monks’ robes. The monks would pass their wooden begging bowls […]

dream big, think hard: for #Ferguson

Sometimes, when I wake up in the small hours of the night (as I often do), I lay there thinking. Last night, I was thinking in part about how lucky I am in my two sons. How proud of them […]

#iftheygunnedmedown, or, America’s open season on young black men

The tragic shooting of Michael Brown is only the latest in a series of such tragedies. Unlike in some cases of continued horror, I am not inured. This time, in fact, Brown’s horrible death cries out for more than FB […]

coherence of the heart

I love folks who question. To interrogate our beliefs is so very difficult. Believe me, I do it daily. Where’s the line on this? Do this and this cancel each other out? If I think this, how can I feel […]

lesson #531 in beginner’s heart

I’m not good at being loved. It makes me uncomfortable when people sing my praises, for whatever reason. And I’ve never learned how to gracefully accept compliments (I have a bad habit of turning them in to jokes, but I […]

the children are still hungry

In a country where we throw away edible food to the tune of 133 BILLION pounds annually, we still have 1 in 6 Americans hungry. And 1 in 4 of them are children. Little kids — like my adored (and […]

anger and feeding the hungry and what the…?

Would someone explain to me what is wrong with feeding the hungry? I can’t think of ANY faith or wisdom tradition that doesn’t ask its adherents to feed the hungry. And to take care of (not libel and humiliate) those […]

30 Days of Love: prisons and opportunity gone missing

America loves prisons. “Ten years ago there were only five private prisons in the country, with a population of 2,000 inmates; now, there are 100, with 62,000 inmates. It is expected that by the coming decade, the number will hit […]

Say what? West Virginia isn’t as important as Chris Christie’s shenanigans?

Okay — so it’s politics and soapbox time (you can tune out now, if engaged Buddhism doesn’t fit your needs today — I really get it). Sunday, NO ONE spent time on the disastrous West Virginia chemical spill. 300,000 American […]

talking about faith, hate, and civil discourse

On a FB thread a friend began, there’s a discussion of homosexuality, race, and gender. My friend is not tolerant: he lives his beliefs. An aside: I don’t really like the word ‘tolerance.’ It always reminds me of the stuff […]

the 2nd best and most important job ever

Two of my favourite things — actually four, if you include the ‘zen’ and ‘pencils’ as material objects… :). Teachers & poetry. And if you include social activism on behalf of teachers? You have knocked that homer out of the […]

the blame game, compromise, and windows

Yesterday I overdosed on politics. I read blog after article after news piece after FB post. Ugh. I was left more than slightly nauseous, and wondering how American politics came to such an ugly place. Of course I have my […]

theories: empirical and not-so

Total science nerd here. I  adore science. Really — every year I buy the Best Science Writing 20-whatever. Or else my husband gets it for me as a present. If I had my life to redo, I’d probably be a […]

mouthy middle-aged white chicks…

I freely admit I’m a loudmouth. AND political, to boot. Not to mention an engaged Buddhist, and a wannabe Unitarian. Which is to say, a total bleeding heart liberal with a big vocabulary. (As distinguished from a knee-jerk liberal — […]

worker bees and labour unions

I am a worker bee. Never been a real ‘queen’ of anything (don’t tell my husband & sons — they might disagree). Even when I was a director, I did the trash jobs: paperwork, payroll, receipts and mileage and complaints […]

a bit of good news, for a change –

This is what corporations ought to be like. As an engaged Buddhist, I know that often how I spend my $$ is my best  ‘vote’ for social justice. For corporate responsibility. And believe me: if we had a Costco in […]

Engaged Buddhism –

The venerable and much-beloved Thích Nhất Hạnh has written out 14 precepts (think: instructions) for those of us interested in engaged Buddhism. None of them is horrifically difficult, in itself (well, I suppose that depends on what you mean by […]

struggling for beginner’s heart ~

I saw this today, and flinched. Literally — a kind of internalised wince that shook me. I have been so angry lately … There are signs from the universe (I really do believe the universe talks to us — but […]

nieces, & soulless bastards ~

The Virginia gubernatorial candidate from the Republican party says my niece has no soul. My lovely niece, who is intellectually brilliant, wise and funny, and as kind and good as dawn. Because her partner is another woman — another lovely, […]

day 18 of National Poetry Month ~

Today is Poem In Your Pocket Day. Just a big FYI. It also was Poetry for Peace Day at a local community college. I was lucky enough to be a reader, along w/ several talented student poets and a couple […]

talking about books: a tale of hope ~

I spent an evening earlier this week with more than 30 women, in a lock-down facility, talking about the dancer Isadora Duncan. Part of an Oklahoma Humanities Council book group initiative, partners are provided with books and a list of […]

the world is not broken ~

I’m working at letting go of perfection, the idea that the world is ‘broken,’ as Naomi Rachel Remen says.  Stop to consider this: the world is NOT broken. The people who shout at cars that take their parking places? The […]

against choices (& lives…): when religion becomes political ~

Today my state House of Representatives passed two bills that will cause only grief & pain for as many as 1,000 young Oklahoma women. The state House has seen fit to make judicial bypass — the avenue by which minor […]

Previous Posts

packed bags and letting go
My youngest son is readying for another adventure. One that involves rolled up clothes in duffel bags, a passport, and another continent. He can't wait. By ...

posted 8:49:55pm Apr. 28, 2016 | read full post »

fathers, and what a grandson can remind us
This is the way I always remember my father. He was much younger than I am now -- 20 years or so. Today is his birthday: he would be 99, were he still with ...

posted 5:40:36pm Apr. 23, 2016 | read full post »

interludes, illness, and coming back to focus
It's been a while. I plead flu, travel, a rambunctious grandson of not-quite-three, and life in general. Somehow, when people spoke of retirement, I had ...

posted 2:03:08pm Apr. 18, 2016 | read full post »

why poetry?
It's National Poetry Month again! I adore National Poetry Month. For one thing, it's April, and that's my birthday month. So I get presents (which I also ...

posted 6:10:44pm Apr. 03, 2016 | read full post »

social media, bad news, and hate
I have a love-hate relationship with social media these days. One year I gave it up for Lent, and I should have just kept driving in that ...

posted 8:55:03pm Mar. 28, 2016 | read full post »

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