Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

everyday living Archives

pebbles, weeks, and mortality

I’m reading a book I suspect I will re-read as soon as I finish it, Lewis Richmond’s Aging as a Spiritual Practice. Like another book I finish, then lay on my table to re-read for the umpteenth time (Rachel Naomi […]


silver linings

For those d’un certain âge, the Rolling Stones said it best: You can’t always get what you want/But if you try sometimes you just might find/You get what you need. In other words? The whole silver lining thingie. Because the problem […]


summer, and the greying of hours

The thing about summer sky is that it’s inimitable. Spring sky has a pale, watercolour to it: blue is creeping out from under its drab winter coverlet, needing light. Autumn? It’s the sky that ‘lambent’ was invented for — light as […]


tea parties (for no reason)…

We all know how I L❤️VE tea parties. But today’s post is to remind you just why you may want to have a tea party, or comparable celebration. Because today. Seriously — life is worth celebrating, even when it feels like […]

rainy days and Mondays

This is the view from the balcony, as I write. A study in silver, grey, moss & a blued-white. Beach grass, beach umbrellas, and beach birds. The pelicans that usually circle in front of & above the condos that fringe […]

this moment, this memory

There are moments that you recognise — even as they are happening — are perfect. You breathe as deeply as possible (especially if you’re a Buddhist!), because nothing lasts. And certainly not perfect moments. This is a picture of one […]

orchid lessons

Warning: this is another of those metaphors that seems profound to me. But may not to anyone else… 😉 As my beloved points out, they don’t work for him. Because today, as I watered my orchid terrarium, I noticed: there […]

a surefire cure for the blues

Carrots?? Carrots cure the blues?? Welllll, not exactly… But a trip to the Farmer’s Market, a cast iron skillet, and an hour+ of prep time will. For sure. 😉 Dinner tonight is blues food — not the kind where you’re […]

be here. now.

It’s taken 30 years, but I finally get Ram Dass’s message: Be here now. For me? It’s be here. now. And that period makes for the emphasis I need to remember. Today I woke up wishing I could just already […]

#myAmtrakWritingRetreat reprised

I am now an official, seasoned Amtrak traveller: I have taken a coffin-shower bath. This is it: big enough to stand up   in, and w/ surprisingly good pressure. Considering I on this next leg from Chicago to Fort Worth for 24 […]

living through the unexpected (with equanimity?)

 This is how we spent two hours Friday: lined up to cross the French Broad River bridge. TWICE. (I’ve been calling it the French Bread River Basin since then; it is neither broad nor bread, but certainly it’s worth poking fun […]


 I’m enamoured of tiny houses. My dream is that I will someday be able to fit my entire belongings into 1/s of a tiny house, w/ my beloved paring his down, as well. Every thing we own would be a […]


Sometimes I think what I love best about vacations is the anticipation. The planning, the tour guides, cruising websites, learning all I can about where we’re going. Last night we confirmed our family vacation this summer. My beloved, my elder […]

farmers’ market, family, and magic

Today was the FIRST DAY of Farmers Market! Always a kind of holiday for me: the return of a Saturday ritual. I get up, throw on clothes, hop in my car, and drive to midtown. I don’t worry about my […]

spring, and the promise of a fresh start

Today when I filled bird feeders, I looked out over the yard. Everywhere there’s the flush of rose & pink, and the backdrop of pale green that only comes in spring. Once I had the sunflower tray filled, the fat […]

quilts, teapots, and living day by day

As I often do when I’m worried or beset by whatever, I cleaned out a closet the other day. And rediscovered things I’d forgotten: a quilt my mother made me when I married; a quilt my sister quilted from a […]

names and milestones

Years have names, although we usually don’t think of them that way. And this will be the year of my beloved’s ill health. Something there is in us that feels helpless when the people we love are hurting. And double pneumonia […]

life’s windows and thresholds

This past year — heck, this past couple of months! — has been full of transitions. Passages, they once were called. But there are few markers for so many of life’s changes. Aging, for instance, doesn’t have a ceremony, a […]

Sisyphus, and starting again

I have no clue why it’s so hard to do what’s good for us. Take exercise. Or meditation. Or eating right. Or cutting back on caffeine. Or just being nicer to folks you think must a few watts shy of […]

the fragrance of peaches

I wish I could send out, over the ethernet, the fragrance of the peach tea I made today. I wish there was a way to bottle the steam spiralling from the cup, comforting on a worrying day. Often when I […]

talking to strangers

I know, your mother told you not to. But now you’re a grown-up, and I beg you to reconsider. You’re sooo missing out! Yesterday I had the loveliest conversation with two strangers — two of the many I meet daily. […]

schedule (and value?) conflicts

So here it is the 1st week of January, and already I have…schedule conflicts??? I’m retired, for pete’s sake! How can I have THREE happening on the same weekend next JUNE?? But I DO. And each of them dear to me, […]

the curse of the holiday meltdown

All the ornaments are on the tree. The newest riff on the family tabbouleh is chilling, waiting for us to taste-test it after the flavours meld. The three packages needing mailing — well, the ones that have arrived total three; […]

everyday life and practice: the laundry, the litter box(es), the lawn…

Today is chore day, Sunday or not. I spent yesterday happily doing holiday shopping and visiting w/ my sister & niece. So today? Bright & early, following a Skype call to Younger Son, my beloved & I were off to […]

month of Thanksgiving #6 (short but sweet)

Today was/ continues to be one of those blah days when good things happen, but you don’t always see them at first. Or, you don’t even have the energy to acknowledge them (how sad is  THAT?). So my gratitude is […]

rainfall and intimations of moving

Although I love rain (honest), I don’t think about it a lot. Truth is, I take rain for granted. The drought in California is real for me, but it doesn’t come to mind when it rains. At least not usually. […]

a Sunday meditation: happiness=poetry

Young poets often believe that it takes unhappiness to create ‘art.’ You must drink too much, do drugs, have a sadly aching life. Be as miserable & crazy as Poe, as suicidal as Hemingway, as dysfunctional as Sexton. Sometimes, they […]


Poor Monday. Even after retirement, it remains the ugly dog you’d like to love, but somehow can’t. Too many memories of weekends spent catching up, and Monday showing up waaay too early. Today’s a lovely day — cool morning, crisp. […]

afternoon break

I should be working on the presentation I’m giving in…oh, 3 hours. I should be figuring out what to fix for dinner before I go. I should… I should. Instead, tea break. A cup of good ol’ house tea — […]

thunderheads, and big sky mind

Some days it’s harder than usual to calm. To remember that the mind is really just a space where thoughts (& feelings) come & go. But this is the basis of my wisdom tradition, and I know it’s true. So […]

FaceBook memes and gratitude

Right now on FB, my youngest sister has tagged the three of us other sisters to do the ‘gratitude challenge.’ In which for five days, you have to come up w/ three things a day for which you’re grateful. Just […]

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, […]

when hot sweaty work is NOT a royal pain

This was my morning. My elder son & I wrangled over each individual magnolia branch, pretty much. See, I’m a tree person, and Nathan is a landscape person. He wants a useful and beautiful landscape for his home. I want […]

just add water: swimming with little fishes

I took my grandson swimming today. To a tiny inflatable pool off the side of the deck at the ‘kids’ house. We sat in the 85 degree air, in tepid water, liberally coated w/ SPF 50, and splashed. And splashed. […]

beginnings, birthdays, and teachers

Today my amazing, beautiful, beloved and perfect grandson has been here for a year. And I’ve been able to see him several times during that year. Each time, I’ve learned from him. HUGELY important lessons, like attention. Listening. Focus. Laughter. […]

tea and pencil sharpeners, or, seeing the real person

For Mother’s Day this year, I received the following: a promise of tea with my younger son — as well as a lovely note — and the world’s greatest manual pencil sharpener from my elder son. You may think those […]

my mother-in-law’s tablecloth

My whole family is nuts over housewares. Not just the women, either: my sons both asked for cast iron skillets. They also received teapots/ kettles/ and/or tea sets when they moved into apartments. When I went to my elder son’s […]

grapevine, blue zones, and everyday practice

This is my unruly garden. To be fair, it’s mostly unruly because I forget it. I get caught up writing/ cooking/ drinking tea/ just vegging (and not the garden kind), and the day is gone. And I actually quite like […]

tonight’s dinner is brought to you by

Tonight was supposed to be leftover roast chicken w/ salad. But I found cherry tomatoes at the market, and it seemed like a good day (grey, damp, gloomy) to pretend it was summer. Especially since it’s supposed to get down […]

reflections on mortality

Nothing like a nervous day at the doc’s to make you realise your life is very good. Not that I needed reminding… But it still serves as a bit of a wake-up call. You know: what the heck are you […]

blue days and runaways

Do you ever want to run away from your life? Your ‘precious, human life,’ as the Dalai Lama reminds us…? Leave the whiney dogs that will NOT go outside when it rains, the cats that throw up in front of […]

modern medicine and everyday miracles

So remember the scratchy throat I was fighting? The beautiful grandson who was spewing germs as he laughed and climbed me like a mountain? Flu. Yup, flu. Thank the universe (and modern medicine) for Tamiflu. Not only do I have […]

small breakthroughs

After whining so piteously yesterday about New Year’s resolutions, and laying new habits in place, I had one of those days when the bad habits were sooo much easier to forget. I know the sneaky devils will be back, but […]

tea with Grandmother (and others)

Tea is a friendly drink. It doesn’t jazz you like coffee. I can have it in the afternoon, for instance, and still sleep that night. And if — like me — you’ve collected/ inherited/ been given tea wares for many […]

Happy Bodhi Day!

Today is Bodhi Day, or Rohatsu ~ the celebration of Siddhartha Gautama’s enlightenment, the transformation of the man into the  spiritual teacher we know as the Buddha.  I’ve written elsewhere about Bodhi Day, here and here. But it bears repeating. […]

tea with plastic spoons…

Today I made my tea in a mug, on a cutting board, with a plastic spoon. Big deal, huh? Unless you know me, and know that almost every day I make tea in a pot, on a tray spread w/ one […]

the month of Thanksgiving

During November — which I think of as the month of Thanksgiving — I give thanks each day for one of my many blessings. Today it’s my grandson, with whom I am (of course!) besotted. I’m sure this is true […]

mammograms, gratitude, and ordinary life

Today was a good day. Even though — in part because of? — I had a mammogram. An aside: no woman in her right MIND enjoys a mammogram. But as the sister of a 13-year breast cancer survivor, I’m so […]

the people on the bus ~

I’m still learning this whole ‘retirement’ thing. Don’t get me wrong — it’s GREAT! But when September rolls around, I feel like I should be going back to teaching. But at 9:00 a.m. today — and every weekday —  ‘my’ […]

praise for everyday love affairs –

There is nothing special, really, about these flowers. I grew them in the side garden — roses & sage. Easy, really. They come up every year, like clockwork. Perennials do that. But I never take them for granted. Each spring, […]

more everyday magic (on the road) –

This is what you see when you leave home: familiar scenes (twilight, for instance) with new eyes. Because everything old is new again, on the road. It’s trite, I know. But when I travel, everything — even pizza, which I […]

making your own space ~

Staying with my son & DIL means a smaller bed. And believe me, my beloved & I have not shrunk to fit. We’re used to a king-sized bed in deeply air-conditioned comfort. Here we have an attic fan and closer […]

laps, luxuries, love –

My grandson slept for three hours in my lap yesterday afternoon. Slept my legs into their own nap. Slept through phones ringing, dogs barking, and the afternoon sun waning. Wrapped snugly in his swaddling cloth, he might have been another […]

simplify ~

A friend posted the following on her FaceBook page, and I’m shamelessly stealing. The list comes from ZenHabits, and is longer in its original. Worth a stop by. 9 Rules for a Simpler Day 1. Know What’s Important. Take time […]

Previous Posts

leafturn, oceanstill
It's autumn, when life begins to slow. Sap draws down, and other than the frenzied cheek-stuffing of squirrels, outside seems quieter. Except for the ...

posted 9:00:24pm Oct. 08, 2015 | read full post »

thinking of lost boys
When I hear of the serial murder sprees -- all done w/ guns -- that plague America, I think of my sons. Not always first, but always. Probably too ...

posted 4:48:57pm Oct. 04, 2015 | read full post »

pebbles, lobsters, and priorities
I went to brunch with my beloved yesterday, to celebrate our zillionth (happy!) anniversary. It was beyond heavenly: all kinds of food I ...

posted 3:33:14pm Sep. 28, 2015 | read full post »

the souls of the others
I don't normally do book reviews, much less book raves. And yet... I just finished a book that captured me completely, Sy Montgomery's The Soul of an ...

posted 3:11:31pm Sep. 20, 2015 | read full post »

the gift of friends
I am blessed with friends far better than I deserve. Colleagues; former students; girlfriends & guy friends; family who have long since blurred that ...

posted 4:35:30pm Sep. 18, 2015 | 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.