Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

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 quarters. Which isn’t all bad, but is certainly… closer. :)

Except that my husband tends to sleep diagonally across our large bed at home. There, it’s not a problem. Here? It means I have NO ROOM.  Which makes me verry cranky.


Here’s the problem with a habit: you do it w/out thinking. You can make an honest effort NOT to do it, and then forget, reverting back to what’s ingrained. Which is, of course, what you do when you’re asleep. And poking someone while they’re asleep isn’t really … nice. :)

Why I’m sharing: because I figured out something pretty cool from this experience. I can just take more room. I can politely — but firmly — make my own space!

Okay, so this may not be revolutionary to some of you. But to me? I’ve always ASKED for what I want, not just taken it, however nicely. But sometimes taking what you need is OKAY. And — almost certainly, in this case — nicer!


I can’t tell you what a big learning moment this was for me. I know, I know: I sound like a total dork confessing this. But seriously: how many things do I make a big-ass deal about, when I should just calmly & politely take what is fair? Think of all the nagging we could avoid!

So here’s my advice for the day: stop kvetching. Nicely put your foot down (or make your own space:)) and save your breath for something more important. Like meditating. :)



prizes, raises, and affirmations –

image I recently learned that one of my essays made the finals for a creative non-fiction contest at a national literary journal. Whoohoo! The same day, I heard from my younger son that he received a huge raise. Another whoohoo!

My son had obviously memorised what his boss said when informing Noah about the raise. Like water on thirsty soil, the terms ‘material recognition of your contributions’ and ‘your increasing managerial acumen’ hit someplace deep inside him. And I absolutely get it.


For the most part, no one sends you great letters when your writing is accepted at a journal. So we submit to contests, writers. Because that’s kind of like a nice speech. :) It means someone GOT what you had to say. Which, when you’re writing from a childhood that isn’t like almost anyone else’s, means a lot. :)

It’s beyond wonderful when what you do, what you’ve learned to do well, what you’ve devoted your education and professional commitment to, receives accolades. I may not win this contest, but that’s okay. Really. Because someone likes my stuff! :) and for my son, who honestly thought he might N&E a victim of the economy? This was SO much better than what he feared!


I try to offer genuine affirmation to everyone I meet who deserves it. And most folks do, actually. What makes me sad is how startled & embarrassingly grateful the general service employee is to be thanked. A Starbucks employee gave me free coffee several times at a hotel I stayed in for a conference, just because I didn’t yell at her about the lack of choices (some equipment was broken — sooo not her fault!). The owner of the small Asian fusion restaurant I ate at when I worked gave me free lunch the other day, just because she said I was her friend.

This isn’t a post saying I’m so cool. Instead, I hope that today, as you go through your everyday life, you remember to thank the people who help make it easier: the drycleaner, the barista, your daycare worker, the FedEx guy who brings your Amazon goodies. Chances are, no one else will. And it will mean almost as much to them as a raise. Or a finalist email. :)



Buddhist prayers, invocations, and tachyons…


There is, apparently, a ‘discussion‘ going on between Buddhists who believe in prayer, and those who think it’s a term best left to other faiths. Since many Buddhists don’t believe that Buddha was a god (you can be a Buddhist & a Christian, or a Buddhist & a Jew, with no conflict), there’s an understandable reluctance to use prayer as a way of asking ‘Someone’ for ‘something.’


So the term ‘invocation’ is used by some Buddhists — to invoke someone’s name or blessing. I don’t see any difference, but I want to be sensitive to the conversation.  That said? I’m letting you know right now: I think of what I do as a kind of prayer. Buddhist, not Christian, but I don’t think that really matters when we ‘invoke’ what unifies the world.

Buddha nature is everywhere: it resides within the smallest tachyon, the largest star, the universes that may exist beyond our imaginations. I think of it as the glue that holds us all together. Kind of like the Quaker idea of the light within. For me, Buddha nature is that light. So I see nothing odd about telling my friends & family (and other needy folks I encounter): I will hold you in the light. The light of Buddha nature is the same as all those other religious images of light. :)


But there are also Buddhists who believe that to pray is to ask the direct intervention of another being, a bodhisattva. A Buddhist ‘saint,’ to many Christians. If you ask me to be logical & rational, I will tell you I’m an agnostic. I don’t really know what it is that animates us all, only that it connects us, each tachyon of inner light. And that I pray to it when my mother is on her deathbed, asking for strength. Or when my doctor wonders if I may have throat cancer. Or when the evening sky is loud with the cry of the jay and the metronome of cicadas. Because it’s not only the sad that evokes the urge to invoke. :)


So what does it matter what we call it, this urgeimage to speak from our most sacred spaces? If I believe Something connects us all, and you call that Force God, while I call it Buddha nature… If you pray, and I pray, and someone else chants, and someone invokes, and someone else studies the nature of the tachyon, and finds peace in that mystery.

Mystery. That’s what we do. And what call it, this calling out to the sacred. We call it all a great mystery. And I’m okay with that. Because all I ask is to be held in that vast light.


















home repairs, medication, and beginner’s heart…


When I visualise a beginner’s heart — at least my own — I see this picture. Because when your heart is open, sometimes it gets bumped. And as it grows — and you’re not aware, often that it has — you miscalculate. Think of the clumsiness of growing puppies.

I think of my beginner’s heart as an ungainly, galumpy puppy. Not particularly flattering, but true.

And when I’m sitting with my grandson, my heart is always growing. I swear: when he laughs or smiles? I hear almost inaudible cracks in the armature of a heart I never previously considered armoured.


But that also means that my heart is as open as tree branches in the fall, after all the leaves have sifted into bright piles. I am vulnerable (and sensitive) to ordinary teasing in a way that  otherwise rarely occurs.

Especially when I forgot to take my anti-inflammatories, AND my anti-depressants! Sheesh — maybe I’m the one needing a minder…

Seriously — as my son & husband work on remediating a house we all thought would be okay (it wasn’t), and my DIL works on unpacking, writing a research conference proposal, putting together two sets of bathroom shelves, and all the things the three of them are very busy doing, I hold Trin. Which is great. But even a baby’s smile sometimes doesn’t wipe out unthinking hot-&-tired-guy comments.


My husband and sons love me dearly. And because I have all the characteristics of a bonafide extrovert, they sometimes forget I’m not one of the guys. Except that I’m neither a  true extrovert nor a guy. :) image

That’s not to say that all females are more sensitive than all males. Only that this female is more sensitive to guy banter than my guys are. :)


And the point? :)

I am trying to remember that the world is much like this — everyone busy with important life stuff. And not always focusing (in fact, often not the least interested!) in my inner workings. So that the ‘slings & arrows’ of my everyday life have far more to do with my perspective than with intention. It’s a good thing to remember. And I’m willing to bet it’s true for all of you, as well. Anti-inflammatories help, too.


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