Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

racism Archives

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, […]


when will we ever learn?

During the Việtnam War, there was a popular folk song covered by several artists ~  Where Have All the Flowers Gone? Written by Pete Seeger as an anti-war song, it continues to be one of my favourite anti-violence statements. Yes, it’s about […]


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 […]


passion vs anger, and poetry to bank the wrong fires

While I’m passionate about many things (politics, tea, food, books, poetry…), I usually only get really angry about a few things. The main one is mean people. I know: ‘mean girls.’ But seriously? If you’re mean to my friends or […]

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 […]

day 25 of Thanksgiving month: gratitude in the wake of #Ferguson

Today, in the wake of Ferguson, my beginner’s heart is breaking. There seems so very little to be grateful for. I wasn’t even going to write. And then I thought — there is one sad, terrible thing for which I […]

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 […]

What did George Fox say? or, the Quakers vs. the Puritans

I’ve been thinking a lot lately, trying to make sense out of the craziness rampant in too many American city police departments. The newest idiocy is the story of a St. Paul, Minnesota man who was, basically, tased for sitting […]

my mother’s heart and #Ferguson

This is my wonderful family. These are my infinitely fallible and perfect sons, my perfect daughter-in-law (known in my writings as DIL), my beloved. And this is a story about empathy. Both of my sons look — to anyone outside […]

heartsick reprised

I use this image alot in my blog. I wish I knew who first created it — they deserve my undying admiration & gratitude. Because to me, this is beginner’s heart. It’s what I think of these days, especially, as […]

heartsickness, the ’60s, and Ferguson MO

I write daily. Often it’s a note to family, or a response to a friend or colleague. Sometimes revising creative work, and usually this blog. Lately, the blog has probably saved my blood pressure (normally quite low). I write to […]

#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 […]

So, what colour is Santa? Or Jesus, for that matter? And why the HECK should this be on the news??

I tend to go off, as we all know. And a newscaster from Fox News (I won’t name her, but you can find the article here; she doesn’t deserve more publicity) just lit my fuse. Santa, she says, is white. […]

in praise of grandparents

I L♥VE this letter from a grandfather to his gay-hating daughter. The idea that there is shame attached to gender makes me crazy. I can’t imagine disowning a child for anything, and something as fixed as gender identification?? If it […]

race & gender & class, or, how Trayvon Martin died for our sins ~

When I recently posted a blog concerning white privilege on my FB, a long-time friend & colleague asked, “At what point do we quit beating our chests?” Here’s my answer, and a warning: it’s long. But I did cite resources! […]

what’s wrong w/ the Martin/Zimmerman ‘trial’ ~

It’s not okay to kill people. Ever. It’s sometimes necessary, but it’s never okay. We grieve — even when execution is, as the Dalai Lama said about the death of bin Laden, the only way to avoid more deaths. We […]

race in America, and the dilemma of forgiveness ~

I’ve never cared for Paula Deen. Didn’t watch her on TV more than once or twice. Didn’t buy her cookbooks. Don’t even care for her kind of cooking, these days. I also think that people need to NOT use the […]

revisiting microagressions and social justice (and what white people get out of both) ~

 I spent most of June this summe, in a graduate Institute with teachers of all grade levels (k-university), in several content areas, and from varied backgrounds. The seminar lasts for three weeks. During week 2 we discuss cultures: what each […]

labels ~

Each year, in the summer graduate seminar I help direct, we do a roundtable about the cultures students bring with them into our classes. We try to invite different perspectives, highlighting cultural and social differences that may not be familiar […]

Previous Posts

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 ...

posted 6:01:54pm Nov. 20, 2015 | read full post »

connection, and the web, reprised
Buddhists believe firmly in connection. We don't always see eye-to-eye on other tenets -- reincarnation, the divinity of leadership, vegetarianism. There are ...

posted 3:38:54pm Nov. 18, 2015 | read full post »

happiness is...
It's true. You can DECIDE to be happy. I promise. And it doesn't reaallly take a whole lot of effort, despite what cranky people may think... There's a ...

posted 1:20:52pm Nov. 12, 2015 | read full post »

After any death, there is (at least in all the cultures I'm familiar with) a ceremony. In our case, Mom's funeral. It was definitely a family affair: my ...

posted 1:53:20pm Nov. 10, 2015 | read full post »

the hardest kind of letting go
All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them. ~ Buddha As my beloved & my ...

posted 3:12:49pm Nov. 04, 2015 | read full post »


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