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Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart Archives

mastery, creativity, and letting go

Recently I read a piece on integration of skills. (And yep, I read that kind of stuff…) It was taking the Malcolm Gladwell approach — that you need a heckuvva long time doing something before you master it. Gladwell’s assertion is […]

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wrestling with parenthood: the clenched fist of upādāna

As my children move farther & farther away — not simply in miles, but into that mysterious realm of adulthood that never seem (at least to parents) stable — I wrestle with letting go. It’s the ultimate Buddhist exercise: how […]

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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 […]

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what a difference a day makes (and other ways I wish I was like my grandson)

My grandson burnt his hands Sunday. Not horribly, but badly enough that he cried inconsolably for hours. Today? He’s his usual sunny self: slapping the Cheerios on the highchair tray, pulling my hair, and laughing at nothing at all. Why […]

farewells, and a goodbye belief

I’m not good at goodbye. Nor farewell, nor see ya later. Nor any kind of leave-taking. HATE them. Too many moves as a kid. Too many folks I’ll never see again. Buddhism is the ultimate goodbye belief. You know: the […]

everyday glitches and first-world problems

It’s not a big deal, really. Just email. Not my life. And yet…. I HATE it when my email screws up! Allll my hard-won calm goes right out the window. And it doesn’t help that today is the day I’m […]

happiness and our marvelous brain

I usually say the aim of life is to be happy. Our existence is based on hope. Our life is rooted in the opportunity to be happy, not necessarily wealthy, but happy within our own minds. If we only indulge […]

Buddha dogs and learning about love

We have two dogs — both goofy-looking French bulldogs. The elder, Pascal, is sick. Turns out that despite being ‘guaranteed,’ AND xrayed, he has dysplasia. As well as a pinched nerve in his lower spine. He’s in a lot of […]

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, […]

The grandson is coming! or, adventures in family life -

Today my grandson comes to stay for a visit! And we’ll be together for … weeks! Oh — and my wonderful elder son, and his super-cool and wonderful wife, and Silas-the-wonder dog, and Rufus-the-cat-with-attitude. Because we are doing a caravan/move […]

bees, and going with the flow ~

I’ve always wanted to keep bees. Perhaps it’s my Uncle Russell’s fault, although I’m pretty sure that my fascination w/ bees predates Uncle Russell’s beekeeping days… More likely it’s from reading the French entomologist Jean-Henri Fabre as a child. And […]

day 6, National Poetry Month ~

 Elizabeth Bishop is another poet who is easy to love. She makes her art almost invisible, effortless. Like those invisible zippers that hold the pieces together… This is a poem I return to again & again. It’s a villanelle — […]

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 […]

technology, non-attachment, and feeling flaky ~

Sometimes I have a hard time understanding the difference between detachment & non-attachment. Detachment is not a Buddhist virtue; non-attachment is. But when technology becomes my framing metaphor? I get it. Believe me, I get it. I had an important […]

grieving for Carol ~

Once again I am wishing I believed in an afterlife where I would reconnect with people who leave me too soon. Leave irredeemably. Permanently. That hard word forever. But I don’t. Once again I wish I had had more time. […]

‘it’s just stuff,’ or, the important things ~

A very nice man hit my little bluebird car Monday… <very sad face> It was an honest accident. He wasn’t moving when I began backing out of my parking space — he didn’t even have his back-up lights on when […]

haircuts, attachment, & beginner’s heart ~

I got a haircut today. Adrian, my hair stylist, is a nice young woman whom I’ve pretty recently entrusted w/ my willful hair. So far, we’ve done well together, although sometimes it takes a while to get things straight between […]

cat videos and joy reprised ~

There are so many ways this seems to me a metaphor for my practice: attachment, stuck, boxed in :). But my real purpose for posting this was far simpler: it made me laugh. And some days, that’s what you need […]

an impersonal universe: when bad things happen to people we love ~

I wish I thought the universe granted personal requests. That what I want matters in the huge scheme of things. If I knew of a sure-fire way to get the universe to pay attention (short of violence, which always triggers […]

what we’re ‘meant’ to be: a story of changing lanes ~

This is, ostensibly, a dog story. Of a dog — Ricochet — who was born & bred to be a service dog, but disappointed. And what happened afterwards… Buddhism talks about letting go. The opposite of letting go is attachment, […]

Previous Posts

inside/outside: it's that ageing thing, again
  When I was about the age of the picture, I asked my grandmother (who was probably 10 years older than I am now) how it felt to get old.  She laughed ruefully & shook her head. I look in the mirr

posted 5:36:36pm Mar. 31, 2015 | read full post »

the Zen of whatever
I love to cook. At least most of the time. And when I'm happiest doing it -- making something I like to eat, w/out a deadline or people I worry won't like it -- cooking feels much like meditation. So does garde

posted 7:09:03pm Mar. 30, 2015 | read full post »

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 tr

posted 12:33:52pm Mar. 29, 2015 | read full post »

the Beatitudes, Buddhism, and living a good life
A discussion on my FB page began w/ my heartfelt anger at recent attempts (many successful) to discriminate against gay & trangender men & women. An old friend & former colleague pointed out that mo

posted 2:02:19pm Mar. 27, 2015 | read full post »

pets vs kids, and what we spend our money on...
My dogs are pretty indulged. Even (dare I confess?) spoiled. They have soft little beds in their kennels, fleecy things I wash regularly, and replace when the dogs chew holes in them. There is an American-made br

posted 3:56:31pm Mar. 26, 2015 | read full post »

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