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Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart Archives

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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another day, another tragedy…?

I am numb from the news. Every day, it seems, we lose more Americans to domestic terrorism. And I will not call the murderous killers of innocent men, women, & children ‘mentally unbalanced.’ To me, killing anyone is a sign of […]

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afterwards

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 sister-in-law led the service, reading well-known & well-loved excerpts from the Bible. […]

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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 sister-in-law held vigil, my beloved mother-in-law slipped […]

when people you love hurt

I have never known what to do when people I love hurt. Whether it’s physical, mental, or spiritual, all I know how to do is hug, soothe, and cook. I prescribe what works for me: flowers, tea, chocolate. Cookies. Time […]

chicken soup, roast beef and ginger scones

No, I didn’t make ginger scones to go w/ the roast beef. That would just be…odd. Obviously, none of the three go…together. That’s not the point, is it? I made the chicken soup yesterday. Since we didn’t have baking powder, […]

grieving in the real world

This is what grief looks like when you have a child — an everyday Saturday in the park, giving your not-quite-two-year-old exactly what he needs: sunlight and attention. Something that’s been in short supply these past few days. Grief when […]

some periods you just breathe through…

At times like this, I don’t know what I’d do w/out tonglen. When I’m grieving for a loved one’s unhappiness, or breathing through my own, I remember: all over the world there is suffering. I know – how hokey is that? […]

to everything, there is a season

  My DIL is packing for the trip early tomorow morning that will put her, my son, and my beloved grandson on a plane back ‘home’ to Blacksburg. The idyllic days I’ve spent tickling, hugging, feeding, holding, and inhaling my […]

a bardo for Richard

My friend Richard died this week. Tuesday, to be precise. And in light of that precision, he was really my sister’s friend, at least at first. But because we ended up talking across her FB page, we became friends too. […]

mourning a mentor and friend

It feels like my world is losing important pieces, lately. A death here, a death there, a third one just behind them. A lot of friends, colleagues, and the family of both have taken wing. Elsewhere. Wherever the dead go. […]

time runs away from us

An old and dear friend lost her husband yesterday. Walking together to his work, she must have watched as he fell to the ground with a heart attack, his second in two years. He was dead by the time they […]

no, love is NOT enough

 “In this world where everything will not turn out okay, where the anything that is possible is not in our hands, the real deal is to, nonetheless, look deep into who we really are, and then from that place, reach […]

what helps…

Remember the old Beatles song? The one that begins When I find myself in times of trouble…? It’s Let It Be, from the white album. And while Mother Mary isn’t my default for times of sorrow and trouble, poetry is. […]

tragedy, anger, and Buddhism

Sometimes terrible things happen. To people you love. And you can’t fix it. And you lay awake at night, with your head spinning. Thinking in looping tangles. Mazes of why why why? A refrain of this can’t be happening… There’s […]

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 — […]

holy days, fire & faith ~

It is Good Friday.  It is Holy Week. It is Passover. And other faiths, too — more individual, more isolate — also bear witness to death and redemption. In California, a dear friend still mourns the death of his beloved. […]

a case for poets ~

When you think of people who are useful, poets probably aren’t high on your list. After all, who needs poetry? (Well, I do, but that isn’t typical, I realise ) And yet, when there is sorrow, or great joy, or […]

re- framing/claiming my mother ~

My mother would be so happy: TWO pink things came in the mail for me. Although orange & red were her favourite colours (w/ lashings of turquoise), she loved for me to wear pink. When I was a little girl, […]

friendship, funerals, & the bus people ~

Today is my friend Carol’s memorial service. It will be held in the chapel where I was married, on the campus where Carol, her husband , and most of my family — including my husband & I — went to […]

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. […]

grief, tragedy, & holding each other in the light ~

Sometimes, the heart is incapable of filling futher. It can’t even break, it’s so full. The Quakers, when things are very hard, hold you in the light. And for each of us, ‘the light’ may be different. But this week, […]

death & loss & grief & rites of passage ~

My cousin’s son died this past weekend. Killed instantly, with his best friend, in a tragic car accident. He was 25. A funeral is no celebration of life when the dead are young. Their lives cut short by the snick […]

Previous Posts

the gospel of tea
No one who knows me more than a few hours misses that I am nuts about tea. It not only tastes good: it's good for you. And not just those ...

posted 2:07:06pm Feb. 10, 2016 | read full post »

The sting of snow and the warmth of hearts
Snow doesn't bother me. As long as I don't have to drive in it...! In fact, I quite like it. So knowing that there was going to be snow while I'm visiting my ...

posted 11:34:35am Feb. 08, 2016 | read full post »

saving the world
I can't save the world. And it makes me crazy. I can't even save individual people. Or cats & dogs. And that makes me crazy, too. Because I'm a fixer, ...

posted 7:51:19pm Feb. 04, 2016 | read full post »

a happily full-isa calendar, and a thank-you to Jimmy Carter
My calendar for the next few months is filling up quickly. And while usually that makes me feel overwhelmed (and I confess to moments of that still!), my ...

posted 9:25:31pm Jan. 31, 2016 | read full post »

temper temper
I don't have a terrible temper. I can take quite a bit of hassle, as long as it's just about me. No one will agree w/ you all the time, nor will everyone ...

posted 3:16:38pm Jan. 27, 2016 | read full post »

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