Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart Archives

ode to nieces and nephews

Here you have them: three of my much-loved, and absolutely perfect nieces & nephews. These are my heart-sister’s daughter & son, and my niece’s husband. With them? Their beaming aunt, who is even prouder of the adults they’ve become than she was of their […]


love and marriage

Today would be my parents’ 68th wedding anniversary. I think… They were married after the war — mother a beautiful divorcée, working in my father the captain’s recruiting office. Well in to a tumultuous marriage, they divorced. Then remarried each […]


birthdays, FaceBook, and gifts of love

Today was my birthday. And it’s been one of my nicest yet. My family rolls their eyes when I say this, reminding me I always love my birthday. Which is true. But today was a bit different, even so. And […]


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 […]

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? […]

the family tree

Last weekend was family central. There are times when family seems a chore (we all have those moments!), but this weekend could not have been smoother, or more fun. Everyone in town made it, to celebrate my 3rd sister, who […]


It’s been four weeks since our new cat Hector came to live with us. During that scant month, he’s made himself more (or less…) at home upstairs. But he still won’t come downstairs. And he won’t engage at all if […]

day #28 in a month of Thanksgiving: it’s the happily ever after thing…

Today I’m very grateful for all the little things my beloved does, every day. Things ranging from getting up to take the dogs out when they howl at 2 a.m. (maybe that’s a big thing…), to running to the store […]

love and mirroring, or, we are not our faults

I’m not (I think…?) a needy person, someone who seeks love and affirmation for everything s/he does. What I do like is when I can just love folks. My folks, of course — not as good w/ the whole hoi […]

turning people in to trees

Many years ago, when I was a fledgling hippie, I read Ram Dass. I thought he was interesting, a word used for things I knew I should like, but didn’t really understand. But this? I love it. Either he’s gotten […]

old friends

  Old friends….what a time it was, it was A time of innocence, a time of confidences Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph… I spent today w/ old friends, one of them the closest I come to […]

the fragrance of lilies

These are two of the lilies growing against a rather derelict fence at my son’s & DIL’s. Beautiful, pale yellow, with only a light lily fragrance. Not the heaviness that always seems to suffuse funerals. I love them, of course. […]

what you do comes back to you

Right after we married — literally a couple of days later — my husband & I left for his new job. In Algiers. Or Alger, as the French call it. My mother-in-law bore this with the fortitude of prairie pioneers, […]

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 […]

lesson #531 in beginner’s heart

I’m not good at being loved. It makes me uncomfortable when people sing my praises, for whatever reason. And I’ve never learned how to gracefully accept compliments (I have a bad habit of turning them in to jokes, but I […]

contemporary Pharisees

pharisaical: (adjective) characterized by hypocritical self-righteousness; putting emphasis on strict observance of rituals unrelated to the spirit or meaning of the ceremony. Somehow this word feels appropriate in today’s  political arena. I’m always so horrified when a religious leader finds […]

sons, and daughters, and grandsons, and love

I’m one of those weird people who is happiest when giddy with loving folks. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit this, since I get considerable flak over it from family (are you high on happy pills??). But it’s true, if […]

friendship and the art of loving

As one of four sisters, I’m used to the envy that twins with love. At least when it comes to sisters. So it’s okay w/ me that I’m not the sister each of the other three loves the best. Because […]

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 […]

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 […]

day 20 of National Poetry Month ~

The poet Mona Van Duyn is another favourite. This is one of hers I hadn’t known previously — I actually was looking for another poem when I came across it. Being a sucker for bees (my first name, as many […]

day 30 of Thanksgiving month: all you need is love ~

This isn’t the newest picture of my wonderful husband, nor is it my earliest. But it’s one I like, as it reminds me how much we have in common. When we metmany years ago, on a blind date, that wasn’t […]

a ‘sunny’ disposition: love, warmth, & beginner’s heart ~

I absolutely adore sunlight. Don’t get me wrong: I also love rainy, foggy, and cool wet days. Not sleet, so much, or ice (especially on roads!). But the sunlight — it make me want to stretch out like a lizard […]

Previous Posts

beginnings, and the inevitability of change
This has been the time of beginnings, which often appear -- at least at first -- as endings. Like the dandelion tuft above, which looks like the end of the ...

posted 4:48:10pm Nov. 30, 2015 | read full post »

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 »


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