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Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart Archives

bronze fennel, swallowtail butterflies, and perspective

Today at the Farmer’s Market I picked up some bronze fennel. I used to have swathes of the stuff, but over the past couple of weird winters it’s died out. Which is sad, because not only is it very pretty, […]

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poetry, structure, and creative beginner’s heart

Last night, discussing structure and writing with my elder son, I said I couldn’t write w/ too much structure. That writing is — for me — a discovery process. Structure, I told him, can actually kill my ideas. Later, as  I lay […]

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the impact of ‘thoughtlessness’ (and the importance of teachers)

Today, following yesterday’s post about research, I was reading the National Endowment for the Humanities bi-monthly magazine, Humanities. In it is an article about NEH-funded research on political theorist Hannah Arendt. And it underlines the importance of the critical thinking […]

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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 […]

simplify ~

A friend posted the following on her FaceBook page, and I’m shamelessly stealing. The list comes from ZenHabits, and is longer in its original. Worth a stop by. 9 Rules for a Simpler Day 1. Know What’s Important. Take time […]

three-step practice ~

First, come into the present. Flash on what’s happening with you right now. Be fully aware of your body, its energetic quality. Be aware of your thoughts and emotions. Next, feel your heart, literally placing your hand on your chest […]

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 […]

here’s to the sounds of music ~

Music, poetry, art ~ they have (at various times) saved me. Sometimes quite literally (really). Kept me from driving my car off the bypass. Kept my heart from breaking and my breath from stopping. Now that my life is gentler, […]

time — that queen of bees — flies ~

If time were a bee, she would be the queen these days. At least for me. These days, she is slower than the frenzy of summer bees, storing up for winter. She is less hectic than early spring bees, tending […]

invertebrate time…

I’m one of those people who need down time. Not simply distraction time, like reading — although tI need that, too. But mindless time spent staring out windows, or at birds, or the blue prairie sky. Time w/ out structure […]

every day, the laundry: a tale of Buddha nature ~

I hate laundry. Really — I mean it. I once told my sons, in a fit of I’ve had it! that I would remember their childhood years as great mountains of laundry. And while I also remember games and hugs […]

tea, best friends, and beginner’s heart ~

A couple of times a year, I get to see my best friend. She lives in Oregon, I’m in Oklahoma. It’s a long time between visits. But each time we get together, it’s kind of a refresher course in Buddhism […]

giving up disbelief ~

I usually try to keep Lent in some fashion. It’s a wonderful practice, to offer up a piece of your everyday life for good. To think of your everyday life as a kind of, well, prayer. As a Buddhist, I […]

(active) sitting ~

I’ve mentioned elsewhere in this blog — more than once — that I’m a lousy traditional meditator. I suspect a lot of working American Buddhists are. It’s hard to find time to sit on a zafu and meditate. Dinner, work, […]

resolutions, new years, & new cycles ~

So you may be thinking: New Year’s resolutions? It’s the middle of January! But it’s also (almost) Chinese New Year (January 23rd, just FYI). And this is a big one for me — my birth cycle returns. Born in the […]

phosphate-free dishwashing detergent and post-holiday clarity ~

We don’t use phosphates in our dishwasher. They cause algae bloom, and lower the oxygen in water, suffocating fish if the bloom is excessive. But their replacements — phosphate-free detergents —  transform your originally clear and/or white dishes into cloudy, […]

tea & beginner’s heart ~

In my next life, should I have one, I’m willing to come back as tea. A nice, comforting China black, preferably. Keemuns — Hao Ya — Panyangs — even a Muscatel-fragranced Darjeeling, although I like milk and raw sugar in […]

‘Know your name’ ~

There’s a song I like, w/ a refrain that goes: Hold on. Know your name. Go your own way. That seems like such great advice.   I figure it has to apply to most of us, most of the time. Know […]

scattered brain syndrome ~

Today is a blond/ senior/ scattered day. So far, I’ve sent out my course packet for this semester’s class to last semester’s class (they were highly amused :)). I’ve forgotten why I had to go to the store, and left […]

mistakes, learning, & paying attention

I buttoned the duvet cover wrong today. I’m sure you’re wondering why this is news… But as I unbuttoned the entire length of buttons (because of course the one I skipped was at the other end…:)), I thought about mistakes. […]

Dan, the couple in the car beside me, and seeing with new eyes ~

On my way to pick up groceries for a family-full weekend, I pulled up to a stop light. As is my usual habit, I watched the people around me (I’m a die-hard people-watcher :)). In the car next to me […]

Ramadan ~

It’s Ramadan, and I’m remembering last year’s Ramadan, working in an office w/ a dear friend who is an observant Muslim. Trying to juggle my own need for lunch (I am sooo cranky when I don’t eat!) and my respect […]

a tree, a pencil, an hour ~

Meditation is hard for me. I’m not good at sitting still. I’m not particularly good at walking mindfully. What I do best is be in nature. Want someone to watch birds with? I’m your girl. Sit and watch a mountain […]

the mindfulness of tea ~

Tea is only this: First you heat the water. Then you make the tea. Then you drink it properly. That is all you need to know. -Sen no Rikyū This is just one reason I love tea ~ it can, […]

Previous Posts

orchid lessons
Warning: this is another of those metaphors that seems profound to me. But may not to anyone else... ;) As my beloved points out, they don't work for ...

posted 4:31:16pm Jul. 07, 2015 | read full post »

Ramadan, and the wounding of blessings
I love the idea of Ramadan, as I've written before. I like the idea of doing without (although I am nooo good at it!), to remind us of our many blessings. ...

posted 4:15:11pm Jul. 05, 2015 | read full post »

celebrating what's right
For some reason, if you're not unconditionally in love with America, you're not considered patriotic. In fact, I've been accused (more than once) of being ...

posted 5:37:10pm Jul. 04, 2015 | read full post »

grumpy days
In case you're wondering? I have no magic cure for grouchy days. Those days when every chore you have to do looms like Everest, and even the things ...

posted 2:51:19pm Jul. 03, 2015 | read full post »

secrets, closets, and religious judgment
I have a dear friend who is, almost certainly, gay. We never discuss this -- sexual behaviour isn't a normal topic of conversation in most friendships! I worry that my friend has no partner, that my friend's church and community are adamantly ...

posted 2:02:52pm Jul. 01, 2015 | read full post »

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