Advertisement

Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart Archives

time passes, and then there’s change

One of my favourite musical groups is Playing for Change, a social action movement w/ music as its platform. When I’m blue — not infrequently these days, as I cull tangible memories (‘stuff’ to the uninitiated) — I listen to […]

Advertisement

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 […]

Advertisement

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 […]

Advertisement

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 […]

a long long time ago, or, updating our moral software

  This used to be the way America looked at women voting. And to be honest, some of these jokes are still around. But for the vast majority of Americans, we accept that women have the right to vote. Even though […]

starlings and house wrens and feeding the hungry

We have several bird feeding stations on our deck: suet feeders, a seed cylinder, sunflower seed, and small seed (mostly millet) for our sparrows. In the summer, we trade out one of the 2 suet feeders for a hummingbird feeder, […]

religious extremism, and standing against it

Lately, with the Charlie Hebdo murders, and the massive French protests of extremist Muslims, there’s been a great deal of discussion of religious extremism. No single religion has a monopoly: there are many white Christians who advocate the genocide of […]

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 […]

vernacular scholars, pointy-heads, and regular folks: a tale of bewilderment ~

This is a story about what happens (far too often) when you have a PhD, or at least when folks find out you have a PhD (and I rarely confess to this!). It’s the sad story of a culture where […]

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 […]

life is complicated…

Sometimes I wish life was less … nuanced. Complicated, in other words. I wish I didn’t feel I have to vote w/ my $$ when companies aren’t ethical. Since $$ are all many US corporations seem to value, I’ve started […]

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 […]

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 […]

the children are still hungry

In a country where we throw away edible food to the tune of 133 BILLION pounds annually, we still have 1 in 6 Americans hungry. And 1 in 4 of them are children. Little kids — like my adored (and […]

the crime of poverty

It shouldn’t still be happening, but it is: modern day debtor’s prisons. At least in Alabama, where writer Jacob Denney’s story for the Southern Poverty Law Center takes place. A young man, first victimised by a shooting, then hit with […]

why it seems like open season on my cousin’s grandsons

My cousin Sally is white. Her grandsons are mixed race — their father is black, Sally’s daughter is also white. Each of the culturally sanctioned murders of black men lately is a bludgeon to Sally’s heart. As it should be […]

30 Days of Love: ‘calling in’ and room for compassion

“Calling in” is a new term for me. During the 30 Days of Love project, I’ve learned several new things — vocabulary is only 1 piece of it. I had to go to the original article, after reading today’s prompt. […]

30 Days of Love: faith and social justice

Today’s 30 Days of Love prompt is to look at the social justice programs of another faith. Initially I thought I’d write about engaged Buddhism again, as many Americans are unfamiliar with it. But when I went to look for […]

30 Days of Love: prisons and opportunity gone missing

America loves prisons. “Ten years ago there were only five private prisons in the country, with a population of 2,000 inmates; now, there are 100, with 62,000 inmates. It is expected that by the coming decade, the number will hit […]

30 Days of Love: Inclusion

Inclusion is a big deal to me (I know — so many things are!). Perhaps because I grew up on the outside, often looking in. Maybe because my family is pretty polyvalent. And maybe because it IS important. Every voice […]

30 Days of Love: RIP, Pete Seeger

I have always loved, admired, and respected Pete Seeger. As a musician, as a social activist, as an influence on American folk music, he’s one of my heroes. He died last night, and the world will be the poorer for […]

30 Days of Love: family, race, and what we can do

As part of the 30 Days of Love project, I’m using many of the prompts offered on the  blog site for the posts here. This week focuses on family, among other things. Family and race and community, in general. I […]

30 Days of Love: or, why would we want to be multicultural?

As a little girl growing up in Việt Nam, I was the odd one out. Blonde in a sea of glossy black hair, dead white dot in a warm brown tapestry. But even before, living in Tulsa & then San […]

coffee and chocolate and cream and…multiculturalism?

I’m drinking what America should BE right now (bear with me: it’s metaphor time). Coffee from Africa, rich & fragrant. Chocolate from South America. Cinnamon from Saigon, cayenne pepper from who knows where, and milk from an organic farm coop […]

poetry, politics, and beginner’s heart

If changing the world is your fight, it will exhaust you. But if it’s just your way of being, it will be effortless! So promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate. ~ Buddhist Boot Camp This is […]

Remembering Nelson Mandela, and his shifting place in American history

The world will miss Nelson  Mandela. A man who saw that forgiveness was as large a part of revolution as upheaveal. A man who brought good to a nation riven by wrong. A man who was not afraid to love […]

family, socialism, and Thanksgiving conversations

Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK! And we’ll be having a LOT of family over for the big celebratory feast. As I’m sure many of you will. And if you’re like our family, not everyone is … well, in accord on lots […]

the proper study of human beings…

I’m going to Birmingham tomorrow! And my posts — if I break free to make them — will be from there for the next few days. I have the IMMENSE good fortune to be part of the Oklahoma delegation to […]

no one loves a complex story, or, what no one is telling you about the Affordable Care Act

This is by way of good news. It’s also a counter-narrative to all the horror stories about the Affordable Care Act.Because once a journalist, always a journalist, I guess. And someone needs to put some honest facts into the conversation, […]

rape culture, reprised: how can we undo it?

Since my earlier post on the Daisy Coleman case, I’ve received many emails from women (& men) who wander — as I do — how to undo rape culture. How do we fight it? And I confess: I don’t know. […]

on Facebook and civil conversations

I love the idea that there’s a civil conversations project. Officially, I mean. Because it’s what I’ve been trying to foster — despite my lapses into ranting about racism & social injustice — on my own FB page. Today, I […]

the 2nd best and most important job ever

Two of my favourite things — actually four, if you include the ‘zen’ and ‘pencils’ as material objects… :). Teachers & poetry. And if you include social activism on behalf of teachers? You have knocked that homer out of the […]

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 […]

the blame game, compromise, and windows

Yesterday I overdosed on politics. I read blog after article after news piece after FB post. Ugh. I was left more than slightly nauseous, and wondering how American politics came to such an ugly place. Of course I have my […]

Oklahoma breaking bad

I have no idea what to put as an image for this post. It’s a subject very difficult to ‘picture,’ as the search for images only reveals the profound decay of users — ‘before’ & ‘after’ pictures that somehow seem […]

mouthy middle-aged white chicks…

I freely admit I’m a loudmouth. AND political, to boot. Not to mention an engaged Buddhist, and a wannabe Unitarian. Which is to say, a total bleeding heart liberal with a big vocabulary. (As distinguished from a knee-jerk liberal — […]

hungry children and politicians

I have never understood letting children go hungry. Children are our most precious, irreplaceable resource. NOTHING trumps feeding children, and certainly not politics. The American government — in the guise of the Republican house — just voted to let children […]

a child’s Labour Day: Right Livelihood –

Labour Day isn’t a Buddhist holiday. Although it seems to me to embody something critical to Buddhist thought: respect for our daily work. ‘Right livelihood’ is a basic tenet of Buddhism: that you will harm no one with your work, […]

worker bees and labour unions

I am a worker bee. Never been a real ‘queen’ of anything (don’t tell my husband & sons — they might disagree). Even when I was a director, I did the trash jobs: paperwork, payroll, receipts and mileage and complaints […]

humility, gratitude, and keeping on…

It seems almost a sacrilege to write anything about the “I Have a Dream’ speech. What is more compelling? I’ve used that speech so many times to teach writing, to teach how to marry passion and political practicality. My students […]

struggling for beginner’s heart ~

I saw this today, and flinched. Literally — a kind of internalised wince that shook me. I have been so angry lately … There are signs from the universe (I really do believe the universe talks to us — but […]

nieces, & soulless bastards ~

The Virginia gubernatorial candidate from the Republican party says my niece has no soul. My lovely niece, who is intellectually brilliant, wise and funny, and as kind and good as dawn. Because her partner is another woman — another lovely, […]

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 […]

for love of boys: a letter from a friend & colleague ~

A friend sent me a note after my previous post. Her husband, she said, had grown up in a family  that substituted isolation and alienation for love, hard ‘discipline’ (most of us would call it verbal abuse) for compassion, and religious […]

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 […]

privilege, education, and the emperor’s new clothes ~

So this is what learning looks like in America. If you’re middle class or wealthier, your children do pretty well. More than 80% of them will graduate w/ a 4-year degree(see below). If, however, you’re in the bottom quartile (the […]

Previous Posts

a surefire cure for the blues
Carrots?? Carrots cure the blues?? Welllll, not exactly... But a trip to the Farmer's Market, a cast iron skillet, and an hour+ of prep time will. For sure. ...

posted 5:29:43pm Jun. 27, 2015 | read full post »

home again, home again...or, the quilt vs bad fondue
So after two afternoons of rental cars, two days of airplanes, and a packed day of looking at a house, we're home. And boy -- home seldom looked so ...

posted 9:58:02pm Jun. 24, 2015 | read full post »

transplanting
Today, as I listened to the housing inspector recite the (very small) flaws our new house has, I thought about change. About moving, about uprooting, about ...

posted 4:43:04pm Jun. 22, 2015 | read full post »

be here. now.
It's taken 30 years, but I finally get Ram Dass's message: Be here now. For me? It's be here. now. And that period makes for the emphasis I need to ...

posted 5:31:49pm Jun. 19, 2015 | read full post »

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 ...

posted 2:45:15pm Jun. 18, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.