Amor Fati as Ars Poetic

or… That’s a load of Latin. “There is thus a will to live without rejecting anything of life, which is the virtue I honor most in this world.” ― Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus I’ve been carrying a moment of self-consciousness since I read the galleys for my most recent book. (Not that recent, I’m…

Continuing on a Theme

Practicing contentment is a radical act in a consumption-driven society. ROBIN WALL KIMMERER It’s interesting that after years of charting my moods on the advice of therapists with various degrees, the Buddhist teacher I listen to now talks about “feelings”. In this system of categorizing, there are only three feelings: pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. Moods…

This Intentional Mind in Decline

I have been wanting a sea change. Craving one, actually. Watching for signs from my body: what causes stress, what releases it. I’m trying to carve pockets into the days to focus on intentional redirection. But this time there can be no packing up and moving house. There’s no new job, no new relationship, no…

What I Need to Hear

This morning things seemed to edge into a familiar groove. E. is home again, and Leonard stuck his cold nose in my face just before the clock went off. Dog bladders make the most urgent alarm clocks. I let Leonard out to pee, E. and I pull on wool clothes and running shoes and head…

Monday Morning Already

I’ve misplaced my glasses again. And miscalculated again how much time it takes to do what I need to do in the morning and still make the train on time. Some days coffee is fine on an empty stomach, some days I think it will turn me inside-out – days like today where the things…

Stones in Pockets

(Or The Weight of Garments in the Pull of the Stream) When we moved into this house, the old woman was digging turnips from the groundon a Sunday morning. She would cut back the rhododendronswhen they began to block the walkway to her front door. She would sort the decorative stonesblown into the flower beds….

Twisted Friday

An evening run. Because the morning slipped between a coffee cup and God-knows-what. And I need to run. I’ve showered now and pulled on a wool bra and cashmere lounge pants. There’s nothing like cashmere lounge pants. I own one pair because I stumbled over them – misplaced in rack in an H&M- marked down…

Consequences and Punishment

It seems that the one lesson I teach year after year – regardless of the academic subject – is that there is a world of difference between consequences and punishment. There are days when I think I could write a book on the issue – and there are days I need to write one only…

Running Through It

I’ve been uneasy running alone in the mornings lately. It’s odd how this fear pops up now and then. I haven’t kept track of when this happens, and think it may well be that it always happens this time of year when it seems the world is suddenly dark at 6 am. Maybe it’s instinctive,…

A Serious Practice

It’s been a little over three years now since I returned to a daily yoga practice. And I’ve only recently realized how radically my practice has changed. 26 minutes on the mat, 6 minutes on the cushion. 32 minutes a day, imperfectly in the moments. While the (almost) daily effort has been intentional, this change…

An Abandoned Bra is a Slippery Slope

Today I realized that I haven’t bothered with my appearance since the pandemic began. Not that I think that vanity is a virtue, nor have I ever been someone who checks my lipstick at lunchtime during the workday, but I have had a healthy baseline of care and pride when I’ve been well. I’m aware…

Guru-Averse

or… Why I am still uncomfortable calling myself a Buddhist. The past two mornings I’ve been hearing a nearby dog whine. Another bark. I haven’t been able to figure out where exactly it’s coming from. I’m wondering if the neighbor got a new dog who’s frightened to be alone during the day. I went outside,…

Slowing into Softness

These slow mornings are a gift. The whole world is soft – even when soft means a difficult beach run. My feet sinking deeply into the sand. A hard run on a soft morning. There was duck at the very edge of the tide, so out-of-place there – and dying slowly. Rolling slowly, helplessly, with…

(Not) Leaving the Wallow

Suffering is not enough. Life is both dreadful and wonderful…How can I smile when I am filled with so much sorrow? It is natural–you need to smile to your sorrow because you are more than your sorrow. THICH NHAT HANH If that is not the perfect definition of real “self-care”, what is? So many years…

Forcing the Morning

Parkinson’s Law. Tuesday mornings I have a late start at work, and when the alarm goes off at the usual time, and when E. isn’t here with his own obligations, I find myself negotiating with myself. My morning routine takes 2 and a half hours, and I start counting backwards to see if I can…

Practice

Ann E. Michael writes about practice. She’s been writing since she was 10, and though she’s lost the pages, she has the memories. Sometimes I wonder if all these gaps in my life – the seasons lost from memory – have been lost exactly because I didn’t take the time to write them into being….

And take my waking slow

Sunday. And still in my pajamas. The skies are clear and the air is cold, and at some point I will get up from this desk, get dressed and go to the beach. It is one of those days that – in recollection tomorrow – will be smudged across my mind: leaving just a fraction…

Let Yourself Go

“speak. stumble. be seen. be known, be known. beloved.” NEIL REID I love it when the written language can give room to the misinterpretations/multiple interpretations that spoken language can offer our imagination. “Be(-)loved”: affirmative imperative verb, adjective, noun. I’ve struggled with what to call myself since I’ve committed myself to a very spiritual practice of…