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Monthly Archives: February 2014


This morning dawned cloudy but warmer than the many before it full of ice and snow.  I heard thunder for the first time in weeks, then noticed the sun emerging for a moment from the clouds.  I felt an urge to write, more than my daily journaling, to communicate with you again about the power of meditation in my life, how it has transformed my morning feelings and my life.  I stopped and breathed.

Over the last couple of decades, I have developed daily habits of mindful sitting meditation, eating meditation, walking meditation that have transformed my suffering greatly and allowed me touch the peace and beauty of the present moment.
We can’t meditate wrong – if whatever we do helps us stop the mindless “doing” escaping energy that keeps us from seeing ourselves, others and our world as it really is.  Once we stop, even momentarily, to breathe, feel our heart beating, smile at the beauty of nature, we can touch peace, stability, reality.  No matter what is happening inside us or outside in the world, if we are breathing, we are alive.
Then we can concentrate on touching our own suffering and transforming it in mindful breathing, being in the present moment.  Once we have a solid habit of stopping for twenty minutes in the morning and several times throughout the day, we might stop running from our suffering long enough to look deeply at its source.

“What am I feeling right now, at this moment?”  Fear, anger, frustration, anxiety or calm, peace, happiness?  Both joy and sorrow at once?  “Is this “doing” energy my mother in me, always worried that we will not have enough to eat based on her loss of her own father and his support of the family in the Great Depression?”  Once I recognize my mother in me, anxiously pushing food on family members at my husband’s birthday party, I take a breath, relax a bit, and smile at her energy in me.  She passed away 38 years ago, but she lives in my body, mind, heart and habit energy – both her anxieties and her great love.  As I recognize her anxiety in me, I breathe and smile, nourishing her love and breathing peace in my body, mind and heart.  I love continuing my mother’s best qualities in me, my father’s best qualities, still transforming their difficulties and mine in this beautiful moment.

I also take some time every morning to look at the suffering in the world – Syria, Ukraine, Egypt, Palestine, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Sudan, in DC – in all people who suffer from war, poverty, oppression, abuse.  I call friends who are ill, dying, suffering from addictions and loss of loved ones.  Suffering abounds in our world, suffering we need to see, touch, and do whatever we can to heal and transform.  When we understand our own suffering, we will be able to understand the suffering of others and help them transform it, with the help of our brothers and sisters.

I made a formal commitment to my meditation teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, and my world-wide sangha in our ordination ceremony in 2011 into the Order of Interbeing to “recognize, accept, embrace and listen to our own suffering with the energy of mindfulness…to not run away from our own suffering or cover it up through consumption but practice conscious breathing and walking to look deeply into the roots of our suffering…in order to help myself and others transform suffering into compassion, peace and joy.”

Thank you to all of you who help me to do this each day.  Thank you to the sun that peeks from rain clouds to invite me to smile.  I have so much more gratitude and love in this moment than suffering.