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Fitzsimmons(1)                                                                                                                My mother as a teenager

Patrick’s poem for my special day:


ouT to
new woRld
now tRuly
alivE and free

(Picture the capital letters as lined up under one another…this program would not hold the poem properly as written).


My morning message from Thich Nhat Hanh from Your True Home – “No Provenance.” He says,“All things have no provenance. They have not come from anywhere, because they are free from the ideas of being and non-being. They do not have to be born. They cannot be grasped by our notions, or discriminated by our mental categories. They have come from nowhere: they will go nowhere. There is no author or creator.
That is the true nature of reality. We can only touch and experience things when we are free from the concepts of birth and death, creator and created. All things have no provenance; therefore they have no birth. Because they have no birth, extinction cannot be found either. That is the way things are.”

I laughed when I read this message from my teacher on my birthday! My mother might disagree that I came from “nowhere” and that there was no “birth.” In the historical dimension, it was a very important day for her to see her first child born on her birthday. She would have been 106 if she had lived this long. Of course, there are historical events we mark and people who are individually very important to us. Our own birth and death seem to have particular significance to us.
But Thay’s teaching pushes my mind beyond these concepts to the other levels of reality in which I understand that all beginnings, including my own, are connected to a long line of beings, phenomena, ancestors. I will continue, as will everyone, into many future centuries, in many forms. It is comforting today to hear that I have no “provenance,” that I existed before my “birth” and will continue after my “death.” So, we Buddhists say, “Happy Continuation” to mark our “birth days.”

Thank you to all my family members and friends, to my sweet husband for his poem, to my brothers, mother, father and centuries of ancestors – and to all who are or ever have been or ever will be connected to me. We are one, all part of this amazing stream of LIFE!




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