happy 90th birthday Thay!

Happiest of birthdays to Thich Nhat Hanh who is 90 today. In many ways I consider Thay my root teacher and certainly my introduction to the Buddhist path. His approach to meditation, his teachings on mindfulness, interconnection, and loving kindness have been a cornerstone to my practice. Favorite selected readings include: Living Buddha Living Christ, Calming The Fearful Mind: A Zen Response To Terrorism, Peace Is Every Step, Answers From The Heart, For A Future To Be Possible, Love Letter To The Earth, and his book of poetry Call Me By My True Names. 

May his teachings and wisdom continue to be of benefit to a world in need for generations to come.
Bows of gratitude, dear Thay!




we practice for times like these…

This is what we’ve been practicing for: the situations where the practice doesn’t come easily. When the winds of change reach hurricane force, our inner refuge of mindfulness, concentration, and discernment is the only thing that will keep us from getting blown away. 

Thanissaro Bhikkhu

#practice #meditation #change #refuge #mindfulness #concentration #discernment #grounded #steady #presence #JMWart


we need to re-evaluate our relationship to fear. yes, fear can be useful. we should listen to our fear, simply to hear what it has to say, perhaps shedding some light on an area that needs our attention. but, our tendency – our pattern, seems to be one of reaction when fear arises rather than thoughtful action.below, there is a story about fear. 

 Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly. But the teacher said she had to do it and gave instructions for the battle.

 The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful. The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, “May I have permission to go into battle with you?”

 Fear said, “Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission.”

 Then the young warrior said, “How can I defeat you?”

 Fear replied, “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.”


In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear.

Pema Chödrön
#fear #power #warrior #spiritualwarriorship #respect #wisdom #meditation #practice #mindfulness #awareness #thoughtfulaction #PemaChödrön

giving space to choose…


“Mindfulness creates a spaciousness to choose which thoughts and emotions we want to nurture and which we want to let go of.” ~Sharon Salzberg
Day 21 complete. a great couple of weeks exploring and being with #mindfulness for the #RealHappiness #Meditation Challenge.
it’s hard to believe there are only 7 days left. looking forward to diving into #Lovingkindness meditation in this last week.

“Quiet friend who has come so far…”


friends ~
a new favorite poem to share. this one from Rainer Maria Rilke. please read and enjoy. short comment follows ~j
Quiet friend who has come so far,

feel how your breathing makes more space around you.

Let this darkness be a bell tower

and you the bell. As you ring,
what batters you becomes your strength.

Move back and forth into the change.

What is it like, such intensity of pain?

If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.
In this uncontainable night,

be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,

the meaning discovered there.
And if the world has ceased to hear you,

say to the silent earth: I flow.

To the rushing water, speak: I am.
Sonnets to Orpheus II, 29
by Rainer Maria Rilke

as the Buddhist scholar and environmentalist, Joanna Macy, has said about this poem – each of us can claim this. each of us was born from the web of life. take joy in this. no room for self-pity.


with each breath i am reborn…


we often think and say that, with the New Year, we have a fresh start – a clean slate to make choices that are more beneficial to our lives and the lives of others.
but the truth is, it is even better than that!

a fresh start is available with each breath we take – every breath we take is an opportunity to begin anew. every breath is a new lease on life, a confirmation that we still have the opportunity to benefit ourselves and others as we continue this journey.
each new breath is a new opportunity to let go, to choose life, to choose love, to choose nonaggression and nonviolence, to speak words of encouragement, to bear witness to our suffering and the suffering of others, to act with compassion and kindness, to live generously and with grace, to laugh, to smile, to be brave in the middle of our sadness, to dive into this experience fully opening our hearts more and more, choosing to be healers to the suffering we see.
may 2016, and every breath you take, remind you that there is beauty and there is love – and that you are both of these things.

#NewYears2016 #NYE2016 #HappyNewYear #change #transition #opportunity #life #love #compassion #kindness #generosity #courage #nonaggression #nonviolence #laugh #healing #healers #mindfulness #meditation #zen  



as I grow in this practice, I’m beginning to become aware that “reverence” begins even at the cellular level and is born out of gratitude.
am I grateful for the cells in my body? that I may see? that I may walk and write? that I may eat and digest? that I may think and speak?
in my gratitude, do I honor these cells? do I smile to them, breathing in and out, as Thich Nhat Hanh says? do I watch what I feed them, including the thoughts and emotions I cling to? 
do I see them as the life that they are and honor that life within them? a life they are living, making it so that I may live?
this passing body is more them, than it is “me.” have we thought about that?
and we can ask ourselves, how am I honoring this gift? how am I embodying this gratitude I feel swelling in my chest? how am I living with reverence in the short time I am here? and how can I extend this to others in this delicate, beautiful, passing life?

#reverence #life #gratitude #practice #peace #ThichNhatHanh #meditation #mindfulness #TheMettaGarden #JMW

be still…


just as a lake when stilled reflects the luminous moon, so do we when stilled reflect the vast, luminous nature of being.~j

#CalmAbiding #stillness #silence #NotReactionInsteadThoughtfulAction #zen #mindfulness #meditation