Saturday, March 31, 2007

two as one...


Citta

In Pali, heart and mind are one word (citta), but in English we have to differentiate between the two to make the meaning clear. When we attend to the mind, we are concerned with the thinking process and the intellectual understanding that derives from knowledge, and with our ability to retain knowledge and make use of it. When we speak of the "heart" we think of feelings and emotions, our ability to respond with our fundamental being. Although we may believe that we are leading our lives according to our thinking process, that is not the case. If we examine this more closely, we will find that we are leading our lives according to our feelings and that our thinking is dependent upon our feelings. The emotional aspect of ourselves is of such great importance that its purification is the basis for a harmonious and peaceful life, and also for good meditation. --Ayya Khema, When the Iron Eagle Flies

I try....everyday...to purify the emotional aspect of my being. Or perhaps...I simply try to not indulge in those emotions that smack of self-centeredness and limit my ability to be compassionate. It's hard. I hate it sometimes, in fact, because the struggle is just so great it feels as if it will break me (even though I don't really know what that would mean).

It's hard to navigate changes. It's easy to get used to things being a certain way...particularly if that way is pleasant. Still...I make the effort to allow for change, because there simply seems to be no choice (for one thing), but more importantly because I know it will help me to become a better person. I know I should be content with the person I am in this moment (really, this moment is the only reality) and I try not to make it a judgment type thing. Ultimately, I know I will be happier, or at least more content and at peace, if I can make this journey count.

Friday, March 30, 2007

*sigh*...

I had a lot of thoughts last night and this morning...things I would write about. Too tired now, though...so if they're worthwhile, I'm sure they'll resurface another time.

In the meanwhile...enjoy the pansies...

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Fixing food...


...it has, at times, become a chore...another thing I need to do...over and over again...for other people. But inavariably, I come back to the place where working with food, not just eating it, is nourishing for ME. There is great satisfaction in the ability to be able to prepare food with integrity and joy. There is a sense of connection to the earth and the web of life that becomes unmistakably apparent when using whole unprocessed ingredients.

My garden is, as yet, in disarray. There is, however, an ever producing stand of herbs that continue to supply me with abundant flavor, healing elements and energy...no matter how little I tend the plants.

And even the air supplied me with the yeast to make sourdough bread! The starter itself seemed a bit weak, even after four days of leaving it be, but once I fed it more flour before making the dough itself, it really woke up.



A peasant meal I guess, is what we had... Cabbage/apple salad, warm lentil salad with olives and herbs, sliced mozzarella cheese and homemade bread. But honestly, it can't get much better than that...




Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Pansies...

When I went to buy paint for my new work space, I also wandered around the garden section of the hardware store. These pansies called to me and now they're all bedded down in front of the house.

There energy of spring is so wonderful. All the new blooms and fresh green of young leaves radiates incredible life force.

And speaking of life force, I made a new sourdough starter this week...gathered yeast from the air...and now I have a batch of bread dough rising on the stove. Sourdough is usually a very long rise, so I'm not sure if the bread will be ready for dinner. In any case, when the baking happens the house will smell great!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Green tea and seeds...

I've always known how important proper nutrition and healthy lifestyle are for health and happiness. I was never terribly fanatical, though. However, my body is now at a critical juncture and it seems the more I nourish and nurture myself the better.

I found this great little mix of lightly roasted and salted pine nuts, pumpkin seeds and slivered almonds. Goes very well with green tea.

I see the physical therapist for my shoulder(s) tomorrow. I look forward to a plan, to something I can DO to help my body heal (or whatever it is it needs to do). Over the years there's been this tendency for me to see myself as somewhat frail...but I'm not...and the body is incredibly resilient given the right conditions.

As I age, I'm not so concerned that I look younger or beautiful or whatever. I AM very concerned, however, that I remain as fit as possible to do all the things that are important for me to do...to create, to grow, to give and love.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Choosing beauty...

For the most part, I make the effort to maintain a positive attitude. In my heart, the most important thing for me in this life is to grow in awareness and compassion. There are times, however, when circumstances conspire (internal and external, physical and mental, etc.) so that I feel a little crumbling within...disappointment, sadness, melancholy. It's hard to discern whether I'm opening to reality and that crumbling feeling is a crack towards the light...or whether conditioning and desire are overwhelming my heart with weeds of discontent.

In moments like this...when that sensation in the middle of my chest is all too palpable...something that seems to help is simply to choose beauty. There is always beauty, somewhere, and when I choose to see it in the moment that I'm experiencing, those other thoughts that cause the crumbling-ness in my chest are more apt to flow on by. It's not a matter of ignoring unwanted emotions, because they simply are. But a nod of the head, an awareness of their presence, need not mean they take over the moment in which I am. In the grand scheme of things there is far more beauty in all its variations...it is by far more expansive and engaging...why not choose it?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

19 years old...

Wow...yeah...where DID those 19 years go!!

Laurel is growing into an amazing woman...smart and beautiful. I'm very grateful to have her as my daughter...I learn a lot about myself through our relationship.

Happy Birthday Laurel!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

It's that time...

...spring time...time to start anew and fresh. So went and had my hair cut off the other day. It's at least one thing I can do that I have some control over! But maybe control in any form is just delusion anyway...lol.

But it's the first day of spring and the sun is warm and the energy is moving in good directions (or at least I'm going to choose to move MY energy in good directions!).

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Folsom Lake mountain bike race...




We had another lovely day for Julian's second mountain bike race today. Since the drive was about an hour less, and the arrival time was an hour later than last time, our wake up time was at least semi-decent.

The drive was okay...uneventful...but tiring for me. Since our numbers were increased, we took two cars...and Caspar (the dog) got to join us (and had a wonderful time!).

I shot a couple rolls of b/w film...and almost a whole roll of color. At first I thought I'd be able to jump right in to processing as soon as getting home. But after unloading and all that entails, I'm just not good for it today.

The terrain was typical California...with rolling hills and live oaks...and this time of year, beautiful spring green grasses. Another month or two and it will be a lot dryer and more brown.

I had the silly notion that I'd study my terms for aikido testing...but that didn't last long. There was far less sitting around than I anticipated...and that's okay too.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Into a new season...


Find Enjoyment In Transience

We make every effort to keep things as they are, because human beings, alone, lament transience. Yet no matter how we grieve or protest, there is no way to impede the flow of anything. If we but see things as they are and flow with them, we may find enjoyment in transience. Because human life is transient, all manner of figures are woven into its fabric.


--Shundo Aoyama, Zen Seeds

Even though I haven't always internalized the concepts of these quotes, I see their value on a very real level. I hope someday to live with the flow...without the fierce resistence to life at it is that I often express internally (if not externally).

It's spring, though, and a time for great hope...a time to jump into that wonderful surge of energy that's beginning to flow!

Thursday, March 15, 2007


If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow; and without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist. If the cloud is not here, the sheet of paper cannot be here either. So we can say that the cloud and the paper inter-are. "Interbeing" is a word that is not in the dictionary yet, but if we combine the prefix "Inter-" with the verb "to be," we have a new verb, inter-be...

Looking even more deeply, we can see ourselves in this sheet of paper too. This is not difficult to see, because when we look at a sheet of paper, it is part of our perception. Your mind is in here and mine is also. So we can say that everything is in here with this sheet of paper. We cannot point out one thing that is not here--time, space, the earth, the rain, the minerals in the soil, the sunshine, the cloud, the river, the heat. Everything co-exists with this sheet of paper.


--Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step

Once more...words fail me...and these are better anyway...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


The habit of ignoring our present moments in favor of others yet to come leads directly to a pervasive lack of awareness of the web of life in which we are embedded. This includes a lack of awareness and understanding of our own mind and how it influences our perceptions and our actions. It severely limits our perspective on what it means to be a person and how we are connected to each other and the world around us. Religion has traditionally been the domain of such fundamental inquiries within a spiritual framework, but mindfulness has little to do with religion, except in the most fundamental meaning of the word, as an attempt to appreciate the deep mystery of being alive and to acknowledge being vitally connected to all that exists. --Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are


I wanted to write something of my own here today...something about spring and new growth, but I can't seem to find it in me. I found the above in a daily dharma mailing I get...I thought it fit well for me in this moment. And so....

Saturday, March 10, 2007

New growth...


Thursday, March 08, 2007

A lama feeding the cows...


I came out of the barn and smiled at him and he told me the cows liked apples. I had seen him when I was walking up to the farm...he was slightly ahead of me and had glanced back for a moment. We parted ways when I went to look at the poultry.

So...after he told me a bit about the cows (which I gathered he'd visited before), I asked him if he was monk. Although his trousers looked average, his shirt was telltale ocher color and there was something about his vest and cap that tipped me off. He said, "I'm a lama."

I asked him if he lived in the area and he answered in the affirmative...I asked "Berkeley?" and he answered, "Yes, Berkeley." He asked where I was from and I told him California and that I lived nearby. He asked if I'd ever been to India, and I said no, but that I had wanted to go...and perhaps will someday. All the while he was feeding the cows apples and then some oranges and tangerines (I didn't know they liked citrus...peels and all!!).

He asked me if I'd been to the east coast, and I could say "Yes!" since, well, I had just been there the previous fall (for the first time since I was a child). "People don't travel much," he then told me. It surprised him, it seemed. "I was talking to some friends who have never been to New York!!" he said with chagrin.

Shortly after that, I bid him a good afternoon. I don't know what it was, but I felt really happy after talking to him. It didn't so much matter what we talked about, I think, but just the fact that it felt so natural and so kind and harmonious. There was no pretense, there was just the cows and the fruit and two people connecting in the way that people can...in a good way.

:)

Monday, March 05, 2007

Mountain Bike Race...


Julian before the race...

We took Julian, Miho and Marika to their first mountain bike race on Sunday. The EC team is very supportive of each other and it was really cool to see how supportive all the teams are of other teams as well.


Cheering Miho on...

It was a long drive down to Monterey...about 2-1/2 hours. Actually, the drive itself wasn't bad, just the fact that we had to be there by 8:15! There was a pretty sunrise along the way, however, and we passed a couple spots I'd forgotten about and want to return to for some shooting.

Everyone is still recovering today...very tired and spent. But I know the kids had a blast and so it's all good.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Subtlety...


This picture has garnered very little attention on flickr...but I happen to love it. The backdrop of the dreamy, blurry clouds...the density of the twisted flags...and most of all, the two little threads rising up together. Maybe my favorite stuff is just too subtle for the masses...maybe I just have an odd vision...eh...whatever...

In other news...life goes on... You know, I really, really love the blogs that have something to say. I love to read about the experiences and observations of others. And I always have this desire to write like that...but I guess it's just not in me to do so at this point in time. And I guess that's okay too...