A life dedicated to service...

Week 31: Cut carrots like you mean it

Big deal. Anyone can do it. Take a knife, a cutting board, and off you go. Be careful not to cut your fingers. Start with one and stop when you’re done. Nothing to it. What’s next? Now imagine your first day at a Zen monastery. One October morning 16 years ago, near...
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Week 30: Sweep like a monk

You don’t have to dress like one or sit on a cushion for hours on end, meditating. That what monastics do, women and men, day in and day out. They step into the stream of awakening’ in doing so pointing the way for us all. Simply being who they are and doing ordinary...
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Week 29: Dance like Fred?

During a recent dream (no longer the nightmares of yesteryear, thank goodness), I found myself walking along a mountain trail, arms-over-shoulders with a man my age and height. After some silence, I turned to him with a question, “How do you want to live your life?”...
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Week 28: Stephen Levine’s “one year to live”

Stephen Levine: “I was fifty-eight-years-old when I began the year long experiment. When the Dalai Lama was fifty-eight-years-old, a reporter asked him what he was going to do next with his life. He answered that he was going to prepare for death. The interviewer inquired...
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Week 27: Welcome mortality with a light heart

I apologize for falling behind with these weekly postings. It’s already the middle of July and we’re half-way along our “one year to live” pilgrimage. Nothing quite happens as planned, however well intended. Would you have guessed two or three months ago...
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Week 25: You are full of potential

Pema Chödron, principal teacher at Gempo Abbey in Nova Scotia, is known for her straightforward books on walking a life path strewn with obstacles. In this brief talk, she encourages us to see ourselves (and others) not as flawed or incomplete, but full of potential no matter...
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Week 24: Enjoy everything you do

“Enjoy everything you do!” I heard myself calling after someone I’d just bumped into. What did I mean by that, I thought. What is it I wished for him? For all of us? “Ordinary thoughts course through our mind like a deafening waterfall,” says Jon...
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Week 23: The Tibetan Book of the Dead

Death is real, it comes without warning and it cannot be escaped. The Tibetan Book of the Dead is an ancient source of strength and meaning in the Buddhist cultures of the Himalayas. Narrated by Leonard Cohen, this film examines its traditional use and points to its acceptance in...
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Week 22: Attending to sorrows

Returning from 3 weeks of visiting family, I’m filled with feelings of sadness about the extend of pain in people’s hearts. Much of that pain, I’m sure, comes from losses experienced while growing up during the years following WWII, brought on by lack of decent...
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Denial (of ageing) is a natural impulse

From a recent article in MINDFUL magazine, 2017. The past 20 years has given birth to a booming “anti-aging” industry, replete with creams, pills, diets, and even anti-aging clinics. So, a few bucks and a little extra work can keep me young forever? Sounds like a beautiful...
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