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Poem: Morning October 18, 2012

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pink clouds across the sky

warming to the new day’s light

tiny birds fly across the window

suddenly there is more

than this kitchen

this breakfast

this body

so much more


Poem: I am not a facebook profile October 18, 2012

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I am not a facebook profile

I am not a profile picture

I am not a status update

I am not a series of status updates

I am not my likes

I am not my pages

I am not my relationship status

whatever a domestic partnership means anyway

I am not a gender binary category

slotted into either her or his

I am not  what TV shows I watch

I am not what movies I am going to see

I am not my favourite quote


I am not what music I listen to

I am not what books I read

I am not my webpage

I am not my blog

I am not my photo album

I am not what clothes I wear

I am not Gap, Levi’s, Plum, or H&M

I am not what car I drive

I am not Ford, Hyundai, or Mitsubishi

I am not the places I’ve travelled

I am not Thailand, Ireland, or France

little plastic magnets covering a fridge door

I am not what sports I play

I am not my religious or spiritual preferences

when you’re all spiritual but not religious anyway

I am not what I eat

low-fat, high-carb, gluten-free, locally-sourced

I am not my corporate sponsor

I am not Nike Adidas New Balance Reebok

I am not my disorder, my special label

I am not lactose-intolerant, seasonally-affective, bipolar


Who the heck am I?

Am I this body?

These eyes, this hair, this skin?

Am I my story?

My manufactured past?

My carefully planned future?

Am I what I do, my repeated actions, day by day, moment after moment?

Who am I?

Who is this?

What is this?


Well that’s easy:

Put down your cell phone

Close your laptop

take out the earbuds

shut off the TV


Breathe in.


Breathe out.


Open your eyes.




a while and let’s find out

Quote: Widening Our Circle of Compassion September 24, 2012

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“A human being is a part of this whole called by us ‘universe,’ a part limited in time and space. She experiences herself, her thoughts, and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical illusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desire and to a portion for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to force ourselves to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” – Albert Einstein

Nature and Meditation August 21, 2012

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I noticed after posting my previous article about the camping and meditation retreat that I didn’t say much about the nature setting of the retreat. Because it was my first retreat outdoors, I have been thinking about how to capture the effect that being in the wilderness for four days had on my overall experience.

In some sense, its not very surprising to me that I don’t have any huge insights or intense experiences to share about being on retreat in nature. For me, the effect that nature has on my overall well-being and my consciousness is nothing new. Nature has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember.

Over the past few years, I have been discovering all of the many different ways that nature and wilderness affects my wellness. Again and again, I keep seeing just how important it is for me to spend time in nature regularly. Perhaps because it can be difficult at times for me to get out into nature and wilderness, it seems I keep underestimating just how restorative and healing this type of environment can be.

As I mentioned in my previous post, being in a natural environment where I am immersed in, and surrounded by, wild plants and animals, allows me to feel a great deal of ease and peace that I rarely feel in urban settings. I think silence is an important part of this, I realize now after living in noise pollution for so many years.

I also enjoy a great deal of love and acceptance while being in nature. It seems I can drop the persona or self-identity of the various aspects of my human experience, and just be another living being, walking on the earth, under the sun and sky. It seems that these environments allow me to find a sense of love and acceptance within myself,  or that nature reflects back to me my own loving and caring nature.

I could say that it doesn’t matter what I write about regarding how important nature is to me, because the act of participating in the event says more than any words I could write. I turned down many other very appealing and exciting opportunities to take part in the trip, so the fact that I prioritized this trip in my life says something about what I need to be well and what I find satisfying.

I will say that it was important to me to be able to meet other people who place importance on both meditation and nature in their lives, because these two aspects have become quite important in my life lately. It was also important to me to meet a meditation teacher who incorporates nature into their teachings. I was very eager to learn how the teacher combined nature and the dharma in a way that would speak to me.

In all, I found it very satisfying to have the chance to meet and spend four wonderful days with so many people. I experienced a strong sense of community and connection with my fellow campers and practitioners. In a sense, it was a relief to not feel the alienation I often experience of being a nature-lover trapped in the city (although it is more likely that many people in the city feel more like I do but don’t express it).