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Monday, November 30 2009


Yesterday, I turned 64.

If I were ounces, I'd be
Halfway to gallon-hood.

Were I dark and light squares,
I'd be a complete chess board,
Ready for play.

Birthdays, it seems, invite us
To ponder the journey.

Here's a quote:

"Be soft in your practice.
Think of the method as a
fine silvery stream,
not a raging waterfall.

Follow the stream.
Have faith in its course.
It will go its own way,
meandering here, trickling there.

It will find the grooves,
the cracks, the crevices.
Just follow it.
Never let it out of your sight.

It will take you."

              Buddhist Master
                  Sheng-yen (1930 -2009)

Thanks, Jerry Wellik, for the quote.

And thank you, traveling companions.
We don't journey alone.

Posted by: AT 02:30 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, November 23 2009

Simple Abundance

Want to experience

Cultivate a
Grateful heart.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Posted by: AT 10:38 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, November 16 2009

Peaceful Warrior Path

       Perhaps you sensed it in last week's writing:  I've been saddened and discouraged lately by the polarization I see in our nation and in our world.  I see so much harm being done by humans - blinded by the illusion of separation - warring with each other, demonizing each other, denying food and health care to their fellows, injuring and neglecting this planet.

       And there before me, in the blink of an eye, humbling to witness, is my own polarization - a flood of primitive, warlike reactions, stories of gloom, stories about "them".  Here I am, railing, caught up in separation consciousness, contributing to what I rail against.  The irony is inescapable.

       So, I dust myself off and focus once again on softening to spaciousness - gently making room for what's young and wounded within me (without being captured by it), bathing myself in compassion and mercy, allowing that fullness within to generate an eyes-open compassion for all:  a connection, a presence, a healing stance from which constructive action naturally flows.

       "It all starts here," says the peaceful warrior, pointing to his heart as he walks the elusive path of serene doing.



Posted by: AT 03:36 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, November 09 2009

A Separation Story

Overlooking oneness,
Forgetting connection,
Right hand hacks at left.

Head, detached, watches
Heart go hungry
And waste away.

Denying health care to feet,
Mouth wonders aloud:
"Why am I limping?"

Posted by: AT 09:36 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, November 02 2009

Autumn Seasoning

       I awoke this morning with my inner jukebox playing Magic Carpet Ride, a Steppenwolf song from 1968.  The lyrics include lines like:  "Well, you don't know what we can find.  Why don't you come with me ... on a magic carpet ride ... Close your eyes, look inside ... come with me on a magic carpet ride."

       I'd just returned from a magic carpet ride, of sorts - two days of backpacking on the Superior Hiking Trail with lifelong friend, Kirk Lamb, a fellow traveler into the wilderness areas of mother nature and human nature.

       Birds were rare.  Deciduous trees were bare.  The action, the beauty, the story of the forest was on the ground - the gray-brown-taupe of fallen birch leaves, the muted oranges, browns and maroons of maples.  These leaves were not newly fallen.  They'd been on the ground for a while.  They'd been drenched, weathered, seasoned.

       My thoughts turned toward seasons.

       In the spring and summer, most of the action in the forest is above ground - buds, blossoms, birds, blue (and not-so-blue) skies.  Likewise, in the spring and summer seasons of human life, our attention is drawn upward and outward, toward activity and accomplishment.

       Autumn, for us humans, is a time of deepening, a time to journey downward and inward.  Like fall's forest floor, the colors and textures of this season might appear dull to a cursory glance, but a closer look reveals richness, subtlety, beauty - the magic carpet of mature autumn.

       Life's invitation is clear:  James, it's time to ride.

Posted by: AT 12:50 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

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