Archive for the ‘Holiday Posts’ Category

Take the Test!

The Contentment Test

This year, the Christian tradition of Lent falls during the weeks before and after the first day of spring. Lent is a time associated with purification and renunciation. While Buddhism is no stranger to these practices, one of the words for renunciation in Tibetan can also be translated as “contentment”. (The word is chok-she, which literally means “to know enough, to know what is enough”.) Rather than self-sacrifice or a lowering of expectation, contentment refers to waking up from the confusion of continuous want; appreciating the richness of experience in each ... continue reading
IMG_0957

Hope for the Holidays

During the holidays, it’s inspiring to remember our lineage forebears. One of my favorite stories features a moment between the meditation masters Chögyam Trungpa and Suzuki Roshi, two of my heroes. When this encounter begins,  Trungpa is drunk and Roshi is angry. They loved each other. Their story isn’t a holiday story, but it could be. It gives me hope. I suppose you could take it another way. As a WASP, angry is binary, it’s a switch. For my people, you’re “fine,” “fine,” “fine,” and then, after a few glasses of fine Bordeaux, ... continue reading
CIMG0278

Ringing in New Y(ears)

Just a random sample of comments I’ve received recently and over the years.    “Where have you been, in La La land?” My friend Donna marveling at my fatigue with the stress of daily scheduling and meal preparation in a house with a teenager.   “It doesn’t read like something from someone who writes for a living.” My friend Sal after previewing a blog post (that never got posted).   “I live here too you know!” My wife, asking me why my trousers were on the chair in the bedroom when I already had on a ... continue reading

What Goes Around…

Congratulations everyone. According to the lunar calendar, it is the beginning of a New Year. The fact that the earth turns and winds up where it left off is somehow reassuring. The fact that we have lived to see it is cause for celebration and reflection. The year was a journey. Where did it take us? Older now, our time and how we spend it can only be more important. In Shambhala, to mark the start of the annual lunar cycle, we distribute a little soft cover calendar called a Practice ... continue reading

Dinner on Me

“Maybe it’s because you were such a sore loser!” My father’s tone was buoyant. He wasn’t whispering. After a sip of wine he can be buoyant, and as he ages he is more buoyant around his kids. My wife Jeanine and I were there, but this holiday dinner was special. His daughter, my (much) younger sister Maron, was visiting from California with her boyfriend Justin. There were six of us at the table, including my step-mom. Dinner, at a local Thai restaurant in St. Johnsbury Vermont, had just been served. Both Justin ... continue reading

Zafu Limerick

There Once Was a Man . . . OK, so perhaps this isn’t the finest moment in my career as a booster of meditation. I just happen to have a soft spot for limericks. And as anyone who knows something about limericks  will attest, one limerick deserves, nay demands, another. Dear Reader, the snow is about to fall in Vermont. Potentially stressful holidays loom. The economy is poised on the brink of something, but it’s hard to tell what. In these moments the mind turns to meditation. Ah well, yes very important. ... continue reading

In New York With No Mobile

So, partly at Mr. Greenleaf’s urging (“you have to see the show at the Guggenheim”), and partly from Mitsu‘s invitation to her performance, and partly from the encouragement and offer of a place to stay from a college friend I’d not seen for … years, and partly from the desperate need for a vacation (having not been outside of Vermont and New Hampshire for I think nearly 3 years), I took a long weekend in New York City.  Living as I do in an area of Vermont with limited cell ... continue reading

Cheerful New Year

Last Wednesday the 25th of February was a new moon day. It was also the day that the Samadhi Cushions staff celebrated the lunar New Year. Losar in Tibetan, this is called Shambhala Day in our community and it is how we mark the beginning of New Year. For some of us, the day included practice of Sakyong Mipham’s Birthday Sadhana – a beautiful contemplation on the preciousness and fragility of this life as well as the meaningfulness of our actions and their effects. We celebrated the day at Karmê Chöling, the ... continue reading

Meditation: Learning to Stay (and Go)

This past Christmas Holiday, I was able to share a moment with my 10 year-old  granddaughter. In the car, during one of many excursions, we enjoyed a song from the 1980′s that I had heard many times and she was hearing maybe for the first time. It has a great beat and simple lyrics which makes it easy to sing along. It also increases the likelihood of the song getting stuck in my head, which it did long after the Holidays had passed. As Valentine’s Day approached, this song came back ... continue reading