Practice Life: Writing Life

Explorations of writing, images, meditation, Chan practice...and some stories.

(Source:, via jalapenoandolive)

Creative Writing Quest

Joseph Campbell said of the hero’s journey, that the end of the journey is, “not the aggrandizement of the hero. The ultimate aim of the quest must be neither release nor ecstasy for oneself, but the wisdom and the power to serve others. One of the many distinctions between the celebrity and the hero, is that one lives only for self while the other acts to redeem society.” (The Power of Myth)

When we can unlock the mysteries of who we are, what our path is and begin to gain clarity and compassion for ourselves, we are released from a lot of the troubles we make for ourselves. In being released from this suffering, even a little, we get a taste of liberation, greater happiness and develop the capacity to live in awareness of our interconnection with everything and everyone that is.

In interconnection and compassion we gain energy, tap into wellsprings of good feeling arising from selfless love, We open our own hearts in service of the good life for ourselves and all living things.

I invite you to join me for a fun and exciting workshop that will help you begin to open the doors to these capacities within your own hearts and minds. You will leave class feeling lighter and full of possibility. Register now for an amazing evening of mindfulness, mythology and creative writing.

Thank you for visiting. Please share with friends!

Mind/Body/Myth and Potential

"What Are Your Ruby Slippers?" is a guided mind/body/art exploration of personal hero’s journeys - helping you find the way to more love, family, connection, heart, wisdom etc. In the “Wizard of Oz,” the ruby slippers were the symbol, the magic charm or tool that helped Dorothy find her Way and her happiness. This workshop will help you find yours!

Participants will be guided through simple mind/body exercises that develop inner strength and power; explore the meaning of the Hero’s Journey and how it relates to our own lives; then draw/write/play to create their own mythic journey tale revealing what had been hidden, the magic tool or charm, symbol which represents the key to opening doors to new adventures. Participants will leave class prepared to bring their own magic charm back from the adventure to the regular world to be realized in full.

This class is grounded in ancient wisdom and groundbreaking neuroscience and is for anyone who wants to develop a richer, more empowered life of greater meaning and joy. Small class size ensures individual attention.

You will learn to ground yourself in the present moment; train your brain to develop power by uniting body & mind; find the significant symbol that can help you grow right now, describe your present state of being, what you’d like to change and imagine the future bliss of how your life could be if you make use of your magic tool on your own Hero’s Journey to move towards that which your heart most desires.

One-on-one sessions and group workshops available. Contact me for more info and sign up for groups on Dabble.  

Self Improvement Classes Chicago - What Are Your Ruby Slippers? | Dabble

This is a larger group session designed to make the most of an exciting group dynamic. Hope to see you there ready for your journey!

25 posts! I’m just amazed at how something that wants to grow will always find a way. And grateful for support from friends all over. Thank you and here’s to an amazing 2014 and Chinese Year of the Horse. (Oh that’ll be another post!) Hoo rah!

25 posts! I’m just amazed at how something that wants to grow will always find a way. And grateful for support from friends all over. Thank you and here’s to an amazing 2014 and Chinese Year of the Horse. (Oh that’ll be another post!) Hoo rah!

(Source: assets)

Self Improvement Classes Chicago - What Are Your Ruby Slippers? | Dabble


…under/over on whether or not the filmmakers will pat themselves on the back for a campy reference to “mob of unspecific Asians point, scream, and run”?

(Enjoy the trailer for this new adaptation of GODZILLA…)

Godzilla crush!


Old photographs of yourself have this remarkable ability to transport you to that very moment in time. 

In her series Imagine Finding MeChino Otsuka splices photos of her present self into portraits of her from the past. 

The Time Traveling Photographer

via DeMilked

There’s something very cool about this. Not quite verbal.

Yom Kippur Musings

So, I got a FB message from my cousin in NYC today. She was feeling all sad due to the fact that it’s Yom Kippur and all (Day of Atonement in the Jewish tradition), and that, combined with fasting all day, can lead a person to feeling more than just a bit down at the mouth, if you pardon the expression.

In her message are her thoughts and feelings about times gone by where she wishes now, that she had behaved better - in life and in relationship. She wished she’d been nicer, more - you know, all those things we want in relationship, golden rule behavior and so on.

So…since she and I grew up basically in the same tradition, and since I became a Buddhist about seven or eight years ago, and because I love her, I found myself suddenly ruminating about this holiday and wanting to write something which might help reduce her suffering. And that led to me writing this right now as an offering to others out there, Jewish or not, who wrestle with suffering and making mistakes and wondering what the hell to do about it. (As a note, I’m all in favor of appropriating and celebrating any tradition’s holidays or festival days, if they suit you and provide some benefit for yourself and others.)

So, here I am thinking about Yom Kippur, through a more Buddhist lens, or rather more correctly, through this Buddhist’s lens. I make no bones about being any sort of expert on Buddhism, the mind or suffering. In fact, my own grasp on the peregrinations of my own mind are quite rudimentary at best and I still suffer from the usual stuff as much as the next person.

Anyway, I think of Yom Kippur as a welcome chance to pause and reflect. A time for making changes to modes of thinking, speaking or acting which have produced harm in the past. I used to beat myself up about it and wallow in all the occasions I could dredge up, which showed, no - which proved - what a shitty daughter, friend, wife etc. I’d been in the past year. In fact why stop there, let’s go back to when I was five! But who is helped by that? Many years of this dredging and wallowing, and I could still be a total pill, to quote my brother. I wasn’t making the kinds of changes that could have made a difference. I wasn’t acquiring any wisdom or insights.

I know, because I’ve experienced it, that there can be a culture within some Jewish communities (by which I mean families or larger groups) for self-flagellation, transforming the practices of Yom Kippur so they become more hair-shirt Catholic in nature. But I don’t think that’s helpful for anyone and only makes the observant person feel bad without producing something new and wonderful for the future.

Of course, you and I and everyone else out there sometimes mis-step. And sometimes we do it really badly and people get hurt. But rather than dragging those mis-steps around with us, maybe we could just use the simple act of acknowledging them, penetrating them to understand what happened (cause and effect) apologizing as needed, and then releasing them like the many balls of fluff, soap bubbles, or flashes of lightning that they are? Then we might bring our intention for mindfully doing it, living our lives together differently, with a heart/mind poised for benefit in the next moments, next times; this seems more positive and more beneficial.

The past is over - all that we own, is what we think, say or do right here and now. And that right now? It’s a gift, isn’ it? Which, to dredge up yet another staple of ruminations like this, that is the obvious and homely cliché, that is why we call it, the present.

I wish everyone a good Yom Kippur, to every being out there, seen and unseen, large and small, known and unknown; I wish for us to swim together in this river of life called right now, mindfully, our hearts and minds dedicated not to creating harm but rather to being of benefit for ourselves, for all of us. 

Mary Fons reblog - On Orwell

This is wonderful and connects to many things which I think are true and beneficial. Thank you Megan Stielstra and Mary Fons.

State of Glass

He used his chest voice. Even over the phone, she could hear the rumble, sure and solid as a freight train, running deep into the night.

One thing’s for sure, there’s a whole world out there, worlds within worlds and mostly, we don’t want to know nothing about them. We want to stay inside our houses, behind the nice little gates we’ve erected, cuddled up to our illusions, like a campfire in the backyard. But it’s the shadows of those campfires you have to watch out for. Flickering black and orange, what’s light and what’s dark? Who knows where something begins and ends, what’s good and what’s evil or how the two are tied together like twins.

Two Things I Love About Sundays

Well, okay four things…

1. Not having to rush off anywhere

2. Coffee 

3. The NY Times on the couch (windows open breeze blowing through the windows)

4. The Pilsen Community Farmer’s Market right behind our apartment (Local vegg, artisanal cheeses, vegan tamales, an amazing baker, all organic stuff, friends - and, oh, lots of dogs.) If you,live in the area you should come to this market. Today there’s even a free health fair!

Anatomy of an Angel: Homage to Gabriel Garcia Marquez “A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings”

Creative Writing Class Thursday Aug. 8

I’m offering another writing class at Powell’s Books UIC next Thursday (6-8:30pm) Writers of all stripes welcome. We’ll play with using images as writing prompts and focusing on action. Hope you can join us. Register now. Limited class size.

Understanding Like Water

"Bodhi means being awake, and sattva means a living being, so bodhisattva means an awakened being. All of us are sometimes bodhisattvas, and sometimes not." (Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of Understanding) 

So,today, let’s try together to be awake enough not to cling to what we think we know is the truth so that when truth comes “knocking at our door,” we will be able to open up the door and let it in.

Our willingness to transcend our old “knowledge” will allow us to pursue a path of ongoing development, from moment to moment and our knowledge, wisdom, compassion - our understanding of reality can flow like water penetrating everything. Nothing will be able to block this.

With water, many good wise trees may grow.