Friday, December 29, 2017

B-RING your bell to new year's eve

2-4 PM

'tis here! the bell ceremony ..
ring out the olde.. obscurations..
clean the palate for no new obscurations to settle..
freshen the body - heart - mind..
bring your bells!

all are welcome to join in..
the asana and meditation will be joyous
and just right for any body..
~ by donation ~
all the monies go to anacortes family center..

please consider donating a wee bit more
than the price for class..
we are favored with warm and loving homes..
kind and caring friends and family,
food on our tables, cozy beds, hands to hold..
safe and sheltered..
if someone donates $54 -
and someone matches that..
it is the magic auspicious #..

join susan and dunja
@ the crescent moon yoga studio
521 morris street  laconner wa
for asana, meditation and bells ~

we will ring our bells 108 times.
each person will have an opportunity
to visit the altar with their prayer ( if desired..)
affirmations for the new year ~
regrets from the past year ~
any prayer from the heart ~
prayers will be left in the burn bowl...
to be burned at the end of the ceremony.

please come ~
intend the new year,
release the past,

May the coming year bring mighty compassion,
great wisdom, an opening of spirit,
vital health, deep peace,
true harmony, unfettered joy
and kindness, kindness, kindness...

Saturday, December 23, 2017


grace is the permanent climate of divine kindness.
                      ~ john o'donohue

we are living in grace..
each one of us..
every moment of every day..
no matter what the external experience may be..
the heart is the inner sanctum of grace..
grace is the kindness we shed on others..
we spill our grace upon one another..
we offer any or every gift we hold in our hearts..
we feed birds and each other..
we hold hands and paws..
we give pennies, dollars, millions
to the bell ringers..
we offer courage to those afraid..
we clothe the unfortunate ..
we tend the gardens
we walk the paths set out
we sing the praises of those we love..
let us sing the praises of those we don't..
we worship the stars and bring the stardust to our hearts..
we tickle the fancy of earth, grasses, brrrrr -
with our frozen toes..
we heal ..
we help..
we hold the ground..
for any and everything to happen
in the theatre of grace..
the abiding, perpetual climate of divine kindness..
if we are not divine..
who is?
if we are not filled to the brim with kindness,
who is?
reaching deeper into the wellspring of the heart..
of the soul..
of our true and holy nature..
let us bless and bless and bless again..
now and always
( and women too)

let us bless the air
benefactor of breath,
keeper of the fragile bridge
we breathe across.
      ~ john o'd....

Saturday, December 16, 2017

reciprocity ~ great thanks

it has been one month and a day since i was
mesmerized and sliced into..
the titanium hip placed expertly into the thigh
so bone and titanium can reciprocate and flourish..
where each can share their gifts of essence..
bone and element atomic # 22
it is astonishing to think that something
so could even happen..

from the latin
moving backward and forward

the bone and titanium must grow together..
weave and merge..
integrate and unite..
meld and weld..
yoga..bringing two together..
heaven and earth
bone and element


the most important thing each of us can know
is our unique gift and how to use it in the world.
individuality is cherished and nurtured, because, 
in order for the whole to flourish,
each of us has to be strong in who we are and
carry our gifts with conviction, so they can be shared by others...
in reciprocity, we fill our spirits...
                    ~ braiding sweetgrass

it has been over two months that the mendicant letter
and post went out to beloved friends and students..
my heart has expanded to the size of the galaxy
and i am happy to say my wee bank account has also flourished..
i am not accustomed to much money
so having a tiny pot of gold sparkles my cells a bit
and i trust  that i may manage it wisely and generously..

some alms has been spent on:
thank you cards
car insurance
dentist bill
long johns 2 pair
soft spacious pants
candles and more candles
donations to:
community action skagit
wolf hollow
elephant sanctuary
quiet light nuns
enso house
anacortes family center
yoga behind bars

food, gas, holiday gifts
for my great nephews
christmas lights for the hummingbirds
to sit upon and warm their toes..
sugar and more sugar for the same wee gems

i still have alms left!

i am humbled and honored and privileged
to know the generosity of each of you
who have dropped your gifts into my bowl..
singing the praises of what true community
looks like, feels like..
that i am a recipient of such community
weakens my knees ..
quite simply, i do not know what i can say
to let you know how tender and open
this has made me..

in the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying

to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives.
in the end, maybe it's wiser to surrender
before the miraculous scope of human generosity
and to just keep saying thank you,  forever and sincerely,
for as long as we have voices.
                 ~ elizabeth gilbert

and this :
from a friend whose son sent generous dana
to the mendicant alms bowl..
when she admired that, he wrote ~

got to put your money where your intentions are.
besides, if we don't help support the people who do good things, who will?
it's not like society is generally awarding a comfortable lifestyle for teachers.
the world has enough bankers and lawyers, we need to fund some frickin' poets!

priceless gifts
an empty day without events.
and that is why
it grew immense
as space. and suddenly
happiness of being
entered me.

i heard
in my heartbeat
the birth of time
and each instant of life
one after the other
came rushing in
like priceless gifts.
     ~ anna swir

Friday, December 8, 2017

new year's eve bell ceremony .. ring-a-ling!

2-4 PM
your generous donation happily accepted
for the anacortes family center

please join susan schanen & dunja lingwood
@ the crescent moon yoga studio
521 morris street  laconner wa
for asana, meditation AND
the bell ringing ceremony..
to practice what is rare to practice..
please come and intend the new year,
release the past, celebrate, donate..

bring a bell (even a pot lid & spoon will do).
we will ring our bells 108 times.
each person will have an opportunity
to visit the altar with their prayer if desired..
affirmations for the new year ~
regrets from the past year ~
any prayer from the heart ~
prayers will be left in the burn bowl...
to be burned at the end of the ceremony.

May the coming year bring mighty compassion
great wisdom, an opening of spirit,
vital health, deep peace,
true harmony, unfettered joy
& kindness, kindness, kindness...

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

kindness turns me on

kindness turns me on 
                 ~ luka bloom

it does. doesn't it?
endorphins start popping and spinning..
whirling like dervishes with the beloved.. kindness

patience.. kindness

ethics.. kindness

joyous kindness kindness

wisdom..sagacity.. is kindness

the 6 perfections ~ kindness

HHDL tells us..
his religion is kindness

one holy lama would ask when
meeting you and taking your hands..
have you been kind today?

gratitude is kindness ~

the thanksgiving class for
community action skagit
collected $ 603.00

kindness turns me on!

Monday, November 20, 2017

THANKSGIVING DAY! community action of skagit county benefit

a single meditation cushion, and one is
completely protected,
earth may crumble, heaven collapse - but
here one is at peace.

sacred titles and worldly fame: both fade
away in the sitting,
and the universe assembles on the tip of
a feather.
                daughters of emptiness

join Susan Schanen and dunja lingwood
for a yoga asana benefit class
with meditation for dessert..
9:30 - 11:00 AM  inclusive
Crescent Moon Yoga
521 Morris Street
La Conner

by donation..
all monies will go to:
      community action of skagit county
for their fine work in plumping up our county
with food, employment, legal aid and housing
to name but a few great kindnesses..

this class is all levels..
multi levels..level headeds..
everyone welcome!

any inquiries?
360 941 1975

song of gratitude ~ singing your praises!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017



if only it were possible for us to see farther
than our knowledge reaches,
and even a little beyond
the outworks of our presentiment,
perhaps we would bear our sadnesses
with greater trust than we have in our joys.
for they are the moments
when something new has entered us,
something unknown;
our feelings grow mute in shy embarrassment,
everything in us withdraws,
a silence arises,
and the new experience,
which no one knows,
stands in the midst of it all
and says nothing.
                ~ rilke 
                   letters to a young poet

@ 12:30 PM ONWARD..


Monday, November 13, 2017

thank full ness

dear kind and generous dharma friends..
who share this karmic field ..

i am thankful for your
dana in the alms bowl..
that you found this a worthy cause
when there is so much need
and so many to care for ~
moves me greatly ..

as rumi tells us -
thankfulness brings one to alertness
 an alert wisdom of your presence in my life...

& the gifts, too, that arrive in other forms..
food and medicine and laughter and tea parties!
the greatest is love..threaded thru every encounter

i will write hand written thank you's
to each of you as i am able ..
please accept this e-mail for now..
palms folded in gratitude and admiration ~

each day of life is training
training for myself through failure is possible
living each moment equal to anything
ready for everything i am alive
i am this moment
my future is here and now
for if i can't endure today
when and where will i?
            - soen ozeki

this from a past post 2/25/2014 !!

my community was called a mendicant order -
begging, living off alms.
today begging is shameful to the middle class,
a scandal to those who think
everyone can and should work for a living.
the homeless person on the street is surrounded
by the emotional shadows of reprobation.

yet, the most spiritual activities are funded by begging:
public radio and television,
programs for the disadvantaged,
today many who enter
the most meaningful professions
become mendicants.

if we are not beggars,
we might ask ourselves if we have
any spirituality in our lives.
                   ~ thomas moore -  meditations

then this from now..

o sea of bliss, you have stored
transcendental forms of consciousness
in the heedless,
you have stored a wakefulness in sleep,
you have fastened dominion over the heart
to the state of one who lost her heart.

you conceal riches in the lowliness of poverty,
you fasten the necklace of wealth
to poverty's iron collar.
opposite is secretly concealed in opposite:
fire is hidden within boiling water.

income multiplies from giving ~
the king of prosperity
has said,
o possessors of wealth,
generosity is gainful trade.
riches were never lessened by sharing;
in truth,
acts of charity increase one's wealth.
             ~ generosity is gainful trade
                mathnawi VI

Monday, November 6, 2017


From Barbara Rose...

   In our culture, there are individuals who dedicate their lives to service in the spirit of the ancient sadhus, renunciates and mendicants.  They make sacred vows to inspire and serve others as the core purpose of their own lives.  Such a person inhabits daily practices and ways in accordance with their vows to meet the world as they find it, with all its challenges, colors and complexities.
                Many called to serve in this way join monasteries or orders and take up the methods of their chosen lineages.  They are familiar to us as the nuns, priests and monks of various spiritual traditions. 
                A few, however, choose to walk the path alone. The way of the solo mendicant, though an ancient and venerable calling, is not recognized in American society as it is, say, in India.  We envision the mendicant in a meager garment seated under a tree with a begging bowl or walking with a staff through a dusty landscape.  
                The begging bowl of yore is a symbol of charity, of the life-sustaining bounty of food, shelter and the understanding that for a society to be whole and healthy, even the humblest among us must receive these elemental needs. 
                The ancient words “Alms for the poor!” remind people throughout the ages of this foundational truth—that the wholeness of one is interconnected with the wholeness of all.  Some cultures understand this with more clarity than others.  
                Like the hermit with his lamp held high, mendicants are wayshowers of awareness, charity and reciprocity.   When their bowls are empty, you may see suffering in the communities where they live and walk.  When their bowls are full, you may experience more joy and peace.
                My American mendicant friend and teacher, dunja, recently extended her bowl to me, with a bow, and asked that it be filled with words.  
                “Write of the way of the mendicant,” she said. “Let words be your alms today.” 
                In this era of unrest, anxiety, promise and discovery, when darkness and light flash all around us and the very planet we live on cries out to be filled with the mercy of healing care, the humble bowl of the mendicant is a more powerful symbol than ever.  Awareness. Charity. Reciprocity.  The path to wisdom, peace and fulfillment.
                  dunja lives a life of practice, sacrifice and pure aspiration in service to these principles and to the ageless wisdom of the world, which she studies and shares abundantly in her yoga and meditation classes.         
                When her bowl is full, she takes what she requires and makes her own offerings from the rest. She has been known to give without serving her own needs, also the way of the mendicant.
                Through her many decades of learning, teaching and walking the open roads of the globe with her staff and bowl, dunja has asked much of her strong and flexible body.  It might be said, too much.
                Now she brings her practice, with as much equanimity as possible, to meet a fierce pain in her hip, as she also seeks a way to meet her modest needs, unable to offer the teachings as she awaits surgery and recovery.              
               dunja’s friends and students--who benefit from her wisdom, generosity and example--are invited to put offerings into her bowl to see her through these coming weeks and months while she cares for herself.  I ask you to be generous to our dear mendicant of nowadays. 
                Her bowl is out, with a deep bow of gratitude. 

Here she is, in her own words:

subsisting mostly on alms -
i have been called a mendicant
by many who know me well..

it is true..
my life is possible,
as it has been lived thus far,
by the generosity of friends
and strangers..

the alms are given
in kindness with no claim
or beholden-ness
nor hope for return ...
unconditional gifts -

this way of living has been with me
for as long as i can recall..
i moved around from the age of 16
traveling america by bus..
staying with families..
hanging with strangers..
journeying to faraway lands..
walking the roads of the usa
cared for, loved and supported.

i have made my way in the world
thru practicing and teaching yogadharma...
the sole source of my right livelihood.
dana..a sanskrit word for gift /donation
is the voluntary giving of materials,
energy or wisdom to others..
dana is one of the six perfections ~
dana paramita..
as a practitioner and teacher,
it is the giving of dharma.
as a practitioner and student,
it is the giving of food, clothing and materials
to a mendicant, teacher or community.

a mendicant survives
and lives a lively life -
through the act of seeking charity ..
a humble and earnest manner
of begging..

many a time
when i was heading
to india and elsewhere
for study and practice..
or conjuring a wooden floor
for a yoga shala..
or in need of cushions
for meditation..
shades for window coverings..
paint for the walls and painters!
earnestly requesting assistance..
the bowl,
the begging bowl,
was placed in the yoga studio..
emaho! it would be generously topped up..

when things got tight
i would sell the
art that donned the walls..
blankets and props..
jewelry, prayer beads, books..
even the begging bowl itself ~

in 2007, when i trudged my way
along the western coast
to california for peace is healthy,
a paypal account was created..
a modern day alms bowl, in place,
to assist my heartfelt endeavor..

these days, websites are set up
requesting monies to fulfill a dream,
fund a study or meet a need -

it is no longer possible
for me to offer yogadharma
in its highest and best form.
a hip has turned to dust....
a heart saddened ..
palms are open
i humbly and earnestly request charity ..

offerings of gift cards to a food co-op,
gas cards for mila rubie..the mighty red prius,
a check for payment of bills
would be o so welcome indeed ~

may my life and practice always be worthy of your support

Sunday, October 29, 2017


four folks came together for an inquiry ~

who knows how 
to have the void for a head
to have life as a backbone
& death for a tail?

at this they all looked at one another
saw that they agreed,
burst out laughing
and became fast friends!

then one of them fell ill
and another went to visit.
great is the maker, said the sick one..
who has made me as i am!

i am so doubled up
my guts are over my head;
upon the navel i rest my cheek;
my shoulders stand out
beyond my neck;
my crown is an ulcer
surveying the sky;
what a mess!
my body is chaos
but my mind is in order  -

are you discouraged?
 asked the friend

not at all! why should i be?
if i am taken apart
and a rooster made of my left shoulder
i shall announce the dawn.
if my right shoulder is
made into a crossbow
i shall procure our next meal.
if my buttocks turn into wheels
& if my spirit is a horse
i will hitch myself up
& ride around in my own wagon!

there is a time for putting together
& another time for taking apart.
the one who understands
the course of these events
takes each new state
in its proper time
with neither sorrow nor joy.
the ancients say:
the hanged man
cannot cut himself down..
nature is stronger
than all one's ropes and bonds.

it has always been so ~
where is there a reason
to be discouraged?
             -  chuang tzu

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

and a woman spoke, saying, tell us of pain..

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses
your understanding.

Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its
heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.

And could you keep your heart in wonder at the
daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem
less wondrous than your joy;

And you would accept the seasons of your heart,
even as you have always accepted the seasons that
pass over your fields.

And you would watch with serenity through the
winters of your grief.

Much of your pain is self-chosen.

It is the bitter potion by which the physician within
you heals your sick self.

Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy
in silence and tranquillity:

For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by
the tender hand of the Unseen,

And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has
been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has
moistened with His own sacred tears.

                     ~ kahlil gibran
                         the prophet

Sunday, October 22, 2017

coming to our feet

my alarm clock is no clock at all..
it is a coming-to to consciousness ..
finding thought wide awake..

this morning was no exception ..
already deciding to re-write a letter to a friend..
refraining from sending a welcome home pamphlet to another,
mouth-watering about the waffles i will make,
wriggling my feet, legs, hips, shoulders
to see where pain was stuck..
which tea i will be brewing..
all in a few ring-a-lings of the inner sanctum alarm..

the first moments of coming to my feet
always take me out-of-doors..
a balmy pristine 3:45 AM..
the stars - still up and out..
dazzling the dark..
i imagined their alarm clocks..
ready to tuck in as daybreak stretched the light..

after prayers.. be they a bit weak this day..
chai and sitting.. mat time
waffles browning .. sweetening the cozy .
munch time..

i was summoned out-of doors yet again..
skyward gazing brought into focus
a smitter of large dark birds..5 at the most..
what are these flight-lovers?
for one could see ..
even from the dusk and distance
how much they were enjoying the winds
the currents..
all of a sudden..
there were a dozen..
then ..
a dozen more..
grabbing the binocs..
chequeing the tail feathers..
a few ravens in the murder..
more and more joined the circling..
higher, wider, exultant..
dozens twice and thrice..
the luster of the new day
a glowing backdrop for the
coterie of feathered flyers..

just then..
just now..
the hummers started to chum their way to the feeders
as is their morning ritual of nectar gathering and camaraderie..

this very day was close, so close
heading in the direction of self-pity..
you know..that stake to the heart..
when i was uplifted
out of the self that clings to a self..
all medicine wants is pain to cure..
what a whopper of a dropper full i received..
coming to my feet..

Sunday, October 15, 2017

how could this happen to you?

this seems to be the question of the day..
the answer..see below...*

over the last 17 years i have carried
this prayer in my vest pocket ~
barely readable and rumbled
here is what is written..

o holy compassionate guru
please grant me blessings to be able 
to take all the karmic debt, obstacles 
and sufferings of other beings 
without exception upon myself
and to dedicate my own body
and merit to them.
thus may i lead all beings to bliss.

i confess though i haven't been bringing
it forward all of these 17 years,
it has been working me..

and from my morning prayers ..

like the earth, water, wind and fire,
medicinal herbs, & the trees of the wilderness,
may i always be made use of freely
by all beings just as they wish.

may i be beloved of beings, and may they
be more beloved to me than myself.
may i bear the results of all their negativity,
and may they have the results of all my virtue.

i'd like to think my practices could
be that powerful yet i know i don't carry
that kind of wisdom, purity and compassion..
not yet..anyway..

my right hip is worn out..
turned to dust, it seems..
could be genetics..
could be -
see 9/19 post
what would i give back?

* most likely it is all my ancient, twisted karma
from beginningless greed, anger and folly
born thru my body, speech and mind..

Friday, October 6, 2017


there is a feeling ..
deep in the marrow..
when a gander of geese fly
directly over my head..
somehow the whiffle of their wings
take flight in my heart..
the center of my chest..
i hold my breath so not to miss a beat
of their journey above me..

is it a sadness or is it a longing..?
for the travel they have undertaken..
from deep intuition..profound instinct..
that carries them hither to thither
without skipping a beat -
a part of me goes missing
in exhilaration for the enskyment
they partake in this season
the hunter's moon looks on in fullness..
you go! she seems to say..

an accord..a harmony
descends thru the grey
that melancholy supposedly brings..
as an irish lass..
that melancholy is the harmony..
that longing is the contentment ..
how does this happen?

bullets shatter the glitter of las vegas..
it is inconceivable to envision such violence
within the golden peace of our valley..
yet it dashes the calm, slashes the serenity ..
do the geese feel this wobble in the force?
do the hummingbirds snestling on the feeder receive the shock?

how to marry these two in the oneness?
how to yoke the dark - the light
in a mandala of wholeness..?
i must own the full spectrum
as this morning sky of pale blood
imbues the almost frost of new mown grass..
i am the killer
i am the killed
i am the geese
the nectar in the bowl

heal me may i heal you
embracing the sorrow
being the remedy
only then are we free

Saturday, September 23, 2017

fall yoga classes in the wind of time

fall wind
pods of summer crowd around the door;
i take them in the autumn of my hands.

last night i heard the first cold wind outside;
the wind blew soft, and yet i shiver twice:

once for the thin walls, once for the sound of time.
                        ~ william stafford

ah! the zepher..
whistling the vayu breath practiced faithfully
dispersing the clouds of conceptual thought
a sea change .. at my back..
transporting me beyond all knowing ~
trusting the challenge..
following the wind..
to the next great adventure of mystery & grace..

septembre 11th i wrote this letter..
by the 15th, i had my answers..
& pulled the rug out from under myself
and the precious practitioners of room 34..
here is the letter..

dearest yoginis  ~ kit, jeri & susan..
   it is said in the buddhist tradition that the highest and best form of generosity is the gift of dharma..i sing your praises & i thank you, sincerely, as each of you bring forward the teachings of patanjali & others from the wisdom traditions - through the practice of yogadharma..
on  & off the mat.. on & off the cushion..
   i would like to think.. if i may.... in the most humble way.. i might have had a wee hand in offering each of you a gift of dharma that inspired you to become active guides & teachers on the path..
   my karma has ripened in the most breath-taking ways as i come to face a back that is mostly broken & degenerating.. a hip that will need replacing most likely..  & much refined renewing of cells and ligaments.. nerve regeneration & rejuvenation..
   it may well come to pass that my teaching days are numbered until all these distractions are tended to.. i wonder if you might consider & be willing to  accept the practitioners who have a series with me by redeeming their classes within your classes should they choose to clear the books.. as a kindness to your olde and crumbling teacher..
   it would bring much relief - financially & otherwise - knowing that i (we) have maintained the integrity of the dharma by the giving and receiving of goods.. what could be more good that the practice of breath, stretch, stillness and wisdom ?
   another perfect gift of generosity is the gift of fearlessness..
during this time i am traveling to and fro along that fearful highway ~
doing my best to bring the practice to every aspect of accepting & letting go..polishing my detachment of the kosha of form, un-winding my dismay at the plate set before me, freeing the dread that rises up to meet me daily..
   if you choose to accept this opportunity, it would bring me closer to that fearlessness i am doing my best to befriend..
   i admire each of you, bowing to your love of the practice & your presence in my life & the lives of all on the planet & beyond!
palms folded to my heart -
septembre 11 - 2017

each of these exceptional teachers has generously accepted
this request, welcoming any and all practitioners
to their classes as a gift, a kindness, an offering
in the tradition of bowing to a teacher..
a spiritual friend on the path..
honoring noble friendship..

if you have a series you would like to finish up
with one of these lovelies ~ do let me know
which teacher/class you will be attending
& all will be settled in the blink of a breath..

MONDAY, THE 25, @ 5:30 PM
FRIDAY, THE 29TH @ 9:30 AM

jeri lancaster teaches 7 PM wednesday evenings 
at the happiness center..the ballroom..anacortes..
360 299 2519

kit muehlman teaches 8 AM tuesday mornings
( this class has a 30 minute meditation tacked on
for $1 if you choose to stay )
at maple hall in laconner
360 630 4152

susan schanen teaches 9:30 AM wednesday mornings
( this class has a 30 minute sitting meditation tacked on
@ 11:15 no charge..should you be so inclined!)
at crescent moon yoga in laconner
360 941 1975

if i ever die, i'd like it to be
in the evening.  that way, i'll have
all the dark to go with me, and no one
will see how i begin to hobble along.
                 ~ stafford...again

if you wonder..
how this could happen to me..
please scroll down to the september 19 post
what would i give back?

Thursday, September 21, 2017

together for peace

international day of peace
 together for peace..

respect, safety & dignity for all ~

to bring peace, be peace..

each of us can transform another
by our own respect for life
by our own sincere wish to bring happiness
        (be happiness)
to those around us..

there is a saying in india..
be happy for someone else's sake
( if you cannot be happy for your own!)

be peace..for someone else's sake..

it is healthy, you know...
for children and other (all) living things ~

shanti, shanti, shanti ~

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

what would i give back?

is there something i might regret..?

my spine is the scripture of all my actions ~

a brushstroke missing the paper..
a train off its track..
the ill fitting shoe..
a bad hair day all the way
to the middle of next lifetime..
a bald tyre
the soldier missing in action
a rice sack ransacked

the very long stroll to california
slipstreaming the crash to the boulders below
thunderstorms striking the lost chord
tap dancing the waltz on cement
much whiskey dank days the burren
bushels of burdensome guilt
sitting stitching for hours
quilting with salliema
dogs running, chasing, biting

lifting, shifting everything up to the sun..
moving the bed from the garage
to the garage and back to the garage
again, and again, and again..

changing flat tires, changing the oil..
driving the coast up and back by the trillions
slipping on ice thrice..
flipping my tricycle and bicycle
dumping the kawasaki on my bones more than once
losing a friend in a maze of malignancy
climbing the holy mountain to hang prayer flags
flagging down trucks to take me to persia
making love in those most bizarre places
running halfway in the marathon twice
caught in the shower by interpole lopers

stepping off the 7th rung of that ladder to concrete
landing belly up on a fire hydrant - a flip that flopped
spilling over the bannister to the deep cement stairwell
falling out of how many trees i've attempted to climb?
hitch-hiking across india, pakistan, afghanistan..
iran, turkey, syria with a backpack twice as big as myself..
(those were the days, my friend)

runway modeling striking outlandish poses
gymnastic training for the iron cross
lifetimes of backbends
falling out of handless headstands
forwards bends with friends pounced atop
twisting the topsy-turvy inversions..
sitting sitting endless days in the monastery

hugging the wind that took me to sea
losing my way on the road to shambhala
where will this list end..?

as a bodhisattva in training..
one trusts without doubt..
trusting this life, this bonebag, this rachis demise..
with look no hands to ride the cycle..
may i bow the deep bow ~
may i chant the deep prayer..

all that i am afraid to lose
i offer up without any
sense of loss..

je ne regrette rien

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

shots ring out!

the valley ricochets the gun shots..
banged and popped by the hunters of ducks..geese..

it is not an easy sound..
not like the mooing of the nearby cows
nor the wide awake howls of coyote moon bashes
nor the magic dialect of the raven's flight path
or the whiz & click & bizbuzz of the hummers at the feeders ~
it shocks one into an o my goodness !
where is the goodness in this crashbangboom?
it eludes me..

i thought i heard a wounded cry of a winged one..
twanged and tinged with a bullet
that did not bring it down to earth..
a ragged song that had lost the full vitality of voice..
over and over and over and out..

i had written a post
LAMENT some years back..
(on all soul's day)
here it is again..
the sentiment the same..

my mate..
my mate for life has gone..
gone the way of the deceiver's call
in the early soggy wet of duck morning..
though he has offered his shimmer feathers
his meat
his wing
for the nourishment of another -
        & i praise him for that..i do..
my mate for life
is gone

( what the hen must feel
when her drake does not return..?
we humanoids say that animals /birds/ insects
are not the feeling type..
how is it we know this?

i look at the yes of a bird,
the eyes
and i am seeing back to myself.. )

yes..we are feeling..
our small hearts skip a beat..
the weighty life of loss
makes our wings burdensome ~
flight is not a soaring
with our true companion gone..

i know this ..
i know this from my own wing ~
my own lonely wing..

exaltation for all souls all saints
all ducks & all hunters of ducks

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

red moon - red sun

after all, anybody is as their land and air is.
anybody is as the sky is low or high, 
the air heavy or clear 
and anybody is as there is wind 
     or no wind there.
it is that which makes them
and the arts they make 
and the work they do
and the way they eat 
and the way they drink
and the way they learn
and everything.
                ~ gertrude stein

we are being watched/witnessed by the red planets ..
the red moon gazing down upon us as we slip into slumber..
the red sun rising to shine on us with the hue of fire and flames..

we are embossed in vermilion..
we are at the end of the colour spectrum
we are on red alert
we are one of 3 colours of quark
we are in the cold war of wildland fire
we are wine made of the darkest grapes

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

the post of heaven

rain, wet, sky falling on our people..
the earth -  a soaked, flooded homeland security
like low basements in deep winter..
four-leggeds dense heavy feet cannot scamper..
frenzied flight of rain-sopped wings do not take off..
sodden rugs, drapes and car wheels move with flow
to go..where?
in the wake of the shake of the great drench..
where are the snakes ?

the post of heaven in broken..
the weighty wet deluge
carries moist hearts of compassion..
~ as tears add gallons ~
to the already too full reservoir..

we must overflow to see one another..
beyond our beliefs, our national pride,
our registered voter status..
drink up..
shall we all drink up?
the elixir of love
the storm clouds that filleth our cups..
to runneth over..
with the not-so-still waters
we cannot be still..

broken windows and empty hallways 
a pale dead moon in the sky streaked with gray 
human kindness is overflowing 
and I think it's going to rain today…
                                  ~ randy newman

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

the light in this valley..

it seems so much brighter..
after the eclipse..
are we not embued with some new glow?
such clarity of air..
the setting sun a fireball..
piercing my rear view mirror
on my way home from class -

then lured, i was, from a weak slumber
to the midnight warmth..
an invitation to behold the celestial stars -
the big dipper dipping deeper
into a twinking glory ..
much alighted by the day's
flurried affair..

i could not go back to sleep
so crafted a love letter to
a friend from long ago and far away..
remembering our torrid times
in the monastery kitchen
where we made good food for others
and followed the instructions
of our heavenly monk, our tenzo....

even in this morning next ..
the light that slipped over the farm lands..
catching trees and fields aflame..
sipping it's tea and crunching toast with me..
brought forth a new kindling of kindness ..

the neighborhood raven pair
seemed to enjoy circling in the fair air with more gusto..
adding their own radiance and dazzle to a new day -
the  dark duo skimming the empyrean regions with a fresh enthusiasm..
as if ravens could be more enthused!

though my own bones and feathers are ruffled
from eons of flight and upright rambling of being body bound..
and though sometimes a sun snuffed out
makes a nest in my heart pocket..
there comes a gleam of wildness ..
this dawn
having witnessed the heavens winking..
in a blink of an eye..

the light in this valley comes to rest ~

Saturday, August 19, 2017

eclipse meditation.....

the moon after much reflection says:
sun is god!
                      - ferlingetti

in our bodies..the microcosm of the macrocosm..

sun is soul ~ moon is consciousness
sun/moon in reciprocity..
our gold and silver merging..
the alchemy of conjunctio (sacred marriage)
within the sushumna nadi..our central channel..
doesn't get more cosmic than this..

the sun was not always male, you know..
many moons ago! the sun was a goddess..
the tantrikas would greet the sun goddess
in the early morn & chant ~

o glorious one, o sun of happiness... 
we  salute you,  o goddess marici -
bless us and fulfill our pure wishes.. 
protect us, o goddess, from the eight fears... 

(which are....)
spirits or flesh-eating demons
captivity or imprisonment 

their respective inner counterparts are:
craving or attachment
wrong or false views
envy or jealousy
hatred or anger
delusion or ignorance

therefore consider:
floods of attachment 
thieves of wrong views
lions of pride
snakes of jealousy
fires of anger 
carnivorous demons of doubt
chains of miserliness or greed
elephants of ignorance

in ancient times..too,
the moon was not always female,,,

the mbocobis of south america claim 
the moon as husband and the sun as wife..

my mother is the beauteous sun,
my father, the bright moon..

in sanskrit the word for moon is masculine...chandra..

in our yoga practice are we always in eclipse..perchance..?
since we aim to unify the sun and the moon energies..
to yoke them together in one biosphere..our microcosm..
prithvi, chandra, surya...
are we ourselves transgendered planets..?

heavenly bodies are in a constant state of change..
we are that and that is so...

As If to Demonstrate an Eclipse
                    ~ billy collins
I pick an orange from a wicker basket
and place it on the table
to represent the sun.
Then down at the other end
a blue and white marble
becomes the earth
and nearby I lay the little moon of an aspirin.
I get a glass from a cabinet,
open a bottle of wine,
then I sit in a ladder-back chair,
a benevolent god presiding
over a miniature creation myth,
and I begin to sing
a homemade canticle of thanks
for this perfect little arrangement,
for not making the earth too hot or cold
not making it spin too fast or slow
so that the grove of orange trees
and the owl become possible,
not to mention the rolling wave,
the play of clouds, geese in flight,
and the Z of lightning on a dark lake.
Then I fill my glass again
and give thanks for the trout,
the oak, and the yellow feather,
singing the room full of shadows,
as sun and earth and moon
circle one another in their impeccable orbits
and I get more and more cockeyed with gratitude.

i praise this
great wheel ~ the sun ~
an earring for
the lady of the east.
                  ~vidya kara  11th century poetess 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


refreshing my memory ~

turn, turn, turn  - pete seeger -
to everything there is a season
( ecclesiastes )
made famous by the byrds in 1965..
ah! those were the days, my friend -

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, 
a time to gather stones together

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace, 
a time to refrain from embracing

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it's not too late

just watched the movie cocoon
ron howard -1985

interesting juxtapose ..
elders leaving the planet so they can -
live forever

 timing - turning

something calls me outside
the wee abode where i live..

lo! on high -
a great bird..redtail ..
circling circling
orbiting the sky above..
small flyers pestering the path away
from nests..

a sideways glance to see the eagle's flight
ready to pinch the prey the osprey
spent a wad of patience catching..

the circumnavigation and chat..
a pair of ravens eager for shiny wrappers..

great blue herons heading to the rookery
for a brew (who knew?) with their seige...

will-o'-wisp wind in the birches
offering a dharma talk on the way it is...

that rainbow ..where did it come from?
just now..all these happen..

direct experience of the great truth..

the greatest difficulty is the mental resistence
to things that arise and the underlying assumption
that they should not.
           ~ eckhart  tolle

how to totally, bravely  accept the what is..
whatever happens. whatever
what is is is what
i want. only that. but that.
                    ~ galway kinnell

trusting the timing..
right place, right time, right what is!

& the zennies tell us:
when in doubt, bow..
ever, always.. bowing to what is

turn, turn, turn ~

Sunday, July 23, 2017

A Morning Offering

I bless the night that nourished my heart

To set the ghosts of longing free

Into the flow and figure of dream

That went to harvest from the dark

Bread for the hunger no one sees.

All that is eternal in me
Welcomes the wonder of this day,
The field of brightness it creates
Offering time for each thing
To arise and illuminate.

I place on the altar of dawn:
The quiet loyalty of breath,
The tent of thought where I shelter,
Waves of desire I am shore to
And all beauty drawn to the eye.

May my mind come alive today
To the invisible geography
That invites me to new frontiers,
To break the dead shell of yesterdays,
To risk being disturbed and changed.

May I have the courage today

To live the life that I would love,

To postpone my dream no longer

But do at last what I came here for

And waste my heart on fear no more.

                        - John O’Donohue

the quiet loyalty of breath..
each morning that we do awake..
a blessed gift..
the astonishment of being alive
for yet another day..

to risk being disturbed and changed..
because there simply is not one thing
that will not change..
be it bones,
matters of the heart..
churnings & yearnings of soul play..

the bodhisattva in each of us says..
bring it on!
i live in fearlessness and cheer ~
now and here !

statistically, the probability of any one of us being here is so small
that you'd think the mere fact of existing
would keep us all in a contented dazzlement of surprise.
                    ~ lewis thomas

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

miracle fair - Wislawa Szymborska

wislawa was born in poland.
she is a poet.
wislawa was a witness to the horrors
of world war II.
she is called the mozart of poetry.

Commonplace miracle: 
that so many commonplace miracles take place. 

An ordinary miracle: 
in the dead of night 
the barking of invisible dogs. 

One miracle out of many: 
a small, airy cloud 
is able to upstage a large and heavy moon. 

Several miracles in one: 
an alder tree reflected in the water, 
and that it's reversed left to right 
and that it grows there, crown down 
and never reaches the bottom, 
even though the water is shallow. 

An everyday miracle: 
winds weak to moderate 
turning gusty in storms. 

First among equal miracles: 
cows are cows. 

Second to none: 
just this cherry orchard 
from just this cherry seed. 

A miracle without a cape and top hat: 
fluttering white doves.

A miracle, (for what else could you call it): 
the sun rose at three-fourteen a.m.
and will set at eight-o-one.

A miracle, less surprising than it should be: 
the hand actually has fewer than six fingers, 
but it still has more than four. 

A miracle,  just take a look around: 
the inescapable earth. 

An extra miracle, extra and ordinary: 
the unthinkable 
can be thought. 

it is said ..
when the buddha awoke,
the inescapable earth trembled
& the high holies in the heavenly realms
celebrated mightily..
expressing joy at the miracle of enlightenment!

a miracle because in a wisp of shift
of the thinking to the unthinkable
free from any limitations
a snap! of any of the five fingers
we / they / she / he / it
witness a new reality..
momentary, to be sure..
because..well -
isn't it all momentary..?
free of any condition of past, future..
free, even,  of the great spaciousness of the present ~

a slip of the wrist, a turn of a gaze..
and whoop-dee-dee..
we are awake..
not a far away goal to glean and grasp..
just a breath away ..
just a kiss away ~
(gimme shelter.. the stones croon..
from our inner waging/raging war
of misery, fear, hope, defense..
gimme shelter..
from that clinging claw of enlightenment)

miracle of clarity..
miracle of unfettered joy..
miracle of devotion, trust, bliss..
miracle of invisible love dogs barking
in the neighborhood night of our open hearts ~

just a breath away
just a kiss away

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

read emily dickinson lately? meditation on generosity

i heard one of my favorite poems of emily’s
offered at the end of a dharma talk..
moving me as it always does to quivers up my spine
and melting glaciers in my eye pockets..

if i could stop one heart from breaking,
i shall not live in vain;
if i can ease one life the aching,
or cool one pain,
or help one fainting robin 
unto his nest again,
i shall not live in vain.

it brought to mind straightaway
words from santideva’s treatise -
a guide to the bodhisattva’s way of life..

may i be the doctor and the medicine
and may i be the nurse
for all sick beings in the world
until everyone is healed..

may i be a protector for those without one,
a guide for all travelers on the way;
may i be a bridge, a boat and a ship
for all who wish to cross the water.

i rascally remembered a poem of billy collins :


first, her tippet made of tulle, 
easily lifted off her shoulders and laid 
on the back of a wooden chair. 

and her bonnet, 
the bow undone with a light forward pull. 

then the long white dress, a more 
complicated matter with mother-of-pearl 
buttons down the back, 
so tiny and numerous that it takes forever 
before my hands can part the fabric, 
like a swimmer's dividing water, 
and slip inside. 

you will want to know 
that she was standing 
by an open window in an upstairs bedroom, 
motionless, a little wide-eyed, 
looking out at the orchard below, 
the white dress puddled at her feet 
on the wide-board, hardwood floor. 

the complexity of women's undergarments 
in nineteenth-century america 
is not to be waved off, 
and i proceeded like a polar explorer 
through clips, clasps, and moorings, 
catches, straps, and whalebone stays, 
sailing toward the iceberg of her nakedness. 

later, i wrote in a notebook 
it was like riding a swan into the night, 
but, of course, i cannot tell you everything - 
the way she closed her eyes to the orchard, 
how her hair tumbled free of its pins, 
how there were sudden dashes 
whenever we spoke. 

what i can tell you is 
it was terribly quiet in amherst 
that sabbath afternoon, 
nothing but a carriage passing the house, 
a fly buzzing in a windowpane. 

so i could plainly hear her inhale 
when i undid the very top 
hook-and-eye fastener of her corset 

and i could hear her sigh when finally it was unloosed, 
the way some readers sigh when they realize 
that hope has feathers, 
that reason is a plank, 
that life is a loaded gun 
that looks right at you with a yellow eye.

& emily once more ...

because i could not stop for death – 
he kindly stopped for me – 
the carriage held but just ourselves – 
and immortality. 

all this the mind unwinds, unfolds....
a search engine ruffled up
for coupling the variances of being human..
to sculpt a life in poetry - the poetic life -
& construct a bodhisattva’s practice
of the six perfections ..

it is the great sun that finally removes
the misty ignorance of the world,
it is the quintessential butter
from the churning milk of dharma.

the perfection of generosity ~

we each have the opportunity to give
the lightest, most refined offering..
the gift of recognition, appreciation..
by our words, a gesture, a deed..
of acknowledgment .. of presence..
to the presence of another..
we exist..we are alive..although it be brief..
we share and bear witness to humankind..

all generated by this rich butter of compassion..

if i could stop one heart from breaking,
i shall not live in vain;
if i can ease one life the aching,
or cool one pain,
or help one fainting robin 
unto his nest again,
i shall not live in vain.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

POP-UP yoga practice!

our thoughts begin where words end.
refining dark-enigma depths,
we gaze quiet mystery into each other and smile,
sharing the mind that's forgotten mind.
                                        ~  po chü-i
dearest dharma friends,
yogis and yoginis,
sangha sisters and brothers...

the community of practice is growing, growing, growing..
i have left the fertile ground of the central coast &
a devoted tribe of skilled and intentional practitioners ~
returning to the GNW to create afresh an opportunity
for the wholehearted practice of yoga here ..
with the crackerjack clan of northwest svadyaya!!

imagine this!
back up all those stairs for a stretch & a breath..
back to our honeycomb floor..
619 commercial avenue  #34 anacortes
we have the grace-filled opportunity to share the space
with kristen rosenbusch, the photographer for mama's and babes!

here is the schedule i have conjured up..
THURSDAY AM - 8:30 -10
FRIDAY AM - 9:30 - 11
SUNDAY AM - 10:00 - 11:30
MONDAY PM - 5:30 - 7

there is a new fare for the classes ~

the drop-in price for a single class is $18 ~
the series is still $108 with a change of 7 classes instead of 8 ~
as always - NO EXPIRY on the series..

if this causes distress for self or pocketbook, 
let's have a conversation..

NOTE: for those of you who have classes left from last year or beyond..
they will be honored, of course!

may i always share the practice in such a way as to be worthy of your support ~

there is a possibility of more classes
hither and thither but for now..this is it!
private sessions are always available..

the classes will begin on thursday, july 6th, 8:30 AM

please come ~
please bring your props ~

shall we practice the practice that is in our medicine chest ~
the heart of radiance, rapture, repose?
practicing, practicing for the boundless..
practicing, practicing for the one ~

always om ~

queries? 360 770 7891

Monday, June 26, 2017

if you knew

what if you knew you'd be the last
to touch someone?
if you were taking tickets, for example,
at the theatre, tearing them,
giving back the ragged stubs,
you might take care to touch that palm,
brush your fingertips
along the life line's crease.

when a man pulls his wheeled suitcase
too slowly through the airport, when
the car in front of me doesn't signal,
when the clerk at the pharmacy 
won't say thank you, i don't remember
they're going to die.

a friend told me she'd been with her aunt.
they'd just had lunch and the waiter,
a young gay man with plum black eyes,
joked as he served the coffee, kissed
her aunt's powdered cheek when they left.
then they walked half a block and her aunt
dropped dead on the sidewalk.

how close does the dragon's spume
have to come?  how wide does the crack
in heaven have to split?
what would people look like
if we could see them as they are,
soaked in honey, stung and swollen,
reckless, pinned against time?
                ~ ellen bass

do we remember - as sogyal rinpoche asks us -
that we are dying, and everyone and everything else is,
and so treat all beings at all times with compassion?
it is a most generous way to be ..
to be in the present..and presence..

as it is said:
our lives are not precious because they are so valuable..
our lives are precious because they are so fleeting ~

Monday, June 19, 2017


ever since returning from alaska!
i have been feeling very small..
small is too big a word to speak of
my place in the scheme of things..

the sky - the heavenly night planets
& the stars - farther  and farther
yet very near and holy huge..
trees are toweringly taller..
shrubs, too! for that matter ..

my legs.. are they really shorter than they were
before the trek into the wilderness..?

air itself, the pranic winds ..
pressing in on the top of my head ~
you are no taller than this!

proportions, perspectives, relationships..
a most intimate unknowing of the big picture..

how vast it all is..
how wee, we all are..

making up the mosiac of the great divine..

Wednesday, June 7, 2017


my first visit to alaska..

out of all the darkness 
and glacier crushing and grinding
comes this warm abounding beauty and life
to teach us 
what we in our ignorance and fear 
call destruction 
is creation - 
finer and finer..
               ~ john muir

this is so ..
the wilderness of glacier bay..
the sounds and dialects of raven..
the coo and woo of the eagles..
whales tales and fish scales
crumdudgeon elders -
first nation carvers..
wild flowers and whiskey -
bush-whacking and trail blazing..
yoga tucked into small corners..
boats and ferry boats
ginormas cruise boats in the distance..
salmon ..
halibut cheeks ..
my own rosies!

now, as a junior ranger for the national parks..
taking my vow in sitka
with a badge to prove my intention..
to appreciate, respect and protect all
national parks and wildlife.
to continue to learn about landscape,
plants, animals & history of these special places
while sharing what i learn with my family and friends.

the last frontier

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

how to stay awake:

never sleep.
never sleep while awake.
wake up in the midst of sleep.
sleep and wake at the same time.

the yogis & yoginis called the 4th state of consciousness ~

beyond and behind, underneath and overhead -
dreamless sleep..

absolute waking..
every moment..
evolving in the timeless..
our actual natural state
permeating the totality of all that is..
fully alive!

infinite gratitude to all things past.
infinite service to all things present.
infinite responsibility to all things future.

Saturday, May 6, 2017


His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama
often tells us..
though we are eager to be happy,
our actions lead us headlong into suffering ~

he also says:
pain is a given ~
suffering is optional..

interesting conundrum ..

we have this amazing opportunity to freely construct
our very self, the temperament & ethos of our being..
quite stunningly by our actions, thoughts and deeds..
we are free and responsible to engage
in a great awakening within our daily lives..
moment by moment..
every one of us -
to self-sculpt and create a life
of happiness and value.. choose one's attitude 
in any given set of circumstances,
to choose one's own way..
           ~ viktor frankl

i am awake just enough to hear myself snoring..
which is awake enough to catch myself
behaving badly..holding back..
niggling on name it..
those wibbly ungenerous thoughts..
the notorious judgements..
digging a trench between self and other..

awake just enough to straddle the abyss
- if i'm lucky - adjusting the practices,
utilizing skillful means to shake me loose..
out from under the covers to the wide open ~
the sky-like pristine awareness of..
could we say bliss?

choosing the circumstances..
- one's own way -
when to speak..when to hush..
when to spin around and
gaze at the mind and change it..
or it..change...

wow! what great good fortune..

then..why o why do i still dangle my feet
in the dreck and dirge of torment..?
headlong... familiar path.. rut in the road..

HHDL explains that when we are able
to cultivate patience and wisdom
from/for these threads of adversity..
(groggy, furrowed mind)
cultivating patience and compassion
for our very own self ..
this will wake us up
so we may fashion attitudes & circumstances..
well - meaning, loving and wise.. for others..
& therefore open up dimensions in our lives
previously unbeknownst ..


fortune cookie fortune:
you will be enlightened today..
today ?
every day ?

wake up and stay awake..
okay already ~