Self-Judgement on the Path

Entering a new environment of any kind can bring up wonder, curiosity, fear, anxiety, joy. The experience was no different as I entered the zendo (Buddhist temple) at Upaya Zen Center for the first time. Although I had been studying Buddhism and practicing meditation for several years, each temple has its own chants, forms, and […]

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To Hold Death in One’s Hand

Today, I found a bird on my porch. It must have flown into the window and suffered enough damage to not wake up again. A fitting day with death, I thought, just days before I depart on my journey toward chaplaincy. I am going to spend the next several years becoming more and more comfortable with […]

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My Path to Chaplaincy

All moments in our lives lead us to the present moment. With the support of family, friends, and mindfulness community (sangha), the cumulation of many moments has led me to the path of Chaplaincy. In March I began studying under Joan Halifax and other wonderful teachers at Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Upaya’s […]

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So You Survived the Holidays

There is something about the holidays that tends to resurface grief in a uniquely intense way. The cooling of nature, the shortened hours of daylight, life all around us slowing down to a halt…countered by shopping fanaticism, coordination with (perhaps undesirable) family members, traffic and airport lines. The constant observation of families together can send a […]

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Spreading Ashes: A Poem

As we delve into a series on the world of grief rituals, I wanted to begin by offering this poem that was written by a dear friend, Lauri Stock, after a weekend spent spreading her mother’s ashes with her family and mother’s friends. I asked if she would write about her experience to share with the Peace […]

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The Art of Grieving

photo courtesy of www.tnhtour.org A year and a half after my mom passed, I attended a 7-day meditation retreat at Deer Park Monastery in Escondido, CA with Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh (or “Thay”, as many affectionately call him, which is Vietnamese for “teacher”.) My first exposure to Thay’s teachings was in an Eastern Philosophy class in college. I always found his […]

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