A New Notebook and Sharpened Pencils

 "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~Mary Oliver

For me, September signals new notebooks, sharpened pencils and anticipation of a new adventure. It doesn't matter how many decades removed we are from our back-to-school days somehow the idea of new beginnings continues to resonate.  It is a season of reflection and introspection, as is the custom during the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but also one of unlimited possibilities and opportunities  Mindfulness can help us to pause, notice and choose opportunities that were previously hidden. Perhaps by making a few tentative marks in that new, clean notebook we will forge a new direction or circle back to a passion that we have consistently ignored due to the busyness of our everyday. 
This is a month of new beginnings; metaphorically a month of clean notebooks and sharpened pencils. I invite you to pause and consider, in the words of the poet, Mary Oliver, "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

Wishing you a month of new notebooks and many sharpened pencils,

Farm Share Bingo

If you want to increase your mindfulness, join a CSA. A highlight of my summer is the weekly mystery bounty from our farm share or CSA (community supported agriculture).

We have participated in the First Root Farm CSA for several years and I always enjoy arriving for pickup on Tuesdays to discover what my share of the week's harvest will be. I think of this weekly adventure as farm share bingo...a root vegetable or two unused from the previous week pairs perfectly with something from this week's share, along with pantry items at home...and BINGO!

Beets, carrots, baby lettuces and spicy greens from our farm share came together with a couple of apples and a can of pineapple from the pantry into Glowing Salad this week (from my collection of favorite recipes from Debra's Natural Gourmet)...it's as pretty as it is delicious! BINGO!

The Art of Mindfulness

The art of mindfulness -- noticing beauty made exquisite by its impermanence.  A special rite of spring in Boston is the return of the hanging nasturtiums to the courtyard of the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum. The nasturtiums are displayed just 10-14 days each year at the beginning of April. I visited the nasturtiums today and was awed by their vivid, simple majesty. Rapunsel-like plants letting down their tresses. Grateful for the moment of beauty and the promise of spring.

Find a Bit of Beauty...Countdown to Spring #8

My found bit of beauty today came in the form of a little shell that usually sits silently and unexamined on my office bookshelf. Today, I took time to really notice its amazing qualities of symmetry, translucence, bumpiness, and complex coloration of this remarkable gift of nature. My little shell friend also reminded me that it is time to re-read Gift From the Sea. What bit of beauty did you find today?

Find a Bit of Beauty...Countdown to Spring #10

"Find a bit of beauty in the world today. Share it. If you can't find it, create it. Some days this may be hard to do. Persevere."

These are the words Lisa Adams (@AdamsLisa) shared in each of her posts. I wrote about Lisa last year and have continued to follow her writing through her blog and on Twitter throughout the year. Metastatic breast cancer took Lisa's life last week. She taught us much during her time with us, especially lessons on finding beauty in the world, even when things seem anything but beautiful. I often write about the qualities of resilience -- control, commitment, challenge and connection. Lisa continually cultivated these qualities on her good days and on her difficult ones as well. I am grateful to Lisa for reminding me that it is always possible to find a bit of beauty in the world even if we need to create it ourselves.

So, in honor of Lisa, I am dedicating my blog posts for the next 10 days, as we countdown to spring,to sharing a bit of beauty that I find in the world...will you join me?

#10 Daffodils on the kitchen table

Mindfulness Challenge Day 27 Haiku -- Juno Arrives

The Blizzard of 2015, named Juno, came calling here in Massachusetts last night and predictions are it will contine to snow throughout today. The landscape looks surreal, reminiscent of scenes from the movie Dr Zhivago. I am grateful to be safe and warm inside; simply observing the magic of nature.

Juno Arrives

Blizzard called Juno
Blankets of snow cover all
Magic of nature

Mindfulness Challenge Day 11 Haiku -- Community

Today's haiku was composed while attending a brunch for scholarship donors and scholarship recipients in our town of Concord MA. Wonderful connections were made between the generations, the givers and the receivers; the recognition that we are all both the givers and receivers. This is what makes a community.


Grateful for our town 
Embracing community
Givers, receivers

Mindfulness Challenge Day 5 Haiku -- Monday Morning

Monday mornings are always difficult for me to get moving in the best of circumstances; throw in a blustery winter day, an early morning office appointment that necessitated leaving the house before sunrise and you get the impetus of today's haiku :-) By the way, it is not too late to join in the #Mindfulness Haiku Challenge...join me!

Monday Morning

Wind loudly blowing
Hard to leave the warmth of home
Step into the day

Month of Mindfulness Haiku Challenge

It's a new year...do you want to bring more mindfulness into your life this year? Join me for month-long mindful challenge. Several readers joined me in a 30 day Haiku Rally in 2013, let's jump start our mindfulness in 2015 by embracing the Month of Mindfulness Haiku Challenge during January. The challenge is to write a daily haiku about something you notice each day. 

If you remember the format of a haiku, it is deceptively simple, 3 lines composed of 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables, but the finished product is beautifully complex and an expression of a mindful moment in your life.

I will be posting my daily haiku on this blog, and I invite you to include yours in the comment section or to write privately. 

Haiku #1

Ice crystals glisten
Each breath becomes visible
Start of a new year

Wabi-Sabi + Kintsugi = Resilience

G'Tis the season....for Wabi-Sabi. For those of you who aren't familiar with this term, it is a Japanese aesthetic honoring and celebrating the beauty of imperfection. Wow, what an amazing reframing of our obsession with perfection, especially during the holiday season!

I have written about the concept of wabi-sabi on this blog and you may want to read some of the archived posts. I recently came across another wonderful  Japanese term, related to the essence of wabi-sabi called kintsugi ("golden joinery").

Kintsugi is the centuries-old Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with a special lacquer dusted with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. Instead of discarding treasures when they become broken, they are repaired with jewel-like metal; acknowledging, with visibility, that while they may have once been broken they are now strengthened, and more valuable because of their repair. What a message of resilience not just for pottery but for ourselves. Repairing with gold the scars of a life well-lived as a indication of resilience is a metaphor that I can wholeheartedly embrace.

Will you join me this holiday season in using the gold and silver glittering decorations as reminders to engage in the practice wabi-sabi and kintsugi? Let's celebrate the beauty of imperfection and acknowledge the strength and courage of repairing adversity with gold.

Happy Holidays...wishing you a month of celebrating wabi-sabi and kintsugi


Thanksgiving...a day set aside in the United States to cook and feast with friends and family. It's also a day to stop and notice the bounty we are given on a daily basis, but often miss in the cacophony of life's busyness. On this day of gratitude, I invite you to spend a few minutes to binge on this calorie-free smorgasboard of natural beauty and thanks lovingly captured by film maker, Louie Schwartzberg. I promise your heart will be filled with a bit more gratitude by the time you finish watching....Happy Thanksgiving. (click here to view Gratitude by Louie Schwartzberg)

Perception is Not Reality

Here is a little parlor game to play during this Thanksgiving holiday as you are with family and friends -- ask the group to to quickly shout out the color of a traffic yield sign. What did you and the others answer?

If you are like the majority of people I surveyed you said "yellow".  However, yield signs have not been yellow in the U.S. since 1971, they have been red and white for over 40 years! What I found so interesting in this simple test of perception, is that many of those who perceived the yield sign as yellow had not even been born in 1971; thus debunking my theory that only those older than 50 would say "yellow".  So why do we continue to think a yield sign is yellow? Perhaps this illustrates what the Dalai Lama taught me when he visited Boston last month..."just because we perceive it, does not make it reality". How very true!

Take a moment this Thanksgiving and truly step into mindfulness, check out those yield signs, and notice that perception is not necessarily reality.

Mindful May Musings

The simplicity and sparseness of the haiku again spoke to me today. I won't be composing a daily haiku this month, but at least an occasional expression of mindfulness may find its way to this blog. Feel free to share your own Mindful May Musings in the comment section.

Plum Blossoms

Pastel petals nod
As the rain kisses each branch
Blossoms unfurling


"Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe filled with slush"~ Doug Larson
Crocus 4-1-11
For those of us in the Northeast (and other areas of the country too, I hear) it has seemed like a never-ending winter...days of bitter cold and snow followed by more bitter cold and snow. But now the hint that spring may be on its way...a few blades of grass have become visible under the graying snowbanks. Somehow the turning of the calendar to March leads us to shift ourselves to the possibility of renewal.  The promise of spring, with later sunsets, birds songs in the morning, crocuses bravely waking up from their winter slumber to meet the sun, are all reminders of the impermanence of nature and even with a shoe full of slush there is reason to take a breath and be grateful for renewals.