Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Cup of Coffee!!

She Tells Her Grandma That She’s Just Been Cheated On So Grandma Tells Her To Do This

This is a good lesson for all of us, no matter what stage of life you’re in. You’ll see what I mean.

A young woman went to her grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her – her husband had cheated on her and she was devastated. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as soon as one problem was solved, a new one arose.
Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.
In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.
Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, ‘Tell me what you see.’
‘Carrots, eggs, and coffee,’ she replied.
Her grandmother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The grandmother then asked the granddaughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg.
Finally, the grandmother asked the granddaughter to sip the coffee. The granddaughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The granddaughter then asked, ‘What does it mean, grandmother?’
Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.
“Which are you?” she asked her granddaughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?
Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity? Do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?
Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?
Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain.. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level?
How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.
The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can’t go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.
When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so at the end, you’re the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.
May we all be like the COFFEE.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The "Don't know mind" by Soen-sa

In another section of the book, Soen-sa examines the principles and practices that help us cultivate the pre-thinking mind necessary for truly tasting the metaphorical cookie dough of the universal life-force. Responding to a letter from a Zen beginner, a young woman named Patricia who had trouble grasping the value and very notion of “don’t-know mind,” he writes:
Throw away all opinions, all likes and dislikes, and only keep the mind that doesn’t know… Your before-thinking mind, my before-thinking mind, all people’s before-thinking minds are the same. This is your substance. Your substance, my substance, and the substance of the whole universe become one. So the tree, the mountain, the cloud, and you become one… The mind that becomes one with the universe is before thinking. Before thinking there are no words. “Same” and “different” are opposites words; they are from the mind that separates all things.
A few months later, in another letter to Patricia, he explores the three pillars of Zen’s don’t-know mind:
Zen practice … requires great faith, great courage, and great questioning.
What is great faith? Great faith means that at all times you keep the mind which decided to practice, no matter what. It is like a hen sitting on her eggs. She sits on them constantly, caring for them and giving them warmth, so that they will hatch. If she becomes careless or negligent, the eggs will not hatch and become chicks. So Zen mind means always and everywhere believing in myself…
Great courage … means bringing all your energy to one point. It is like a cat hunting a mouse. The mouse has retreated into its hole, but the cat waits outside the hole for hours on end without the slightest movement. It is totally concentrated on the mouse-hole. This is Zen mind — cutting off all thinking and directing all your energy to one point.
Next — great questioning… If you question with great sincerity, there will only be don’t-know mind.
Complement Dropping Ashes on the Buddha, indispensable in its entirety, with the great D.T. Suzuki on how Zen can help us cultivate our character, Alan Watts on death, and beloved Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hahn on how to do “hugging meditation.”

Children and Death~ by Soen-sa

Soen-sa recounts his conversation with Gita, the seven-year-old daughter of one of his students at the Cambridge Zen Center, after the death of the center’s beloved cat, cleverly named Katz. (“KATZ!” is the transcription of the famous Buddhist belly-shout, used as a way of focusing energy and intention during Zen practice.) Katz had died after a long illness and was given a traditional Buddhist burial, but the little girl remained troubled by his death. One day after practice, she came to the great Zen teacher for an explanation. He relays the exchange:
“What happened to Katzie? Where did he go?”
Soen-sa said, “Where do you come from?”
“From my mother’s belly.”
“Where does your mother come from?” Gita was silent.
Soen-sa said, “Everything in the world comes from the same one thing. It is like in a cookie factory. Many different kinds of cookies are made — lions, tigers, elephants, houses, people. They all have different shapes and different names, but they are all made from the same dough and they all taste the same. So all the different things that you see — a cat, a person, a tree, the sun, this floor — all these things are really the same.”
“What are they?”
Illustration by Edward Gorey from 'Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats' by T.S. Eliot. Click image for more.
With an eye to our tendency to mistake a thing’s name for its thingness, Soen-sa answers by urging the little girl to contact the universal life-force of the metaphorical cookie dough:
“People give them many different names. But in themselves, they have no names. When you are thinking, all things have different names and different shapes. But when you are not thinking, all things are the same. There are no words for them. People make the words. A cat doesn’t say, ‘I am a cat.’ People say, ‘This is a cat.’ The sun doesn’t say, ‘My name is sun.’ People say, ‘This is the sun.’
So when someone asks you, ‘What is this?’, how should you answer?”
“I shouldn’t use words.”
Soen-sa said, “Very good! You shouldn’t use words. So if someone asks you, ‘What is Buddha?’, what would be a good answer?”
Gita was silent.
Soen-sa said, “Now you ask me.”
“What is Buddha?”
Soen-sa hit the floor.
Gita laughed.
Soen-sa said, “Now I ask you: What is Buddha?”
Gita hit the floor.
“What is God?”
Gita hit the floor.
“What is your mother?”
Gita hit the floor.
“What are you?”
Gita hit the floor.
“Very good! This is what all things in the world are made of. You and Buddha and God and your mother and the whole world are the same.”
Gita smiled.
Soen-sa said, “Do you have any more questions?”
“You still haven’t told me where Katz went.”
Soen-sa leaned over, looked into her eyes, and said, “You already understand.”
Gita said, “Oh!” and hit the floor very hard. Then she laughed.
(Soen-sa ends the anecdote with an exchange intended to be funny, but in fact a tragic testament to contemporary Western education being a force of industrialized specialization, deliberately fragmenting the unity of all things and deconditioning our inner wholeness:) So true and trace~clj
As she was opening the door, she turned to Soen-sa and said, “But I’m not going to answer that way when I’m in school. I’m going to give regular answers!” Soen-sa laughed.

No Matter Where You Are~

Just for today, let go of regret. Whenever you find yourself thinking about something from your past, set the intention to release it and simply come back to the present.

The Answer~

"Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer." 
by Rilke

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Kindness= Kinship

A few very special words~ 
The kind life – the life lived in instinctive sympathetic identification with the vulnerabilities and attractions of others – is the life we are more inclined to live, and indeed is the one we are often living without letting ourselves know that this is what we are doing. People are leading secretly kind lives all the time but without a language in which to express this, or cultural support for it. Living according to our sympathies, we imagine, will weaken or overwhelm us; kindness is the saboteur of the successful life. We need to know how we have come to believe that the best lives we can lead seem to involve sacrificing the best things about ourselves; and how we have come to believe that there are pleasures greater than kindness...
In one sense kindness is always hazardous because it is based on a susceptibility to others, a capacity to identify with their pleasures and sufferings. Putting oneself in someone else’s shoes, as the saying goes, can be very uncomfortable. But if the pleasures of kindness – like all the greatest human pleasures – are inherently perilous, they are nonetheless some of the most satisfying we possess.
In giving up on kindness – and especially our own acts of kindness – we deprive ourselves of a pleasure that is fundamental to our sense of well-being.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


"Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles, it empties today of its strength."
— Corrie Ten Boom

If you don't know who Corrie Ten Boom is, it's time to find out.  One incredibly brave, strong, selfless woman~  

Monday, August 17, 2015

Things that are not said~

"Much of what was said did not matter, and that much of what mattered could not be said."

Happy birthday, Katherine Boo! The American investigative journalist and author of Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2000 with her series about group homes for the intellectually disabled.

Mark Nepo~ Inside Out

Inside Out 
I was taken aback, when 
joining a fitness club, at 
the history of my body: a 
rib removed, torn ligaments 
in an ankle, torn muscle in a 
knee, torn meniscus in the 
other, arthritic thumbs, a 
skull bone worn thin 
by a tumor. 

At first, I felt battered, 
but smiled to realize that 
I stand like a small cliff 
worn full of holes in which 
stray birds nest and I wake 
with the dreams they have 
while resting in me. 

Each question carried 
for a lifetime opens 
like a hole worn in stone 
through which the wind 
finally sings. 

A Question to Walk With: Begin to describe 
the history of your own body and how life 
has shaped you. 

"Obit of the Day" ~ My Daddy

Obit of the Day: Inventor of the “Hummer Helmet”
David Leslie was a stockbroker by trade but his true love was nature. He and his wife, Mary, owned a cabin in northern Wisconsion which had a plethora of hummingbirds. Although they enjoyed watching the birds up close at feeders set up outside the house, it wasn’t quite close enough for Mr. Leslie.
So he invented the “Hummer Helmet.” The design was basic: a baseball helmet with three hummingbird feeders attached. Wearers of the helmet would be able to observe hummingbirds from the distance of 6 to 18 inches. 
The helmet led to appearances on KSTP-TV and Animal Planet. But the breakthrough came when David Letterman invited Mr. Leslie onto The Late Show. Mr. Leslie stayed in Minnesota while Mr. Letterman spoke to him via satellite. He would share periodic hummingbird updates throughout the show.
Mr Leslie, who owned patent #5996127 for the Hummer Helmet, died on February 5, 2013 at the age of 84. 
Sources: Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Minnesota Public Radio and his patent
(Image of Mr. Leslie wearing his invention during his Late Show appearance is courtesy of the Star-Tribune)
Obit of the Day has featured several inventors. You can find them here.
Obit of the Day: Inventor of the “Hummer Helmet”
David Leslie was a stockbroker by trade but his true love 
was nature. He and his wife, Mary, owned a cabin in 
northern Wisconsion which had a plethora of 
hummingbirds. Although they enjoyed watching the 
birds up close at feeders set up outside the house, it 
wasn’t quite close enough for Mr. Leslie.
So he invented the “Hummer Helmet.” The design 
was basic: a baseball helmet with three hummingbird 
feeders attached. Wearers of the helmet would be able 
to observe hummingbirds from the distance of 6 to 18
inches.  The helmet led to appearances on KSTP-TV and 
Animal Planet. But the breakthrough came when 
David Letterman invited Mr. Leslie onto The Late 
Show.  Mr. Leslie stayed in Minnesota while 
Mr. Letterman spoke to him via satellite. He would share 
periodic hummingbird updates throughout the show.
Mr Leslie, who owned patent #5996127 for the 
Hummer Helmet, died on February 5, 2013 at the age 
of 84. 
(Image of Mr. Leslie wearing his invention during his Late Showappearance is courtesy of the Star-Tribune)
Obit of the Day has featured several inventors. You can find them here.
Oh how I miss you Papa~ I didn't think you would ever leave me...
but you did say it would be okay, and some days it is but on others 
the grief is deep~  I love you.. Kissess for you and Mom~ Pooh

Sunday, August 16, 2015

People In My Life...

Maybe some people just aren't meant to be in our lives forever. Maybe some people are just passing through. It's like some people just come through our lives to bring us something: a gift, a blessing, a lesson we need to learn. And that's why they're here. You'll have that gift forever. Danielle Steele

And so I've found this to be true~ each of you a treasure if only for a moment, a little while longer, or a lifetime!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Life and Loss and Love~

I thought I understood death and could let people go when it was their time to leave~  I have so much on my mind today and in reality it started several days ago... and a few before that.  I feel heavy.  So many untimely deaths this past week.  So much sadness for families, loved ones, me....  I have found that I can be affected by death in many different ways~  I may have a very close connection to someone, a small connection, or perhaps really, none at all, and I can feel the loss deeply, mightily.

Dan and Lynette lost their daughter to methamphetamine addiciton.  Her farewells were Thursday.  She loved butterflies, helping people, laughing, and most of all her 3 young children.  She tried hard to recover, and she did on and off.  Trish was found in her car, alone.

Christy and I met once.  She was a young 35.  She was self-employed, owned her own house, and loved her dog and her family.  We met, made a plan, and she wanted to do it alone.  She overheard a conversation between her dad and brother and her dad was saying she was never going to change, was ruining the family, didn't care.  She died 5 days after we met.  The coroner requested records and that's how we knew~ I know she died alone.

Dan was given an eight hour leave by the judge to pack up his belongings from his sober house.  He is under civil committment for the 3rd time and was waiting to go to treatment at a State operated facility.  We spoke four times that day.  He promised, we hugged, and he gave me a pinky swear.  He came back to us crumbled on the floor in the front seat of the car, with person he left with...unresponsive.  He was given Narcan, the EMT's gave it to him again, and the ambulance sat outside for over 45 minutes before it left.  Dan's case manager called me the next day and told me he wouldn't be coming back to us.  He did not die, he is intubated in the hospital.....  Opiates have full control over his life.  He is bright and funny, and appears happy on the outside.  He is alive~

And so it is, and there are thousands more~  My heart and my soul grieve.  It doesn't matter to me who you are, or where you came from our how you've tried or not tired, you just matter.  We need you, the world needs you~  I plain and simply, love you.

Sunday, August 2, 2015


You've been gone seven long years~ and I miss you as much as I did the day you had to go.  I love you Momma so much~  I talk to you daily and I know you are speaking to me too.  Thank you for giving me life, love, grace, and you~ xo, Pooh