During Such Times, What Matters?

Many of my writerly friends and students have contacted me recently discouraged and confused. What does any of “this” matter?, they ask. “Who cares what I write about?” Besides, they claim, “my story is not unique.” Let me respond first with a personal story. I found myself looking in the mirror lately with dismay. I see an old woman.  At the core of me I know a truth: that I am aging, and that I am doing a fine job of it. With the awareness that all judgment involves projection I looked around me. What do I see when I look at others? Do … Continue reading

The Survival of Art and The Tailor from Aleppo by guest blogger Caroline Oldershaw

Despite the fact that a current candidate for President of the United States asked “what’s Aleppo?” when asked about his Middle East policies – I will assume that most of us know – if nothing else – that Syrian people are leaving their homeland to escape violence, destruction, privation, and death. According to the Migration Policy Centre, “an estimated 11 million Syrians have fled their homes since the outbreak of the civil war in March 2011. Now, in the sixth year of war, 13.5 million are in need of humanitarian assistance within the country. Among those escaping the conflict, the … Continue reading

Don’t Cling to the Raft

“To call something ‘a fundamental principle of Buddhism’ is only correct if, first, it is a principle that aims at the quenching of dukkha (pain, misery, suffering) and, second, it has a logic that one can see for oneself without having to believe others.”–Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, Heartwood of the Bodhi Tree Last night, the eve before this new year, I wondered why I vacillate in my commitment to my spiritual practices. How is it after so many years of study and practice I get caught up in some concern or behavior that results in more suffering? How after been given so many spiritual teachings that, at … Continue reading

A Writer’s Feast

Dear Writers, Here’s my writerly menu. Join me for some great “meals” for the writer’s soul! Starting on Monday the 15th, I will be at the Write-By-The-Lake for a week. Attendees refer to this retreat as a “week at a writer’s spa.” My class is full but there’s still a chance to learn from some wonderful, fantastic instructors at this event including Kathy Steffen and Laurie Scheer. In June I begin my FREE series: Write Your Story Project. Come and attend three summer seminars on writing, held in the Spring Green area. The first one is Monday evening, June 22nd, from 6 till … Continue reading

A Liberating Discovery

“I live life from my side.” This is the zero point agreement. This means we take responsibility for our life and experiences. This of course is the theme of my book with the same title. When we succeed at living life from our side, we flourish at life. One practice (not found in the book) that accelerates the satisfaction quotient in our life is to explore a dynamic. (Exploring a dynamic is a practice we do in the Zero Point Circles I hold in Madison and Prairie du Sac.) This “attitude of exploration,” along with consciousness around a particular dynamic … Continue reading

What Am I Going To Do?

What are you going to do with this one precious day? When you lay your head down tonight what will you be happy that you did or experienced today? As a writer, the joy likely comes in “having written.” Spending time in nature is a good idea too. Aldo Leopold said that there is nothing that a good walk outside won’t cure. The best ideas for our writing projects often come from a nice walk outdoors. And, a moment with the realization of your importance . . .

The Dangers of Distraction

Whatever we give our attention to in our daily lives is what we cultivate, and as a result, becomes manifest. Whatever we nurture through attention grows; unless what we nurture isn’t “real.” This would be like watering a plastic plant. This plant can appear to take in all the light and water you give it but it will never grow. For me, too much attention to “searching”on the internet, television, to consumption, or other activities that really don’t result in anything, draw energy from that which will bring genuine happiness and fulfillment. Too much clutter is a huge distraction too … Continue reading

Making A Difference

Many who want to make a difference often don’t get beyond their desire to make a difference. There tends to be a gap between what people say they want to do and what they actually accomplish. It’s in their hearts to benefit others but they get lost somewhere in the gap. Fortunately, to make a difference we need only keep it simple and natural. Evidence (and our basic intuition) points to how these three simple actions can provide us ways to make a difference––When we have clarity about what we want to be involved in, when we engage with others and with our natural … Continue reading

Julie’s 2009 Fall Schedule

  Sunrise Walks in the labyrinth-Spiral August 10th through the 15th. (5:30am to 7:30 am). The spiral is in full bloom. I take my walk around 5:30 but will keep an eye out for you. Just drive on up and park on the drive way. Sun rises over the hill around 5:45. The address is E3298 County Rd B. 6 miles west of Plain on County Rd B. Of course this is free and open. On SATURDAY the 15th, the labyrinth will be open to the public until NOON.  (Please bring appropriate walking shoes). There is still room in the Spiritual Journaling Class … Continue reading

Tonglen: Transforming Pain into Love

  “Tonglen is the quickest way to enlightenment.”  His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Madison Wisconsin, June 2008   This is the seventh week of this series of meditation classes. Next week will be the final of this series. Much of my material, okay, all of my material is in reality borrowed wisdom. This week’s wisdom is borrowed from Lama Surya Das and his book: “Awakening the Buddha Within: Eight Steps to Enlightenment.” I highly recommend this and any of his books to further your practice of mind training and meditation. I imagine that what the Dalai Lama says is true, that the quick … Continue reading