a journey from the heart

Archive for December, 2012


2012 An Earth Adventure


Greetings & Salutations!

I hope you had a wonderful year of joy, inspiration and friendship. My year was beautiful and amazing, filled with a new career, new love and new adventures. So, instead of a letter, I send a collage (.jpg) of places and experiences that inspired me in 2012.

Sunset over the Willamette Valley as seen from Spencer’s Butte

Snow swans along, Pengra Trail, Gold Lake Snow Park

Steven and me on the Oregon Coast, Bay Ocean Spit

Silver Falls State Park – the first of 10 waterfalls

First backpacking trip with Steven and friends, Rosary Lakes

Me on Spencer’s Butte at Sunset

Steven’s daughter Gabby and her cousins Taylor, Reyna, and Declan log walking on the family camping trip at Head of the River (Williamson)

Upper Rosary Lake and Pulpit Rock

Sahalie Falls on the McKenzie River

Sister Mirror Lake in a smoky haze

Steven kissing me on Pulpit Rock

First snowshoe trip with Steven, Pengra Trail

Heart found in seashell at Bandon Beach

Bandon Beach in November

Sunset over Bay Ocean Spit

Snow on meditation bell on the first day of spring, valley floor of Eugene

Crater Lake

Steven and me day-hiking to Maiden Snow Shelter above Rosary Lakes

Blue skies above Silver Creek State Park

Perspective: a very large, old tree and me at Silver Creek State Park

Steven reading to me on the family camping trip at Head of the River (Williamson)

Wildflowers on Spencer’s Butte

May you have a new year filled with magic, adventure and love.

Happy New Year,

Lovingkindness is a meditation practice that we begin by focusing first on ourselves, then practice toward others; first someone we love, next with someone we like, then with someone neutral to us, and finally toward someone who has made us suffer. May it bring you joy and peace in the new year.

Love Meditation
Thich Nhat Hanh

May I be peaceful, happy, and light in body and spirit.

May I be safe and free from injury.

May I be free from anger, fear, and anxiety.

May I learn to look at myself with the eyes of understanding and love.

May I be able to recognize and touch the seed of joy and happiness in myself.

May I learn to identify and see the sources of anger, craving, and delusion in myself.

May I know how to nourish the seeds of joy in myself every day.

May I be able to live fresh, solid, and free.

May I be free from attachment and aversion, but not indifferent.

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.
—Oscar Wilde





Soakin up some rays













Happy & Merry



The Practice of Mindfulness


Freedom is a practice. Practicing mindfulness provides us with the tools to transform our fear, anger and sense of separateness into compassion, love and inclusiveness. When we sit with our suffering, breathe and allow ourselves to be present with it, our suffering becomes less. Likewise, when we sit with the suffering of others and breathe, their suffering lessens.

When we are happy the people around us are more likely to be happy. As we practice being mindful we recognize that our happiness is directly connected with the happiness of others.

Our mindfulness practice can be as simple as being present and mindful while washing dishes, eating lunch, or talking with friends. Focusing our attention, our breath, on any given activity, provides us the freedom to know that the choices we make are for the well-being of ourselves and those around us. Over time, as we become more comfortable with our mindfulness practice, being present with our thoughts and feelings, we can deepen our practice with the Five Mindfulness Trainings. These practices are guidelines developed by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist Monk, to help us live a more beautiful, peaceful life. We can be of any religious or spiritual path and still practice mindfulness. Being a Buddhist is not a requirement.


Reverence for Life
Interbeing is the understanding that there is no separate self, that we are interconnected with everything; fellow humans, animals, plants and minerals. Our thoughts and actions have an impact on the world around us and we have the ability to be open and supportive toward all living and non-living elements in the world around us. When we are mindful of our choices and their affect not only on ourselves, but on everything on this planet and potentially beyond, we are practicing reverence for life.

True Happiness
True happiness is realizing that we have all we need to be happy in the present moment. Our happiness is contingent on our own mental attitude. When we choose to utilize those resources that support our growth, we allow others to have access the resources they need. By releasing fear, anxiety and want we reduce our own suffering. By practicing true happiness or generosity, and sharing the earth’s resources, we provide the opportunity for others to be happy and free from suffering.

True Love
True love arises from compassion and joy. When we engage in relationships that are built on loving kindness and inclusiveness, we increase not only our own happiness, but that of those we are involved with, friends, family, lovers, or strangers. Practicing true love we create a lasting peace and deepen our ability to live a beautiful, fulfilling life, receptive and willing to protect children, couples and families from suffering.



Loving Speech & Deep Listening
Communicating with others is one of the most challenging aspects of being human. Each person involved in a given conversation has their own thoughts, ideas and perceptions about the world based on his or her own experiences.

When we engage in dialogue using loving speech we have the ability to create happiness and peace in ourselves and others. This is especially true when we communicate through letters, email and text messaging. Loving speech is language that cultivates confidence, joy and hope.

Deep listening is a practice whereby we devote our entire attention to what the other person is saying, verbally and/or through body language. We allow our own thoughts, ideas and perceptions to rest, providing a forum for the person speaking to be fully heard, therefore reducing their suffering. When we realize we are no longer listening deeply we acknowledge this by excusing ourselves, walking and breathing mindfully until we are able to be fully present once more.



Nourishment & Healing
Through mindful consumption we can nourish our bodies and heal our suffering as well as the suffering of others. Food and beverages, alcohol and drugs, are the most common things we think of, but on a daily basis we also consume information through television, literature, and other mediums. When we are in the present moment we are aware that what we consume has an impact on our thoughts, ideas and perceptions, as well as our happiness and suffering, and that of others.


Reprinted with permission from Mezclados 1 Winter 2012


Brief appearance in blue



First snowshoe trip