Eyes and Sight and Vision and Such

Not to go all woo-woo on my new readers right away, but I do love me some good metaphorical thinking. So when I went to the eye doctor this week because an injury did not seem to be healing and I discovered that I have acquired a condition known as Corneal Erosion, I wondered what this might mean for me in the realm of symbol.

I wondered, that is, after I went into a brief panic about encroaching blindness and, perhaps more importantly, the realization that my month of not wearing my contacts or eye make-up would need to continue into the indefinite future. Life-long disability I would handle with grace and aplomb, I felt sure, but walking around with a squinty little swollen red eye for the rest of my life? I crumbled into a vain heap on my bed at the thought. “I used to be cute,” I cried into my pillow. Continue Reading →


Present Moment

Waking up this morning, I smile.Knotted tree
Twenty-four brand new hours are before me.
I vow to live fully in each moment
And to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh’s Present Moment, Wonderful Moment

As I began this blog, a beloved Buddhist teacher appeared to be lying in that tender place between life and death. Thich Nhat Hanh became a Buddhist monk in Vietnam when he was still a teen. When war came to Vietnam, monks and nuns were confronted with the question of whether to stay meditating in the monasteries or to help those around them suffering under the bombings and turmoil of war. Thich Nhat Hanh chose to do both, and in doing so founded the Engaged Buddhism movement.

I didn’t learn about his peace activism or his mindfulness teaching until I was in my 30s, a Presbyterian minister living in Rochester, NY. The first book I read was his little book of “Mindfulness Verses for Daily Living” quoted above. Simple and beautiful, a few of the verses slipped easily into my own spiritual vocabulary. “Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile.” Years later, I would use this verse each time I led a meditation day or retreat. Continue Reading →