• Beach Break
  • Field 01
  • Beach Bird
  • Blue Mountains
  • Tree In Water
  • Cloudy Mountains

Halloween is right around the corner, so I’ve been thinking a lot about the masks: specifically, the masks we all wear to protect ourselves. I’ve been wondering… How far am I willing to go to release my resentments that mask my life experience and keep distance between myself and others? What does wearing this mask cost me? And what value does it hold for me?

This is coming up because my Chinese medicine doctor told me that the lower part of the belly — where I have a painful condition (shingles) — is known as the basin. “It’s where all the junk is collected and held,” he said.

Junk like old and unhealed resentments. Darn it. Darn it. Darn it.


The fall says CHANGE to me and I love it! It’s a time to move away from summer and welcome in the fall – its changing colors, the changing light as the days so obviously become shorter. I start to notice an inner call for greater focus on the state of my life and work.

This happens every year for me – partly due to my many years in school or working for universities and partly, as a response to the natural rhythms of the changing season.

Did you know that change has its own stages? I learned this from reading William Bridges’s book called, Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change. He taught me that change (or transition) has three primary stages:

1. The End – something that may have been precious to you at one time has ended (i.e., you’ve moved to a new location)

2. The Neutral Zone – the stage where you’ve said good-bye to something, but you’re not yet ready to move into the New Beginning (you haven’t made friends in your new location yet, so you still rely almost exclusively on your friends from your previous location)

3. The New Beginning – You’ve fully stepped into your new transition (i.e., you may still maintain your past friendships and you rely on local friends for most of your day-to-day connections and comraderie)

In each stage, our internal and external growth and development may be enhanced when we understand the meaning and purpose of these stages. For me this has been true.

Knowing this doesn’t change the truth that change can be challenging, yet it does help me to relax into it a bit more. And, it helps me remember that even when it seems murky and impenetrable, I will make it through to The New Beginning!


Years ago, I read a story about Jiddu Krishnamurti, and this is how I remember it.

He was sitting on a hill overlooking a crowd of thousands of people, and someone asked him something like, “How do you stay so calm and happy all of the time?” Krishnamurti got very quiet and leaned forward, and then he laughed a big laugh. The crowd was silent waiting for his words of wisdom, and he said:

“I don’t mind what’s happening.” And then he laughed and laughed.

“I don’t mind what’s happening.” Deep breath.

I’ve been in bed with shingles for two and a half weeks. The pain has been stunning and humbling. I don’t recall ever being this debilitated.

“I don’t mind what’s happening.”

I’ve spent a lot of time in prayer these past few weeks, mostly reciting “I don’t mind what’s happening,” sometimes rocking from pain, and doing my very best to be open to what I was being asked to know. Many, many times I noticed that when I didn’t resist the pain, it became more bearable.

But even in the worst of it, I could honestly say that in this moment I don’t mind what’s happening. I don’t like it maybe, but I don’t have to resist it, argue with it, blame it or blame myself. Each time I could rest in acceptance, the pain and my inner state of being calmed.

I don’t mind what’s happening.

This is how I want to be in my relationships and with myself. I want to live in acceptance first, and work through our differences second. I want to soften my judgments and see the deeper meaning people are trying to express.

I want to leave room for healing: theirs and mine.

And so I invite you to join me in this practice of living in acceptance first.


Fall says CHANGE to me! Its changing colors, and the changing light as the days so obviously become shorter. I start to notice an inner call for greater focus on the state of my life and work.

This happens every year for me — partly due to my many years in school or working for universities, and partly as a response to the natural rhythms of the changing season.

Did you know that change has its own stages? I learned this from reading William Bridges’s book called, Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change.  He taught me that change (or transition) has three primary stages:


For the past few months, I’ve been thinking about and supporting others in taking steps towards healing the seemingly uncomfortable divide between our families, communities, and countries. It can seem so hard to even open a conversation about our political differences, let alone locate common ground we can agree on.

I have people in my life I love dearly who appear to hold political views that differ radically from mine. We’ve chosen not to discuss politics. I think this is because of our desire to maintain our connection and respect for one another, based on mutual love and caring.


The other morning, I was walking in our local Nature Center and admiring a goose family that was made up of a Mom, Dad, and two goslings. They were floating down the river and I was standing on a bridge just over them. When the Dad saw me, he stretched his neck up and placed himself between his goslings and me. The Mom then took the lead, while he watched me. I really felt touched by how they both cared for their family and also sad that my presence invoked fear or stimulated a desire for protection.

Do you ever feel that way? Like you’re protecting yourself or your family or your stuff?


The fall says CHANGE to me and I love it! It’s a time to move away from summer and welcome in the fall – its changing colors, the changing light as the days so obviously become shorter. I start to notice an inner call for greater focus on the state of my life and work.

This happens every year for me – partly due to my many years in school or working for universities and partly, as a response to the natural rhythms of the changing season.

Did you know that change has its own stages? I learned this from reading William Bridges’s book called, Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change.  He taught me that change (or transition) has three primary stages:

  1. The End – something that may have been precious to you at one time has ended (i.e., you’ve moved to a new location)
  2. The Neutral Zone – the stage where you’ve said good-bye to something, but you’re not yet ready to move into the New Beginning (you haven’t made friends in your new location yet, so you still rely almost exclusively on your friends from your previous location)
  3. The New Beginning – You’ve fully stepped into your new transition (i.e., you may still maintain your past friendships and you rely on local friends for most of your day-to-day connections and comraderie)

In each stage, our internal and external growth and development may be enhanced when we understand the meaning and purpose of these stages. For me this has been true.

Knowing this doesn’t change the truth that change can be challenging, yet it does help me to relax into it a bit more. And, it helps me remember that even when it seems murky and impenetrable, I will make it through to The New Beginning!


I confess I spent the first week after Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States in mourning, deep despair, and bewilderment. I felt as if someone I loved had punched me in the chest. Many people I love, in fact, voted for him. They too were feeling despair: despair that I didn’t vote for him, and confusion about why I felt so devastated.

During that first week, I led several meditations on peace in different national and international venues. I offered formal and informal empathy sessions to many people, and listened to many more: hundreds of stories about enormous pain from families, spouses, and loved ones who had suddenly found themselves deeply divided.

It was exhausting — until I said “STOP,” and allowed myself the space to receive empathy, to offer it to myself, and to grieve and grieve and grieve my own grief.

And then I got clear (really clear!) that I wanted to focus on healing the gap between those of us who didn’t vote for Donald Trump, and those who did – and all our life experiences that led us to this point.

Thich Nhat Hahn says, We need someone to be able to listen to us and to understand us.  Then, we will suffer less. But everyone is suffering, and no one wants to listen.”

I am listening.


Years ago, I was driving down the road listening to NPR (National Public Radio) and they were reporting about a pediatrician who had been molesting children for over 30 years; at that time, they estimated that hundreds of children had been affected.

My heart sank and I started to cry – deep mourning for the gravity of this. All the children whose lives had been affected, and everyone who came in contact with them throughout their lifetime. And, the pediatrician – everyone he came in contact with within his medical practice and beyond.

The more I thought about the growing number of people who would have been knowingly or unknowingly affected, my grief grew and grew – and overwhelm and hopelessness began to take over. How could this possibly be healed?

And, then I had a thought…


Mahatma Gandhi once said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

I first heard this quote many years ago and it took a little longer for the deeper meaning of it to sink in. At the time, I was working for a small organization. Each week we’d hold our staff meetings and I’d leave discouraged and disappointed because I didn’t think we were hearing each other or connecting at the depth I’d hoped for. My judgment was that the others didn’t want to connect.

I chewed on my judgment for several months, became more disgruntled and judgmental.

Then, one morning as I was waking up, I started grumbling about how we’d have another staff meeting that wouldn’t be connecting or enjoyable, and a voice rang through my head: “Mary, if you want to connect, connect.”