Published in Lion’s Boar
Emptiness in Buddhism is sometimes seen as depressive, but I find it quite the opposite. Seeing the emptiness in all things paradoxically allows me to experience fullness. The question is not is the glass half full or half empty? Rather, can you see the glass as both empty and full at the same time? Can you see past duality?
On Rejection, the Language of Trauma, and the Rewards of Staying Open
There was an inner story that I didn’t yet understand, and the publication problem served mainly as a distraction from it. I wanted to understand better what was really going on behind this feeling of failure—and that took me down a long, complicated path.
When I teach writing, sometimes my students say that they are scared to share their writing because they feel like they’re sharing all of themselves. They’re worried that their deepest, innermost selves are on display. I know that feeling all too well. But I also know that this fear comes from a mis-equation between our writing and ourselves.
Published in Open Democracy
Every week, sometimes twice a week, sometimes more often, there is another mass shooting, always by a man, usually a white man. 54% of these mass shootings involve domestic violence. Gun violence, violence against women and mass violence go hand in hand.
Trauma, Mary Oliver, and me: How Poetry Saved My Life
Published on Being Human
Mary Oliver, who died recently at 83, lit the way forward for me when I doubted that I could ever move past suffering into survival, let alone beauty and joy.
Published in Tiny Buddha
Just as our trauma stories are powerful, our healing stories are equally powerful and important. We can and must break the silence and taboo not only around the trauma itself, but also around the complicated, messy, long, but ultimately rewarding process of healing from trauma.
Published in Killing the Buddha
It’s not often that, in the middle of reading a book, I gasp in distress. With my daughter on the couch behind me braiding my hair, I was sitting on my living room floor reading Mark Epstein’s Advice Not Given: A Guide to Getting Over Yourself. It’s a book about Buddhism and psychotherapy, and in a chapter entitled “Right Action,” as an example of both good therapy and good dharma, Epstein offers a detailed description of an abusive interaction between a therapist and his much younger female patient.
Be Kind, Retrain Your Mind: 3 Tips to Overcome Negative Self-Talk
Published in Tiny Buddha
In 1990, in an early encounter between the Dalai Lama, the foremost Tibetan teacher of Buddhism, and Western students, the Dalia Lama was asked a question about how to deal with self-hatred. He was confused and didn’t understand the question. The translator translated the question again and still the Dalai Lama was confused.
Published in Elephant Journal
I got back from my first 10-day silent vipassana retreat on November 15th, delighted to see my husband and two children after 10 days of having no contact at all with the outer world.
After hugs and after going over how we had each spent the 10 days, my 15-year-old son asked, “Did you hear about Paris?”