Holding Mother Earth While She Sweats!

The Earth is not just the environment.
The Earth is us.
Everything depends on whether we have this insight or not.
~Thich Nhat Hanh, from Love Letter to the Earth

The object of our meditation is the Earth.
Smoke is on my eastern horizon,
from a California town burning
close to where another
town burned last summer.
July, 2016 was the warmest month observed, globally
in our period of records dating back to 1880.

What does this mean,
what can I do to feel necessary,
& not add more carbon
to our global green house?
July, 2016 was the warmest month observed, globally
in our period of records dating back to 1880.

Taking out frosty ice cubes
from the freezer into a water-glass
imagining my manta working;
breathing in hot, breathing out cool.
July, 2016 was the warmest month observed, globally
in our period of records dating back to 1880.

That it seems distressing
makes me want to tune it out.
Yet, others are loosing their housing
to fires around here, floods, elsewhere.
July, 2016 was the warmest month observed, globally
in our period of records dating back to 1880.

Mindful living necessitates accepting
what is really happening,
for whatever reason it’s happening.
On retreat, taking refuge with others
to stay, calm & compassionate.
The object of our meditation is the Earth.
July, 2016 was the warmest month observed, globally
in our period of records dating back to 1880.

May all find insight enjoying
this Earth Holder’s Retreat entitled,
For A Future to Be Possible.
These talks, I produced a couple of months back
are filled with cooling wisdom
for these ever-warming days.
Seems certain that whatever happens
with our changing climate,
we’re in this together.

in memory of Young Brother

in memory of Young Brother, Phap De (May 8, 1935 – August 4, 2016)

Fang & Chomp’s Olympian Alps Adventure

“From time to time, to remind ourselves to relax and be peaceful, we may wish to set aside some time for a retreat, a day of mindfulness, when we can walk slowly, smile, drink tea with a friend, enjoy being together as if we are the happiest people on Earth.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

we're getting close to the alps falls ~d nelson

we’re getting close to the falls, lets nap before going back to camp! ~d nelson


Tired of barking at traffic exhaust
& neighbor kids skateboarding by,
we convinced master to take us
hiking high in the Trinity Alps.
We have master in training!

alps storm clearing ~d nelson

alps storm clearing ~d nelson

Our wild doggy nature enlivened
by sensations presented in outdoor’s vastness,
offering ease to scale a high elevation course,
in rain & shine.
We have master trained!

One paw after the other
makes doggy walking meditation
pleasant across, up & down
granite, earth & plant paths
on our slow & steady, last-place pace.
We have master in training!

So much beauty colorfully displayed
above, below & before us.
Nothing but wags all around
and not a high-pitched cell phone
signal anywhere in sight.
We have master in training!

Trees are our friends
providing shade & warmth.
When asked if we’d like to hike
above the timberline, looking up
we saw the snow and said ‘no way.’
We have master in training!

Cool refreshing waters
alleviated our furry body’s heat.
Wasn’t expecting the rushing creek crossing, though.
Enjoyed the soothing dip during afternoon’s sun.
We have master in training!

Went looking for some of the many waterfalls.
Some easier to find & get to.
Whether we needed it or not
we got a helping hand up the slope.
We have master in training!

Easy to remember how cared for we are.
Fresh filtered water in our bottles.
Warm campfire, roasted kibble on a stick
then in our portable bowls.
We have master in training!

alps deer

alps deer

Hearing, then seeing other
four-legged welcoming us
to their wilderness made us
feel un-afraid, happy,  humble
& grateful to be alive.
We have master in training!

Listening to our body’s needs
is easy without city-life distractions.
Our bodies said, ‘sleep baby, sleep’.
Whether on the doggy bow-wow bag
or on walking poles, we rested, as needed.
We have master in training!

Master loves us & we love master.
Together we make a fine, supportive pack.
Now do doggies do-do in the woods?
The answer to that ancient koan,
along with many others may simply be,
be prepared!
We have master trained!

Judge Me, Yes Please


sunflowers ~d nelson

Offering true
presence for you,
standing straight
stem to petals.



With your true presence’ glance
we are not two,
there is no other,
in this fresh
new moment.



Experiencing this
moment together
is the miracle.
Why want more?

sunflowers in plum village

sunflowers in plum village, france ~d nelson

I’ve heard of those
clever human minds,
able to reach glorious
brilliance & insight.



Yet, also darkly caught
in endless
running towards and/or away
from desires & fears.
Thinking, judging, thinking
is what it does, yes?
Seems an inconceivable busyness
demanding all time & attention.



I’ll understand if you don’t have
time for me now, maybe never.
Summer passes quickly
into autumn’s glory days.
Spring’s renewal is both
alluring & uncertain.



Whether you say “we’re beautiful”
or that we remind your heart of
an unfulfilled wedding vow
or that we will look better
delivered as a bundle
of dead sunflowers,
we will still be unconditionally
present for you, now.


sunflowers-8 ~d nelson

How would you deal with Osama bin Laden?, Anne Simpkinson asked Thich Nhat Hanh in 2002. “The first thing I would do is listen. I would try to understand why he had acted in that cruel way. I would try to understand all of the sufferings that had led him to violence. . . . I would need several friends with me, who are strong in the practice of deep listening, listening without reacting, without judging and blaming. In this way, an atmosphere of support would be created for this person and those connected so that they could share completely, trust that they are really being heard.”

To Value Other’s Dance

“Though we see the same world, we see it through different eyes. Any help we can give you must be different from that you can give yourselves, and perhaps the value of that help may lie in the fact of that difference.”  ~Virginia Woolf, from Three Guineas; A woman’s a response to an educated gentleman who solicits her participation in war-prevention efforts (1938).


danzers-8 ~d nelson

danzers-8 ~d nelson

So why has dancing with you
seemed like such an elusive dream
through most of this life
my dearest, accepting dance partner?


While others laughed at both
of my awkward left feet,
You gave them firm support
that we may twirl together,
light & stable.


As my breath gently catches up
to these racing thoughts
& pounding heart,
your solidity calms me.


I’ve heard that opposites attract
but your deep, tender compassion
embracing this misaligned figure
breaks my heart open with happiness.


Why others won’t accept me
for who I am, and hope to be;
why they taunt & bully;
why they shoot semi-automatic
bullets at my fragile body,
I may never understand,
yet, I must forgive.


This is the lesson you
offer me, dear mother:
To transform unknowing
by dancing and smiling
even though faced with peril,
contentedly accepting even this,
while swan songs audibly
play for us all.

postcard to mother earth

postcard to mother earth

We’re Summer Slowly Ripening

Love is a fruit in season at all times,
and within reach of every hand. ~ Mother Teresa

slowly ripen-10

slowly ripening blackberry ~d nelson

That old farmer, oh
& his great-grandmother
hand-picked those heirloom seeds
so that now, right here & now,
the fruits of his/her labor
would nourish you.

slowly ripen peaches

slowly ripen peaches

Amazing seeds enriched by miraculous
gifts of rain, sun, soil & more
along with needed TLC.
In these summer times,
with patience, slowly ripening.

Should good fortune be with them
they will offer their goodness
for the nourishment of others;
whether they be 2, 4, 6, or 8-legged,
as well as winged ones & the earth.

Could it be, that we,
ourselves, are any different
in our ripening, dear ones?
After being nurtured & fertilized
with noble spiritual teachings,
passages in the good book, or books,
meditation, prayers, contemplation
& time with teachers, friends
on retreat or in solitude,
we interconnect to truth, the source, the creator,
the pure land, the kingdom.
Henceforth, skipping off
with hands & hearts happy,
singing along with voices in the sky.
Offering our wholesome goodness
to ourselves or, perhaps, multitudes.

An offering of sweet incense for beautiful continuations
of slowly ripening aspirations
& practices of love in everyday life.
May mastery of your full potential be realized,
abiding with calm acceptance,  with each
moment’s success and/or failure.

fallen fruit ~d nelson

fallen fruit ~d nelson

Which Do You Like?

“S’pose you didn’t have nobody. S’pose you couldn’t go into the bunk house and play rummy ’cause you were black… A guy needs somebody – to be near him… I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an’ he gets sick.” ~John Steinbeck, Of Mice & Men

which do you like? 5 ~d nelson

which do you like? 5 ~d nelson

A distant memory flashed by after
hearing the news last night.
I’m at hospital, sick while a 4th grader & the doctor asks,
“what is your favorite color?”
A feeling of, perhaps, despair added to my weakness,
“I think I don’t have a favorite, sir.”

which do you like? ~d nelson

which do you like? ~d nelson

I slept a lot getting over that bout with dehydration & anemia.
Later I awoke, and upon seeing a picture of Jesus on the wall
talking to children while tending sheep in a lush, grassy meadow,
I told the doctor that my favorite color was green.
Compared with my inner weather & the cloudiness outside
green seemed appealingly calming and alive.

which do you like? 2

which do you like? 2

“Are there colors you don’t like?,” he then asked.
Somehow I remembered playing in the fireplace and my hand getting burned.
“Red makes me afraid”, I said. I guess at that time,
it meant that I didn’t like it.
Looking back, he might have been distracting me from my fatigue & ill-health,
but it was curious when he asked, “so you like green more than red?”

which do you like? 6

which do you like? 6

“I think so, or maybe, I don’t know for sure,” I said.
I thought about the harlequin ice cream my
parched dry throat was craving; white, brown, pink;
vanilla, chocolate & strawberry seemed equally appealing.
“To see orange sunsets, blue skies or grassy fields
is a precious gift. All colors are gifts for our eyes”, he said.

which do you like? 7

which do you like? 7

“Can I learn to like red again, is that possible?”
He looked at me & smiled,
“if you want to like it, you will find its beauty.
All rainbow’s colors, in fact, all things have their purpose & beauty.”

which do you like? 3

which do you like? 3

“Remember to drink water during the day
to get over your dehydration, young man.
Pay attention to what you like & especially
to what you don’t like.
When people or other living things
are disliked
they could die.
And when those dark rains fall
we all bleed the same.”

which do you like? 7

which do you like? 7

Seeing that harmful actions arise from anger, fear, greed, and intolerance, which in turn come from dualistic and discriminative thinking, I will cultivate openness, non-discrimination, and non-attachment to views in order to transform violence, fanaticism, and dogmatism in myself and in the world. ~Thich Nhat Hanh, from the 5 mindfulness trainings


After Old Fuses Blew, Took a Walk

I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. ~John Muir

fuse blown-22

Hard to find professional electrical help
living here in a small California town.
But with my aging 30 amp fuse blown
I desperately kept searching until finally
a qualified pair with repair experience returned my call.

fuse blown-19

“Wowza,” said one, “haven’t seen a 1950’s fused circuit breaker panel in ages.
Lucky the house hasn’t burned down yet with that old, frayed un-grounded wiring.
We better do a few tests to isolate the problem before trying to fix anything.”
“When you realize what’s going on inside here you’ll be shocked”, I said.

fuse blown-21-2

“We are gonna go out now for a walk to reflect on your blown fuse.”
“I’m happy to go along and answer any questions that come up.”
While walking I mentioned my life’s overblown ups & downs.
Listening intently, they gently prodded to just keep walking.

“Notice your feet touching the earth, isn’t it amazing”, asked one.
“Breathe in the sky, trees, and any other perceptions”, said the other.
“Can you understand the miracle of being here, right here
on this beautiful path, is nothing more or less than a miracle?”

fuse blown-19-2

Their words were calming, but I burst out, “how can I be all peaceful
with globalization, injustice, starvation & drought?”
“These are sad realities, yet it’s possible to experience real, joyful steps
being in the here & now, even with painful feelings & thoughts all around.”
“Haven’t you heard about the election, do you realize what this could mean?”, said I.
“We haven’t paid it much attention & can’t offer an opinion on that or many other things.”
Really?, I said.

When we calmly returned home the fuse had repaired, somehow, miraculously.
Even the smoky burned marks on the panel & wall were clean.
“This walk really was a miracle I told the workers, how can I ever repay you?”
“Remember to go out walking quietly with us daily,
and bring along several oven-baked biscuits!”

Journey of a Thousand Miles
Begins with a Single Step ~Confucius