Be Free Where You Are

Steal a little and they throw you in jail
Steal a lot and they make you king ~Bob Dylan, from Sweetheart like you

free in nature ~d nelson

free in nature ~d nelson

In tribute to my sick Community of Mindful Living friend, Dharma Teacher Bill Menza,
who dedicated much of his life offering meditative healing to those locked-up inside,
please view his lesson about true conditions inside super max prisons. This clip provided listeners of my “Shooting Stars” children’s radio show a realistic, solemn impression. His clear takeaway message to “be free where you are”, whether inside or out, is insightful and moving.

If I had lived a life
of blameless conduct
would past’s thoughts be
fields of endless spring blossoms
un-littered by artillery craters
& unexploded ordnance?

Breathe in air’s precious gift
highlighting gratitude
for others generous kindness.
Even after repeated lashing out
& behaving like a victim
in words & actions,
I was offered patience & forgiveness.

Favorable conditions, indeed
now being aware of precious
sights, sounds, tastes, smells & embrace.
To be, often, free
from self-imposed imprisonment.

Looking deeply I can see myself
in those who are unforgiven.
Having committed actions
against themselves
or against others,
against humanity;
words & action that were
bad or worse.

What are just conditions
for those locked inside?
Continuing stripping them
of humanness with punishment
& solitary confinement?
In my heart I believe
compassionate treatment
guided by healing mercy
is loving rehabilitation
for us all.

Freedom is not given to us by anyone
we have to cultivate it ourselves. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Eastern Embrace

When we respect our blood ancestors and our spiritual ancestors, we feel rooted. If we find ways to cherish and develop our spiritual heritage, we will avoid the kind of alienation that is destroying society, and we will become whole again. … Learning to touch deeply the jewels of our own tradition will allow us to understand and appreciate the values of other traditions, and this will benefit everyone.” ~ Thích Nhất Hạnh, Living Buddha, Living Christ

dragon-kissed sky ~d nelson

dragon-kissed sky ~d nelson

Opened my front door
to hear a young guy
share the gospel in his heart.
Was invited to attend
an upcoming ceremony
in remembrance of Jesus’ death.
I remarked how Jesus
seems alive in his compassionate faith.
He paused, then smiled
and gave me the flyer.

Before walking away
I mentioned that a local monastery
was celebrating Chinese New Year
with music, dances & food
in a downtown park,
suggesting that he check it out
for the cultural experience.

lion dancing ~d nelson  (press for larger view)

lion dancing ~d nelson (press for larger view)

I admit having doubt he would attend
but gladly was wrong
as later I saw him there
enjoying the sights, sounds & an egg roll.

One of the young drummers
who came from China commented to me
how happy he is that many local people
came out for the event.
They had rehearsed for weeks.
It made him and his classmates
feel welcome in this rural town.
Experiencing openness & inclusiveness
on this sunshiny day
made me smile.

Driving Karma with Younger Self

The highway’s jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive
Everybody’s out on the run tonight, but there’s no place left to hide ~ Bruce Springsteen, from Born to Run

tire damage ~d.nelson

tire damage ~d.nelson

His life poem’s
beginning now happy,
well, happier than it was.
Thank you dear Younger Self
for surviving to tell harrowing tales
from hard knocks driving school.

No matter how fast you went
someone would always go faster.
No matter how crazy you got
someone always went crazier.
Without luck & good fortune
you would have driven your karma
over the bluff, like those other
rebels without a cause.

Now experiencing joy while driving,
we are arriving, relaxingly
with each calm breath
in the present moment.
Not needing to wait
until reaching another destination
to be embraced with happiness.

So wonderful that Younger Self & I
mindfully use proper attention
to nurture inner peace & smiles.
Sitting here in nature
truly feeling tree’s & lake’s freshness.
We recognize how unwholesome thoughts
create foul weather & traffic accidents.

May we all manage
to enjoy our slowing down,
use rest stops
& reduce blowouts
on life’s sacred highway.

There is no way to happiness
happiness is the way ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

When it’s Spring in February, Bloom!

Fearlessness is not only possible, it is the ultimate joy.
When you touch non-fear, you are free. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

early bloom pollen ~d nelson

Richly hued, fragrant blossom’s
delicately vulnerable beauty
belies her calm wisdom.
Yes, I know, she says
I am here early,
clearly days are still short.
But I answer to nature’s
eternal, life giving mystery.
With February becoming
California’s new March,
conditions of soil, sun
& moisture bring out my
sensually-inviting pedals.

It is not my spirit
to worry anxiously
or become mad or sad.
This is my time to manifest,
my short, sweet time
for offering beauty to the world.
Thus, I do my best,
doing no less than to fully bloom,
contributing colorful transitory
prospects of continuation.

early bloom pollinator

early bloom pollinator

Sending sweet wishes to
those who are uneasy
about changing weather,
east coast arctic vortexes, record cold,
contrasting west coast lack of rain & snowfall.
Have calm patience,
while dwelling boldly
in freedom of negativity,
or divisive words or actions.
Express your authentic
inner & outer beauty.
Peacefully abide with heart’s wisdom
for living in sustainable harmony
with our mother earth.

And also consider utilizing those
spare Keystone XL pipes
to build a cross-country
water pipeline
benefiting humanity,
& other living things
which need water
to thrive & bloom.

Neighbor’s Peaceful Slow Down Action

Before starting the car,
I know where I am going.
The car and I are one.
If the car goes fast, I go fast.
meditation poem (gatha) ~Thich Nhat Hanh

standing by her sign ~d nelson

standing by her sign ~d nelson

Aware how wonderful it is
to walk, moving slowly
feeling fully alive
step by step
on the earth
holding hands with loved ones,
a neighborhood comes together.

Realizing unsafe feelings
walking out on their sidewalk
in front of their houses
concern for children, adults & pets
neighbors now taking an action
using signs painted by children of many ages.

another peaceful sign 6

another peaceful sign 6

Please enjoy your drive
arriving happily with each breath.
No need to hurry
& sacrifice the journey’s joy
for the sake of arriving somewhere else
whether in space or time,
in that large, fast automobile.

A whole community can feel safer,
happier and more peaceful
when we simply slow down,
driving mindfully through
residential neighborhoods.

Am What I Ate & Will Eat

When we have peace, then we have a chance to save the planet. But if we are not united in peace, if we do not practice mindful consumption, we cannot save our planet ~Thich Nhat Hanh

pure pumpkin ~d nelson

pure pumpkin ~d nelson

You are what you eat
was the mantra infused
during undergrad dietitian training
many decades ago.
Filled with PRO, CHO, Fats, Vit, Min & water
felt nutritionally fit back then.
With daily walking & biking
felt physically fit, too.
No need to panic,
I’m organic.

scales don’t tell the whole truth!

Now seeing clearer
we are what we consume.
This precious winter squash
containing nothing less than
a true miracle of
sunshine, rain, earth, hard work
patience of time and good fortune
along with its ancestor’s seeds.
Can I prepare & eat it joyfully
with gratitude & reverence
for all the conditions
which give complete nourishment,
for my existence?

Slowly chewing each bite
30 or more times,
calling it by its true name
So many beings do not have enough to eat.
May I eat just enough
to keep up good health,
not become overweight
eating more than my fair share
of this precious earth’s bounty.

What comes in through my eyes,
ears, nose, taste & touch
also feed my body, mind, heart & soul.
May I consume so that health,
peace, happiness & well-being are maintained.
Aware that many websites, books, movies, songs
likely are not healthy for me or others.

My deepest desire is also a type of food.
By wanting to care for myself & help others be well,
acting to preserve our precious planet
& reverse the process of climate change,
I add my humble eating habits’ intention,
to your courageous eating habits’ intention,
to humanities potential awakening
– for a future to be possible
with mindful consumption,
one simple squash at a time.

Who Asked for this Colorful Thought?

chevy hood ~d nelson

By water’s edge
savoring just sitting.
Well, also relishing
each deep in-breath’s
calm body hug
despite nose-tickling pollen
in the air & lake.

resting kayak

resting kayak in lake’s January pollen

Distant calls of water fowl
& a fresh, light breeze
are broken
by a loud gas-powered auto engine
idling, then revving up,
near-by, again, again.

Ok now, it’s just sounds
albeit unpleasant…
in, out, in, out…

After several relaxing
calm, deep breaths
of air’s cool refreshment,
sound’s affect become neutral
renewing mind’s mostly stillness.

chevy tail 4

chevy tail 4

Mind’s spark plugs ignite recalling
neighbor’s custom, classic Chevy.
Bright red paint
with sparkling chrome
produced the year I was born.
Who asked for that thought?

If I had such a car
what color would it be?
What would people think
staring as I cruise by?
And given our same age,
am I as classic, shiny & muscular
as that colorful Chevy?

Smiling to mind’s sudden inflate-gate,
seemingly random
desirous delusional thoughts,
as patient concentration gently
renews mindful breaths
such that sitting just
to sit by water’s edge
returns to peaceful calm
until time to paddle home.

 “When we meditate, we practice looking deeply in order to bring light and clarity into our way of seeing things. When the vision of no-self is obtained, our delusion is removed. This is what we call transformation.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh