Sunday, January 1, 2023

New Year, Same Liminality

My mentor and I are reading Pema Chödrön's new book, How We Live is How We Die. The contents are as challenging and scary to take in as the title suggests! The title reminds me of a line that one of our sisters sometimes quotes to me from another sister, "As you are in the novitiate, so you'll be in the infirmary."

It's hard to not think about death these days.

Another dear and greatly influential mentor of mine passed away last week. Dr. Robak's wisdom helped to set in motion a lot of necessary discernment and change in my life during my senior year of undergrad. I can't imagine I'd be where I am today without his presence.

And Old Monk also continues her transition back to stardust.

Rafiki is another wise mentor at a time like this: "It's the circle of life."


We have only read the first three chapters from Pema, but the focus is impermanence. She writes, "Contemplating continual change is a poignant experience."

It feels especially poignant right now.

But, the reality of living in a constant liminal space does open us up to connection and compassion.

During this time Pema offers comfort:

These feelings [of sadness or anxiety that come from reflecting on the passage of time and reality of impermanence] aren't a sign of something being wrong. We don't have to push them away. We don't have to label them as negative or reject them in any way. Instead, we can develop openheartedness to our painful emotions around impermanence. We can learn to sit with these feelings, to become curious about them, to see what vulnerability has to offer. In that very fear, in that very melancholy, is our compassionate heart, our immeasurable wisdom, our connection to all other living beings on this planet, each of whom are going through their own bardos [in-between states]. When we stay present with our transitory experience and all that its fleetingness evokes, we get in touch with our braver self, our deepest nature.

May this new year be one of deep connection and deep compassion for and with all creation as we change and grow together.

Let us walk in the holy presence.


A Christmas-Day walk to the lake offered us these scenes. 60-degree weather last week changed that landscape quite a bit though!

The Many Shapes of Grief or, a Little Bit of Everything

After my last post , one of my sisters stopped me by the community room and told me about a podcast from Anderson Cooper. In the eight-episo...