Hold It All

Month: November, 2012

You Should Call Me Five Times a Week

To tell me a specific feeling you’re feeling in that present moment wonderful moment
To express 1/1,000,000,000th how much you treasure Matt
To describe one of those famous Chicago winds
To share one Gujarati word I really should know
To narrate one minute of an encounter with one patient

If you don’t get me
Leave a message of 14 seconds
Or 5 minutes

Message from a Friend

A friend sent me this last night:

How beautiful Arabic-translated-to-English is….I can’t remember where I was when I heard this or what it’s from: “I’ve waited to speak with you because you are expensive to our hearts.”

Tea Meditation

Our Meditation and Mindfulness Sangha meets on the second and fourth Saturdays. This morning, Cristina led us in tea meditation. She read us the following from Thích Nhất Hạnh.

You must be completely awake in the present to enjoy the tea.

Only in the awareness of the present, can your hands feel the pleasant warmth of the cup.

Only in the present, can you savor the aroma, taste the sweetness, appreciate the delicacy.

If you are ruminating about the past, or worrying about the future, you will completely miss the experience of enjoying the cup of tea. Read the rest of this entry »

This Christmas Season

“Appreciation is the sacrament.”
–Allen Ginsberg

“If the only prayer you say in your entire life is ‘Thank you,’ that would suffice.”
–Meister Eckhart

“Be grateful to everyone.”
–Buddhist mind-training slogan

This Christmas season
I want to give a lot

Spend a small fortune
On stamps

As I write by hand a gratitude a day
Three to 13 lines or sentences

To notice someone’s gifts
And say so– Read the rest of this entry »

Spring-Watching Pavilion by Hồ Xuân Hương

A gentle spring evening arrives
Airily, unclouded by worldly dust.

Three times the bell tolls echoes like a wave.
We see heaven upside-down in sad puddles.

Love’s vast sea cannot be emptied.
And springs of grace flow easily everywhere.

Where is nirvana?
Nirvana is here, nine times out of ten.

Translated by John Balaban, Spring Essence: The Poetry of Hồ Xuân Hương
Balaban comments: “My persistence was sustained by admiration and awe, which I hope the reader will experience: for [her] lonely, intelligent life, for her exquisite poetry, her stubbornness, her sarcasm, her bravery, her irreverent humor, and her bodhisattva’s compassion. She is a world-class poet who can move us today as she has moved Vietnamese for two hundred years.”

Sitting Idle at the North Window by Po Chü-i

The window empty: two thickets of bamboo.
The house tranquil: a single fragrant stove.

Beyond the gate, it’s red dust everywhere,
and in the city, that white sun hurries on,

but I don’t chase after immortality masters,
don’t long for the arts of everlasting life.

I have my own secret for stretching it out:
when the mind’s idle, months and years last.

Trans. David Hinton
The Selected Poems of Po Chü-i


Dear Monseñor

Last week in Writing to Wake Up, a topic proposed was: “Write a letter to someone (in)famous in history, someone really dastardly, or someone really inspiring.”


Dear Monseñor
You were right

You were/are resurrected in the Salvadoran people
The government and the 14 families didn’t get that Read the rest of this entry »

The One Contains the All

There are pictures that stay in the memory as if carved with a fine chisel.
Of the thousands of demolished homes I remember one house in Silwad.
Of the hundreds of torture victims I see the burnt eyes and the crouched back of Sulaiman.
Of the countless smiles in the darkness there is the smile of Sami.
Of the hundreds of hunger-strikers I see the tiny Mehdi.
Like a great sea reflected in a tiny drop.

–Israeli attorney Felicia Langer, from her work of testimony, An Age of Stone

Checkpoint/3 (Life under Occupation/5)

The following is adapted from IDF soldier, Liran Ron Furer, Checkpoint Syndrome

I ran toward them and punched an Arab right in the face
I’d never punched anyone that way
He collapsed on the road
The officers said that we had to search him for his papers
We pulled his hands behind his back and I bound them with plastic handcuffs
Then we blindfolded him so he wouldn’t see what was in the Jeep

I picked him up from the road
Blood was trickling from his lip onto his chin
I led him up behind the Jeep and threw him in
His knees banged against the trunk and he landed inside
We sat in the back, stepping on the Arab

Our Arab lay there pretty quietly
Just crying softly to himself
His face was right on my flak jacket
And he was bleeding
And making a kind of puddle of blood and saliva
And it disgusted and angered me
So I grabbed him by the hair
And turned his head to the side
He cried out loud and to get him to stop
We stepped harder and harder on his back
That quieted him down for a while
And then he started up again
We concluded that he was either retarded or crazy

Daydream/1 (Jesus/1 [Touching a Nerve/2])

A man came to Jesus and said, “Teacher of goodness, teach me something that you know and I do not, that benefits me and does you no harm.” Jesus asked, “What would that be?” The man said, “How can a servant be truly pious before God?” Jesus replied, “The matter is easy. You must truly love God in your heart and work in His service, exerting all your effort and strength, and be merciful toward the people of your race as you show mercy to yourself.” He said, “Teacher of goodness, who are the people of my race?” Jesus replied, “All the children of Adam. And what which you do not wish to be done to you, do not do to others. In this way you will be truly pious before God.”

–Tarif Khalidi, The Muslim Jesus: Sayings and Stories in Islamic Literature