Essays

 

 

In September of 2020, I moved to a small island off the western coast of Canada. Living a rural life had never been a priority for me, but I suddenly found myself in an enviable environment surrounded by verdant forests, underutilized outdoor space, and master gardeners. It seemed that everywhere I went, veteran horticulturists were engaged in fervent conversation. I, on the other hand, was in my mid-60s with little experience even keeping a houseplant alive. 

 

How Buddhist Practice Helped Create My First Garden: Getting my hands dirty provided a new type of refuge

Published Sept 2022 by Tricycle: The Buddhist Review

 

 

If you’ve ever been to Galiano Island, you know that rolling off the ferry onto Sturdies Bay Road brings an instant sense of rural calm and comfort. The spectacular nature whispers reminders that its beauty holds the basic resources of life. There’s an endless array of green—even in the wintry lichen and moss. And, being an island, it has ocean lapping at every edge. It’s the perfect contrast to the non-stop activity of city life. 

 

A Garden by the Sea: Learning Growth on Galiano

Published Jun 2022 by Southern Gulf Islands Tourism Partnership Society

Imagining the Worst Case Scenario: When it Serves and When it Doesn’t

Published Feb 2020 by ThriveGlobal

Last fall, I visited my friend Leah in the rolling hills of Northern California’s Sonoma County. I followed her from room to room, exclaiming at how perfectly her unique tastes had made themselves known in her new house. New to her that is; the house was built thirty years ago. As we settled onto stools in her kitchen, Leah slid a bottle of wine across her quartz countertop and said, “We’ll need a drink before the rest of this tour.”

 

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As a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner, I am constantly reminded that we never know when death might approach, but for years, I’d avoided dealing with one of the most practical aspects of death—the paperwork. I was not alone: Roughly half of all adults in North America do not have a living will. Then recently, I suffered a near-fatal illness that left me viscerally aware of how unprepared for death I was, and I made a pledge with two of my friends to get ready to leave our bodies behind for both ourselves and the people who survive us.

 

Emptiness and Filling Out Forms: A Practical Approach to Death

Dying with compassion means having a plan in place for those left behind. A practitioner recounts how she navigated the process with her dharma friends.

Published July 2019 by Tricycle: The Buddhist Review

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Prejudice and Pride: A Tibetan Buddhist practitioner asks her teacher how to take pride in one’s practice without becoming arrogant

Published December 2019 by Tricycle: The Buddhist Review

Recently, I was practicing with a Buddhist friend, whom I’ll call Brian, and the concept of pride came up. Brian’s an older man who suffers from a physical handicap, though he’s able to live independently. Brian seems deeply engaged in the practice, but often disparages his own progress. I suggested that he should be proud of his efforts, and he responded: “But pride is not something we’re told to cultivate. It’s seen as a negative habit.” I explained that I was talking about divine pride, to regard oneself as a Buddha, rather than delusional pride, meaning a harmful arrogance based on wealth or status. 

 

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