The Soft Heart that Soothes Suffering

Rainy_Autumn_ForestSaturday I spend time with a dear friend and colleague who is a beloved elder and healer. Over a fantastic lunch, with a mountain stream rushing along beside her home and a decidedly autumnal rain falling, we talked about our long friendship and the challenges we have faced. The discussion was, in turns, playful and serious, and deeply nourishing. We are both in our 60’s and have seen our share of challenges, personally, and in the lives of our families and clients; perhaps as a result we agreed suffering is inevitable, as is aging, which often brings its own suffering. We also agreed that it is a relief to soften one’s heart in the face of suffering; being present to pain is also an integral aspect of healing work, both for self and others. (Often, I find paying attention to my own pain is much more difficult than being with the pain of others.) Continue reading

Shamans, Racism, and Greed

It is hot. Very hot! This is fitting, given today is Midsummer Day.

A couple of days ago, we got out of the city and into the natural world for the first time this summer. We traveled north, to the Champlain Islands, ate lunch at the local takeout shop, and hiked and swam. A lovely day! Not too hot, although the mosquitoes were, in the early evening, daunting. Continue reading