The Experiment: Day 106 ~ Coming Back Home To My Spiritual Practice…

It is SO cold in here I found my knitted wrist warmers, you know, only my thumbs and the tips of my fingers stick out, and I am clumsily typing with them on because my hands are like ice! My feet too! It is always colder in my studio and especially bad now because it is so bitter out and the flap on the doggie door lets a lot of cold air in. I have a shawl on and a quilt over my lap with my tiny heater going next to me but man, it’s cold in here. But my heart is warm, I am filled with tender love. That’s what’s most important after all.

Last night I was under the weather and by 7:15 I was curled up in my big chair with 2 blankets and 3 pugs on top of me. Other than feeling poorly I had a lovely evening. I subscribed to Gaia (I used to get it when it was Gaiam) for 99 cents for a month. I will quit before it goes up to $10 a month but I just love this channel. I don’t have cable and I do have Netflix and Amazon but my favorite things to watch are documentaries and Gaia is full of the ones I love. Last night I watched documentaries on happiness, mindfulness, and meditation, 3 with Deepak Chopra and a wonderful one on Zen teacher Joan Halifax’s spiritual journey. I am returning to my Zen roots. I was raised Catholic but have spent my adult life as a student of Buddhism. In the last few years, since the fire, I have drifted, not holding on to anything. If asked to check a box I checked “Spiritual, not religious.” I am not a fan, for me, of organized religion. I seek Direct Communion. I believe in God and I pray a lot every day but I like to talk to God directly. Buddhism has always made more sense to me than anything else. When I discovered it in my 20’s I felt as though I had come home. I feel like that again today. I do not wish to debate this — I don’t get into debates about religion or politics with anyone! — but in returning to my Buddhist roots I am finding my way home to more peace than I have felt in years. And meditation is making a huge difference. Yes, I am doing the 30 day meditation challenge to start the year but that is only 10 minutes a day and I require more meditation. It is soul food, it is about inner peace, and an expansive heart. As a member now of the Open Heart Project sangha I also receive a 60 minute meditation each day. I am forming a Body/Mind/Spirit practice that includes the ketogenic diet, meditation, and time to read and/or watch spiritual documentaries each day. Something is shifting inside me. The thousand petals of the lotus are opening in my heart, I live in the present moment (And when I drift I keep directing myself back, mindfulness is a practice, we just keep returning to our breath and this moment.), I am open to what I might encounter, what I might learn, I am open to the many gifts I am receiving and I am practicing gratitude as deeply as I can. Many times a day I think, or I whisper softly, Thank you God. I needn’t elaborate, I need just say thank you, those 3 words fill me with peace. And I am decluttering my life and making space for all that is meant to come to me this year to come in. There is no way to bring more love, more goodness, more blessings, and more miracles into your life if your life is cluttered up high with too much and too many of everything. I am making space. I am inviting it all in. Such a lovely endless flow, going out, coming in, going out, coming in, flowing, easy, breathe…

I am waking up to so many things. Our rare snow is so beautiful, the trees on my thickly wooded property, which I have always loved and felt in deep communion with, seem more beautiful and alive than they ever have (The trees aren’t changing of course, I am waking up!), and I sit mesmerized watching the constant stream of bird and squirrels just out my windows at the feeders here. They are truly amazing. It is as if with each bird that comes a blessing is bestowed on us here. I am so happy to have their companionship.

And I am tickled and laughing at so many things. There were many months in the last year where I couldn’t even smile let alone laugh. I was just watching Pugsley pug who still doesn’t know WHAT to think of the snow covered deck but he is more adventurous than the other two and will go out. In and out the doggie door he goes, but several times he has gone to the little door, stuck his head out the flap and just sat there with his head out the flap and his body inside. He was checking out the big white world but decided it was warmer and cozier in here! It was so cute. Now he is sleeping and snoring with the other pugs around my feet. Their beds are very close to my feet and legs under my big work table, they like to be as close as they can. (And I think they like the warmth of the little heater down there too!)

I am finding my way into this new year slowly. I started out thinking a lot of things were important but of course doing them all would be trying to cram too much into one day. I have pared down the list. The ketogenic diet is central, meditation is a must, doing this blog every day under all circumstances is an absolute commitment, taking care of the pugs and the wildlings outside goes without saying, maintaining a loving closeness with my family and friends is as essential as breathing to me, opening my heart to all of you is woven throughout it all. This is my life, and a lot of the various parts and pieces that I thought would be daily practices will come and go. My meditation teacher Susan Piver gave a talk this morning on the word for the month in the sangha and the word for January is simplicity. She said the way to simplify our lives is to face them without hope or fear. That is a real practice in and of itself. I keep repeating to myself No Hope, No Fear, Only This Moment… It is simple. It works.

Now though my heart is warm, my hands are COLD and I think I will stop here and go get under the blankets with the pugs. It’s a good place to be on a day like this and something I am surely thankful for.

Warm Regards and Deepest Blessings to All…


The Experiment ~A 365 Day Search For Truth, Beauty &
Happiness: Day 1 ~ Introduction To The Project
“Do or do not. There is no try.”

If you enjoy this blog a donation would be deeply appreciated to help me continue to bring “Maitri’s Heart” to you. Thank you, and many deep blessings to one and all…


  1. Victoria SkyDancer says:

    I think there are many of us that are proceeding into the new year much slower than expected; last year took a lot of effort for just about everyone to stay afloat!

    I’m about to start on my second Step, and reweave my own connection to my Higher Power. What I built in times of joy took a pounding in times of sorrow, and now is a good time to recover the Toolbox and see what’s still useable. Blessings to you as you deepen your practice…and a bit of SoCal warmth sent to thaw you out. 🙂

    • Ah Victoria, slow is good. For many years I used a graphic I made of a snail and it said “How slow can you go?” And just a few days ago at my physical everything was so good my doctor was thrilled but I was complaining about the fact that my weight had been stalled for nearly 6 weeks. She said, well, it happens, but it’s so much better and healthier to lose weight slowly anyway. I think slow is the answer for a lot of us for a lot of reasons.

      And good luck to you and Godspeed as you start out reweaving your own connection to your HP. So many of us have come through so many hard things and this seems to be a time of renewal, rebuilding, re-imagining our future or our journey toward and into it. I wish you the very best with everything this year dear Victoria. I wish you the brightest blessings imaginable and love all around.



  2. we built a fire last night – it was brrr cold here too — and the coals were still going this morn, so we piled more wood on, and we’ve had a fire going all day (it is just now dark outside). we even ate lunch in feont of the fire on old tv tables tom dragged out of his garage. i haven’t gotten in my car all day. i feed the fire (ka, the “fire tender!”, i write handwritten notes to my prison pen pals, and include a xerox pic of the fire (from phone to computer to printer – amazing, technology) so they can warm themselves in front of it too. this is a true winter’s day, for pausing, reflecting, tending the fire, living simply.


    • Ah darling Ka, no worries about the repeats, I took care of it! 😀 And oh what a lovely picture you paint of you and Tom in front of your fire, and how lovely that you are sending copies of your picture to your prison pals. I’m sure they will love to see it. It’s so amazing. We’ve had snow on the ground since Wednesday, it’s just hard to wrap my mind around but YOU, in Tallahassee having this cold weather! And you even got snow! And “some people” don’t believe in climate changes! Ahem… Enjoy your fire while it’s cold enough to use it. It’s supposed to be in the 50’s here by Monday and into the 60’s through the week. I’m enjoying the snow while we have it!!! Stay warm sweet pea! 🙂

  3. Blessings on you all in this forthcoming year.

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