Broken Crayons

Broken Crayons

Our governmental institutions are broken.

Our economy is broken.

Our healthcare system is broken.

So many of us are grief-stricken with loss.


What does optimism mean now?

In this time of political chaos?


Even pre-school kids know

those broken crayons can still color.

We could still create a masterpiece.

We could call it, “America the Beautiful.”


Mistakes are the golden threads in the tapestry.

When mistakes hurt someone, regret it.

A heart with a sky full of guilt can help.

A thimble full of shame can kill.

Make amends if you can.

Ask for forgiveness always.

And be sure to forgive yourself.

Learn what forgiveness feels like.

Forgiveness feels like peace.

Like “I’m done, here.”

And when you’re done, let it be.

A mistake held onto sparks resentment.

All wrong turns are eventually right turns.

Mistakes are the stepping stones to perfection.

Tending the Garden

Pam works outside the zendo windows weeding the front
garden; me inside meditating and writing, working
with the “mind weeds” that Suzuki Roshi talked about
so fondly, almost 50 years ago.

Roshi saw mind weeds as a treasure. I’m not sure
Pam would agree — though, they did get her outside today
under the big blue sky on this cool summer’s day; and
perhaps that’s the treasure.

One time, a retreatant asked Pam, “Do you get up at four
in the morning to meditate, too?” Pam smiled and replied,
“Oh no, I work on the outside, Joe works on the inside.”
That partnership is the secret heart of Loose Leaf Hollow.

Like rust, weeds never sleep. Unless you do the weeding,
the constant practice of weeding, you can kiss your roses
or your soul goodbye. So, you reading this, ask yourself:
What have you done with the one garden entrusted to you?

A Soulful Prayer

May you tend



veils your Heart.

May you be



your difficulties.

And may you


Great Kindness

to all sentient beings.

Black Crows

Every time I went to the Homewood Theatre in the 50s
to see a movie, I would always buy
a box of Black Crows.
There was something about that perfect blend
of bitter and sweet that attracted me,
even as a young boy. This morning there were
three black crows pecking away on the road ahead of me
as I walked past the hermitage.
They flew away, cawing, as I got near
and then they’d land on the road again, a bit further on.
By the time I reached the end of the road,
at the White Cottage, they flew off south
into the morning mist that shrouds
the knobs, and you and me, in such bittersweet mystery.