One path to joy

I have never met anyone I consider a stranger.
—His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet

After years of attending a meditation group and hearing and reading the profound words of those who have come before me, my heart is beginning to open to the fact that we are not strangers, that we are all known to one another—connected by our common humanity, experience, suffering, and joy. I’ve walked in your shoes and you in mine.

What prevents us from thinking that way? Fear of being rejected by others? Fear of being known? Fear of accepting that we are more alike than different?

All I know is that when I can be fully present with others, known and unknown, and can reach out in kindness and compassion, I feel joy—and that feels good.



To be heard deeply and fully is
the greatest gift one could ever receive.

To listen with one’s heart is
the greatest gift one could ever give.

7 words

knocks, then
comes in
and stays

Fearing a future
without ones
who care

No one
to pat a hand,

and do with kindness
needs doing

No family
or nearby friends
What then?

The only path~
love and give

Loving well?

We often think and talk about being in love and being loved. But what about how well we love? And what is loving well, anyway?

Maybe it’s setting the intention to give others the benefit of the doubt and to be caring, thoughtful, and kind, as in . . .

  • For people I know, am I able to walk in their shoes so I can empathize with their experience?
  • For strangers, am I patient enough to create a backstory to put their actions into a loving perspective?
  • When someone says or does something that annoys or frustrates me, am I able to admit to myself that I must say and do those things too?
  • Do I take the time to think about what makes other people happy and do what I can to further their happiness?

Obviously, loving well is a lot to take on and a lot to strive toward . . . but that wonderful, open-hearted feeling we get when we’re successful is worth it.

What goes around comes around

For it is in giving that we receive.
—Francis of Assisi is based on the concept of reusing good stuff instead of filling up our landfills with usable items. But its magic is providing us with an opportunity to feel good by doing good—giving away for free to appreciative community members what we no longer want or need. It’s all so positive: We share the commitment of not tossing stuff in the garbage and the open heartedness we feel of offering for free something of use to someone else.

Through the mystery of the Internet, the concept is easy and works well. You join an email list at for neighborhoods where you live or work. To give something away, you post an offer, people respond, you decide who gets it, and they pick it up from you. To ask for something, you post a request, your request is answered, and you pick it up.

The kinds of things we have given away:

  • kitchen items
  • computer paraphernalia
  • fabric, artwork
  • clothing
  • magazines
  • furniture

What we have received:

  • ping pong table
  • food dehydrator, slow cooker, egg steamer, gas grill, bread machine, juicer
  • leather couch, corner cabinet, recliner, leather ottomans

And the beauty of it is that when the time is right, you can put what you received back on freecycle to be reused!

It truly is what goes around … and around … and around, comes around … and around … and around.