“When there’s nothing left to burn, you must set yourself on fire.” -Stars

thaaat’s pretty much how I felt when in my first (and only, as of yet) 10-day silent Vipassana meditation retreat in Kanchanaburi, Thailand. It’s not for the faint of heart, such a retreat, but I think anyone who has considered doing one should probably do it, and most everyone could benefit from a little meditation. This was of the more challenging and intense things I’ve done in life, and I’ve jumped out of airplanes, ha! Everything comes up if you close your eyes and breathe and get quiet for long enough. Every emotional disturbance and incarnation of self I’ve had and been, every judgment, delusion, and fear, every sadness, all the grief I was running from just being out there… but oh also haikus and tattoo ideas and imaginative stories about the people meditating near me, and did I mention the back-up plan of desperation to break the hell out of this weird cult and hitch-hike my way back to Bangkok?

but there were moments when all of the noise and desperation inside settled, and one of small eternity when I felt a cathedral’s worth of spaciousness within me, with all of the people in my life who love me cheering me on, and I still remember emerging from the hall that afternoon to sunshine and tropical life around me, and the clouds and bright blue sky were so fucking perfect I cried because I knew everything was going to be all right.




Meditation was a natural component of the Anusara yoga practice I started in 2007. I studied and delved in a little more in college, and co-facilitated a “Meditation, Mysticism, and the Mind” class at UC Berkeley in 2011. Somewhere along the line, Buddhist thought and practice started to really strike me as resonant, and I’ve practiced and studied to varying degrees this last decade. My curiosity has drawn me to temples in Thailand and Cambodia, monasteries in Nepal, and the Buddhist pilgrimage beginning in the latter’s Lumbini, all the way down to the Bodhi Tree in Bodhgaya, India.

But the real work is always at home, as I’m plugged in my real life. can I commit to showing up to sitting down, tuning in, and staying with what arises? especially on my busiest days, when I need the slowing down the most!


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