I just got done teaching one of my weekly meditation classes on Zoom. It’s so warm, wonderful, and healing. When I’m teaching, I’m meditating along with the group. It’s a refuge, calming and connecting — taking care of others and being taken care of at the same time.

With everything that’s going on in the world — the war in Israel and Gaza, the climate catastrophe, the political situation in the United States that’s so disturbing — there’s only so much a human being can do to metabolize the chaos. That’s why I’m doubling down on teaching meditation as a volunteer and setting aside time to read and write poetry. I taught classes three days in a row this week, and I loved it!

I’ve written often about how volunteering is one of the biggest things you can do to boost your well-being. Of course, you need to have enough mindful self-compassion practice in place that you don’t burn out. You can’t pour from an empty cup. But once you feel resourced enough, volunteering is a great way to make yourself and others feel good — whether it’s doing errands for a neighbor, volunteering at a shelter or food bank, or just calling someone you know who is alone.

Volunteer teaching and poetry go hand in hand for me. I read poems, mine and others, at the end of each guided meditation. It’s a perfect dessert after a delicious meditation experience. During the pandemic I began writing poetry, but it’s only in the last month that I’ve started to submit poems for publication. I’ve had a couple of my poems published in the weekly online version of The Avocet Journal of Nature Poems, and I have a poem coming out in their winter print issue.

Part of my vision for this year is to get organized so I can submit poems to all the journals that might publish them. And producing my own poetry book is on the horizon for 2024 or 2025!

I write poems wherever I am and whenever I feel inspired.

Here are two poems set in Idaho, and a third reflective prose piece set in San Diego:

Moon Friend

As a young child
I would marvel that the moon followed me,
like a secret friend
out the car window
Tonight, in crackling frozen air
we drove up the deserted road
eyes peeled for elk and deer
The moon was a search light
In an instant
for a few long breathless seconds
mountain reached up
and covered the moon
What a gift
When the moon
With the world upside down
I’m so glad I can count on the moon to accompany me
Like a beloved old friend


Bright chalk white
Mountain peaks covered in snow
Clouds hanging low
I pull over to visit the horses and cows
Puffs of steam escaping my mouth
Six shaggy tawny cows are munching a bale of pale green hay in the
center of the pasture
Not a care in the world
Two mahogany hued bulls are cuddled up on their round bellies
Chins resting on the ground
Bangs fringing their soft brown eyes
Lola’s velvety chestnut body is near the split rail fence
A white stripe from her ears to her snout graces her regal head
Seeing snowcapped mountains and magnificent creatures living their
lives, which know nothing of war, is essential
To create a refuge in my mind
Where I can release my weary load
Rest it right there in the cold
And be better for it.

Sunday Reflection

Climbing out from under the crumpled weight of the war, my feet touch the floor
and Madeline lets me know she needs to go out into the backyard to do her
business. When we old gals got to go, we got to go. I’m glad though, to break
through into another dimension.
While Madeline was finding the perfect spot to squat, under a Western Sycamore
tree, I removed a few snails from bell peppers and Brussels Sprout leaves. I was
thinking about Googling “harvesting Brussels Sprouts” as we were walking back to
the house and I got stopped in my wet tracks by a white flower, petals almost
translucent, covered with illuminated beads of water. Oh! Wow!
My “Picture This” app told me what I was beholding is a Bearded Iris. My God,
the glory in this unruly garden, planted long ago and not tamed or named by me.
There are Scarlet Passion Flowers trying to push out their blooms through the
hedge of yellow Jerusalem Sage. Big wild patches of Alstroemeria, even a
random Gladiola popping up here and there.
I’m flooded with gratitude — the good kind of flooding. Everything is so drenched,
and the sun is creating technicolor. Before we head inside, I snap a few photos
— tea roses bedecked with rain drops, the Bearded Iris, Scarlet Passion Flowers,
the Sycamore, only releasing a few of its giant leaves.
Wishing you the kind of Sunday that fortifies you for the coming week.

Some of the other tools I’m using to manage my heart and mind in this time of profound chaos are binge-watching TV with my husband, watching The Voice with my daughter, and devouring novels. I also have my sights set on getting back to weightlifting and Pilates now that my body has healed from a recent injury. All these activities fall under the broad category of self-care — anything that you enjoy that is good for you! You might start 2024 by jotting down a list of every activity that brings you joy, then setting an intention to choose an item or two each day – whatever can reasonably be done with what you’ve got, where you are, to show yourself some love.

What are you doing to be your own best friend in 2024?

I’d love to hear from you.

Please share your thoughts. . .