Monday, November 23, 2015

Expressions to honor and beautify your world: with hand made Japanese silk brocade scrolls

For decades I have been captivated by the beauty and artistic depth of Japanese ideograms (a picture or symbol used in a system of writing to represent a thing or an idea). 

Over the past several years I have been offering Zen Brush calligraphy retreats throughout the region.

I have now been illustrating these ideograms on beautiful hand made Japanese silk brocade scrolls.

Here are some examples of what these beautiful scrolls look like.





These could make beautiful gifts for the holidays, birthdays, weddings, births/baptisms, engagements, or even for yourself. The cost per scroll is $45 plus shipping.

Here are some other ideograms that can be ordered:

Beginner's Mind
Enso (Zen Circle)

If you are interested feel free to call (608.783.2186) or email me at


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Is Forgiveness Always Possible? Or Necessary?

Consider this. 

Sometimes we place too much emphasis on forgiveness. "if you are a good..... you will forgive." 

Now, what if what you are attempting to forgive is in fact un-forgivable? Yes un-forgivable.

I do believe and have experienced that there are things that happen that very possibly are un-forgivable in the human experience. To not forgive these things is OK. It does NOT make you a bad person. 

You see the connotation (synonym) of forgiveness is to absolve, let off the hook, wipe the slate clean. To try to do this with the truly unforgivable is to do violence to your soul. 

Remember the last several utterances of The Christ before he died: "Forgive them Father for they know not what they do." 

Do you see it? 

Even The Christ as he hung bleeding and nailed to the cross had to turn it over. He did not say "I forgive you." This was even too much for Him. So, let yourself off the hook in forcing forgiveness when it just may not be possible or even necessary. 

Turn the forgiveness over to your something larger (God, the universe, the Tao, whatever yours is) If forgiveness is not possible for you (and by the way NO-ONE can define this for you!) then try to have compassion for the offending person. Compassion for the suffering they must live with that brought them to act the way they do.

Leave them with their suffering. There is nothing you can do about it, except to make room for your healing.

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Path of Simply Being: A meditation retreat At Shambhala Mountain Center April 9-12, 2015

Simplifying Meditation: Why Practice? To Wake Up!
By Thomas Roberts
Thomas Roberts leads The Path of Simply Being: A Meditation Retreat, April 9-12, 2015 

These days you hear a great deal about meditation. This kind of meditation, that kind of meditation; all sorts of books describing what it is and what it can do for you. Often meditation is associated with a particular religion or spiritual practice. Let’s clear something up right at the start.
Meditation is not a religion. Meditative/contemplative practices have been part of numerous spiritual practices throughout history. No one owns it.
Meditation is not Prozac. It does not cure or solve anything.
Meditation does not make you a better parent, a better doctor, a better student, help you be less depressed or anxious.
In fact meditation does no-thing at all!

Like everything else that gets exploited, meditation is now neatly packaged for your consumptive desires.
Everybody is touting and selling meditation. Step right up and get yours.
Okay let’s restore some sanity here.
A meditation practice doesn’t help you overcome anything. It just helps you face your life with greater patience, openness and compassion.
If you do meditation for some outcome you’re not doing mindfulness. I’m not sure what you’re doing and it may be beneficial but it is not meditation.
You see, the real practice of meditation has no outcome. You don’t do meditation to get anywhere or achieve anything. If you do, you run the risk of becoming attached to that particular outcome and that interferes with your meditation practice.
So why practice mindfulness?
All the great teachers (Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Toltec, Muslim, Native Peoples) have taught one thing:
The only reason to practice mindfulness is this:
to wake up!!!!

That’s all.

To wake up!

A regular meditation practice simply peels back the layers of self-deception to see things clearly as they truly are. The more you wake up, the more you are able to live your life from an open compassionate heart, and a balanced calm mind; from a deep place of innate wisdom. The benefits of awakening move in all directions throughout all your experiences.
Meditation is the awakening of our entire experience, not just our minds; the awakening of our entire body-mind and its sensory experience. This awakening reduces our fear-based reactions and cultivates our natural ability respond to others and ourselves with great patience, openness and compassion. Our senses become alive with wonder and curiosity for past conditionings and limiting attachments.
So let’s stop all this nonsense of trying to practice meditation for any particular outcome.
It comes down to this: Practice this enduring skill for its own sake, and everything else will take care of itself.
The simple yet profound practice of mindful meditation, whether on a cushion or in a chair, or in a grocery line, or talking with another, just keeps you in an open, balanced, and compassionate place that just makes this a better world.
The Path of Simply Being retreat will be a wonderful experience in developing a meaningful and beneficial meditation practice.
You need not have any prior meditation experience. Or you may wish to attend to deepen or re-kindle your practice.
Hope to see you here at Shambhala!