Dear Earth, I was awake in the night.

After a heated conversation I was stuck awake with my brain fizzing until 3 a.m. Either that, or it was the big chocolate caramel brownie, and I’d rather give up triggering conversations than sugar so… I was triggered into a complicated combination of thoughts and feelings, including whether I was safe, and whether I was Read More

Dear Earth, why bother?

This morning I gave a talk here at the temple called ‘Introduction to Buddhism: Why Bother?’. In it I explained why I (sometimes) prioritise spiritual practice over watching Netflix. Life is often a whole lot of bother. Most of us are already stretched. It would be better for you, dear Earth, if I made my Read More

Dear Earth, we tie ourselves in knots.

We have a furry blanket to snuggle under when watching TV, and when it’s not over our knees we fold it and rest it on the back of the sofa. Roshi, pictured, has deemed this a fine place for a morning nap. This reminds me of butterflies, charging up by spreading their wings and basking Read More

Dear Earth, I am not the forest.

From here I can see the buds on the naked magnolia tree. They tip every branch like a frozen flame – silvery white, small, quiet. Each of them is busy gestating a single bloom. I’d love to be the whole tree. I’d love to exude all that sweet perfume. I’d love to be frothy with Read More

Dear Earth, gently does it.

Today is my last day off before work begins again. As usual, parts of me have ambitious plans for the year. Become super-rich-and-famous, single-handedly save the world – that kinda thing. My word for 2020 has been travelling with me – a constant companion in a way no previous word has been. It crouches delicately Read More

Dear Earth, what six things do you need from us in 2020?

One. You need us to enjoy you. You need us to lean into your soft brilliant mosses and watch the flamingo-pink cyclamen pirouette up from your dark skin. You need us to be wowed by your star-blanket and your talking trees and your luminous deep sea creatures. You need us to know that your raindrops Read More

Dear Earth, I’ve got a New Year’s gift for you.

I’m going to offer you a daily pause. Rituals contain magic. They don’t have to be complicated. There are only two rules – that they are repeated over and over, and that they are inspired by love. I already have a daily nembutsu practice – ten minutes of calling out to the Buddha of Infinite Read More

Dear Earth, help me to give up resolutions.

I’ve always been a sucker for self-improvement schemes. I have hope that if only I was cleverer, a tad more famous, a little bit thinner (etc.) that life would be perfect. This means I get strong urges to better myself, especially at this time of year. There’s nothing wrong with aspirations. If I didn’t have Read More

Dear Earth, my word for 2020 is…

Gentle. The gentle of my cat’s soft paw when he places it on my cheek in the mornings, patting me awake. The gentle of tucking a sweet-pea seedling into the duvet of the earth. The gentle of receiving sharp anger, hot jealousy and abysmal mistakes with sweet tenderness. You know gentle, darling Earth. You know Read More

Dear Earth, sometimes we need naps.

At the weekend I gave out leaflets to a few hundred people and was refused by a few hundred more. Twenty of my Buddhist colleagues were sitting behind me in meditation posture on the wet city pavements. We were there to encourage people to ‘be kind to the Earth at Christmas’, without scrimping on any Read More

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