Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions for an Ordinary Life

All practice is the practice of making a turn in a different direction. Toward one thing and away from another; the particulars in any given situation don't matter, because you always know the right way. A different way. With practice, you get better at turning.

This is my practice. It's not anything special you need to learn. It is not some new information you neet to get. It is nothing you haven't heard before. It is just a turn you might not yet have made, or made again, and again, and again. A turn toward intimate engagement with the life you already have.

Fulfillment derives not from lofty achievements, but from ordinary feats. It arrives not once in a lifetime, but every moment of the livelong day.

Attention is the most concrete expression of love. What we pay attention to thrives. What we do not pay attention to withers and dies. What will you pay attention to today?

But we do neither: we never fail, and we never succeed. We are not the designers of our lives. Life is the designer of us. Life is vast and grand, intelligent, clever, and completely unknowable. It always has the last word. It is the last word. Life interrupts us when we are at our most self-assured. Life diverts us when we are hellbent on going elsewhere. Life arrives in a precise and yet unplanned sequence to deliver exactly what we need in order to realize our greatest potential. The delivery is not often what we would choose, and almost never how we intend to satisfy ourselves, because our potential is well beyond our limited, ego-bound choices and self serving intentions.

Every bit of life comes with instructions, when we are attentive enough to notice.

Every life is a love story, but few of us know what love is until the story is nearly over.

Happiness is not a science, an art or an outcome. It can't be qualified, procured or consumed. It's not invented, but comes naturally made from mud, honeysuckle, pitted olives, and doting grand dads...it's what we are when we are utterly ourselves in unaffected ease.

Happiness is simple. Everything we do to find it is complicated.

I never ask myself if it’s worth it, and that’s how I know it is.

I went because the nights are numbered and I do not know the count.

Love is what we are, when we drop all the things that stand in the way.

Meditation is misunderstood as something you envision in your head, when in fact it is something to be seen with your own eyes. What you begin to see is that the place where you thought your life occurred - the cave of rumination and memory, the cauldron of anxiety and fear - isn't where your life takes place at all. Those mental recesses are where pain occurs, but life occurs elsewhere, in a place we are usually too preoccupied to notice, too distracted to see: right in front of our eyes. The point of meditation is to stop making things up and see things as they are.

...Quite the narration in your head, even for a moment, and see for yourself that life is life, and not one minute of it is a retelling or a foretelling. Some things happen; some things don't. That's what makes it all worth seeing, no matter where it goes or how it ends. There is no spinmeister steering it all to a forgone conclusion.

The world doesn't need another wanderlusting soul seeker. The world needs a homemaker - me - to make my home within it.

True faith is not hard at all. It is soft in its resilience, yielding in its certitude — the vehicle for absolute grace.

When we liberate ourselves from the idea of parenting success, we liberate our children from failure, all without accomplishing a single thing.

Who was your teacher? He hadn't studied with that teacher; he'd read the books. I didn't know the answer I was looking for when I asked the question, but I do now.
A book may teach, but is not a teacher.
A teacher may find fame, but a teacher is not a celebrity.
A teacher comes from a line of teachers and completes a length of training that he or she freely admits is never complete.
A teacher is rarely found and yet astonishes you with his or her complete availability.
A teacher doesn't ask much of you -- not your life, not your loyalty, and not a high fee for a once-in-a-life-time opportunity.
A teacher waits.

You have to step through the gate, the false barrier of your critical mind, to see all the ways we habitually reject the very place our lives have landed us. And then, we have to stop plotting an escape. That’s what practice is for: staying put.