In Praise of Trees – Rabindranath Tagore

Tree of Life, Audubon Park. August 2016.
Tree of Life, Audubon Park. August 2016. Photo: MBuffett

“O profound, silent tree, by restraining valour with patience, you revealed creative power in its peaceful form. Thus we come to your shade to learn the art of peace, to hear the word of silence; weighed down with anxiety, we come to rest in your tranquil blue-green shade, to take into our souls life rich, life ever juvenescent, life true to earth, life omni-victorious.”  ~From ‘In Praise of Trees’, by Rabindranath Tagore

Hope and Fear

Bastille Vault, Canal St Martin, Paris. September 2015. Photo: MBuffett
Bastille Vault, Canal St Martin, Paris. September 2015. Photo: MBuffett

“One of the classic Buddhist teachings on hope and fear concerns what are known as the eight worldly dharmas. These are four pairs of opposites–four things that we like and become attached to and four things that we don’t like and try to avoid. The basic message is that when we are caught up in the eight worldly dharmas, we suffer.

First, we like pleasure; we are attached to it. Conversely, we don’t like pain. Second, we like and are attached to praise. We try to avoid criticism and blame. Third, we like and are attached to fame. We dislike and try to avoid disgrace. Finally, we are attached to gain, to getting what we want. We don’t like losing what we have.
According to this very simple teaching, becoming immersed in these four pairs of opposites – pleasure and pain, praise and blame, fame and disgrace, and gain and loss – is what keeps us stuck in the pain of samsara.
We might feel that somehow we should try to eradicate these feelings of pleasure and pain, gain and loss, praise and blame, fame and disgrace. A more practical approach is to get to know them intimately, see how they hook us, see how they color our perception of reality, see how they aren’t all that solid. Then the eight worldly dharmas  become the means for growing wiser as well as kinder and more content.”
-from Comfortable With Uncertainty, by Pema Chodron

Bodichitta: The Heart of Everyday Life

I-10 East, New Orleans to Mobile. August 2015. Photo: MBuffett
I-10 East, New Orleans to Mobile. August 2015. Photo: MBuffett

Even ordinary people like us with hang-ups and confusion have this mind of enlightenment called bodhichitta. An analogy for bodhichitta  is the rawness of a broken heart. This is our link with all those who have ever loved. This genuine heart of sadness can teach us great compassion. It can humble us when we are arrogant and soften us when we are unkind. It awakens us when we prefer to sleep and pierces through our indifference. This continual ache of the heart broken open is a blessing that when accepted fully can be shared with all.

The openness and warmth of bodhichitta is in fact our true nature and condition. Even when our neurosis feels far more basic than our wisdom, even when we’re feeling most confused and hopeless, bodhichitta – like the open sky – is always here, undiminished by the clouds that temporarily cover it.
-from Comfortable With Uncertainty by Pema Chodron

Love Lifts Me

Amer Palace, Jaipur Rajasthan, India. March 2011. Photo: MBuffett
Amer Palace, Jaipur Rajasthan, India. March 2011. Photo: MBuffett



The birds’ favorite songs

You do not hear,

For their most flamboyant music takes place

When their wings are stretched

Above the trees

And they are smoking the opium

Of pure freedom.

It is healthy for the prisoner

To have faith

That one day he will again move about

Wherever he wants,

Feel the wondrous gift of life —

Less structured,

Find all wounds, debts stamped canceled,


I once asked a bird,

“How is it that you fly in this gravity

Of darkness?”

She responded,

“Love lifts



Don’t Go Back To Sleep

Sunrise, The Backwaters of Kerala, India. March 2011.
Dawn, The Backwaters of Kerala, India. March 2011.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about.

Ideas, language, even the phrase each other doesn’t make any sense.

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back-and-forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch. The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.

Awaken My Soul … In Paris

PONT SAINT-MICHEL, PARIS September 2013. Photo: MBuffett
DAWN, PONT SAINT-MICHEL, PARIS September 2013. Photo: MBuffett


“This first glance of a soul which does not yet know itself is like dawn in the heavens; it is the awakening of something radiant and unknown.”

―From Les Miserables  by Victor Hugo

Warrior Status. Time To Grow Up.

Tibetan Prayer Wheel, McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala India, March 2012. Photo: MBuffett

Those who train wholeheartedly in awakening … are called warriors – not warriors who kill but warriors of nonaggression … They are willing to cut through personal reactivity and self-deception. A warrior accepts that we can never know what will happen to us next. This not-knowing is part of the adventure. It’s also what makes us afraid.

Wherever we are, we can train as a warrior… Our tools are sitting meditation, tonglen, slogan practice, and cultivating limitless qualities of loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity.

The training offers no promise of happy endings. Rather this “I” who wants to find security – who wants something to hold onto – will finally learn to grow up. If we find ourselves in doubt that we are up to being a warrior-in-training, we can contemplate this question: “Do I prefer to grow up and relate to life directly, or do I choose to live and die in fear?”

-from Comfortable With Uncertainty By Pema Chodron 

Leaving hOMe Today

Yesterday my students gave me a sweet send off. Then after scurrying all day doing last minute prep for the trip, I was grateful to be able to attend Grace’s strong vinyasa practice at the studio. I needed it. I am blessed to be a yoga student and a yoga teacher in Fairhope. I love Yoga Birds and I am proud of what is has become and what is yet to come. I have so many new friends through yoga. And really this is what its all about. Grace talked last night about ‘plugging in’ to our bodies (physically and mentally). And that when we do this, we inevitably become more aware of everything around us, ultimately reconnect with our innate compassion, and then all of our actions reflect that. Did I mention that I LOVE yoga and being a yoga student? I feel prepared in body mind and spirit for this journey to to the ‘Motherland’. I offer a huge thanks to everyone who is supporting me in making it a reality. All Love, Melanie
– YogiPod posting with iPhone


YogiPod Blog: PEACE DOGS!

My grandmother would call Bear and Reggie (my beloved rescue dogs, and two of the main characters in my own play of life) joyfully rambunctious. At leash time, which happens twice a day, they literally lose their ever-loving minds with excitement. This morning was no different. They were swirling around me in circles, drooling uncontrollably, appearing more like ‘hyper-kinetic swaths and swooshes of Black and Gold’ than the ‘good boys’ I constantly brag on. If I try to move around with the intention of catching one to place his leash on—it just creates more chaotic energy and I too am chasing my tail in tiny tight circles in the living room. This dance can be fun (occasionally) but only to a certain degree. Most of the time it is not a pretty sight to behold. Back to the daily dog walk…I have learned that if I become super earthy in my feet, stand with Mountain Pose awareness in my legs, initiate a few mindful Ujjayi breaths, and connect with my own center still point, the dogs come and sit at my feet and allow me to leash them. I now realize that this desired sequence of events is not random (as if it’s all just a game of luck-not), and that I can, through a set of sequential actions recreate the scenario day after day. This is yoga off the mat! I am grateful for daily my yoga practice on the mat that helps me to remember my center, connect with it, be still within it, allow and observe the natural course of things to unfold, and then to respond skillfully. When movement and action originate from that place of stillness and clarity, then I am operating from a level of oneness with Nature. The dogs feel it, I feel it, and we are literally connected by it. Now I can’t wait to get on my mat to practice it! PEACE DOGS!

Time Zones

I came across this passage in morning reading about Centering Prayer which is an ancient Christian Prayer form that comes from Catholic tradition. I just love it when teachings from the religion of my birth and teachings of yoga and meditation intersect in sheer oneness and beauty.

The Greek Fathers distinguished between chronos and chairos. Chronos is chronological time: the steady flow of minutes, hours, days, and years. It moves along relentlessly, with steady, unflagging pace –no matter what is going on. It is totally equalitarian, flat, unvarying. Chairos is the time of grace, the fullness of the present moment, the all that is now. Each moment has its own uniqueness, its own fullness, its own quality. [Through methods of meditation and Centering Prayer we will more quickly) graduate into a life of chairos, a life that is filled with luminous Presence, great peace, a constancy in joy…–M Basil Pennington, O.C.S.O