It’s not always easy to be with what is, especially when we’d like things to be different. Living in a world of conflict and chaos is hard. We get busy, distracted, frustrated, angry, sad, maybe even hopeless. Instead, we might try being present with what is right here, now, within ourselves and our own lives. Contentment is a state that we can cultivate with open hearted mindfulness, acceptance (seeing things for what they are), and gratitude. When we begin to see the essence of who we are and the things that matter in our life (like relationships, pets, nature and beauty) and have gratitude, we elicit a sense of peace and ease in the present moment apart from any external events. By living with contentment we can experience inner peace and harmony in all aspects of our lives. Is contentment just a form of spiritual bypassing? I don’t think so.

Contentment really does help us live in a difficult world. In fact, I believe that a true core of inner contentment, where we are at peace with ourselves, allows us to act in the world with discernment, wise judgement, and clarity of thought. We can then respond to life from a balanced center of being and with kindness of heart. Just imagine if everyone lived in this space. We can have inner peace and contenment as our ground of being and still desire and work for change. Perhaps this is the only way that we can create change.

The sanskrit word for contentment is santosha. Santosha just so happens to be the name of the retreat center we are going to for our new “Inner Peace Retreat” in June. Taking time for yourself may feel like self- indulgence when we live in a world of conflict. However, I believe it’s one of the wisest and most responsible acts that we can do. “Inner peace creates world peace”! You are invited to join us this June.

Raindrops on Roses

The day was dark and I found my self alone on the path by the river. In fact I saw no one out during my hour and a half walk.  The raindrops felt like tears in my heart. Then I stopped to be present with this rose bush and its raindrops.

One of my favorite practices is to stop, look and listen, instead of rushing and passing by the miracles around me. I find that when I really get still, drop my agendas and lean into the present moment, I get clarity and ease. In the spaciousness that happens I open to something new and walk away with such gratitude, peace and profound joy.

I recognized the softness of the water, and the tender flow of rain. I felt this through my whole being and gave thanks for the reminder to soften and flow, and to release my desire for control. Just to be present here and now, and to respond with love to uncertainty and chaos.

One thing I know for sure…. Love is the answer!
And Trust, Faith & Surrender

“Nature’s Promise,” Kittery Point Maine, photo by Susan 3/21/2020

Ten years ago our daughter Cada was lying in a hospital bed hooked up to every life support possible. She had the rarest case of anthrax.

One night Cada was surrounded by nurses and doctors who were trying to get her extreme hypotension (crashing blood pressure) under control. We were told that she would not make it through the night. This was the second time that we had been told such a thing. The first was at our local hospital, when her doctor looked at us dejectedly and said that there was nothing they could do and that Cada would not make it through the night. Luckily, it was still early afternoon, and with a quick meeting of specialists and finally an open bed at Mass General, she was out of there!  We got her to MGH with hopes of a miracle. It was all quite surreal.

So there we were at MGH. The plaque as you enter the Medical Intensive Care Unit says that family is welcome here. More than welcomed, we were considered integral to the team of care and we all worked together to save our daughter’s life. Several weeks into Cada’s ICU stay came that night when we were told again, “We are so sorry but …..”

Holy shit! What? We are here at one of the best hospitals in the world and they are telling us again that our daughter would not make it through the night. Could this really be happening?

One nurse told me that there are times when you just have to let go. Yup, but this was no time for letting go!  However, it was a time for surrendering to the present moment. There is a big difference.  We surrendered, accepting, and feeling the crisis we were in. We prayed, asking for a greater force and power of love to be with us, guide us and nourish us. Our family, including me, our son and my husband, stood in the hall holding hands and embracing Cada’s spirit that emanated from her crowded hospital room. We surrendered to what was, to a higher power, universal love and the highest good. Then our son began drawing Cada’s organs clear & healthy. And we all began a list of how we envisioned Cada living in the future. I had posted a picture of her dancing, so that the medical professionals would know this woman as vibrant and alive. We called our loved ones and friends for support, and we hugged and held each other in spirit in her room that night. And with Grace a miracle happened. One of the doctors had gone home and much later called and said, “I’ve got an idea, I’m coming back in”.  She and the pulmonary specialist worked with Cada’s ventilator, figuring out how to get oxygen to her lungs. Through love, dedication, caring, and great skill and action a shift happened!

Days, weeks, months even a year later Cada continued to recover. She is now alive, vibrant, loving and living well. I thank God, our friends, our family and our daughter’s strong will and spirit. I thank the nurses, doctors, technicians and staff for their tremendous dedication. By the way, the nurse who suggested I let go, became one of our strongest allies. We are so appreciative of the medical providers’ vigilant watch, long hours of care, loving kindness, and the respect, dignity and worth given to us as a family.

Now, today, we are ALL in the new reality of Covid -19 together.

May we accept and surrender to the present moments.
May the lives of medical professionals, food workers, government leaders and all others working to help us, be held safely in love.
May their hands be blessed.
May we hold faith.
May we trust in a brighter future.
May we be kind and generous to one another.
May we treat each other with respect.

God bless us all, each and every one of us.
No exceptions!

With light, love and blessings,


Contemplate the Beauty of Spring

Find a comfortable place in nature to sit or stand. Take a moment to connect to the earth and feel the support beneath you. Let your awareness be with the space around you, the air and the expansive sky. Breathe in the fresh air.  Be present. Using all your senses, allow your awareness to focus on something in your environment: the flow of the river, the birds in migration, the sunlight glistening, whatever draws your attention. Let your attention rest in contemplation for 5-20 minutes. 

What reflections or revelations do you have?

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of the birds, the ebb and flow of the tides, the folded bud ready for the Spring. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and Spring after the Winter.”

Rachel Carson

Lovingkindness for Lily

All sentient beings need love! Lily was one of these beautiful beings.

We met her in Esperanza on Vieques Island  in Puerto Rico before the devastating hurricane Maria savagely swept the island later that year. Vieques is the land of remote beaches, great snorkeling spots, Mosquito Bay, a bioluminescent bay with dinoflagellates aka (dinos) that burst into a brilliant shiny blue light with any agitation of the water, an amazing 350 year old ceiba tree, roosters rising early and debris of weapons from the US Navy testing bomb range.

A couple thousand horses roam the island freely and seem to survive on their own, although some are branded, owned and left to fend for themselves. The horses will come right into your yard but typically are not interested in interacting with people. If you leave food for them they don’t bother with it and if you approach they walk away.  They coexist but take care of themselves. However water can be scarce and the owners of the house we rented kept an old bath tub outside in the back yard filled with water for the horses to come and drink.

We first noticed the white horse feeding in the field and saw her limp as she moved. One day she tentatively came to drink at the tub and was quickly nipped by another mare. Lily showed signs of scarring and abuse from other horses, a previous owner or perhaps both. We watched her for days and came to call her Lily. She tried to fit in with the other horses in the field, to get along and clearly wanted to be a part of the herd. I asked a local woman why they were shunning and mean to her, and she said that Lily was new to the field. Our hearts were filled with compassion as we watched her limping and surviving day to day.

One night my husband and I sat quietly and practiced Lovingkindness for Lily for over an hour. I also spent time sending healing love through an energy practice called Attunement. The next day we woke, had breakfast and went off to a beach. Upon return I stepped out of the car and my husband went towards the house. Lily strode up the hill from the back yard and gently placed her face within inches of mine and stayed for a moment before proceeding over to my husband and sweetly standing with her face close to his. We were astonished. Lily knew we were present with her the night before and sending her love and compassion.

I don’t know if Lily made it through the hurricane Maria. I wouldn’t expect she could have but I think of her often and the thanks that she gave to us for sharing our love. I hope that one day we will return and by a miracle see Lily again. If Lily has passed I wish her the most beautiful afterlife or rebirth possible.

In loving memory of Lily,