During the pandemic, I’ve noticed most people have a default response to our new dilemma. When something startles my friend, Sue, she lashes out in anger. Luckily, she’s usually mellow and is rarely caught off-guard. The late psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross taught us that people react to the prospect of death in five typical ways: denial,…

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As a child I felt light and free, as though weightless. I bounded and bounced wherever I wished, up trees, across streams, under water. At the time, I didn’t realize how unique and temporary this physical elation would be. Although I’ve maintained a normal weight throughout my life, I remember when, in junior high school,…

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Now in my seventies, I notice friends and family members in the same age range making far reaching decisions that may shorten their lives. When I’m flummoxed and plunged into distress by the actions of people I love, often not open to outside help, what resources can I turn to? I’m fortunate to have Buddhist…

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Last month, I dyed everything on my bed red. This desire came over me in a rush. All at once, I dumped bright dye in the washing machine, followed by sheets, pillowcases, a bedspread, shirts, nightgowns, pajamas and underwear. My eyes danced with the visual feast that emerged. Every night I wallowed in varieties of…

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A few days ago, I squatted next to my four-year old neighbor from down the street, Toby, as he sat in his mom’s jogging stroller on the sidewalk. I asked a typical adult question, “Do you think Santa’s coming this year?” Solemn, he silently nodded. I only saw him every few months and we didn’t…

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By Kaethe Kauffman. Re-printed with permission. Every ten days or so, I spoke to my spiritual counselor and she often advised me to deepen my gratitude. In our land of plenty and at a time of personal financial comfort, I tried feeling sincerely grateful for food and shelter, things I normally took for granted. Slowly, in…

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Once a week, I buy a cucumber. I hadn’t realized this fact until the pandemic, when I began to order food from a grocery store for delivery to my home. This forced me, for the first time, to draw up a list of food I required: one cucumber, four potatoes, one head of romaine lettuce…

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By Kaethe Kauffman. Re-printed with permission. In October, our thoughts turn to those spirits who may still roam among us. Other cultures didn’t try to keep these phantasms away, but encouraged them to stay with us, believing them to be ancestors who could help us from the beyond. The Standing Gong from North Ambrym Island…

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I’ve fallen in love with Zoom and other electronic meetings. Most people I know use this novel medium for group gatherings now. I’ve come to admire our collective frontier gumption. As we’ve felt our way toward this new communal experience, we’ve become explorers.  With more people using digital get-togethers, I’ve become delighted to see us…

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I’ve never envied my older sister, Marlene, until a handsome seal fell in love with her and not me. While kayaking in the Queen Charlotte Islands in western Canada, a group of friendly seals suddenly surrounded us.  After five or ten minutes, the one pictured above stayed near while the others wandered off. The seal…

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