Heart of Life/Coeur de la Vie: Day/Jour I

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Heart of Life/Coeur de la Vie: Day/Jour I

Good morning!

It already feels like autumn here in Paris. Nice to sit down and start the day and the week with a few words to you, my fellow retreat participants.

Today, pay attention to whatever arises as you go about your activities. Notice the space or absence of space that you feel or don’t feel — space in the métro or on the bus, on the street, on your bike or in the car, in your kitchen, in the shower… Nothing special, just be attentive to it. What is space, anyway?

Looking forward to reading what you may share here as the day goes on.

By | 2015-10-26T01:16:09+00:00 octobre 26th, 2015|Textes|19 Comments

About the Author:

Enseignante Zen et poète, Sensei Amy “Tu es cela” Hollowell est née et a grandi à Minneapolis, aux Etats-Unis. Arrivée en France en 1981 pour étudier la littérature et l’histoire, elle y est restée, s’installant à Paris, où elle élève ses deux enfants et gagne sa vie en tant que journaliste. The Zen teacher and poet Amy “Tu es cela” Hollowell Sensei was born and raised in Minneapolis, but came to France in 1981 to study literature and history and has lived in Paris ever since, raising her two children and making a living as a journalist.


  1. Lara 27 octobre 2015 at 20 h 15 min - Reply

    How good it is to be so close to you and yet so far away. Here in Luanda every second is an opportunity to pay attention and fell the space.
    Nothing never goes as planned. Luanda is dirty, chaotic, noisy and yet so wild and beautiful. Pacience is a requirement to live here and letting go an obligation. And today, in the midst of all this chaos, I passed by ladies selling fruit on the streets and children playing. All of then were smilling, happy to be here one more day. Their joy was contangious. Later, I arrived at home and while I was wahing my hands, felt the water on my skin. What a blessing it is to have water at home and internet to share this with you!
    Love to all of you

  2. Joa 27 octobre 2015 at 7 h 56 min - Reply

    How beautiful to read here familiar names, all of us scattered around the world and coming together in this practice.
    How beautiful to sit with some of you yesterday night in Paris, as we do every Monday night for many years. I’m always amazed how simple this practice is, how powerful it is, and how it transforms our experiences we encounter in life – the most commun and well as the most sophiticated ones.

    So, I will continue my day rejoycing about the fact that I know we’ll be moving together throughout our daily routines.

    Gassho to all of you!

  3. Beginners Mind 27 octobre 2015 at 4 h 36 min - Reply

    In this continuum of time… Together – Alone with others perception of two dimensions that are hugely increased: Space and Time!
    At the beginning I thought it was just distance, but no as there was also closeness. Time was a surprise.

    Day two as I woke up in the middle of the night nothing better than some sitting 🙂

  4. Tiago 27 octobre 2015 at 0 h 37 min - Reply

    I have started the day thinking « this is probably the worst week to be doing a retreat ».
    The day has passed and it was a day full of life: as if it was seen through a different filter which made the colours brighter, the sounds clearer, the emotions deeper. Four seasons in a day – work, relationships, death, night out. Simply, I have actually been living. Everyday is full; if only we could look and see it for what it is and not for what we would like it to be or wish it hadn’t been.
    And we are all together, in the same space, locally, here and there and everywhere living together. Wholeheartedly. Good night.

  5. Hugo 26 octobre 2015 at 23 h 51 min - Reply

    Day one. Always a day one, I say. Back to work after a week off. Feels like I have been away for longer. I have to finish this master’s dissertation. Supervisor is waiting to read and give feedback. Two years went so fast, in this side of the world. Almost time to feed Benji. But that’s okay. He is still sleeping. Around this time of the year, 10 years ago I met Genno Roshi and Amy Sensei. Lisbon. UBP. At the old place. Some deep connection emerged. No words to explain. Driving to work. It feels like kinhin. Be patient with that slow driver ahead. Feeding Benji. So happy and grateful to be at your service, my little big master. We’re in a retreat, you know. Right now. And this is oryoki. He smiles. And opens his mouth for more. And plays, joyfully, with food. Discovering tastes, textures, colors. I’m cleaning next. Samu here. Wife’s birthday. 33. Vegan woodfire pizza at one of the local restaurants. And then churros. It’s your first birthday as a mother. So many people in the avenue. It’s a Monday. Spring’s here. Warm nights. Friends came to our place to make a surprise. We were out dinning. Flowers and almond pie at our doorstep. Smile. Appreciation. Love. Where’s the space, anyway?

    Day 2 already here. Cockatoos. Doves. Magpies. Another warm spring day. Time to bow and go away. Yet, I am here. We are here.

  6. isabel 26 octobre 2015 at 23 h 45 min - Reply

    Boa noite, bonne nuit, good night

    Here in Lisbon between the first moment of awakening with baby Joaquim and now, there has been all sorts of space feeling.
    A total absence of even a sense of space in this crowded cloudy mind, the usual spaced out speedy mind, and fortunately a few minutes of stillness where space gave space to space. Thank you all

  7. zoe 26 octobre 2015 at 23 h 05 min - Reply

    Hi everybody!
    Reading the comments, the space in my chest kept growing. As it did all through the busy day– just because my being was aware of participating in a retreat. And the felt sense of ‘space’ kept shifting, with warmth as a dominant one.
    The mere knowledge of a group experience, albeit from a distance, had sharpened my sense of awareness. Also, there was a quiet and persisting need to be more silent–just to wallow in the space of what was offered by daily events. Such a beautiful day it was with all the autumn colors…
    With a deep bow to all

  8. Manon 26 octobre 2015 at 19 h 54 min - Reply

    Aujourd’hui, méditation à 6:30 avec une amie chère. Les souffles se rejoignent. Dehors, le temps est à la brume. Orange disent les feuilles qui bordent la rivière. A 8 heures, l’hôpital est déjà en effervescence mais au coeur du tourbillon, il y a le calme. Le bruit est plein de silence. Je me sens amoureuse du monde.
    De tout mon coeur.

  9. Chiara-Emma 26 octobre 2015 at 18 h 44 min - Reply

    Feeling more closely connected to the sangha this week is a great help. This afternoon, I took a walk in the woods, and the warms fall colors filled me with energy and gratitude. I would like to share the lines that came to my mind as I reflected about space which, like time, grows smaller as we get older:

    As I stare at the red foliage, I become one with its vibrations.
    The space between the leaves and me vanishes.

    No empty space for the spider
    In no time, it weaves a perfect home and feels safe again.

    No wasted space for the acorn
    As it gradually cracks to grow roots for the majestic oak.

    No space between us all
    Secretly connected through meditation
    Wherever we are.

    WIth love.

  10. Telma 26 octobre 2015 at 18 h 40 min - Reply

    This is my first experience in a retreat like this. This is my first day. I begun as always do, with a sitting moment – meditation i call it. The change of the hour had some consequences in my rythm so the morning sitting moment had long moments of no thoughts or reality, probably i slept seated. I apologize for my english. I’m trying to do my best, as always do but it never seems good because there is always something that makes me feel trapped with lack of space.
    I looked to people in a different way, because i know something they don’t – me and them are in retreat. My breathing is calm, my body is free of tensions, my thoughts are slowly running except when i am in presence of a certain person. This person brings up the worst feelings in me, my body feels tense. I feel there is no space between us. The physical space between us can be wide open but the energetical space shrinks so much that i feel we’re always a small step to shock.
    I try to be compassionate for her and for me but it is difficult with the signs of my body of my breathing of my emotions. I just want to be far away from her. I don’t think i’m a bad person or human being but this shows me that i have a long way in front of me to become a better human Being, to feel with the necessary space wherever i am and with whoever comes around me.
    I feel i live in a space with boundaries i must transform in a more permeable ones so that one day the boundaries disappear but i keep asking: how? What do i have to do more? To have no boundaries, to live in the space of the existence means that eveybody can enter in my « room », in my heart? And how far is not me who is an invasor? How do i know my place in space when my origin is from « no-space »? So many questions, so many fears. My intention with this retreat is to ease my Being and with that bring calm to my existence in society.

    Thank you.

  11. Evi 26 octobre 2015 at 18 h 25 min - Reply

    Since 49 years this bird flutters
    In wide and wild circles
    Even if the gateless gate opens for her
    She keeps singing: gate gate……

    A Palliative Care doctor asked during class: What is life quality for you? I answered: “no matter how inhibited I am, I want to fly all the space that is in accordance to my need”. (A line from the Genjokoan, When the bird’s need is great, the range is large). Therefore yesterday I painted birds for three hours. I learned from Amy to just dare, painting a line. I wanted it to support my death Poem 2015 (above).
    The day started with the news of one dead patient. Sad space, but space. And a yelling oncologist because of me. The second is too narrow for me, yet it is my whole space and means to bear witness to my own helplessness, not to be able to take care for someone else the way she deserves. Sometimes space is narrow.
    I’m afraid of the wide space of Birkenau’s distance between the gate and the last wired fence. Yet I pack the suitcase behind me. Sometimes space is big, but not comfortable.
    Yet, I stand up to my statement: “no matter how inhibited I am, I want to fly all the space that is in accordance to my need”. That is for me to live my life a 100% – in wide, wild circles :).
    Thanks all for your sharing!

    • zoe 27 octobre 2015 at 18 h 35 min - Reply

      Your ‘death poem’ is beautiful. Enters right into the heart.What i saw behind the eyes, was an eagle’s majestic soaring in the sky. Although i have not felt (or been aware of) the size of space in my system, i do hear you. To be aware of narrow space sounds like good news to me: even in the midst of pressure to shut down, you are in contact with the basis of the inner space you talk about. Your definition of life quality, resonates here too.

  12. Tomas 26 octobre 2015 at 13 h 53 min - Reply

    Good afternoon to all. Beautiful space embracing all here in Sarajevo this morning and this afternoon. Feelings of being in the right place, of different flows coming together, of being part of the humanity team, working together for a common good. Also flashes of horror, extreme separation and violence visiting Sarajevo’s exhibit on the Srebrenica massacre this morning before going to work. Again space, space of memory, space of pain, space of catharsis, space of healing, space of sunlight

  13. Ocean of Generosity 26 octobre 2015 at 13 h 50 min - Reply

    Olá a todos, Hello everyone, Bonjour

    How many words are needed to say what we want?
    Used and abused words, they become noise.
    Today I will be aware to the space between the words I say.

  14. Begginers Mind 26 octobre 2015 at 12 h 07 min - Reply

    Good Morning everybody wherever you are!
    5:00 AM Too soon… daylight time savings growing pain.
    6:30 Alarm clock ticking.. Ahh it is time for the sitting time I had planned.
    Oh no, too many wild monkeys… relax, liste to the silence
    Here we are.
    7:15 Feeling replenish. Back to the routine, with just a little bit more of attention 🙂

  15. GEERT 26 octobre 2015 at 11 h 34 min - Reply

    Good morning to all of you ! The sun shines brightly and colors my garden. The wind chimes are dancing on the rhythm of the strokes of moving air. A withering yellow rose with autumn leaves of beech in the background. Putting a lantern with candle light on the grave of my deceased wife this morning. Not knowing how to bridge the gaps I seem to feel… but all the same time yearning to bridge them all… The heart of life of here and now and far beyond. @ work now.

  16. marlene 26 octobre 2015 at 11 h 26 min - Reply

    Bom dia.
    Sun and clouds. Blue sky. People ‘s words as I have coffee:  » Bom dia. Até logo ».
    This is a new day . And the birds are singing now. Blue sky. Sun and clouds…

  17. ceu 26 octobre 2015 at 9 h 04 min - Reply


    a 8.30 je serais dehors, 30 km au sud de Lisbone a rassamblers des legumes et avec vous tout

    space space space

  18. Sophie 26 octobre 2015 at 8 h 24 min - Reply

    Bonjour Hello Bom dia
    to those who share our collective practice this week, those they know they do, those they don’t know they do
    to each of us to all of us sentient being

    as I read the word, it already opens something in « me », beyond me…
    if it opens does it mean that it was closed? I am afraid yes, or at least too thick boundaries

    these arums reminds me of all the wild arums in Portugal

    good morning or good afternoon or good evening to you who read these words, and to you who don’t
    I bow,

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