Heart of Life/Coeur de la vie: Day/Jour III

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Heart of Life/Coeur de la vie: Day/Jour III

What a week so far, so full of life-as-it-is. There are almost 40 of us signed up and participating in this retreat in at least 15 cities in 9 countries on 3 continents. Who knows how many ‘unregistered’ participants there are? Sentient beings are numberless…

Thank you everyone for the precision in recounting your day yesterday. The details large and small make the telling so very vivid and true. We’re there with you!  How lucky we are to be right where we are.

Yesterday, my own day, between the morning and evening meditations at home overlooking my back garden, was filled with errands, appointments, a lunch with dear friends, meetings on Skype, laundry, cooking, dishes to wash. Today it will be mostly devoted to work at the newspaper on the opposite side of Paris. And for the moment no sun in sight.

So we’ve been attentive to space and water, the white and blue elements of buddha and vajra in the Tibetan scheme. Today let’s turn to the earth element, ratna, the yellow family of abundance, fullness, accommodation — as in the above photo, it’s like the beautiful, multi-colored overflow of a vine’s autumn leaves spilling wildly over a gate in the middle of Paris yesterday. But this might manifest for you as the ‘other side’ of the element, as dissatisfaction, poverty, lack, suffocating pride. Pay attention to whatever it is.

So sit down. Even for a minute. Look around you. Look in you. What is earth? What is you? What is abundance? What are you doing today? I can’t wait to read about it.

By | 2015-10-28T10:31:27+00:00 octobre 28th, 2015|Textes|21 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. Patrícia 29 octobre 2015 at 1 h 56 min - Reply

    During the day, I kept noticing all the “yellows” around me. The bus, the sidewalk bricks, a graffiti on the wall, the Autumn leaves, a scarf, the buildings across the street, the high wheel shoes of the woman on the subway, the sugar packet served with the coffee, a pencil, a dog collar, a flying piece of paper, a rail worker jacket… Wow, so much yellow! A universe of yellows unfolding before my eyes! Where did it come from? I realize it has always been here. Just never “saw” it before. While I’m writing this words, a friend sends me email with a photo of the trees and the grounds of the Luxembourg gardens, in Paris, covered in yellow leaves, taken today. No words. Just the pic. Yellow, Earth, Abundance. Without knowing, she’s also in this retreat. It still amazes me how connected we all are. I bow.
    Good night from Lisbon

  2. Rita 29 octobre 2015 at 1 h 35 min - Reply

    Hello to all dear friends,
    Its so good to ear and sense you from Coimbra.
    I’ve been sitting too since monday but without an opportunity to tell you what, water, space.
    I say earth and my mind wants to sit in the ground too.
    I feel earth as a well balanced inner and outer position, a magnet. Nothing disturbing. Solid. Telluric. Vibrational. Drums.
    I felt at home again — I’m afraid I haven’t been home during this long day — at our yoga class at 9 pm, that, for the first time was all done in the ground.
    what a blessing.

  3. Telma 29 octobre 2015 at 0 h 21 min - Reply

    I woke up and sit. a very trouble-minded moment. I went to the gymn and i fought against my demotivation. On the way to the gymn i’ve noticed the still shy bright sun, the birds and the ducks, the water on the floor, the freshness of the air. I had a great shower after the class and i went to work. I always look to the trees (i love trees) and to the skyline of the city. Although i’m late i don’t run because i want to be present each moment, because i’ve discovered i’m a person who needs time and who takes time to live! but this characteristic makes me feel « not belonging » to my human family that nowadays just run!
    I’m a very earth kind of girl. I say this because as the earth i like to be a place that someone return to accommodate and where feels comfort, because i have hope like earth has green, i have death as earth has brown, i have power that sometimes turns to be destructive but also have magical energy that gives me the gift to bring life to this world and i have kindness as earth when she receives my body as i lay on her ground.
    Earth is not only a rock. Earth is a conceptual framework of life, death, origin, way, nature, me and others. I’m a small piece of earth’s and universe larger goal, i’m here at her service and so shall my way be lighted so that i can honour the abundance that i’ve experienced until now! And by abundance i mean a life in a peaceful place, a life with ease, a life with joy and tears, a life with comfort, with opportunities like this reatreat, a life with a functional body, a life happening! Abundance is the oportunity to be learning about Being human and discovering « I ».
    Today i had the opportunity to sit in the afternoon, and although i don’t remind where my mind went for some minutes i now have the memory of the feeling when i opened my eyes of calm and joy because today i’ve discovered more things about me that despite my dislike about them they teach me the way – my way.
    My ego today was very present.

  4. Ocean of Generosity 28 octobre 2015 at 23 h 07 min - Reply

    Esposende, Portugal
    Today I had a very busy day full of connections.
    After taking my daughter to school and a good breakfast, I had yoga class with Margarida and Madalena, lunch with my husband, I called my mom before she went for surgery, subjects to be discussed in Oporto (at 50km ), in the afternoon I picked up my daughter from school, I got a call from my friend Manuela Pereira (Coimbra), dinner and finally zazen.
    Today I felt with enormous amount of energy, very grounded.
    Today I felt the space, filled with water (lots of rain) falling on earth.
    Today I am blessed for everything I felt and experienced.
    I make a bow.

  5. Chiara-Emma 28 octobre 2015 at 22 h 21 min - Reply

    Although I am not all that happy with the quality of my sitting, I feel I should rejoyce for just being able to sit – so unusual for undisciplined me…. And while I must admit I am not always focused on the retreat when I talk with someone, I noticed I have been more patient, tolerant and flexible. In other words a bit kinder than usual.To spare myself knee pain, since last night, I have meditated on a chair and enjoy feeling solid ground under my feet. Earth is definitely « my » element!

  6. Christine 28 octobre 2015 at 22 h 01 min - Reply

    Good evening !
    Half-day rain, half day sunshine here in Palaiseau. Still on holiday with the kids (well, holidays for them, not so much for me).
    My parents arrived this afternoon, the kids are overjoyed. We leave for a walk to a playground.
    I see my mothers judgemental look at the house and how little we advanced with the many things still waiting to be done. While preparing dinner I find myself argueing with her in my head, defending myself for having other priorities at the moment than the house. Can I just say yes to her being judgemental and acknowledge that it hurts to be judged without being asked what’s going on in my life and what I could anyway not share with her ? difficult….I’ll sit for some minutes and then go to bed.

  7. Joy 28 octobre 2015 at 21 h 33 min - Reply

    On the third day of the retreat, some clarities and a brief yet delightful moment of truth visited me this morning.

    At the beginning, I wasn’t sure how this zen in daily life would unfold let alone how long I could sit with 5 months pregnant body.

    This morning looking out the garden and the alps mountain, a sense of blessing arrived to me. While it was the scenery that I see every mining, I could see and feel with vivid clarify the hange of the color of light, clouds descending and ascending around the mountain, with a hundred birds visiting the garden or flying above the field far off.
    And I told myself, what a beautiful day waiting for me and how blessed I am.
    Despite the day passed like a roller coaster, after the sitting in the evening, peace and serenity came back again.

  8. marlene 28 octobre 2015 at 17 h 28 min - Reply

    Olá. So good to hear your voices at this break after lunch.
    This day started with me aiming to return and see how Meco beach appears today. So I noticed this urgence-… didn’t sit and went there ( after breakfast and reading about ours 3th day retreat).
    Beach has returned.Soft new sand under my feet. Waves, its continnuous sound. .Along the seashore . salty air through the nose, face and hair becoming kind of wet. Walking . And resisting not to take photos. Just seeing.
    Afterwards I took photos: seagull corpses branches , plastic forms, so many vestiges of life and its forces. I return home bringing a tiny branch on my left hand.This vast world unfolding every moment.

  9. Manon 28 octobre 2015 at 16 h 21 min - Reply

    Je suis en train de réviser mes cours de virologie à la bibliothèque.
    Ratna est une énorme part de gateau à la framboises partagée avec un ami. Les framboises sont très rouges, quel délicieux dessert. J´aime la tendresse de l´amitié.

  10. Evi 28 octobre 2015 at 16 h 18 min - Reply

    I often think, in the middle of this troubled world, I live in paradise.
    I got sick last night, my stomach rebels. In the morning, I finally found some sleep, woke up around noon and found the world in blazing sunshine. At three I felt strong enough for a small walk. So I went out to walk between moisty green meadows, plain fields prepared for the resting time of winter, at the horizon the highest and most beautiful Swiss mountains in some misty clouds. And all at the edge of colorful autumn trees. Many of the yellow ones were birches. I never can see these birches without being reminded of my fist Auschwitz retreat five years ago. It was a most beautiful and warm fall and the trees around the ash pond next to crematory five was in its full golden color. I did not know what to do with this beauty in this horrible place. Bernie told us, there were no leaves at the trees during war time, as the prisoners ate them all. I wept badly during the ceremony, but was aware, that for a million years old nature, we are just a tiny little period and it carries us, no matter what. The Nazis could not destroy the sunset at Auschwitz and she takes the ashes of millions as a fertilizer. Since the Big Bang nothing but recycling.
    In the beauty of this afternoon, I was reminded to go back there to plant some seeds of love in the middle of this troubled world, to listen to the souls of the place, victims, perpetrators, bystanders and resistance fighters, that can’t find rest. And to become as open for it all, as the ocean that does not reject any river and the mountain that does not reject a storm.
    Thanks for being with me in this cicle of life!

    • Geert 28 octobre 2015 at 19 h 17 min - Reply

      What a nice and striking testimony… thank you Evi !
      Mountains… In summer I spent holiday time in Romanian Fagaras Mountains together with
      my beloved ones, following traces of spiritual traditions over there.
      Mother Earth indeed cherishes breathtaking places, beauty that can never be spoken…
      Paradise as you write… Makes a link to a nice song by Tracy Chapman : « Heaven’s here on earth ».
      If you want to listen and find the lyrics, try this web address


      Bowing thankfully,

  11. zoe 28 octobre 2015 at 13 h 35 min - Reply

    Woke up this morning at 2:00 a.m. to the sound of rain on the veluxes’ metallic shutters, and thought oh, how appropriate! Yesterday’s dance around water has given its fruits. The symphony is complete now– until the next one.
    After the morning zazen, i wondered about today’s element and guessed on earth. The loving ever supportive mother. Even better than the mother i had the privilege of having, who was a beautiful being and a good model for me.
    The connection to and reliance on the element earth has always come naturally to me. I find solace in feeling it when the head energy takes me to confusing whirlpools.
    Today, i don’t have to go out to work, so i’ll take the opportunity to go for a walk in Bois de Vincennes. Renewing my love affair with the trails covered with colored leaves, the lake, fresh air, the wet trees, and of course the birds, big and small, flying, swimming, or sauntering about the lake. The inseparable elements of Life. Their unity gives my being a sense and purpose that cannot be defined with words. It is a total connection–when there’s awareness.
    A very shy sunshine is coming through the window, and i’m hungry. Today, i also plan on getting some flower bulbs to plant for spring. For now, the wood under my foot feels pleasantly cool. One thing at a time– it’s a retreat! Can take my time absorbing
    what come on…
    Enjoy the afternoon

  12. Joa 28 octobre 2015 at 12 h 21 min - Reply

    So beautiful to recognize familiar and unfamiliar names amongst the participants of this retreat, to know we are all doing this together, wherever we are, whatever we do.

    I started my day by walking in the grey streets of Paris at dawn. The slight rain didn’t bother me. I enjoyed it. Went to Atelier Marais to lead a meditation practice with people who had no clue there were part of our retreat! And I rejoyced at the fact that they showed up early just to sit down and make this radical move to do nothing, just to gaze attentively at the movements of their minds to notice whatever is there.

    Beautiful practice.

    And i’ll try to continue to do just that during this day which continues to unfold at every moment: be present to what is, do what needs to be done, little things, big things, things…

    Gassho to all.

  13. Joa 28 octobre 2015 at 12 h 17 min - Reply

    So beautiful to recognize familiar and unfamiliar names amongst the participants of this retreat, to know we are all doing this together, wherever we are, whatever we do.

    I started my day by walking in the grey streets of Paris at dawn. The slight rain didn’t bother me. I enjoyed it. Went to Atelier Marais to lead a meditation practice with people who had no clue there were part of our retreat! And I rejoyced at the fact that they showed up early just to sit down and make this radical move to do nothing, just to gaze attentively at the movements of their minds to notice whatever is there.

    Beautiful practice.

    And i’ll try to continue to do just that during this day which continues to unforld at every moment: be present to what is, do what needs to be done, little things, big things, things…

    Gassho to all.

  14. Hugo 28 octobre 2015 at 10 h 52 min - Reply

    Ellenbrook, Western Australia.
    Abundance. Earth. A big oval and a skate park. A new community. Young people. Aboriginal. Maori. European. A portuguese, also. Me. Walking on this sacred and holy land. Is there any place on earth that isn’t holy? Holy land, right here. At the end, I pick all the rubbish left behind. Abundance, right here.

  15. Perfect Way 28 octobre 2015 at 10 h 44 min - Reply

    It rains in London. Which is not as usual as you may think.

    Earth. The ground. The ground we cultivate in order to realise the fullness and awakened-ness of everything.
    A home. A shelter. From where everyone goes forward.
    A tool on this perfect way where we don’t pick and chose and where we pick and chose.

    Yellow. Autumn. The colour of the cloth which I need to use to clean the furniture – important guests are arriving tomorrow and the place is piling dust.

    And I have just realised my friend the squirrel has been eating my bulbs… not happy!

  16. Helena 28 octobre 2015 at 10 h 10 min - Reply

    Good Day to you all 🙂

    Every day I am greeted with wonderful greens on my way to work but in the season there is a special tree that turns red, yellow, gold and so many other colours that every time I pass by it gives me chills and I fell happy.
    I am grateful for today.

    Viseu, Portugal

  17. Beginners Mind 28 octobre 2015 at 8 h 48 min - Reply

    Braga, Portugal
    Yesterday finished, just being together with my daughter (aged 6), seeing some cartoons, cooking dinner, and because Mum was away , we did something special: we baked pretzels that we just ate before going to bed.
    Just before taking her to bed I noticed some strange noise, she was taking some money from our kitchen pot into her purse, I told her not to do that, that it was not correct as she was stealing. She cried, I’ve told her to put all the money back and so she did. She asked when can she have some money and told her when she needs it. When Mum arrived she told me she would do exactly the same until yesterday, because she had just learned from a social worker, that on a kids mind it was not stealing as the money is in the house belongs to everybody in the house including her.
    Always learning, life is a great master. As Water flows.
    I haven’t had breakfast yet, I’ve just finished my seating. Life flows naturally, no tight schedule although time is always short. I decided to check todays instructions.
    Humm, Earth it all over, in our food, in the fields. Last Sunday I took some shots at Serralves, wish I could post them. a stark contrast with the clothes we’re wearing in winter time.

    • Chiara-Emma 28 octobre 2015 at 10 h 00 min - Reply

      Oh! Yes! I wish we could post a daily photo related to our experience if we wanted to!

    • Telma 28 octobre 2015 at 23 h 47 min - Reply

      thank you for the great lesson you bring here. All that lives in a house belong to everybody living there.

  18. ceu 28 octobre 2015 at 8 h 09 min - Reply

    earth element, ratna, the yellow family of abundance, fullness, accommodation

    et moi je sort en ce moment pour le travail à la campanhe comme chaque jour
    aujourd’hui cés un jour oú on fait « monda » je ne sais pas le dire en français

    mais c’est enlever tous les Wildflowers qui on trouve en tour de un legume 🙂 🙂

    bonjour a tous

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