With broken hearts open

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With broken hearts open

Here in Paris, after a strange and painful weekend, life now goes on today – that’s the best thing that we, the living, can do for ourselves and for the dead – in this magnificent, beloved and wounded city of ours. The terrorists can shoot and kill and spew their hate, but they can never take that magnificence or our love away from us if we can keep our wounded hearts open.

I’m amazed by the outpouring of support and love coming from all of the world, for me and my family and sangha, but also for Paris and all of France. Thank you.

I’m also struck by the bitter cynicism of the perpetrators, who very consciously chose to attack the principal aspects of what makes Paris a haven of savoir vivre – a concert, terraces of cafés and restaurants, a great soccer match. Not only that, but they chose one of the most mixed (Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, workers, professionals, Bobos, artists, young people, families, old people all live there), joyous and enjoyable neighborhoods in the city. And they lined up their attacks roughly along the boulevard Voltaire (yes, the philosopher who urged tolerance!), the route that hundreds of thousands of us followed on a Sunday in January as we marched in solidarity after the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

Yesterday, I felt like crying most of the time, and I did cry sometimes. Also had brunch at our house with dear friends, all of us still shocked and uncertain. But then all together as we raised a glass of excellent Champagne we said, ‘Vive la France!’ and I suspect none of us have ever said it with as much meaning as we did then. It was like saying, ‘Vive la Vie!’

May all of our broken hearts remain, amid the sorrow and pain, open today.

By | 2015-11-16T15:28:36+00:00 novembre 16th, 2015|Textes|7 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. Christine 19 novembre 2015 at 21 h 37 min - Reply

    Good to read from you all. Yes, we are survivors, and here’s a nice story to read from two other survivors and a « little triumph of life over barbarism » (sorry, in french) : http://www.lemonde.fr/attaques-a-paris/article/2015/11/19/a-l-hopital-daniel-psenny-du-monde-retrouve-matthew_4813443_4809495.html

  2. Sophie 18 novembre 2015 at 22 h 39 min - Reply

    Je nous ressens « survivants »
    …avec cette conscience croissante de la précarité de la vie,
    ce qui met met en alerte, en éveil, en vie…
    Plus que jamais et pour toujours soyons vivants et en conscience de ce qui nous lie, nous les sur-vivants…

  3. marlene 18 novembre 2015 at 12 h 46 min - Reply

    Yes , pain and sorrow puts some aspects of our daily lives in perspectve. Yes finally tears showed for a while. Thoughts of all of you and what’s been said here.
    Thought celebration didn’t happen last days in my life, natural space around allows me listen to questions, feelings,(strangely a baby cat entered my life 2 weeks after the death of Sininho. He was very weak and deceived after being a hero trying to survive for a week); my narratives comig from everything that is showing every moment…solid but fragile emocional vibratos.
    Painting , being one with everyone when experiencing contradictory significants?Boundless intimacy a mysteryous common ground.
    I think right now I’m celebrating. La vie et ce qu’on est avec…

  4. Rita 18 novembre 2015 at 0 h 01 min - Reply

    When the pain is so big and deep, and frightens our daily lives… I remember the words someone taught me recently and I wonder how hard it must (will) be to embrace this pain… trying to sense its texture, its smell, its color, its thickness… all still so fresh and alive… and not be caught in it. Though I know our arms are strong and long, and our hearts stubborn. And I can now imagine a « huge » (all in one) and « old » sangha having Champagne and chanting Vive la vie!

  5. BeginnersMind 17 novembre 2015 at 11 h 09 min - Reply

    It’s amazing how Death has the capacity to put Life into perspective and bring us the possibility to be Here and Now.

    Here is a quote from the polemic Christopher Hitchens:

    « Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more. » – The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Non-Believer, 2007

  6. j 17 novembre 2015 at 9 h 30 min - Reply

    Sharing with everyone my silence…

  7. Patrícia 17 novembre 2015 at 1 h 13 min - Reply

    I’m relieved to know that all wild flowers and their families are unharmed. Sending my love and a warm embrace to all.
    May we all find a place in our hearts to forgive and keep the faith in Life, Love and Liberty.
    Keeping my broken heart open and celebrating life. Vive la Vie!
    Sharing w/love this Aretha Franklin song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKBw8tQQ5-M

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