journey to the Pure Land...

No human, nor any living thing, survives long under the eternal sky. The most beautiful women, the most learned men, even Mohammed, who heard Allah's own voice, all did wither and die.
All is temporary.
The sky outlives everything.
Even suffering.
- Bowa Johar, Balti poet (form Three Cups of Tea, by Mortenson & Relin)

Last week, I shared about a teacher's final gift. The next day, Janet was gone from this earth. Today, friends & family gathered to share our memories and celebrate her life. She truly was a mountain of a woman and her spiritual generosity knew no bounds.

Her memorial service reflected her Buddhist faith and it was both moving and healing. I feel blessed to have been a part of it.

- simply jag


in love with lent...

We use the single word "faith" to cover a vast range of human experiences. Faith is, fundamentally, the experience of our being grounded in God, rooted in him with absolute sureness and with a confidence that is always deepening because the depths of God can never be measured. This is the experience of prayer.
It is falling into the depths of love with complete trust, with a complete "letting go".

- John Main OSB, Monastery Without Walls

I've said it before, here, here and again here. I love Lent! I really, really do... And although I don't go to church, Lent continues to be a cherished time of the year for me.

Its timing is perfect, and probably not coincidental. (I don't believe in coincidences anyway.) Committing to this 40-day period of reflection and connection prepares us to be "born anew", to come alive with a renewed confidence that, just as the Earth is preparing to explode with the unstoppable force of spring, we too are ripe and ready to emerge from whatever restraints we have become all-too-comfortable with. The Easter story becomes relevant to us today because it reminds us of our limitless potential for growth & transformation.

The cool thing is, when we become rooted in something greater than ourselves, a something I call "God", we don't need to force growth & transformation. In fact, we don't need to "do" anything. It is there, waiting for us on the wings of our next exhale. All we need is to get out of our own way, or as John Main says so well, to let go and to allow ourselves to fall into the depths of love with God.

For this season of Lent, my hope is that I may be able to do just that.
Happy Lent!

-simply jag


read any good books lately...?

A couple of weeks ago, I was inspired by a Facebook friend to post an informal "poll" on FB as a fundraising effort for Haiti. I would donate 1$ for each comment sharing a favourite book. Not only was I able to donate a few dollars for Haiti Relief, but I ended up with a pretty neat list of books! And then I thought... why not?!

And so, in no particular order, I hereby present to you, my...


  1. But Not the Hippopotamus - Sandra Boynton
  2. On the Road - Jack Kerouac
  3. There's Nothing Wrong with You - Cheri Huber
  4. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
  5. Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert
  6. The Notebook - Nicholas Sparks
  7. Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom
  8. The Soul of a Tree - George Nakashima
  9. A New Earth - Eckhart Tolle
  10. "Otherland" series (Books 1, 2, 3 & 4) - Tad Williams
  11. I Knew You Could - Craig Dorfman
  12. Three Cups of Tea - Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin
  13. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
  14. Into Thin Air - Jon Krakauer
  15. Haiku Year - Gilroy, Grace, McKay, Martin, Phillips, Roth & Stipe
  16. The Boat Who Wouldn't Float - Farley Mowat
  17. Come, Thou Tortoise - Jessica Grant
  18. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
  19. When All You Have is Hope - Frank O'Dea
I had already read a few of these, so I'll focus on the ones that are new to me. Certainly a mix of genres - could be interesting! Thanks friends...

As I finish reading a book, I'll change the colour of the text to pink. As you can see, I've already finished one (Three Cups of Tea)... and what a great book it was! I highly recommend it... On to the next one!

-simply jag


a teacher's final gift...

I looked grace in the eye today.
I looked wisdom in the eye today.
I looked impermanence in the eye today.
I looked love in the eye today.

And although that eye was her only way of communicating, those are the messages I received.

I had the blessing of sitting silently with a friend today.
She is in an end-of-life care facility... in the final stages of her cancer journey.
She has easily had three lifetimes worth of struggles in this one short life, and she has worn them with dignity.

I was nervous about going to see her.
I knew it was to say good-bye ...and thank you.
I was so nervous, I even Googled "what to say to a person who is dying".
(Yes, I actually did that!)
I was reminded that I didn't need to say much.
I could let my presence speak.
I could let my love speak.

As it turned out, that was all I needed.
She is beyond speech now.
Except for that one eye.

My nervousness soon dissipated and I felt...
by the experience
by her presence
by the gift.

She has been a teacher to me...
a companion on the journey of recovery and discovery
and even in these final days,
probably without even knowing it,
she gives.

Thank you, my friend.
Peace to you..

- simply jag