Category Archives: Dharma Talks

How To Work With Fear & Grief: Pause

🙏🏽 We might wonder sometimes why the Buddhist teachings are continually calling our attention to the truth of what is called annica, or impermanence, since this seems like such an obvious truth – that everything in this world, including ourselves, is in a constant flow of change.

The problem is: impermanence is actually exactly what we tend to struggle with, in the form of both the fear of uncertainty, and the grief that comes with change. 

And because these two feelings – fear & grief – are so uncomfortable for us, our natural tendency is to want to somehow avoid them, or push them away – at all costs – which usually involves a sense of speeding up.

What the teachings are asking us to do instead is to learn how to momentarily rest, or pause, and courageously allow ourselves to BE with these feelings, so that ultimately, we can transform them, and discover more peace and ease in our lives. 

This month’s talk, “How To Work With Fear & Grief: Pause,” explores how we can use our meditation practice to train ourselves in the sacred, healing art of the pause. 

It includes a meditation at the end

As always, I hope it might serve.

Also, just few heads up! 

1) The next daylong retreat in The Plains, VA on Sat., Mar. 9, “Planting the Seeds of Joy,” has been filling quickly since it opened, and is now more than half-full. 

2) In just 3 monthsI’ll be offering a new 5-day retreat “Keep Calmly Knowing Change,” at the beautiful, peaceful Peterkin Conference Center in Romney, WV, our newest retreat venue – which was very well-received in October! The center is excited to have us back, and is planning on many expansions and changes to make it even better, which is wonderful news! 🙂 

With joy and kind wishes, and my hopes to see you soon! 

~ Shell 🙏🏽💕😊

What Am I ‘Really’ Offering Myself and Others? An Exploration of Dana

☀️ A few weeks ago at a party, I found myself very mindlessly opening my mouth and interrupting someone who was right in the middle of speaking. 

Thankfully, I was able to apologize, but my behavior felt so surprisingly unkind, ungenerous, and painful that it inspired me to dive even deeper into the profoundly important practice of dana, or generosity – which along with metta (or loving-kindness) is considered the very foundation of our practice.

The reason for this is that: our whole practice of dana essentially comes down to our practice of letting go, or non-clinging.  

And, our deepening wisdom of this non-clinging eventually brings us around full circle to our letting go of a sense of a solid, unchangeable, separate self, which as the teachings show us is the main cause or root of almost all of our suffering – when we are clinging so tightly to this sense of me, or mine, and believing that we are somehow separate. 

This month’s new talk, What Am I Really Offering Myself and Others? explores how we can use our mindfulness practice to become more kind and generous not only to others, but also to ourselves, by honestly revealing and investigating all the ways in which we might not be being as kind, or as generous as we may think. 

It includes a 10-minute meditation at the end. 

As always, I hope that it will serve. 

Also, just few quick important notes

1I won’t be offering the intensive Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) workshop again until 2025, and there are still just a few spots open in the upcoming series, offered Sept. 10 – Nov. 12 on Sunday afternoons in Winchester, VA. 

2) The new 5-day retreat on Oct. 5-9,LOVING YOURSELF: Nurturing the Heart Practices is now almost full! … I’m really excited about our new beautiful, secluded retreat center (Peterkin) in Romney, WV, and hope that you might join us for this.

3) I have a new weekly blog! I’ve been encouraged to start one of these (long overdue), and so have made a commitment to do so as a practice. Along with copies of the newsletter, it will include weekly dharma insights and meditation tips. I hope that it will serve! 

In the meantime, I hope you might join me soon!

With joy and kind wishes, ~ Shell