Broken Dreams and Beauty

I want to thank each of you who sent thoughtful responses to last week’s letter. It is so helpful to feel heard and seen and held by your kind wishes.

I would love to share uplifting news that I’ve found my new home, but that hasn’t happened yet. Instead, I want to share these tender words from Max Ehrman, written in 1927, which soothe me deeply every time I read them:

Be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here.
Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive god to be.
Whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be careful. Strive to be happy.

Right now, trust is a hard one for me, trusting that “no doubt, the universe is unfolding as it should.”. I usually think it’s luck or a fluke when things go my way, fearful that I may get too puffed on ego, and forget humility. When things don’t go my way, I wonder what I’m doing wrong. I’ve always envied folks with clear, religious conviction, who are sure they can trust God to ferry them across the river.

>In the yoga philosophy, there’s the idea of shradha, which is faith in oneself
to meet whatever challenge arises.

It isn’t like buying insurance to “assure” that you’ll be fine, or constructing a fortress to keep the “bad” out.

It’s cultivated through daily practices, like meditation, gratitude rituals, and reflecting on one’s own history, remembering all the times that you were able to show up.

My meditation practice invites me to question how real any of this is anyway, and even if this is real, it’s all impermanent, so why waste precious life energy holding on to anything.

My daily Red Tara practice includes this line:

May I clearly perceive all experiences to be as insubstantial as the dream fabric of the night, and instantly awaken to perceive the pure wisdom display in the arising of every phenomenon.

I’ve been chanting this most days for about twenty years – you’d think that I would be less freaked out about finding a place to rent!

I am humbled once more, wishing I were fearless, faithful and confident in the midst of my transition. Maybe this is the part of the cycle to just be gentle with myself.

Perhaps there is also wisdom somewhere in all of this. There are certainly lots of opportunities to truly practice, off the cushion and into craigslist rentals!

Even through the time it’s taken me to write this newsletter, I feel a bit more faithful. I have come through lots of hard things, and always found ways to be happy again.

You are part of my recovery as you read and allow yourself to take in my story. Thank you! We’re connected, even if our paths don’t typically cross. Part of healing is telling your story and being heard.


I do really love Max Ehrman’s mentioning “sham, drudgery and broken dreams”, reminding me that everyone has this kind of baggage.  We all have to do our chores and tend to our own minds. To acknowledge our shared relationship with burden, is to remember that we all do belong, that we “have a right to be here”.

It is still a beautiful world. I believe it and I’ll do my best to remember that.