Better Be

What Went Down at Shambhala Training: Level 1

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” 
— Shunryu Suzuki

I’d like to share my thoughts on Shambhala Buddhism and their Level I training course:

This weekend I attended a three-day meditation training, hosted by my local Shambhala Meditation Center. Before getting into this specific course, I’d like to introduce Shambhala for those who aren’t familiar:

>> Read the rest of this post on Elephant Journal <<

If you’d like to chat more about any questions or apprehensions, shoot me a message and I’ll gladly discuss with you!

In Soul, Danielle.

Funeral Heart



there’s a funeral in my heart

i hold it for you

candle light flickers

and flowers in my room

a life’s worth of grief

comes rushing through

from the belly of the body

i’ve used for a tomb


i couldn’t accept

this stillborn death

so i’d charge myself up

like a defibrillator set

i gave every ounce in me

and even more yet

praying if i was stronger

your needs would be met


but i’m tired and i’m heavy

and i can’t go on living

in the shadow of this fear

oh this fear of your passing

the truth is we lost this

before i could save it

i will no longer bear

what has always been broken


i can’t

i won’t

i am better loved alone


then your spirit left my chest

and mine stepped through the door

her dew drop eyes shining

asking who missed who more?

when she wrapped her arms around me

i fell to the floor

i no longer have to

hold up anymore


welcome home

welcome home

when i let you go

i came home


Learning to Live with a Broken Heart.

“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”
– Leonard Cohen

It’s easy to aspire to strength.

It’s easy to offer a solid shoulder to someone we love when they’re suffering. It’s natural, we are empathetic beings after all. We conjure thoughtful quotes, or recommend a good book, or wrap them in our arms and say, It’ll all be okay, it just takes time.

But I don’t feel okay. And every day that passes feels like a years worth of grief. I’m heartbroken. In the past, I’ve learned how to move on. I’ve put my head down and got through it. I got dressed and went to work. I sent well wishes into the Universe with hope it would reach the Soul of the person I was letting go.

And then I felt better.

But this is different. You are gone and it feels like my heart left with you. No matter how I try, nothing can make me feel better right now.

Not the yoga classes, the healing sessions, the Skype calls with loved ones, or the healthy dinners and Buddhist podcasts I force myself to gulp down every night. Not the morning meditations, or even the long cries.

I’ve been on what I considered to be “the spiritual path” for about three years now, and it seems it has all led me to this moment. I’m drawing on every tool I know. It’s easy to be smart and strong when nothing’s wrong, but what about now? What happens when we’ve lost this much?

Feeling helpless, I bowed before my altar this morning and prayed, What more can I do? Help me.

And, somehow, through the roaring tidal wave of emotion, the soft and tender voice of Soul arose: Learn to live with your broken heart.

And the tears came again. I got my answer.

All week I’ve been searching for the vision of a future where my heart was mended, but nothing came through. I felt hopeless, but now I understand.

My heart will never be the same again, but I no longer want it to.

Now there is nothing between me and the heart of the world. The slightest eye contact brings me to tears. A genuine moment of compassion surges through my body like a river. I feel everything—everything I built a life around trying not to feel.

And while I may be broken, now I am free. I can finally put down my shield.

I know now I can no longer walk through Life guarding my heart like precious china. I cannot truly love that way either. It doesn’t matter how much affection is in me if I can’t touch the world or my beloved, just like a china cup can’t serve its purpose sitting behind glass on a shelf.

I don’t want my love to be precious, like some untouchable piece of art, I want it to be ordinary, every day, and real. Just as it is built to be. I want to hold my heart in my hand every morning, glide my thumb over the chips on its edges, and know it is still worth giving. I want to offer it as I would offer my most cherished belonging. Because it is.

What more can I give than my genuine, broken heart?

In breaking, I am no longer afraid. Now, I want to love so hard that I break this much every day. Because in breaking like this, I am broken open. I am forever changed. Even if it’s what we fear most, this is actually the greatest blessing we can receive in this human life. This is how we know our whole hearts.

That isn’t to say that I don’t need healing. Because right now, my porcelain pieces are scattered on the floor. It will take great attention and care to bring my heart back together again, but I’m willing to do it because now I understand why it’s worth it. I know what I was missing.

In this moment, I am reminded of the Japanese art form called kintsugiTranslating to “patching with gold,” this craft is the process of repairing broken pottery by rejoining the clay pieces with a golden lacquer. The fractures become the most valuable places. We don’t discard and replace a perfectly good cup, we honor its breaking, illuminate the cracks, and in doing so create something even more beautiful.

So I’ve given up trying to fix this, or even feel better, and in doing so I’ve restored my faith that somehow this heartbreak has opened me to a lifetime of genuine, raw, human love.

Now it’s time to master this craft—this healing—trusting one day, when I set the table for two, you will walk through my door with your kintsugi heart and learn how to love mine too.

In Soul, Danielle


Finding the Freedom to Fail

One would think by now, what with all my professional experience, that I would be a seasoned and savvy fucker-upper.

But, alas, whenever I drop the ball, struggle, or straight-up bomb, I feel like a failure. A failure at said task, but also a failure at failing.

Such is the plight of the chronic perfectionist, a title I used to consider resume-worthy but now realize is one of my greater hinderances.

I’ve recognized a similar pattern between myself and other Type As. We were the classroom kids who sat in the front row and quickly mastered our textbook’s lessons. We were the know-it-alls. But the problem with “knowing it all” is there’s little room for anything new. Maybe we can get by this way for a while, but eventually our luck runs out.

>> Read the rest of this post on Elephant Journal << 

In Soul, Danielle