Finished reading: So Late in the Day by Claire Keegan 📚

Are you in the market for a new guitar? If so, put January 31st, 2024 into your diary. On that date, Mark Knopfler is auctioning more than 120 guitars and amps through Christie’s in London. You can read more about The Mark Knopfler Guitar Collection here, or for a more personal introduction to his guitar collection, watch Mark tell you what his guitars mean to him.

🤒 I have been unwell the last couple of days, though I really don't know what I have had? The main symptoms? Tired and achy, a slight and brief fever. I think that I am on the mend now. If you are waiting on reply from me, I hope to be back in touch tomorrow.

I felt as though this faint rainbow was kissing the sky this morning.

A faint, partial rainbow in the distance, over the ocean

Finished reading: Weasels in the Attic by Hiroko Oyamada 📚

This weekend the north shore of Maui has seen a large swell visiting its shores. The photo below does no justice to the size of the size of the waves that were arriving here. Official figures say that at their largest they were between 18ft and 24ft. Zoom in to the far distance to see some monsters just breaking.

The roar of the water, the continual arrival of more waves, all made for quite the spectacle of the force and power of the ocean.

Incredible and beautiful.

Large waves breaking on the north shore of Maui.

👋 …and suddenly it is all over. The build up, the preparation, the day, the eating, the cleanup, and all that is left are memories and feeling of a meal well eaten.

Of course there is time spent with family and friends - appreciated and not taken for granted. For now though, Thanksgiving is wrapped up until next year.

🍂 The house has been vacuumed, the table laid, food prep is under way, family strife laid to rest - Happy Thanksgiving.

I was listening to an episode of the Metta Hour with Sharon Salzberg podcast yesterdday, and Sharon said something like (I’m paraphrasing),

…and there is the conflict in the world today, in fact what about the conflict that is within individuals…

Hearing that made me understand the often quoted,

World peace starts with inner peace,

in a whole new way. Yes there is conflict in this world right night, seemingly (from where I am sitting) everywhere I look, but what about the conflicts that I battle with within myself? And then the inner conflicts that everyone around me might have?

It can sound trite in a world of war and threatened authoritarianism, but by how much would the world be different if we each tried to fix our inner conflicts? If we held an awareness of how one’s conflicts can affect behaviour, and so not take the words of others so personally?

Somewhere in Copenhagen.

A bicycle and three chairs next to an orange wall, on a street in Copenhagen

I’ve had a low grade nothing today.

What does that look like? Being able to operate, just, while between time spent sleeping and feeling nauseous. There might be some aching going on in the background? But it does not really develop any further.

Sticking to the Meditation Instruction

I’ve said this before on this website, for example here and here. So why again? As much as anything, I repeat myself because I need to remind myself.

There is something unintuitive about meditation. Meditation is a method for reprogramming our heart into different ways of being. We are swimming up stream, going against the flow. It’s hard work, and as such we might want to try and make things happen, force change. I certainly know that I can fall into that trap, even with a few decades of practice behind me.

With the heart, one cannot force change. I can think that I have developed more compassion, patience, overcome jealousy through my meditation practice - and then life happens. Life has a bad habit of showing me where I am truly at.

As such, my advice for meditation practice is to simply follow the instruction. What do I mean by that? Let me try and explain:

I find that there can be a tendency for me to hear meditation instruction and then go and sit, all the time trying to fit my mind into an image of what I think that I should be feeling if I have succeeded with this particular practice. But this just won’t work. First of all we are working with our image of what compassion, patience, etc looks like, and given that we are still working on developing that quality, our image of it is probably a little skewed. Second, one cannot force the mind into being a certain way. The mind can only be where it is at.

Instead, in the same way that you would follow directions to someone’s house, turning left when the instructions tell you to do so, right when you have to turn that way, not making up instructions or turning earlier because you feel as though you are behind time. In the same way that you would follow those instructions exactly to get to your destination, follow the meditation instructions exactly…and do nothing else.

Following the road directions exactly will get you to the house, whether what you encounter en route is what you expect or not, whether it takes longer than you thought or not. Similarly, following the meditation instruction will get you to that final destination, whether that be compassion, kindness, patience, etc. The route that you take to get there, might be more circuitous than you expected. More ups and downs, more sense of one step forward and two steps back. However, if you follow the instructions you will get there, even if it takes a life time. You will get there, and along the way, quite by chance, probably surprising yourself, you will notice incremental improvements.

I hope that this is clear, but if you have any questions, please hit the ”Reply by email” link below and get in touch.

☔️ I'm grateful for the rain falling this morning, and wish that it would bless the rest of this island with its presence.

Baldwin beech, Maui, this morning.

Baldwin beech, Maui

The sun has caught my face today, I can feel it. First out in the garden, clearing the planter boxes of weeds which had overgrown them due to neglect.

Next to the beach for a walk, and then just to sit and watch life go by - the surfers, children playing in the shore break, parents chatting, visitors on the look out for turtles.

Finally back home to finish the planter boxes.

A good day. Now I can feel tiredness creeping up on me as the fresh air and exercise from the day leave their mark.

The weather can be beautiful at this time of year, perfect. Yes there can be days of rain in the part of Maui where we live. That’s welcome, one because we need it, and two because for me days and days of sun can get a little old. But when the trade winds wind down, when the sun does not beat too strongly, there is a quality to the light and temperature that feels…well, perfect. Indeed, inspiring as well. Today is such a day.


Silhouettes in a back lit window at night.

Well no dream last night, at least none that I remember, but I did sleep like a log. I was exhausted and asleep just after 9:00pm.

I spent some time tinkering with my website this afternoon, and sending out some gratitude to various people who make it possible. I’m happy with how it’s looking…until I’m not and the next tinkering session. 😉