I have realized that the confusion I have been experiencing lately might in fact be mindlessness. One of my teachers, Ethan Nichtern, says that mindlessness is « a constant objectification », a projection of our desire onto something or someone. When one is mindless, he says, one puts all their awareness only on the desired object and never asks the question « who is experiencing this? »

Meditation is training in mindfulness, it is creating the space to watch the arising of desire. And by doing just this, by going back to my meditation practice again and again, by getting completely bored with myself on my cushion, I have come to the realization that what I desire, what I want, is a state of mind, not something or someone, but how it/he makes me feel. What I long for is that moment of feeling one, that moment of dissolution between subject and object, that moment when my ability to conceptualize another is completely overwhelmed.

I have experienced this surely many times, we all do (just think about the blissful experience of eating chocolate),  but one particular occurrence has recently resurfaced and now stands out. It was a long time ago, the contours of the actual event are blurred and only a few images remain. But I remember that specific night as one of these perfect moments, where I felt fully alive, satiated and completely connected to another sentient being. (I hate the word « connected » by the way but I find no better one to describe my experience).

I am aware that this particular moment will never happen again, that if I were to replay something like it, it would probably lack its original overwhelming sense of cohesion. I have enough meditation practice to know that the « perfect moment » is not something to look for in anything or anyone and cannot be fabricated.  In the end, I know that feeling « connected » really depends on the quality of my presence with myself, the world and the beings around me. From a Buddhist perspective, subject and object are always the same, I understand that.

Having said all of this, let’s be honest: I understand the mechanics of my desire, I can feel it is losing its grip, I can even write about it and sound like I have my shit together, but gosh, the longing still has a face.






I like words. Their sound, their texture, the intricate layers of meaning they contain. I am good with words, that is, in French, my native language. That is probably why I write and think in English these days, because I am less good at it and therefore more honest, less manipulative. Writing in a language that is not mine makes me a sort of stranger in my own familiar inner territory. It gives me a fresher look on the workings of my mind and puts me right there in the middle of my own experience. Less impersonal phrasing, less distancing, less conceptualizations, more trial and error, more mindful hesitation, closer to the truth of my experience. In English I say I, in French I say we or you or one.

French is the language of my early education, of complicated books and the rule of logos. French is the language of my father, the philosopher, the master of abstract thinking and reason. English is the language of new horizons, of my teenage years in the USA, of shifting frontiers and possibilities, of spontaneous curiosity, of falling in love and breaking up again and again.

I find it hard to let words go and hard to honestly use them. Being aware of my ways with words has become a big part of my practice now. Even as I write this I realize that words, in any language, cannot actually begin to describe my experience of touching the wisdom that lays beyond words and knowledge. Possibly, artists experience this more accurately, the silence between the notes of the musician, the suspended movement of the dancer, and the poet? Is there a way to truly convey the depth of experience through words?

Letting go

Somehow I have found it difficult to understand the idea of letting go. Or rather my understanding of it has been intellectual, not necessarily felt and experienced. To me, it  mostly sounds like another new age quick fix, a lame excuse to get rid of sticky feelings, emotions and thoughts when we no longer have the energy to indulge in them. « Just let go » with the implicit promise of a better tomorrow.

And then recently, I got really stuck. I got hooked by memories and desire and projections, and I seriously bit that hook. Yes, I did see many opportunities not to bite it, not to feed the whole process with my discursive mind, but the temptation to indulge in it was too alluring and I did just that, indulge and dive into layers and layers of fantasies.

And now, still swimming in it all but still not completely fooled by it, I think I know what letting go means. Right now, letting go means being able to rest with the initial underlying feeling that started it all, a feeling of deep kinship and compassion, love really. Resting with it, with the rawness and tenderness of it, however uncomfortable and unfathomable it may be. And accepting, simply accepting, that the rest of it is all in my head.

Today I am balancing on the edge between that incomprehensible love and the stories about what could have been and what could be. I am wavering, tempted by the fake possibilities presented by my discursive mind and yet still very aware that if I let them go, I might rest in the simple truth of deeply caring for another human being.


Reminiscence, California circa 1983

I must have been about 13, in California with my mother. She was smoking pot in a small white pipe that gave some rough edge to her hippie looks. She was listening to a Leonard Cohen song, I was eating bubble gum ice cream that I had gotten from the truck stop across the road. My tongue was blue and it strangely echoed the color of the man’s raincoat in the song.

I have listened to that song many times since then and have always wondered what it was really about: a love triangle, a woman named Jane, Leonard Cohen in love with her and her in love with some other man. A whole intimacy hinted at, unsaid and yet so very present.  A song about forgiveness and gratitude many years after the initial feeling of betrayal and hurt? I wonder.

The song: Leonard Cohen – famous blue raincoat



Duty and other shoulds

This is what I wrote in Paris, on June 9th 2012:

« I think I might be rid of a sense of guilt and experiencing some type of adult freedom. I am becoming responsible for my own projections, desires and drives, I know I create them and that  they have no solid reality outside of my own mind. I have been aware lately that my sense of duty serves as an excuse to justify countless decisions to act in a certain way. What has become blatant is that I create this sense of duty, it does not exist in the person or object I project it onto. I know it seems almost too simple to state all of this, but this knowing I have come to is not conceptual, it is part of my very down to earth daily experience.

I resigned from Anusara Yoga today and have to fly with my own wings, I stepped out of the yoga cocoon and can no longer hide in that made up sense of spiritual safe place. I grew up today.

The feeling I have at this very minute is that I am alone and free,  I am free because I stepped into my aloness – anchorless, the ground less stable and less necessary, death looming and love along with it.

I might be discovering the uncertain, fluid and ungraspable dance of the dragon. The name that was given to me and  that is now tattooed on my wrist has taken on a whole new dimension. « 


It is has been going on for a month now. A rampant desire, at times soft and objectless, and sometimes so vividly defined that it hurts. A sudden reemergence of an old longing I had no idea was still so potent. My mind plays with it, reiterates old memories and feelings, and feeds my hopeless heart. It is neither happy nor sad, right now it just is.

That’s the thing with desire, you can’t push it away, you can’t make it solid either, it surges and wanes, as impermanent as everything else. Or is it?

Tender heart

A day like today I wish I could still fool myself  and keep my heart all nice and cushy. But it no longer works. Something happens, the world touches me, my heart is raw and bruised, and all my habitual patterns, the nice interesting fabrications, strategies and protective layers my mind usually sets up, are transparent and unconvincing. And I am left with a tender heart, life so vivid and terrifying, so beautiful and sad, so soft and harsh at the same time. The genuine heart of sadness.

And the weird thing is that I am fine, I have never been more fine.

This is what I did today: June 10th, 2012

Among other things and pretty much in that order, this is what I did today:  hugged my son, went for an early morning walk in Paris, resigned my affiliation with Anusara Yoga Inc, wondered why a latte at Starbucks costs so damn much, appreciated Marc and Anne’s teachings skills, had lunch with two old dear friends, had two beers and felt light headed, heard an old Indigo Girls song and replayed an old fling, got soaked in the rain, missed Yan, and went to bed marveling at the non sequitur of it all.

June 10th, 2012 – Paris, France.

Les événements des copains en juin

  • Isa accueille des expos et de belles pièces dans son théâtre le Ruban Vert à Aix. Je vous recommande particulièrement « Histoires de femmes » le 2 et 3 juin.
  • Ariane exposera ses palettes le 10 juin à La Maréschale à Aix pendant le Dimanche des Arts, elle a beaucoup de talent (et aussi besoin d’un parasol pour survivre au cagnard, avis aux propriétaires de parasols 🙂
  • Caro a ouvert une galerie pour exposer ses toiles à Lourmarin, passez la voir! Atelier d’Avril, 14 rue Henri de Savournin à Lourmarin, au pied du Lubéron.