I just cleared my calendar for 10 days of vacation. It was such a joyous task: looking at routine items on each day and deleting them. For 10 days I will be away from routine, seeing sites, hearing sounds and enjoying new experiences. Hope is such fun!

I was expecting to train a new aide this morning but she didn’t show up. What a disappointment! Perhaps she will show up tomorrow. If not, I need to adjust my plans to take into account the fact that I will not have as much help as I thought I might. What a letdown!

My friend Carolyn died yesterday. In her honor, I listened to some bluegrass music and spent some time remembering things she said and did. My world is darker without her in it, even though we didn’t see each other very often.

In two days, I will be teaching a class for the first time. I am nervous about it. I fear I have too much material for the hour and a half I have available. Will people be served by this class? Will they have a good time? I’m anxious about whether I will do a good job.

Such is the power of the mind. Shambhala Buddhism has a slogan: no hope, no fear. It helps remind me that both those emotions arise when I am not in the present moment. By meditating, I learn to let these thoughts and emotions flow through me like water. If I hang on to them, they get bigger and more powerful. If I think and feel them, then let them pass through me, I am vividly alive.

On one hand, I love the power of the imagination. This morning I read a story told from the point of view of a dog. How delightful! Our imaginations can take us to other worlds and other viewpoints. We feel love and compassion because of our miraculous brains.

On the other hand, our imaginations help us to hang on to old hurts. We even create injury where none was intended.

Buddhism also uses the phrase “skillful means.” Applying skillful means to my mind and imagination, I will use them to create more love and make the world a better place rather than get lost in ruminations of anxiety and disappointment.

I return to this moment. I feel the air pass in and out through my nostrils. I listen to the truck outside my window and delight in the shapes of the rocks on my desk. Right now, in this moment, in this place, in this body, in this mind all is well.