In Eight Steps to Happiness Geshe-la says "'Self' and 'other' are relative terms, rather like 'this mountain' and 'that mountain ... 'This' and 'that' therefore depend upon our point of reference. This is also true of self and other. By climbing down the mountain of self, it is possible to ascend the mountain of other, and thereby cherish others as much as we presently cherish ourself."

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Dear friends,

Just a very quick update on Mimi. Monday she had a rough day with some breakthrough nausea, discomfort and pain. It had been quite a hectic weekend with a visit from Kadam Lucy, then all the coming and going with the post-festival review, so probably the setback was (at least in part) due to that. I'm happy to report that as of yesterday Mimi's feeling much better! Thanks for your continued prayers and support.

Mimi's health setback was a wake-up call for those of caring for her, and we realized that it was past time to order the hospital bed. Yesterday we had a crew of muscular sangha here to help move the queen-sized bed out of the bedroom, to be replaced by the new bed delivered soon after by the local hospital supply company. So much kindness! Mimi is now comfortably ensconced in a bed that has adjustable height for ease of entering and exiting, as well as a raisable head that makes it easier for her to read and eat. Even the foot of the bed can be raised! Soon she'll be levitating ;)

It's been such an inspiration to quote Mimi in past blog posts, and now the spotlight is turned on you, dear readers! Here are some of your kind words to and about Mimi over the last few years in your blog comments when she was posting about her cancer diagnoses and treatments...

You are the bee's knees, Mimi. - Kelsang R

Thanks for your inspiring blog, I think of you every day in my prayers. - LK

You look great, the power of prayers and faith. - BH

Lots of love and prayers to you Mimi... May Medicine Buddha bless your body and mind. - LM

You are so amazing and inspiring. May you realize the union of the two truths .. may we all! - TC

You are safe in Venerable Geshe-la's mandala and he'll be with you the whole way. - Kelsang L

You are in my thoughts and prayers. I love you, Mimi. - CI

I really like your blog and your spirit. - T

Sending love and prayer to you Mimi! - HC

I wish all of us could have this strength and determination every single moment in our lives. -  M

You are a wonderful example. - KLJ

Hooray! You are brave! - UM

Love and blessings. - NJ

It's inspiring how you are transforming this condition and creating beautiful minds. - LB

Rejoicing! - SC

May everything be perfect for you all the time, and you always feel bright inside. - M

Praying for you, Mimi. May all the Buddhas bless your mind. - Anonymous

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Mahamudra Dreaming

Hello friends,

This weekend we are receiving a review of the summer festival teachings on Mahamudra. Kadam Lucy just led us in a wonderful meditation on the emptiness of the self - naturally quotes from some of Mimi's earlier blog posts on emptiness are in order. Follow the links if you'd like to read the entire post (recommended).

She posted in 2012 about a teaching that Gen-la Dekyong had given at summer festival that year. Gen-la mentioned that she had mistaken a dead brown leaf blown by the wind for a little mouse scurrying across the yard. Mimi says about hearing this story, "I was thinking that I didn't have this kind of mistaken appearance very often, but then I soon found two examples: I saw a bowl with a curled-up banana skin as sliced lemons, and a small stick as a thin black slug like the one that I'd seen earlier that day. Because we have so much faith in what we see, recognizing these mistakes helps undercut that confidence and helps lead us to understanding subtle mistaken appearance, believing that the things we normally perceive truly exist."

Also from 2012: "Years ago at an offsite emptiness retreat on Vashon Island, my first Teacher described our involvement with objects we see as being like a dancer and their dance: There is no dance without the dancer. There is no object without a mind perceiving the object. "It takes two to tango," as the expression goes : ) "

Who knew Mimi was a poet?! In this post during election season 2012 entitled "Lies" she shares a bit of emptiness wisdom in poetry form, then ends the post by saying, "And you thought I was going to write about the election, didn't you? : ) "

Finally, from summer of last year, she shares this story in a dream she had: "In the dream, a bunch of Sangha friends came to my house and sang chanted prayers and recited the Heart Sutra. It was glorious. Obstacles were definitely removed, blessings definitely received. A person called Mel had apparently organized it all and played DJ. All the Buddhas were there, with the female wisdom Buddha Prajnaparamita in the starring role... Even though it was hot, everyone seemed to go away even happier than they arrived."

This last post especially touched my mind because, well, it's hot again :) and Buddha Prajnaparamita is still in the starring role :D. Mimi had a visit from Kadam Lucy yesterday, which I think was very meaningful to her. Kind, wonderful friends are spending time at the house this weekend so that Richard can attend the review teachings at the temple.  Health-wise, Mimi's still in the phase of gradual decline, no major changes. She's still fatigued, still has a pretty good appetite, a bit of occasional nausea when she overexerts herself. For those of you who have been looking forward to regular posts, I'm going to hold off posting further until there's a more significant change in Mimi's condition. So if you don't hear anything for a while, be assured that things are continuing along here as they have been for a while.

With love,

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Virtuous Desires

Hello lovely supporters of Mimi,

Just another brief update. Mimi continues to be in a state of low energy and isn't seeing any visitors this week. Kind friends are still stopping by to deliver treats, or spend some extra time visiting with Richard, or help out by being here while Mimi sleeps, or do housework/gardening. We are so deeply grateful for the care and support! Next weekend Kadam Lucy will be here in Seattle to give a review of the Summer Festival 2016 teachings. Mimi's hoping that she'll be able to attend some of the sessions - we'll see how she's feeling in a few days. Mimi has a special connection with Kadam Lucy and has been two separate times to Colorado to enjoy teachings and advice at KMC Colorado's annual Rocky Mountain Retreat. Here's what Mimi had to say about her experience there last summer: "So many blessings, wisdom blessings, that gave me many small insights. Those tiny sprouts of realizations were handed to me - I did nothing except set up the conditions where they could be revealed, and listened to the supreme Mahamudra teachings and perfect meditation guidance of Kadam Lucy, a true Meditation Master."

So it makes sense that Mimi is conserving her strength, and setting up the conditions for receiving teachings next weekend. Please make prayers that she is strong enough to engage in the teachings, it's something she wants very much.

Your friend,
Boswell (This is the same email address, I had to disguise it because of spammers. Please comment on the blog if you can't reach me directly)

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Let It Snow...Again


Just a brief update on Mimi. Not much change since last time I posted. Continuing with a lovely influx of friends and family, and Mimi continues to rest. Since I didn't have much to report here, I thought I'd quote a post that Mimi wrote about a month ago after she announced her terminal prognosis and before she introduced me as her Boswell. The post feels really relevant right now. The title is Let It Snow... and here it is in its entirety:

"Why is that out-of-season song in my head at the moment? I DO have a place to go - an important place - I just don't know yet where.

This former English major has also been thinking about those lines from T.S. Eliot's poem The Love Song of Alfred Proofrock, " ... and in short, I was afraid." But actually I'm not. ...
Maybe just too dumb for that : )
Something better than nothing? Or are you one of those "no news is good news" folks?

Maybe soon a more reasonable person will be posting updates here.

Mainly I wanted to thank you all for the outpouring of support and love, to which I cannot reply with what you deserve. This is the best I can do right now. Accept ... or unsubscribe : )"

With love,
Boswell (

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Going Inward

Dear friends,

There hasn't been much change since my last post, but I thought I'd offer this update nonetheless. Mimi's dad Bob and stepmom Marilyn are here visiting this week; sister-in-law Vicki and niece Lizzie arrive on Friday. Mimi's energy and appetite are still up and down, and she's requested us not to add any further visitors to her calendar for the time being. She spends a lot of time resting between visits - the amount of time seems to increase gradually each day. This, according to the information provided by hospice, is to be expected. In addition to the physical need for more rest, "the dying person begins to withdraw from the world and do the important work of processing one's life." (Paraphrased from the Barbara Karnes booklet I mentioned in the previous post.) So we don't expect Mimi to try harder to interact or push herself to have more energy. She doesn't expect this of herself either. I've been enjoying looking at Mimi's previous blog posts about her meditative experience, and here's something from 2012: "For ordinary activities we're usually told - and we tell ourselves - we need to try harder. But years ago I learned from a young woman who attended KMC NY to try softer. I'm not entirely sure what that means, but I find it beautiful and enjoy contemplating it." So imagine with me that Mimi is absorbed in trying softer, even in the midst of visits with family, friends and hospice personnel. (In a strange twist of Boswell-scheduling, we had eight people at once in Mimi and Richard's small house today. Even as I write this post, Mimi is resting on the sofa while Dad and Marilyn visit with Susan in the dining area and Liz chats with Richard in the kitchen. The hospice social worker just departed.) It's a pleasure and an honor to abide with Mimi at this time, and as she says in a reference to the quotable cult movie The Big Lebowski, "I tell myself the Dudette Abides...or tries to." I hope you all have a similarly fun and inspiring experience with abiding.

With love,