My beautiful Saraswati looking over my desk, my first gift from Bernie

After great discussion, I added a button asking for donations to support the blog. Discussions with whom? The blog. It went something like this:

Blog: “I think I need a little help. You know, I don’t wake up every morning bubbling with vitality and something interesting to say, I get tired like everybody else. I have to work hard to do this, especially on gray, rainy days like this one after you’ve been gone on retreat. Even the dogs aren’t giving me one bit of help today. You think it’s easy to get updated and renewed three times a week?”

“Come on, Blog, you’re just a piece of writing.”

“And that doesn’t need support, lady?”

“Immigrants need support. People with no shelter in these cold times need support. Children who’re—”

“What about art, lady? What about writing?”

“Well . . .”

“Thousands of years ago, when it was a lot harder to survive than it is now, people would risk their lives to go deep into caves and draw on limestone that would preserve the drawings. They drew stick figures and painted deer and horses; they even buried their dead near these paintings so that their works of art could accompany them into the underworld. That’s how you should think of me, lady.”

“As a work of art that accompanies readers to the underworld?”

“Hey, I get into some pretty grim stuff there: Life, death, loss, Harry and Aussie.”

“Harry and Aussie are grim?”

“Turn around and look at them lying there, knowing they’re not going anywhere in this rain. The point is, lady, I go somewhere.”

“You mean, I go somewhere.”

“And you take me with you. Not just to different places and people, but also to the underworld. And I send back news.”

“What news, Blog?”

“That even in the underworld there is light, hope, inspiration, and fun. That there’s nothing so dark that it can’t be made light of.”

“And you think that merits support?”

“Yes. More important, lady, you need support!”

It’s a great luxury not to think about money. It’s fair to say that for much of our life together, Bernie and I had to think a lot about money. We spent a great deal due to his stroke, but we got so much help, so many people thought about money for us, that I could afford to forget about it for a while. He died and I have to think about money again.

Many people could not understand our life. “He never took out a life insurance policy?” they’d ask. “You don’t have a pension?” And I have to explain, again and again, that we chose to live a life of engaged dharma, not just teaching but also doing. That didn’t pay much.

I rejoice in my life, past and present (though it would be nice if Bernie, like Eurydice, tried to make his way back from the underworld). Creativity is everywhere. Not just in writing but also in deriving and articulating meaning from the life that streams through me, and sending that out to you to see if it resonates in your lives, if you, too, find something important and meaningful in similar situations.

Being creative isn’t just writing or blogging or doing something artistic, it’s using every situation as practice, as a way to go deeper, as a way to keep your feet on the bottom of the ocean even as you’re buffeted by waves.

I have been writing this blog consistently for four years now, with the exceptions of retreat times. I plan to continue to write and offer it freely, as I have received so much freely. But I need help to pay my bills, like everybody else, including the bills of maintaining this blog. I recently refinanced my home, half of which is rented out. I am so grateful for all these ways of cutting down expenses and deriving an income. But I still need more.

If you could make a donation of any size, thank you very much. If you could make a monthly donation of any size, thank you very much. If you cannot do any, thank you very much for reading this blog; it will continue to be free. What’s more important to a writer than to be read?

Deep gratitude to all beings who make this possible.