Not too tight, not too loose

“Nirvana is not some kind of beautiful, celestial garden filled with peaches and mangoes, a place where everybody is walking around with beautiful halos. It is not a place where everyone is in a constant state of bliss. It’s not even a transcendent state of mind that we are going to achieve. It is not a beautiful, ecstatic, trance-like state of mind that we can cherish. Rather, nirvana is a great cessation of the separation between us and the truth. It is the mere acknowledgment of what has been the case all along. It is like waking up from a nightmare… It’s a great relief to discover that nothing has to be done.”

– Anam Thubten from No Self, No Problem

As the arc of the sun shifts further south and the days grow shorter, we are reminded each day that winter is coming. The song of the wind blowing through the trees inspires us to join this wild dance of leaves rolling and swirling across the landscape. All at once the song seems to end as the wind dies down and the most vivid sunsets signal the end of another beautiful day. Time to gather the remaining bounty from the vegetable garden and celebrate nature’s generosity.


Our neighbor Charlie and new karma yogi Lane join us for a garden feast.

Our experience of last winter (100″ of rain) has left us more informed about the natural movement of water and earth in these mountains. So we build swales and berms while trying to protect slide prone areas from further erosion. At the same time, we know that mother nature’s natural rhythm here means movement – especially in winter. So with some focused exertion, a light touch, and an open heart, we let go to whatever this coming season will bring.

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Cory lays erosion control cloth to help protect the hillside between the water tanks and Prajna.

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Lane lends a shovel to the ongoing work of digging out Prajna from last winter’s landslides.

We are grateful to have sangha member Lane Foster Harrell join the Sweetwater Sanctuary Team in the role of Sangha Liaison. Welcome Lane! Lane came from her home in Austin, Texas for her first visit to the sanctuary this past month. She will be picking-up some of the tasks that Catherine Hollander had been doing to help support online communications and oversight of various karma yoga pojects. A huge thank you to Catherine for helping to create and organize this role starting last June along with the myriad of things she does to support the ongoing hermitage project!

“Not too tight, not too loose” is our Lojong practice at this juncture of the Sweetwater Sanctuary project. We know that this particular practice looks different for all of us and we strive to accommodate all views. We remain steadfast in the contemplation of how to skillfully move forward with the various challenges we face together while relaxing with the beauty of Sweetwater Sanctuary as she already is. If you’d like to join the conversation, email us at If you feel inspired to contribute financially, you’ll find current items of need on our wishlist or become a Friend and donate to the ongoing maintenance of the land here.

Love and gratitude,

Kay & Cory



Buddha’s eye view from his new home at the top of the land.

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