May 30, 2013

This Sunday 7-9pm: Working with Fear

Dear Friends,

This Sunday June 2nd I'll be talking about fear, how it manifests, how it serves us, how it doesn't serve us, and how to work with it, especially when meditating. We'll look at various kinds of fear and how fear can be a signpost to potential areas of growth. And we will talk about ways to ground ourselves and find calm in the midst of fear.

In my own life, I often see doubt and fear as difficult partners, so we may also explore the relationship between the two.

Looking forward to practicing with you all,
Deb Kerr

May 27, 2013

Poignancy Practice and Rebirth

Hello Everyone,

It was great to see all of you last night. This week, start noticing poignant moments of joy and/or joy and sadness in your life as you experience your day. Try finding points of stillness in the chaos of the holiday weekend.

Last night, I meant to speak a little bit about rebirth in our tradition of Western Buddhism in California. So, in Theravada Buddhism, as it has panned out here in the West, no one is "forced" to subscribe to the idea of rebirth. In my understanding of Tibetan Buddhism, however, it is necessary to believe in this. I was very much enlightened when I sat several retreats with the Batchelors at Spirit Rock a few years ago. Stephen Batchelor talked to many of us about how through the years, rebirth had been rolled in to Buddhism because this concept was prevalent during the time in which the Buddha lived. Despite its appearance in the Nikayas, the Buddha never personally addressed rebirth himself. In one of the suttas, when asked what happens in the Afterlife, he dismissed the person asking this question and said that it doesn't matter. What matters is suffering and the end of suffering, to be contemplated and practiced in this lifetime. If one thinks about it, this response is very much in keeping with the Buddha's insistence that what he discovered upon his awakening and what he shared with many through his teachings, need to be experienced (and not just believed) in order to know deeply for oneself that such and such is true.

As I personally contemplate my imminent death, I am more and more convinced that rebirth is a possibility. It has evolved within my reflections because my husband and I hope to rediscover one another in another lifetime. It is a method by which to console one another.

with metta and gratitude, Pauletta

May 25, 2013

Yoga at Sangha this Sunday

Hi everyone,
Yoga will be happening on Sunday 6-6:45pm! Sorry for the late notice, I have been having internet issues.

Come at 6pm to the church with your yoga mat and a cotton or wool blanket if you have one and any other props you might have. Eat lightly or not at all before yoga. Wear bare feet and loose clothing.

Peace, Dina

May 23, 2013

This Sunday at Alameda Sangha: The Poignancy of Dying (not somber or morose as it sounds!)

Hello Everyone,

Please come and explore with me how in thinking about the imminence of each of our deaths, we can sometimes notice the poignancy in moments of daily life around us.

Looking forward to seeing you all this Sunday,

with metta, Pauletta

May 17, 2013

This Sunday at Alameda Sangha at BVUMC: Part 2 Working with Chronic and Acute Pain - Compassion

Hello Everyone,
Thanks for all your wonderful emails and support. I shall give an update this Sunday on my visit this week with the oncologist and what I will be faced with upcoming.

Virginia let me know that she did see Anthony this past Tuesday night at Berkeley Buddhist Monastery in white samanera robes looking very peaceful and very much at home in his place with the other monks.

If you are able and interested in opening the doors to exploring death at this time in your life, please come to the church tomorrow for our daylong on Death, Dying and Mindfulness. See the website link below for more details. Please bring a notebook and pen for the afternoon writing session.

This Sunday, I will be continuing with the talk I started on the 5th of May about Working with Acute and Chronic Pain, but focusing on Compassion and how it can unfold on its own accord. Looking forward to see all of you tomorrow and/or Sunday.

with metta,


May 9, 2013

Sun 7-8:30 Hidden Power of Mood at Alameda Sangha

Dear Friends,

Moods can be awful or delightful, or a lot in between. One of the last things Joseph Goldstein said to me when I practiced with him at the Forest Refuge was, "Don't be fooled by your moods." Up to then, I hadn't really considered mood a phenomenon that could fool me, but he tipped me off to studying them, and now I see how they often trip us up.

How can our practice help us recognize that we're in a mood, and once we do, what can be done about it? Come this Sunday, 7-8:30pm and we'll examine how our practice can keep us from being "fooled" by our moods, and how that work can contribute to our spiritual growth. All are welcome.

With metta,

May 7, 2013

Latest Health News

Dear Ones,

On Sunday I announced that I have metastisized cancer to the bone marrow and yesterday we found out that it is from breast cancer despite my having a mammo last year and I receiving a clean bill of health. So much for cancer screening!

So I am now reconsidering having chemo (but still need to speak with the oncologist) because it will extend my life a little but more importantly, maybe shrink the spinal lesion some and possibly get rid of the numbing and tingling sensations in my feet and legs. All of this is temporary of course, because the cancer has already spread to the bone marrow, etc.

At some point I will have a page on Caring Bridge so that anyone who would like to know can check in with my progress or turn for the worse on it. I will be teaching as much as I am able to.

I have been losing weight at a rapid pace which is scary and my energy is zapped. I need to graze all day on small snacks. If anyone has other ideas to add to nuts and dried fruit, as alternative snacks, please let me know.

I am grateful for all of your support and metta. Right now, continuing walks each week with those of you who come to do this with me is great. At some point when I become weaker or even should I decide to start chemo, we would need meals for the family but I will let this be known when the need arises.

So I may have a year at best but not 5 according to the oncologist. If anyone wants to be an active participant in my death journey, I would welcome it. I am planning my death rituals and ceremony with Rebecca and Baruch.

with gratitude for all your support and your practice,


May 6, 2013

This Week's Practice

Hell o Everyone,

Thank you so much for coming last night and cozying up in the intimate space at Island Yoga. It was an inspiring evening for me.

This week, think about practicing with Patience- Patient Forbearance where we endure with what is true at that moment and Patient Acceptance of the Truth where we remain calm even while watching our mind act out when for example we hear about an outcome that didn't meet our expectations.

We can also think about working with frustration and remembering to do our best to halt our mind's tendency to blame and instead be with the feelings of frustration in the body and really get curious about how it manifests.

Suttas for Mind Training: Two Kinds of Thoughts (MN), The Fire Sermon (MN) Satipatthana Sutta (MN) Four Noble Truths, The Six Sense Spheres, The 5 Aggregates and many others but these are good starters to start looking at, hearing talks about, etc.

May you all have a good week,

with metta, Pauletta

Alameda Sangha
Every Sunday, 7pm
@ Buena Vista United Methodist Church
2311 Buena Vista Ave., Alameda
Visit our Website:
Visit our blog:

May 2, 2013

This Sunday at Alameda Sangha at ISLAND YOGA not BVUM - Practicing Patience with Chronic and Acute Pain

Hello Everyone,

Hoping that you can join me so that I can share my practice offerings as I experience chronic and acute pain on my health journey which I love to offer up as a way in which we can learn from in our spiritual paths.

This will be a two part talk. This Sunday at Island Yoga will be about how the Parami of Patience or Khanti has really helped me with chronic and acute pain coping and transcending. If you didn't already know it, meditation practice really helps with both chronic and acute pain! On my weeklong retreat last month, I really experienced relief and healing - it was renewing and inspiring!

The next Sunday that I teach, back at our local digs, BVUM, on May 19th, I will be speaking about how the brahmavihara of compassion has appeared to cultivate all on its own in the light of chronic and acute pain extreme suffering without my even being aware that this was happening until I noticed how my responses to people and situations are far different than they have classically been pre-illness.

You are invited to my one day two artist show at Stage Left Cellars in Oakland on June 2, please save the date.

In order to prepare for Ayya Santacitta's visit with Sr. Jayati on July 7, you may want to start listening to her talks online. She has quite a thick German accent and it may do well to habituate oneself to it so that it won't be a surprise. Here is a link to their website so that you can access her talks:

Looking forward to seeing all of you again,

with metta, Pauletta

Alameda Sangha
Every Sunday, 7pm
@ Buena Vista United Methodist Church
2311 Buena Vista Ave., Alameda
Visit our Website:
Visit our blog: