Tag Archives: Buddha


20 Mar

3093282_7471115_lzYesterday evening at the end of a difficult yoga class we sat with our eyes closed, legs crossed & hands in prayer at our hearts. At this time most teachers usually end the class with a quote, saying or short story to inspire you. Yesterday the teacher talked about the meaning  behind the lotus flower in Buddhism and it really resonated with me.

The lotus has been a symbol of purity since before the time of the Buddha, and it blooms profusely in Buddhist art and literature. Its roots are in muddy water, but the lotus flower rises above the mud to bloom, clean and fragrant.

The mud nourishing the roots represents our messy human lives. It is through our human experiences and our suffering that we seek to break free and bloom. But while the flower rises above the mud, the roots and stem remain in the mud, where we live our lives. A Zen verse says, “May we exist in muddy water with purity, like a lotus.”

Rising above the mud to bloom requires great faith in oneself, in the practice, and in the Buddha’s teaching. So, along with purity and enlightenment, a lotus also represents faith.

Absolutely love this.

Happy Thursday.



prayer flags

18 Oct

23: Dear Tassajara

15 Jun

Dear Tassajara,
It was no accident that you were one of the first goals I tackled for the year. I’d like to think the universe knew I needed to learn some Zen fundamentals before I got too far into this crazy year, because boy, oh boy did the lessons come in handy when stuff didn’t go my way! When I first heard about you 2 years ago, I knew that I would have to find  a way to get to you one day- I knew it was something my soul required. Who doesn’t want to spend a week in silence with no phone or computer at a Buddhist zen center  nestled in the mountains?
So I put you on my “365 til 30” goal list because I thought…what better thing to explore before 30 then the silence of my own head!
You were quite the experience, to say the least! Definitely one of the most beautiful and exhausting (I say that with love) 7 days of my life. My highlights from my time with you..
Being awakened every morning at 5:20 by a person ringing a bell beckoning me to the Zendo (meditation hall) to meditate for an hour in the dark- if I didn’t have to sit upright during this period I would have surely slept through it. But once I stopped complaining about being up so early I fell in love with starting the day this way. There is something powerful about that whole meditation thing!
Getting assigned to clean toilets in the guest cabins as part of my work program. Let me tell you, it was such a joy! I’ve decided that considering I don’t clean my own toilet at home, this had to be some sort of karmic joke. But once I stopped complaining about how gross it was (to myself since I wasn’t able to speak to anyone) I started to lose my emotional response to the situation. By day four, I was cleaning toilets with a damn smile on my face.
The last highlight was bathing nude with Buddhist monks. Probably the only time in my life I will be embarrassed because I HAD a bikini wax. Oh the stares I got!
All in all it was one of the best experiences of my life but also one that had me asking myself what I had gotten myself into?
But my absolute favorite thing about you was the silence you gave me. I have never experienced such silence in my life and it was exactly what my crazy head needed.
Although I quickly learned that a crazy head with no distractions other than its own thoughts is a scary place for a few days until it settles down.
This quote from the Buddha sums up my feelings about you-

“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell”.

I sincerely hope we meet again Tassajara…



7 Jun

Love the excerpt below.

Nothing Solid by Pema Chodron

Moving away from our experiences, moving away from the present moment with all our habits and strategies, always adds up to restlessness, dissatisfaction, unhappiness. The comfort that we associate with concretizing and making things solid is so transitory, so short-lived. 

Moving into our experiences- whether it’s the opening experience of love and compassion or the closing-down experience of resentment and separation- brings us an enormous sense of freedom: the freedom of nothing solid. Something about “nothing solid” begins to equal freedom. In the meantime, we discover that we would rather feel fully present to our lives than be off trying to make everything solid and secure and engaging our fantasies or addictive patterns. We realize that connecting with our experiences by meeting it feels better than resisting it by moving away. Being on the spot, even if it hurts, is preferable to avoiding. As we practice moving into the present moment this way, we become more familiar with groundlessness, a fresh state of being that is available to us on an ongoing basis. This moving away from comfort and security, this stepping out into what is unknown, uncharted, and shaky- that’s called liberation. 


28 Mar

Yesterday was one of those days- yes, those days. Just an uphill kinda day. I blame it on the fact I didn’t sleep much the night before. I don’t know what the heck was wrong with me- I was tired, yet I couldn’t sleep. I read until 1:30 in the morning (I’m still reading my new favorite book– I may be dragging it out a bit at this point because I don’t want it to end!) at which point I forced myself to stop reading (when I realized it was 1:30) so I could get some sleep. But instead of sleep, I tossed and turned with a million things running through my head…

I wonder how the road trip will turn out…still so much to do…what if Rachel and I fight…then what…nah we won’t fight…we never fight…nor do either one of us really like to fight…I need a yoga class…ugh, Brian’s elbow is really bugging me…move over Brian…maybe if I just push him he’ll move…why am I so damn hot…why is this room so hot…I have to pee…I need my hair colored…totally not in the mood to go to the accountant tomorrow…maybe I will get a refund though…and I actually like my accountant…she’s nice…I think I want to plan all my outfits out before I leave for the road trip…that would certainly make life easier each day…my toes are cold and I’m hot…I wonder if Brian is bothered by my tossing and turning…I should pick a recipe this week to tackle…I haven’t done that in a while…might relax me a bit…maybe I should move to the couch…born to be willllld (yes the song played in my head for a bit)…what a fun song…maybe we should make it our road trip theme song…we need music playlists…I need to get back into volunteering next week…after the craziness of this week…I wonder what I should get Irv for his birthday…I like birthdays…oh my I am almost 100 days away from 30…Brian’s art show was so great…I’m so proud of him…maybe I need to meditate this week…it’s been too long…I need some zen in my life…I wish I could go back to Tassajara…although that was a really hard situation…some quiet would be nice though…ugh, Brian’s elbow’s annoying me again…I should move to the couch.

I did move to the couch and finally fell asleep around 3:30am only to wake up at 6:30 am for the day. Not good. Actually there was nothing really good  about the whole day…I worked…went to the accountant…sat in traffic…worked some more…ate chinese food with Bri for dinner (alright, that wasn’t that bad) and did the dishes with this sign in front of me…(maybe I should take a hint?)


21 Feb

Coming off yesterday’s post, I am sure this will NOT come as a surprise to you- I have hit a bit of a midlife crisis with 365 til 30. Or, as Maggi, my life coach so kindly put it- “I think 365 til 30 is starting to run you now, instead of you running it”. Ouch. What a painful thing to hear but so true. The ten goals that gave me SOOOOO much joy 6 months ago have started to feel like chores- totally not the point of this project! Maggi has urged me to remember why I originally wanted to accomplish these goals and to focus on the joy and excitement the thought of experiencing them brought me.

 When I started 365 til 30 six months ago,  I was off and running right out of the gate. Full of excitement and wonder, I happily embarked on the adventure of camping and Tassajara. After accomplishing them I moved onto my other goals for the year- learn to cook, master the tango, speak French fluently, work with my favorite websites, publish my writing (I have a book proposal floating around at a publisher…fingers crossed) and volunteer. I have realized these goals are less finite and instead are an ongoing process. I am constantly tending to them.

The last two goals…Drive Across the USA (which I am in the process of planning for April) and getting Frank, my French Bulldog (which will happen when we move) are goals that I am still working towards. With the road trip fast approaching I happen to think about it all the time. I am DYING with excitement to drive across the USA with my girlfriend Rachel– she is the perfect friend to do this with and equally excited! This goal has always been one of my favorites on the list because it’s something I have dreamed of doing since I was little girl and I can’t believe I’m finally going to do it! As the trip approaches though I have started to feel a bit anxious about it. When I put it on the list I always wondered how I would take the time off to do it right. It’s not like it’s ever really convenient to leave your life for 3-4 weeks…work and money are valid concerns. My remedy for the fear is to remember the joy the idea of accomplishing it brings me and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

With so much on my plate I decided I needed a focused plan towards finding the joy in the goals again.

I start another round of tango classes on Monday the 27th for 6 weeks and I will not skip one class…not one!

I will find one new exciting dish a week to learn! (last night it was fish provencal! It was soooooooooo gooooood- post coming!)

I will continue my volunteer work at PATH once a week.

I will spend 4 hours a week practicing my French in preparation for my trip to Paris in July!!!

I will finalize all the details for our road trip from a joyful place instead of an anxious place so that we are ready to embark on the journey in April!!

I will stay positive and grateful about the fact that my book proposal is floating around  in the world instead of anxious.

I will re-stratagize my approach for working with Take Part and Explore- I have had sooooo many meetings with both of them and feel like the timing has been off…but maybe I need to re-think my approach.

I will commit to weekly sessions with Maggi starting this week. It doesn’t matter how busy I am! They will be a priority because they always keep me focused, calm, joyful and on-track.

Oh, and most importantly, I will commit to being grateful and enjoy the process….otherwise what the hell is the point right??!


Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.

Anais Nin


27 Jan


I had a rather stellar week. Why, you ask? Alright, I’ll tell you. I finished my book proposal! Pretty thrilling, huh? I am not sure who is happier about this…Brian or me. Can’t say he seemed too sad when I said I was finished. I think he’s happy to finally have the “normal” me back. The other Kate was snippy and loved to sit around in her pajamas all day on the weekends writing. She was pretty exciting, not to mention sexy, I’m sure.  So yeah, I’m happy I turned it in. The process of putting it together was fulfilling, exhausting and exciting. I’m scared to imagine what I will be like when I am actually writing the book. Brian may want to go on an extended vacation to India at that point.

What inspired me this week?

The movie “Finding Forester”

The movie “The Lie”– loved the performances in it.

Volunteering at PATH

My new book Revive

Road trip planning with Rachel…here we come open road and adventure!

What am I grateful for this week?

Finishing my book proposal. Yahooo.

Brian for being such a good-natured and lovable guy

Erin of Well In LA for teaching me a few new healthy recipes!

The amazing notes I received from readers. They put a huge smile on my face. It has been so nice to hear your thoughts and connect. It makes it so much more fun. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone in feeling this way!

My fav notes of the week-

“I hit 29 less than a month ago. I feel the pinch, too. I’m trying to meditate, cook, volunteer, learn Spanish and garden. I’m really enjoying your blog, and it’s giving me some more ideas to add to my self-improvement list. Thank you for sharing your journey with all of us, it’s nice to know there are other 29 year olds sans mortgage, etc. Or should I say…merci!”

“I love this concept! At 27, 30 is starting to feel frighteningly close. I’ve always thought of 30 as the year by which I would have it “all figured out”. Now that 30 is looking like a real, and near, prospect… well. I’ll be following your blog now to see how it all goes”

“Thank you for this post!! Working on my own list right now and this is completely inspiring.
And thank you for sharing your journey. The sweetness of your heart shines through… and I know it must take a good shot of bravery every now and then to do everything you’re doing. Rock on lady
much Love”

What surprised me this week?

Enjoying cooking dinner. WHO. AM. I? Not the Kate McClafferty I used to know.


“Everything you want, also wants you”

Jack Canfield


23 Jan


I feel like my adventure at Tassajara was a million years ago and I miss it. It was one of the first goals I crossed off my list back in September and is one of my favorite 365 til 30 memories. Ill admit it was one of the hardest goals to tackle but so worth it. SO WORTH IT.  I walked into the experience not knowing what to expect and I was surprised by what it brought into my life- a calm, a quietness with myself that I have never experienced, a kinder approach to myself and the world around me. I became my own best friend there and I liked it,

I didn’t realize how much I missed Tassajara until I had lunch with a fellow Tassajaran named Tarquin last week. I haven’t seen him since the day I left and it had been too long. He was the very first person I met when I arrived there. At the time I was feeling every emotion in the book- exhausted, scared, happy, anxious, excited and totally overwhelmed. I felt like a fish out of water and I couldn’t stop asking myself…”what did you get yourself into?”

The minute I got there I was paired with Tarquin in the kitchen to cut vegetables and he immediately made me feel calm. He is a generous spirit. We chatted about life and his time at Tassajara as we chopped carrots. He was from the LA area as well. This was his first time at Tassajara- he had been there for  3 weeks at that point and planned to be there 3 more. My first question was “why would you sign up to be at Tassajara for 6 weeks? Why not ease your way in with a week or two? What if you didn’t like it” He said “well, I thought if I am going to do it then do it.” I was pretty impressed with this.

He assured me that everything was going to be fine and in that moment I knew that I had a friend in him and I felt a sense of calm. Over the next week we enjoyed many more talks and laughs but since much of our time was spent in silence we didn’t get to know each other too much more.But luckily we got another chance.  The night before I planned to depart he asked me if I could give him a ride back to LA because something sudden came up back home that he needed to attend to. My response was…why not! All part of the adventure! Our ride home was hysterical…we talked and talked and talked and talked. Actually I don’t think we ever shut up. We were both so chatty after having to be quiet for so long!

When I dropped him off at his house we hugged and said that we would grab coffee or lunch soon and 4 months later we finally did! When I saw him I felt like I was transported back to Tassajara. I could almost smell the place and a bunch of memories flooded back. For as hard as the experience was I missed it terribly. Tarquin mentioned he was thinking about going back this spring.

NEWS FLASH: I’m thinking about trying to get back there this spring as well. We will see…so much up in the air right now.

Until then Tarquin and I have decided to get back into our meditation practice together and will be attending a meditation sitting…from 7:30-9 pm next week. Ouch. Nothing like throwing yourself back in full speed.


“All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else.




13 Jan



-What inspired me this week?-

The word connectivity


The email below from someone I have never met. It truly made me tear up. I was so inspired by her words!

Hi Kate,

I look forward to your adventures, insightfulness, wisdom, recipes, wishes, hopes, dreams, disappointments, random thoughts, and family stories every day.  I wish I had had your sense of adventure at your age, to have sought more than just a traditional education followed by finding a job, getting, married and thinking that was all that there was to life by the age of 25. You question everything – value those things which need to be valued and discard the rest – and you’re not even 30 yet!!

I’m sure there are many others who have expressed similar feelings and I hope you don’t feel the pressure of having to live up to all of our expectations because we are living through you a little vicariously.
And I hope you won’t stop writing on your 30th birthday!
-What am I grateful for this week?-
My mom for helping me unlock my head. She made it possible for me to clearly compile my thoughts again. Thanks mom!
My friend Ali for everything she does and for simply existing. 233
Rachel for being such a joyful and creative energy in my life
That a friend from Tassajara is back in my life! More on that in a later post.
-What surprised me this week?-
What a time sucker pintrest can be! I am a woman obsessed with making pin boards…obsessed!

“May you find inspiration in the big picture but love in the details”



12 Jan


After reading my post today my Dad sent me this note…



I found this to be a very spiritual post!!!!!!!

I’ll talk to you later. The Dalai Lama is on the phone. Gotta go.

Love Dad


Guess I won’t say he doesn’t meditate ever again!