the mercer weave

Think. Don't Think. Breathe. Write. Roam.

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Concentration in the Face of Disappointment

I’m almost embarrassed to post about this, but what the heck…

Technically, this is day two and as a grieving Seahawks fan, sitting this morning came as a wonderful relief. I worked in our operations center during the game and sat with guys who were far more devastated than I when that last play ended in disaster. For me, there was a momentary sense of sadness but that was immediately followed by a wash of gratefulness – an acknowledgment that while disappointment was inevitable it was not the end of the world. And yes, while it is a sad cliche, it is just a game. Sitting this morning reminded me how simply accessible ‘real happiness’ is because it’s really only as far as my heart.

In the meantime, here are our fur children celebrating the Seahawks despite the loss.IMG_2627

New Year, New Challenge 2014

I was gently (or not so gently) reminded this afternoon why meditation needs to be a more consistent element in my life. As I sat on my cushion, I decided to jumpstart my practice by listening to Sharon’s CD from her first book, Real Happiness. I settled in, closed my eyes and grounded myself on my cushion. I listened intently, feeling like an old friend was giving me private breathing lessons. Then…

A text message came in from one of my co-workers notifying me that an arrest had been made on a case we had worked all week. I’m ashamed to say, I looked at the text and of course, was pretty distracted.

I settled back in.

Then the Fur Mob came screaming downstairs, doing a Nascar worthy lap around me that culminated in an extended play date in my lap and on my cushion.

I kept coming back to the breath, recognizing that I will not always be lucky enough to sit in silence, that interruptions, while annoying, are often there to strengthen the practice.

The Fur Mob



Lovingkindness is Hard

There are a few reasons I decided to investigate meditation several years ago.  For one, I felt I was sorely lacking some kind of spiritual foundation – something intangible I know, but for me it was important. The faith in which I was raised (I’m a cradle Catholic) wasn’t speaking to me. In fact, when it did, the words were not consoling or welcoming. As I wrote this, I noticed that I used the present tense to refer to ‘my Catholicism’ and that speaks volumes, I suppose. There will always be a part of me that craves the ‘smells and bells’, the ritualistic communal gathering on Sunday morning and the regimen of the liturgy. But the human element of the faith in which I was raised has (in my opinion) created obstacles too high for me to overcome.

Lovingkindness is harder the longer you put it off. I find that if I don’t include a metta practice at the end of my meditation session, I struggle to stay on task. And that struggle invades those parts of my day when I deal with difficult people. Taking the ego out of the equation is imperative. Being able to stand back and understand there is nothing personal about the interaction takes patience, equanimity and more than a passing familiarity with the power of selflessness.

But as they say, practice makes perfect. And I get a lot of practice.ht_nypd_homeless_man_jef_121129_wmain

Endings and Beginnings

I’m 80,000 words into a writing project I’ve been working on for what seems like years. Like so many things I start, its ending is eluding me. There is something so tantalizing to beginnings. It’s the promise of a change of venue, the excitement of discovery, the rush of feeling like I’m looking down a road less traveled. Endings spell finality. How often  do we try to hold onto beginnings, to the middle, just to avoid the end of something that gives us a sense of purpose? And does the end of one adventure mean the cessation of all of the experience gained? It should give us a moment to pause and then journey on.

It’s time to finish what I started.

Crime Crushing Canines

I took the photo on my way to work almost as a lark. Then I loaded Lucy and Bella into my car took them to work with me in a boring detective cubicle. They slept all day.

I showed the picture to my friend who works in the Public Affairs Unit for the department and he asked if he could post it on Facebook.

The rest is history.

Lucy and Bella are now asking me to separate out the red biscuits from the brown as part of their contract. I just knew this would happen…

We Should All Be So Easily Amused

This is what I love about dogs. Well, one of the many things I love about them.  Pure, unadulterated joy. Curiosity that knows no bounds. Like children, but without the potential for purposeful heartache.


We should aspire to be more like these lovely souls.

Take a Break

San Francisco Police Department Rocks – It Gets Better Project Release

Incredibly well produced video for the It’s Get Better Project.

I Guess I Should Have Read This First

Pico Iyer says it far more eloquently than me.


Now skedaddle away from that television.


h/t  Justin Whitaker

Compassion is Hard

This past weekend in a small town southeast of Seattle, Josh Powell killed himself and his two young sons. The news crawled along the bottom of the television screen during the pre-Super bowl coverage on a dark red banner. This story has monopolized the news in the Pacific Northwest off and on since Powell’s wife disappeared in Utah in 2009. Being a cop, I don’t tend to react as strongly as many people do to this kind of news because it’s so much a part of the culture of policing. We constantly encounter people at the worst moment of their life and there is often pressure to maintain a certain stoicism in the face of abject tragedy.

It is often a challenge to maintain one’s humanity while investigating horrible things, while looking at death, grief and violence perpetuated by the people who are supposed to love you unconditionally. Many of us create a coat of armor, a rigid exterior that we hope is un-penetrable but we suspect is deeply flawed.  We have that suspicion because even as hard as we try to not let it affect us, we can’t control that subconscious troll that creeps into our dreams in the darkest moments of night. It is impossible to see these kinds of things without being profoundly changed.

As I sat in the comfort of my home on Sunday, I thought of the first responders arriving at the Powell house fully engulfed after a violent explosion. And I couldn’t help but think of the day they thought they had ahead of them – football at the fire station, answering a few aid calls, making dinner for the crew. And I thought about the neighbors and the families and of course, about the two children killed and how life can change in a flash of fiery rage when one man’s delusion consumed something so innocent and loved so no one else could have it.

And I tried to have compassion for that man because that’s what I’m striving for with my practice. And although I didn’t quite make it there because I think this would qualify as advanced compassion, in my humble opinion, I have committed myself to try.

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