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Why We All Need Breathing Space

This is an excerpt from Kirsteen MacLeod's new book, In Praise of Retreat: Finding Sanctuary in the Modern World

I’m sitting on the old footbridge that leads to my cabin in the woods. Beaver Creek passes silently below. Ducks fly overhead. Ferns, cardinal flowers and moss grow amid grey rocks at the water’s edge. Spiders wander over my notebooks, which are spread out on the bridge’s rough planks, pages held open by stones.

This is the place that inspired In Praise of Retreat. By the creek and in the forest, I discovered a rich inner dimension I didn’t know existed. Far from my city life and work-obsessed routines, I began to see what gives my life meaning. I recognized the value of protecting a divine spark, though I’m not religious, and of amplifying the extraordinary—nature, spirit, art, creative thinking—in impoverished times. A retreat means removing yourself from society, to a quiet place where moments are strung like pearls, and after long days apart spent in inspiring surroundings, you return home refreshed and with a new sense of what you want to do with your life.


Far from my city life and work-obsessed routines, I began to see what gives my life meaning.


In the fraught modern era, you’d think our timeless human desire to retreat would fee …

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The Chat with Andrea Miller


Ever wondered what it’s like to meet Thich Nhat Hanh? Hoping to start your own meditation practice or dip your toes into mindful awareness?

This week, we’re in conversation with Andrea Miller, author of the collection Awakening My Heart: Essays, Articles, and Interviews on the Buddhist Life (Pottersfield Press). It’s a fantastic and accessible selection of essays, articles, and interviews exploring the Buddhist life.

Andrea Miller is the deputy editor of leading Buddhist magazine Lion’s Roar and the editor of three anthologies for Shambhala Publications, including Buddha's Daughters: Teachings from Women Who Are Shaping Buddhism in the West. She's also the author of two picture books: The Day the Buddha Woke Up (Wisdom Publications, 2018) and My First Book of Canadian Birds (Nimbus Publishing, 2018). She has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia, and her writing has appeared in a wide range of publications, including Prairie Fire, The Antigonish Review, Mindful Magazine, The Best Buddhist Writing series, The Best Women’s Travel Writing series, The Globe and Mail, Saltscapes, and many others. Miller lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with her husband and two children.


Trevor Corkum: Awakening the Heart is a collection of essays, a …

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