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Maia’s Feb 2015 e-letter

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Temple door, Thailand / photo: Maia Duerr

Temple door, Thailand / photo: Maia Duerr

How to Find Your Hidden Treasure

Over the last few years, I’ve been re-visiting my love affair with magic, only now I understand it in a new way.When I was a kid, I wanted to be a magician. My little friends often invited me to do magic tricks at their birthday parties; I even had an old, cast-off brown suitcase where I stashed all my magical accoutrements – the wand, scarves, cups and balls, a deck of cards, and much more! With a big black magic marker, I wrote on the outside of the suitcase: “The Great Duerrini.”

Here’s what I believe: Magic happens when we take another look at something that’s been there all along and see it in a new way. Magic happens when we tap into that just-below-the-surface stream of wisdom and joy that is continually running.

Recently I got a wonderful email from a brilliant young woman, Firyal, who graduated from my “Fall in Love with Your Work” program last year. She’s worked in the nonprofit and foundation sector, with a focus on immigrant issues. She also has a love for contemplative practice.

During a transitional period in her employment, Firyal gave herself the gift of a three-day personal retreat, with yoga, meditation, and a deep dive into some of the explorations that were planted during “Fall in Love with Your Work.” She described it as a “truly transformative” experience, one which has given her much more “clarity and ease in flow of next steps” related to her career. Here’s what she wrote me:

Who would’ve thought that the very thing I’m interested in building a livelihood around (connections around intentional space and contemplative practice in community development) is what I created for myself! Oh universe — you’re so unsneaky, if only we paid attention!!

So often the thing that we most love to do, that we do so naturally we don’t even think about it and it feels like play — that is our hidden treasure. It’s definitely the key to creating a livelihood that sings – I’ve seen that over and over in my own life and with the people who take “Fall in Love with Your Work.” But it’s the key to so much else as well.

If you’re feeling a bit lost and adrift in your life, may I suggest that the pathway out may be easier than you think. What you are seeking is not far, not far at all. In fact it is right under your nose. All it requires is that you make space for it to reveal itself, and that you pay attention. The universe really is “un-sneaky.” Thank you for that, Firyal!

In freedom,




Re-Connection and Renewal
Interested in bringing mindfulness into your workplace? Re-Connection and Renewal (R+R) workshops and retreats are designed to do just that. Along with Katya Lesher, I offered a one-day R+R workshop Spiritual Directors International and for staff of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Get in touch with me to learn more about how you can bring a custom-designed R+R to your group or organization.

June 2015: Retreat at Upaya Zen Center
Katya Lesher and I will be co-leading “Re-Connection and Renewal: A Women’s Weekend of Mindful Nourishment” at Upaya Zen Center, June 26-28, 2015. I’d love to have you join us here in beautiful Santa Fe.


The Enlightened Teacher: Vignettes to Guide Your Practice by Dr. Patty Lee

The Art of Focused Conversation: 100 Ways to Access Group Wisdom in the Workplace, edited by R. Brian Stanfield

Mankiller: A Chief and Her People by Wilma Mankiller

About Maia

I've been practicing and studying the Buddha way since 1994, and exploring the question "What is engaged Buddhism?" since the late 90s. As former executive director of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship and editor of its journal, Turning Wheel, I had the honor of meeting and working with many practitioners of engaged dharma, including Roshi Joan Halifax, Joanna Macy, Alan Senauke, and Robert Aitken Roshi. I write about socially engaged Buddhism on my blog, "The Jizo Chronicles," as well as on the theme of personal and collective freedom on my website, "The Liberated Life Project." Through my Five Directions Consulting, I offer support to individuals and organizations who aspire to integrate awareness into their work.

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