Words at Work: Part Three

in What's New

During the highs and lows of our lives, in which work plays such a huge part, there is immense space for appreciation. One of the greatest things we can do for ourselves is to appreciate where we are, regardless of the tasks. Such a fundamental lesson can be found in many of Tarthang Tulku’s books, like Gesture of Great Love.

In this third installment of Words at Work, we see how the appreciation for work gives gardener Marc Hoeppner a chance to grow and explore not only his role but also his time here at Ratna Ling Retreat Center.

Buy Gesture of Great Love Here

“Take up the walking stick of joy and set forth on the adventure of the rest of your life” (Gesture of Great Love, p. 22).


“There is no wrong way, and no right way. There are no worthless experiences,” (Gesture of Great Love, p. 59).

To Rise from the Roots

“I like working because it is so uncomplicated for me. The next steps are always laid out very clearly, much more so than social dynamics, relationships, or even school. All we have to do is move through the list. There are days of electric energy when we are so excited that we glide through the day like dancers, but not every time; either way, we come back to the work and engage. There is a steady rhythm to life that forces a lovely discipline to bloom, and when we focus, we can see how our moods are shifting.

The very special thing about my experience at Ratna Ling is that I am gifted with a job that I want so eagerly to be an undeniable triumph. While some tasks are a living hell before they even start, I must break through the obstacles before me - developing new skills if I must. For example, whenever I am installing irrigation in the garden, it feels like pulling teeth, but the longer I wait, the more infected the area becomes in my mind. If I can steadily perform the task, mindful but not adherent to my resistance, I feel very proud of the result and my whole reality is lighter. Life is not always easy or happy for me here, but I am constantly growing through challenges. My capacity for giving rises exponentially.”

– Marc Hoeppner


As Marc expressed, life can feel complicated. While work may offer a more regimented means of navigation, certain tools can be cultivated in the space where we face adversity to help us open to the path of our goals when difficulties arise in all aspects of our lives. By learning to open our hearts, we can construct a powerful tool to help us achieve our goals, whether at a social gathering, at work, or embarking on a new adventure.


garden collage


Exercise: Opening the Heart

“Make yourself comfortable on your chair or meditation cushion. Let your body become still and your breath become soft and even. Rub your hands together until you feel some warmth. Place one hand on your heart and the other over the first.

Feel your heartbeat.

That’s all, just feel the beating of your heart. Gently invite the warmth from your hands to penetrate your clothing and kin and warm the very center of your heart, relaxing and healing it. Sit awhile, savoring this feeling. Stay with the feeling even after you take your hands away” (Gesture of Great Love p. 17 - 18).



For Further Study - Balance, Self-Care, and the Healing Power of Ease

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