Winter Retreat Day 3: Just This Moment

Today’s reading comes from a past contributor, Zen Teacher, Author, and personal coach Hoag Holmgren. In the few short years that I have known Hoag, I have observed his steady presence, easy humor and readiness to be of service as the highlights of his character. I have no doubt these qualities shine through as a way of being his natural self; qualities unearthed, tempered and burnished by dedicating his life to meditation.

Read Hoag’s past contributions to our winter retreat: “No Better Place” and “Parenting as Path

For this, and all readings during our retreat, I recommend applying the principles of Lectio Divina from Day 1. If you find it challenging to sit for extended periods and focus on a computer screen, treat yourself to a yoga break with any of the exercises from Day 2: Just Breathe.

This year, when I asked Hoag if he was interested in contributing a teaching about “making it from scratch” he said, “Oh, that’s easy! Every day I’m starting from scratch.” I hope you will enjoy Hoag’s easy-going approach to making it from scratch as much as I do!

Making it From Scratch: Just this Moment

by Hoag Holmgren

“Each moment, each breath, is an invitation to begin anew, to indeed start from scratch. We each receive countless invitations every day to begin again, to erase the blackboard and start over, to transition to the next situation without being hampered by lingering afterthoughts. When our natural spaciousness begins to function in daily life—usually the result of ongoing meditation or some other contemplative practice—we discover that we can relate to the world and to others a little more freshly and sanely. We’re less frequently held hostage by moldering narratives, worn-out recipes, and merry-go-rounds of thinking. Life becomes less tightly spooled. We see that we can live quite well without the yoke of private manifestos, agendas, and expectations.

It’s enough to show up with empty hands.
crop man with hands under transparent water
Photo by Jacob Kelvin.J on

“Whatever it is, we have a chance to make it from scratch using the ingredients we already have. We can speak with someone without the weight of their history or our own history clouding the interaction. And so each encounter is a chance to start over. Wherever we are, whatever we’re doing, it’s enough to just do that! It’s so simple to say and understand intellectually, but it’s quite challenging to truly embody. Making hot chocolate, changing a diaper, flipping a pancake. Each moment and each act possesses depth, completeness, potential, and mystery. Truly, moment to moment, there’s nothing missing. And if you can see that the other is also, literally, not other, you begin to see with the eyes of a Buddha which are precisely the ordinary, precious eyes you’ve always had.

for more information about Hoag Holmgren, his books, teaching, and coaching services, check out

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: