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What Does It Mean to You, this Fresh Existence?

Newsletter banner for Gretchen Cherington

The Butcher, the Embezzler, and the Fall Guy Named Finalist for the Maine Literary Award

Dear Friends,

Spring brings me such joy and May and June have always been my very favorite months of the year. I can't get enough of the colors and smells of brown earth, green grass, every color of flower, and warm air with crisp nights. Maine at its very best! I hope we all are looking forward to a wonderful summer season!!

It's the right season to be announcing a new book by my dear friend Cindy Rasicot titled THIS FRESH EXISTENCE. Cindy and I met in 2020 when we were each finishing up our manuscripts with She Writes Press. We became good friends as we launched our debut memoirs. Hers is titled Finding Venerable Mother which I love for its story of Cindy's ex-pat life in Bangkok with her former husband and then fourteen-year-old son and her unexpected meet up with Bhikkhuni Dhammananda, the first female Thai Buddhist nun ever ordained.

Now, Cindy is out with her latest book with Wildhorse Publications titled: This Fresh Existence — Heart Teachings from Bhikkhuni Dhammananda. It is a beautiful and inspiring story of the unique relationship Cindy has with her teacher and an inspiring teaching on key elements of Buddhist practice.

Image of the book This Fresh Existence by Cindy Rasicot

I've often wished I had more of a regular spiritual practice and Buddhism has always been the tradition that I'm most drawn to. That said, I don't meditate much despite various attempts to try. The other day while hiking up Rattlesnake Mountain in Casco, Maine, and I realized that I was, right then, deeply in meditation. Fully present for each step, feeling each rock and root beneath my feet, breathing in and out at the exact pace needed to climb the mountain. It was a state of joy and serenity in a very beautiful place. We find our ways, don't we, to get what we need.

During Covid, Cindy started her program called Casual Buddhism, the episodes of which you can find on her YouTube channel. She asked me to participate and I'll never forget that episode. Cindy and I share our memories of it in this conversation.

Thank you Cindy for this beautiful book, for your long and abiding relationship with Dhammananda and for inspiring us with your grace. I know I will turn to This Fresh Existence many times in the months and years to come.


From My Stack

Image of book cover for Grief Is for People by Sloane Crosley

Sloane Corsley

Grief Is for People

I didn't know I needed another book on grief, but this one is such a winner, I've been talking about it for weeks! Braiding two stories — the story of the death by suicide of Crosley's friend and boss, and the story of a burglary of Crosley's jewelry in her home — she gives us new ways to think about loss and grief that I never would have expected. It's quick and as Tayari Jones said "Crosley writes with the beauty and urgency of a white hot star...the book I didn't know I needed to read." Exactly.


Here's to renewal, refreshment, rejuvenation in any way you find them just as the seeds awaken and sprout, then grow into tall vines or flowers, may you too relish the summer beauty around you.

With love,

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