Ocotillo at Dusk

Ocotillo at Dusk

Ocotillo at Dusk © 2013 Bo Mackison

There is a simple practice that we can do to cultivate forgiveness. First we acknowledge what we feel–shame, revenge, embarrassment, remorse. Then we forgive ourselves for being human. Then, in the spirit of not wallowing in the pain, we let go and make a fresh start. We don’t have to carry the burden with us anymore. We can acknowledge, forgive, and start anew. If we practice this way, little by little we’ll learn to abide with the feeling of regret for having hurt ourselves and others. We will also learn self-forgiveness. Eventually, at our own speed, we’ll even find our capacity to forgive those who have done us harm. We will discover forgiveness as a natural expression of the open heart, an expression of our basic goodness. This potential is inherent in every moment. Each moment is an opportunity to make a fresh start. ~ Pema Chodron, from The Places that Scare You

This weekend I have set aside time to study the above text from Chodron’s book. Again. In this single paragraph, there is a lifetime of work. It is work that I have not only resisted, I’ve also refused to acknowledge the presence of the work, the need for the cultivation of forgiveness.

Today is a desert day, in the literal and figurative sense. I will walk the desert trails, the arroyos. Again, I will follow the desert lines of the labyrinth. I go in search of space and quiet, of brief exile–if only for twenty-four hours–in an attempt to move towards a portal leading to a fresh start.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. She is exploring creative photography and emotion in a  series called Desert Lines – a combination of visual lines and written lines. She is also walking the way of the desert, following its lines, in search of opportunity.

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. Sounds like an interesting book. Good luck on your day of desert.

  2. The simplicity of your photograph matches the apparent simplicity of the words–yours and Pema Chodron’s.
    Forgiveness–so very important, so seldom discussed. You will benefit from your reflections and work on forgiveness.

  3. Every time I read Pema Chodron’s work – and I have gone back to them often – I’m stopped in my tracks. Yes – in one short paragraph is a life’s work and practice. Exquisite image!

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