Today’s haiku from Catrinka Holland of Kamuela, HI

did i remember?

sometimes forgetting to ring

come back home again

#ringthebells #haiku

Haiku from Jane Frey in Holyoke, MA

Snow blankets the earth.

Now the red cardinal sings, 

Ringing in new hope.

#ringthebells #haiku

Hello, haiku, and help

My grandmother Frey’s classroom bell


It’s been a while! 

I knew that I was planning on a long silent retreat just as I started moving forward with Ring the Bells — and that it might prove complicated — but the delicate dance between renunciation and engagement seems to have worked out. I want to offer my heartfelt thanks to my friend Claudia Horwitz for keeping an eye on the social media aspect of things while I’ve been away — it was great to know that someone was looking after it all while I was trying to be more secluded, giving me the time and mental space to commit to my practice. I was able to post a few videos and poems that I planned to post thanks to the Facebook pages app that allowed me to do so without actually having to go onto Facebook. Now that I am coming back into the swing of things, I look forward to pushing ahead with the public aspects of our ritual and seeing where it might go.

I haven’t read any news since the inauguration, and wanted to write this before I got inundated once again. One of the more meaningful experiences of ringing the bells while on retreat was that this allowed me to have my ritual be more dedicated directly toward what my heart aspires to, what I hope for the world, and the beauty of connection I feel with all of you and, of course, everybody else – rather than how upset I was about what was happening. It’s not that I’m against being against things – there is good need for that. But it was of great benefit to give my own heart a break from that and to cultivate the beautiful qualities that are in all of us. Not that indignation can’t be a beautiful quality, but you know what I mean. I do hope I can keep that sense of connection going as I re-enter the social world and once again start keeping up with the news and while your practice may not demand this kind of intense seclusion, I strongly encourage giving your own heart the protection it sometimes needs to heal in the midst of madness.

In the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reconnecting with you and am also going to spend some time and energy getting the word out a bit more about #rtb. Its not that I think it needs to be very grand, it’s just that I’m pretty sure there are people out there who would want to participate but just don’t know about it yet. Toward that end, I want to ask you all for a little help:

1. Write a Haiku

I read a lot of poetry on retreat of the ancient Chinese and Japanese hermits, and I think that a simple form poetry can have a lot of power and is still accessible to those many of us who do not consider ourselves poets. A haiku is a Japanese-invented poem style consisting of 3 lines: the 1st line has 5 syllables, the second has 7 syllables, and the 3rd again has 5. All more or less. 

I’d love it if folks would take the time to think of a haiku about their bell-ringing (or a longer form poem, of course) which we could compile and share as inspiration. Here are a few examples I came up with:

The sound of my bell

With the traffic and sunlight

Carried by the wind


Thinking of the world

With each toll of the bell

A different feeling


Getting up is hard

But I have to ring my bell

Will anyone hear?

PLEASE! Have fun and send me a poem!

2. Ideas

If you have any ideas of networks or groups or resources for spreading the world about Ring the Bells, please let me know! If you know of poems or songs that you feel tap into the bell-ringing message, please send them along! 

3. Outreach / skills

If you actually want to help spread the word or if you have artistic or web skills that might be useful – that would be great (because I think we might benefit from a logo or something). Message us.

As always, any testimonial or short story about the impact for you would be great to help get the message out there of the value of this kind of thing. The internets love quotes.

for now, just sending lots of love




Having a hard time getting up in the morning for your early bell? You’re in good company- Stonehouse, the 14th century Chinese hermit poet can relate:
I moved west deep into the mountain
put trees and mist between me and the river
old and untroubled I like to sleep late
I hate to hear roosters or bells
(“The Zen works of Stonehouse” translated by Red Pine)

Rock the Bells

While his message isn’t exactly on point with ours, we must give credit to LL for Rocking the Bells way back when. I’m sure he’s ringing with us each morning and evening, even if he hasn’t signed up officially. And something to ponder while you listen: Why are there no bells in the song? Maybe he and Cut Creator were going through like a Zen phase… #ringhebells#rockthebells

P.S. For the actual sound old school hip-hop bells one would need to wait another year for Run DMC’s Peter Piper:


RTB group on Insight Timer!


If you are interested in integrating your bell ringing with a meditation practice of some kind, there is now a #ringthebells group on Insight Timer! If you don’t know Insight Timer, it is a great free app that helps people get going and stay committed to their meditation practice – lots of free guided instruction and great bell options. Check it out!


If I had a bell

We love the old protest folks songs! And where are our new ones? The ones that reflect who we are now as a people, that can be learned and shared widely and easily, that we can sing together when we come from vast distances of time and place and culture? Hmmm…

For now, we can #ringthebells !

If I had a bell
I’d ring it in the morning
I’d ring it in the evening
All over this land
I’d ring out danger
I’d ring out a warning
I’d ring out love between
My brothers and my sisters
All over this land…

Magic Time

When you ring your bells, have you touched into that “magic time?”

Call it nostalgia, I don’t mind
Standing on that windswept hillside
Listenin’ to the church bells chime
Listenin’ to the church bells chime
In that magic time

February Update


I was reminded recently that the great Indian saint Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj once said, “Evil is the stench of a diseased mind.” 

As we all know, one of the greatest challenges we face right now in this country is the powerful influence of a diseased mind, and another is the spread of the disease itself — and no matter where we live, who we know, what we do for work, our degree of social power, each of us in on the front lines of this battle.

In the face of so much hatred and ignorance, how do we prevent ourselves from succumbing to it and crumbling into hopelessness or lashing out in hatred? How do we hold on to our own goodness when we are provoked so powerfully into anger, bitterness, and sadness? How do we accept our fear, our rage, without drowning in it? Or drowning others in it?

Whatever actions we are involved in, they are led by the heart and we must do what we can to keep it soft and strong, tender, penetrating, and clear. Ringing the Bells each day at sunrise and sunset is not going to topple the regime, but it is one part of securing the sanctity of our own hearts, of strengthening the connection to our own goodness, with our deepest aspirations for ourselves and for the world, and of nourishing ourselves with the camaraderie of care. 

I have found it goes a long way to keeping my own heart and mind healthy. I have been waking up each morning about an hour before sunrise and practicing walking meditation as the sky starts to shift into its brightening colors, watching and listening to the sounds of people getting ready for their days, heading to work, jogging, the sounds of dogs and birds (where I live, especially roosters) beginning their morning routines. During this sacred hour I have become privy to certain intimacies with the world, even with my own heart and body, that I am not often witness to. My normal exclusion from them is not because I have not been invited, but rather because I have simply not shown up — and it feels good to be showing up. For two days now a pueo, the endangered Hawaiian owl, has silently flown by me during this morning walking, and I am reminded of the magic of these liminal times, between day and night, between one society and the next, and how important it is to be open to all that may surprise and nourish us there. When I finally go to ring my bell, this sense of connection and tenderness coalesces around all of you, ringing in solidarity. It is a beautiful and inspiring way to begin my day and I have no doubt that you have yourself experienced some version of it as well.

As always, it would be great to hear from you and help share any stories or reflections you may have on this commitment at any point. We are now at 95 people who have made the pledge online but I know of a number of others who are also ringing the bells but have not actually gone online. To whatever degree you feel comfortable, continue to encourage others to join us. I’ll be doing another big push in April, but until then we’ll just see how it goes on its own.

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #ringthebells when you post on social media so we can find your material and support it!

Though I am on retreat, I’ll be in touch every so often with updates and encouragements. Until then, continue to ring them bells with as much beauty as you can muster.

love and solidarity


Another great rendition of the Dylan classic!