Friday, February 23, 2018


"The entire country is traumatized by the events of these past years."
Zen Monk Friend

Since 17 people were killed on February 14th at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, students are on the march Nationwide. They will change their world. They have mobilized and they won't forget.

Meanwhile, I am too angry to weep-–angry at this pitiful, anti-everything, lying, posturing, ten steps back to the dark ages, fifteen tweets for personal interests, destructive, uncaring. unintelligent administration. This massacre is yet another expression of contempt made manifest. The shooter–a multiply abandoned child, gone mad and mean and there were more than enough signs ignored. The victims–just kids, fortunate to be attending one of the best schools in the area and on the verge of adulthood, the teachers–unusually caring and qualified, the parents and community–forever scarred. It’s not the guns, nor is it mental health alone that’s at fault here--it’s both of course, but more to the point I think, it's systemic decay--a system destroying itself, overwhelmed by the rot left from decades of unresolved problems, quick fixes and ineffective cover ups returned from the depths and flowing free. That's a longer, too-complex-for-me-just-now story.

Read/Listen to Dee Mallons Story

"The initial evaluation of a person who is injured critically from multiple trauma is a challenging task, and every minute can make the difference between life and death."
"And the line between sad and mad
is razor sharp.
And the line between life and death
a sleek blade.
And the line at the in-between
a thin silk thread."

Having recognized that my anger is the mask of my grief, I let myself feel the tears just behind my eyes and deep in my chest. My headache disappears. I allow myself to sleep as much as I seem to need, to be distracted by entertainments, films, music for relief. I look toward others expressions of anger, grief and joy to comfort and nourish me through blogs I follow. I stay detached when reading Facebook or regular news reports. I do not engage in arguments or succumb to the temptation of contentious discourse.
I visited with friend Wendy. We talked about the terribly sad news of our world, then posed in the mirror for this shot I called "The Sad Sisters who Sing Sad Songs" (it made us laugh). We are Baba Yagas two sisters living in the big bad City!
"Although she is mostly portrayed as a terrifying old crone, Baba Yaga can also play the role of a helper and wise woman. The Earth Mother, like all forces of nature, though often wild and untamed, can also be kind. In her guise as wise hag, she sometimes gives advice and magical gifts to heroes and the pure of heart. The hero or heroine of the story often enters the crone's domain searching for wisdom, knowledge and truth. She is all-knowing, all seeing and all-revealing to those who would dare to ask. She is said to be a guardian spirit of the fountain of the Waters of Life and of Death. Baba Yaga is the Arch-Crone, the Goddess of Wisdom and Death, the Bone Mother. Wild and unnameable, she is a nature spirit bringing wisdom and death of ego, and through death, rebirth."


More Meditation
Conscious Nourishment
Random Acts of Kindness
Joyous Creativity
Effective Actions Only

Overview Facts

Thursday, February 15, 2018


Sunlight woke the window frame

Saint Valentine died for loves gain

We wore ashes in your name

Winter was set aflame

Spring will come again

(I posted the following on my face book page)

(33 seconds)

"The association between Saint Valentine’s Day and lovers is the fault of one Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340–1400). In his late 14th-century comic dream-vision, the Parliament of Fowls, he describes a group of birds who gather together in the early spring – on ‘seynt valentynes day’ – to choose their mates for the year. Some scholars have suggested that the poem was written for King Richard II (1367–1400) during the negotiations over his marriage to Anne of Bohemia in 1380. Either way, it seems that the poem sparked (or at least cemented) a tradition. In 1477, Margery Brews, a Norfolk woman, wrote a letter to her cousin John Paston, calling him ‘my right well beloved Valentine’. It is the earliest known letter of its kind. In the 15th century, the poet John Lydgate wrote a valentine’s poem addressed to the Virgin Mary. This is the inevitable consequence of letting a Benedictine monk get behind the wheel of a courtly love poem."

"Eat Pray Love"
"The confluence of the events, occurring for the first time since 1945, has created a dilemma for Roman Catholics and followers of other Christian denominations who observe Ash Wednesday. How can one simultaneously mark a solemn day when foreheads are tapped with a symbol of mortality as a call to humility and repentance, while celebrating one that glorifies the kisses and champagne of romantic love?"

(6 minutes)

At the Zendo, a sitting and walking meditation, treats and some photographs
(Reflective Selfie)
(Outside from Inside)
 At home again, I wrote the lines offered at the top of this post

Tuesday, February 13, 2018


"According to historical records, the first ancient Olympic Games can be traced back to 776 BC. They were dedicated to the Olympian gods and were staged on the ancient plains of Olympia. They continued for nearly 12 centuries, until Emperor Theodosius decreed in 393 A.D. that all such 'pagan cults' be banned. Olympia, the site of the ancient Olympic Games, is in the western part of the Peloponnese which, according to Greek mythology, is the island of ;Pelops', the founder of the Olympic Games. Imposing temples, votive buildings, elaborate shrines and ancient sporting facilities were combined in a site of unique natural and mystical beauty. Olympia functioned as a meeting place for worship and other religious and political practices as early as the 10th century B.C. The central part of Olympia was dominated by the majestic temple of Zeus, with the temple of Hera parallel to it."

A Global History of the Olympics
By David Goldblatt
"Because sports are a religion, it’s difficult to imagine a world without the Olympics, and to be sure, they have given us many glorious moments. It would be easy to conclude that the Olympic 'movement' has lost its way since the time of Coubertins lofty vision, but that, as Goldblatt demonstrates, would be to rewrite history, since the idea of a clean and easy way to achieve peace through sport was a benevolent myth in the first place."

The opening of the 1936 Olympic Games, taken from the film Olympia by Leni Riefenstahl.

 "In 1978, Riefenstahl published a book of her sub-aquatic photographs called Koralleng√§rten ("Coral Gardens"), followed by the 1990 book Wunder unter Wasser ("Wonder under Water"). In her 90s, Riefenstahl was still photographing marine life and gained the distinction of being one of the world's oldest scuba divers. On 22 August 2002, her100th birthday, she released the film Impressionen unter Wasser ("Underwater Impressions"), an idealized documentary of life in the oceans and her first film in over 25 years. Riefenstahl was a member of Greenpeace for eight years."
(1 hour)
9-25 February 2018
I watched the entire four hour extravagant opening broadcasting live on Channel 4 Friday night till nearly 4AM (with captions so as not to disturb neighbors). I've since read criticisms of some of her commentary, but Katie Couric did a great job of translating and explaining the Korean symbolism of colors, designs and meanings for some of the set ups! It was way over the top and I thought of our Mr.Ts competitive leanings, like his current desire for a BIG military parade...thought of people starving all over the planet in relation to the actual cost of these theatricals...thought back through the decades to that infamous German Olympiad moment. Non the less, I was touched by the tiny countries in the line up, those with one or two competitors and by the individual athletes with their amazing dedication. It was a perfect propaganda event and the message of peace and unity was undeniably effective irregardless of the reality of differing agendas and life as it's actually lived at ground level.
It's addictive. Not naive hope for some fairy tale future, but hope as a tenacious belief in the goodness we wish for. Hope as a shield against the easy out of cynicism. After all, how did some people survive the horrors of events? How did some live to forgive?
I think, not by cynicism.

 This morning I asked myself
"What do you know about Korea?"

When was Korea divided?

 "What do you remember about the Korean war?"
As I recall, war was never declared and the conflict was considered a police action throughout 1950 to "1953, when an armistice was signed. The agreement created the Korean Demilitarized Zone to separate North and South Korea and allowed the return of prisoners. However, no peace treaty has been signed, and according to some sources the two Koreas are technically still at war."
What is a Frozen conflict?


Sunday, February 4, 2018


friday night I braved the terrible cold in Manhattan to get down to Tibet House for Dr Mark Epsteins book launch of "Advice Not Given".

He's delightful and full of good humor. A wonderful writer, he's even better in person. Much of what he read and talked about Friday evening is in the following video recorded in 2014 elsewhere for a launch of another of his books "The Trauma of Everyday Life"
(59 minutes)
  "Trauma does not just happen to a few unlucky people; it is the bedrock of our psychology. Death and illness touch us all, but even the everyday sufferings of loneliness and fear are traumatic. In The Trauma of Everyday Life Mark Epstein uncovers the transformational potential of trauma, revealing how it can be used for the mind’s own development. Western psychology teaches that if we understand the cause of trauma, we might move past it while many drawn to Eastern practices see meditation as a means of rising above, or distancing themselves from, their most difficult emotions. Both, Epstein argues, fail to recognize that trauma is an indivisible part of life and can be used as a lever for growth and an ever deeper understanding of change. When we regard trauma with this perspective, understanding that suffering is universal and without logic, our pain connects us to the world on a more fundamental level. The way out of pain is through it. Epstein’s discovery begins in his analysis of the life of Buddha, looking to how the death of his mother informed his path and teachings. The Buddha’s spiritual journey can be read as an expression of primitive agony grounded in childhood trauma. Yet the Buddha’s story is only one of many in The Trauma of Everyday Life. Here, Epstein looks to his own experience, that of his patients, and of the many fellow sojourners and teachers he encounters as a psychiatrist and Buddhist. They are alike only in that they share in trauma, large and small, as all of us do. Dr. Epstein finds throughout that trauma, if it doesn’t destroy us, wakes us up to both our minds’ own capacity and to the suffering of others. It makes us more human, caring, and wise. It can be our greatest teacher, our freedom itself, and it is available to all of us."

Read This Article
"There is a lot of encouragement in our culture for developing a stronger sense of self. Self-love, self-esteem, self-confidence, and the ability to aggressively get one’s needs met are all that most people subscribe to. As important as these accomplishments may be, however, they are not enough to guarantee well-being. People with a strong sense of self still suffer. They may look like they have it all together, but they cannot relax without drinking or taking drugs. They cannot unwind, give affection, improvise, create, or sympathize with others if they are steadfastly focused only on themselves. Simply building up the ego leaves a person stranded. The most important events in our lives, from falling in love to giving birth to facing death, all require the ego to let go."

Book List 

Last edited on 2 January 2018-Needs update

Monday, January 29, 2018



January 17th 2018THIS POS
These testimonies are raw and disturbing.

"Two school pictures floated side-by-side on a projection screen in the Michigan courtroom. Both images caught the same small girl — in one, all gawky smile and bangs; the next, braces and long hair — a few years apart. Until this week, the child in the snapshots had been officially identified only as “Victim Z.A.” or “a family friend.” But on Tuesday, Kyle Stephens, now a young woman, stepped out from the curtain of anonymity to directly address disgraced USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar before a judge in Lansing."
(2 minutes)

Actual Testimony
(4 minutes)
Kyle Stephens, Jessica Thomashow, and Jade Capua.

Kaylee McDowells, describes Larry Nassars relationship with her and being assaulted hundreds of times during the fourth day of Nassars sentencing in Lansing Michigan on Friday, Jan. 19, 2018. 
(10 minutes)

There are many more but in the end former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison on seven counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree. Prior to his sentencing, 169 victims and family members gave emotional, cathartic and riveting testimony before the now-disgraced doctor, who is accused of serial sexual abuse by over 140 women. Their statements made for a powerful show of solidarity and sisterhood.

In my opinion, Lary Nassar was a very sick man likely to have been a very sick child once. What a pity that no one saw the signs and got him help. I have searched and can find no reference to his early life, parents or much of any background pre-teen information.

What Can Parents Do?
"...Recognize that the culture of obedience is not limited to the world of gymnastics. America today is a place where parents make and enforce the rules, and where children’s voices, emotions, and behaviors are continually silenced, discouraged, dismissed, criticized, and punished. The fallback position in many families is still one of control and manipulation. Children are routinely told that their outbursts and tantrums are unacceptable; that “talking back” and “showing disrespect” is grounds for punishment; and that sharing unpleasant information about themselves — “I cheated on a test” or “I got drunk at a party” — will bring their parents pain or shame. Outdated parenting tactics meant to get children to do what we want, when we want, without argument undermine our efforts to empower children to trust their instincts, question authority, and speak the heck up when the time comes. And, as we saw with Larry Nassar, you never know when the time may come.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018


First published on this date
News of Etta James Death reached me Friday
For those who don't know her at all
some background

This Iconic Blues
I'm gonna tell you, so you'll understand,
About how it all got started, how it all began.
God made the heavens, God made the earth.
Made a man and a woman out of blood, sweat and dirt.
And he looked around the neighborhood.
And he said to himself: This is good.

God made the rivers, and the mountains with his hands.
God made the wind to blow the shifting sands.
He put the fishes in the deep blue sea.
Filled up the garden with flowers and the trees.
And he looked around the neighborhood.
And he said to himself: This is Good.

But the devil, he was jealous,
Took the apple in his hand.
The devil tempted woman, and woman tempted man.
God he mourned, and the tears rolled down his face.
It broke his heart to see his children fall from grace.
And on the 7th day, they say God rested,

but you know that ain't the truth.
Cause on the 7th day, God made the blues.
God made the blues.

The Blues has been around ever since that day.
Everybody gets the blues, everybody got to pay.
For the wicked things we do,

and what we put each other trough.
And on the 7th day, they say God rested,

but you know that ain't the truth.
Cause on the 7th day, God made the blues.
Cause on the 7th day, God made the blues.
God made the blues.

An Essay On Fear
 from Theodora Gross
pricked my thoughts Saturday:

In combination with Etta's Statement
"The Blues is my business"
it peaked my interest in this question:
What's My Business?
Being retired from the working world I don't actually have a business.  Still, what's my business in the larger sense of "What's my life about?"
I recall that Lennon lyric in a song to his young son--"Life is what happens while you're busy making plans",and think again of Ricard Matthai on happiness, remembering that the 'self' who thinks she should know the answer,
does not even exist. 


Sunday this post from Emily Rapp
took my attention.

As always, your own thoughts on thoughts posed herein are very welcome, Theodora accepts comments directly at her blog about her essay, and The Rumpus does too.

Post Script
Tonight at Midnight Chinese folks worldwide
will usher in the year of the dragon.
They know just what their business is this day-
To Celebrate and Feast with others.
A new book combines the memories and culinary skills of one Chinese political dissident who lived through that time. The Cultural Revolution Cookbook was written by Sasha Gong and her friend Scott Seligman, a Washington, D.C., writer who lived for several years in China.
Here's one recipe
Tofu with Scallion and Sesame Dressing

1 scallion
1 cake firm tofu (bean curd)
2 tsp. sesame oil
Pinch of salt
Tofu was invented in 164 B.C. by a Chinese nobleman trying to make medicine, and it has taken its rightful place as a major source of protein in the Chinese diet. This amazingly simple dish is incredibly tasty, low in fat and high in protein. Use a firm bean curd to make it, because it will hold its shape better that way. 

Shred the scallion into very small pieces, cutting it on the bias to maximize surface area. Rinse the tofu and place it on a microwave-safe serving plate. Warm it by microwaving it on high for one minute, or simply heating it very gently in a conventional oven. Remove the tofu from the oven and, with a sharp knife or cleaver, cut it up into small pieces about 1 1/2 inches (4 cm.) long, an inch (2.5 cm.) wide and 1/2 inch (about 1.5 cm.) thick. Sprinkle the scallion, sesame oil and salt on top of the tofu pieces.
Serve while still warm.

More at the site

Saturday, January 20, 2018


Many of you know I have belonged to a writing  group for years.
We meet on Mondays for two hours and a leader gives prompts to which each responds in any way they wish and in any style or format. There's a time limit and depending on how many are present at each session,we usually manage two prompts per session. Most of us read out loud to the group but there is no obligation to share. Responses to a piece are confined to 'what I remember' or what I liked'. This is not about restructuring or critiquing.We've been on a long holiday break with an extra stretch due to the MLK Holiday, so this first prompt of our Winter session was sent by mail:

January by William Carlos Williams

Again I reply to the triple winds
running chromatic fifths of derision
outside my window:
Play louder.
You will not succeed. I am
bound more to my sentences
the more you batter at me
to follow you.
And the wind,
as before, fingers perfectly
its derisive music.

The first Cut
(some verses for my seventy fifth birthday)
by Michelle Slater

Sirens silenced the howling winds.
A bloody trail marked the steps
of a shocked mother rushed
through Emergency to
the operating theater.

An incision of 6 inches was made
through her lower abdomen,
then a second incision
opened her uterus.
I was delivered.

Thus unto this rude world I came.
Elsewhere, my father was
told I was probably dead.
It proved quite untrue
I howled the proof.

The storm raged all night and day.
I was swaddled and held apart.
In recovery, unavailable,
drugged to sleep, my
wounded mother.

What I felt I can not remember,
only imagine the pain of it,
the loneliness and fear
of that brutal welcome
hearing wind howl.

Childhood amnesia veils it all
for many years until one day
a bleeding wound becomes
the memory of something.
Howling confirms it.

This second cut sinks way down,
down to the level of the first,
carries it upward where
it joins the current pain.
Howling's the familiar.

It goes on like that into adolescence,
through adulthood and to old age,
so that every cut of every kind
might call the first to mind,
make a calm wind howl.

Actual Birth by Surgery