Stories

The Art of the Story

In middle school, I remember acting out in class, shooting rubber bands across the room, telling jokes when the teacher’s back was turned, or engaging in other ignominious behavior. Perhaps I was bored academically, or simply rebelling against authority. In any case, on at least a few occasions, I found myself in the principal’s office, feeling frustration and shame under the stern punishing eyes and frown of Mr. Barker. Thus I begin my self-introduction to a group of young men at the Community Center for Alternative Programs, a jail diversion program in Seattle where I have...

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It Happened – Facing the Evil of Sexual Violence

It happened. Recently, I had a conversation with a woman who was in college with me. She told me that as a freshman, she was warned not to attend a certain fraternity because a gang rape had occurred there. I was once a member of that fraternity. I was young, naive and morally asleep at the time. However, I had never heard the word “rape” discussed in relation to any events at my house during the four years I was there. Then I remembered that several men in the house had bragged about what they had portrayed as a sexual conquest. Beer and alcohol flowed freely at parties, and many an...

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Grace Under Fire, the Path of Peaceful Service

“Everything is delicately balanced on the tip of the present moment.” “That’s true”, my mom softly replied from her hospital bed, staring straight up at the ceiling with a gaze that suggested her consciousness was exploring the edges between this world and the next. Helping her navigate away from the shoals of despair and isolation which lurked seemingly just around the corner of every beeping monitor, I invited her into a familiar recitation of my grammar school essay which she kept for more than half a century, tucked away in a folder of keepsakes :...

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Mountain Spirits Old Bones II – Long Ridge Trail Hike, July 2-4, 2016

Why go? I go to the mountains for meditation and healing, for solitude and beauty, which is all around, though too often unnoticed in the hectic modern urban pathways we often follow. Smartphones in hand, we rush like automatons towards our death, clicking here and there, never pausing to see the flowers, or so it often seems. We may be passionate about social justice but in our push to fix the world, do we slow down enough to realize that our work for peace is realized only to the degree we have internalized that peace ourselves. Yes, active engagement in movements for social justice...

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Paris: Conversation with a twelve year old

“What happened in Paris”. My twelve year old  asks me point blank, fearlessly, her heart wide open, attempting to understand adult conversations she has overheard at her Saturday language school. Fortunately, I had remembered Fred Roger’s advice earlier in the day about looking for the helpers in any scene of tragedy. They are the key to hope. “A group of people with negative thoughts of anger shot guns at some other people in Paris and killed over a hundred”. “What do you mean a group of people? Who were they”. “They were part of a group...

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Kundalini Syndrome – Beyond Bliss and Technology

Recently, a new client came to me seeking help for “kundalini syndrome”.  Kundalini is a Sanskrit word referring to a pattern of energy flow awakened in the spinal column, often due to meditation and yoga practices. In the Tibetan Buddhist and Chinese medical traditions, this phenomenon is more broadly known as wind energy. In my early thirties, while living at a Buddhist meditation center, I started to experience what felt like electrical currents running up my spine. Sometimes they happened during meditation, or while lying in bed before falling asleep. Sometimes I was awakened...

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