Well, thank Yoda for Yoga; that’s what I say.

        For those who weren’t aware, I was rear-ended in Albuquerque yesterday. It went as well as it could have. The young fellow who bumped me from behind took responsibility, no one was hurt, my car did not strike the one ahead of me, and I’d been on my way to the chiropractor anyway; he was able to promptly unwind any stress in this nervous system.

        The other driver, aptly named Adam, was 24 and an accident virgin. Since he has been driving for 10 years or so and drives all day delivering beef jerky for a living,  I reassured him he’s probably still ahead of the odds as a driver. “You’ve done well!”  And if I could have given him a report card for the way he comported himself yesterday, his insurance company would waive any hike to his premiums. It was a relative pleasure to relate to this young fellow, as we sat in the airless police substation and compared notes on our accident reports. “What did you put for number 6?”

        He had those lately-vogue gasket holes in his earlobes, where the lobe is stretched around a ring coronally, rather than with the ring penetrating and hanging perpendicular to the lobe. I told him I felt like we’d met before, but I did not say that perhaps it was in Africa, where that sort of piercing has been common for centuries.

        Just before I was struck, I’d been thinking to myself, “I have a bit of time; maybe I should wash the car.” Wham.

       Or not.

The adjuster for Adam’s insurance company called this morning, as a crew was power washing the house for new stucco. I chuckled as the water scoured the window with the sound, if not the full surround sensation, of a car wash.

         I was already in pain this afternoon when I took the car to two different collision repair places  to get time and money estimates for the insurance company.  The estimates were about $800 different; the second, bigger, slicker establishment offered the higher one, along with the counsel that the cost was creeping up near the value of my car, and that it might be a Total.  Under the impression that my car was worth more than that still, I was dubious. I called the adjustor and filled her in. After having seen the pictures of my van’s back end, she was inclined to agree with the second guy’s speculation.

        Even so, I decided to go wth the first estimate, from a smaller shop, in business since 1979, seeming to have less to prove and less overhead to make!  She told me to call them and let them know to expect her official “assignment.” I tried calling them three times, from three different spots in Santa Fe after that and the call would not connect from any of them. This gave me pause.  Universe testing my resolve?… or trying to tell me something….?           I emailed the adjustor to tell her of this…and the delay it might cause.

        This gives me a chance to let go of it all and make peace with the prospect of a “total,” of potentially losing the van.  I still don’t feel my choice of shops was unsound, but all the mischief does make me want to consult an impartial oracle!

I was really drooping after that, but I had another appointment, and I was late, later after trying to find parking in the Guadalupe shopping district, and numb after my appointment was less than rewarding.

        I still had to teach a yoga class, though. So I drove over to Santa Fe Community Yoga. If you haven’t been, consider a visit, at least to  the premises. There is a labyrinth outside. I got still on a bench, lying on it at first with my head and shoulders spilling off the end, simply breathing the body into that open hearted shape, letting all the busy contents of the head tumble into the earth, and the roots of my will reach from my kidneys out my heels. I began to slip back into my body, hand into glove. Then I sat up, still, except for the miraculous tide of sanity and nourishment that the breath perpetually offers us. It didn’t take long to re-own my center and my life,  and release all the soggy streamers of heavy thoughts that seem to clutter the ethers more than ever lately and through which we must navigate our vessels of light. By the end of  most days in the city, I feel like I’ve been wrapped in muddy, mucky, muggley paper-mache.  Then I must call in the twin angels of breath and surrender to come help liberate the space trapped inside the pinata- shell this worldly webbing would harden into.

        Five minutes later, I was ready to go in to the studio and lead a class.  After the class, I was thanking the students as much as they were thanking me. So lucky. Where two or more are gathered….

        Now that I had worked the dents and kinks out of my flesh vehicle, my automotive vehicle and all associated with it, did not look so bad.

     Stay tuned….




      This week, I’ve been on “flu-cation” (flu-vacation) and content in my quiet, feverish little cave, appreciating how simple life gets when you are sick and how miraculously the body rises to the occasion, as you surf the swell of symptoms. If you go under, you are a mind in a diving bell, watching the tsunami from the inside.

     I found it almost comforting, resting in a process where my survival is beyond my conscious control, and the outcome is not of great concern. I’m just here, amid a swirl of mostly familiar sensations, with an attitude not of “Poor Me” but of “Wow. Cool.”

     My only duty was to rest…make soup, pee, sleep, repeat. Ah, Simplicity, and the good fortune of the shelter in which to do my simple job.  Occasionally I would talk to myself, like an amused M.C., charged with keeping the troupes rallied. It’s fun to talk to yourself when you sound like somebody else; and this week, I’ve sounded like Leonard Cohen.  Hallelujah.  …Hineni, hineni…You want it Darker?

      This afternoon I ventured outside the bubble. I took the four minute drive to Agora (the local grocery and shopping center). Agora means “gathering place.” But, just by turning outward, I had tuned into the collective before I got there. The radio was on in the car when I started it.  I caught just a minute or two of headlines from Democracy Now…about some new protests in solidarity against Trump (Dance Anyway), about legislative bills being floated several places in the country to suppress protests by suing protestors to pay for their right to police protection, and about the new administration’s edict that all Environmental Protection Agency employees must sign gag orders and have their funding and projects vetted, and Obama’s recent pro-environment actions reversed, etc.

It’s chilling. And one wants to speak out for what one believes to be true, for what one knows to be our fragile, too-long-taken-for-granted democracy and rights and against such a swift and flagrant slide toward Orwell’s dystopia.

One wonders how to make a difference.

I could feel how the right wing and pro-life folks have felt for the past eight years. Desperate (and impotent).

And I could feel how those despondent from the election feel. Impotent (and desperate).

I asked What can I do?
One habit is to go within, remember what is real behind the pageant of changing conditions.
Another habit is to write.
But, while I’m playing the human game, is this enough?

It feels like our democracy is being eviscerated. It is hard to stand by and watch.

It is hard to feel like there is no way to change another’s mind …
nor to change one’s own mind enough to dull the doom.

It is hard to believe in a world that must go through this, chugging like a train ineluctably into nightmare, gaining momentum as it seems to jettison all that is sane and humane.
It is hard to believe one is on that train and can’t wake up.

It is hard not to be able to reach the one in the conductor’s seat—whether you believe that is someone else, some aspect of your self, or both.

How swiftly one’s peace is upstaged by the Punch and Judy show.

But peace, for now, is still here. And, for now, I can tend it here, can stoke the flame where it still burns, can join my flame with others’: Not necessarily to burn down the haunted house we stand in, but to live in Light.

Beyond that, I have no answer, except to rest: make soup, love, pee, love, sleep, love, repeat. And don’t forget to laugh.


Only the closed mind is certain, sir. –Dean Spanley

In our little writing play-shop today, the final prompt to explore was the statement:

When something is lost, we must find it in ourselves.

Although the prompt was inspired by the recent election, it holds true more generally, not to mentioned in a million ways more personally.  The responses were varied and poignant.  When I read mine, someone said it should be a blog post.  I said, “why not?” and I post the unpolished musing here:

    I see I have lost my certainty. So many people seem to have it (certainty), and yet their conclusions to me seem ill-considered, making me afraid to be certain and consequentially blind, arrogant and limited. Like a good unaffiliated Buddhist,* I jettisoned all my beliefs, only to find that humans do not function, do not survive, without belief in something. So, knowing I cannot be sure that anything I think I know is true, I make the most conscious choices I can in choosing what I believe, with the willingness to be wrong and to change my belief. 

In losing certainty, have I gained wisdom? I have, certainly, gained humility.

In watching a world so uncertain, I have gained responsibility. And my responsibility is to forgive, to love and to know what can’t be proven to the certain.


*Here shorthand for “Klezmer-loving, Tree-hugging Zen Sufi Taoist in Christ”



Water Music

Comforted, engulfed this morning by the surround sound of drenching winter rain. From under the eave, I bathe in motherly mist, in the positive glow of negative ions, and I celebrate the eskimo spectacular of water missiles–100 gradations of wet and of frozen.    Some streaks stay water from Heaven to Earth; others are granted a softer landing, blooming like popcorn into snow.

It is a complete symphony, not just the rat-a-tat percussion section of water javelins; not all drops sized to play the same octave. Some sigh of sibilance; others hold the silence of deep sky.  All sing of jubilation, and dozens of robins twirl and trill along.

And then the roar lifts, like an airplane releasing the runway, road noise falling silent. Roof is transformed from resonance chamber to reservoir, as all races of rain settle back into their origin, settle into one tone and evolve, through silent snow… brittle, brilliant ice…and then, again, into liquid laughter, giggling through gutters to ground.



Still life of Uncertainty, Holy Emigres all

They Stand on the Counter
Empty vessels of poetry
The Vase family and their foundling spoon rest
Clustered into a still-life of exquisite fragility,
of uncertainty
and of Beauty that quadruples in their congregation
Beauty that reaches into me
like the eyes of refugees.
From their delicacy
and the fullness of their emptiness,
            they whisper to what is never homeless,
                              to my own hidden glory,
                                             these Refugees–
                                                          no, these Holy emigres–
                                                                                     from Lola’s Kitchen.


George Michael–a Lover and a Fighter

The BRIT Awards 2012 - Show

       On this boxing day, I have learned that George Michael has left us.  Another one gone who might have had more to offer yet, but who made the world a better place by being in it, certainly in his philanthropy, but also through his canny music craft and an intelligence of heart. The man had a way with a pop hook, for sure, but it was his lyrics, as he matured, that intrigued me.

I grew up steeped in pop pablum, but I was dismissive of empty pop by the time he emerged as the implausibly handsome half of Wham! And certainly there was a gloss and glib to their songs. But even those early hits had something irresistible (or at least forgivable) to them: The shameless abandon (and pun) of “Wake me up before you Go-Go,” the articulate contrition of “Careless Whisper,” etc….

And when he outgrew the gravy train, he bit the hand that fed him. Though he lost the battle with his record company, maybe he kept his integrity. I doubt he regrets it now. Ain’t no walls in Heaven to hang gold records on.

I own precious little pop music from the 80’s, but I have ended up with George Michael’s Best of, and solid handful of those songs still stop and hold my attention, even stir my heart, my admiration, and my gratitude that his soul had the craft to communicate them.

Never really got George Michael? That’s okay. But if you haven’t recently, you might try giving songs like “Father Figure,” “Praying for Time,” “Freedom 90” (and others) another listen. It is not empty pop.

So, I’m feelin’ the swell in my heart this evening, the twinge of grief that is a celebration, that bathes us in remembrance and gives a good soul his send off.

Blessed Be.

Just for fun. There is a video on Youtube of James Corden’s original inspiration for his now mega-popular carpool karaoke. It’s an extended Comic Relief Sketch (a British cameo fest that has pay off toward the end), which early on features Gearge Michael clearly not holding himself sacred.  If it doesn’t play here, google it.

What is the sound of one mind’s blizzard?

As I sat staring into the true void in meditation, 

the wind-whipped rain

–which had been painting Van Goghs on the roof with BBs–

 faded to silence. 

It was not until light and rising from the cushion

 that I apprehended that it had not stopped 

but turned to snow

…still a swirling Van Gogh…

now silent and white.

Herald…The buried lead

I heard music,
Familiar music,
The voice of my oracle had become almost mundane
Until it went silent.
But here this morning
As I rose slowly from sleep,
through the humus of my fallow plot,
His voice was reaching — overtoned falsetto—from the field around, below:
“You’re instinct can’t be wrong.”
The doubt and numb looms,
like the smell of my life composting around me,
But word has come,
Reminding, redeeming…
When your turn comes round
And the light goes on
And you feel your attraction again
Your instinct can’t be wrong
The distant, insistent tribal rhythm
marches closer through the dim
from some place inside me;
I can almost see the torches.
Oh, Thank Heaven!
…I’m listening….
I will wait and trust.
In my life, Grace has many guises.
But I welcome back her favorite and mine,
Neil Finn.
Dec 13, 2016
End of Eldorado days

Teachings perpetual, learning gradual, class optional…


     I walked myself over to the yoga studio in hopes of teaching my class this morning, and in spite of many clues, I didn’t remember until after the starting time that all classes were cancelled for the holiday weekend. Sensing I really wanted (“needed”) to lead a class today, I mysteriously forgot no one was going to show, so that I would get out of the house and into the air, move the body and shift the energy…and then have the opportunity to work with an in-ordinate dejection that arose when my students didn’t show.

     With the realization of why, and the instant reframing that took place, I got to watch the red-herrings fall away and the tendrils grasping at outward clouds fall back into the sea of socked-in internal weather that was the source of the malaise all along. It is not that I wasn’t aware of it, but reaching the tendrils out had the affect of spreading and precipitating out a number of different emotional flavors and themes, like a fan of cards, for heightened awareness.  Then, like a slinky dropped closed, they all sank back into a cubby behind the base of my sternum.   But, they had been seen….

…And I gave thanks.