Monday, November 30, 2015


You know that annoying habit radio stations have of playing the same song over and over and over and over?  It feels like the song, however good it might be, is being shoved down your throat.

Well, a few weeks ago, I spent a long time in the car, listening to the radio.

This song appeared to be on repeat.

Every time I switched stations, this song was on.  Usually it was in the middle of the song. I had never heard it before.

And instead of feeling like something was being shoved down my throat uncomfortably, I kept hoping to catch it from the beginning.

I am not sure if it resonated because it is such a great song.

It's a nice song.  It's a pop song with people singing with lovely voices.  But it is just a song.

But something about the words struck a chord -- rather I felt they were stroking a chord I heard Jack Kornfield strike at a Monday night dharma talk just a few days before my long car ride.

I can't remember his exact words, but he said something about what if we answered all the inconveniences with love.

Whenever I repeat things he says, the words seem trite, threadbare and slight.
The signs are every where... LOVE!

But when he said it, with all the examples (poems, stories, quotes) he gave, it felt like a symphony.

The threads, woven together brilliantly, created a tapestry that felt like the richest, yet most simple, panorama.


What if you met all unpleasantness (from yourself or others) with love?

This song seems like it is exhorting the same kind of loving -- imagining that love can hold unpleasant.

Especially as a "reaction," love can keep unpleasant from causing more pain, more damage and more suffering.

I know ... what if we met with physical harm, should we bring love there, too?

Well, sometime between the Jack class, the day in the car, and today, the attacks in Beirut and Paris (and...and...and...) happened.

Then I saw the video with the father giving his son a way to meet terror without giving into fear.

That clinched it.

I knew Jack was right.  Meet it with love. 

The father told his son that we had weapons greater than guns: we have flowers and candles.  The subtext: we have love.  We can meet terror with love and remembrance.  What he said stroked that same chord and the symphony started up again.

If we can meet terror with love, we can certainly meet our inconvenience, challenge, unease, suffering with love.

May you all find love, especially in times of distress... it's right there, in your heart.

These are some of my favorite parts (see, it's almost all of it):

...And I realized
No, we're not promised tomorrow

So I'm gonna love you
Like I'm gonna lose you
I'm gonna hold you
Like I'm saying goodbye wherever we're standing
I won't take you for granted 'cause we'll never know when
When we'll run out of time so I'm gonna love you
Like I'm gonna lose you
I'm gonna love you like I'm gonna lose you

In the blink of an eye
Just a whisper of smoke
You could lose everything
The truth is you never know
I'll make the most of the minutes and love with no regrets

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Poetry Thursday, Thanksgiving edition

The universe is a complete unique entity. 
Everything and everyone is bound together 
with some invisible strings. 
Do not break anyone’s heart; 
do not look down on weaker than you. 
One’s sorrow at the other side of the world 
can make the entire world suffer;
one’s happiness can make
the entire world smile.
~ Shams Tabrizi

Friday, November 20, 2015

NRU education edition

It has been hard to read these ... not because they are bad news, but because I feel like in my break up with education, I need to figure out how to not *care* about this stuff.  Fat chance, I guess, but one has to try to build some healthy boundaries.

This is a long list of mixed bag stories - mostly offered with little commentary. Enjoy, ignore, distribute, or refute at your leisure.

LAUSD and how teachers are dealing with new discipline guidelines...

Rewriting the curriculum to include a South Korean Korea, of course, not here, don't get excited.

What teachers really want, it's not what teacher haters would have you believe.

Closely related: low teacher morale, the newest education crisis.

Op Ed on teachers for the needy.

A different take on schools in the US and what our typical view says about us.

Ostensibly this is a story about a strange coincidence and students' resiliency, but it is also the story of a great teacher.

A piece on a different take on teaching English Language Learners, hopeful..

Geffen, UCLA and paying for private school education for the profs and staff of a public university.  You do the math.

Thanks to the many college students standing up to bias, prejudice, ignorance and racism (on small and large scales) around the country, some of the news media decided to talk about microaggression (or whining as many who have never suffered discrimination-other than red cups at starbucks- would have you believe).

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Poetry Thursday, Thanks Jack!

Jack Kornfield read this at Monday's dharma talk.  It was magnificent.  I had to share.  Enjoy - and do go listen to Ellen read it.  It seems long in writing, but you will wish it were longer.

Gate C22
(second link goes to Ellen reading this)

Ellen Bass (more from her here)

At gate C22 in the Portland airport
a man in a broad-band leather hat kissed
a woman arriving from Orange County.
They kissed and kissed and kissed. Long after
the other passengers clicked the handles of their carry-ons
and wheeled briskly toward short-term parking,
the couple stood there, arms wrapped around each other
like he'd just staggered off the boat at Ellis Island,
like she'd been released at last from ICU, snapped
out of a coma, survived bone cancer, made it down
from Annapurna in only the clothes she was wearing.

Neither of them was young. His beard was gray.
She carried a few extra pounds you could imagine
her saying she had to lose. But they kissed lavish
kisses like the ocean in the early morning,
the way it gathers and swells, sucking
each rock under, swallowing it
again and again. We were all watching —
passengers waiting for the delayed flight
to San Jose, the stewardesses, the pilots,
the aproned woman icing Cinnabons, the man selling
sunglasses. We couldn't look away. We could
taste the kisses crushed in our mouths.

But the best part was his face. When he drew back
and looked at her, his smile soft with wonder, almost
as though he were a mother still open from giving birth,
as your mother must have looked at you, no matter
what happened after — if she beat you or left you or
you're lonely now — you once lay there, the vernix
not yet wiped off, and someone gazed at you
as if you were the first sunrise seen from the Earth.
The whole wing of the airport hushed,
all of us trying to slip into that woman's middle-aged body,
her plaid Bermuda shorts, sleeveless blouse, glasses,
little gold hoop earrings, tilting our heads up.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

ugh, NRU, and sigh

For those who misread protest against violent police as anti-police sentiment, please take a minute to read this:  As citizens we deserve to feel protected and served by our law enforcement.  The largely just, competent and proactive police officers should repudiate the unlawful behavior of their violent and racist co-workers.  They should stand with fellow citizens in holding the "bad apples" accountable; as should the courts, rather than contributing to a climate that defends and, thus, encourages unlawful, violent and deadly behavior.

All this before Beirut, Paris, the latest in Baghdad and Syria.

On a different note, this time last year, I was picking up my distant aunt's ashes because I read an article about the unclaimed dead in Los Angeles county.  This year, thanks to that story, the list is digitized so anyone can look for their departed ones.

What about willpower?

Oh, Charlie Sheen, may you find some peace for all this turmoil.   I worry about Charlie.  Not in a teen idol gone awry way -- I worry about him in that way he is a poster child for mental illness not being treated properly in our society. It seems like we either demonize it or use it as a source of amusement. Would we do that with cancer?  Anyway, I met Charlie Sheen once at LAX.  He was sitting in a little bar waiting for his luggage.  Sweet as pie though he was obviously irritated by the travel mishap.  We chatted; he tore a piece of the paper bag holding whatever he had bought at the concession stand and he signed his name.  He wished me well, and I hurried off not wanting to be a bother.  He had really been very nice.  I saw him again at a nightclub some years later.  He was out carousing with Nicholas Cage.  I didn't speak to him, and he didn't seem like the nice, young man I had met at the airport.  Ah... life, it takes us down so many different path and tempts us with mysterious alleys.  I hope he can find peace.

And as we all search for meaning, here are Anne Lamott's thoughts.  We all need some perspective, peace, gratitude and compassion right now.

Friday, November 13, 2015

broken hearted

...and praying for peace, compassion and healing.  These are the only anti-terror tools that I believe can make a difference in our violent world.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Poetry Thursday ... more RUMI

Love means
to reach for the sky
and with every breath
to tear a hundred veils.
Love means
to step away from the ego,
to open the eyes
of inner vision
and not to take this world
so seriously.
~ Rumi

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans' Day

I don't believe in war.  I know that it "exists" but I don't believe there is any reason for it to exist.

This does not mean that I don't respect the men and women who bravely serve our country here and abroad.

I wish we would allow them to spend more of their time helping those in need, and sowing peace, rather than making war or any of its residuals. 

We have tremendous power and potential for good.

Today, I am going to believe in the ways we can promote peace and the millions of veterans who did just that despite having been sent to *war*

Hug a veteran and give him/her much respect; shower the world with peace today; and love someone prickly even if it hurts a little bit.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tough way...

... To spend the day. Just kidding. 
Started work at 5:30a but now I am sipping wine. 

Monday, November 09, 2015

NRU mishy and mashy and terse

Such a wild collection of articles have been sitting open on my desktop ... see the headlines:

The Funny Thing about Adversity

The Strange Case of Anna Stubblefield

Spoken Word Poet Elizabeth Acevedo Issues a Challenge to Rape Culture 

Standoff in Boulder [hint -- Buddhists vs prairie dogs ... ]

something to smile about ... silver linings abound.

If you don't know Father Greg Boyle, you can start here ... and donate if you can, in any way you can...

Friday, November 06, 2015

Exhaustion and silver linings

Four days of 5:30am starts, five days straight and one more to go (thankfully not starting til 7:30am).  Three of those days marathon scoring days: 11 hours, 12 hours, and 10 hours. 

Every muscle in my arm, neck, shoulder aches. Stretching helps. The short walks and long walks help. But I shift and several areas in my spine pop. 

Saving grace and silver lining: daylight saving means watching the sunrise as I am working the first hour of my shift and glorious sunset as I walk at the end of the long shift. 

Blessings from the universe or the ability to be present? Either way I am thankful.

P/S Does this count as noticing the unpleasant and pleasant as I was supposed to be doing all week?? 

These are actually both sunset pics from Thursday. 

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Poetry Thursday -- RUMI

You were born 
with potential. 
You were born 
with goodness 
and trust. 
You were born 
with ideals 
and dreams. 
You were born 
with greatness. 
You were born 
with wings. 
You are not meant 
for crawling, so don’t. 
You have wings. 
Learn to use them 
and fly.
~ Rumi

Wednesday, November 04, 2015


I don't smile easily.  I don't really know because I rarely even check myself out in the mirror, but I just know that I think to myself, smile back when someone smiles at me.

But, when I do smile, it is generally so authentic that it disarms.  I am sure the brave might admonish, you should smile more.

Smiling, for me, is just organic.  When I am touched or moved or feel close to something or someone, the smile blooms unbidden.  I have a hard time faking a smile.  

Monday, November 02, 2015

Rainy days and Mondays

Too dry to not be happy about light, steady rain... but it is shaping up to be a gloomy day.  After the endless summer, I am looking forward to the fog and chill.  I will be happy to welcome more of that wet stuff if it decides to fall some more.  Thinking about giving into the darker feelings, too.  Storm clouds have been massing behind my eyes for weeks.  Maybe it is time for the tears to flow as well.