In preparing to lead the Coming Home retreat in November with my partner Karyn Bristol, I’ve been waking up in the early morning to reread one of my all-time favorite books: Sabbath by Wayne Muller. My copy is dog-eared and yellowed with many highlights, notes in the margins, the corners turned down. Every time I pick it up and read even a paragraph or two from its musty pages, my breath deepens and the tight places in my chest relax.I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this weekend retreat. It has a very different ... [Continue Reading]
It’s been so many years since I’ve taken a summer vacation that I can’t remember the last time I took one. Why now, you might wonder. Why now, when my kids are almost launched—Eli heading off to college in August and Lizzy rounding the bend into 10th grade—am I finally taking a whole summer off? Why didn’t I do it when my kids were younger, when they really needed me? Why did I keep working? Keep writing? Keep producing? Keep teaching? Because I thought I had to. Because I was a breadwinner. Because I was afraid to stop. I didn’t know how to say no.
But now I must. I must say it loudly and repeatedly. I must keep saying it to myself and to everyone around me, but most especially to myself. Something in my midlife, sandwich generation, ... [Continue Reading]
I have always loved to sing. Some of my earliest memories are of both my parents singing to me, and later, full-hearted singing on family car trips, learning my parents’ vast repertoire of old folk songs, while making up crazy verses to “The Deacon Went Down in the Cellar to Pray.” My dad was an instrumental music teacher and ran his own music studio: Davis Studios of Music and Dance. Stacks of band instruments—trumpets, accordions, flutes, trombones, clarinets, a saxophone, and even a tuba—sat under the Baby Grand in our living room. Music was everywhere.
My parents forced me to take piano lessons, but I hated to practice. After a few years, I quit. Unfortunately, I continued to be a musical dilettante. I played French Horn for a year in Junior High; then I quit ... [Continue Reading]
I prostrated on the orange shag carpet, my face pressed into the long, polyester fibers. I responded to Mahatma Fakiranand, an Indian man with a shaved head and a face like a skull. “Yes,” I said in answer to his question. “I would cut my head off for Guru Maharaj Ji.”
I was fifteen. I had cut 10th grade and walked a mile to the Elberon train station. Caught the train to East Brunswick, New Jersey. Walked however many blocks it was to the premie house. How did I find it? I don’t remember. This was decades before smart phones and GPS, Mapquest and Google Earth. But somehow, I got there. I snuck out of the house, pretended to go to school. And I got on that train, determined to become a devotee of the living Satguru.