Monday, August 21, 2017

Accepting a Compliment


Passive Agressive: They're Professionals



We took Lily Swimming this morning and discovered a homeless man had been living camping at the secret swim spot. He wasn't there but his clothes, belt sneakers, blue tarp and knapsack were there.

I cleaned up the cans and broken glass and notified my friends on the street so they won't get startled.

Lily swam a lot fetching the stick and then on the drive home I noticed my brakes were shot. Good thing I wasn't out on the highway driving to CCRI to swim as I had originally planned.

Orchard Fresh Peaches, Cucumber Red Onion Salad, German Potato Salad: Heaven

My salad dressing works on everything.

Apple Pie Crust made on 1940's Enamel Table

My enamel table is great for pinning fabric and making apple pie. A woman's dream!

Jamie's Chuck Hamburger on a Homemade Roll for Breakfast

When I was a kid I was like Popeye's Wimpy eating stacks of hamburgers then I became Popeye living on spinach and now I am both.

“In a time of destruction, create something.”

“In a time of destruction, create something.”
― Maxine Hong Kingston

I learned to make my mind large, as the universe is large, so that there is room for contradictions.
― Maxine Hong Kingston

To me success means effectiveness in the world, that I am able to carry my ideas and values into the world - that I am able to change it in positive ways.
― Maxine Hong Kingston

Hunger also changes the world - when eating can't be a habit, then neither can seeing.
― Maxine Hong Kingston

“In a time of destruction, create something.”
― Maxine Hong Kingston

“This is the most important thing about me--I'm a card-carrying reader. All I really want to do is sit and read or lie down and read or eat and read or shit and read. I'm a trained reader. I want a job where I get paid for reading books. And I don't have to make reports on what I read or to apply what I read.”
― Maxine Hong Kingston, Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book

“You can't eat straight A's.”
― Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior

“I learned to make my mind large, as the universe is large, so that there is room for paradoxes.”
― Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior

“Do the right thing by whoever crosses your path. Those coincidental people are your people.”
― Maxine Hong Kingston, Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book

“I'm going away anyway. I am. Do you hear me? I may be ugly and clumsy, but one thing I am not, I'm not retarded. I may be ugly and clumsy, but one thing I am not, I'm not retarded. There's nothing wrong with my brain. Do you know what the Teacher Ghosts say about me? They tell me I'm smart, and I can win scholarships. I can get into colleges. I've already applied. I'm smart. I can do all sorts of things. I know how to get A's, and they say I could be a scientist or a mathematician if I want. I can make a living and take care of myself. So you don't have to find me a keeper who's too dumb to know a bad bargain. I'm so smart, if they say write ten pages, I can write fifteen. I can do ghost things even better than ghosts can. Not everyone thinks I'm nothing. I am not going to be a slave or a wife. Even if I am stupid and talk funny and get sick, I won't let you turn me into a slave or a wife. I'm getting out of here. I can't stand living here anymore. It's your fault I talk weird.”
― Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior

“You're too young to decide to live forever.”
― Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior

“We're all under the same sky and walk the same earth; we're alive together during the same moment.”
― Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior

“Hunger also changes the world—when eating can't be a habit, than neither can seeing.”
― Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior

“Long ago in China, knot-makers tied string into buttons and frogs, and rope into bell pulls. There was one knot so complicated that it blinded the knot-maker. Finally an emperor outlawed this cruel knot, and the nobles could not order it anymore. If I had lived in China, I would have been an outlaw knot-maker.”
― Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior

“The difference between mad people and sane people . . . is that sane people have variety when they talk-story. Mad people have only one story that they talk over and over.”
― Maxine Hong Kingston, The Fifth Book Of Peace

“Not many women got to live out the daydream of women—to have a room, even a section of a room, that only gets messed up when she messes it up herself.”
― Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior

“Perhaps women were once so dangerous they had to have their feet bound.”
― Maxine Hong Kingston

“'s the duty of artists to volunteer to do particle counting. Don't leave creation up to the accountants.”
― Maxine Hong Kingston, Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book

“The images of peace are ephemeral. The language of peace is subtle. The reasons for peace, the definitions of peace, the very idea of peace have to be invented, and invented again”
― Maxine Hong Kingston, The Fifth Book Of Peace

“It must be that people who read go on more macrocosmic and microcosmic trips – biblical god trips, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Ulysses, Finnegan’s Wake trips. Non-readers, what do they get? (They get the munchies.)”
― Maxine Hong Kingston, Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book

“When you raise girls, you're raising children for strangers.”
― Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior

“A story can take you through a whole process of searching, seeking, confronting, through conflicts, and then to a resolution. As the storyteller and the listener, we go through a story together.”
― Maxine Hong Kingston

“You must not tell anyone, what I am about to tell you.”
― Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior

“Nobody supports me at the expense of his own adventure. Then I get bitter: I am not loved enough to be supported. That I am not a burden has to compensate for the sad envy when I look at women loved enough to be supported. Even now China wraps double binds around my feet.”
― Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior

“Upon Good Earth, lay the body down,
open the mouth wide, let song rush through.”
― Maxine Hong Kingston, I Love a Broad Margin to My Life

“The work of preservation demands that the feelings playing about in one's guts not be turned into action. Just watch their passing like cherry blossoms.”
― Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior

“I may be ugly and clumsy, but one thing I'm not, I'm not retarded.”
― Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior

“My mother has told me once and for all the useful parts. She will add nothing unless powered by necessity, a riverbank that guides her life. She plants vegetable gardens rather than lawns; she carries the odd-shaped tomatoes home from the field and eats food left for the gods.”
― Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior

“Because joy and life exist nowhere but the present.”
― Maxine Hong Kingston, I Love a Broad Margin to My Life

“Deny accidents and wrest fault from the stars.”
― Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior

“She was one of the stars, a bright dot in blackness, without home, without a companion, in eternal cold and silence.”
― Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior

“…I have changed/I am a dandelion puffball blur. My hair,/scribbles of white lines. My face. Lines/crisscross and zigzag my face./My eyes. I am looking into eyes/whose color has turned lighter, hazy brown./Wind and time are blowing me out." –Maxine Hong Kingston”
― Maxine Hong Kingston, I Love a Broad Margin to My Life

“How unlike a dead fish a live fish is.”
― Maxine Hong Kingston, Hawai'i One Summer

“And I had to get out of hating range.”
― Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior

Everyone is on Vacation

Everyone is on vacation but I have vacation phobia. Even a few hours of vacation makes me eager to run home.

Quiet City Life

We went to Killingly Pond last night and there were a bunch of fire burning beer drinkers cursing in the woods. I was happy to get home to my nice quiet city life.

Ram Dass: How do we move beyond our ‘ego software’?

by Ram Dass

Much of the practice is to continually remember to extricate yourself from the identification of your awareness with your desires, fears, hopes, and thoughts. The goal is not to stay out in lala land, but to get established in other planes of consciousness, and then connect fully back into life. So that you are, as Christ said, “In the world, but not of the world,” so that you are simultaneously dancing in life as a human being and at the same moment you are absolutely spacious and empty. It’s a very interesting thing, because generally we don’t stretch our consciousness that much.

We tend to move in and out of planes sequentially, not simultaneously, because it takes a certain discipline to open to the fact that we are like strudel; that we are multi-layered; that we are not a single layered entity.

We underplay who we are so much, even by our language, because we tend to polarize the getting high, and the coming down. Even the word planes is ultimately a hype because it’s all one thing. What we’re really doing is, with the practices, taking our conceptual mind, and using it in order to take us beyond itself… so that we are then using our conceptual mind in a delightful way.

The ego – you can’t function without an ego here.

It’s your control room for your space suit that you’re wearing as an incarnation. You need it. It’s your software. But you aren’t software. Your ego is basically your software for functioning on this plane, and appreciating that. In order to appreciate it, you have to extricate yourself from an identification with the software, with the ego. Not because the ego is bad, but because it’s a beautifully articulated functional technique for playing.

I watch people come up to me for mala beads and sometimes they’ll say, “Good morning!” and they’re defining a certain plane of reality in that. Then I’m just sort of sitting there, and some of them don’t quite know what to do, because I say, “Hey, there’s another plane here!” It’s fun, because if you look into people’s eyes, then the rest of their face becomes like putty. They come up and say “Hi” and then you watch as this interesting thing happens. Slowly their face, the smile dissolves, and you suddenly meet back in behind the smile. “Hey, you in here? Far out! I’m here. What are you doing here?” It’s like we’re old beings hanging out. We just met through the social form, and the interesting thing of having the social forms is being able to use them and then let go of them. Use them and let go of them. Use them and let go of them. So you don’t get trapped in them. You don’t get trapped in the projective dance of each other’s projections of each other.

-Ram Dass

Ram Dass: “Truth waits for eyes unclouded by longing.”

The Paradox of Involvement vs. Non-Attachment

Posted June 17, 2016

It says in the Tao, “Truth waits for eyes unclouded by longing.”

The way I hear this in psychology is: motivation affects perception. When I’m hungry I see what’s edible. If I’m horny, I see what’s makeable. If I’m tired, I see what’s soft, you know, my motivation selects out of the infinity of the universe what it is that fits in with my desires.

Since that’s the case, as long as you’re identified with your desires, you can’t help but manipulate the universe to try to bring about that gratification of your desires. If you carry that to it’s ultimate truth, you see that everybody around you is an object to be manipulated to give you that gratification.

So if it says, “Truth waits for eyes unclouded by longing,” what does it mean to have an eye unclouded by longing? It’s the place in your being, in your awareness which is not totally identified with your desire system.

My sense is that to the extent you are not attached to your desire systems, you are able to hear other human beings and you do less of projecting into them what you need, and the result is that out of your action comes responses which are more compassionate to who they are than your need at the moment.

So this doesn’t mean you don’t have desires, but rather there is a paradox that’s hard to work with, which is this: “What does it mean to be fully involved in life and non-attached?”

– Ram Dass


I woke up at 5 AM on the dot dreaming about the last day I saw Jacob Knight. I had gone out to speak to him but he was vacant. No there there.

Then I dreamed I lived in a college town and PB came to pick up a box of small plastic white letters for a small glass box marquee sign used by his veterinary practice. I couldn't find the box because the room was being painted. He lit a cigarette and looked at my paintings. I was surprised. Even my paintings were in disarray. A woman was there and she locked arms with him to steady him and walked him to his car but I walked him back inside my house.

I was on a roller coaster holding vintage turquoise kitchen implements; a hand held mixer and a potato masher. We were zooming through Brooklyn on the cyclone over factories that made these devices.

Robert Stone

It's the birthday of novelist Robert Stone, born in Brooklyn (1937). He was raised by his mother, who was schizophrenic, and when she was institutionalized, he spent several years in a Catholic orphanage. Sometimes he and his mother would drive across the country and end up in a Salvation Army somewhere, or a random hotel. He said: "My early life was very strange. I was a solitary; radio fashioned my imagination. Radio narrative always has to embody a full account of both action and scene. I began to do that myself. When I was seven or eight, I'd walk through Central Park like Sam Spade, describing aloud what I was doing, becoming both the actor and the writer setting him into the scene. That was where I developed an inner ear."

Stone dropped out of high school to join the Navy, then moved back to New York City. He worked as a copy boy at the Daily News, and during his brief stint at NYU, he met Janice Burr, the woman he eventually married. They moved to New Orleans, and Stone found work as a census-taker. He walked every neighborhood of New Orleans, asking questions. He wrote: "The closer to street level you live, the more you have lessons thrust upon you."

His time in New Orleans inspired his first novel, A Hall of Mirrors (1967). It begins: "The day before, Rheinhardt had bought a pint of whiskey in Opelika and saved it all afternoon while the bus coursed down through red clay and pine hills to the Gulf. Then, after sundown, he had opened the bottle and shared it with the boy who sold bibles, the blond gangling country boy in the next seat. Most of the night, as the black cypress shot by outside, Rheinhardt had listened to the boy talk about money — commissions and good territories and profits — the boy had gone on for hours with an awed and innocent greed. Rheinhardt had sat silently, passing the bottle and listening."

Stone served as a correspondent in Vietnam for a British magazine, which quickly folded, but he got enough material to return home and write the novel Dog Soldiers (1974). Dog Soldiers is the story of a burnt-out playwright named John Converse who leaves the fading counterculture of California to work as a correspondent in Vietnam and ends up smuggling heroin out of the country. Dog Soldiers won the National Book Award.

Stone's other books include Children of Light (1986); Prime Green: Remembering the Sixties (2007), a memoir; and Fun With Problems (2010), a book of short stories.

He said: "Writing is lonely. [...] But most of the time you are in a room by yourself, you know. Writers spend more time in rooms, staying awake in quiet rooms, than they do hunting lions in Africa. So, it's a bad life for a person because it's so lonely and because it consists of such highs and lows, and there's not always anywhere to take these emotional states. [...] It's a life that's tough to sustain without falling prey to some kind of beguiling diversion that's not good for you."
Writer's Almanac

The Chambermaids in the Marriott in Midmorning

by Maxine Kumin

are having a sort of coffee klatch as they clean
calling across the corridors in their rich contraltos
while luffing fresh sheets in the flickering gloom
of the turgid passionate soaps they follow from room to room.

In Atlanta they are black, young, with eloquent eyes.
In Toledo white, middle-aged, wearing nurses’ shoes.
In El Paso always in motion diminutive Chicanas
gesture and lift and trill in liquid Spanish.

Behind my “Do Not Disturb” sign I go wherever they go
sorely tried by their menfolk, their husbands, lovers or sons
who have jobs or have lost them, who drink and run around,
who total their cars and are maimed, or lie idle in traction.

The funerals, weddings and births, the quarrels, the fatal gunshots
happen again and again, inventively reenacted
except that the story is framed by ads and coming attractions,
except that what takes a week in real life took only minutes.

I think how static my life is with its careful speeches and classes
and how I admire the women who daily clean up my messes,
who are never done scrubbing with Rabelaisian vigor
through the Marriott’s morning soaps up and down every corridor.

“The Chambermaids in the Marriott in Midmorning” by Maxine Kumin from Where I Live: New and Selected Poems 1990-2010. ©

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Ram Dass


Print Magazine Rocks it!

Where Love Rules!

Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other.
-Carl Jung

Al Giordano

Al Giordano
16 mins ·

We had a couple of 11th hour cancellations this week from our school that begins tomorrow. This happens each year but I am still not comfortable with it. How does anybody in good conscience apply and get accepted for a program that others applied for and did not get, occupy that space that somebody else wanted very badly, and then cancel at the last minute, when it is too late to substitute them? There are always excuses, most often work or family or both. And then I think of this year's scholar who quit her newspaper job rather than be told by her bosses she cannot attend, and then any sympathy for the cancelling parties flies out the window.

Every time we occupy a space with limited participants we are displacing someone else. To take up that space and then not to fill it is worse than discourteous. It is sabotage. After 14 years of it I have no patience for it. Other people were harmed by losing an opportunity that somebody else tossed into the trash. But wait! The story gets more twisted from there.

A new friend who I've been hanging out with recently simultaneously was begging me to be able to attend the school. I had said "no" because one has to fill out the long application to do so just like everyone else. But when she did it on the heels of the two cancellations on Thursday I gave in. "Okay. You can come. But you must sign the Scholar's Agreement by tomorrow and then comply immediately with the next eight steps we send you to get caught up to speed." Friday went by and she had not done it (a task that takes maybe 15 minutes, max). And yesterday afternoon I informed that the invitation has been withdrawn. Then came the pleading and begging and apologies and suddenly the compliance with the first step. Being a little too soft-hearted I said, "okay, you can come but only if today (Saturday) you complete all eight steps. If you don't by midnight you're out." I was assured profusely that this would happen.

Then midnight came and it still wasn't done. So I had to be the big, bad meanie and definitively withdraw the invitation. This time the apologies and appeals were ignored. And that's that.

I have a lot of tolerance for people's eccentricities and flaws. I have my own, as everybody knows. But when it comes to the school, that's a different story. Do not disrespect the school. And do not ever become a distraction for it or for me while I am in the middle of it. That will lose a person more than an opportunity. It will always lose my goodwill and friendship. The school is the one thing in my life that is more important to me than me. If somebody doesn't respect it, they lose more than an opportunity. They lose my respect.

The good news is that I'll be spending this week with 39 colleagues, old and new, who complied with all that was expected of them to make the 2017 School of Authentic Journalism happen successfully, some of whom made grand sacrifices in order to comply. With that they won, beyond my respect, my loyalty.

Al Giordano, School of Authentic Journalism

Worcester Art Museum is a GEM!

WORCESTER — Admission to the the Worcester Art Museum will be free during the month of August.

“Free August” includes access for everyone to special exhibitions, the permanent galleries, and WAM’s August programming — including Art + Market, tours, Art Carts, arms and armor demonstrations, and Nude Drawing in the Galleries.

“We are delighted to offer free access to WAM again this summer, thanks to The Kirby Foundation and United Bank,” said Matthias Waschek, the C. Jean and Myles McDonough director of the Worcester Art Museum, in an announcement.

“From our popular exhibition, ‘Reusable Universes: Shih Chieh Huang,’ which fuses technology and contemporary art to create an irresistible immersive environment, to all of the treasures in the permanent galleries, there is so much to see and do at WAM this summer,” Waschek said.

Fish Tank or Human Tank?

I don't know whether to get a fish tank or build a tank and fill it with humans. I've often thought we need a window at the pool to view the human lap swimmers just like we see the polar bears at roger Williams Zoo!
Look at the pretty swimmers.

Philip Shelley

I didn’t see Willett again for over a year. Then one September afternoon I was walking through Washington Square and there she was: sitting on a bench on the eastern edge of the park, reading a paperback and smoking a cigarette. She had on a light blue skirt and white top, with a cashmere cardigan that matched the skirt. Her hair was held back with a white plastic headband and at her feet were two or three large Barney's shopping bags. I almost didn’t recognize her as I walked by because she was wearing eyeglasses—a very stylish pair with cat’s eye frames. Except for maybe sunglasses, I had never seen Willett with glasses before. An old-lady chain was attached to the two earpieces; it dangled behind her head and around her neck.

I stopped in front of the bench, standing over her. “Since when do you wear glasses?” I asked.

Willett looked up from her reading and squinted into the sun. “I was wondering when you were going to turn up,” she said.

“I guess the time is now. What’s going on?”

She closed her book and patted the bench. I sat down beside her.

“Not much,” she said with a half-shrug. “A little shopping, a little reading. Dave will be coming home from New Haven tonight. I’m thinking about actually cooking him dinner.”

“Aren’t you a good little housewife.”

“Not really.”

She took a last drag from her cigarette and flicked the butt onto the paved walkway.

“So how’s it going?” I asked.

“You mean with Dave? I don’t know,” said Willett. “I keep trying to be good: I cut way back on the drinking, and I got a regular job doing publicity at the Public, and I’m really trying to be supportive, you know? I go to all his stupid stuff and look nice and smile at everybody and don’t make a scene. But something always comes up. Like this summer, I got drunk and fucked my yoga instructor, and Dave got all bent out of shape about it. He’s very jealous!”

“I hate to take his side, but that’s kind of understandable.”

“Yeah, but can’t he see how hard I’ve been trying? I don’t see him fucking trying.”

“I don’t understand your marriage. Why don’t you just leave him already?”

“No, you don’t get it…”

“That’s what I just said.”

“Dave’s like…like he could never be mean to me, you know? No matter what I do, I’m pretty sure he’ll always take care of me.”

“What’s the point of that?” I asked.

“Nobody’s upside is worth their downside,” she said.

“What does that even mean?”

“It means giving your heart to another person is a losing proposition. The thing to do is to find a manageable situation from which to operate. Preferably someone reasonably good-looking so you can stand having them slobber all over you…a little money doesn’t hurt…a decent amount of ambition…”

“That is so fucking superficial,” I said.

“Please,” said Willett, “It’s exactly the opposite.”

“How?” I asked.

“Michael. If you put your faith in something, you will be disappointed. If you give your heart to something, you will be devastated. That’s the way it works. These are inevitabilities.“

I realized that I had been listening to her rather blithely, simply enjoying, as I always did, her physical presence and the sound of her voice. But suddenly the meaning of her words leapt out at me and I felt indignant. What she was saying couldn’t be true, could it? I wanted to argue, “What about us?” But I couldn’t bring myself to do it. The more I thought about it, the more I had to admit that I agreed with her.

“Give me a cigarette,” I said.

Willett shook out two cigarettes, lit them both simultaneously, and then stuck one of the lit cigarettes in my mouth. We watched little kids running around in the fenced-off playground across from the bench. I picked up the book Willett had been reading, The Death of Adam by Marilynne Robinson, and regarded the cover.

“How is it?” I asked.

“Essays,” said Willett. “Nonfiction.”

“About the Bible?”

“Not really…”

“What then?”

“I’m not finished yet or anything, but I think it’s about not accepting received wisdom. You know, like, if a million people all think the same thing, that’s not a reason to believe it. That’s a reason to be skeptical. You have to grapple with the thing itself and make up your own mind.”

“Grapple with what thing?” I asked, flipping through the pages.

“Well, she goes through all these culturally foundational texts that no one reads anymore, and we think we know what they mean, you know, as a society, but if you actually go and read them, maybe you find out they say something completely different.”

“Like which texts?”

“I dunno. She does Darwin, Calvin…” Willett trailed off. She removed her glasses and let them drop onto her chest. The top two buttons of her blouse were undone, and I could see the dip of her collar bone.

“How do you deal with the past?” she said, abruptly changing her tack. “With memory, I mean. Collective memories. Personal memories. I guess that’s really what it’s about. So much of what we take for evidence of the past is just a Xerox of a Xerox of a Xerox of a Xerox. Who even knows what we’re looking at?”

She tapped her ash, then, smiling, looked right at me. “Sometimes I think I would take a pliers and hack out my own brain if it would give me a moment’s peace.”

I didn’t know what to say to that, so I laughed. We both leaned forward, elbows on our knees, and directed our attention to the ground. Then Willett picked up her head again.

“Besides,” she said, “it’s not like you’re some paragon of depth.”

“What?” I said.

“I know the girls you hang out with. Margaret? You really think you’d have spent a year and a half with Margaret fucking Callaghan if she didn’t look like that? And what about me, Michael? You keep hanging around with me because of my winning personality?”

-Philip Shelley

Obama is Still My President

Jane Goodall of the 'Hood

Hot Flash Cold Water

Amazing Armadillo

Banana Peanut Butter Granola Bites

Slice banana long ways spread peanut butter, close and slice roll in granola. Enjoy.


Sourdough Waffles. Crispy, Light, Delicious!

crisp, light, delicious sourdough waffles

5 tablespoons active sourdough starter (fed within the last 12 hours)
1 cup milk
1½ cups freshly ground whole wheat flour
2 eggs
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup melted butter or coconut oil
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ginger (fresh or dry)
⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt


Combine the sourdough starter, milk, and whole wheat flour together in a bowl. Cover and let sit overnight (at least 12 hours is ideal).
The next morning, beat the eggs and milk until frothy. Add in the vanilla extract and melted butter. Mix to combine.
Add the baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt to the egg mixture.
Lastly, add the flour mixture in with the egg mixture. Stir gently until just combined.
Bake the waffles in a preheated waffle iron.
This recipe makes enough for 4-6 large waffles.

Cyclothymia, Bipolar's Cousin

Silver Lining

there is a silver lining in having a president who is unfit to wield absolute power over the fate of the world: It has engendered serious and urgent proposals to strengthen checks and balances on nuclear decision-making.

Women Writing the Best Crime Novels


I write to keep my eyes open

Writing is my way of being quiet—being quiet and looking around, here on earth, where things in fact (as not in our cheapened attentions) are extraordinarily strange. I take to heart the little caveat in Chekhov’s journal: “She had too little skin to cover her face. In order to open her eyes she had to shut her mouth, and vice versa.”

I write to keep my eyes open.

MH Interviews are all about words, of course, but I’d be interested to know how you feel about silence—in the world and in your work.

HM I’ve always wanted to do one of those monastic retreats where nobody talks at all for a month. I’m a recluse by nature. In person among persons, I burn too fast: for excess of

misanthropy or terror I find myself overcompensating. Seems I’m full of unseemly desires to please, self-defeating flurries of words. (Frost said talk was a hydrant in the yard, and poems were a faucet in an upstairs room. Opening the first takes the pressure off the second.)

Fire Escape Food Dehydrator

My Asian neighbors use this to make beef jerky.They hang it off their 2nd floor fire escape.

we learn and dream

“There are not many persons who know what wonders are opened to them in the stories and visions of their youth; for when as children we learn and dream, we think but half-formed thoughts, and when as men we try to remember, we are dulled and prosaic with the poison of life. But some of us awake in the night with strange phantasms of enchanted hills and gardens, of fountains that sing in the sun, of golden cliffs overhanging murmuring seas, of plains that stretch down to sleeping cities of bronze and stone, and of shadowy companies of heroes that ride caparisoned white horses along the edges of thick forests; and then we know that we have looked back through the ivory gates into that world of wonder which was ours before we were wise and unhappy.”
― H.P. Lovecraft

Creative minds are uneven

“Creative minds are uneven, and the best of fabrics have their dull spots.”
― H.P. Lovecraft

“Contrary to what you may assume, I am not a pessimist but an indifferentist- that is, I don't make the mistake of thinking that the... cosmos... gives a damn one way or the other about the especial wants and ultimate welfare of mosquitoes, rats, lice, dogs, men, horses, pterodactyls, trees, fungi, dodos, or other forms of biological energy.”
― H.P. Lovecraft

“We all know that any emotional bias -- irrespective of truth or falsity -- can be implanted by suggestion in the emotions of the young, hence the inherited traditions of an orthodox community are absolutely without evidential value.... If religion were true, its followers would not try to bludgeon their young into an artificial conformity; but would merely insist on their unbending quest for truth, irrespective of artificial backgrounds or practical consequences. With such an honest and inflexible openness to evidence, they could not fail to receive any real truth which might be manifesting itself around them. The fact that religionists do not follow this honourable course, but cheat at their game by invoking juvenile quasi-hypnosis, is enough to destroy their pretensions in my eyes even if their absurdity were not manifest in every other direction.”
― H.P. Lovecraft, Against Religion: The Atheist Writings of H.P. Lovecraft

“Let us sing when we can, and forget the rest..”

“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents... some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new Dark Age.”
― H.P. Lovecraft

“Never Explain Anything”
― H.P. Lovecraft

“To be bitter is to attribute intent and personality to the formless, infinite, unchanging and unchangeable void. We drift on a chartless, resistless sea. Let us sing when we can, and forget the rest..”
― H.P. Lovecraft

“Throw a stick, and the servile dog wheezes and pants and stumbles to bring it to you. Do the same before a cat, and he will eye you with coolly polite and somewhat bored amusement. And just as inferior people prefer the inferior animal which scampers excitedly because someone else wants something, so do superior people respect the superior animal which lives its own life and knows that the puerile stick-throwings of alien bipeds are none of its business and beneath its notice. The dog barks and begs and tumbles to amuse you when you crack the whip. That pleases a meekness-loving peasant who relishes a stimulus to his self importance. The cat, on the other hand, charms you into playing for its benefit when it wishes to be amused; making you rush about the room with a paper on a string when it feels like exercise, but refusing all your attempts to make it play when it is not in the humour. That is personality and individuality and self-respect -- the calm mastery of a being whose life is its own and not yours -- and the superior person recognises and appreciates this because he too is a free soul whose position is assured, and whose only law is his own heritage and aesthetic sense.”
― H.P. Lovecraft

“I know always that I am an outsider; a stranger in this century and among those who are still men.”
― H.P. Lovecraft, The Outsider

“It is good to be a cynic — it is better to be a contented cat — and it is best not to exist at all.”
― H.P. Lovecraft, Collected Essays 5: Philosophy, Autobiography and Miscellany

“At night, when the objective world has slunk back into its cavern and left dreamers to their own, there come inspirations and capabilities impossible at any less magical and quiet hour. No one knows whether or not he is a writer unless he has tried writing at night.”
― H.P. Lovecraft

the joke is on mankind

“The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind.”
― H.P. Lovecraft

“Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability.”
― H.P. Lovecraft

“Almost nobody dances sober, unless they happen to be insane.”
― H.P. Lovecraft

“From even the greatest of horrors irony is seldom absent.”
― H.P. Lovecraft, Tales of H.P. Lovecraft

Lovecraft: a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty

Bunch together a group of people deliberately chosen for strong religious feelings, and you have a practical guarantee of dark morbidities expressed in crime, perversion, and insanity.
H. P. Lovecraft

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.
H. P. Lovecraft

What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!
H. P. Lovecraft

I couldn't live a week without a private library - indeed, I'd part with all my furniture and squat and sleep on the floor before I'd let go of the 1500 or so books I possess.
H. P. Lovecraft

But more wonderful than the lore of old men and the lore of books is the secret lore of ocean.
H. P. Lovecraft

All of my tales are based on the fundamental premise that common human laws and emotions have no validity or significance in the cosmos-at-large.
H. P. Lovecraft

Personally, I would not care for immortality in the least. There is nothing better than oblivion, since in oblivion there is no wish unfulfilled. We had it before we were born yet did not complain. Shall we whine because we know it will return? It is Elysium enough for me, at any rate.
H. P. Lovecraft

The process of delving into the black abyss is to me the keenest form of fascination.
H. P. Lovecraft

I never ask a man what his business is, for it never interests me. What I ask him about are his thoughts and dreams.
H. P. Lovecraft

The cat is such a perfect symbol of beauty and superiority that it seems scarcely possible for any true aesthete and civilised cynic to do other than worship it.
H. P. Lovecraft

A dog is a pitiful thing, depending wholly on companionship, and utterly lost except in packs or by the side of his master. Leave him alone, and he does not know what to do except bark and howl and trot about till sheer exhaustion forces him to sleep.
H. P. Lovecraft

When You're Climbing Mount Everest

“Never judge anyone by another's opinions. We all have different sides that we show to different people.”
― Jacqueline Susann, Valley of the Dolls

“Love shouldn't make a beggar of one. I wouldn't want love if I had to beg for it, to barter or qualify it. And I should despise it if anyone ever begged for my love. Love is something that must be given -- it can't be bought with words or pity, or even reason.”
― Jacqueline Susann, Valley of the Dolls

“Never let anyone shame you into doing anything you don't choose to do. Keep your identity.”
― Jacqueline Susann, Valley of the Dolls

“Yes, there's one thing I do want. I want to be aware of the minutes and the seconds, and to make each one count.”
― Jacqueline Susann, Valley of the Dolls

“Everyone has an identity. One of their own, and one for show.”
― Jacqueline Susann, Valley of the Dolls

“When you're climbing Mount Everest, nothing is easy. You just take one step at a time, never look back and always keep your eyes glued to the top.”
― Jacqueline Susann, Valley of the Dolls

The Secret to Good Hummus

Start with dried chick peas and use fresh lemon juice.

Heather McHugh

If you live on the edge of an enormous mountain or an enormous body of water, it's harder to think of yourself as being so important.
- Heather McHugh

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Black Felt Gambler Hat

I have spent every day this summer wearing my wide-brimmed straw hat. I am thinking I would like to wear a black wool gambler's hat this fall.

I Won a Fish Tank

I entered a contest and won a free fish tank but then I was too depressed and overhwhelmed to accept it. I finally called my pet store owner and told him to give it to someone else.

Now I am ready to setup a fish tank as soon as I figure out where to put it. I had fish as a kid and spent many hours watching them swim.

When my energy is good I dream about my fish tank and my sewing machine projects. I have done this seasonal dreaming every year for decades. When my mood drops and the house is cold I can't imagine any of these things being important to me. So round and round I go.

10 Best Swim Spots in the World

RI is on the list!

I need to make my own list:
Horseneck Beach, Dartmouth MA
Killingly Pond CT/RI

More to come!

Histamine Changes my Tongue

I crave Cuban coffee since all of the normal coffee flavors are dulled by ragweed pollen and the histamine response.

Burger Craving

Homemade sourdough semolina buns with sliced red onion, grilled burger, mustard and sun-dried tomato and thin sliced dill pickle.

Dear Landlord

Your tenants are your customers. Think about the hallways they walk through and the unlit parking lots they have to walk through at night. You took down the clotheslines. They have no place to hang their clothes so they drape them on the rusty fire escapes. They step over garbage and shattered beer bottles to walk their dogs. Think about that Mr. Landlord.

Ram Dass: Being Nothing, You are Everything

The Predicament of “Somebodyness”

Posted January 17, 2017

There’s a great line from a wonderful teacher who died some years ago named Kalu Rinpoche, a lovely Tibetan monk. He said, “We live in illusion, the appearance of things, but there is a reality and we are that reality. When you understand this, you see that you are nothing, and being nothing, you are everything. That’s all there is.”

What happens to most of us, and I say most of us, is that when you and I were born, we were born into a social-psychological world, a world with feelings and thoughts, that was inhabited by people who were very identified with their separateness. They were somebody. They were mummy or daddy. They were also this and this and this and this, and they were all the different identities they had, and they trained you about those realities, because those are the realities that were real to them.

Let’s say you started out with completely undifferentiated awareness, and then in the process of socialization, you cultivated your cognitive capacities of this versus that and all your conceptual models that are called your ego and ego structure, and then you got caught in them. You got lost in them, so you thought they were real. You got caught in your own creation, because everything around you supported you becoming somebody. You went into somebody training when you took birth, and you ended up somebody. I bet you think you’re real. I really think you think you’ve got a personal history; you think you’re going somewhere; you think you’ve got problems and neuroses and hopes and relationships; it all sounds real doesn’t it? …Boy were you taken for a ride.

Now, it’s not unreal; it’s just relatively real. The predicament is, you bought into the planes of reality that are all in time. That’s a problem because there’s at least another plane where you’re One with it all, and no one is going anywhere. There’s no time – it’s behind time. So there’s a part of you that is not in time, even though the rest of you is in time, and you bought into the part of you that’s in time, so you think time is passing.

When you get caught in your somebodyness, you as a separate entity, relative to the game of form, are pretty tiny. There are galaxies, and you are pretty tiny, you know, and it’s kind of frightening to have your awareness in something so small when everything around you is big and so unpredictable, and you can’t control it. So to the extent you identify with your somebodyness, there is fear. There is fear of what changes, it turns out, because you can’t control it when it changes. There’s fascination with it, but there’s fear in it. There’s fear of death. That colors almost everything everybody does in a subtle way, all the time. Wanting to leave something behind, wanting to get as much out of the moment as you can because you are fleeting; feeling you’re running out of time because there is too much to do.

– Ram Dass

Ghetto Palace Books: Publishing House

This is us!

Still Teaching

I'm still their teacher, I said to my husband. Even when my students grow up and I run into them on Main Street.
True! he said, buttering his toast.
I wish more people understood that.

Our bodies are made for being used

“You need to trust yourself, trust the hopes and not the fears, and keep going around the obstacles,” Ms. Barnea said.

“Our bodies are made for being used,” she said. “Physical fitness and activity improves brain function. Anyone who is keeping up physical activity — both the aerobic part, which is really important, and the strength and balance and flexibility — is reducing the risks and buffering the decline that is going on.”

She Just Won 3 Gold Medals for Her Swimming. She’s Only 73.

She Just Won 3 Gold Medals for Her Swimming. She’s Only 73.


Daniela Barnea, who is 73, typically swims for up to an hour and a half, seven days a week. At her age, that kind of workout, during which she covers nearly two miles, is noteworthy.

Even more so is the fact that Ms. Barnea, who lives in Palo Alto, Calif., is a record-breaking swimmer and senior athlete who competes in sanctioned races for her age group in events around the world.

At the 2017 United States Masters Swimming Spring Nationals, in Riverside, Calif., she won three gold medals in the women’s 70-to-74-year-old age group. These included the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke finals and the 200-yard individual medley finals.

Hundreds of thousands of senior athletes like Ms. Barnea compete regularly in athletic events throughout the world, including the National Senior Games Association, United States Masters Swimming and USA Track & Field Masters programs. Races are divided into five-year age increments starting at age 35 and ending at 100-to-104. Generally, the athletes range in age from 50 to 100.

A recent documentary, “Impossible Dreamers,” produced by Eric Goldfarb and Erik Howell through Better World Film Group, follows senior athletes who are amateurs as they train for competition. In addition to Ms. Barnea, the 75-minute film (which can be viewed on Netflix and Amazon) spotlights a 91-year-old tennis player, octogenarian racewalkers and septuagenarian sprinters, weight lifters and boxers.

Ms. Barnea is among the youngest featured in the movie. Donald Cheek, known as Doc, a resident of Clovis, Calif., is an international gold medal Masters sprinter at 87. Mr. Cheek repeatedly wins in the 85-to-89 division, competing in the 50-, 100-, 200- and 400-meter events. Last October, in the Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, Utah, he set the games’ record for 100 meters at 17.38.

Gary Player, the 81-year-old retired professional golfer, also appears in the movie, to offer fitness tips in a 20-minute boot camp workout that is included in the documentary. That instruction is geared toward amateur athletes of all ages who yearn to stay active and, perhaps, to compete.

Ms. Barnea’s latest athletic challenge is the 17th FINA World Masters Championships in Budapest this month. To prepare, she swims double workouts and hits the gym three or four times a week. “I don’t want to be another Mark Spitz or Michael Phelps,” Ms. Barnea said. “I just want to be first.”

She schedules her workouts around the time she spends with her three grandchildren and her part-time job as a foreign language tutor for the Palo Alto Unified School District.
Ms. Barnea typically swims for up to an hour and a half, seven days a week. Credit Jason Henry for The New York Times

It’s “kind of boring swimming back and forth, back and forth, but when you have a goal, it’s not,” Ms. Barnea said. “It’s like meditation to me. It’s very peaceful. There is something very soothing about being surrounded by water.”

For many older people, though, exercising can be a challenge. That’s why the producers of “Impossible Dreamers” decided to give viewers workout tips.

“We didn’t want viewers to feel inspired by the film and then go back to their regular habits the next day,” said Eric Goldfarb, the filmmaker. “We caught up with several of the athletes after the film’s production to get their demonstrations on safe exercises for older adults; different movements that are simple, maximizing bodily benefits and fun.”

The message, Mr. Goldfarb said, is that “no matter where you are in your life, you do what you can” with regard to fitness.

“You exercise as much as you can without going beyond what your body is able to do,” he said. “The athletes in this film are not superheroes. They are all plagued with injury and real-life circumstance that happens to everybody, and they get through it.”

A few years ago, Ms. Barnea had abdominal surgery and needed to rebuild her swimming regimen slowly. “I could barely swim across the width of pool, but every day I added a few laps, and got stronger and stronger,” she said.

A rotator cuff injury sustained in a dog-walking mishap, when she was pulled abruptly toward a neighbor’s cat, still makes her wince and prevents her from competing in the butterfly, one of her signature events.

But she keeps on stroking. This year, she will enter an estimated 20 competitions. “You need to trust yourself, trust the hopes and not the fears, and keep going around the obstacles,” Ms. Barnea said.

Ursula M. Staudinger, a life span psychologist and researcher at the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center at Columbia University, said that exercising in older age is crucial to physical and mental health.
It’s “kind of boring swimming back and forth, back and forth, but when you have a goal, it’s not,” Ms. Barnea said. Credit Jason Henry for The New York Times

“Our bodies are made for being used,” she said. “Physical fitness and activity improves brain function. Anyone who is keeping up physical activity — both the aerobic part, which is really important, and the strength and balance and flexibility — is reducing the risks and buffering the decline that is going on.”

For Mr. Cheek, the nation’s fastest 100-meter sprinter in his age group, there is “a pride and a mental discipline that carries over into your whole lifestyle,” he said. Consistent exercise, said Mr. Cheek, who is a part-time professor of social psychology at California State University, Fresno, allows you to have “a body that can perform for you any time you want.”

Mr. Cheek, who grew up in Harlem and earned a Ph.D. from Temple University, has been running track since his days at Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx. “The track represents freedom to me,” he said. “It is a very clear measurement of what I am. It tells me I have guts, character, that I have what it takes.”

In the “Impossible Dreamers” boot camp video, these senior athletes provide their best advice on how to keep athletes with less lofty ambitions fit.

Mr. Cheek, for example, starts his routine with a variety of relaxed stretches. He and his wife, Patti, are shown lying in bed wearing workout clothes; they lift their legs in the air, curl their toes and spin their ankles in each direction.

Mr. Cheek is also shown skipping with his grandchildren; he recommends two minutes of skipping. “This develops a certain rhythm for your body,” he said. “Skipping is what children do, and it’s fun. It makes you smile.”

Then Mr. Cheek moves on to high-step skipping, with the emphasis on lifting his knees. He also recommends standing in place and moving your feet as fast as you can. “Do it rhythmically, and move your arms as fast as you can,” he said.

In the documentary, Mr. Player is shown pacing on a treadmill, lifting light weights, doing situps and running rapidly in small steps. “You’ve got to keep the body moving like a piece of elastic,” he says in the film.

These exercises help keep him performing well on the golf course. “All you need is 10 minutes on the treadmill every day,” he says.

For these seasoned athletes, there’s seemingly no fear of getting older. “People usually don’t want to tell their age, but not me,” Ms. Barnea said. “I can’t wait to tell them I am moving up to my next age group for competing. I can break new records when I’m the youngest one in the race.”

A version of this article appears in print on August 13, 2017, on Page BU3 of the New York edition with the headline: Three Gold Medals, and She’s Only 73.

Rhode Island :: Killingly Pond Management Area -

Visit Rhode Island :: Killingly Pond Management Area - South ...
Killingly Pond Management Area covers a total land area of 396 acres. The area is primarily in forested cover types (deciduous 113 acres, evergreen 180 acres), ...

Rosemary-Olive Oil Potato Chips

Home Recipes

Rosemary-Olive Oil Potato Chips
Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
From: Food Network Magazine
Save Recipe Print
Rosemary-Olive Oil Potato Chips

35 min
10 min

about 5 cups



Olive oil, for frying (about 4 cups)
Vegetable oil, for frying (about 4 cups)
3 large russet or Yukon gold potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 cloves garlic
1 sprig rosemary
Kosher salt

Add Checked Items to Grocery List

Fill a large pot with about 1 1/2 inches of equal parts olive oil and vegetable oil. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.

Slice the potatoes on the thinnest setting of a mandoline (they should be almost see-through). Lay the slices on a clean kitchen towel in a single layer and pat dry with paper towels. One at a time, transfer the slices to the cold oil (starting with cold oil keeps the potatoes from sticking to one another). If the potatoes are not completely submerged, add more oil to cover. Add the garlic and rosemary to the pot.

Turn the heat to medium high and cook, undisturbed, 5 minutes. Stir the potatoes once to make sure they are not sticking to the bottom, then let fry, undisturbed, until golden, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove the chips with a strainer and drain on paper towels. Season with salt.

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Magazine

Make your own Big Mac


Home Baked Cheeze-Its

Robert Pilkington

Robert Pilkington, Ed.D.

Public Charter School Operator and Designer

Warwick, Rhode Island
Education Management


Village Green Virtual Charter School


The Rhode Island League of Charter Schools, RINI Middle College, Middle College Planning and Design Consultancy


Johnson & Wales University


Career educator and ardent supporter of the public charter school model: beginning as a per diem substitute teacher in Providence, RI in the mid 1980's and now serving as a RI State Certified Superintendent, consultant and charter school designer, my experience is varied and unique. Establishing the first charter school in RI, which still stands as the only public school conversion, as well as founding and establishing the state's League of Charters has led to a tremendous number of opportunities to expand this brilliant model of public education.

Specialties: Charter school program design, school operation, fiscal management and facility renovation, educational leadership, brain based learning, board management and public relations

Superintendent & Designer/Operator/Founder
Village Green Virtual Charter School
December 2001 – Present (15 years 9 months)

Designed as a purposefully disruptive innovation, the Village Green Virtual School received its charter from the RI State Board of Education on June 6, 2013. The school is designed to fundamentally change the scope of the teacher's work, employ vetted and viable curricula with unlimited access and equity, increase student proficiency and academic skills and create a vibrant community of learners within a digitally rich context.
Founder and Past President
The Rhode Island League of Charter Schools
January 2001 – July 2014 (13 years 7 months)

Through the receipt of RI's first federal dissemination grant for charter school support, I was able to design and implement the state's only charter school advocacy and support agency in 2000 and 2001. By serving as the founding individual responsible for business and infrastructural growth, mission and vision establishment, branding and hallmarking, outreach and public relations, tax exempt status acquisition, membership organizing and grant writing, the League has been both a source of personal and professional pride. In 2004 a full time Executive Director was hired and I transitioned from being the "hub" of the organization to being integral to its governance and counsel. Currently, the League serves its member schools with a large array of services and benefits.
Former Superintendent
RINI Middle College
January 2008 – June 2013 (5 years 6 months)

The RINI Middle College is an experimental RI charter high school whose goal is to increase retention rates within the state's BSN programs. In fulfillment of this mission, the middle college model is used to align the course requirements of higher education and the dual enrollment experience for the student nurse. The result is the institutional attainment of the elusive "seamless K to 16" public school continuum.
Author of RI's Six Middle College Applications
Middle College Planning and Design Consultancy
September 2000 – June 2013 (12 years 10 months)

Beginning in 2003 with a seminar and visit to the Middle College National Consortium at LaGuardia Community College in Queens, New York, I became enamored with the middle college philosophy and its potential to create a true bridge from the PK to 12 system and the 13 to 16 system.I have authored six middle college applications including four for independent charters and two for sponsored schools. In 2005 the University of Rhode Island adapted an earlier middle college plan, and as a member of then President Carothers' design team, the URI Academy Middle College Charter School for Post Adjudicated Youth emerged. This application was used as a platform for the first legislative attack on the state's charter school moratorium. In 2007 a different version of the middle college plan, this time including the groundbreaking PBGR Completion Academy, was sponsored by the Urban League of RI and became one of two schools to be conditionally approved by the State Board of Regents during the era of the moratorium. Presently, a new middle college plan with a nursing and health care theme has been developed as a fully approved RI charter school which opened in September 2011.
Beacon Charter High School for the Arts
Former Superintendent
Beacon Charter High School for the Arts
August 2005 – August 2012 (7 years 1 month)

Public charter school in Rhode Island. Founded in 2003 and specializing in visual, dramatic and culinary arts. Grades 9 through 12, state-wide enrollment, college prep curriculum.
Teacher and Administrator
Providence School Department
September 1985 – August 2005 (20 years)

1985 to 2005 Providence School Department, serving in the following capacities:

1998 to 2005 Operations Officer, Textron/Chamber of Commerce Charter School

1997 to 1998 Textron/Chamber of Commerce Charter School Acting Director, 1st charter school administrator in Rhode Island

1992 to 1999 Providence Teachers Union Executive Board Member. Served as the Chairman of the Committee on Political Education under PTU President Phyllis Tennian. My joining the Steve Smith slate in an unsuccessful bid to upset the incumbant slate signaled the end of my career as a large urban teachers union official. However, it is the union movement which introduced me to charter schooling in 1995.

1996 to 1997 Co-author, with Gary Davis, of the Textron/Chamber of Commerce School's charter, RI’s first charter school

1995 to 1996 Author of "Work-Prep" - an intergenerational adult education daytime school to work and high school degree completion program. Charter application submitted during the first year of the charter law and first round of charter school submissions.

1995 to 1997 English teacher and founding faculty member of the Chamber of Commerce High School, Providence

1994 to 1995 Chamber of Commerce High School Design Team

1985 to 1994 English teacher, Central High School and Roger Williams Middle School, Providence

Quote on my Desk: by Jimmy Santiago Baca

But when at last I wrote my first words on the page, I felt an island rising beneath my feet like the back of a whale. As more and more words emerged, I could finally rest: I had a place to stand for the first time in my life. The island grew, with each page, into a continent inhabited by people I knew and mapped with the life I lived.
-Jimmy Santiago Baca

Dream: To Become Fluent

I'd like to become fluent in making pie crust so I can give pies to the neighbors.

and fluent in sewing to make vests and curtains and place mats.

And maybe become fluent in French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese and Yiddish!

And I'd like to get fluent at reading music.

And continue with my playing accordion and Bari saxophone.

Eloise Zeeman

Today, I was gardening, and spreading organic fertilizer around all my flowering trees. I dug a little trench around one of the plumeria trees, but when my fingers sunk into the dry earth, something buried there bit me, hard. I pulled my fingers out and my index finger was already red and swelling. It was throbbing. I squeezed it, just in case whatever bit me had injected some sort of venom. It was so hot, i think the heat index was 103 degrees, and I was already a bit dizzy from working in the sun. I got a sudden wave of nausea and went inside, falling onto my bed. I felt like I was falling, a tingling feeling that wasn't entirely unpleasant but a little scary, like perhaps I should fight it, like I was losing consciousness. I thought for a moment, maybe I was going to die. I concentrated on the pain in my finger... I tried to squeeze it with my other hand and that made me feel safer, grounded like maybe I had just been overwhelmed with heat stroke. My arm felt rubbery and numb as I lifted my sore finger to my mouth and bit the painful spot. A metallic, sweet taste flooded my mouth and throat, and suddenly it was hard to breath. I felt like all my passages were closing... my nostrils, my throat... even my ears and a fast and constant sound of something like a lot of bells urgently ringing grew louder and louder. I thought my eyes were open but I couldn't see. I tried to blink many times and couldn't tell if I was or not... if my eyes were opened or closed. A bright light like a three dimensional comet came rushing from the dark all around me toward what felt like my face. I don't know what happened next but then my eyes were opening and I could see what looked like a very faint pink cloud. As vision returned, I could see that I was in a strange bed and the pink cloud was just a curtain, like in a hospital, partially surrounding my bed. My head was filled with pain. Another wave of nausea came, and I sat up quickly, vomiting. A sea of something pink and sweet, a strong smell of roses and ozone, came out of me in a series of waves. I tried to cry help, but another wave would come. I found the strength to push my self up to try to stand and find a bathroom. As I got my legs over the side of the bed, thats when I saw ... There was no floor. Beneath me looked like a bowl of blackness with no depth or dimension. But way, way down, in the bottom of the bowl was something that looked like a blue marble, swirled with green. I tried to look harder, to comprehend what I was seeing. Earth.
-Eloise Zeeman

Magnificent Memoir


August Wilson

“Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.”
― August Wilson

“I been with strangers all day and they treated me like family. I come in here to family and you treat me like a stranger.”
― August Wilson, The Piano Lesson

“You got to be right with yourself before you can be right with anybody else.”
― August Wilson

“Have a belief in yourself that is bigger than anyone's disbelief.”
― August Wilson

“In the valley of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.”
― August Wilson, Gem of the Ocean

“When the sins of our fathers visit us
We do not have to play host.
We can banish them with forgiveness
As God, in his His Largeness and Laws.”
― August Wilson, Fences

Child of a Narcissist: Scarred for Life

Woonsocket Urban Mermaids and Mermen

We really need a free outdoor Olympic pool for the community and I am going to do everything I can to make it happen. This is a public safety issue---teaching families how to swim. The most important thing is that it be centrally located and FREE just like the public pools in NYC.

We will become the famous Swimming City of Woonsocket and hold fundraisers and benefits in the pool.

This is my dream!

My Pool Dream Continues....Woonsocket City of Swimmers

Maybe we can contact CVS and Diana Nyad and a whole bunch of swimming celebrities to grace our City with the importance of swimming in our city.

Happy Birthday Frank McCourt

Writer's Almanac:
Today is the birthday of memoirist Frank McCourt (books by this author), born in Brooklyn, New York (1930). He was the oldest of seven children born to an Irish immigrant couple, and they moved back to Limerick when McCourt was four years old, after the death of his baby sister. His childhood was marked by poverty, the deaths of half of his siblings, and his father's alcoholism.

He went back to America when he was 19, and eventually served in the Korean War. After the war, he went to college at New York University on the GI Bill, even though he never graduated from high school, and he became a high school English teacher in New York City. He wanted to write a memoir for years, but he was too angry and bitter. Finally, while listening to his young granddaughter playing, he realized he had to write it from the viewpoint of his child self. And that became his best-selling book, Angela's Ashes (1996).

Happy Birthday Ogden Nash

Writer's Almanac:

It's the birthday of poet Ogden Nash, (books by this author) born in Rye, New York, in 1902. He sold his first verse to The New Yorker in 1930 and published his first collection, Hard Lines, in 1931. All told, he produced 20 volumes of humorous poetry, wrote several children's books, and wrote the lyrics to two musicals: One Touch of Venus (1943) and Two's Company (1952).

He wrote, "O Duty, / Why hast thou not the visage of a sweetie or a cutie? / Why glitter thy spectacles so ominously? / Why art thou clad so abominously?"
And, "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of."
And, "Every New Year is the direct descendant, isn't it, of a long line of proven criminals?"

And, "Middle age is when you're sitting at home on a Saturday night and the telephone rings and you hope it isn't for you."


I dreamed I was waiting for a bison burger to drop out of the sky.

I dreamed I had a terrible headache and someone was giving me aspirin powder. I wondered how much to take.

Friday, August 18, 2017

It's euphoric. It's wonderful!

This makes the spa's cold water pool one of the most important elements of their hydrotherapy circuit.

"It starts as peoples' least favorite pool, but then they love it," Oschefski said. "When you feel the rush of endorphins after you jump in -- from cold to hot, or even hot to cold -- It's euphoric. It's wonderful."

My Dream: Outdoor Unheated Free Pool in Woonsocket

We can do this. Other cities do. We need to understand this is not just a good idea it's a public safety issue. Kids and adults need to know how to swim. Now it's time for me to put on the pants suit and talk to corporate heads at CVS. I think this would be a grand idea for them. Their corporate headquarters is here. We could have CVS local Olympics, we could have marathons and fundraisers. We could give families and children happy childhoods. And if it catches on we build a roof and make it an all year round pool. First thing we do is propose the idea, talk about location (ideally downtown next to the public library,) and maybe we can grow this dream into a magnificent reality.

Seven Loaves of Woonsocket Semolina Sourdough

Summer is too perfect for baking bread. The yeast is happy in the heat as much as I am happy in the water. I swam many laps in the unheated Olympic pool at Community College of Rhode Island. Bliss! Then I came home and baked the seven loaves. We ate red onions artichoke hearts and fresh baby spinach leaves with fresh mozzarella and my semolina sourdough bread.


For here’s the situation: Everyone in Washington now knows that we have a president who never meant it when he swore to defend the Constitution. He violates that oath just about every day and is never going to get any better.

Aqua Therapy

No more beached mermaids. My husband dropped me at the pool and I was in heaven. The water was 70 degrees and I loved it. They are open every day except Saturday and Sunday.

Morning Swat Team

7:30 AM 4 guys came out of two police vehicles one was 'the cream puff' the former Chief's unmarked black ford sedan. Some of the guys were wearing chamo with laden vests, guns on thighs, back of vest labeled POLICE. They seemed to have a search warrant (one guy had a sheaf of white papers). They divided up two by two and went from house to house. They seemed to have no luck getting their man.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Swimming with the Seals

My local pool is closed until further notice so I went to CCRI Flanagan Campus and swam in lovely clean cold water. They said it was 75 degrees! They said their heater was broken. I was loving it. The water was so deep at the deep end it scared me. Fifteen feet! But I got used to it after a while.

Two Buckets of Woonsocket Semolina Sourdough Rising!

I go to bed reading bread books and I wake up rolling in dough.

Wes Markusfeld

I mostly posted this because I thought the blurb articulated well that If you are white, simply not being a nazi is not enough to be standing up for what is right. We are ALL racist from the racist system and society that we were born and bred into and we must actively work to accept (history and the present sit.), understand, uncover, listen, unlearn, correct, relearn, confront, converse, share, strategize, empower, sacrifice etc. if we truly want to work to undo racism and better our society. it also provides some 'next steps' beyond a facebook post.
- Wes Markusfeld

My Block My Hood My City

This guy is great. My Block My hood My City


This is how I feel!
This is how I feel!

Gratitude Breakfast...A Dream in the Works

I have dreamed of making a gratitude breakfast for the City of Woonsocket. September might be the month since people will be back from vacations and it is one of my favorite months.

Cafe Bustelo!

My neighbors reinspired me to drink Cafe Bustelo and I inspired them to join my gym. Love and gratitude. We now have a parking lot full of happy neighbors and their super kids.

Finding Treasures

I found a glass Corona beer bottle in the bushes when I was walking in a field at the Big Apple orchard in Wrentham yesterday. I picked it up to throw away and spotted a pair of gorgeous Ray Ban sunglasses. They had been run over but we restored them. They look great on Bill. He looks like Gerry Garcia!


I saw one of my former students yesterday on main street. He crossed the road to speak to me. I said how are you, hows the family. His face dropped. I said you have 4 kids right? Tears filled his eyes. Oh I'm sorry. I grabbed his hand. Come talk to me. We can take a walk, I said. You know where I live. Ring the bell.

Name and Observe, Engage and Rewrite


Engage and rewrite:

The third technique takes immersing and observing one step further and allows you the opportunity to engage with the flashback and rewrite the memory. This can be useful to break out of the mental rut the flashback keeps you in, and to give yourself some power over the memory. Again, however, you will only want to do this when you have plenty of time and access to supportive people. You can do it entirely in your head, but it works even better if you write it down.

For example: “This flashback is about the time I left everything behind and got on a plane to move to Las Vegas. But this time, instead of moving across the country without a single thought, I’ve decided to fully research my plan and all of my options. Where will I live and with whom? What will I do for work? Which moving company should I hire and how much money will it cost? How long will it take to save up this amount of money?”

Rewriting the memory in my logical mind gives me a sense of perspective and control, and helps me see how far I’ve come in managing my illness.

You might be thinking this all sounds well and good in a perfect world, when you can just choose to think a thought or not, and set aside ample time to deal with your feelings. I get it; that is not always possible. So there is one other component that will help you to successfully handle your bipolar flashbacks. It’s called containment and it is the key to these steps, especially steps 1 and 3.

Containment works by recognizing the fact that you will have flashbacks, then choosing ahead of time how you will respond to them. Containment can be done mentally with guided imagery, or physically with an actual container. The guided imagery is best approached with a therapist, so you may want to ask your therapist if this is something they can help you with. Essentially you will visualize a container in which to put your distressing thoughts. It could be a simple box or a trunk with a lock on it.

Once you put the thoughts in there and lock them up, you can rest assured that they will be there to handle whenever you are able. To be clear, containment is NOT repression. In containment, the point is to compartmentalize your difficult thoughts, memories, and emotions so that they can be dealt with in manageable chunks. Here is an example of a guided imagery for containment.

If you want to have a physical reminder, you can also set up an actual containment box, which can even have a lock on it. You can then write your flashbacks (or the emotions and thoughts they evoke) on paper and lock them in the box. Then you can choose when to open the box and tackle them one by one over time.

These are just a few ways I have found to handle my bipolar flashbacks. They may not work for everyone, but if you’re interested in trying them, I recommend starting with the help of your therapist. I’d also love to hear about other ways you have learned to handle your bipolar flashbacks.

Obama is my President Now and Forever

Barack Obama @BarackObama
"...For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite." - Nelson Mandela
8:06 PM - 12 Aug 2017

Barack Obama @BarackObama
"People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love..."

In the passage quoted by Obama, Mandela writes:

"I never lost hope that this great transformation would occur. Not only because of the great heroes I have already cited, but because of the courage of the ordinary men and women of my country. I always knew that deep down in every human heart, there is mercy and generosity. No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite. Even in the grimmest times in prison, when my comrades and I were pushed to our limits, I would see a glimmer of humanity in one of the guards, perhaps for just a second, but it was enough to reassure me and keep me going. Man's goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished."

Bread Dreams

I go to bed reading about bread every night and I wake up thinking about dough! This morning I thought about making 3 gold ball sized blobs of semolina sour dough in my hamburger bun pan to simulate kaiser rolls. I have a dentist appointment and he's never tasted my bread. I am in love with the medical professionals in my Rhode island life. My vet; Dr. Belinsky, my dentist Dr. Cotoia, my family doctor Dr. Sperber. I could never leave them and I worry about the day they decide to retire.

PJ Hamel The Baker Woman Warrior

PJ Hamel, Author at Flourish - King Arthur Flour
PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes ...
Her story


The radio has been off since Cheeto took the helm. He is the illegitimate CREATURE who calls himself President. Not my president! Not even HUMAN. I have PTSD seeing or hearing or knowing anything because he is just like my parents and I already ran away from home in the 70's. I escaped the MONSTERS of my childhood and I refuse to be poisoned again.

Buttery Sourdough Buns

King Arthur Flour

Published: 10/26/2011
Buttery Sourdough Buns Recipe Buttery Sourdough Buns Recipe

When you think sourdough bread, you probably think an artisan loaf, one with a thick, chewy crust and coarse interior. These soft dinner rolls are at the opposite end of the texture spectrum. Buttery spirals with a pleasingly mild sourdough tang, they're soft on the inside, but sport a wonderfully crisp crust — think crescent roll. And, like a crescent roll, they're fun to unravel and enjoy bit by buttery bit!
View step-by-step
directions on our blog
Buttery Sourdough Buns: a new take on sourdough

20 mins. to 30 mins.

22 mins. to 25 mins.

3 hrs 42 mins. to 4 hrs 55 mins.

16 buns

Nutrition information

Volume Ounces Grams


1/2 cup sourdough starter, fed or unfed
3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or Organic All-Purpose Flour
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 large egg
5 tablespoons soft butter
2/3 cup lukewarm water


4 tablespoons melted butter, divided
1/4 teaspoon paprika, optional


Combine all of the dough ingredients in a large bowl, and mix and knead — using your hands, a stand mixer, or a bread machine set on the dough cycle — to make a soft, smooth dough.
Place the dough in a lightly greased container — an 8-cup measure works well here — and allow the dough to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until it's just about doubled in bulk.
Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface.
Roll and pat the dough into a rough rectangle approximately 12" x 16". Put 2 tablespoons melted butter in a small bowl, and add the paprika, if desired; it's there for color, and accentuates the buns' swirl, but omit it if you wish. Spread the dough with the melted butter.
Starting with a long side, roll the dough into a log.
Cut the log in 1" slices, using a sharp knife, or a piece of dental floss looped between your fingers.
Lightly grease two 8" or 9" round cake pans. Arrange 8 buns in each pan.
Cover the pans, and let the buns rise for 60 minutes, until they're noticeably puffy. Don't let these buns rise too long; you want them to have enough rising power left to expand nicely in the oven. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Uncover the pans, and brush each bun with some of the remaining melted butter.
Bake the buns for 22 to 25 minutes; they'll color only slightly.
Remove the buns from the oven, and turn them out of the pan onto a rack. Brush with any remaining melted butter. Serve hot or warm. To reheat, place the buns on a baking sheet, tent lightly with aluminum foil, and bake for 10 minutes in a preheated 350°F oven.
Wrap any leftover buns airtight, and store at room temperature for several days. For longer storage, wrap airtight and freeze.
Yield: 16 buns.

My Country House

I am in my country house which is my tiny dining room. I call it this because I live in it in the summer. It's a room with 4 windows and three doors. It serves as an office, a lookout tower and you name it but only in the summer. Currently there are 12 chairs and a bench, a red battery-operated lawn mower, two 1940's enamel tables and a wooden dresser full of winter scarves and hats and sweatshirts. There's a bathroom too but it is currently a war zone since the ceiling fell in. That will have to wait a few years for repairs. We have massive air conditioner which cools the room in 3 minutes. Most days I open the windows for cross ventilation and place the fan inside until the temps get too hot. The flat roof of this room has holes and leaks. We hope to peak it some day. Meanwhile it is perfect as it is.

Kaiser Roll a History

Kaiser roll
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Kaiser roll (German: Kaisersemmel), also called a Vienna roll (Wiener Kaisersemmel; as made by hand also: Handsemmel, Slovene: kajzerca) or a hard roll, is a typically crusty round bread roll, originally from Austria. It is made from white flour, yeast, malt, water and salt, with the top side usually divided in a symmetric pattern of five segments, separated by curved superficial cuts radiating from the centre outwards or folded in a series of overlapping lobes resembling a crown.[2] The crisp Kaisersemmel is a traditional Austrian food officially approved by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.[3]

Semmel (derived from Latin: simila, wheat flour) is the common name for any kind of roll in Austria and the German state of Bavaria, equivalent to Brötchen in Northern Germany or Weck in Baden-Württemberg.

Kaiser rolls at a court banquet of Maria Theresa about 1760, excerpt from a painting by Martin van Meytens

Kaiser rolls have existed in a recognizable form at least since 1760. They are thought to have been named to honor Emperor (Kaiser) Franz Joseph I of Austria (1830–1916). In the 18th century a law fixed retail prices of Semmeln (bread rolls) in the Habsburg Monarchy. Allegedly, the name Kaisersemmel came into general use after the bakers' guild sent a delegation in 1789 to Emperor Joseph II (1741–1790) and convinced him to deregulated the price of bread rolls.[citation needed]

With its monarchical connotation, Kaiser rolls stood out against common rolls known as Mundsemmeln ("mouth rolls") or Schustersemmeln ("cobbler's rolls"). They are traditionally found in Austria, but have also become popular in other countries of the former Austrian Habsburg Empire, such as the Galicia region in Poland (where it is known as kajzerka), Croatia, Slovenia, and Serbia (kajzerica), Hungary (császárzsemle), the Czech Republic (kaiserka), as well as in Germany, the United States, and Canada. During Austrian rule in Lombardy, Italian bakers produced a hollow version known as michetta or rosetta.
a 'beef on weck' sandwich.

A handmade Kaiser roll is known as a Wiener Kaisersemmel (Handsemmel) according to the Codex Alimentarius Austriacus standards collection.[4]

There are multiple variants of the common roll, differing in size, type of flour used, and toppings. While traditionally plain, Kaiser-style rolls are today found topped with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin kernels, linseed, or sunflower seeds. The Kaiser roll is a main part of a typical Austrian breakfast, usually served with butter and jam. It is often used as a bun for such popular sandwiches as hamburgers in America, and with a slice of Leberkäse in Germany (and Austria itself), though sliced Extrawurst and pickled gherkins (Wurstsemmel), or a type of Wiener Schnitzel (Schnitzelsemmel) are also used. A variation called a kimmelweck is topped with kosher salt and caraway, and in the United States is an essential component of a Buffalo-area specialty, the beef on weck sandwich.

Martha's Kaiser Rolls

This crusty bread makes a great sandwich base or burger bun. Martha made this recipe on episode 702 of Martha Bakes.

Yield: Makes 12

For the dough:

6 cups bread flour, plus more for work surface
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 3/4 cups lukewarm water (110 degrees), plus more if needed
One 1/4-ounce envelope active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon honey
2 large eggs, room temperature
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for bowl

For the topping:

1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons poppy seeds


Make the dough: In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk flour and salt to combine. Attach bowl to mixer fitted with a dough hook. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together water, yeast, and honey; let stand 5 minutes. Add eggs and whisk to combine. Add to flour mixture and knead on low speed until it forms a soft, stretchy dough, 6 to 8 minutes. If necessary, add more water, a tablespoon at a time. Add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until thoroughly incorporated, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a buttered bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Punch down dough and remove from bowl. On a lightly floured surface, pat dough into a 14-by-12-inch rectangle. Fold dough into thirds like a business letter. Rotate dough 90 degrees on work surface and fold into thirds once more. Return dough to bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Divide dough into 12 equal pieces and cover lightly with plastic wrap. On a lightly floured work surface, pat one piece of dough at a time into a 5-by-3-inch rectangle. With a long side facing you, fold dough into thirds as you would a business letter. With the edge of your hand, pat dough along length of seam to seal. Using your hands, roll dough into a 12-inch rope. Tie rope into a simple knot, leaving a bit of length at each end. To finish the knot, pull one end up and over and tuck it into the center. Take remaining end and pull it down and under, pushing it through the bottom of the knot and up into the center. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets, 3 inches apart. Repeat process with remaining pieces of dough. Let rise, covered, in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Make the topping: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly brush tops of rolls with egg wash and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake, rotating sheet pans between racks halfway through, until golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Baking Bread to Lift the Resistance


Learning to Let Go (Part 2)

Learning to Let Go (Part Two)

Posted March 10, 2016

(Click Here to read part one of this article)

For somebody who is spiritually awakening, ideally, you’ll be looking for a therapist who is treating personality as relatively real, not absolutely real.

Here in the West, we treat personality as absolutely real, we really think it’s real. Who you think you are is really real. For example, you were battered as a child and that seems very real, because it’s a strong mental structure in your head and it permeates you and you are carrying your history with you on your shoulders.

At some point you will start to see that each person is presenting who they think they are. It’s like they’re putting on a huge mind net, “This is who I am, this is who I am, this is who I am…” You can start to see it in the way they walk, talk, dress, present themselves; always presenting who they think they are, which has a historical thread running through it.

When you have started to awaken and see that there are other planes of reality that are equally valid to the one which presently exists, you learn how to live more or less with more and more planes simultaneously, which is what freedom is about. It’s not totally standing in one plane, it’s not standing anywhere at all.

Then what you would love is a therapist who has that same perspective, who has that multi-plane perspective all the time. So when I’m working with somebody psychologically and they bring their stuff to me, I hear their stuff. Their, “I was battered as a child. I was abused.” I hear all of that, I hear that they are talking about a plane of reality. I want to talk with them within that plane and empathize and deal with them. However, at the same moment, I want my consciousness to stay spacious enough as an environment that if they were ready to let that one go and recognize that there’s another plane of experience in which they also live, that I’d be right there for them.

Now most therapists, because they think they’re real as a therapist, think their patient is also real. If a patient says, “I’ve had this experience in which you and I are souls,” or “This is all an illusion.” They’ll most likely say, “Well, that’s a defense mechanism.” They say this because they themselves can’t really handle these other planes of reality.

You can’t expect all therapist to be the Buddha, you won’t get on with your therapy. So what you do is you use therapists in the same way you go to somebody to get your car fixed. You don’t go in and expect them to give you the greatest wisdom of the universe but you expect them to help you clean up. You have to be able to use a therapist appropriately. A therapist is a technician, who’s there to serve you about this plane of reality, and it’s not reasonable to expect them to understand all wisdom and be free.

-Ram Dass

Learning to Let Go (Part 1)

Learning to Let Go (Part One)

Posted March 2, 2016

In Western psychological terms, you don’t say to somebody, “Give up anger.” You say, “Work it out. Understand it. Go to the source of it.” Maharaj-ji didn’t say that to me, he simply said, “Let it go.”

So, when a woman came to me yesterday and said that she worried a lot, I said, “Well, there are two questions. First, is the worrying functional, is it gonna get you where you want to go, does it help solve the situation? Second, does it get you enlightened?” I mean, that’s all part of the first question, is it functional? Then, if it’s not functional, do you want to get rid of it? And if you want to get rid of it and it’s not functional, the next thing is, every time it comes up to let it go.

Now, that sounds absolutely off the wall psychologically. And what happens is you’ve gotta get it very early. You’ve gotta get it as it comes up, because once it’s up, it has all kinds of secondary effects in terms of adrenaline and all kinds of stuff because then it feeds upon itself. But you’ve got to have made the commitment,“I really want to let go of that stuff; it’s not getting me to God; I don’t need it anymore.” Then every time it comes up you get it out; you get rid of it.

When you ask how to deal with the effects of early experiences, what I see is similar to what I have seen with a lot of my friends who are meditation teachers. For example, They got so far in meditation; they got very evolved and then, because they’re Westerners, they began to feel the psychological problems that were coming to the surface and they needed a fair witness. They needed somebody who was oriented towards that plane of reality, to reflect back to them what was going on for them psychologically.

And so a number of them, though we talked about it, figured out an appropriate therapist for themselves, and these were people who were advanced spiritual teachers in the community. They went into therapy, about five years ago I went into therapy for maybe 3-4 months. And it was as if there was stuff in me that was so ripe, and I so wanted to let it go, and as I brought it up, the person reflected back, and immediately it was cleared away. It wasn’t the thing where we had to deal with the deeper dynamics of the struggle of my not wanting to let it go, because it was so ripe.

And then I got to the point where I saw that the deeper stuff was gonna take a much longer time, and then I went back into my spiritual practices. And you can use the relationship between those things in a very powerful way. Because the spiritual practice keeps coming, meditation is an exquisite method of playing, of dealing with the mechanics of the mind. It deals with how you think, not what you think about. As it deals with the mechanics, in that very impersonal way, it forces the content up to the surface.

-Ram Dass