Category : zen shit

love, Uncategorized, zen shit

happiness is an inside job

^^ It’s the title of a self help book which I may or may not have read years ago. I don’t recall. I’ve read so many … Nowadays I think self help books don’t work. If you’re constantly seeking, constantly looking for answers, for a new, superlative amazingly simple solution, you’ll never be satisfied.

image1 (1)All peace, confidence and self-knowledge is auto-generated. We create it ourselves by staying present in the moment, expressing gratitude for the goodness in our lives, by observing ourselves, feeling our emotions and then once we’ve felt them,  letting them pass.

There is no external fix, no panacea. No geographic cure, no perfect relationship, no spiritual or religious solution, no ideal job, career or marriage. Nothing external can “fix” us or make us happy or secure. Until we acknowledge this… until we take responsibility for our own experience, we’ll repeat negative patterns and attempt to avoid pain by focusing on the external, shallow and fleeting. Those around us may also get unwittingly and unwillingly drawn into our drama.

We owe it to ourselves and those we love to find the love, acceptance and answers we seek first within ourselves.


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zen shit

How To Prepare For A Presentation or a Performance

miss-south-carolina1. Know what the hell you are talking about, or know your lines and moves
2. Care about it, understand it, and think about how you can enrich someone’s day with even one bit of new knowledge, understanding or entertainment
3. Go to YouTube
4. Search Miss South Carolina
5. Watch it. Laugh and repeat as needed.
6. Remind yourself that if the WORST CASE SCENARIO came true, you still won’t EVER be as bad as this young woman, like such as…
7. Take deep breaths
8. Focus on individuals in the front. Just speak to them. If they think you’re dumb or boring or annoying, WHATEVER. Who cares. You know your shit and if they’re smart they’ll listen and learn something new.
9. Act like you’re dancing… just let loose and have fun.

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love, Uncategorized, zen shit

Father’s Day

It does not sting so much anymore. My Dad has been gone eight years. I healed, realized what the heck happened, and forgave. When the whole #MeToo thing happened Sarah Silverman wrote a piece asking if you can love someone who did bad things.  I can relate to that. My Dad did some really shitty things. To himself and those he loved. He was a clinically depressed alcoholic whose antics hijacked my early adult life. His repressed, undealt with emotions led to escalating depression, addiction and eventually terminal cancer. Those around him were sucked into the vortex as those who love addicts always are. We wanted to help him, we couldn’t and in the process, we were forced to put our own lives and desires on hold.

Letting go of all that took a while. At first there was relief. Then the anger came. I was also so tired of only hearing the good stuff about him. My Dad was handsome, charismatic and funny and everybody loved him. But at home he was very moody and emotionally unpredictable.  He was kind of a dick to my Mom which is never a good thing for a kid to see. And I resented his utter selfishness. But over the years I’ve come to accept and forgive him. He was doing the best he could. He had a crappy young life himself in many regards. He himself dealt with a home life marked by emotional unpredictability –a father with a serious gambling problem who was frequently MIA, and a stoic Irish mother who thought life was something to be endured. Despite all that he managed to be a pretty good Dad when we were little. Fun, loving, virtuous. Teaching me lessons about this and that. Always around, always ready with a joke, a hug and a smile. He loved music and shared his love of it every night playing new vinyl on his Yamaha sound system. The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire, Michael Jackson, Steely Dan, Paul Simon … the list goes on and on but those stand out. He was funny and had endless jokes and stories.

dadHe was a spiritual guy with real curiosity about metaphysics, which was contrary to his strict cultural identity as an Irish Catholic from Washington Heights. He had a brief stint with Transcendental Meditation, and I remember him reading Dianetics (which was advertised on TV relentlessly in the 80s). Later on when I lived in the city post grad school, he and I would have dinner once a week after he came in for his therapy appointment. We had such fun nights. He was in a good phase – steady, hopeful and sober. He said that he regretted his career choices. That he stuck with the financial advisor gig because he felt he had to give us a stable life. But in his heart of hearts he wished he had pursued something creative – being an actor, singer, performer or even a history professor.

I believe that suppressing his ambitions, desires and feelings led to his deterioration later in life. Once he was no longer needed as a provider he became rootless, remorseful and sought refuge in the bottom of the bottle. Just as our adult lives were beginning and as my parents’ retirements laid ahead of them, my Dad’s drama took over.

For me, it is therapeutic to put it all out there and be honest with myself and others about what happened. It’s a sigh of relief. It’s what allows me to look back with love. He was a good man with good intentions. He was my father, he gave me life and so much more … my sense of fun, my independence, my healthy skepticism and love of family. I cherish him and am grateful he was my Dad.

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Uncategorized, zen shit


A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.
ALBERT EINSTEIN, “The World as I See It,”
Ideas and Opinions, trans. Sonja Bargmann, p. 8 (1954).

looking at all the madness in the world right now, i am constantly questioning whether i am doing enough. for my children and the world they are inheriting.
– is it enough to just provide material comfort and moral guidance to one’s own children?
– is it enough to just write checks to causes we say we support?
– do we not have a broader responsibility to all children and to the earth to work every day to create a better world?


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love, Uncategorized, zen shit


Begin again to begin again. A new year. I am grateful for what I have, for those I love, for this moment in space and time.

2017 was a tough one. When someone you love dearly is in a life or death situation, it really drains you. To the point you are consumed with it, hemorrhaging into all aspects of your day to day. But you learn to fight back. To keep it in its place. To reclaim your peace. You don’t surrender to the old unhealed wounds that have been quiet for the few years prior. You steel yourself and you keep on keepin’ on. And eventually the crisis abates. And once again here you are. Such is life.

There is something cool about aging. You learn to trust the cycle. You learn that the low moment is as temporary as the high moment. And everything in between is the true stuff of life.


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For all the things that have ever happened to me…

I am grateful.

For all the gifts that I have ever been given …

I am grateful.

For all of the people I have known …

I am grateful.

For everything good ever manifested through me …

I am grateful.

May this gratitude be expressed through my body, my speech, and my mind.

With infinite kindness to the past,

Infinite service to the present,

Infinite responsibility to the future.

I give thanks.


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zen shit

some things on my mind

what is happening in the world? virtue, ethics, character? some individuals possess them, but those in power (in government, culture, business, religion) don’t even strive for a facade of virtue?

the role models are repugnant … as a parent, what does one nudge their progeny toward? an inward turn methinks. and the natural world. Time for a refresher! Nicomachean Ethics  By Aristotle

The right has appropriated this tactic from the left. It’s not a good look.




“…So each of us has two forces at work inside us: an embryonic wisdom that wants to blossom from the depths of our being, and the imprisoning weight of our karma; an unconditioned awake presence that wants to connect fully with life, and our conditioned personality patterns that narrow our perception and keep us half-asleep. From birth to death, these two forces are always at work, and our lives hang in the balance. In youth, our green life energy is usually stronger than our habitual patterns. We are still flexible, our habits have not totally solidified, and we imagine that we can overcome any obstacles standing in our way. Yet every time we repeat a habitual reaction, we wear “grooves” in our psyche. By the time we reach old age, these grooves have themselves become inflexible, stuck, set in their ways.

Somewhere in midlife the weight of karmic accumulation starts to overpower our life force. Midlife crisis is the realization that time is running out and our karma is catching up with us. At that point, we can no longer just get by on our youthful energy. Unless we bring our larger intelligence and awareness to bear on our defensive postures, they will harden further, freezing us into a living rigor mortis. This cannot be emphasized too strongly: If we do nothing, our karma will bury us.”

from: Journey of the Heart by John Welwood

5. GOOD, ALBEIT EXTREMELY NERDY, PODCAST WHERE I DISCOVERED THIS QUOTE: “Quotations are useful in periods of ignorance.” – Guy Debord

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reading now

i come back to this book often. i so agree with alan watts, particularly about religion and consciousness. it has been a salve for me at different times … especially lately in the times of president dumpster fire.



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what she said …

It’s hard, now, to be with someone else wholly, uninterruptedly, and it’s hard to be truly alone. The fine art of doing nothing in particular, also known as thinking, or musing, or introspection, or simply moments of being, was part of what happened when you walked from here to there alone, or stared out the train window, or contemplated the road, but the new technologies have flooded those open spaces. Space for free thought is routinely regarded as a void, and filled up with sounds and distractions.

“Diary” Rebecca Solnit London Review of Books 

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media, zen shit

What Are You Saying?

“Those with space in their mind are called wise, those with no space are called otherwise.” – Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati

social-media-noiseLately I’ve been buggin out over social media.

Thinking about it: why we do it, what we say with everything we post.

I’ve found myself exposed to the random thoughts, musings and effluvia of people I barely know and am not all that interested in.

You know how it goes…you connect ‘cause why not? Then they become a part of your daily media dose for better or — more likely — for worse. And you are too lazy to do anything about it.

For some people, social media is an identity crutch. They are strangers to themselves, unable to be alone with themselves in peace. They post and post and post as if to say over and over: “This is who I am, acknowledge me, love me.”

I wonder what their lives would be like in the absence of social media. Would they be even lonelier? Would they feel less empowered, connected, accomplished if they didn’t project their every move and thought onto a semi-anonymous sea of others?

Why as a culture do we have this collective impulse to announce our meals, our workouts, to relentlessly document our children and pets? What lack are we trying to compensate for? Why can’t we live and let live … why can’t we let it be?

I’ve been blogging for over 10 years now. Over that time I’ve struggled with questions of vanity, self-expression and disclosure. What’s too much? Why am I doing this at all?

The appeal of blogging for me is now more pronounced (although I rarely blog anymore, given my free time-devoid existence). The people who read blogs came there specifically to read it. They showed up there on their own volition. Your thoughts, feelings, ideas, words, pictures, impulses were not foisted upon them as they are in social media. Sure, people can choose who to friend/follow on social but so rarely do they carefully curate what they actually see each day. Who has the time for that?

On my part, it’s time I start using my in-between moments more wisely and checking social media less. It’s delivering too much junk and noise into my already cluttered consciousness. I can use those spare moments to breathe, stretch, call a friend and chat if only for a few minutes.

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