Privilege Highway

Recently I had the chance to visit with a long time friend, colleague and leader in the African American community.  We found ourselves speaking of the urgently needed, but still largely inactive national dialogue on America’s race history and relations.  He told me this story: “My friend was working with a group of teens at a local high school.  There were black, brown and white students in the group.  My friend had… Read More

Speaking Earth Day

Yesterday, Gary and I spent the day with a small group of people investigating grief.  It was a rich, intelligent, and healing time.  We call the workshop The Nature of Grief.  And, in it, we weave together Gary’s storytelling and literary acumen with my knowledge of psychology and education applied to emotional, mental and spiritual health.  It’s good work.  We can tell by the responses of the people who join us –… Read More

Cycles – Variation on an Easter Blog

Last week I had the great opportunity to be in Yellowstone – the first National Park in the world.  Yellowstone stands out for loads of reasons – but recently I’ve learned another feature of its distinction.  The park makes up over 20% of the largest generally intact ecosystem in our planet’s temperate zone. All of these are fun facts.  But the realities that support them have gained particular significance to me from working alongside… Read More

The Snipers Within

  I haven’t seen American Sniper, but I know it’s in a theater-near-me. It won’t be surprising that I’m not really a fan of war movies.  I’m also not a fan of war.  But, at bottom, I imagine there are very few who prefer annihilation over peace. From the media buzz related to the Academy Award nominee, I understand that the film stands on the premise that, with armed conflict underway, there is… Read More

Evening – 2014

Meanwhile, deep beneath this winter ground a reliable impulse moves the seasons.  And at the center of these long nights and fleeting days eternal wisdom radiates in the celebrations of people.  Celebrations of dignity surviving enslavement, celebrations of just enough lamp oil, and celebrations of a baby born to an everyday woman — mother and child enduring beacons of faith and essential good will.  Amidst these miracles of change and constancy the… Read More

Brain Development in Times of Torture

  What we need here isn’t balls.  What we need is a big collection of myelinating orbitofrontal cortices. And we need it ASAP. Considering the many Elders I know, the many more of whom I’m aware, and the millions I have every reason to trust are out there, it’s my considered guess that we have all the developed brains we need to be far more wise than we are being. Unfortunately, those… Read More

Truth & Reconciliation – No Better Time than Right Now

Last night, I saw a video of renown science fiction author, Ursula Leguin, speaking at the National Book Awards in acknowledgement of receiving that august group’s recognition of her life of literary achievement.  In her comments, she said, “I think hard times are coming. We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries, the realists of a larger reality.” Right after hearing LeGuin’s words, we heard the news from Ferguson, Missouri that… Read More

Gratitude in Four Days

My dear friend, Valerie is a rock star.  This designation, star, is certainly figurative, but it’s also for real – like, it’s her job.  That’s not all.  Valerie’s a mom, and a wife, she’s a sister and a dancer and a teacher – and she is one of Dr. Day’s two daughters.  Valerie, her father, her sister and brother have been engaged for months now with the precious progression of Dr. Day’s transition… Read More

Today with my Buddy, Wild Nature

Gary and I are on the road between Rexburg, Idaho and Portland, Oregon. Powdery fingers of snow insist on whispering across I 84 and, because of forecast warnings, we’re in close touch with Oregon family and friends to monitor this mid-November storm.  This matters particularly today because we’re supposed to be on Hawthorne Avenue at Powell’s Books this evening.  That alongside informed rumors of snow and ice that threaten to take hold… Read More

Grief Comes Home

Recently, a friend just older told me something about death that seems now obvious – the observation that sometime in a person’s fourth or fifth decade there is a subtle shift of awareness that shows up as no longer understanding one’s life in terms of how long it’s been since birth, but rather in relation to how much time is left.  It’s a shift that calls forward a new relationship with death… Read More