Hold It All

Month: June, 2013

Just Say “Yes”

“I read your manuscript… twice”

“Lemme tell you, it was something else”
“Oh yeah?”

“It’s like … I don’t know how to put it”
“Just try”

“OK … it’s like … Kafka on acid”
“Why, thank you very much!”

-–from work-in-progress, Our Heroic and Ceaseless 24/7 Struggle against Tsuris

When People Leave Town

“All that is dear to me and everyone that I love
Are of the nature to change
There is no way to escape being separated from them”*

Dear Bella Levenshteyn

Ultimately, I’m glad when people leave for another city
Or continent
It happens summer, spring, winter, or fall

People enter our lives
And welcome us into theirs
For two or twenty years

Then they move on
Graduate school
Professional advancement

Following a lover or a dream
And I may notice the arising of clinging
Of wanting things to stay the same:

Wistful: “We only went to that café 72 times together”
Anxious: “Who am I going to read the Hardt and Negri trilogy with now?”
Shmaltzy: “No more walks in the park at 6 am!!!”

Irked: “Yale’s so overrated”
Snarky: “How can he afford living in New York anyway?”
Disappointed: “Damn, just when things were starting to rev up…”

But then I catch myself and so  breathe in, breathe out and smile:
No, they want to go and they must go
And I can be grateful to them because

Just when I’ve gotten all cozy with the status quo
They remind me of the brilliant dharma truth:
Everything is impermanent

But don’t you leave, Bella!


*Thich Nhat Hanh, from The Five Remembrances

Latin America Reading Group: Galeano’s The Book of Embraces

Latin America Reading Group
Eduardo Galeano’s The Book of Embraces
Thursday 27 June 2013
Café Ventana, 8:00 p.m

“In the modern world, we love things and use people,
instead of loving people and using things.”
–Mohandas Gandhi

Suggestions for Discussion, Musings, Debates

What’s a favorite chapter? Read it aloud to us.

What’s a favorite theme? (See Index in the back of the book.) Read the rest of this entry »

Bella Reads Rumi

Dear Kind Soul
It’s me again

The following are two lines from the September 12th Rumi poem-of-the-day
In the book you gave me, But For Us This Day:

“Do not wait. The open plain is better / than any closing door.” …
“But for us / This day is friends sitting together / with silence shining in our faces.”

I can’t get these lines out of my mind!
Oh you who has always told me

“Don’t wait ’till later”
Oh you who has taught me to embrace silence

Thanks for today
It (you) meant (mean) the world to me

Clichédly & unabashedly yours,


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 9

Bhagavad Gita
Chapter 9: The Royal Path
Monday 24 June 2013


20 m.

Two Reflections

“The goal ever recedes from us.  The greater the progress the greater the recognition of our unworthiness.  Satisfaction lies  in the effort, not the attainment. Full effort is full victory.”

–Mohandas Gandhi

Let nothing upset you; Let nothing frighten you. Everything is changing; God alone is changeless. Patience attains the goal. Who has God lacks nothing; God alone fills all her needs.

–Saint Teresa of Avila Read the rest of this entry »

Drugged by Books

Soon after my father’s death, I started reading Leon Wieseltier’s Kaddish, his journal of reflections on his year of going to shul and saying Kaddish. In the days and weeks ahead, Wieseltier offered me some consolation: “The disconsolate are the masters of consolation. They offer sympathy without illusion.” [581]

In Kaddish Wieseltier immerses himself in the teachings of the rabbis on the Kaddish prayer over the centuries. Throughout this chastening year, Wieseltier’s love for paper is palpable. Here are a few excerpts:

I was bred for bookishness. [vii] Read the rest of this entry »

Appreciating Arthur Waley

for my multilingual friends and lovers of literature

Notes on Ivan Morris, ed., Madly Singing in the Mountains: An Appreciation and Anthology of Arthur Waley

Related Books
Ezra Pound, The ABC of Reading; Anne-Marie Schimmel, A Life of Learning; Susan Sontag, At the Same Time; Eliot Weinberger, Written Reaction;

See Also
Annping Chin, The Authentic Confucius; Simon Winchester, The Man Who Loved China;

I read this book at the same time I was reading Winchester’s take on Jojo Needham and Chin’s Schweitzer-esque quest for the historical Confucius.  Waley sounds like a  mensch (I found out he was Jewish): polyglot, intellectually ablaze, taciturn, practitioner of the Sufi-three-gate rule (my imagination anyway), and an indefatigable, assiduous, and laser-like scholar.

What I wish to note below are three areas: (1) About Waley himself; (2) some brief cullings and fave poems from his works; and (3) books of his I want to (re)read at some point in the next few years. Read the rest of this entry »

Friday Meditation

Chris and I began by sharing about last night
with Sara Rendell. 

Then, after meditation and a reading on Dipa Ma,
we drew mindfulness cards from Thich Nhat Hanh.

Mine read:
“There are thousands of channels in our consciousness;

it’s up to us to choose the channel.”
Ah, yes, the Equanimity Channel!

The Trouble with You, Bella Levenshteyn

The trouble with you
Bella Levenshteyn
Is not that your soul is too small

The “trouble” with you
Is that your soul is too big
It takes in and encompasses



Share the Wealth: Three Trimesters in Burkina Faso

Sara Rendell will read one of her poems, share photos and tell stories from the nine months she spent living in Burkina Faso on a Fulbright scholarship to interview women, health workers, and men about maternal health issues.

Thursday 20 June 2013
Potluck dinner begins at 6:00 p.m.
Sara begins sharing at 6:45
Sophia House
4547 Gibson Avenue
Forest Park Southeast 63110

Please bring a friend or two!

Check out Sara’s blog!