Hold It All

Month: June, 2016

Dear Layla, Dear Mark by Abbey Fox

Dear Mark,

Per usual, I devoured your latest release. YOUR WRITING INSPIRES ME SO DEEPLY. It inspires me to take a moment and notice the tiny things that are the fabric of life and how they are so connected to the largest, biggest things too. (everything is everything/everything is nothing). Your voice and your style is something that makes me think “hey, maybe I should write about my experiences too” and wonder “how could I write about those experiences like Mark!”

I felt compelled to reach out and thank you for sending this to me. I appreciate your generosity so deeply. We’ve never even met in person (!!) but I feel like I know you. I am so appreciative of that.

And, Palestine. Oh, Palestine!  This book reminded me of that place. When I first arrived in Chicago about eight years ago I worked on Palestine liberation activism with the American Friends Service Committee and befriended the Jews for Justice in Palestine.  And then –I got too busy, sidetracked by other projects –and Palestine fell to the wayside. This book gave me renewed commitment.  I’m also planning on passing it along to at least four friends (one who will be in the West Bank this summer). So thank you, again, for writing this.
Read the rest of this entry »

Share the Wealth with Colin McLaughlin: ”The Clown as a Healer” 

Humor is the shortest distance between any two people. And to heal each other, we need to utilize that accessibility—especially in the health professions. Clowning can dispel fear and anxiety in patients and the served, validate emotions, hold up a mirror to them, share, join them wherever they are. It can also be pure childish fun.

I am a Clown Doctor at Saint Louis Children’s Hospital. I got my start and continue to work with The Gesundheit Institute, a humanitarian clown troupe with a knack for global outreach/grassroots activism (this group was founded by and includes Patch Adams, as well as dozens of wonderful loving givers). I have clowned in prisons, psychiatric hospitals, adult and children’s hospitals, resting homes, halfway homes, foster care units, impoverished communities, streets, parks,and public transit units, as well as in Saint Louis’ own Queen of Peace Center (they helped me get my current job).

Join us
This Sunday 26 June 2016
Potluck begins at 6:00 p.m.
Colin begins sharing at 6:45
At the home of Colin and Laura
5226 Tholozan Avenue
Saint Louis, MO

Colin STW

Finding Space

“Look, I know things are strained between the two of you
I’m not gonna tell you to practice metta for him—

Things are too tender for that—
But I will tell you what his guru once said to Ram Dass,

‘Don’t throw anyone out of your heart’
So I’d simply encourage you to try this—

In the coldest, furthest corner of your heart
Allow him that space, that’s all”

There Is No Way to Gentleness; Gentleness Is the Way

Bella Levenshteyn
Was on her scooter

At the red light
In front of me

Her bumper sticker read:

“I brake for butterflies”

Keep It Simple

“I vow to bring joy to one person in the morning
and to help relieve the suffering of one person in the afternoon.”

–Thích Nhất Hạnh

Please Let Me Call You by Your True Names

Someone recently sent me the following note…

I rarely call you this

But you feel like a Mark right now
A mark upon my life

A mark of brightness in a grey background
A deutsche mark

Meaning worth
Meaning impression

Meaning different (than others)
Thank you for being you

Thank you for being
Thank you for Marking

Word of the Day: Maitri

“Maitri is translated in a lot of ways, maybe most commonly as love, but the way Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche translated it was unconditional friendliness and in particular unconditional friendliness to oneself.” — Pema  Chödron

The Power of Bollywood Shmaltz

At a red light at 14th and Tucker
Listening to “Soni Soni”
My eyes fill with tears
Thinking of you


Soni soni

Taking a Stand

“The maddest I’d ever seen him was the day
he came to bail me out of jail
after a peace rally at UCLA.

Driving me home, he was in my face.
‘How can you do this?
How can you let everybody down?’

I told him, ‘Coach, I have friends
coming back from Vietnam in body bags.’

He told me I was right about the war,
but I was going about it the wrong way,
that I should write letters.”

–former UCLA basketball player Bill Walton on Coach John Wooden

Be Light (After Reading Mary Oliver)

For Lo

Ten times a day something happens to me like this—some strengthening throb of amazement—some good sweet empathic ping and swell. This is the first, the wildest, and the wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness.
–Mary Oliver


So there’s that last chapter
In part two of The Book of Mev:
Deathbed scene.
The beloved one is slowing losing her life force
And, as the Easterners say, she was getting ready to shed her body.
She had no words, just an extension of head from neck to pucker and kiss.

So long ago.

Mary Oliver reminds me
It’s so simple:
We are to be light. Read the rest of this entry »