Hold It All

Month: March, 2018

Share the Wealth with Jen Bello-Kottenstette: A Journey to Work Life Balance

I will be sharing my journey to maintain the coveted “work life balance” in my position as a family medicine physician and researcher. Making choices about achieving professional success involves a continuous series of tradeoffs that begins with choosing a medical specialty by weighing the enjoyment of the day to day work, monetary compensation, student debt, and ability to have a family. I will discuss my experience with this process over the past 10 years since graduating medical school which has led me unexpectedly back where I started at Saint Louis University with both a fulfilling job and family life. Read the rest of this entry »

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Occasional Moments of Peace, Gratitude, and Delight

I first learned of Gary Snyder through Kerouac’s novel, The Dharma Bums, where he was fictionalized as “Japhy Ryder,”   who, according to Alvah Goldbook [aka Allen Ginsberg], was  “a great new hero of American culture.”  Snyder’s Back on the Fire: Essays jazzed me many times, a sample of which follows…

This Sierra ecosystem has been fire-adapted for millions of years, and fire can be our ally. 14

Biodiversity… only means variety of life, and it means “Right to Life for Nonhuman Others,” a moral sentiment I religiously support. 16

What we refer to as nature or the “environment” or the wild world is our endangered habitat and home, and we are its problem species. 24

We study the great writings of the Asian past so that we might surpass them today. We hope to create a deeply grounded contemporary literature of nature that celebrates the wonder of our natural world, that draws on and makes beauty of the incredibly rich knowledge gained from science, and that confronts the terrible damage being done today in the name of progress and the world economy. 30

We must work on a really long time frame. 40

… the most important single ethical teaching of the Buddhist tradition is nonviolence toward all of nature, ahimsa… 52 Read the rest of this entry »

Like Staying up All Night with Your Best Friend

Allen Ginsberg, Allen Verbatim: Lectures on Poetry, Politics, Consciousness, edited by Gordon Ball

There are many influences that went into my creating Dear Layla Welcome to Palestine, and Allen Ginsberg was a major one. Here are quotations from reading Allen Verbatim in 2006, with my comments relating to subsequent Dear Layla project in brackets…

So what I do is try to forget entirely about the whole world of art and just get directly to the most economical—that is, the fastest, not most economical—the fastest and most direct expression of want it is I got in heart-mind. 107 [The chapters in novel are certainly economical!]

Start with what you desire, heart, instead of what you think you are supposed to do. 124 [E. once told me after she received my correspondence, “That’s the best love letter I’ve ever received.” That became the end of the novel many years later.]

… in which the prose sentence is completely personal, comes from the writer’s own person—his person defined as his body, his breathing rhythm, his actual talk. 153 [This is why this book of correspondences worked best for me.] Read the rest of this entry »

Tolstoy’s List

After coming across this acknowledgement of influence, a goal  for this spring–re-engaging with Tolstoy.

 

War Crimes Are What Our Enemies Do, Right?

People in Afghanistan would beg to differ.

“The True Cost” by Chelsea Pohl

Chelsea is in my Humanities in Western Culture course and wrote the following reflection.

Last week in class we were talking about the cost of clothing/ items that we have here in America compared to with what they are made for in other countries. Someone brought up the movie The True Cost and you said that if we watched the documentary and wrote a little bit about it we could get some extra credit points.

I watched the movie and it was really eye opening. The movie begins with talking about how fast fashion is such a big trend right now. Fast fashion is the idea that style changes so frequently, usually every season and sometimes a lot during the season. This means that the people who are producing the clothing are constantly work long hours and always having to change the way in which they make the clothing. I found the documentary very interesting because it really does go to show that people will go to all cost in order to get affordable items for consumers. Read the rest of this entry »

Correspondence Collage

Nima Sheth arranged some of the correspondence I’ve sent her recently…

Poem of the Day: Burning Monk

A friend shared this poem by Shin Yu Pai about the famous Vietnamese Buddhist Thích Quảng Đức who immolated himself in 1963.

Present Moment, Only Moment

The soothsayers who found out from time what it had in store certainly did not experience time as either homogeneous or empty. Anyone who keeps this in mind will perhaps get an idea of how past times were experienced in remembrance–namely, in just the same way. We know that the Jews were prohibited from investigating the future. The Torah and the prayers instruct them in remembrance, however. This stripped the future of its magic, to which all those succumb who turn to the soothsayers for enlightenment. This does not imply, however, that for the Jews the future turned into homogeneous, empty time. For every second of time was the strait gate through which Messiah might enter.

–Walter Benjamin, Illuminations

Interview with Ginsberg

The Yiddish Book Center offers this interesting 1969 interview with Allen Ginsberg in Montreal  several days after the death of Jack Kerouac.