Monthly Archives: December 2007

My Teacher



I am not sure what lineage my teacher was from – she was a mutt. But in her short time here on earth and in my life, I learned a great deal from her.  I have read that animals can be great teachers to us as humans, but I never imagined just how true that was. First, she taught me unconditional love, how important and beautiful it can be to both give and receive.  No matter how cranky, how shitty my mood, she was always so delighted when I walked into a room, and no matter how bad I felt, she could always bring a smile to my face.  She not only taught me that I deserved to be loved unconditionally, but that I was capable of giving it back as well, and that is a real gift.  Don’t get me wrong, my wife is the most important being in my life, and her loss would be absolutely devastating.  And, as I stated before, I am not a parent yet.  But the purity that exists with an animal, it is an unconditional love that in my experience does not exist between humans.  Perhaps that is another, greater lesson that I have yet to learn.   Next, she taught me impermanence.  No matter how much we want a being to be in our lives forever, this can never be.  Granted, at 5 years, she died way before her time, but that is only my perception.  Everything dies eventually.  It may seem so wrong, the grief, for all the pain it brings, for the suffering of those left behind, but it is what it is.  And it represents a necessary part of our lives, something we will all have to face, and ultimately a potential source of growth for us all.  Finally, she is continuing to teach me the lesson of how attachment leads to suffering.  This is a lesson that I think I will be learning in one form or another for the rest of my life.  Attachment is such an inherent part of our culture, that once we start to become aware of it, we realize what a motherfucker it is to overcome.  She was a ray of light, and light shines, but can never be held onto.


Desert Island Flix

Here is a new twist on the old concept – what movies would I want to be stranded with?  I mean, shit, if I am able to listen to tunes, why not have movie-watching ability as well, right?  So here goes…

1. Pulp Fiction 

 imho, one of the greatest movies of all time.  Whether it is the perfectly broken chronology, the incredibly rich characters, the shocking yet hilarious dialogue, or slick-ass style of this flick, I could watch it repeatedly (which I would have to do if I was stranded).

2. Monty Python and The Holy Grail

 I have watched this one more than any other movie I have ever seen, and it never fails to make me laugh.  

3. LA Confidential

The perfectly constructed movie,  a smart, smooth story carried out by an amazing cast.  So cool, yet so intense.

4. The Godfather

What can I possibly say…Part 1 and 2 are pure celluloid brilliance.  Part 3 I will use to scrap the wet sand off my feet after spear-fishing for my dinner (and maybe to scale the fish as well).

5. Casablanca

One word – classic. 

Spirituality vs. Religion

I was raised jewish.  Growing up, I had all the associated rituals and traditions force-fed to me.  Unfortunately, that is exactly what it felt like, too.  I recall engaging in these traditions because I had to, which I realize is a lament that most kids feel.  However, as an adult, that feeling never changed.  There has never been a connection to my heart, to my soul, to my spirit.  That is why I view Judaism as a ‘religion.’  Granted, I don’t have kids, so that sense of community that a religion can foster is not a part of my life.  But even if it was, I still feel I would want to expose my kids to the philosophies and life guidance that truly talks to me, not something that I am expected to do because my father did it, and his father did it, and so on and so on…I know, I sound like I’m still trying too rebel, but that is definitely not what it’s about. Spirituality, to me at least, is where you can turn when life has your balls to the wall and you have run out of answers.  It represents ideas and thoughts that not only speaks directly to my heart and soul, but can stimulate my intellect as well.  It has to make sense to me.  It has to feel as if hearing the teachings awaken something deep within me, feeling as if I was born with this knowledge, like it is really a part of me.  This is what I find in Buddhism.

Desert Island Discs – 12/07 edition

1. Bitches Brew – Miles Davis

Groundbreaking, beautifully dissident brilliance.  With an all-star cast of some of the finest young talent in jazz – Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, Wayne Shorter, Jack DeJohnette, etc., etc.

2. A Love Supreme – John Coltrane

Coltrane’s love letter to god – to me the very definition of spirituality committed to vinyl.  If a musician could reach down into the very depths of their soul and bear it for all the world to hear, it would sound like this.

3. Live At The Fillmore East – The Allman Brothers Band

 There are few bands in rock and roll who achieve the live synergy that the Allman’s did, and really still do, 35+ years later.  This chronicle of their 1971 Fillmore East run is such fine example of the musical journey they take the listener on, one minute gut wrenching blues, the next minute sublime jazz.  Great musicians truly merging and playing as one.

4. Exile On Main Street – The Rolling Stones

So simple, yet so beautiful.  Jagger and Richards are capable of taking basic blues and creating magic from it.  Every song rocks so hard.

 5. Dick’s Picks 12 – The Grateful Dead

1974 – imho the finest the band sounded – vocally, instrumentally, synergistically.  I should probably add, I have been a deadhead for 23+ years.  ’nuff said.   

Living in the state of Hope

It is all too easy when anticipating a potential positivity, running the spectrum from a tasty meal, the promise of some great music, a much needed vacation to a truly life altering event, to get caught up in the idea of what we are anticipating.  I project myself into the ultimately unknown future, plopping myself in a custom fictionalization of what might be, what could be.  Often times, it is at the expense of savoring the anticipation itself.  And how delicious that can be, if I allow myself to really savor it.  Within the great unknown of the future is the exuberant,  childlike excitement that is in itself sooooo sweet.  ‘Will this really happen?’  ‘Will I really be able to grasp that?’  Who the fuck really knows.  But the excitement of what could be is worth embracing in the present moment.  Why concentrate on the destination, when the views right outside the window can be so beautiful. 

da-na-na-na-na-na you say it’s your birthday…

Celebrating both my AND my blog’s birthdays today.  Yes world, I have finally lost my blogging virginity.  Goodgod watchmenow…