Month: March, 2014


David had a mantra; an official one given to him by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. He studied Transcendental Meditation with Mike Love from The Beach Boys. He never told me his mantra; it was secret. I’d totally forgotten about it until watching a documentary about The Beatles.

This is one more thing to add to the list “If I’d Known He Was Going To Die” I would have asked about, talked about, gotten closure on. Instead, I have so many unanswered questions. Things I wish I’d said. Now, I’ll never know what his mantra was.

Would he even have told me?


The New Catholics

When I attended Catholic school we were taught that Catholicism was the one true Religion. And by “taught” I mean programmed into us. Imagine my surprise yesterday, when I was proctoring in a Religion classroom, to see the Dalai Llama on a bulletin board. And Buddha and Mahatma Ghandi alongside Mother Theresa and Dorothy Day.

Now Catholic schools teach World Religions, tolerance for those who do not think like we do. There are, unfortunately, still some who teach that if you are not Catholic you go straight to hell. Fortunately, I don’t believe the Pope is one of those people.

What a difference 30 years makes

Thirty or so years ago, a friend from work came to my home to meet my baby. In the days before, I furiously cleaned the house, taking the baby with me as I made rounds. I was determined to show the very best of me. My friend joked that I probably, “dipped the baby in bleach.”

Today friends are coming from work to admire a co-worker’s new baby. In preparation I swiped a few surfaces, hid clutter in the closet; I even thought about vacuuming. I’ve learned over the years, they come for the company, not for the cleanliness.

Everything Happens for a Reason

I have said it before and I will probably say it again: things don’t happen for a reason, they just happen. I know it is a phrase that people use to make themselves and others feel better; as if God has a damn good reason for—for what? For giving Sammy cancer? For teenagers killing little children?  For genocide? Take your pick from today’s headlines or your own life.

A friend said to me, “If there is a God then why do children die?” There is no good reason at all.  But that doesn’t mean there is no God either.

“Game Face”

I don’t follow sports, but I am well versed in the “game face”. I see it every morning as they get on the bus. Students wearing their “game face”. It’s the mask they put on when they leave the house. It’s the shield they wear to keep themselves safe. They wear it in the hallways, in the classroom, going to and from school. They think they will be protected if no one sees or knows how they really feel.

I’m lucky that I sometimes get to see the real face, the person behind the mask. It’s a gift I cherish.


My dream job is one that involves singing. Nursery school teacher? Chanteuse? Back up singer for Neil Young!! I might like any of those.

I got to thinking about this when I got on the bus a few days ago; the bus driver was singing—making himself happy by singing. I love to sing. I was envious of the bus driver’s abandon—he didn’t care if anyone heard or paid attention; he was happy singing.

I could sing at work, but I don’t think anyone would appreciate it. I can see the puzzled looks on the faces of my students.

The Bath

I don’t have my wonderful, warm waterbed to climb into anymore when my feet are cold. I no longer have a dog to cuddle up with on a chilly Sunday morning. I’ve had to improvise and I’ve discovered the joy of The Bath.

The beauty of taking a bath is that you really can’t do anything else at the same time. You are stuck in this lovely warm place with nothing but your thoughts. It’s a universe of quiet contemplation. The most radical thing you can do is put your head under water and consider how different the world sounds.

Mixed Feelings Abound

Mixed feelings. The topic I return to again and again, in my mind and on paper. I was reading about the Founding Fathers. They all owned slaves. From their writing we know most or all of them knew slavery was wrong; yet they continued.

What does this say about their accomplishments? Does it make the work they did founding this country any less amazing?

We Americans want life to be clear—no hypocrisy, no prevarication;  simply right or wrong, black or white. No grey. As humans I just don’t think we are that clear. We are a jumble of contradictions.