Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A simple smile will do

March 9, 2011

All too often we feel lost, gloomy, unimportant and afraid.  As my intention is to join with your intention, whatever it may be, so that together we might participate and connect—that we might allow the obstacles of fear, alienation and meaninglessness to drop softly away like a child’s cheek relinquishing a tear, that we might cultivate simultaneous freedom and nourishing relationship… I will confine my words today to those that precede this simple…

Namaste, BD


Tiger Moms in Tigger Times

February 9, 2011

I doubt many parents have failed to find Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother blipping over their radar, Tigger-triggering little waves of unease.  But as the dust settles, I want to employ this latest meaningless tempest in a teacup to further the aim of facilitating calm amongst parents.

Therefore, let’s not bother debating the merits of tiger parenting vs. Chua’s gloss on Western parenting; I imagine you already have your opinions on that and will not benefit from mine.

Instead, let’s consider why this issue has gotten so much ink, so many comments at the Wall Street Journal, where Chua’s essay on her parenting philosophy ruffled feathers, and sparked wide ranging debate in the New York Times and across the blogosphere.

I suspect that this all distills down to fear.  Fear that we are not good enough parents.  Fear that we, and/or our children, will be left behind (and the feeling of being left behind distills down to abandonment, which distills down to annihilation—to feelings swirling below the radar of many an unsuspecting grown-up that are akin to excruciating dread, angst and lonely shame).

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Fight, Flight or Snuggle? Welcome to the year of the Bunny

February 2, 2011

One afternoon when I was about nine years old I came walking up to my house to see a neighbor’s huge cat, Duff, perched menacingly in the ivy.

Duff was one badass cat, with a luxuriant grey coat sheathing bulk and power, yellow eyes that fixed you in your tracks and sent trembles spiraling down your sapling spine.

The ivy itself was a place of mystery, huddled low and tangled around a birch tree—an easily overlooked world where I’d once found a polyphemus moth—a micro-jungle where I was sure that other treasures were to be found.

And alas Duff had found one:  a rabbit’s nest.  I moved closer as Duff looked warily between me and his prey that he had been toying with, at his sweet leisure, as I made my way home from school.

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Men and Women on the Couch

January 25, 2011

Greetings on a Tuesday.  Recently Big Little Wolf was kind enough to invite me to offer up a guest post on the topic of men and women.

While most of you undoubtedly know BL Wolf and her writing, as we are good blog buddies, if you are not conversant in The Daily Plate of Crazy you are well-served to check out her blog—as she writes, rather elegantly, on topics ranging from parenting to culture to sex and relationships… and much more.

In addition to being an intrepid and generous spirit, Wolf also happens to be an exemplary single mom in the final heroic stretch of launching her second son off to college in a scant few months—a heroine carrying a torch and lighting the way on something I have already shed a few salty tears around (and I’m a year and a half away from the first one potentially heading off to school).

So please accept my invitation to Big Little Wolf’s today where we dish up some thoughts together on some potential reasons that men are, at least sometimes, so hard to love.

Unflagging in my wish to make this year about increasing calm and connectedness, feel free to dedicate your visit to chez Wolf to being our best, calm, lovingly kind Selves together—placing any increased understanding we may gain in the service of all of us and our collective children.

Namaste (and thanks again, BL Wolf), BD

Thanks for giving

November 24, 2010

Okay, so now that we’ve paved paradise and put up a parking lot… and then put a farmers market on top of that (and called it macaroni), where are we, really, this Thanksgiving?  Was this land really made for you and me?  And if so, why?

Sure the ghosts of Native Americans haunt and hover around our feast-laden tables and around the strip malls and tract homes that may have once been sacred lands, but where do we go from here if we are to live free of fear, guilt, shame and desire?  What might we learn from the spirits that surround us and inform our country’s karma, spirits which may well be our country’s karma?

In the context of impermanence, who can really be said to “own” a land?  Druids, Saxons, Gauls, Brits, Germans, Yanks, Indians, Native Peoples?  And what about when the icy fingers of glaciers tighten their grip once again upon a land truly owned by no human being?  We may, for all we know, ourselves be the spiritual descendents of vanished beings who have returned to inhabit confused western bodies and minds, to inherit the wind of this place and time.  Perhaps this might help account for our country’s general state of stuckness and malaise.

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Homeward Unbound

November 17, 2010

I had a lot of fear about a recent trip to the city of big shoulders—my childhood home, a place where my father lay languishing in an assisted living facility, a place where my mom wanted me to return, to return to the basement of films made and left, of photos taken and forgotten in drawers, of heavy yearbooks waiting for their rightful owner who was on the lam from his karma.

As if.

Walking below a harvest moon I admitted to Andy that it wasn’t money or lack of compassion that had blocked my visit—it was fear.  The shrink who deals with everyone else’s feelings, I realized, was terrified to go home—home to ground zero of depression, denial, narcissism, false faces and family secrets; the place of long-festering fraternal hurts and resentments, wounds needing to heal with no map and no sutures at hand.


Hanging with my brother is like stepping into The Cooking Channel… Having traversed the endless subterranean tunnel at O’Hare International I emerged into the waiting car, my nephew DJing from the back-seat, listening to Pink Floyd’s The Wall, and then suddenly I’m eating baby tomatoes in truffle oil.

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Where Were You in 1908?

November 10, 2010

I was recently at a fundraiser for The Wright Institute, a beloved Los Angeles institution… a place that gave me psychological shelter in the storm of my late twenties (in the form of sliding-fee high quality psychotherapy), a place that later helped train me as a psychology intern, a place started by a woman who recently turned 101 and is still practicing as a psychologist and teacher:  Hedda Bolgar.

After being lauded and honored in a lovely garden surrounded by multi-generations of spiritual children—therapists, teachers, supervisors, former interns, beginning interns, friends and admirers, Hedda addressed the group.  She said that she wanted to talk a bit about being 101, suggesting that while people fear getting old, but she highly recommends it.  “I’m selling it,” she quipped.

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“Jackass” 3-D: Mirror of our World

November 3, 2010

I had an interesting weekend recently, one that took me from yoga to Jackass 3-D to The Merry Wives of Windsor.

And while I did my best to “take the yoga” with me to Jackass, I must admit that it is Jackass that I am most inclined to think and write about (perhaps the best of the Jackass oeuvre, while Merry Wives is widely acknowledged to be one of the weakest efforts on the part of the Bard)—as Jackass turns out to be an absurdist work of non-sense that could have come right out of Weimar Germany or 20’s Paris.

It’s not that the Merry Wives was not delightful, as it was performed by The Globe Theater’s troupe and is a work dealing with middle-class Elizabethan manners, a nice counterpoint to the rectal temperature reckoning to which Jackass subjects the American Zeitgeist.  If Queen Elizabeth was a woman who apparently could not get enough of that philandering jackass, Falstaff, the movie Jackass has everything to give the Queen’s English the bum’s rush.

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What’s Really Scary on Halloween (and every other day these days)? Homework, Academic Stress and Toxic Levels of Competition

October 27, 2010

Greetings.  I’m in two places at once today:  here writing about the terror lurking beneath education; and guest posting at one of my favorite haunts as a reader—The Kitchen Witch—where Dana hosts my tale of neurotic kitchen terror from a Christmas past.  Please visit her today (she’s a lot of fun) and then delve back here into the grim tidings of education and our individual and collective needs to adjust…

I recently attended a screening of the film Race To Nowhere by Vicky Abeles.  Vicky was there and the event attracted two back-to-back auditoriums full of parents followed by discussion focused on how and why we are putting too much pressure on our kids.  Topics raised by the film include homework and whether it is effective (both in terms of actually helping kids learn and in terms of the emotional well-being of children).

What the film reflects is our current culture—fraught with anxiety and ceaseless competition both conscious and unconscious.

While I absolutely feel that our culture is in the throes of tremendous pain, narcissistic (meaning clueless) and futile competition that is both a road to nowhere as well as a circular road to the eternal here and now, what I wish to facilitate with my post today is the furtherance of the discussion, the continuation of the consciousness that recognizes that more of what does not work (i.e. more, faster, harder, better, bigger, richer, thinner, more famous) will still not work.

We all just want to feel better.  And if we trusted, deep in our souls, that our kids would be happy, healthy and “successful” through being true to whoever they truly are, we parents might relax and get out of the way and simply allow our kids to learn, bloom and grow.

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Putting the ass into, or taking it out of, Asperger’s?

October 20, 2010

The Social Network is very good filmmaking, but it’s ultimately not more interesting than the real-life subject it addresses.

As we transition from the age of narcissism into the age of autism it makes great sense that the reins of power move from the narcissistic and entitled elite (perfectly personified by rich, rowing twins who are, in fact, played by one actor—a feeble antagonist that Andy pointed out was a lot like young Malfoy in Harry Potter, complete with eating clubs evocative of Slitherin) who stand in stagnant and befuddled contrast to the code-cracking Rain Man-like neuro-atypical embodied by Mark Zuckerberg.

Mark Zuckerberg (actually, the character portrayed in the movie, which is not at all the same thing) seems every inch the asshole, but really he is not.  He is not hard-hearted so much as socially mind-blind.  He does lash out at a girlfriend, but mostly because he is wounded and cannot metabolize his hurt; he is computer-language gifted but socially retarded—a perfect specimen to helm our ship of fools into the New Age.  If we release judgment, perhaps this movie-Mark Zuckerberg is oddly enlightened:  he has a sort of collective compassion (he knows what the group is ready for and wants) and he practices this compassion without attachment (which to us muggles looks like coldness and not caring).  Perhaps he is an agent of karma, his own and ours as well?

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