Sunday, November 22, 2015


my lips taste like fermented cod liver oil
my molars are nubs after a half century of daily use 
my outer eyes crease to match my smile lines

my armpits are moist with night sweats
my menopausal bald spot opens to cosmic wisdom 

my nipples sag with a job well done
my uterus is a bare deciduous tree

my jowls sag in sirsasana
my inner thighs wrinkle in sarvangasana
my ashy knees complement my ashy elbows

each year I require more antioxidants
each year urdhva dhanurasana becomes more difficult 

each year invites more self-love

watch me fall asleep during the group sit 
watch me 6-step alone in my bedroom 
watch me give away all my books 
hoarded and held sacred for too long

call me out for my ignorance
call me out for my attachments
call me out for the ways I have failed to evolve

watch me gray and bald and sag 
watch me embrace every good fight 
watch me balance on my hands and fall

believe me when I tell you
I have not yet peaked 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Pot Roast

confined to bed
and sensing her demise
she asks for boiled beef

though I am repulsed by meat
and haven’t a clue
how to prepare it
I nod and promise her pot roast
as her eyes brighten

what I refused to do for my children
or my husband
I now do for her

just as I made myself
carry a phone
so she could reach me
I now teach myself
the art of the pot roast

after all I have watched my mother-in-law
enough times
sprinkling the roast with salt and pepper
searing it
stewing it with potatoes and carrots
how hard can it be?

pot roast might’ve saved my marriage
(if I had wanted it saved)
if I had occasionally purchased
a nicely marbled english roast
and simmered it until it fell off the bone
as a simple act of kindness

it might’ve saved my molars from root canals
the mineral-rich broth curing tooth decay

it might’ve taught me
the dialectics of sacrifice and compromise
honoring the steer
that gave its life
for others to thrive
even a very very old woman
who still has enough teeth to chew tender meat

and now for the first time since she’s left us
I rub a roast with sea salt
and freshly ground black pepper
I quarter onions and slice carrots
I throw in some thyme and parsley
from the field street garden
and leftover wine from her repast

I eat pot roast alone now
the portion I would have saved for her
gets tucked into the freezer

as I age
I too crave boiled beef
the fatty broth
and the carrots that melt
between tongue and upper palate

in her honor
I chop, sear, simmer
as the onions bring salty tears
I pull the meat off the bone
then boil the bones until they disintegrate
I take the nourishment
as my bodily memorial

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Yoga and Capitalism Throwdown

"Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it." 
~ Frantz Fanon

20 years sounds like a lifetime to my students, when they learn I’ve been practicing for 20 years, and teaching for 15. In the world of fly-by-night American yoga, that qualifies me as a senior teacher. We live in a society where yoga has been commercialized to the extent that, with zero experience, I could pay a few thousand dollars to be certified and teaching in less than a year.

But in the Iyengar tradition, a 20 year practice ain’t much. My teachers have been practicing for 35-40+ years, and BKS Iyengar himself had an 80 year practice when he passed away at age 95. They say you are as old as your years of practice, so you’re a 1 year-old if you’ve been practicing for a year, a 5 year-old if you’ve been practicing for 5 years.

That qualifies me as a college sophomore when it comes to the practice of yoga, whereas my mentors are middle-aged “professor”-level practitioners. Even so, in the city of Detroit, where Iyengar Yoga teachers are few and far between, I’m considered one of the most experienced teachers.

How ironic is it then, that the more I progress on the yoga path, the less money I earn? Through decades of study, I’ve gained a mid-level certification, one of a small handful in Michigan, yet I am earning less money than ever. What gives?

Capitalism just can’t capture or reflect the real value of certain practices and products. In Detroit, you can buy a house for $10,000 that in any other city would cost $100,000. Similarly, I may net $50 for teaching a workshop, that in other cities would net $500.

But you can’t squeeze water from a stone, and if I live in a city of 40% poverty, where many of my students are unemployed and underemployed, I can’t charge top dollar without alienating them. If I seek to meet my students where they are, and engage in an earnest exchange, I need to be at their level myself. Otherwise, teaching becomes a top-down gesture of charity, rather than solidarity.

I realize I could move out to the suburbs, where the money tends to be concentrated and where there is far less unemployment. I could receive market rates, and earn what my peers in other cities are making. But I didn’t move to Detroit to serve Bloomfield Hills. If I want to stay in Detroit and build kinship and offer healing to my friends and neighbors, I need to make financial compromises.

I make ends meet by taking brief forays into monied communities. Basically I use out-of-town gigs to subsidize my work in Detroit. I ask those who can pay more to pay more. I welcome alternative currencies, including barter and time exchange. I embrace voluntary simplicity, growing my own food, living rent-free by exchanging work, and expanding my range of do-it-yourself skills. I choose to spend 90% of my time and energy in my own community, which means accepting less money.

10 years ago, as a beginner teacher in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I would never have agreed to teach for the city recreation department for $25/class. I thought it was a travesty to receive $5/student for a studio class. Although I am a far more experienced teacher now, I settle for these terms. Sometimes, if a class is small, I even receive less than the minimum hourly wage. Financially, I’d be better off flipping burgers or washing dishes.

Why do I accept these (what many would consider demeaning or insulting) wages? In my heart of hearts, I know that my work is valuable and immeasurable. I’m following my call and doing my life’s work. What more can I ask of myself? I’m offering my very best to my community and doing what I believe I was born to do. I know a little about the body and mind, and how to heal ourselves through yoga, although there is so much more to learn. I offer my teachings to people like me—activists, artists, healers, farmers, community organizers, people pursuing their life’s work, friends and neighbors.

I don’t measure the value of my work through the lens of capitalism. That’s Donald Trump’s arena, not mine. Capitalism teaches scarcity. Community-based alternative economy teaches abundance. Despite teaching for less, I have always had shelter and have never missed a meal. I have time to practice yoga everyday, I contribute to the community by offering a healing practice. I have time to study, to play, spend time with friends, make music, write poetry, cook, and garden.

I have no need for vacations, because there is nothing to vacate. I balance my teaching schedule with time for rest and reflection. I don’t plan to retire, because yoga teaching is a life’s work that gets better and better with maturity. I have opportunities to travel, where I can offer my teachings to new communities.

Getting back to Fanon’s epigraph, what is the mission of our generation? One friend claims that the disease of our age is materialism. That is, we have lost touch with the nonmaterial soul and spirit forces in our midst. She has coined the phrase “materialism of thought,” to describe the hardening of ideas into schools, dogma, and partisanship, for financial or political gain, while ignoring the spiritual depth and complexity of our thoughts and actions.

Others would say we urgently need to dismantle capitalism, which has run its course, become more extreme, and has created an increasingly destructive gap between haves and have-nots, while wreaking life-threatening environmental havoc.

Almost everyone seems to agree that we need to create systems anew, that we must create a more sustainable, equitable world.

What, pray tell, does yoga have to do with any of this? If I must be the change that I am seeking, what does that look like for me as a yoga teacher? The answer will be different for each person, and cannot be dictated from above, but only from within.

When I first arrived in Detroit, I was determined to teach completely on a community gift basis. The plan was to gift my services to the community, who would in turn, give funds, goods, or services in exchange. In doing so, I hoped to re-establish yoga as a spiritual practice, rather than a commodity in a commerical world.

This experiment did not totally fulfil my hopes. Iyengar Yoga was so new for so many people that they did not know how to value it without a price tag. Because we have all been brainwashed by capitalism, the fact that I was essentially giving this service away meant, unconsciously to many, that it was worthless, like government cheese. In an era when absolutely anyone can buy a yoga teaching certificate, what I was offering was not, to the casual observer, any different from the free classes at the gym or at church, taught by the average 200-hour-trained teacher, even if I have more like 5000 hours of training under my belt. At the same time, it undermined the Iyengar Yoga teachers who were already teaching and charging in a traditional manner.

If I am not succeeding at being the yoga teacher to the masses, sustaining myself through the generosity of a broad community, I could instead sell my services to the highest bidders. This is the way capitalism works after all. Scarcity is created by charging a premium price to an elite audience, and creating status by courting unattainability and exclusivity.

In doing so, would I be betraying or fulfilling the mission of my generation? Frankly, I have no problem charging more for those who can pay more. What I will not do is give them more than I am already giving to everyone else. That is, those who can pay me $100/hour are encouraged to do so! Then, come to class like everyone else. I will continue to be the best teacher I can possibly be, to the monied as well as the un-monied. I will continue to give everything I’ve got, sharing the wisdom that I have received from the Iyengars, my Senior Teachers, and gleaned through my own practice.

What I will not do is differentiate my services depending on ability to pay. All my students receive the same exacting, thorough, deeply attentive group instruction.

Will you support me? I have not wavered in my determination to offer yoga to the widest possible population, while recognizing my own needs, without lapsing into scarcity mindset. Truthfully, I have not had health insurance since 2012, because it is unaffordable. I have no retirement fund. Thank God for Gigi, my ultra-reliable 2001 Honda Civic, which I do not plan to replace anytime soon. I’m still committed to the path of the yoga nun, badass as ever, I hope. Iyengar Yoga Detroit, in my humble opinion—and the opinion of our devoted students—the very best yoga studio in Detroit, is still struggling to become fully sustainable.

Can yoga be the means through which we can discover the mission of our generation, and fulfill it, and not betray it? We can demand no less.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


“It’s a loving addiction,” said my poet friend, about our shared passion for buying books.
Over the years, I’d collected thousands of books. I outgrew one house, using up every inch of wall space, and when we moved into another house, I preplanned to accommodate my copious collection, building floor to ceiling shelves. At one point, it was a $100+/month habit, during and in the aftermath of my creative writing MFA.

As a teacher, I felt compelled to buy not only books for myself, but for my students. I’ve taught childbirth classes, parenting and breastfeeding classes, creative writing classes, and yoga classes, so I built up libraries in all these fields. When I threw myself into the anti-war movement, I had to build up a library of peacemaking, social justice, and post-colonial studies. I developed a passion for primates, and what apes could teach humans about themselves, so built up another library. I worked at Woodland Pattern, a literary center and the world’s premiere small press poetry bookstore, where I got the employee 30% discount, and could order any book on the market. My kids inherited the love of books, and grew up with the best of children’s lit. And so on….

I joked that I’d never become enlightened until I got rid of my books.
What had begun as pleasure and education for self, family, and community, had become burdensome. I couldn’t possibly read everything I’d collected. They presented an organizing nightmare. I developed a dust allergy. I recognized the unhealthy attachment, but didn’t cease my habit. Truthfully, my books kept me from leaving my marriage. Part of me longed to live simply, to forsake home ownership and the middle class life, to live modestly in one room, in intentional community. But what would I do with all these books? How would I move them and where would I put them?

Ultimately, I did end up leaving my marriage, my house and gardens and other middle class trappings, including my books. After a year’s separation from my books, I gathered them up to build a community library in the housing cooperative I had helped start in Milwaukee, only to decide I had to move to Detroit.

Since 2010, I have moved 7 times, and my books 4 times, sitting boxed in basements when I didn’t have the capacity to take them with me. Finally, on my 52nd birthday, last week, I decided the time had come to dissolve my library. I refused to ask my friends one more time to help me move my books. I had burdened them one too many times, bagging and boxing and loading them into cars over and over. No more! Besides, books didn’t belong in basements. They had already been water-damaged once, and I wouldn’t risk it again. I knew I never wanted to be a householder again. I knew I never wanted to live in more than one room, making a small footprint, so I could travel back and forth to Korea, India, and wherever else I felt called.

Decades of yoga practice helped me recognize the false ego identification I had invested in my books. They represented all the parts of myself I valued and wanted to present to the world. You know, a Frantz Fanon-reading, Anne Carson-carrying inter-genre poet, and a school of bell hooks radical feminist mom, cooking vegetarian gourmet, standing on my head as an Iyengar yogi healing justice activist. I had mistaken my books for myself, the classic error of confusing the temporal for the eternal.

That thing I said about my books holding me back from enlightenment? That was just a joke. But now I knew I had to do it.

A few years back, I had a yoga student who retired from his position as an English professor. He spent months dissolving his lifelong book collection. I was both shocked and jealous.

“How did it feel?” I asked him.
“Terrible,” he answered flatly.
“Then WHY DID YOU DO IT?” I asked, identifying with his sorrow. My books were like my children. How would I live without them?
“I HAD to,” he explained. The only room in his house to practice yoga was his study. His study was so littered with books, he couldn’t even lay a mat down. It was his books, or it was yoga. And he chose yoga. He only held on to 6 books, the books of BKS Iyengar.

I filed that story away and knew it was critical. I thought that one day in my 60s or 70s I might do the same.

But as usual, that day came a decade or so sooner than projected. I do everything fast and a bit early. Like getting married straight out of college, and becoming a mother right away, when all my friends were backpacking across Europe. But then, I was in my early 40s when I became an empty nester, when same-age peers were checking out kindergartens. So by 52, I was ready to take the next step of a yoga nun: radically lightening my load.

I started announcing this resolve months in advance, at first with great trepidation, barely whispering my intention, knowing I had to say it to make it manifest. Then with growing determination, I started telling more and more people that I was going to be giving away my books. At first it was a proposal more than a decision. But my friends received my announcement with excitement, having eyed my library and taken interest.

I decided I would give away my books at my birthday party. I laid them out on tables, shelves, and stairs, and invited friends to take a stack. At first I recommended books to particular individuals, and told them they didn’t have to take them. But soon I became giddy, matching up books with friends, and insisting that they take them. Finally, I took a picture of each friend with their stack, as a commemoration of the books and the friendship. Some folks I didn’t even know showed up, I suspect to check out the collection, and I gladly let them take their fill as well.

So now I am one step closer to enlightenment, and literally lighter by a ton. I made one more inroad to the sharing economy, and made a lot of people happy and excited. In the spirit of sharing, we also had a potluck, open mic, and jam session. It happened to be the evening of Grace Lee Boggs’s memorial service, so we got to honor Grace by building beloved community, and sharing knowledge and ideas through the power of books and conversation.

Read, write, talk, and pass it on. Thank you, friends, for generously receiving my books!

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Portal

the soul wanders the planet for years
interlaced with other souls
making oatmeal
getting into arguments
writing books
holding a baby or two

we leave an imprint
we are remembered
we are loved back

then before we know it
it’s time to leave
the body worn and tired
teeth falling out
senses grown dull

we lose use of our legs
someone lifts us onto the toilet
wipes us clean
we stop feeding ourselves
someone who loves us brings a spoon to our mouths
“dying—it’s a bitch
a fucking bitch”

we stop arguing
there are no more words
only the delicate skin
which itself is breaking down
only the constant rhythm of breath
which itself grows rattley

we long to leave
but we cannot find the door
“is it today? is today the day?”
but no, it’s breakfast time again
oatmeal, yogurt, coffee, black

people come and sit
we remember them
we don’t remember them
we talk
we don’t talk
still looking for the door

rachel maddow is on tv
the boat show is this weekend
an old ruby dee movie

but one blessed day
tired after breakfast
we slip back into sleep
way opens like a sliver of sun
through dense trees
we make ourselves narrow
take one final breath
and slip into two dimensions

we leave our exhausted bodies
we watch the fussing and crying
but after the tears
the celebration
our souls having outgrown our bodies
the portal releases us
free at last

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Magnificent Gift You Came Here to Share: Commencement Address at Great Lakes Waldorf Institute, Milwaukee, WI 7/24/2015

Let's begin with a poem by Joy Harjo:

Eagle Poem

To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
And know there is more
That you can’t see, can’t hear
Can’t know except in moments
Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren’t always sound but other
Circles of motion.
Like the eagle that Sunday morning
Over Salt River.
Circled in blue sky
In wind, swept our hearts clean
With sacred wings.
We see you, ourselves and know
That we must take the utmost care
And kindness in all things.
Breathe in, knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe, knowing
We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon, within a
True circle of motion,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
Inside us.
We pray that it will be done
In beauty.
In beauty.
Congratulations and thanks to each of the graduates, for stepping forward to courageously embrace this immense task of Waldorf teaching.

We each chose on some conscious or unconscious level, to be here in this particular time and place. What is this time and place? We are facing an unprecedented human-made ravage to the planet: climate change, peak oil, toxins in our air and water…. Exacerbated by these conditions, we have multiple wars, genocides, and holders of power clamping down in desperate attempts to keep their power. Just look at Scott Walker, acting on behalf of the Koch brothers, and the damage systemic White supremacy is raging. Those on the margins—people of color, low-income, immigrants, differently-abled—are being pushed further and further out to the periphery. Meanwhile, our youth, who serve as our barometer for well-being, absorb all the tension and struggles of our times. Without needing to understand the issues, they act out the inherent contradictions of our times. In their growing bodies and in their interactions with each other, they provide a microcosm of current and ancestral struggles.

Through it all, my mentor and inspiration, 100 year-old Grace Lee Boggs says, “This is a wonderful time to be alive.” Why? According to Grace and other visionaries, we are in a time of transition, a great turning. Grace feels the 21st century is just as epic a time of change as the shift from hunting and gathering to agriculture, and from agriculture to the industrial age. Now we are in a post-industrial, post-oil, even post-jobs age. What does this mean, and what will we make of it? We don’t know what our future is going to look like, but we have the most beautiful possibilities ahead of us.

Grace points out that the deepest human need is to feel useful, as if our lives have meaning and purpose. But what does that mean in a city like Detroit with 60% unemployment? With deindustrialization and globalization, there simply are not enough jobs to go around. Beyond jobs, how do we make ourselves useful?

Beyond utility, philosopher Charles Eisenstein notes, we each came with a magnificent gift, and our task in this life is to share that gift. Deep inside, we may believe that there is something that makes each of us unique. And that there is some, perhaps not obvious, perhaps not necessarily immense nor momentous gift, that we each harbor. It needn’t be a showy gift, nor a gift for the masses. But it’s something that is particular to you, that can only come through you. It may be an evolving gift, or a gift you grow into as you age. The magnificent gift may be different at age 10 than at age 20 or 40 or 60. What is the magnificent gift you came here to share? Don’t answer right away—take it into your contemplation.

As teachers, not only are you here to share your magnificent gift, but also to cultivate and receive the magnificent gifts of those you teach. How do we do this?

I moved to Detroit because the rapid changes in this period of humanity are very clear, and the city has been experiencing de-industrialization since the 1950s. The struggles in Detroit are very real: water shut-offs, the Wall Street-fueled bankruptcy and alleged recovery, corporate land grabs, poverty…. But the people of Detroit are nothing if not resilient, creative, collaborative, and fierce. When I go to nearby Ann Arbor, sometimes well-meaning middle class White folks comment, “How good you came to Detroit to help.”

No, not at all. I’m not helping. I’m here to learn, hoping not to be a burden. I’m hoping to contribute to the community, not to save it, or build it from scratch, or to extract what I want from it. The community doesn’t need me, or anyone else to rescue it. I can only hope that I don’t get in the way, and that if I lean in and add my shoulder to the wheel, we can turn it together. Anyway, Detroit doesn’t need rescuing. It has always been vibrant, through thick and thin, over centuries. It has survived ravages from all sides, and will continue to.

As such, let’s stop thinking of what we do as “service.” All too often, service means “a have” giving something to “a have-not.” It requires inequality. What if we are all “haves”? What if the person in the soup kitchen food line is someone with far more resilience, creativity, and stamina than I have? What if we are all “have-nots”? Walking wounded and traumatized, trying to heal ourselves in whatever way we can muster.

Stop helping. Stop being a martyr. Instead embrace the messy give and take of building beloved community. Building beloved community is partnership and collaboration, not a top-down gesture. Building community is horizontal, helping is vertical. Not that you don’t embrace leadership or responsibility, and as teachers, you remain the adult in charge in the classroom. But building community instead of service means we have to make ourselves vulnerable. It means we share the same risks as others in our community. We dismantle our privilege to be in kinship with others in our community.

To do this, we have to embrace difference while rejecting otherness. For instance, as a person of color, I identify with the Black Lives Matter movement. I and others in my family have experienced state violence, discrimination, and abuse. We have been victimized by White supremacy, and experienced daily microaggressions. However, I recognize my experience as an Asian American as different from African Americans. I recognize my light-skinned privilege and other privileges I benefit from, such as class and educational privileges. I acknowledge the daily danger my Black comrades endure as different in degree and kind from my experience. To conflate my experience with theirs would be insensitive and dangerous. We mustn’t pretend that we are all the same; we do not live in a colorblind society. To honor another’s experience is to really listen, learn, and embrace difference. At the same time, we must reject otherness by tapping into our shared humanity.

Speaking for myself, my immigrant parents raised us kids to succeed in White society. They moved to the USA to take advantage of opportunities unavailable in war-torn Korea, and they wanted us to maximize these opportunities, which meant assimilating into the White-dominated cultures of the suburbs, universities, and workplaces. However, as I became politicized and more aware of power dynamics, I soon came to realize I had more in common with other people of color than with White people. We had similar histories of oppression and colonization, and similar experiences of ongoing discrimination.

Detroit is an 85% Black city, which is reflected in my neighborhood. While politically I identify more with the struggles of the Black community than the White mainstream, I find that I experience just as many microaggressions and othering from Blacks as Whites. Just because various peoples of color have parallel histories of oppression doesn’t mean we understand each other or feel comfortable with each other. We may inadvertently “other” each other, which can show up as exoticizing (“Wow, do you eat kimchi?”) or fetishizing (“I just love kimchi!”) or alienating (“that kimchi sure stinks”) or stereotyping (“you people eat nothing but kimchi”).

It takes sensitivity and practice to find that space where we can affirm our differences, not “other” each other, recognize our shared humanity, and not lapse into colorblindness, which is really a failure to recognize privilege. We have to caucus with folks of our own race to support and learn from each other. White allies, take it upon yourselves to educate and support one another in developing racial consciousness.

We have to practice cultural humility more so than cultural competency. We have to be willing to make lots of mistakes, learn from them, forgive ourselves, and grow. Cultural competency assumes that we can become familiar and competent with those of different cultures. Cultural humility assumes that there is always space to learn, that we cannot fully know another’s experience, and that we must be willing to humble ourselves to be called out, corrected, and to shed deeper layers of ignorance in order to understand and empathize.

The Waldorf community in Milwaukee is exceptional for its racial and economic diversity. As you know, in most other cities, Waldorf education is relegated to middle and upper classes, which, in the USA, means majority White people. Teaching a racially and economically diverse class of students means you will need to put yourself into the shoes of people quite different from you. This requires humility: a willingness to ask, research, and learn. My teacher, BKS Iyengar, noted, “What I know is not important. It’s what I don’t know that is important.” That is the essence of cultural humility.

I hope you will always prioritize Waldorf pedagogy as education for liberation, and recall that Adolf Hitler closed Steiner schools in order to control the population. I hope you will always choose the side of the oppressed, those pushed to the margins, those who have been silenced and made invisible. Let’s not make Waldorf schools a ghetto for the privileged. Let’s make Waldorf education more relevant and necessary than ever, by using this amazing resource for the purpose of freedom and liberation during this era of the Great Transition: from fossil fuels to renewable energy, from jobs to meaningful vocation, from capitalism to sustainable and equitable economies, from the story of the separate self to the story of the interconnected self. You are educating the generation that will be imagining, innovating, collaborating our way into this next stage of humanity. Teach them well. The particular skills are unimportant, because rapidly changing technologies require ever evolving skills. But capacities are most important: the capacity to teach oneself, to relate to others, to empathize, to imagine, to collaborate, to be fearless, and much more.

Charles Eisenstein describes our era as a time of two competing narratives: The Story of the Separate Self, and The Story of the Interconnected Self. The story of the separate self emerges from traditional Eurocentric Cartesian thinking; “I think, therefore I am,” and the concept of individuality. It’s related to a mindset of scarcity, and a feeling of “what about me?” The story of the Interconnected Self says (in Eisenstein’s words):
·       That my being partakes of your being and that of all beings. This goes beyond interdependency—our very existence is relational.
·       That, therefore, what we do to another, we do to ourselves.
·       That each of us has a unique and necessary gift to give the world.
·       That the purpose of life is to express our gifts.
·       That every act is significant and has an effect on the cosmos.
·       That we are fundamentally unseparate from each other, from all beings, and from the universe.
·       That every person we encounter and every experience we have mirrors something in ourselves.
·       That humanity is meant to join fully the tribe of all life on Earth, offering our uniquely human gifts toward the well-being and development of the whole.
·       That purpose, consciousness, and intelligence are innate properties of matter and the universe.

We are so much richer together than apart. My money is worth more when I share it with you than when I hoard it in my bank account. My house is more valuable when it is filled with people. My dinners are more interesting and nutritious when it’s a potluck. My songs are better when you sing or play along.

Let me leave you with a poem I wrote last summer, a prayer as you venture out into this next stage of your lives.


may you surge like a michigan storm
may you cover the sky in seconds
and explode into brilliance and deafening thunder

may you drop back into the unknown
extend your hands and trust the earth will hold you
may you catch the rebound of your arms and legs
accept your dharma and embrace your fall

may you love like a pack of wild dogs
may you love for the sake of loving
with no expectation of return
may you grow more foolish with each heart opening

may you forgive yourself like trees forgive droughts
may you catch yourself in your own delusions
may you see yourself as your great grandmother sees you
may you gloat in unearned grace