Pub'd Today

MAD Inspiration: Eric Eisner and the Young Eisner Scholars



When Elizabeth Grasso told her husband that she wanted
to learn how to paint and that there was a painter in their
building who was willing to teach her, he balked.
That painter was a black man and Mr Grasso didn't want 
his wife to take lessons from him. 
But she did so anyway and spent the rest of her life
developing her passion for oils.
When Elizabeth passed away in 1997, 
one of her sons asked to have her art supplies, 
and so the brushes traveled to New Jersey from Seattle.

These beautiful brushes were gifted to me this weekend by
Elizabeth's granddaughter. Maybe my work will start 
to go in a different direction now that I've been brushed . . . .


MAD Missives

LENA DUNHAM: Not That Kind of Girl

MEGHAN DAUM: The Mother Question + Not Getting with the Program

DAVID SEDARIS: The One That Got Away


I am the son of a terrorist : How I Chose Peace

painting: WOLF KAHN

Me + Romy
Chapel Hill


The primary focus of this path of choosing wisely, 
of this training to de-escalate aggression, is learning to stay present. 
Pausing very briefly, frequently throughout the day,
is an almost effortless way to do this. For just a few seconds 
we can be right here. Meditation is another way to train in learning to stay, 
or, as one student put it more accurately, learning to come back, 
to return to being present over and over again. The truth is, anyone 
who’s ever tried meditation learns really quickly that 
we are almost never fully present. 
I remember when I was first given meditation instruction. 
It sounds so simple: Just sit down, get comfortable, 
and bring light awareness to your breath. 
When your mind wanders, gently come back and stay present 
with your breath. I thought, “This will be easy.” 
Then someone hit a gong to begin and I tried it. 
What I found was that I wasn’t present with a single breath 
until they hit the gong again to end the session. 
I had spent the whole time lost in thought.

Back then I believed this was because of some failing of mine, 
and that if I stuck with meditation, soon I’d be perfect at it, 
attending to each and every breath. Maybe occasionally 
I’d be distracted by something, but mostly I would just stay present. 
Now it’s about thirty years later. Sometimes my mind is busy. 
Sometimes it’s still. Sometimes the energy is agitated. Sometimes calm. 
All kinds of things happen when we meditate—everything from thoughts 
to shortness of breath to visual images, from physical discomfort 
to mental distress to peak experiences. 
All of that happens, and the basic attitude is, 
“No big deal.” 
The key point is that, through it all, 
we train in being open and receptive 
to whatever arises. 

~ Pema Chodron


So very proud of my fierce + beautiful
Chrissy Beckles!

Morning Magic in Ojai

All in One Glimpse

…as if, all along, you had thought the end point 
might be a city with golden towers, and cheering crowds, 
and turning the corner at what you thought was the end 
of the road, you found just a simple reflection, 
and a clear revelation beneath the face looking back 
and beneath it another invitation, all in one glimpse: 
like a person or a place you had sought forever, 
like a bold field of freedom that beckoned you beyond; 
like another life, and the road still stretching on.

~ David Whyte

After My Garden Grows


This darling just left for her new home
in Sag Harbor, New York!

4 PLar

MAD Missives

The Road Less Diapered:: On Childlessness

TARA BRACH: First, Forgive Yourself

it's never too late

LUCKY ME: The Calming Vortex of Ojai


What do you do when things are unbearable?

Trungpa Rinpoche once asked a group of students, 
“What do you do when you get squeezed? 
What do you do when things are unbearable?” 
We all sat there, wondering what to say. 
Then he called on us one by one. 
We were so scared that we answered very genuinely. 
Almost all of us said something to the effect that 
we just completely fell apart, forgot about practice altogether, 
and became totally habitual in our reactions. Needless to say, 
after that we noticed very clearly what we did when we felt 
attacked, betrayed, or confused, when we found situations unbearable 
or unacceptable. We began to really notice what we did. 
Did we close down, or did we open up? 
Did we feel resentful and bitter, or did we soften? 
Did we become wiser or more stupid? 
As a result of our pain, did we know more 
about what it is to be human, or did we know less? 
Were we more critical of our world or more generous? 

~ Pema Chodron

The Buggy Whip
Los Angeles


Someone is mad that I left her
 in sweltering Hades for a month . . . .

Who is Heather Wilcoxon?

The power of perseverance . . . .

Passion vs Parenting
with my favourite actress, Juliette Binoche.

7 Years

When we are learning the world, 
we know things we cannot say how we know. 
When we are relearning the world in the aftermath of a loss, 
we feel things we had almost forgotten, old things, 
beneath the seat of reason… 
Nothing prepared me for the loss of my mother. 
Even knowing that she would die did not prepare me. 
A mother, after all, is your entry into the world. 
She is the shell in which you divide and become a life. 
Waking up in a world without her is like 
waking up in a world without sky: unimaginable.

I think about my mother every day, 
but not as concertedly as I used to. 
She crosses my mind like a spring cardinal 
that flies past the edge of your eye: 
startling, luminous, lovely, gone.

~ Meghan O'Rourke
from, The Long Goodbye


MAD Missives

The Good Egg behind Good Eggs

The Crotch Shot Revenge


Hand Model of the Brain
How We Can Change Our Brains
Reflection, Relationship, Resilience

painting: ANNE SIEMS

Empire State of Mind

. . . on this memorial day.

9/11 Memorial
New York City
June 2013


Ojai, 2012

I Knew You When . . .

Goodnight, Sagaponak