Sculpting the Elephant in The Room



Everyone knows how to make a sculpture of an elephant.  You take a block of rock and ship away at everything that isn’t ‘elephant’.  I love this metaphor for how to fix me, or how to find me more specifically.  I was a ‘boy’, they told me, when I began my journey but didn’t really explain what that meant.

I was a catholic, they said.  “But I don’t like Catholics!”, I rebelled and furthermore, “I don’t like labels of any sort”.  Trying to be a ‘good Catholic boy’ was very tough work.  I soon got tired of being confused.

When I grew up to being ‘A man’, I wasn’t any the wiser on being a man than I was with being a boy. Now, no longer a catholic, I was a dad and a husband and an employee.  Stumbling around and into others who were men, dads, husbands and employees…

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When I’m alone at the beach I’m less lonely.

I live in Paradise. Not 'THE' paradise but 'A' paradise. My street is called Eden Avenue for God's sake! Depression and alcoholism are strange bedfellows because if you can manage to fix one it is almost expected that the other issue is remedied too. This has not been my experience. Despite living in paradise and … Continue reading When I’m alone at the beach I’m less lonely.

Modern Bodhisattva’s Way of Life:  Motivation for doing series

Thank you, Ryan.

Kadampa Working Dad

When I was in college, I was quite arrogant (I still am, but that’s another story).  There was nothing I felt I could not do.  I was eating breakfast one sunny morning outside Collins Dining Hall with a good friend, and he just started laughing at me uncontrolledly.  I asked him what was so funny, and he said “you.”  He went on, “everything in your life has come easy for you only because you have only done easy things.  If you want a real challenge, learn to master your own mind.”  Then he laughed some more.  After I got over my wounded pride, I asked him how.  He said I should start meditating.  Thus began my spiritual life.  Looking back, this was probably the most important day of my life, and the kindness my friend showed me by laughing at my face was the greatest I have ever received.  Without…

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No time like the present

I like the French artist NoTime Toulouse…

Kadampa Life

First, a little anecdote

stop and smell the rosesI wrote this about a dog and me a few years ago. “I am leaving today. Earlier, I was a little melancholy to think this was the last walk Mr. Frodo and I would be taking down to the bay, until it occurred to me that it wasn’t a last walk at all. It was a first walk. Due to subtle impermanence, nothing stays the same even for a moment, and every step we were taking was brand new and different. Every Olympian leap Frodo made into the air to catch the yellow tennis ball was a new leap. Every ripple on the water was a first ripple. My permanent grasping abated. Each moment was fun, full, and vibrant. One of the best walks of my life.”

Why the emotional resistance?

Knowing about subtle impermanence (carrying on from this articlecan in fact make life…

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The Mental Illness Rollercoaster

Yep, my mental illness is more like the Carousel.

gathering the pieces of me

A dark, abandoned rollercoaster at night

Everyone talks about the rollercoaster ride that living with mental illness can be, and I guess that is a fairly apt comparison. Except that rollercoasters, while occasionally giving some mild scares, are generally designed and experienced for fun, something no one would ever say about mental illness. And on a rollercoaster, you can almost always see what is coming ahead and brace yourself for it, which isn’t always possible with mental illness. Oh, and let’s not forget that on a rollercoaster there are safety systems and seat-belts, and someone operating it that is specially trained; last I checked I didn’t have any of that for my brain. And did I mention that rollercoasters tend to be short and have a definite ending where you can choose to get off – to say nothing of your choice to get on it in the first place – sure would be a kickass…

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