Finding Beauty as an Everyday Practice

Looking at our current political landscape and the everyday deluge of media that I find difficult to digest, an antidote for me, is to recognize the beauty that is ever present. To witness this beauty, not as a way to mask the feelings associated with denial, but to balance the grief I feel at a personal and collective level, allows me to be more fully present in the world. Francis Weller, a psychotherapist and author who offers grief rituals says " In one hand we carry the sorrows of the world and in the other hand the joy for the world. Bring them together and we have the prayer of life." 


I am writing this, as I look out across the Salmon River estuary as she opens up into the Pacific Ocean in her feminine beauty. I find it quite easy to absorb the beauty of the every-changing river, majestic sunsets, and herds of elk grazing on the meadows.  But I also try to open up to the subtle beauty of a sleeping cat, sunlight illuminating the corner of the room, or the gentle bending of blades of grass in the wind. Many years ago, sitting in meditation, the words "Joy and sorrow in the same breath" came to me. This is always a reminder to cultivate and hold the tension between these two emotions so I can fully participate in life. I offer these words, not to turn away from what is difficult in life, but to open up to the full dimension of being human.

with gratitude,

50th High School Reunion

In 1967 as I graduated from Beverly Hills High School, who could ever imagine I would attend my 50th high school reunion. That day arrived September 16, 2017 as Abigail and I gathered with 120+ Sexagenarians. We had crossed into a portal of time travel, as we found ourselves squinting at name tags, and upon recognizing a name, brain synapses releasing a handful of memories associated with the person standing in front of me. Some of us had aged well, others not so well,  others taking the advantage of modern science to hold on to youth as dearly as possible. My reason for attending was simply to honor the fact that I could, not the case for 35 fellow students who had passed on over the years. 

Eddie Ardow  - College roommate who eventually returned to Sweden after receiving a low lottery number from the Selective Service draft. He disputes this as the reason for his return.   Rick Widdows  - High school buddy, who after high school  co-conspired with me on our first LSD trip.

Eddie Ardow - College roommate who eventually returned to Sweden after receiving a low lottery number from the Selective Service draft. He disputes this as the reason for his return.

Rick Widdows - High school buddy, who after high school  co-conspired with me on our first LSD trip.

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Hillary Turner - A girlfriend from elementary school who is a professional photographer . She wrote in my high school yearbook that she could imagine me one day with lots of grandchildren on my long knees, which leads me to the awards ceremony at the reunion. The longest married couple - 49 years,  who had travelled the farthest to attend, my friend Eddie from Sweden and Jmmy Petterson, and I was the proud recipient of most children.

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And then there was our German class. A group of us endured four years with Frau Glanz. I, having German speaking parents, had an advantage and surely had signed up for the duration for an easy 'A', but as Frau Glanz realized I was not willing to do the work, each successive year my grade seemed to drop, until I was no longer in her favor. Sadly, I found out at the reunion that a car accident had left her as a paraplegic and after her husband died, she ended up in a state facility. May she Rest in Peace.


Deborah Blum - This was one of the most special reconnections because her family was the reason I landed in Beverly Hills. On the eve of Christmas 1951, my parents responded to an ad for free rent in exchange for housekeeping and gardening. The location of the apartment was on Rodeo Drive by Sunset Blvd where we lived rent free for five years and remained in Beverly Hills until I finished high school. Following the reunion I attended a reading by Deborah, a film producer and writer, who read from her most recent book, Coming of Age: The Sexual Awakening of Margaret Mead.

Overall, I felt the reunion left me with a sense of completion, and a realization that my high school years were mostly pleasant memories and encounters, despite the confusing time of adolescence. I felt the absence of many, whose memories of that time of their lives might have been quite different.

Enjoying the reunion night in Beverly Hills

Enjoying the reunion night in Beverly Hills

Impact of race and culture on the Work That Reconnects

Clink on image to view journal.

Clink on image to view journal.

I have been involved with the Work That Reconnects (WTR) community for over a decade. It is only recently that WTR has examined more deeply how race and culture impacts the Work That Reconnects. In this issue of Deep Times Journal, the editors who are all people of color challenge many of the assumptions that are ingrained in our (white people of privilege) way of thinking that continues to support institutionalized racism and oppression of minority groups. This issue is relevant to any organization that finds itself predominately white and might wonder why people of color are not participating in the organization in any meaningful way.  The journal is not intended to cause shame but to open up dialogue and self-perception on how we might better understand ways to work towards a world of true equality and justice and understand how the colonial mindset is pervasive in our (USA) culture today. View Deep Times Journal