Category Archives: Community

Monastic Gin

I am sitting with my father, playing gin rummy, but I might as well be sitting in a monastery or any retreat house. I am here for a week. Our days are simple and highly ritualized. Breakfast is at 8:30. (Two eggs on an English muffin, daily, for him.) We may converse for a while…

My Night in Sing Sing

On Monday night I sat in the most exciting, powerful and inspirational circle I’ve experienced in years. I was conversing with convicted felons at Sing Sing prison—homicide, armed robbery, drug dealing. We sat in a classroom, maybe fifteen of us from the “outside” and ten inmates. We had come to learn more about a program…

Thinking Big Enough

“If your life’s work can be accomplished in your lifetime, you’re not thinking big enough.” -Wes Jackson   Those words gave me pause—a big pause. I read them in an article about sustainable agriculture (as a South Dakota native it’s sad to see the systematic poisoning of the earth as the basis for our agri-business). Wes…

It’s OK to be Stressed!

Why are you stressed? Turns out, that’s the key question. Rabbi Harold Kushner writes of a study, some years ago, at Duke University Medical Center. They gathered up a couple hundred Type A people, the hard drivers who are always on the run, always working, honking at the guy in front of them who doesn’t…

The Crossing Guard Who Rules the World

In my town, there is a school crossing guard who stands at the corner of Noroton and Clock Avenues. She wears a crisp blue uniform and a limey yellow reflector vest.  Under a black felt policewoman’s hat, her platinum grey hair drops straight to the nape of her neck. I am clipping down Noroton Avenue,…