7 Downsides to Blogging

Cartoon by Ward Sutton

 

Okay, I’m not proud of what I’m about to say and mostly try not to complain about trivial things. But I am all about transparency and don’t believe in showing only my glossed over, ‘who I hope to be perceived as’ version; but rather value the whole inner process of what transformation looks like, even when it’s ugly and/or painful. So I figure I’d let it out. Read More

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Himalayan Happiness

“Karpu” Photography by Amaya Engleking

Remember how after Tsewang and I wrote the bilingual love ballad with the first line being so intentionally cheesy because I only wanted to hear Karpu’s passionate ten year-old heart sing it, but his sister stated as a matter of fact, “No. He’s badly tuned.” And remember how after tea and before our long, bumpy cab ride to Swayambhu from the Nagarkot tower where Tsering Medo and Nima along with a couple dozen college kids hopped the barbed wire to stand on the gravity station to get the ghosts to come out, Joshua suggested to our party that we find a toilet. And Tsering asked with a naughty smile, “Little little or big and long?” Remember how on the sunny laundry day in Kathmandu, Read More

Secret Ingredient 

El Maestro

Backyard baby back ribs, and Carlos even let me in on the secret ingredient to his addicting barbecue sauce (and it’s not la coca!)

What does the world need? –To listen. And I looked up from my inner question and saw music, the answer. Music, the best tool for teaching us how to use our ears. Then comes prophecy: to hear the truth only when ears can discern harmony from discord, truth from deceit. Read More

A Day in San Bernardo

Carlos

Don Carlos, the professional classical guitarist from whom I rented a room in Medellín, asked if I would feed the five tortugas in the atrium paradise under the lime tree and bougainvillea, and then accompany him in singing Renaissance music. We spent the afternoon learning lullabies and laments, and after much digging through ancient sheet music, he found the treasured García Lorca song arrangements.  Read More

Cobbling

Photo by Beorn DuPont

Breakfast beating at the hunger hour. The cobbler ate clams and drank Meritage, and Charlie from California called us all ‘homies’ while the phones kept buzzing. Bzzz, and Tim with his mandolin and Levon with his grooving views on duty and Dao while the ball of sun-dried tomato/basil whipped butter sat there wuwei… They were billy goats gruff and I coveted their lack of sensibilities. Merv, that ancient free spirit of a shoemaker, wandered town as a troll at SnowDown and asked around about “them hill-billies.”  Read More

Theravada Travels

Painting by Marisa Darasavath

January and February of 2011, we spent our days walking along Yunnan back roads; paths intersecting the tea fields of Xishuangbanna, literally a stone’s throw to Myanmar; the dirt roads and jungle paths (barefoot, oh the leeches!) of northern Laos where we paid Read More

Comrades

 

Pots2

Art by Amaya Engleking, pencil on paper

Mason Zhang and I in the alley last night with the laobaixing salt-of-the-earth, including the cook who proudly performed his version of ‘ABCDEFG’ for me last week.  His friend—a taxi driver in his fifties, though by appearance I’d have guessed at least seventy, by his sunken face with a bulge under the right side of his lip—didn’t smile when he said he was pleased, nor did he do so when he sang.  He took the old revolution songs seriously and lifted his left leg to motion a guitar while his foot tapped the beat. Read More