Tag Archives: Buddhism

A note to my boy, who is ten today

Chasing pigeons in lower Manhattan.Dear Declan,

Now you are ten. Declan’s first decade is a wrap.

Ten. Like all of your fingers or all of your toes, like the first syllable of your name. It’s the number of inkblots in the Rorschach test, the percentage you are supposed to tithe or take down to weaken an army, the atomic number of neon, the minimum number of players on a baseball field during play, the Wheel of Fortune card in a tarot deck.

It’s a powerful base number that can take you to infinite places, like the Eames’ film, Powers of Ten, that you used to watch over and over and over again when you were three. You loved it so dearly that you wanted to go to the Chicago lakeside to lay yourself down exactly where the man in the movie did, maybe thinking that it was a place where you could travel to the farthest reaches of the universe and the depths of the microverse.

“Ten is the number that allows all the numbers above it to exist because it’s the first use of zero,” you told me the other day. We had your birthday party cake decorated with 1+100 zeroes – a googol – because it is ten to the power of ten to the power of ten, and it was named 100 years ago (10 X 10).

You are an initiate into the double digits, a place I hope that you’ll remain vibrant and healthy for the next 89 years. You seem like a guy who could still hold his own well in the triple digits too.

Age nine has been eventful. You liked impersonating Rene Magritte’s “Son of Man” by holding apples and balls in front of your face and demanding that I snap a picture. You researched dark energy and dark matter. You learned to knit. You met Michio Kaku and nearly jumped out of your skin with excitement. You were a neuron for Halloween.

You asked to take refuge, the formal step of becoming Buddhist last summer, and did so with a lama who had taken refuge in Tibet when he was nine. The refuge name you were given means “glorious wisdom,” Karma Sherab Palzang but Lama Karma kept calling you “Chocolate” to see if you’d answer to it. And sweet you did every time.

I gave you a sign that says “I want to have adventures with you” for your room, and I’m happy that we still do. We do things like wake up early and drive around in our pajamas to see a lunar eclipse. We walked all over Manhattan together last August, exploring Battery Park, Chinatown, Little Italy, SOHO, The Skyscraper Museum. I let you play in the fountain in Washington Square Park on a steamy day. You emerged after a good hour, soaked and joyful. “God knows I loved that,” you said as we took back to the sidewalk.

You fell in love with the Met, the way I was as a kid. When you walked into the room with the Temple of Dendur, which you last saw at age 5, you said “THIS is where this room is! I have had so many dreams in here!”

You wake up the morning and ask me things like whether or not I know how George Washington really died, or if I realized that chocolate chip cookies and plastic were both invented by accident. I never know how the day is going to begin. I am happy that certain things seem to be outside of your purview. The other day, you told me someone had knocked you down at the roller rink and when I asked, startled “on purpose?” You replied within a beat, “of course not!”

I met Larry. And eventually so did you. (Plus his dogs, Walter and Leelu.) Your first impression of him was “he’s funny and he’s kind.” But what I most remember is that when I told you that he made me feel safe and loved, you hugged me so hard. You put your hand on my face sweetly and said “I think this is important for you.”

We celebrated your birthday on Sunday with so many of your friends at the bowling alley, which – of course we did, because the game has 10 pins and ten frames. You have this beautiful exuberance for all things and people. I loved the way some of your friends talked to you, how excited they were about presents that had gotten you or the cards they had picked out specially.

There was nothing in particular you asked for on your birthday today. You decided you wanted to give something instead – ten inches of your hair to Locks of Love. Your hair is beautiful and has been such a signifier of you as a person – this boy who hasn’t cared about being called a girl, this unfazed, self-possessed individual who I admire so, so deeply. You are such a dynamic and lovely person, Declan. And as earnest and delightful as you are, you’re also goofy and funny as heck.

It’s so exciting to wake up every day and find out more about who you are, who you want to become.

I love you so much my sweet boy,


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Run like you

994503_20135338Last night on the freeway I came upon an accident that I must have missed witnessing by less than a minute. The white SUV, flipped on its side on the side of the road, had twisted metal everywhere. Its lights were still on and I could see the silhouettes of two people, still hanging in their seats. I did not let my gaze rest there, having that sick, gut feeling that I was in the presence of lives, if not at that instant lost, permanently altered.

In those same few split seconds, I saw people running. There were five, six, seven, cars pulled over, hazards switched on, with people running, full throttle, toward the people in that SUV. From the furthest car came a uniformed police officer who must have just gotten off his shift. He was, in the parlance of eighth grade, totally booking.

“Wow,” I said out loud. Then, “oh yeah… om mani padme hung.” This is what my teacher says to do when you are not a medic, when you know that you would get in the way of people who know what they are doing, but you wish to help. (I am not a very good Buddhist scholar, but I understand this mantra as basically a wish or a prayer for love and compassion for all of the people involved.)

Moments later, at my exit, a man in a car next to me waved for me to roll my window down. For some reason, I thought he was going to tell me I had a spent taillight or maybe that he liked my bumper sticker, but instead he asked me “did you see that accident back there?”

When I told him I had, he recounted a particularly grisly detail that he had witnessed about one of the passengers, how difficult it would be for him to release that image from his mind.

“I feel so blessed, I’ve never been in a bad car accident,” he said. “Have you?”

I nodded that I had.

“Are you all okay now? Everything better?”

“Um, yeah,” I said, knowing that the answer was more complicated than yes or no. I wasn’t physically hurt. But I was driving someone I love, and he was.  Our lives continued, permanently altered.

“Be safe tonight, okay?” the man said. “You’re too purty to get hurt.”

I thanked him, kind of bemused that purty-ness would or should protect one from anything, but I appreciated his wish for my safety.

This morning I woke up from dreaming about those people running toward that SUV. They were conflated with the memory of hanging from my own seatbelt in my car, at 17, seeing people running toward me and my brother with everything they had in them, having others seem to appear out of nowhere. Having people leave messages on our answering machine that said “was that your car I saw on the news?”

There are people in the world who charge toward people who are hurt with everything they have in them. Sometimes it’s physical injury, sometimes it’s a more subtle one, like shame or fear.

They are such a miracle, you know?

I’m not enough like them. But I want to be.

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Gimme Shelter

I like faith.

Religion is full of thistles and barbs and egos making strange decisions in the name of morality. It’s full of rules and politics that seem arbitrary; a sticky web cast over a crowd that gets tangled under your armpits when you try to develop your own relationship with God, the universe, a three-chord pop song or a tree stump.

But faith is something else. I believe in it. I believed in it before I had any idea what my faith was in.

I remember reading Black Elk Speaks in college and being confounded by the conversion of an 19th century Oglala, Lakota Medicine Man to Catholicism. My classmates and I debated over whether he became a champion of a European religion of his own free will, or under threat of our violent tendencies. Surely it was the will of the translator, not the man.

“I think he states it pretty simply,” the professor chimed in once we’d exhausted the discussion. “He watched Catholic people worshipping, and marveled at the peace it brought them. He wanted that for himself and his people.”

We, the privileged students of a private institution of higher learning, satiated with Howard Zinn and Ronald Takaki, were anxious to believe that such a shift in faith could only be a product of oppression. That assumption, I came to realize, is itself a kind of prejudice or -ism, and not one necessarily advocated by the historians I was reading, who were really about setting the record straight and pushing students like us to make sure we questioned the legends we’d been raised with.

But something about that professor’s insight resonated with me. Faith in action looks and feels very different than religion or dogma in action. I feel we are right, even morally obligated, to question the political stances of religious institutions. But personal faith is something else.

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately with people whose beliefs about the nature of the universe and the hows and whys of being human couldn’t be more different from my own. But we share the recognition that we can be spiritual together when we leave religion at the door.

For six years, I have been sitting through dharma talks, saying mantras, reading and learning about Buddhism, volunteering for my local center, even trying to see motherhood as a form of practice. But I didn’t think I had committed. I have said here before that I’m not a real Buddhist because I hadn’t taken the Refuge Vow.

It turns out I was. I just decided to formalize it a couple of months back, when I finally took my vow and received the name Karma Dawa Palmo from a teacher that I dearly love.

The Dalai Lama has said  that “All major religions carry the same messages. Messages of love, compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment and self-discipline. I have Muslim friends, Christian friends. All have these same values.”

Oddly enough, being around people who sometimes mention other religions by name, even in the rooms where the rules state that they aren’t supposed to, has helped me get to a place where I could make an outward commitment to my own. I find myself able to be close to people who are endeavoring to live a Christlike life as I try to work to awaken my Buddha nature.

I’ve come to realize that part of the reason Buddhism feels right to me has to do with the things it shares with Christianity, even though the differences are often what brings Westerners like myself to explore it. We share a path of faith.

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The art of not knowing everything

I once worked with a woman who gave elaborate thespian phone performances. Not the nasty $2.99 per minute kind, but plenty that had the undertow of a more genuine nastiness.

She lived at the desk next door to me in our little room in newspaperland, so eavesdropping was essentially unavoidable unless I brought in headphones and blared L7’s “Smell the Magic.”

I overheard her cooing sympathies for various health ailments and workplace stressors, humble babydoll requests for interviews, breathless apologies for misprints and uproarious laughs at jokes that couldn’t possibly have been that funny. But the minute the receiver hit the base, she would start swearing at the phone like a late-night cable comedian. She’d make colorful hand gestures at it, slam nearby file drawers with her foot, shake her head, yell at the ceiling like a thin, malevolent, female Charlie Brown.

If you threw a softball “what happened?” question her way during the episode, she’d gladly assail the character of her phone acquaintances (minor characters in her life, really) with ruthless assessments. They were incompetent morons at best, insane morons at worst. She was certain.

I was young and at first, I found her routine pretty funny. There’s a sexy, star-chamber quality to cattiness and gossip, especially in the workplace. Moreso in the media workplace, where you high five each other when you manage to unearth the failings of powerful people in the world and lay them bare in print. You feel like an insider. You know stuff that it seems like you shouldn’t. You feel smarter than other people. You find new, cleverer, wittier ways to call out what you perceive as stupid, inane or otherwise inferior. It’s so easy to know everything when you’re young.

But at some point, I realized that it wasn’t funny. It might even be dangerous. Not because I am a great arbiter of morals, but because it became easy to see that this behavior was bound to come home to roost on my own rear end.

I saw the same people who had bitched together about someone else bitch separately about each other. When you’re dancing in the middle of that kind of social quagmire, there’s no question that you’re going to be the bitched about person eventually. You will hurt people and get hurt. In the pernicious culture of the newsroom, I’m pretty sure I did my share of both.

I don’t remember a light bulb moment, but I remember the desperate feeling that I needed to extract myself from toxic work socializing as best I could. I started nodding more. Listening more. Withholding judgment. I searched for metaphors that would properly reflect what I was hearing from the person about how they felt instead of joining their rigged jury. This kind of listening has actually come in handy in my writing life a lot since. And my spiritual life. And my mothering life.

Finding the words to celebrate or applaud things authentically, meaningfully is much harder than finding new, clever ways to bitch about things. Vengefulness is easier than compassion. Suspicion is easier than faith. (This is clearly part of the way that Buddhism appeals to my protestant work ethic.)

It is harder to celebrate and find joy in other people’s children than it is to pick apart the alien ways that they might influence yours. It’s definitely easier to judge other parents and children than it is to see your own flaws. Playgrounds, like newsrooms, are breeding areas for cattiness. Yet, when I make a conscious effort to look for what to celebrate instead of what to criticize, I’ve discovered that finding joy makes everything easier. The older the kids get, the harder it looks, but it is easier. It’s more fun. It’s lighter. It’s less isolating. It’s worth the effort.

I make no claim that I’ve mastered these things. I decided early this year that aspirations are my gig, not hardened vows or easily fractured resolutions. I’m determined to remind myself of the mistakes I have made, or keep making. I’m determined to keep trying.

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A place to be silent

I’m really not a good Buddhist, or technically even actually a Buddhist. I have sung the Refuge prayer in spirit dozens of times but never taken it in formal ceremony. I really don’t have any meditation practice other than a long history with yoga, childhood theater classes that taught me a lot about visualization and a propensity to chant Om Mani Padme Hum while I fold the laundry.

Right around the time that I got pregnant, I started spending time at a Tibetan Buddhist center (Kagyu tradition). This was partly because I had written about an extensive exhibition of Buddhist meditational art called The Circle of Bliss, went to hear Robert Thurman speak and caught the desire to know more. It was also partly because of the gratitude that I felt for an AA meeting held at a local temple that did – and still does, just by the fact it exists – help some people who need that program but feel put off by it because it can seem so Christian-centric. Twelve-steppers aren’t supposed to promote whichever “higher power” they believe in, but I hear that it can be hard to find a meeting where Jesus isn’t name-checked. And that can be a major obstacle for people with religious baggage.

But mostly it was because as soon as I began to tell people I was pregnant, these questions of faith started to come up. What would I raise my child to believe? It was suggested that this was something that I needed to answer as soon as I could. It was also suggested that I had to pick something because wishy-washy in-betweenyness would inflict moral ambiguity on my child. I was raised Christian (baptized Episcopalian but confirmed Presbyterian) but open to all kinds of possibilities. Once, during the Shirley MacLaine vein of the 1980s, my dad told me that a transchanneler told him that he and I were sisters in a past life in the Southern U.S. and that we were very good friends then indeed. He also went to a stark and classic New England Episcopal church regularly. And he had my astrological charts done when I was born.

My best friend’s father was a born-again minister and try as I may to heal my mosquito bites by uttering a lot of Amens and Praise the Lords and Hallelujahs and trying to open my heart during one of his faith-healing Bible studies I could not get it to work. But my Presbyterian confirmation as a 14-year-old followed a year of questioning and analysis at a church that had me go and sit through Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox mass and African American Baptist services so that I might have a decent idea about how diverse Christianity really is. I loved that my minister wasn’t afraid to give sermons about the Cold War or racism or abortion (there was, and still is, a NARAL chapter in that church). I was asked to become a deacon, but that minister left and I lost my closeness to the church and the faith. I am just more comfortable in faith when I’m invited by its envoys to question it.

I’m not the kind of Christian girl who ran screaming from her church thinking that having no religion would make me intellectually superior or that Eastern religions would have all of the answers. When I started going to Dharma talks and public talks by Buddhist teachers, mostly what I found was a way of thinking about the world that is much more Christ-like, as I understand it, than what I find in a lot of churches now. To try and see my worst enemy with the compassion of 10,000 mothers, to dedicate my actions to the benefit of all beings – these things have the spirit I think of when I think of Jesus. And here in the west, anyway, we have the luxury of contemplating Buddha without watching him turn into a political football. Jesus, on the other hand, gets punted and kicked and used for touchdowns and spiked in Washington DC all the time. Most Christian organizations and a lot of self-professed Christians make me feel alienated from the faith. Still, there is no question that I will raise my son to understand that Christianity is part of his heritage and give him the opportunity to explore it as a faith if he so chooses.

Meanwhile, there really isn’t a space for kids in the Buddhist center that I visit. They’ve been kind enough to put speakers in the basement that have enabled me and a handful of other parents to listen to dharma talks while our little ones babble around us and we all worry that they’ll be too loud. But the most popular event there every week is Shi’nay (a silent) meditation, and people – including some parents trying to get that hour of silence – don’t want that kid noise adding to the roars from the nearby freeway and the barking dog neighbors, even if it’s just creeping through the floorboards of the temple from our subterranean space.

A very good yoga teacher of mine taught me that quiet meditation is something you work to do amidst the clamor – that you can’t control your environment, but you can learn to control your response to an environment. I try to stem my resentment that childcare of any form never felt like a consideration at the center. When I’m there, I generally want my son with me. I can’t let go of my expectations that kids are part of the spiritual package. I’m not comfortable being there when it seems he’s not welcome or might raise hackles if he acts as what he is – a child – without feeling like he might be resented for it. So I’ve never sat Shi’nay. And I’ve never felt like I could fully embrace the practice. It seems like many Westerners come into Buddhism in such a solitary way, or in ways that so firmly reject anything that reminds them of their Judeo-Christian upbringing, that a Sangha (community) can feel like it’s being built out of pebbles instead of bricks.

So a couple of weeks ago, when a friend of mine who is deeply involved with Zen Buddhism came to town, I went to a Zen meditation with her. I had no preconceived notions about taking Declan because the group is very small and rents a room in a church, and while there are several differences between Shi’nay and Zen meditation, there are thin
gs that are the same. During that 5o minutes of silence I employed just about every way to clear my mind that I know. I turned numbers into clouds and blew them away. I saw their outlines in the sand and brought in waves to clear them. I burned them as sticks, I wiped them off like chalk, I flicked them off the table like peas. (I guess I used numbers because someone there told me to count to eight to clear my mind.) And I understood something new about the benefits of finding silence, but I found Zen’s coolness a little less cozy than Tibetan Buddhism.

And so, much as in the days when my dad and I were a couple of southern belles, I find myself returning to the laundry.

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Karma bombing

I believed in karma long before I knew the word. I imagined it as though it was a cosmic superhero, capable of righting all injustices. It’s also known by the grandma wisdom that spills forth when you’ve been hurt by someone else: “don’t worry about it, he/she will get what’s coming to them eventually” or “what comes around goes around.”

Maybe because the golden rule was the rule of law in my childhood home, heaven and hell made less sense to me than the idea that at our life’s end, our soul would be momentarily shattered by a karma bomb. It would be one thing to be presented a list by St. Peter, another to realize fully who we’ve been and how our actions hold up. Every piece of a karma bomb’s brilliant shrapnel would fill us with an empathic experience that would help us vividly understand the joy and pain we inflicted on others during our lifetime.

This belief has been a salve I’ve used on my ego in painful situations, particularly when I’ve needed to accept defeat or, really, reality. It was there when I needed a way to cope with feelings of powerlessness in the face of infinity, or, more often, in the face of one of the world’s big mean jerks. I sometimes went so far as to let it keep me from promoting or defending myself, instead thinking that this cosmic force was going to somehow let the real me, my real intentions, be seen, appreciated, and especially understood by whoever was that I needed to have understand it.

I’ve spent too many wee hours searching for the components to construct my own small karma bombs – usually words. I’ve searched for some kind of truth in language that I hoped would suddenly bring another person to a full-bodied understanding of how their mistreatment of me, or worse, of someone I care about, truly felt. It would let them know all about the parts of the story they don’t know, or fail to look at, powerfully and instantly. And for all of that time I’ve spent laboring, these letters are largely unwritten and unsent.

Some of my journalistic peers say things like “our readers aren’t interested in reading about X,” because they have marketing data that they’ve come to trust beyond their own, far less limiting, human instincts. And X is almost always something that illuminates a social concern, something that asks the reader to consider life outside of themselves. I’ve seethed over our lack of faith in people.

I have heard morally questionable actions repeatedly excused with “it’s only business.” I’ve also seethed over this regularly in my karma bomb-making quarters, because in my mind, business doesn’t get to exist without people. Business is people. Period.

But I’m guilty of trapping ideas about other people under glass myself. Once we grouse about a friend or family member or colleague as thoughtless or incapable or difficult or uncaring, it’s hard to back off of that precipice and learn to see them any other way. The late Randy Pausch has a simple-sounding remedy for this in his Last Lecture — he basically says that every person has a good side, we just have to wait for them to show it to us. And that good side is always, always worth seeing. I believe that, whether or not I can find the patience or the time or the desire to do the searching that uncovering that thing may require.

The more I’ve learned about karma, the more it’s come to mean something else to me… something that’s not about righteousness or judgment or berating myself for being passive or mentally bombing people with my version of reality. My karma is what I do with it. It’s about being loving, taking responsibility for my own actions, sowing what good I can in the world and seeing people if not for what they are, for the way that they ask me to see them, if only just to know what that might be. My karma bombs are useless on everybody but me. Or maybe everybody, including me.

What about you? Do you make them?


By now, you’ve probably guessed that this is little more than a pointed pep talk meant to help me convince myself to stop mentally swearing at bullies, editors, politicians, queen bees, unpaid bills, the life I thought I deserved and mosquitoes so often.

Now back to deep-fried garlic mashed potatoes on a stick.

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Medicine mantras

Today, hundreds of people are pulling for Whymommy, a scientist and the mother of two young boys (ages one and three), who has candidly, bravely shared her struggle with Inflammatory Breast Cancer online. Dozens of people have joined Team Whymommy to build a “wall of support” for her over the last seven months, but all good wishes from strangers (or, as she calls them, new friends) are welcome at her blog. She is undergoing a double mastectomy today and her husband will be reading all of the comments and well-wishes that are left online for her as she recovers from the surgery. The hope, after weeks of chemo, is that there will be clear margins around the cancer, so that it may all be removed safely from her body.

Also, a woman who gives an unbelievable amount of time and energy to the Buddhist temple where I have learned so much will be waiting through her mother’s extensive surgery today. The doctors will be trying to find and remove multiple tumors from her abdomen in a procedure that will take several hours. Some members of the sangha will recite the Medicine Buddha mantra, Chenrezig’s compassion mantra or the Tashi Prayer and dedicate the merit to her family.

Whatever your belief system, try and make a little space in your thoughts and hearts for these women and the people that love them.

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The origin of the name Tiny Mantras

(Image: A sculptural representation of Milarepa).

When Declan was about four months old, I took a rare evening to myself so I could attend a teaching by Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche. It was to be, I believed, a dharma talk for Buddhist novices like myself, replete with a tantalizing title about the “purity” of desire, stupidity and anger.

After the Rinpoche and his translator entered the room and took their place in front of the group, they compelled us to sing. We sang a verse about the purity and oneness of desire and forms, followed by the same verse, only this time about the purity and oneness of desire and feelings, then about desire and discriminations.

For the first five rounds or so, it felt novel and fun. I sat with friends who brought their weeks-old baby girl, singing along cheerfully, confident that this was an overture for an illuminating lecture. But as we kept on going past four to five, six and seven verses, my friends and I looked at each other, and at the list of 100-plus virtues, vices, senses, feelings, elements and emptinesses that we were marching through.

“We aren’t going to sing all of these are we?” One of us whispered. There were shrugs all around. I started to feel vaguely annoyed. I wondered if I had chosen to spend my precious evening alone for nothing more than an extended Buddhist version of “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall”?

But as a few more verses came and went, I resigned myself to this fate. Singing these lines would have to be my lesson. Once I accepted that, I enjoyed it immensely, the way that I had found that breathing and accepting the requirement to be still often made breastfeeding a time for meditation, rather than a struggle.

Somewhere during those verses, I let go of some of the noise in my head. I let go of some of the new, protective anger that motherhood had brought me, and the unfamiliar fears. After more than an hour of singing 60-plus verses, I did get the dharma talk that I had hoped for.

Now, I’m no great scholar or practitioner of Buddhism. I started attending dharma talks at a local Kagyu temple soon after I got pregnant for completely selfish reasons – I wanted to find more ways to deal with stress in my daily life. I felt more vulnerable than ever before. And I especially wanted hope for the future in the face of a war I did not support and a president I did not support (who had just been tipped to reelection by my home state). In the sangha, I found some people seeking the same.

Of that night of singing and the talk, what I remember learning best was that things like anger and stupidity can come through us in a neutral and benign way. It’s how we grab at or cling to them, the pentimento that we make of our experiences, that propels us to do hurtful things to ourselves or to others. And simply put, it’s a lot harder to cling to your past or your fears or your ego when you’re singing. (Or chanting prayers or mantras.)

A little over a year beyond that night, Declan’s hunger for language became overwhelming. He went from saying a few words to learning the name of every color, shape, animal and household item in his proximity as quickly as he could. One of his favorite words was “space.” He would jump up and down and cheer “space, space, SPACE!” in front of various Star Trek series’ openings, marveling at the planets, asteroids and stars.

Wondering if his interest would extend to science as well as science fiction, we started saving space documentaries on our DVR. Declan would watch them, and pick out and modify lines from the narrative to repeat over and over while he played, ate breakfast, tackled the dog or took a bath. His earliest mantras included the ominous-sounding “galaxies fade away, all stars merge” (from “Unfolding Universe“) and “just the right speed, just the right angle!” (from “If We Had No Moon“). Others were simpler, like the one he has most frequently yelled up the stairs at me while I try to get work done: “Saturn has rings, MOMMAY!

There is such joy on his face when he says these things – an abandon in his mastery of language, in his strange desire to process the workings of the universe. And because of the vastness and mystery of his favorite subject, his mantras have a special depth and gravity (pun intended). Now that he’s a full sentences kind of guy, he still has a remarkable skill for picking up on soothing concepts, many of which still have to do with space. He also finds them in other places, like the latest wisdom from Blue’s Clues: “Stop. Breathe. Think.” A reminder he’s offered me three times today.

I’m still not very good at managing stress, and I am probably not any closer to being able to let anger and stupidity announce themselves without climbing on for the ride. But Declan’s mantras, like that night of singing, are often the things that remind me that forgetting myself and being in the moment are possible.

This is my 200th post!

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