More On The Only Force Powerful Enough

The Challenge and Responsibility We Call Parenting

The miracle we are is a constantly changing interplay, a constellation or radiant galaxy of trillions of independent but interdependent cells relating, communicating and cooperating. No thing is ever the same, not for a blink. As we now know there is no such ‘thing,’ as an atom, only movement. We are that, only movement.

We honor that impermanence, that we are a river moving or we misconceive. We create an abstract, somehow fixed notion that we are static, a me, mostly as a defensive strategy to avoid anticipated and self-projected fear.

unconditional love
model imperative


It must have been in the mid 1970’s, sitting at the counter of the local health food store a drop dead gorgeous young woman pulled up. I commented on how beautiful she is. This turned the conversation. ‘Life is all about attention,’ she said. Now, that’s a Wow insight! In 2004 biologist Rupert Sheldrake published stunning research on the feeling of being watched. You know, turning your head at the red light and the person in the next car is looking right at you - attention. I was about fifteen feet away. A mother was looking after her two-year-old on the grass, a puppy resting near. I made no physical gesture. The moment my attention landed on the puppy, the tail began wagging, head up, ready to play. Fifteen feet is a long way. It was attention.

para-normal experiences

The Only Power Strong Enough


Carly Elizabeth is seven months young today, just this week beginning to pre-crawl. I wish I could be so attentive, persistent, focused, so sensitive and aware of everything instead of being preoccupied with all my stuff. Carly craves engagement and it is truly one of the most challenging tasks as a parent to keep up, to stay in the present moment, to share this experience together right now. Oh, how easy it is to give that demand for complete engagement over to some mechanical or technological thing, but at what price?


Leaving The World A Better Place

Our lives are a series of little miracles. In 2000 my life was unraveling, exploding really, as if a cherry bomb went off in a house of cards. The phone rang and my life changed, at least a little. A colleague had given up on several ‘do good’ organizations and landed with a man who discovered a compassionate way to listen and communicate that puts the brakes on violence. A few weeks later I packed up my crew and broadcast cameras and spent the weekend in San Francisco recording what became the Center for Nonviolent Communications’ core curriculum, at least on video. You know the name. Marshall B. Rosenberg, PhD., cashed in his chips last week leaving behind a world one step closer to peace, kindness and what Marshall affectionately called ‘natural giving.’ Marshall came to my room one evening and we taped a personal interview.

nonviolent communication

Marilyn Milos on Circumcision

One of my personal heroes is Marilyn Milos, founder of NOCIRC, Her story of personal activism is exemplar; a model for anyone seized by a passionate insight that something is wrong and must be corrected. As a nurse training to become a midwife she witnessed her first circumcision.


What I Learned With Carly Elizabeth at Six Months

I can’t believe it! No, it can’t be true. Impossible! It must be a mistake. Indeed, Carly Elizabeth and I (and of course Z) are six months young today.

What began as a tender ‘first, do no harm’ obsession deepened and expanded into a radiant love affair, a dance of infinitely subtle feelings, gestures, an expressive ebb and flow of shared meaning marked by a palpable urge to evoke safety, trust, happiness and wonder, anticipating what delicious experience will happen next. Every movement she makes is unmistakably intelligent. Not the limited, narrow intelligence we call intellect, rather a keen sense of relationship.

ages and stages

Attachment, Bonding or Attunment

John Bowlby coined the term ‘attachment’ for a healthy mother-infant-father relationship and was plummeted by his peers for doing so. Marshal Klaus, MD., helped popularized the term ‘bonding’ to describe the precious cascade of discovery-contact-response encounters shared by newborn and mother during their first moments and hours after birth. Bowlby was influenced by infants who had missed or were deprived normal mothering , those in intuitions and orphanages. In these infants something was broken, detached. Klaus observed what may be called attached mother-infant relationships as they discover, make contact and respond in completely new ways, postnatal, coming together, forming new patterns. Each term ‘attachment’ and ‘bonding’ were and are appropriate given the context. Both terms break down and lose some of their meaning however, when applied to the larger, ever-changing reciprocal dynamic we call childhood and parenting. Attunement may be more precise when describing this overarching movement.


Lunch With Carly Elizabeth

Carly and I (and of course Z, mother and wife) landed in a hip, crowded and loud bistro in Laguna Beach the day after Christmas along with my brother Mark. The waitress removed one of the chairs and slipped in a wooded highchair. In three days Carly Elizabeth will be five months young. As the early morning sun danced across the hotel sheets Carly was balancing, arms stretched, almost sitting up by herself, but not quite. Even so, the wooden highchair was too low and too far away. I pushed a dish aside and sat Carly on the table with my arm around her.


Wishing You...

Floating in the tub Carly Elizabeth kicked her chubby legs this morning, murmuring pre-words that only she and I can understand. Day by day she grows more aware, awake and brighter if this is possible. Preparing for my interviews with the First Prime Minister of Tibet in exile I read six or seven books on Tibetan Buddhism including, of course, several by the Dalai Lama. In an interview his Holiness was asked; ‘how he could smile so often seeing the suffering he does throughout the word? His reply,  ‘Happiness is my profession.’ The negation of suffering leaves what? Happiness.


Solstice 2014

Winter Solstice 2014

I return each winter when the moon is full
and the stars shine bright in the black sky.

I return to a quiet place that has been
in the heart and soul of humanity - forever.

The heavens stand still for just a moment
in this quiet place I’m sure we all feel.

The ever-present cycle of birth, growth, blossoming,
the wisdom of autumn and death of each heartbeat,
breath, each cell, organ, limb, body, tree,
mountain, planet and galaxy dancing the dance
of transformation and renewal,
we are reminded of in this quiet place.