Archive for April, 2009

Journaling The Dalai Lama

A few days ago I had the honor of listening to His Holiness, The Dalai Lama speak live at UCSB in two very compelling lectures. The morning lecture was entitled, “The Nature of the Mind,” and the afternoon lecture was “Ethics for Our Time.” My first thought was that with all his power and presence, surely his mind would rule over his body, but he is not immune to the germs which float amongst us. In spite of him having a very bad flu and cold, he was able to capture our attention for each two hour-session. Tickets were sold out in ten minutes (10,000 seats) so I was honored to even be there. Security was very tight, no cameras or recording devices, but journals are always allowed, and I could not write fast enough for the amount of wisdom he bestowed on his listeners. As a matter of fact, a few times, I thought I was the only one in this large stadium. I don’t know how he created that energy, but even during moments when it was difficult to understand his English, it did not matter, being in his presence was enough. I had prepared myself for his talk by reading all his books and left feeling even more elated by his energy. Even though he has been exiled from his home country of China and living in India, he continues to be positive about the future. I strolled away (feeling much calmer than when I walked in), still mulling over his tidbits of wisdom. Here are only a handful of snippets recorded in my journal:

– Live in the present

– Have compassion

– We can do without religion, but not spirituality

– To achieve a joyful and happy life, we must take care of our mind

– Everything depends on our motivation

– Many of the problems we are facing are man-made problems

– Thinking only of oneself is selfish

– Happiness is a matter of a mental state; sadness is a mental state

– My own inner value of compassion brings inner comfort and peace

– Everyone appreciates human love and kindness, regardless of their religion

– A peaceful mind is important for preventative reasons – Our world is in crisis which tells us there is a limitation
Namaste to you all!

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Reflections on National Poetry Month

April is  National Poetry Month and I am delighted how much has been going on in our community to honor poets. On Saturday, I went to a reading by Mary McGinnis, a Sante Fe poet who has been blind since birth. She read some new poems and also from her collection, Listening For Cactus. Her poetry was absolutely beautiful and it was impressive how well her other senses, such as hearing and smell have been so keenly developed. She was a true inspiration, and even those listeners who have never written poetry, might have been motivated to do so. Tomorrow night I am a featured speaker at a Ventura’s Writer’s Club. I will be discussing how you don’t have to be a “poet” to write poetry. I always encourage people to generate poetry originating from their personal experiences. The strongest poems have an interplay with the inner and outer self. When writing narrative poetry (a poem that tells a story about a personal experience), a good way to bring people into your poem is to find a universal link to lure them in.

Why don’t you try writing a narrative poem about an experience you’ve recently had and let the rhythm of the experience help determine both your line breaks and your ending. Good luck!


Quote of the Week


"A writer uses a journal to try out the new step in front of the mirror."

~Mary Gordon

About Me


I am a memoirist, essayist, poet and teacher whose passion is keeping a notebook. My notebook is my muse and my alter ego. It contains personal snippets of my life and observations from the world around me. Diarist Anaïs Nin has been a great source of inspiration for me. My hobbies include writing, writing and more writing, but when I have extra time, I enjoy reading, walking, hiking, yoga, working out, cooking and hanging out with my family and Maltese Poodle, Spunky. In order not to become ensconced by the glare of my computer screen, I also teach in the UCLA Extension Writers' Program and in various conferences and festivals around the country. My pleasure comes from sharing my joy of journaling with professional writers and anyone interested in writing.

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