Couple Happily Living in An Airstream


Our good friend Bob Wells interviewed us for his youtube channel. Take a look if you dare!


Bob also has a website, CheapRVliving. He and his site were a big inspiration for us, and he gave us a lot of nuts and bolts how to info for getting on the road and making it work.

Bob is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, and he’s a real visionary. He’s made it his life’s mission to help people get into full-timing, and he hosts a big get-together twice a year where people can go out into the woods or the desert and camp with him and learn how to do everything you need to do to live on the road- workcamping, boondocking, mail, solar power, storage, picking a rig, etc. The Rubber Tramp Rendezvous for winter 2017 will be in Quartzsite, AZ in January. Last year there were over a hundred campers and this year he expects it to be even bigger. It is a great time, and a wonderful opportunity to meet other people who are doing this crazy thing.

Anyway, Bob interviews people who are living on the road and posts the videos on his channel so people can get an idea what it’s like to do it, and what kind of people have chosen this life. Bob interviewed us when we were all boondocking together up in Leadville, CO, a few months ago. It was an honor to be interviewed by Bob and I think the video turned out great. If you’re curious about our life on the road and would like to get a look inside the airstream, you can check it out. It’s a long interview, so don’t say you weren’t warned!

I hope it inspires you to do something you’ve always wanted to do but were a little bit afraid to jump into.




The Wilderness Within


This is a spot we had at Joshua Tree last week. Monzogranite formations. I’ve camped alongside a lot of monzogranitic rocks- in the Alabama Hills, at Joshua Tree, at Indian Bread Rocks, City of Rocks and Rockhound Parks in New Mexico. These relict forms draw us to be near them, to sleep under their protective embrace at night, to rest in their cool shade during the day, to scramble over and on top of them at all hours, but especially at sunrise and at dusk.

Yoga and meditation in these spaces is something more than magical- the body takes over from the mind and everything becomes breathing, stillness, and movement. The light that plays over the forms penetrates the heart and sends it soaring. The mind is stunned into silence and observation, but the body is in love. I think that it is almost like the earth undresses for us here, invites us into her body in a way that feels more intimate than it does in other settings.

I do feel differences when I sit in different places. Each place has its own resonance, its own language, and it is the body that responds most deeply to place. The mind notices, the mind is engaged, sure, this is lovely, that over there is gorgeous, it’s hot, what’s that bird, etc. This reminds me of that other place.

But the body unfurls itself and rolls in the grass or the dirt or the snow. The world penetrates the body, the breath brings the world into it, sounds reverberate through the tiny bones of the ear canal and the cells seem to spark to the new vibrations. Yoga makes this more obvious, more delectable, richer because we attune to it, to this presence in us and around us. It isn’t always easy to feel how we take the environment in, how we make of it the tiniest parts of our bodies, how we leave parts of ourselves wherever we go and take other parts with us- the exchange happens in each instant and without ceasing. But going outdoors, going into the wild, makes this process come into focus. And once we open to it, once we sense it and understand it and feel what it makes us feel, we can cultivate it. We can attend to it, notice it, and give thanks for all the richness and strangeness it brings into our whole selves, our bodies and our lives.

We are on this grand adventure. But the going different places, camping out, exploring, seeing new things, escaping from our old indoor lives- these are simply the requisite acts that allow for the true journey to unfold- the inner journey. Fifty years of living in buildings, sitting in cars, peeing and pooping in porcelain thrones, taking in numberless hours of television noise and stupidity, numbing myself with drink and drugs and netflix, only going outside on occasion, for an hour or two, or a weekend once a year- had made of me a dangerous, brittle, unhappy and unhealthy man. In one year I feel I have undone almost all of those bad years. My body is alive and my mind is no longer abusing it. Dethroned from its place of privilege, my mind is becoming a better friend- less brittle, less strict, less busy, less anxious and unhappy all the time. More easy going, more laid-back, and I think, happy to not be in charge any more. Freed from the tyranny of that bitter and fearful mind, my body rejoices. Freed from the isolation and slickness of the insides of buildings, my body is free and happy. Wandering under the blue sky, under the waxing and waning moon, under the blistering sun, in the weeds, in the woods, in the desert and the mountains, my body has regained its animal nature, its innate birthright. Everything feels good. Breathing feels better than drinking. I never thought I’d say anything like that, but it’s true.

Practice now is a hinge that swings a great door. All the wild beauty, the skies and the sun and the moon and the stars, the wolves and coyotes and snakes and lizzards and crows and hawks, the kangaroo rats and the tarantulas, the deer and the jackrabbits- all that wild and strange and particular beauty floods through me and into me and becomes me, and the inner world when I turn my gaze to it becomes just as wild and strange and particular. Just as in the outer world each moment, each space, each universe, is packed to the gills with writhing life, so too is the inner world completely free of nothingness. There is the luminous emptiness synonymous with form, and formless emptiness synonymous with light, but they co-exist in a ceaseless interdependent play. Sitting, there seems to be no way to discern anything acting as mediator between inside and outside.

I am so glad that I got to live this long. Even a single hour of this life is enough for me to die happy.


Namaste. Thanks for coming by.

I love you.


Self at Fifty-two




Happy Birthday to Me!




Usually or sometimes I do a self portrait around my birthday. This is me this year. I think it stands in for me pretty well as a kind of an indication of what life is like for me right now. I’m on the road, I’m home, and I am happy as f*ck.





My birthday present to myself this year is to write every day. Maybe next year I can give myself a copy of my book.

You, too, if you want.



I don’t know how many more daily practices I can fit into my life. Sitting meditation, reading and contemplating the dharma, yoga, eating, sleeping, fixing stuff in the Airstream, making sure my wife feels loved and supported, and hours already dedicated to shiftlessness make my life pretty dang full already. But I’m decided on this writing thing and things will just have to make room.



What I like about my spiritual work lately is that I’m off on my own, wandering in the wilderness, without much guidance from my teachers. Everything is becoming my own now. Deeply personal and rich and also totally impersonal and rich. I’m not seeking. I’m exploring. A different thing. Not looking for anything, but looking at everything.

All of this work has turned me kind of inside out. The outside world is my inner world. I am that. I feel a bit like a hinge that swings, now inside looking out, now outside looking in, but nowhere to be found. The inner world is vast and limitless just like the outer world. Both are illusory, yet both manifest without ceasing.

Practice gets strange, then it gets normal, then it gets stranger, then it gets normaler. I do the same.

I’m not where I once was, I can say that with some authority. I am a practitioner. Practice is the vehicle through which I move in the world- both outer and inner. And, yeah, I know- there’s not really a difference. I love having this lens through which to view things- it reliably brings whatever I’m looking at into crisp focus. Not always a comfortable experience, but a good and necessary one if I aim to stop making the same old mistakes.


Love. Love. Love. Love.

I have always valued love over all things and yet this path shows me again and again that I have too small a heart still, that my idea of love is too constricting, too limiting, too impoverished.

So I seek to grow it bigger. I love everyone I know and I long to love everyone I don’t know. I send love out in endless waves to the most infinite reaches of the cosmos- the known and the unknown alike. I send love to the hell realms and to the god realms, to the animal realms and the human realms. I send it to those imprisoned, to those tortured, to those who imprison and torture. I send it to the living and the dead. To the dying and to those attending the dying. To the cells in my body, to the living creatures inhabiting my biome, the teeming bacteria in my gut, the things that live on my skin, my organs and my bones, my shit and my piss and my sweat. Yours, too. I send love out without ceasing, and yet I know I’m only touching the shimmering edge of love itself. I long to be only a conduit for love itself and I’m happy to do my small part in trying to make that real.

My experience is that loving like this is a beautiful work. It provides so much more than it asks and it seems to do no harm.

You know, it seems that it’s easy to overlook in our spiritual seeking what’s really being asked of us. I know that what I brought to the path was the desire for my own suffering to be ameliorated, and to be blessed with love and understanding from whatever was making things happen- God, or the senseless churning of a deterministic, accidental cosmos, or my own enlightened nature, or what. And to get these boons I was willing to work hard, to dig deep, to truly change.


And that’s a good first step. Vital. Necessary.

But insufficient in itself.

I think that we’re being asked to become that source ourselves. I think that’s the change that is being asked for. Become Buddha. Become Christ. Not aspire to it, not have that as our inspiration, not to be Christ-like, or Buddha-like, but to become our own fully divine nature.


What’s that look like?



What if you decided to become that? It would mean that you would jettison your small self completely- your small self cannot make that journey. Your small selfish concerns would be left behind. Your fear. Your small-heartedness. Your desire to be taken care of. Your desire to be attended to. Your desire to be numb. Your desire to be special. You would peel this small self off and let it fall to the floor and stand naked until your absolute nature could reveal itself.

Maybe it is impossible to become Buddha. Maybe it is impossible to become Christ. But it is entirely possible to try to do this in all earnestness. To long for, not your own happiness, but for the happiness of all the living beings in every world and universe. To feel responsible for them, to love them, all of them, each of them, every one of them, as if they were your own precious child. To be willing to die for them. To hold them in your heart and to ask nothing of them in return.

Not to be a better person, a more spiritual person, but to be the whole being you truly are- one who loves, one who shines light into the void, one who is willing to give everything to everything that is and to hold nothing for oneself.

I think probably I am not a very good example of how to go about doing things. I tend to go to the extreme. Maybe it’s better to aim at just being a good person and leave it go at that.









Thank you for reading here, as always. I’m glad of your company.











I Name My Joy “Luminous Sorrow”




We are moochdocking at my Dad’s place again. He’s got a big spread in A-town and he lets us park the Airstream down by the barn. He put in 30 amp service for us so we can have shore power, and there’s a hose bib nearby so we can fill our freshwater tanks. It is a beautiful place to park and it has been a lifesaver for us as we’ve returned again and again to deal with our various family horrors. A place of calm and order and warmth.

Thank you, Pops.



I think we’re still leaving home. Twenty years in the same place and it turns out you can’t leave it all at once. But it’s happening. Next month will be a year since we went on the road and it is starting to feel like we busted out. Not that we want to be free of our child and her children. Never that. Those tendrils and roots go through our very souls. Just as Yolie and I are intertwined, those boys and our girl weave in and out of every neuron, axon, and dendrite we possess.

But we did have to shift our unskillful approach at “helping” them. Shift it into something that looks a lot like we have abandoned them. I think that living through that decision is showing me that I can have trust in the way things unfold. I can learn to accept that things are the way they are, and I can learn to let go of my vision of how I want things to be. It asks a lot to take this view. You have to be willing to be open to the things that frighten you the most. Your child in jail. Your grandchildren in foster care. Your own limitless grief and guilt and sorrow.

But these terrible things we are asked to accommodate are here already. They are not waiting around for our permission to manifest. They arrive and depart on their own schedule. So being open to them doesn’t change them in that way- they don’t rush in or suddenly depart because you’ve changed your view, changed your approach. They still come and go on their own.

When we struggle against what is, it comes anyway. When we strive for what isn’t meant to be, it still remains unmanifest.

The Buddha spoke of our lives as having the quality of dukkha, or suffering. The lion’s share of this suffering comes from our approach to the way things really are. We are so conditioned by our strong cravings for happiness and pleasure and our strong aversion to pain and suffering that we spend every waking moment and our dream lives trying to fashion an acceptable world out of what is nakedly presented to us. We imagine that the limitless bounty of the manifest world is a buffet from which we can choose those things that bring us happiness and joy, and that we can push away or ignore those things we loathe or fear or simply don’t understand.

It’s an approach that seems to make a lot of sense, but it leads only to suffering. At least, that’s been my experience. I want this, I don’t want that- and I can spend months, years, a lifetime agonizing over it. Limitless lifetimes, if you believe the Buddhist view. I want this, I don’t want that. I want my child to be happy. I don’t want her to be an addict. I want this job, I don’t want that one. I want this to happen and if it does then I will be happy. If this other thing happens, I will be so miserable. It will be the end of the world. I have to do all of these things to make sure that it does happen, or that it doesn’t happen, or that once it happens that it keeps on happening, or never happens again- on and on and on without ceasing.

Giving this activity up is very, very difficult. It is simple, but hard.

Luckily, I’ve been blessed with a life that shows me as many times as I need to be shown that I don’t have any alternative to giving it up. My suffering has been great enough that I’ve become willing to do whatever it takes to stop creating it. For me, this has meant learning to become familiar with my mind and how it works, and learning to stop the engine of picking and choosing what’s acceptable to me, and opening my eyes and my heart, really for the first time, to what is. Just that. What is.

And of course, what is is just that. It isn’t anything magical, it isn’t another realm. It isn’t heaven or paradise or nirvana or astral planes or any of that. It is simply everything that is, all at once, all the time. And yeah, it’s got beauty. And yeah, it’s got horror. It has perfume and it has shit. It has bliss and sorrow. It has everything, everything, everything, everything. It always has, and it always will, and that will never change. The forms change, they dance and writhe and flex and flow and pop in and out of existence, but the show remains the same mix of everything all the time.

And of which you are part and parcel. Not extricable from the warp and weft but intrinsic to it. Nor does it need to be more. Nor can it be less. Though you are of it, though you are it, it does not need your picking and choosing. It is deaf to that interior squabbling. Unmoved. What is dances its own dance ceaselessly.


For me what I have found is that I like dancing with what is a lot better than I liked trying to make it dance the way I thought was best. It is so much richer and more terrifying than any dance I could have thought up in a billion, billion lifetimes.

And, yes, it is beautiful. It is horrific. It is bliss and terror kind of all the time. But what are those things? The distinction begins to blur. And it doesn’t matter, really, what I call any particular thing. Everything, when seen with clarity, is everything. Is that good? Is that bad?

That question stops making any sense. Not that it ever really did. A better question becomes- “What is this thing?”

Keep asking that one. See where it takes you.




I am blessed. I am a cosmic engine of love. I have no fear. I am fully human with all of the flaws that being human entails. I am not exempt. I am for the boneyard. I won’t be spared nor will I ask to be.


I want the world. I want the whole world.




Namaste, bitches. I love you like you are my own. You are our most perfect being. It took four billion years and everything that ever was just to bring you into this world- thank god you’re here at last!

Now get to work.




Love. Love. Love. See it all, and love anyway.
















The Falcon Cannot Hear The Falconer







Our ecstatic dance is beautiful to behold.





I wrote the last post and I confess that since then I’ve really wanted to take it down.




Yesterday my brother was awarded the Medal of Valor for his actions in a SWAT callout last year. He is my all-time hero.




Today we’re having a family get-together. My sister is going to meet my dad for the first time. My mom and dad gave her up for adoption when mom got pregnant with her at sixteen. Three years later I came along, but I never knew about my sister until a few years ago when my mom told us about her. I’ve visited her twice since then and all I can say is I’m happy to have my sister in my life and I love her like she’s always been there. My dad is a little nervous and uncertain about this meeting, but he’s throwing the party and putting on a big feed for us all in honor of the event. I know Janie must be freaking out, too.

I hope it goes well and they make a good connection. I hope that all can be forgiven.

I have a weird thing going with sisters. When I was a kid it was just me and my brother. Now I have four sisters! One that I never knew about, two step-sisters that came when my mom remarried, and a sister that my mom and stepfather adopted when they lived in Korea. I’m blessed with an ever-growing circle of amazing women in my life and in my family.

It’s taught me that family is a totally arbitrary box to put people in. One minute they can be a stranger, the next they can be your loved one. Really the only thing that’s keeping every single human on the planet from being your loved one is your own mind.

I’ve committed to letting everyone in. I may not know you yet, but you are my brother. You are my sister. You are my dearest loved one.

I mean it.


Get over here for a hug, you big lug.



In the comments of my last post someone wrote in and dressed me down for my selfish and unforgivable actions. They did this with a big heart, thoughtfully, and carefully, but they really let me have it. I don’t think they are wrong, either.


My wife crashed on her mountain bike last week. She’s all fucked up, bruised and scraped and banged up. She’s a trooper about it. But it breaks my heart to see her in pain. I wish it had been me that crashed.

But it makes me happy to take care of her.



I miss all you guys. I feel bad about not holding up my end. but that’s how I am.




We got to see the boys. They’re living with their other Grandma and she’s giving them a beautiful time. They were so happy and relaxed and it was easy to feel the love there.

There isn’t a way to think about those boys that doesn’t come with a knife right in the heart. That’s how it is.

My wife is going out to the jail to pick up our daughter. She’s being released to a residential drug treatment facility and is going to start the long process of recovery again. And she’s going to start working with CPS on earning the right to get her children back. I’ll be praying for her day and night. I hope you’ll pray for her, too. For all of us.




I’m going to be dead soon. I’m glad I’m alive right now. I hope I get the chance to be of service to the world. I hope I get all used up by it. I don’t need to keep nothing for myself, I’ve been given the whole damn universe.












I didn’t mean to leave you.



It’s been five months since my last post.

I don’t know what all has happened in that time. If you want to figure it out you can go check my insty. Insty. Insty. Insty.

We’ve been on the road. Trying to work it out- trying to live a life of freedom and adventure and meaning and exploration and connection. And being successful at it to a larger or smaller degree. There have been moments of pure bliss. Moments of rage and despair. Just like life in that way.

But I must say that living on the road is different than stationary life. Different in a lot of ways, but other than the going many places and seeing new things aspect, there’s a deeper qualitative difference that seems to be a consequence of all of the letting go we did in order to make this new life on the road happen. We let go of our house, I let go of my job and identity as a police, we let go of the little town we’d lived in for twenty plus years, we let go of security and routine and predictability. We let go of family. Not really let go of family, but let go of our ability to be right there for them- we had to accept that distance would mean that our role became more distant. And this, for me, I think for both of us, was quite a nugget to crack. We have been through the ringer for the past ten years with our daughter and her struggles with addiction, no need to go into all of that ugly (I was going to say past, but it is still present, so….). So a big part of this move was that we were hoping for more distance- hoping that we could extricate ourselves from the exquisite entanglements of our parental love and unskillful attempts at rescuing her from the consequences she sought out with such relentless fervor.

And we’ve done that. It was a multi-part process that only began with selling the house we’d been living in with her and her boys and her husband. Only began with making them move out. Only began with hooking up the airstream and pulling off down the road. Since then it’s been a recurring theme- we get a ways down the road, and her life blows up and we’re asked to come to the rescue again. Which we did, over and over. Kept trying, kept trying, kept trying. Saying it was for the boys. Saying they were innocent and shouldn’t suffer, and if it helped our daughter at the same time, well, that couldn’t be helped.

It all came to a head a few months ago. Our kid had been on a long, painful downhill slide- it looked like she was scraping by, but mostly that was just our beleaguered hope. Eventually she was arrested and the boys were taken by the court because she’d really endangered them.  Child protective services asked if we would take the boys. We said yes. We’d come back, we’d take the boys, they could live with us in the airstream until she got clean, did her time, got back on her feet.

We jumped back on the merry-go-round. It seemed like the only thing to do.

But CPS wouldn’t place the boys with us. We were homeless. We didn’t have a place to live, we couldn’t give the boys a separate bedroom and bathroom and twin beds.


It seemed like the decision had been made for us, and finally, finally, we were not going to get sucked back into a life of giving up our lives to deal with our daughter’s mess. But we were not done yet. Because family.

My mom. She couldn’t accept the horror of her great-grandchildren going into foster care. I mean, who could? Who could face that? So she agreed to take them. And the court gave them to her. And then she called us for help. And we went.


Just when I think I’m out, they suck me back in!




we went back.

And for a while, we sucked it up. My Mom had a hell of a time with those boys. They were in rough shape- very upset, acting out, freaked out, hard to handle. By the time we got there she was way past the end of her rope. So was my step-dad. It was a shit-storm.

So then this whole other dynamic blew up for me- this strange entanglement with my mom. She had this compulsive drive to save the boys, to provide for them, to protect them from the specter of foster care- but she was so overwhelmed that she couldn’t do it, even with our help. It got really ugly and difficult and she was in tears every time I spoke to her. It wasn’t working.

I was in agony. I wanted to help. I wanted to help her, I wanted to help the boys. I didn’t want my child to lose her children forever. I didn’t want them to go into the system. And I didn’t want to enable my kid. I didn’t want to be her pawn. I didn’t want to be my mom’s pawn. I didn’t want to give my life up to clean up yet another of my kid’s messes. I was a mess.

I used my practice to try to navigate these waters. I stayed with what I felt, I examined my egoic clinging, my lack of peace, my confusion and error. I probed every last episode of this pattern, looking for my errors. I stayed with it and stayed with it and stayed with it. It took weeks of really deep awareness. I couldn’t see the answer but I just kept looking. Opening. Probing. Going ever deeper. Looking for some spot of clarity, some wisdom, some awareness to arise. What I eventually saw was that everyone was suffering. Every one of us. Without exception. And I saw that helping, that act of jumping in and trying to fix things, never really helped. Before the action, suffering. After the action, suffering. And not just the suffering that was there before the action, but extra suffering. Suffering piled on top of suffering as a result of the action taken to avoid the suffering.

And something opened up inside of me.

Awareness dawned. Wisdom dawned. The path became clear.


I would no longer add to the suffering by trying to keep the suffering from happening. My suffering, my child’s suffering, the suffering of those totally innocent boys, my wife’s suffering, my mother’s suffering- this suffering that expanded in rings and touched every one in our family.

I really would not do this any more.

I would still love. I would still suffer. I would give all the moral and emotional support in my soul to everyone involved- but I would no longer act to try to prevent a terrible outcome. Ten years of acting to try to prevent a terrible outcome had never- not one time- worked to prevent that outcome. I was going to do something different now. I wanted a different outcome, so I realized I had to take a different approach.

So I told my mom I wasn’t going to help her with the boys any more. And she couldn’t do it without our help- she couldn’t do it with our help. She had to call CPS and tell them that they had to come get them. If she felt like that was too much for her, I would call them and tell them.

This was a terrible moment. I felt utterly cruel, and I guess that I was. That I am. But I was determined to do this thing. And I did.

This act was like setting off a bomb in our family. It devastated my mother. It profoundly broke something in our relationship and I doubt it will recover. A whole avalanche of changes followed.

The boys went into foster care. It was as terrible as you might imagine. Or maybe it wasn’t. I mean, maybe they were safer, better off. Maybe not. I think that’s the thing- you just can’t be sure. There are terrible aspects and good aspects- it’s very mixed. I think one of the problems with my thinking in the past was that there was such thing as a solution. But there just isn’t. There’s no fix. There’s nothing that stays done. It’s just one event after another- each with good and bad aspects. The shit storm just keeps coming, but there are blazes of light that break through, too. In trying to force a solution I had always been refusing to be with what simply was. What was really happening. But what was happening in the moment was always the result of the whole universe coming together to bring that moment into fruition. My puny efforts to make it some other way were always, and will always be, doomed to failure.

Eventually our daughter’s mother in law stepped in and now she has the boys. She quit her job and moved down to stay with her mother in law and take care of the boys there. Our kid is still in jail, waiting for a space in a sober living home to open up. She has a window of time to earn the right to have the boys back, but the clock is ticking.

We are still being asked to come back and help.



So. I changed course, I took a different path, I followed my own inner wisdom and awareness. What’s the outcome?

Well, objectively it looks terrible. My grandkids went into foster care. My relationship with my mom is on the rocks. My kid is still in jail. She can’t believe that we would let her boys go like that. Someone else is carrying what should be our burden. The boys have been through a lot of terrible experiences and are suffering because of it.

I guess what’s awful is that I know I did the right thing. It looks cruel and selfish, and maybe it is- I think I’m coming from a place of compassion- real compassion, not idiot compassion. I think by doing this I’m allowing things to unfold without adding to the pain with my own confused acts. I think this is cleaner. I think this is wise.

But I might be wrong.


Maybe I’m using my path as an excuse to act badly. Maybe family comes first, always, and I have shirked my responsibility in the most awful way. I carry that now. I don’t get to know if I’m right or wrong.


But what I’m learning is that right and wrong aren’t exactly the point. If you look closely enough at what really is, then how can you say right? How can you say wrong?

For me, I won’t resist what is any more. Whatever good there is can only be found in the present moment. In the richness and shit of what is exactly, totally happening right now. I don’t get to choose how things are, no matter how badly I might want to. I do get to choose how I live with how things are, though, so I’m going to accept them. Accept them wholly, without bias. Without accepting and rejecting, picking and choosing. I will be with what is and love it fully.

It is a radical stance.



So that’s my update. I may be back here again soon. I hope so. But it might be another long time before I post. I don’t know.

I hope you are well and happy. I hope you are at peace. I hope you can feel the love that this world has for you. I hope you can feel the love that I have for you.











Renewal, rebirth, reawakening



What’s happening right now?

Okay, I will tell you.



We are at Rockhound State Park, just outside of Deming, New Mexico. The park sits at the feet of the little Florida mountains, which wrap around the back of the park. Across a valley are the Florida mountains, not so little. Since we’ve been here, strong winds rip across the desert floor and sweep up the face of the Little Floridas, shaking the creosote and prickly pear and stirring up vast clouds of dust that roll with the wind.

Since dropping off the grandchild with his mother, the two of us are now alone. Together, alone, which is like a dream. A very good dream. All that time when we were building this dream, working on selling the house, getting rid of everything, this was what we’d imagined for ourselves- mornings of meditation and yoga, long walks in the wild, afternoons spent reading, napping, doing art, writing, eating good clean food that we cooked ourselves. Silence. Lots of silence.

The last five months since we started this life on the road somewhat lacked silence. Somewhat lacked peace and quiet. Somewhat lacked space for practice and contemplation. We went from place to place, we traveled and camped, set up and broke down, learned the ins and outs of how to get things done, but we didn’t have this.

Instead, we had death and loss. We watched our son in law relapse into his heroin addiction and abandon his wife and children and end up in jail. We watched him return from jail, get clean, try to salvage his marriage and his family, and then watched as our daughter, full of rage and grief and bitterness at being abandoned, also relapsed in her addiction. We watched them tear at each other and use their children as pawns and bargaining chips in a war of cruel attrition. Watched them lose their jobs and then their homes along with their love, their kindness, their sanity. We took Kaleb from his mother and watched helplessly as our son in law took the baby with him out of state, holding him hostage for drug money while he drifted on the streets getting high. Yolie lost her brother and we had to drop everything to go to Florida so she could bury him and take care of her mother. My grandfather died. Our beautiful bulldog Lucy died. And we were trying to give Kaleb a safe, happy home on the road- all the while grieving our own losses, feeling totally overwhelmed by our unexpected full-time parenting gig, and trying not to be too resentful about the difficult circumstances we found ourselves in. And of course, no matter how much we loved Kaleb, how present we were for him, how much we showered him with love and attention and gifts and small kindnesses, we were not his mother. We were not who he wanted to be with and we were not doing what he wanted to do. He was an utterly lost and sad and angry little boy who didn’t know what had happened to his mommy, or his daddy, or where his little brother went.


It wasn’t easy times for anyone.

But this month all of those threads wove themselves into a new narrative. As we drove westward with Kaleb, intent on returning him to his mother come hell or high water, our daughter slowly began to heal, to wake up. She got clean, or mostly clean. She went back to work. She got a new boyfriend, and the two of them saved up and bought a trailer so they have a place to live. She started calling us and texting us again, asking after Kaleb, talking to him on the phone, and saying she wanted him back. She worked with her husband and his family with grace and compassion and did everything she could to get visits with the baby. She tried to work out shared custody, shared visitation, she sent him money and let him rage against her, let him say anything, and tried to remain calm and sane and keep working on getting her boy back.

By the time we hit New Mexico it looked like we were ready, so I rented a car and drove out to California with the boy and took him home. I went into a five day retreat after visiting the rest of my family, and then returned to New Mexico without the boy. Back to my wife and our little tin can and life on the road. And just a few days ago, our daughter got the baby back from her mother in law after her husband left him with her. He’s still calling up, saying he has the baby, demanding money for rent and food- but the baby is back with her. Her little family is reunited. The boys are together and with their mother. All is right with the world.


Our joy is boundless.


My retreat was powerful and life-changing for me. All the work I’ve been doing on the path has been cumulative. India changed me forever and set me on the path to freedom, helped me decide to retire right away rather than wait another eight years, helped me leap into the unknown with my wife and embrace life on the road, life with fewer possessions and less security, more space, more mystery. And what we’ve been through lately, all that turmoil and chaos, only served to deepen my practice and loosen my identification with my ego. I found that clinging to ego was impossible with Kaleb around. If I kept trying to have things my way, kept trying to make things be the way I wanted, I ended up enraged and resentful. I found myself dumping my rage on the little guy, who had no understanding of why I was so mad and no capacity for accepting even more punishment from a world that was capricious and cruel enough already. So I learned to let go of everything my ego told me was necessary. I let go of want or don’t want. I let go of like or don’t like. I let go of plans, let go of wishes, let go of anger and sadness and resentment and tried to simply be with what was actually happening.


Tried to be of help in the present moment, to do what was being asked of me. Again and again and again, letting go. Again and again and again, seeing what was and acting out of that awareness. Moment by moment. Starting out with compassion, then losing it five minutes, five seconds later. Letting go. Taking another breath. Starting again. A day of this could last what seemed like months. But eventually, I got better and better at it. I began to see Kaleb as my little guru- a four year old monk with robes and a shaved head and a big stick he’d hit me with when I drifted out of awareness. He was so reliable! So relentless! And he taught me well. Eventually, I lost the distinction between what was “good” and what was “bad.” Things just were. Everything just was. I could kick against them or I could roll with them. Didn’t make any difference to how things were.


So by the time I rolled into this retreat, I was supple. The bonds of ego were loose and frayed and there was room around them.

So retreat was good. Things that had been hidden from me revealed themselves. Something vast and profound shifted in my awareness.

And now I find myself in a new world.


So. I am happy. I am filled with unquenchable love for things just as they are. I have no sadness. I don’t feel put upon, don’t feel anything bad at all anywhere. Somehow all my wounds are healed. Or I see that I was never even hurt in the first place. Before, I sort of saw myself and my story as real, and the Dharma and awakening as a kind of fairy tale that I was pursuing- something I wanted very badly, but that I didn’t really understand or know. Now it’s different. Now my self, my story, all of that, is the fairy tale. And awakening is the real thing. I still know myself, still can recite all the plot points of my story- but that no longer has any kind of sense of importance to me. Not that I reject it, either. It’s simply totally neutral. All of these things happened. I did all of these actions as a result of what I thought was happening. I caused all of this pain and suffering. I suffered all the time. Due to ignorance. Due to believing what ego was telling me.


And now I don’t listen to that shit any more. I don’t have time for it. I don’t need it. Instead, I hunger to understand this new reality. What is it like here? What’s going to happen next? How can I be of help in this reality? Is there anything to do?

I don’t know. I don’t have anything figured out. What it feels like is that I’ve just continued with the process of letting go that started when we decided to live a life nomadic. Let go of work. Let go of house. Let go of things. Let go of want. Let go of don’t want. Let go of other. Let go of self. Let go of object. Let go of subject. Let go, let go, let go, let go. Let go of Dharma. Let go of attainment. Let go of non-attainment. Keep going. Keep going. Keep going.


Om gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, bodhi svaha.




I will keep you posted.




May you be happy. May you be at peace. May you and everyone you love be free from suffering.











Others must see the change



Here’s a short teaching from Khandro Rinpoche on what the effects of genuine practice looks like. I found this through the website A clear and empty mind, one of my favorite blogs on Buddhism and a constant source of inspiration.

The longer I’m on the path, the more I appreciate this kind of grounded, simple, and penetrating reminder. And the more I aspire to embody the kind of sincere change that is the mark of a good practitioner. Why? Because it leads to happiness. And it opens the door to the possibility of being of benefit to others- true benefit, without conditions or preconceptions imposed by my own ego.

I’m so grateful for everything I encounter.



I haven’t posted much lately but things have been humming and bubbling all the while. I made it out to Florida and for the longest while we’ve been there, attending to Yolie’s mother and dealing with the aftermath of Yolie’s brother’s death, and taking care of Kaleb, and generally doing stuff that is difficult and unpleasant in a place we’d rather not be in. Staying in an RV park for a month is a special kind of hell for us. Especially one where we’re backed up to the railroad tracks and trains pass day and night, shaking our rig and shattering the quiet. Of course, with a four year old in the trailer there is not much quiet to shatter.

Anyway, there’s a lot to complain about in our situation. Yolie lost her brother. Her mother’s situation is precarious and uncertain and likely to just grow moreso. Our new full-time childcare situation isn’t one we signed up for, and the reason for it is also harrowing and gut-wrenching and unbearable. Our dream of life on the road seems to have twisted and shifted into a kind of ugly and difficult endurance contest. The days of wine and roses, of languid sunsets on the beach sipping martinis are evaporating like the morning dew.

And yet.

We’re encountering wonders and miracles and joyous events left and right that we’d absolutely never have experienced if not for where we are and what we’re doing. Almost every day we bump into someone or something that enriches us, leaves us astounded with its beauty or strangeness or utility. Synchronicity and coincidence abound.  Afnd for me, I am face to face with a skillful and demanding teacher 24 hours a day- my grandson. He forces me to be fully present, fully mindful, fully attentive- and the second my attention wanders, the second my awareness fades, the very instant that I allow for my own ego needs, he turns my world upside down. And the only way forward is to recenter, to wake up, to attend, to let go.

It is a wonderful and horrific gift.

It’s wonderful because it works, it is just what I’ve asked for, and it’s a hundred percent reliable. It’s horrific for the same reasons. But I’m happy that I’m smart enough to ask for and sincerely want that which my ego finds impossible to deal with. It isn’t easy, but it is effective.

At least, I hope so. You’ll have to be the judge of that.



Right now we’re living in kind of a dream world. We’re in Tallahassee and visiting with Mrs. Moon and her lovely crew. I’m pretty sure everyone who reads here knows her and follows her, so you probably already know through her blog what we’ve been up to. Amazing h0me-cooked meals, exciting alligator filled swamp boat rides, trips to the Jr. Museum, and fresh eggs from her chickens, and long talks and hugs, and the joy and happiness of a deep and abiding friendship.

Her man Glen is acting as our swashbuckling, white-horse-riding, dragon-vanquishing Knight. Our poor Sportsmobile van turns out to have not been the perfect tow vehicle for us- too many miles and too much worry about how long she can hold out. We needed a new tow vehicle and I figured we’d buy one while we were here in Florida- but I had no luck at all on my own. I couldn’t get a truck to save my life- everything was either way, way, way out of my price range, or way, way, way too old and crappy.

And then Glen stepped in and saved the day. Turns out finding great vehicles and putting them together with folks who really need them is his dang business! In just a day or two he found the perfect truck for us, exactly what I wanted, even better than what I wanted, and for less that my top dollar! He put the whole deal together for us, inspected the truck, verified its bona fides, and drove a hard bargin with the owner to get it for us at under the asking price- all things that the Dishwasher is terrible at! Left to my own devices, I am pretty awesome at picking out an unsuitable vehicle and overpaying for it and missing a thousand obvious defects and ignoring any warning bells that are going off.

So, Glen saved my ass. Thank you, sir!

And Kaleb is getting to hang out with Mary’s grandkids, Owen and Gibson. Gibson and Kaleb have established their own inviolable world and it seems no one else exists outside of it for them. They’re thick as thieves.

Mary’s family is just what you’d expect. Kind and happy and easy-going, generous, thrifty, brave, handsome and beautiful, strong and good looking and everyone is far above average in every way. I’ve never felt so at home.

A great blessing!

So, a few more days in Lloyd securing the purchase of our new truck, and trying to sell the van, and dealing with registration and all the paperwork for all of this buying and selling. And hopefully when we depart Lloyd we’ll have a brand new truck, two Florida registered and insured vehicles, the truck and the Airstream, and we’ll be ready for the next phase in our wild, wild life.

Thank you, Universe.





May you be happy, may you be at peace, may you be free from suffering and the cause of suffering.


May your fondest wishes come true.






Ordinary world






So one of the errors I am almost continually guilty of is this searching for something other than what is as a means of escaping from the suffering I experience when I am in the grip of the samsaric realm- when I am longing for nirvana, for limitless love, for peace, tranquility, and happiness.

I have this notion in my own mind that what is needed is some kind of holy intervention, some kind of magic show, some kind of made for television movie where I am contacted by the numinous forces behind the scenes and granted an all access pass to the transcendent realms- as if there is such a place or such a thing different altogether from this place, this thing. A hidden world to which I long to be granted access. What separates me from this holy realm, this realm of bliss, is my own confusion and error, my own blindness, and so I must work away at this detritus in order to gain access, in order to be worthy, in order to be correct and good and so to in a sense earn admittance to the good place, to the thing or experience or mystical state I long for- long for in itself, yes, but also as an escape from the torment of this life right here where I am experiencing all of this pain.

I am told again and again by the teachings, by my teachers, that this approach is deeply flawed and won’t result in anything beneficial at all- I’m missing the point completely and by missing the point, by going off in the wrong direction, I’m very much wasting my time. Or not wasting it, exactly- I am getting the benefit of going off in the wrong direction and seeing for myself the mistake. But I’m going the wrong way. That’s a slow and difficult way to make progress toward the goal. (A terrible way to put it, since there is neither progress nor goal, and yet. One must use words.)

I don’t know. I know that I have had experiences of numinous, revelatory breakthroughs. I have had these experiences and they have given me a profound faith that “it” exists- I know directly, experientially, that what I seek is real. It isn’t imaginary, it isn’t hallucinatory, the quality of these experiences is that they are more real than ordinary reality, not less so. So these experiences I think may have deceived me in a way, or I’ve deceived myself about their nature, or what they mean or where they come from. I understand that they are real, that they aren’t only products of my own wishful thinking but that they are experiences, rather, of connecting with something fundamental. But because these experiences are so different from my normal way of experiencing reality, I have established a view of them as somehow something “outside” of my normal world, behind it somehow- as if the normal existing world is the veil that I must pierce in order to perceive and live in the “holy” or transcendent world behind that veil.

This I think is a common error on the path. It colors so much of my own experience that I find it difficult to understand, to see completely. I keep thinking I get it, that I see the outlines and contours of this false approach and so can avoid it, but I keep finding myself standing smack in the middle of the wrong path time and time again.

Right now, though, I am experiencing the effects of a profound shift in my approach. I don’t know if I can put it into words, or if it’s even beneficial to do so. But that’s what I’m up to here, in this space, so for better or worse I plunge ahead. What I’m experiencing currently is that I’m no longer looking for anything at all. In sitting practice, in meditation and in post-meditation, I’m simply looking at. Not for, not through, not beyond, not behind or beneath or around. Simply at.

Of course this turns out to be a pretty good approach. Since everything that is is right here, looking at it directly is a good way of seeing it. You can’t actually see what is if you’re not looking at it. It’s very difficult to find out anything at all about it if your approach is to try to see beyond it to something else, something that isn’t there at all.

This approach, this new way of looking, results, for me, in the experience of actually piercing the veil. Suddenly nothing is obscured, nothing is hidden. It’s all right there, right out in the open. As clear and as simple and as direct as anything can be. An orange on the table in morning light. The blue of the sky and the whiteness of clouds. This world is that world. This place is the place I seek. I am already home.

Of course, I know this, I knew this before. I knew it, but I wasn’t doing it and I didn’t know I wasn’t doing it. Or I was doing it and didn’t know I was. I was journeying to where I already was and had in fact always been and can’t, in fact, ever leave. You have to go on the journey before you can understand that there is no journey to go on. Now this makes it seem like I think that I’ve made the journey, or that I understand that there’s no journey to make- I mean, that is what I just said. But that sounds like I’ve arrived somewhere, too. I’ve crossed the river.

Well, of course, I haven’t.

But I can see the river. I can see where I am, I can see everything. Or rather, I know how and where to look now. It’s so simple it can’t be understood until suddenly it is. The only thing I can liken it to is those “magic eye” 3d images- you know the ones I mean- some picture of random colors and shapes, jagged and geometrical, ugly to look at, disordered, nothing but junk and noise and pattern- but you hold it so far from your nose and you stare at it in just the right way, and suddenly you’re looking into something very deep, and there’s an image floating in space in front of you- an odd looking bird, or a plane, or a tree or something.

And you try to explain that to someone who hasn’t had the experience and it’s like, “What?”

“Look at it, look at the bird, there’s a bird right there.

And they can look and look right where you’re pointing, and quite clearly you are crazy, or lying, because- there’s no fucking bird there. There’s just random colors and shapes and noise. The bird isn’t behind the colors and shapes and noises, those are what constitute the bird, right? I mean, even when you’ve got it figured out, even once you see the bird and are looking right at it, you can’t really show someone else the contours of it, or even point them out to yourself. It’s just that it isn’t there, and then suddenly, it is.

That’s as close as I can get to it right now. I’m looking at the bird. That’s all that’s happened. I’ve been trying to look behind the picture, through the picture, looking for the bird, looking for the bird, looking for the bird. But you can’t see the bird by looking for it.

Now I sound like a proper goddamned Buddhist, right?

“You can’t see the bird by looking for it.” 

Holy crap.


So, clearly, I don’t have anything of benefit to add to this discussion. It turns into gobbledy-gook. It looks and sounds like a koan when it’s supposed to be simple and direct. The simplicity seems to conceal something mysterious and profound, but it’s all right there on the surface. The surface is the depth, the depth is the surface. There isn’t something else at all beyond what’s right there, but it isn’t the case that what’s right there completely reveals itself when you’re not looking at it in the right way. The numinous is the mundane, the mundane is the numinous. But you can look and look and look at the mundane and if you aren’t seeing the numinous it isn’t there for you. It is mundane, and it can be ugly or pretty, soothing or terrifying, based upon how it appears to you. And you react to what you see based upon how you see it, and it has those qualities. But when you are seeing both the mundane and the numinous at the same time, then it changes everything. And nothing. An orange completely remains an orange, a car wreck remains a car wreck, a dead child is still a dead child. Nothing changes.

And yet. With this new way of seeing, with these new eyes, your whole experience of the orange changes. Your experience of the car wreck changes. Your experience of the dead child changes. Each thing remains exactly itself, it doesn’t change at all. The seer and the ordinary person both can agree that they are looking at an orange, at a dead child. And the seer can describe exactly what he’s seeing and the ordinary man will agree with him in every detail. And vice versa. But the two are having completely different experiences of those events, in fact, of the entire field of being in which those events, and they themselves, are appearing.

Buddha nature is our true nature. The veils and obscurations do nothing to damage it in any way. The veils and obscurations are mirage-like, almost imaginary. It isn’t the case that they have to be eradicated, totally worn away, perfectly purified, in order to access buddhanature, in order to connect with it and realize it as your own true self. This is really good news because otherwise there would be no hope at all. But it’s there, it is intrinsic to us. And when you’re practicing and following the instructions, you’re learning to relax your eyes, you’re creating the causes and conditions that will enable you to see the bird in the picture. And once you’ve seen the bird, you’re changed. It doesn’t mean that you’re a Buddha. It doesn’t mean your work is done and you can just chill out and look at the bird and everything will be hunky dory. But it does have significance. It means you know there’s a bird there in all of that noise, that what passes as reality for most folks is only part of the picture- but the other part of the picture isn’t somewhere else, it’s right there in the picture. There’s nowhere else to go, nothing else be, or do. It’s all right there in front of you, embedded only in the present moment, in things just as they are.

Seeing the bird isn’t the end, it’s only the beginning.


I offer this primarily as an acknowledgment of my own stumbles and errors on the path. Despite the help and encouragement of all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, of my teachers and fellow seekers, I still cling stubbornly to error and confusion. I go the wrong way. I persist in my mistakes and find new ones to make as I go along. And yet, through grace, through love, through patience and persistence, slowly by slowly, things keep happening.

The bird is there. It’s real. It’s really, really, real.

Look and see.




Namaste. May you be happy, may you be at peace, may you make the world better with your goodness, may all of your wishes come true.











Christ in the Caverns

caverns of sonora



I am telling you now, don’t read this post.


I’m serious.




I make a big deal out of my spiritual path, my journey, my longing for the mystical union with the source of what is, my fervor for enlightenment, the fire that burns in me for the love of God, for the pursuit of the holy and ineffable and numinous. I make no apologies for that. It is in every particle of my being, this longing for union with what is, this desire to pierce the veil of confusion and see the true glory of each and every moment, each and every being, and to give myself in the worship of that glory. I cloak it in the Buddhist garb because that is my language, that is my path, but this is only an artifact, it isn’t the thing in itself.


I say this by way of preamble for what I’m about to describe, which is utterly unbelievable and which was given to me and which probably cannot be transcribed.


Yet I feel moved to attempt to do so.




Since my wife’s terrible tragedy I have been moving eastward, compelled to reunite with her, to bring her home to her, to be of comfort to her in her loss, and to generally come in and be of what service I can be while she is burning herself on her own pyre of service. And this mission has led me across the nation and I find myself in the near middle of the state of Texas in the near middle of the nation at this hole in the middle of nowhere- the Caverns of Sonora, Texas. An RV park and campground and astounding cavern tour.

I read about it and wanted to go, wanted to be here in a strange way. “Of course.” I said to myself. “This is just the thing.”

So I drove 250 miles from Marfa to Sonora and paid my 25 bucks to camp and my 20 bucks for a tour of the caverns. I was there late so the last tour had already left, and there were two girls there and one of them had to take me on the tour. One was sweet and cute, and it was her turn. But she needed to go home to her babies. The other girl was tattooed and rough and loud and she was all over it- she wanted to take me on this tour of the deep underground. Her name was Arlene.

And I went with her.



I cannot begin to describe what happened, although I will try. We started on this tour- it’s two miles of caverns, deep underground- hot and muggy and there is a whole well-rehearsed spiel that goes on. But very quickly, since it was just Arlene and me, she opened up and threw out a lot of the script and tried to give me whatever kind of tour I wanted.


What happened?

I was transported.



She talked and talked. Of the limitless, unimaginable time periods for the formation of these strange underground formations. Of the geology and chemistry responsible for what we were witness to. Of her time in prison, of her lost daughter, of her abusive husband, of her love for the caves and her sense of purpose there. Of her love for Christ and her longing to be of use, to be of service. She told me that when she was 13 she prayed to Jesus to be of service, to be a vessel, and Christ told her that she would have to endure these many trials in order to have the life she longed for, and she, at 13, said yes.

She talked of being in prison and touching so many lives that she never would have been able to otherwise. She talked and talked and talked. And as we walked underground in this cavern of wonders I knew that I was experiencing a visitation. Arlene was my Beatrice and I was Virgil. She was Christ incarnate in the form of an ex-con from Louisiana, and I was her student and willing follower.

I’ve never in my life been in such a strange place with such a strange thing happening.

And she saw me. She saw me. She was Christ looking at me and seeing the Christ in me. I mean, what the fuck? I’m a goddamned Buddhist, thank you very much. But I couldn’t utter a buddhist word to save my life. It wasn’t what was going on there. What was happening down there was Christian fellowship of the most ancient and pure variety. A couple of hardened sinners celebrating Christ’s love in the middle of a deep, dark hole in the earth.

You pray and pray for a thing and then you get it and you don’t know what to do.

I’m glad, though, that I understood what was happening- the real thing that was happening, and not the tour. The tour was happening, it was real, but the real thing that was happening was vastly, vastly, vastly more.


This is why you shouldn’t read here. I’m nucking futs. I’ve lost it. But i’ll be damned if I can say that what happened was anything other than a fellowship of Christ. Maybe there’s enough broadness and openness in my approach to enfold her Christian beliefs in the vast arms of the Buddha, but maybe that’s just me fooling myself with my own provincialism. What I do know is that I will treasure that encounter as one in which the true Christ came to me and talked with me and held my hand and visited with me. And the feeling was that the whole world had turned in it’s eternity to bring me to that moment, to that meeting.




To be a mystic is to accept the love of God utterly and to abandon doubt.




I feel so impoverished at this attempt in relating what happened. But I offer it to you in the hope and fervent prayer that you open your eyes and your heart to what is being said to you in this moment, in every moment- that you are perfect, that you are loved, that you are needed and essential in this whole endeavor. You are already what you seek and what’s asked of you is only your participation and your willingness and your perfect, essential self with all of its blindness, brokenness, and seeming limitations.

For you are Christ, you are the Buddha, you are just what all of us, what the whole world needs.




I have been blessed by all that is, I have been touched by it and I cannot be now what I once was.



Namaste. Forgive me my excesses.