Advice from a Bat. Michael Young

Hunt only at night. Fly erratically.

Defy even your own expectations.

Feed on beetles, moths, and mosquitoes,

whatever is small and annoying.

Cultivate the myths about you

until every predator fears your legend.

When hunting, be guided by a language

only you can hear. The same is true

when courting the one you love.

Clean fangs and fur nightly. Crawl

or climb to confuse the observant.

Retreat to a cave no one believes in.

Let the day and the world pass

while you sleep, and sleep upside down,

ready to wake and fall into…


Sunset, San Francisco

I sit next to a friend of mine of ten years and see pain contort her face. A young Thai monk sits opposite us. Outside people walk in the sun. They may seem carefree, but I know we each carry our own troubles.

The monk is smiling.

He talks to us about expectations and how they let us down. I understand. Frustration arises from unmet expectations. No expectations, no frustrations. No clinging. No wanting. Nothing but being. Here, this moment. No judgment at all.

My friend nods, but her pain is worse.

A few days ago I…


When I saw the husband turn to his wife and bow, only then did I understand how to bow properly. He did so during an introduction to Zen weekend. He did so spontaneously, as we were waiting for dinner. His hands in gasho (palm to palm, as if in prayer), almost touching his forehead, he bends, his back his hinge, bowing.

I saw grace, kindness.

I was at Zen Mountain Monastery this weekend to ask Hojin Sensei to be my new teacher. …


A Prayer

Grateful for my humble, little life; the kindness of those who inhabit it; the future unknown, not promised, full of possibility.


The Mark Upon the Path of the Infinite

Kahil Gibran’s, “The Prophet,” will be freed from the fetters of copyright protection on New Year’s Day, 2019 and enter the public domain. I think it has been in our domain since it was published in 1923 in New York City and translated into over 108 languages — the only thing that changes in a few days is the payment of royalties.

Every writer speaks of being published. We like to talk about advances, but I think what most of us really care about is influence: how will our words enter the…


Advice to a friend

Begin with yourself, always aspire to be the change you hope to see in the world. If each of us did (could do) so, that would be enough.

Some things to do: find time to be alone, learn to meditate, journal, read poetry (Kipling’s poem “If,” Whitman’s “Song of Myself,” anything by Rumi) and literature (The Bible) and autobiography (Mark Twain’s “Jean is dead,” chapter). Strengthen your core. Eat produce and nuts and nothing that has no expiration date. Get out of the city and into the woods.

Be aware of your perception of the world…


A People’s Parade.

July 14, 1989. I stood on the edge of the Champs-Elysees and watched rows of military planes rumble overhead, the last bombers flying low and slow, and then Mitterrand standing in a jeep looking sternly ahead, the masthead of France on parade.

This morning I stand on Capitol Avenue in Hartford, Connecticut, among thousands of other runners, bookended by the Supreme Court and the Capitol. Next to me stands a bear ten-feet tall. I don’t know anyone but I know nearly everyone is from the area; the Hartford Marathon, Half, and Five K are local races.

We…


Maria Popova is a wonderful curator of wisdom — her blog, Brain Pickings, is her treasure chest unlocked for anyone to draw wealth from. One of her best gold coins, to me at least, is this post about love as explained by the Buddhist Thich Nhat Hahn. I’ll quote what she quotes and offer some thoughts.

“If you pour a handful of salt into a cup of water, the water becomes undrinkable. But if you pour the salt into a river, people can continue to draw the water to cook, wash, and drink. The river is immense, and it has…


Mt. Rainier. Just Don’t Break.

“Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me, I inhale great draughts of space.

​Here is the test of wisdom, Here is realization, Here is a man tallied.

I am larger, better than I thought, I did not know I held so much goodness. All seems beautiful to me.”

Walt Whitman, Song of the Open Road.

August 7, 2018.

We take a tally and everyone commits to continue to the summit, even though I have misgivings. My right boot has been rubbing against my shin and I know it…


In February, 2017, I was on the face of Mt. Washington, known as the “most dangerous small mountain in the world,” because of its extreme, erratic weather due to a collision of three weather systems. Over 150 people have died there, most recently a young, Russian climber who attempted a light and fast solo traverse and froze to death.

Our team was attempting an ascent on the Lion’s Head trail and we were just above tree-line. Thirty-minutes earlier, we had come upon two climbers from Quebec who had turned back, and now I was seeing why: the winds were pounding…

Christopher P. Kriesen

Husband and Father. Stumbling Zen Practitioner. Founder and Principal, The Kalon Law Firm. Always becoming. Hartford, CT.

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