Stories

Bailey Range Rescue

Olympic National Park, August 30, 2018. I was alone and cold. My shoes, and most of my gear were soaked. I was tired, lost, and had only a few ounces of water as I put on all my pile clothes and zipped up my sleeping bag over my head with a wool hat on. As I lay there shivering and wet, I contemplated my situation. Would my body warm up? Would the fog and clouds lift in the morning so that I could determine my location? I had just climbed up some very steep and sketchy terrain, pulling myself up by root and tree trunk, carefully selecting each handhold and footstep to avoid a fall which...

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Crisis Intervention and the Path to Freedom

“There is no path to peace, peace is the path.” Gandhi Reading the story of how one woman, tuned in to trauma dynamics, helped deescalate a hostage situation, brought back memories of my own brush with a potentially violent situation.  Unfortunately, the incident last week at a Trader Joe’s in California resulted in an innocent bystander shot by police, but the potential for peaceful resolution to conflict is always present when we tune into our innate compassion and sense of connection with others. I was on a train with my wife in Northern India in 2000, traveling second...

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flower rocks for buddha; a collection of essays, dreams, word plays & borrowed wisdom

Everything depends on good motivation. (His Holiness the Dalai Lama) The unexamined life is not worth living. (Henry David Thoreau) Wild West Wanderings August 1989.  Cape Scott. One Hundred tiny shorebirds skim the wavetops as one.  They veer into the diamond reflections, their wings flash white, and vanish.  Many sacrifices were made to arrive here, at the continent’s edge, the place of inner beauty and silent knowing. It has been nearly five years since I sat in a windowless conference room, behind a closed door, facing my supervisor in the trust department of the bank.  “So Jordan, where...

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The Art of the Story

In middle school, I remember acting out in class, shooting rubber bands across the room, telling jokes when the teacher’s back was turned, or engaging in other ignominious behavior. Perhaps I was bored academically, or simply rebelling against authority. In any case, on at least a few occasions, I found myself in the principal’s office, feeling frustration and shame under the stern punishing eyes and frown of Mr. Barker. Thus I begin my self-introduction to a group of young men at the Community Center for Alternative Programs, a jail diversion program in Seattle where I have...

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It Happened – Facing the Evil of Sexual Violence

It happened. Recently, I had a conversation with a woman who was in college with me. She told me that as a freshman, she was warned not to attend a certain fraternity because a gang rape had occurred there. I was once a member of that fraternity. I was young, naive and morally asleep at the time. However, I had never heard the word “rape” discussed in relation to any events at my house during the four years I was there. Then I remembered that several men in the house had bragged about what they had portrayed as a sexual conquest. Beer and alcohol flowed freely at parties, and many an...

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Grace Under Fire, the Path of Peaceful Service

“Everything is delicately balanced on the tip of the present moment.” “That’s true”, my mom softly replied from her hospital bed, staring straight up at the ceiling with a gaze that suggested her consciousness was exploring the edges between this world and the next. Helping her navigate away from the shoals of despair and isolation which lurked seemingly just around the corner of every beeping monitor, I invited her into a familiar recitation of my grammar school essay which she kept for more than half a century, tucked away in a folder of keepsakes :...

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