The Plagued Parent

posts about surviving our children, the Baby Boomers who raised us, and everyone else with an opinion...

Category: Spirituality

The Specter of Sacrifice

I forgot Ash Wednesday. No big surprise; I forgot last year too. I probably could have swung into the church I only haphazardly attend. I dropped my daughter off at school for 7 am so I could have stopped in… but I didn’t. So begins a stretch of 40 days and nights where my family […]

Peeing on the Buddha

We have this stone buddha in our yard. We bought him when we got our first house in Providence. That house was built in the early-1900s by some rich old Italian who owned a sausage shop. In the back yard, surrounded by roses bushes was an empty pedestal. The old Italian likely had a whitewashed statue […]

A Winter of Listening

Right now the thermometer says the outside temperature is 50 degrees and rising. It is warm, too warm for January, and almost unnatural for Winter. Last week a storm threatened us here in New England with temps in the teens and 4-8 inches of snow. The computer models were off a little, by Sunday we ended up with […]

A Good Room

This room is a good room. We call it the family room, not because it is the room that holds the family most often but because that’s what the builder’s plans called it. This room is not the living room. The living room is at the front of the house, across from the dining room […]

A Small Good Thing in Times Like These

Recently I began baking bread and I can’t really explain why. I have always wanted to bake bread and it seemed something very primal, simple and pure. So I started baking bread, focaccia to be precise. After that, I decided I could tackle making loaves of white bread for toasting and sandwiches. How hard could […]

Fairy Tales of the Mind

Sometimes I wonder what (or who) lives deep inside the mind. More importantly I wonder when they moved in and claimed their space. Worse still, like recently graduated millennials, once these notions move in they tend to reside rent free. Who can we blame for these fairy tale notions that distract us from living our lives? […]

The Pain of Shortcuts

For months we’ve been taking yoga classes on Sunday mornings with a specific instructor. Recently she left the studio to pursue a cross country odyssey with her husband to downward-dog it across the country to California. I had grown to enjoy her classes and the way she opened me up to the principles of yoga, […]

Slow Learner

For months I have been struggling in yoga class with certain poses, one of them being “half moon”. Consistently I have fallen out of this pose, much like several others that plague me — eagle pose, warrior three, crow pose and wheel. But for what ever reason half moon pose has become one of the […]

Growing Season

My front yard now inspires me. This had not been the case prior to last Friday. For years the front of our house has been a mess. On one side of the front porch the pine tree that started out small was crowding out the Pee Gee hydrangea, as well as encroaching on the corner […]

Prisoners of the Mind

The emails start almost immediately. It makes sense; I threw my students a curve by combining the last two essays into one that will receive a double grade. The topics shared a connection anyway — captivity — so I figured it’s really no big deal. Still, it got them panicked. After a number of class conversations, and responding […]

Kindly loving kindness

Kindly love in the ways love itself yearns to breathe. Kindly speak unspoken words to open a heart yet unopened. We arrive where two roads meet, cross and intertwine. Failing to appreciate that fact I find myself here where the letter “K” resides. Starved for a theme, I ask my wife. Without missing a beat […]

Identity upright and walking

Acorns litter my back yard. Most of them are split and hapless, but in the work of raking the remaining whole ones become delicately divided. In each — the broken and the whole —  there resides a name already known yet unexpressed. Many of these fallen seeds will never produce a tree. Most it would […]


  The self fights and the “I” struggles. Especially when threatened. Those threats take various forms: the disappointment of loved ones, career setbacks, identity challenges, economic strain and uncertainty, a questioning of talents or abilities. In these moments what sometimes rises are emotional reactions of anger and fear bourn of insecurity, the fragility of ego. […]


  Midway up the hill, I meet the voice of another runner: end-of-season me. End-of-season me had some sharp words for my negative rantings expressed while trudging up the gravel road adjacent to the river. I pushed his voice back, trying to ignore it so I could focus on potholes and fissures cutting through the packed […]

The Don

Over my desk at work I have several family photographs pinned to the wall and a photocopy of Picasso’s 1955 work Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. What many recall of Miguel Cervantes’s 17th century Spanish novel is the windmills. In that episode of the book, The Don, believing himself to be a medieval knight errant complete with a […]

Hidden Among the Leaves

The three of us sit at Easter brunch in a sun filled dining room overlooking the river and joke about skipping mass while waiting for French press coffee, juice and tea. We joke about pacing ourselves and getting our $40 (per person) worth. So much has changed over the past year and a half. Easter symbolizes a rebirth, […]

A Broader View

A year ago I contributed a piece  on the theme of compassion for the group 1000 Voices Speak. Today they celebrate their one year anniversary. Their overall prompt for an anniversary post was, generally speaking, a sort of “update” on our thoughts one year later. I’d like to say the news is good. I like […]

The Beginner’s Mind

When we are children we know nothing. We’re reminded of this constantly as we grow, so much so that we amass grand amounts of information that we call “knowledge”. We keep all that information, all that so called knowledge, nestled in our brains and recall it every chance we get in order to justify assumptions, prove […]

To Place in a Special Way

I sit at the kitchen table looking out over the snow covered deck. It’s almost 930 and we’re just clocking in to our second snow day of the year. Apparently this big bastard of a storm is flying up the coast and by the time it hits New England it’ll have the same punch as a […]

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