It was so wonderful being at my ranch for a brief part of a couple days. I attended a retreat at the Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe…on Wisdom and Aging… where I spoke along with my friends Roshi Joan Halifax, the Abbott of Upaya, anthropologist, sociologist, writer Mary Catherine Bateson, Rabbi Malka Drucker

Ulricke Greenway, Roshi Joan, Jane Fonda, Sensei Beate

Me, Sensei Al, Roshi Joan, Sensei Beate, Mary Catherine Bateson, Rabbi Malka, David Chernikoff

David Chernikoff, Rabbi Malka, Mary Catherine Bateson, Roshi Joan, Sensei Al, Me

I was nervous because I am out of practice at speaking. I’ve been holed up in my cocoon of writing (when not filming) and it was the first time in almost a year, that I have moved from writing to talking about what I’m writing. It turned out fine and I gained confidence and learned a lot–as I always do at Upaya. That place truly feeds my soul. Joan, as always, is a fierce beacon of light, love, energy, wisdom. One of those important presences that inspires one to be better, stronger, deeper.

Mary Catherine’s new book on aging has just come out (“Composing a Further Life” pub Knopf). We interviewed each other for our books which is what brought me to spend a few special days with her at her home in the woods of New Hampshire. I love hearing her speak–so thoughtful and profound. She helps me clarify my thoughts and gives me new ones to ponder.

On the way to and from Upaya, I photographed the sunflowers along my driveway. They don’t look as dramatic in the picture as they did to the eye but, oh well.

Now I’m headed back to L.A. …and Richard and Tulea. I left Tulea with Richard and he says she follows him like a shadow. She knows he’s the next best thing to being close to me. You should have seen her when I left and she realized she wasn’t coming. Her whole body shrank, head and ears drooped and she went and sat in the corner as I walked out the door. Talk about pulling on my heart strings! We haven’t been apart for 5 months.

“I have been without a computer or a means to get into my blog post them and respond to them. That may take another week until James Andrews comes to LA (on other matters) and walks me through getting it all set up and running again.

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