Michelle Revered and Detested

Coco Gauff is a 15-year-old tennis player who reached the fourth round of Wimbledon before bowing out to Simona Halep, formerly the world number one. I watched her press conference after the match. I marvelled at how well she spoke. Her words flowed and there was a quietness inside that reached out to the audience.

Michelle Obama tweeted congratulations and Coco was clearly touched by her gesture. “I’ve looked up to her for a long time. She’s such a role model.” Yes, for me too. A girl and a woman share grace, sweetness and also tenacity. Companions of the spirit, decades apart. Both so out there in the world, visible to the scrutiny of the assembled masses.

Just now, I looked up Michelle’s book Becoming in the Kindle Store.  I read some reviews.  What an education.  Here are some samples:


I believe I always loved Michelle Obama.  Her grace and dignity always seemed to come as a gift from above.  Her spirit is so incredibly deep and strong.

Slow and boring and self-boasting


It’s a wonderful, heartfelt, true story of HOPE in a world gone far too cynical.

Full of misleading statements and untruths


She’s open, honest and forthcoming.  Fantastic read.

If you are an insomniac, this book will definitely help that.  A real snoozer.


I truly believe many young girls will read the book and know
they can live with honor like you.

A shallow-minded patting on the back


I applaud her and the book.  It brought tears to my eyes
and deep appreciation for the Obamas.

Poorly written, silly comments in bad taste.
This is not a good book for a lady to read.


Mrs. Obama opens up and gives us a real look into her heart and mind and experiences in a way that is authentic and original.

Worst piece of crap ever


Amazing read.  Mrs. Obama is a treasure and her honest, thoughtful words and a dignified grace make me realize just how special a person she is.

What a joke.


Michelle Obama, thanks for being such a great role model while you were in the White House … championing exercise and good food for children and speaking your mind with grace and courage.

The lies, the misleading statements and poppycock drama to get you feel bad or believe something that is not true


The message for me is to keep speaking my truth,
knowing that some people will like it and some won’t.
The source of my well-being does not lie within them.

Day Four: The Evolutionary Collective Workshop

I was confronted today … with an idea and a criticism.  First the idea part.  How about if I started living my life without needing people’s agreement?  For one thing, I wouldn’t be looking over my shoulder to see if folks were still liking me.  I wouldn’t have to tailor my comments to the audience, to test the wind to see if an idea would fly.  I would be totally willing to say my truth without antagonism.  I could enter into dialogue with someone who sees the world differently, perhaps in the end agreeing to disagree.

If we’re breaking new ground here, leaning into future possibilities, then falling back into the tried and true won’t get the job done.  The world needs fresh ideas and I include myself in the company of people who can create them.  And if it’s new, naturally there’d be little agreement in the marketplace.  There’s no track record for such a courageous thrust into the unknown.  But the novelty of thought is where I want to be, rather than simply following the traditional ways of doing things.  If I stay traditional, naturally others will be nodding their heads in response, but where’s the juice in that?

And then there’s the spiritual practice called being criticized.  I felt myself contract today in response but I kept my head up, and my eyes in contact with my confronter, refusing to shrink all the way down to silence.  That’s been my pattern, to plummet into the abyss of “I’m bad”, to run away with my tail between my legs.  So dissatisfying.  I was once told to surround myself with powerful people, to let them impact me, jolt me.  Well, so be it.  In order to be the conduit for great things in the world, I need to be open to influence, to correction.  I need to be open to the type of conflict that raises us both up to be our best.  I need to be in a tennis match with someone equally as committed and farther down the path of transformation, someone who will hit tough shots into the corners and draw out my very best in response.

I love the peace of meditation but it pales before the love flowing through a relationship between two people who are committed to each other.  There’s a brilliant aliveness in asking the other person to be great, and allowing them to do the same for me.


Well, well, well.  I’m in the middle of a strange state of consciousness and I feel the need to write about it.  But will I make any sense?  Perhaps not.  Perhaps my readers will get together and recruit a few white coats for my front porch pleasure.  I guess that would be fine.

My head says that this is something about mathematics.  My face screws up in wonderment.  Maybe I’ll just go with it and see what operations present themselves.

I’ll start with the number 10.  11 and 12 are close neighbours and suggest incremental progression towards a number of life benefits.  I’ll get a little better day by day.  But what about 10³?  10 and 3 seem pretty closely related but when you put them together that way, you end up with 1000, which is a quantum leap from 10.  And what would my life be like if I leapt quantumly on a regular basis?  If I said things that sounded awfully strange to an innocent bystander but made celestial sense to me.  Would the world shun me?  Possibly.

What would be my purpose in saying strange things?  To merely stand out in a crowd or to find connections that up to now had remained dormant in me?  It could be that my contribution to life on this planet will be to connect two disparate thoughts in a way that no one has before.  That’s worth the possibility of social ridicule.

I wonder what I’m saying.  I’m floating in a shifted consciousness and am happily creating word groups that WordPress readers may find deficient.  Oh well.

Now I’m flying inside my head.  How remarkable.  It’s not an exploration of the various forms of earthbound self-transportation (walking, running, skipping, crawling) but a clean break from the general concept, a lifting beyond the bonds of gravity.

Now I’m under a tree, floating free on a swing.  The rhythm is intoxicating.  Swooping down to the low point and then climbing to a horizon, with time and space ceasing at the moment of stillness, before I plummet back towards the ground.

This conversation is nonsense, I say.  I suppose it is, in that I’m currently not in the realm of rationality.  My mind is swooping like my swinging, and soaring like a bird into the heavens.  But of what use is all this?  I don’t know.  It’s very different and my fingers on the keys seem to have a mind of their own.  I feel the pressure to stop, to cut my losses in the arena of public evaluation, to save my reputation, to return to balance.  Yes … I am skewed right now, leaning precariously into the unknown, risking isolation and condemnation.  Oh well again.

Now a smile on my lips.  “You’re free, Bruce.”  Society members will choose their reactions to me – some positive and some negative – and it doesn’t matter.  It doesn’t even matter what I think of me.  Something almost inexpressible is trying to emerge from my history of Bruceness and maybe I just need to get out of the way.

Something brand new, I do believe … at least in my life.

Just A Human Being

I was reading an advertisement recently when I came across this description:

Buffet included soap, salad bar, about 6 entrées, and a selection of deserts

The first thing that drew my eye was “soap”.  That’s pretty funny, imagining myself with a knife and fork chowing down on a beauty bar.

Then I saw “deserts” and moved into critical mode.  Why can’t people learn to spell?  I know how to spell.

After a time of better-worse, I paused.  And it came to me … we’re all human.  Maybe I can spell because I love writing and reading.  Perhaps the author of this ad isn’t so focused on the written word.  What if the writer didn’t finish high school or had parents who didn’t care about reading?  What if he or she was in the middle of some traumatic experience?

This person struggled with the ad.  I can’t swim, can’t skate and am afraid of heights.  We’re all so imperfect and marvelous.  Next time, may my first seeing be of compassion, not criticism.