I see myself as a bridge, connecting many different places and traditions. There are my native roots in Philadelphia, my educational roots in Amherst and Edinburgh, and my current roots in Cambridge, in England. Sort of at home in each, but not quite. How to connect each of these, remaining true to each?
I bridge various religious traditions: Jewish, Christian, Buddhist. Sort of at home in each, but not quite. How to connect each of these, remaining true to each? And how to bridge religion with spirituality? – one of the biggest challenges today.
I am a professor of English for the University of Maryland’s European Division, bridging both classroom teaching and, increasingly, online classwork. I’m a very unorthodox professor, impatient with just giving out information and concerned more with challenging students to open up to new ways of seeing themselves and the world around them. That’s a risky bridge to maintain.
And I can find myself at one moment preparing a paper for a scholarly conference and at the next leading a workshop about introducing contemplative practices in online education.
And then I take my passion for literature beyond the classroom onto community radio with Evening under Lamplight. How to bridge these two?
And how to bridge these literary interests with my work in healing as a Reiki Master, speaking on holistic spirituality and vibrational medicine to community groups, and leading weekly Reiki workshops.
And my favourites? Robert Louis Stevenson right by my side. Dante the luminary always there. And Samuel Johnson, and Joyce’s Ulysses, and then, of course, Bob Dylan everywhere with me, and Ray Davies, and Leonard Cohen, and, and …. All these writers and performers who bridge sparkling wit and an intolerance for clichés of any kind, with a deep compassion for our poor, frail humanity.
And how to keep my own integrity and wholeness with so many different attachments? I integrated my literary, spiritual and healing interests in the CD Journey through the Seasons: Meditations on the Five Chinese Healing Energies. But now too, Moments under Lamplight gives me that integrity. I can feel free to speak on any of these subjects I am devoted to. And I am driven by my need to share what I am devoted to.
I am told (who am I to say this of myself?) that my two gifts to the world are my gentleness and my ability to lead others to see things in new, enriching ways. Bridges take people up through the air while at the same remaining grounded themselves. Is this what I do for you?
If they ain’t already there.
Everybody’s got to move
Stick with me, baby,
Things should start to get interesting
Right about now.
– Bob Dylan, “Mississippi”