As a poet, (one using words) my life began in 1996 as a kind of by-product of doing intensive inner work in large and small groups facilitated by Dale Goldstein
in Dale's incredibly helpful Heartwork process. Before that, I had spent many years in this "Who Am I" work, beginning as a fine arts painter and later in the sixties with explorations of alternative communities (see Roberta Price's wonderful books, Huerfano
and Across the Great Divide
). In the early seventies I began a long journey with Buddhism, and moved to Rochester NY to study and practice Zen with one of the first American teachers to authentically practice in Japan, Philip Kapleau, Roshi
. I am eternally grateful for the compassion he exerted in keeping myself, and so many others at that time, directed to and firmly on the path of the Buddha's Dharma. However, the particular aspect of training that my own path neglected was the path of the sensitive heart. This path was activated by the feminine presence of my other teacher at the time, Toni Packer
. When Toni later established her own Center and teachings of Presence and Awareness, I began an independent journey—one which for many years was concerned more with the murkiness of Parsifal's dark wood of disorientation and descent, than ascent. It was through a Men's Group made up of numerous Rochester Zen Center
expatriates that I was led to Heartwork. One day after a long walk in the woods, I returned to my car with my first unexpected poem flowing out onto scraps of old paper, and my journey of the inner heart—through words—had begun.