Tell us a bit about you:
Hi, I’m Michael D. A Black kid from the South Side of Chicago. Divorced. I use he/him pronouns.
I’m a retired counselor and educator, a student and teacher of Tai Chi Chuan, a sailor. Until last year I was the owner and skipper of the sailing vessel SpiritHawk.
Occupation (This doesn’t have to be a job! Answer this as you wish – cloud dwellers welcome):
I spent 45 years, mostly counseling, in Two-Year colleges; General College (U/M), Normandale CC, Anoka-Ramsey CC and Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) in MnSCU (MN State Colleges and Universities)
I have a BA in Social Welfare and an MA in Educational Psychology and Counseling.
If your life was the title of a book or movie, what would it be called?
Standing Unseen in Plain Sight
Why do you practice zazen and mindfulness?
It helps me balance and calm an aspect of my personality that I call “Thorny.” Thorny is grounded in survival and coping strategies, is fear based, defensive and critical.
What excites you?
Sailing; having insights; seeing patterns; putting pieces together into a larger picture.
Where are some places you feel at home in the Twin Cities?
Southeast Minneapolis including the campus of the U of M there. I spent 12 years on campus in various roles, and 16 years living in the neighborhood. The Dakota Jazz club is also a comfortable place for me.
If you had to recommend one dharma book, what would it be?
I don’t think I could pick just one from the ones that I’ve read. I’m currently reading “Being Upright” by Reb Anderson. But I’m finding a periodical good reading too. I appreciate the depth of the writings, and the art in “Buddhadharma.” It is a quarterly publication, so I have time to spend with each issue.
Anything on your bucket list?
I don’t know that I have a bucket list, but a couple of weeks around a small village by the shore in Hawaii would be good.
What are you listening to right now?
Primarily to a Pandora station I started. It has evolved over 13 years to include great classic cuts. And a mellow shuffle of stations that includes that jazz station, Enya, George Winston, Lorreena McKennit and others.
Do you have any favorite words of inspiration – a quote, song lyric, poem, or something else that supports you?
I suppose my mantra: Walk in Beauty; Sail in Tao; Dare to Trust; Feed my Joy; Find my Way; Be, Here, Now.
Summer or winter?
Tea or coffee?
Both – Decaf Coffee to get or keep me going (it’s not just the caffeine, it’s also the smell, the taste and the ritual). Tea is for relaxing.
Evening with a book or a night on the town?
How about an afternoon reading on the deck?
What or who is nourishing you most right now?
What are you most looking forward to at Clouds in 2023?
To show up and just be present.
Any Twin Cities community organizations or efforts you’d like to highlight?
The Walk In Counseling Center: Free, confidential/anonymous, professional counseling on a walk in basis!
Anything else you’d like to add to help us get to know you better?
I’m likely the person in the room that has a unique plan or perspective. I learned to be self-sufficient and to go my own way. It makes “interbeing” a challenge though.