zen masters in residence
"I have lived with several Zen masters—all of them cats." Eckhart Tolle | The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment.


How did Art Meditation Life come to be?

In college, I read Richard Bach's Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah. Everyone I knew at that time was reading or had just read the book. The Messiah's Handbook, a text within the book, explains, "Argue for your limitations and, sure enough, they're yours."

Whoa. Those are words that pack a punch! And I've found they're words that keep resurfacing in life even when I don't expect them to be relevant. So now, after a lifetime of "should" and "supposed to," I guess I've gotten tired of arguing with myself.

I am a trained photographer, writer, Reiki Master, and Justice of the Peace, humbled to live life with my spouse, Laureen, surrounded by the natural beauty of the Berkshire Mountains.

I have worked in the arts, publishing, marketing, and printing; and I've co-owned a retail shop. I write short stories, essays, and poetry which I've shared with friends. I have been paid to write brand copy, blog entries, informative articles, and art criticism. Now I prefer less criticism and more focused observation of the wholeness and connection of all things. It's who I am, so it's what I do.

Throughout extended COVID-19 lockdowns, I felt gratitude for the meditative mindfulness our days typically assumed as we prepared for our post-COVID world. Some days were more challenging than others, and things didn't always go as planned. So we, like many others, took more than a few hits along the way. When we closed our gift shop, we lost our livelihood. Laureen's father died in late autumn, and my father passed less than six weeks later.

Though it hasn't been the easiest time, we prioritized education and spiritual exploration in our day-to-day lives. It's been our sanity. We sat with the quiet and discomfort of loss until we could refocus our attention on life's simple and abundant gifts. We learned the blessing of mudita—a Sanskrit term meaning joy or pleasure, but particularly the kind of vicarious fulfillment that comes from sincerely relishing another's happiness and success. Mudita! It provides the potential for an endless stream of delight in our lives.

Since the pandemic, I am more who I was in my mid-20s—minus the youthful angst—focused on the arts, education, and spiritual learning. I have books of poetry, art, Buddhism, history, travel, philosophy, memoir, and fiction sidled up to my many journals, which are stacked like cairn art, resting next to a backpack full of camera equipment ready for travel. I am in the moment. Is there truly anywhere else to be?

I hosted a daily email, sending spiritual ruminations to a sizeable list as a labor of love for several years. Some genuinely thoughtful and honest dialogues were born from those emails. Of course, that was long before we started talking through texts, gifs, memes, and emojis. I know! Now I do it, too! But through the years (the jobs, the moves, the relationships), having met so many others looking to walk life's path in kinder, more gentle ways, this blog seems like a long-overdue conversation.

To my old friends, it's good to see you again. Thanks for hanging around all these years. To my new friends, it's my honor to have the opportunity to get to know you. Welcome!

M. "Dash" (because I was the first to dash to the car when anyone said "who wants to go...?") Kerswill