Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma — I am still bemused.* Two weeks later, Mom took me on a plane to Venezuela where Dad was mapping strata, prospecting for oil. My first word was ‘perro,’ dog. I love animals. Though South America was home, especially Peru, I knew I couldn’t belong there. An un-North American North American.
Went to college in Texas, thinking it was close enough to Mexico that I could escape the US–no comment. I stayed, and learned to adapt. Eventually went to Stanford for an MA in Creative Writing.
In 1988 in Burma I ordained as a Buddhist nun. Later, I decided to accept an invitation to train as a meditation teacher. Letting loose of being primarily a fiction writer and college professor, I taught retreats and eventually trained a new, diverse cohort of teachers.
Now I feel like teaching only occasionally. I try to write, meditate, live with my husband, David M. Guss, anthropologist and poet.
The infusion of justice into spirituality was worth sacrificing for. I meditate most days, in hopes of easing my and others’ way through this mysterious, often painful, beautiful fleeting life.
* I didn’t learn of the Tulsa Massacre until my sixties. No one mentioned indigenous people either.