The Heart of the Matter
January 30, 2023
For Maureen

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EDITOR'S NOTE: This just in from Larry Lefkowitz:

Today is the second anniversary of the passing of Maureen, my dear wife and companion of 42 years. She was a remarkable gift and brightly reflected the foundational love that lives within each of us.

For Maureen

There is One Love.
You were born from that Love,
you were nurtured by that Love,
you cultivated and shared that Love,
you accepted and reflected my Love,
and then,
you returned to that Love.
You were a Gift.
I feel unspeakable gratitude for the Giver and the Gift.

-- Larry Lefkowitz

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:38 PM | Comments (0)

The Mind Does Not Understand What the Heart Experiences

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As time rolls by and I continue noodling on this wonderful opportunity called "life", I am increasingly realizing that the MIND has very little capacity to understand what the HEART experiences.

The heart experiences ecstasy, unconditional love, and the peace that passes all understanding while the mind, like some kind of over-caffeinated 11:00 news anchor, tries to report what it THINKS the heart just experienced.

Ha! Sorry, ladies and gentlemen. No can do. The mind simply does not have access to the realm of the heart, nor does it have the language, no matter how learned it may be. And this is one of the great plays of life -- what Mark Twain once described as the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.

All of us, at some time in our lives, have experienced the ineffable grandeur of existence, though the catalyst for our beyond-the-beyond experience may have been totally different.

Trying to tell others about it always comes up short.

Rumi, Hafiz, and Kabir made noble efforts towards this end -- or is it the beginning? And the afterglow of reading their poetry often sheds enough light to see more clearly than ever before. But even that afterglow fades.

The key for all of us? To abide in the heartland of what life is really all about. To experience the utter WHOO HOO of the whole kit and kaboodle with ease, grace, and gratitude. And then, to stay there, as best we can, no matter what.

And if we choose to express something or other from this realm of wowee zowee, to do so in the same way a child laughs, the full moon shines, and all the great Masters, since the beginning of time, teach without teaching.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:12 PM | Comments (0)

January 22, 2023
A Social Media Experiment


During the past two months I have been conducting an experiment on social media and it has been going quite well.

I've decided to curate the best of my writing and publish it on Medium -- an online platform that attracts over 100 million views each month.

Medium is a place where lots of people go to source new content on all kinds of topics and it is a very good way for writers to grow their audience.

What follows are the ten most popular Medium posts of mine. If you like what you read, feel free to forward it to your friends and/or post on social media.

What a Good Educator Does
When an Email at 2:00 a.m Changes Everything
The Real Marriage
The Beginning of the Book My Daughter, Mimi, Asked Me to Write
Back to the Garden
Introducing Eva Snyder
What Have You Accomplished?
Last Night I Googled Longing
What I Learned in a Closet from my 3-Year Old Son
On Being Visited By an Angel

You do not need to be a member of Medium to read the above stories.

If you want to receive weekly emails from me which will include a selection of the most recent Medium posts of mine, send me an email with the words "Keep Me Posted" in the subject line.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:46 PM | Comments (0)

January 20, 2023
The Orange


Every spiritual tradition in the world has its own collection of rites and rituals that make up the warp and woof if it's particular path.

These rites and rituals, the origins of which are not always understood, give its practitioners something to do -- something not just think about or meditate on, but a physical activity they can focus on to help them remember the metaphysical connection to the essence of their path.

I get it. I do. Rituals work. Or as my rabbi liked to say, "If you want to learn to dance, sometimes you need to start with the box step."

My kids, for example, cannot celebrate Christmas without leaving milk and cookies out for Santa, even though its been years since they realized that the fat guy in the red suit didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of making it down our chimney.

While I have never been a big fan of rites and rituals, I definitely have experienced their benefit, the most memorable one happening for me in 1974. That was the year I lived in a spiritual commune, on a 600 acre farm, 12 miles outside of Charlottesville, Virginia.

Three times a week, the six of us would sit, cross-legged, in our living room and, as a part of a spiritual practice given us by the same wonderful person, share from the heart.

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It was at one of these gatherings that I first heard the news about an ashram that would soon be moving to our little town. An ashram! A center of spiritual life! A divine abode of God-seeking souls -- students of the same teacher I had -- who had dedicated their lives to the realization of the highest truth.

I couldn't believe my good fortune. Now, I would have a place to go and serve whenever I wanted to dive deeper into the depths of the spiritual path I was on. Cool.

Back then, as I understood it, the prevailing ritual of welcoming a new ashram was to bring a gift -- usually a flower or a piece of fruit -- and place it on the altar. And so, on the day the ashram was going to open its doors, I made a pilgrimage to my favorite grocery store in search of the perfect piece of fruit.

The cantaloupes looked great, but seemed a bit too big to place upon an altar. The apples also looked great. They were red, unblemished, and shiny. Too shiny, I thought -- almost as if they had been polished in some back room to make them stand out. Uh uh. No way did I want my offering to stand out. I wanted my offering to fit in with the other flowers and fruit. Hey, this wasn't about me and my offering. This was about selfless giving, right? That's when I noticed the oranges -- perfectly round, unpolished, and delicately textured pieces of fruit. Yes! Oranges!

Choosing the roundest and most orangey orange I could find, I blissfully made my way through the 5 Items or Less check-out lane, carefully positioned my orange on the passenger seat of my 1966 Volkswagen, and began driving to the ashram -- a destination that was going to be the radiant sun around which the Pluto of my longing was going to revolve.

Driving more slowly than usual to ensure my orange didn't roll onto the floor, I closed my eyes and meditated at every traffic light and stop sign along the way. Beauty was everywhere around me. The dogwood trees were blooming. The robins were singing. And the sweetest of fragrances filled the air.

And then, as if choreographed by the hand of an all knowing God, the perfect parking space opened up right in front of the ashram. Whoa! If this wasn't heaven, it was pretty damn close. How fortunate I felt! How graced! I closed my eyes and meditated some more.

Five minutes passed. Then another five. If there was one thing I was sure of it was this: my front seat meditation was not going to be of the token "minute of silence" variety. Nope. No way. My meditation was going to be the real deal -- as real as the feeling that brought me here in the first place.

Lovingly lifting my orange in the air, inspecting it for dust and dirt, I made my way out of the car, ascended a few steps, and found myself standing on the front porch. Pausing briefly, I lifted my hand and rang the bell. What a sweet sound it was -- a chime for all times. And then... as the sound slowly faded away... I enjoyed an even sweeter silence. A few seconds passed. Then the door opened. Standing there was a hairy, pot-bellied man in a stained undershirt. He had a bottle of beer in his left hand.

"Yeah?" he said. "Whaddya want?"

" is this the ashram?" I asked.

"Hell no," he barked. "Those freaks don't move in until tomorrow." Then he slammed the door in my face.

I just stood there, unmoving, nowhere to place my offering, a perfectly round orange in my right hand.

The above story is not included in my most recently published book.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:59 PM | Comments (0)

January 15, 2023

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:42 AM | Comments (0)

January 09, 2023
The Book My Daughter Asked Me to Write Begins on April 6


One year ago, I asked my darling daughter, Mimi (24 at the time), what my next book should be about.

In a flash, she looked into my eyes and said, "A book of wisdom from a father two his children."

"And what should the title be?" I asked.

"A Code to Live By."

I will begin writing this book on Mimi's birthday (April 6), but for now here is a sneak peak of some of the topics I will be addressing.

And if you want to check out another 72 posts of mine on Medium, click here.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:36 AM | Comments (0)

Welcome to Mitch Ditkoff's blog about what's really important in this life: Peace, gratitude, love, joy, clarity, and the effort required to wake up and smell the roses. Enjoy!

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