Neil Diamond: Stepping Away From Touring Because Of Parkinsons
Singer Neil Diamond announced on January 22, 2018, that he was retiring from touring because of a recent Parkinsons diagnosis. The news came during his 50th anniversary tour, as Diamond announced he would have to cancel upcoming concert dates in Australia and New Zealand. In a statement on his official website, he said, It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement from concert touring. I have been so honored to bring my shows to the public for the past 50 years.
Diamond reassured fans that he would continue writing and recording music, but he would not perform in front of live audiences in the future. His hits over the years have included Girl, Youll Be a Woman Soon, Sweet Caroline, Cracklin Rosie, Song Sung Blue, and Red, Red Wine.
Diamond was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011 and received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 Grammy Awards.
Alan Alda: Taking Action Keeping Active
The award-winning M*A*S*H actor broke the news of his Parkinsons diagnosis during an appearance on the CBS This Morning TV news show in July 2018 and hes found that exercise helps him stay positive. You can hold back the progress if you do a lot of specific exercises, so I do a lot of crazy things, he told Today in 2019. For this actor, these crazy things reportedly include boxing, juggling, tennis, swimming, marching, and biking.
Confirming the news of his diagnosis on Twitter, Alda remained optimistic. I decided to let people know I have Parkinsons to encourage others to take action, he wrote. My life is full. I act, I give talks, I do my podcast, which I love. If you get a diagnosis, keep moving!
Founding Insight Meditation Society
After their Naropa days, Kornfield, Goldstein, and Salzberg were in high demand as teachers. Couch-surfing from retreat to retreat, they eventually yearned to create their own home base for intensive practice. A nun attending one retreat mentioned that the Catholic church was selling off a former seminary in Massachusetts. With the help of a loan officer who was under the impression that the Insight Meditation Society was the International Meditation Society , the first Vipassana retreat center in the U.S. was born.
We werent expected to create temples. We were expected to offer the teachings.
The early days in Barre were largely improvisational, with debates about such basic issues as whether the Buddha should be represented in the meditation hall, or if Vipassana should be presented in secular form, as Goenka advised. In the end, chanting, robes, and other exotic trappings were kept to a minimum, in part because Americans often came to meditation seeking an alternative to the hollow observances they saw in the churches and congregations they grew up in. We didnt have a grand vision of how things would developit was really a blank slate, Salzberg recalls. Our mantra in the beginning was, We can always close it in a year if it doesnt work out.
How Jack Kornfield Went From Ivy League Grad To Buddhist Monk
Jack Kornfield was raised in a Jewish home with a father he says had an explosive, violent temper. During his childhood, Kornfield sought refuge in books about the mystical adventures of monks living in Tibet, and he eventually attended Dartmouth College, where he majored in Asian studies. Yet the spiritual teacher and didn’t quite find all he was looking for in his Ivy League education.
So, Kornfield decided to become a monk. Sharing his story with Oprah on a recent episode of “Super Soul Sunday,” Kornfield explains that there were two main reasons why he was compelled to make such a big change in his life.
“I became a monk partly because I read these cool books about Zen masters and I said, ‘I wonder if there still are any,’ and partly because I had so much suffering in my family and nothing about my education taught me about my emotional life or my values,” Kornfield tells Oprah.
Of his time at Dartmouth, Kornfield says, “It was only half of an education. I learned science and history and philosophy, but nobody taught me how to deal with my fear or my anger.”
In search of peace and tools to help him manage the emotional aspects of his life, Kornfield asked the Peace Corps to send him to a Buddhist country. “They sent me to Thailand and I was sent way out on the Mekong River Valley,” he recalls. “And then I looked around I said, ‘Who are the good teachers? I need to learn how to deal with my own inner life and my broken heart, really, from my family.'”
Compassion & My Quivering Heart
I have been witness for many many years the long slow decline of my mom due to Parkinsons Disease and while I keep thinking it will get easier, it does not. She recently moved back home into assisted care and while transition is hard for all of us, it is particularly hard on our elders. She has had a steady decline since that time and a hefty knock on the head did not help. She has increasing moments of confusion and forgetfulness and is more prone to napping and repeating herself than ever before in her life. On the old scale, she is there! On the still fighting scale, she is still there!
Even so, as her life force changes and declines, my heart quivers. This past week I have been walking around in a near frozen state of, no this cant be happening or this is a problem we can solve, or I dont have time to process this pain.
It isnt until my body gives out and I crawl beneath the covers that I recognize I have no more RUN & HIDE inside me, and I am done. It is then that I can feel the energetic residue of the fight, flight, freeze from my frazzled nervous system. As the layers of reality and grief that I have been resisting, start to settle like waves on the shore, I am slowly reminded of how this pain itself is the path, the medicine. It will be what softens my heart, and connects me to all other humans in this shared experience of suffering, as the witness.
With all the courage I can muster,
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Dharma Teachers Trudy Goodman And Jack Kornfield Tie The Knot
Ram Dass marries Trudy Goodman and Jack Kornfield. Photo by Richard Marks, via Spirit Rock Meditation Center on .
Dharma teachers Trudy Goodman and Jack Kornfield were married in Maui, Hawaii this past weekend.
According to a post on Spirit Rock Meditation Centers page, the two were married by spiritual teacher and Be Here Now author, Ram Dass, in his Haiku Garden.
The post reads:
We are delighted to share the happiness of our Hawaiian wedding day. We have known each other for 43 years and come to love each other deeply. The special day began with Ram Dasss weekly community beach swim. Later, before sunset, as soft Maui breezes blew and the clouds turned rosy colors, we had a private ceremony in Ram Dasss Haiku garden, exchanging vows, leis, and rings.
In poetic language, Ram Dass married us to each other and to the Dharma, and offered his blessings to us, our families, friends, and communities. He asked each of us, Do you take Jack/Trudy as part of your sangha? We both wholeheartedly answered Yes! We are all sangha together, and now you are happily included.
In the past weeks we have received waves of good wishes from friends all over the globehearing our nuptial plans has made them smile. And here we are, newly wed, blessed and grateful.
Engaged Buddhists: Jack Kornfield and Trudy Goodman, via InsightLA.
In Walking the Talk, Sandra Oh asked them how they came to be a couple:
Our congrats to Trudy and Jack. Heres to a life of being on the same page together!
Wise Heart: A Profile Of Jack Kornfield
Jack Kornfields brilliant synthesis of deep Buddhist practice and modern psychological insight has made him one of the most influential spiritual teachers of our time. Steve Silberman tells the fascinating story of Kornfields voyage both literal and philosophical from West to East and back.
Jack Kornfield is dancing. With a fluid arc of his left hand, he plucks a sheet of paper from a stack beside his chair onstage at Spirit Rock, a Buddhist retreat center in the hills above San Francisco. Leaning forward, he stitches lines from a T.S. Eliot poem into a talk on meditation, along with quotes from Alice Walker, Nelson Mandela, Chuang-Tzu, an Afghan taxi driver who drove him to the airport, and his own daughter, Caroline. Kornfield calls this his jazzhis way of spontaneously weaving a tapestry of voices to illustrate the relevance of Buddhas teachings in everyday life.
His Monday night dharma talks in this room, however, are home. As Kornfield scoops up another poem from the stack, reading it in the distinctive singsong melody of his speech, its as if the books and papers beside his chair comprise a river of human wisdom that he ladles out to the world, one soul-sustaining sip at a time. Listen with an open mind but dont try to remember this stuff. Theres no quiz at the end, he says. Its more of a reminder of something that you already know is true deep inside yourself. And if its not, just let it pass by.
Bob Hoskins: Retirement With Parkinson’s
A British actor best known for his award-winning turn in the 1982 film The Long Good Friday and for his voiceover in 1988’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Bob Hoskins announced that having Parkinson’s disease forced him into retirement in 2012. He was quite private about the details of his diagnosis, but in a 2012 interview with Saga Magazine, he said, “I’m trying to retire. I’m not doing very well at it, though.” When he did retire, he announced that he would be focusing on living a healthier lifestyle after leaving the acting profession.
Hoskins died in April 2014 at age 71.
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Maurice White: A Performer With Parkinson’s
One of the founding members of the band Earth, Wind & Fire, Maurice White noted the first symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in the 1980s while the band’s popularity was going strong. Although he was diagnosed in 1992 at age 50, he kept quiet about his disease for eight years. In a 2000 interview with Rolling Stone, he discussed his diagnosis, saying, “I traveled with the band for five years with Parkinson’s. I was treating it with medication then, and I still have it under control. It’s not taking anything away from me.”
White died in 2016 at age 74.
Linda Ronstadt: Parkinson’s Took Her Voice But Not Her Spirit
Known for her rich soprano vocals as the lead singer of the 1960s band the Stone Poneys, Linda Ronstadt opened up about her Parkinson’s disease diagnosis to AARP The Magazine in 2013. After two very bad tick bites in the 1980s, Ronstadt says her health never fully recovered but she didn’t visit a neurologist until she was no longer able to sing.
“I didn’t know why I couldn’t sing all I knew was that it was muscular or mechanical. Then when I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, I was finally given the reason. I now understand that no one can sing with Parkinson’s disease. No matter how hard you try. And in my case, I can’t sing a note,” she told AARP.
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Entering The Monastery In Thailand
With the Vietnam War raging, Kornfield signed up for the Peace Corps, and asked to be shipped off to a Buddhist country. Sent to Thailand, he made his way to a remote and impoverished region of the jungle near the Laotian border, where he heard rumors of an American monk living in the ruins of a nearby temple. Kornfield persuaded one of his friends with a Jeep to drive him there, where he found a young man from Seattle who had come to study with Ajahn Chah and had taken the name Sumedho. Because Americans were still rare in Thailand, they tended to be coddled in local monasteries, but Sumedho reassured Kornfield he would get no special treatment if he meditated with his teacher. This is the real deal, he promised, the tough training.
My mind became so still. I could see thoughts not only when they arose, but before they arose, like that feeling when youre about to burp.
Indeed, one of the first things that Ajahn Chahan ochre-robed bhikku with a mischievous grinsaid to Kornfield when he arrived at the monastery was, I hope youre not afraid to suffer. This confused Kornfield, who thought the good news about Buddhism was the third and fourth noble truthsthe ones about cessation of suffering. Ajahn Chah explained that there were two kinds of suffering: the usual kind that generates more pain and confusion, and the kind that can lead you to freedom.
Alan Alda Reveals He Has Parkinson’s Disease: I’m Not Angry
Alan Alda has Parkinson’s disease. In an appearance on “CBS This Morning” Tuesday, the award-winning actor, best known for his relatable portrayal of Army Capt. “Hawkeye” Pierce in the TV series “M*A*S*H,” revealed he was diagnosed three-and-a-half years ago.
“I’ve had a full life since then,” he said. “I’ve acted, I’ve given talks, I help at the Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook. I started this new podcast. And I noticed that I had been on television a lot in the last couple of weeks talking about the new podcast and I could see my thumb twitch in some shots and I thought, it’s probably only a matter of time before somebody does a story about this from a sad point of view, but that’s not where I am.”
Alda said he got tested for the disease after reading an article about how one of the early signs of Parkinson’s is acting out dreams.
“I was having a dream that someone was attacking me and I threw a sack of potatoes at them. But what I was really doing was throwing a pillow at my wife,” he said.
The 82-year-old recently launched a podcast called Clear+Vivid, which explores all the ways in which people communicate with each other. The ability to engage with people clearly, he says, is the key to greater understanding for everyone. Another reason Alda spoke out was to send a message of hope to those who might be facing the disease.
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Michael J Fox: Parkinson’s Champion For A Cure
Michael J. Fox is among the most well-known people living with Parkinson’s disease. Many remember him as the fresh-faced young star of the 1980s TV comedy hit Family Ties and the popular Back to the Future movies. Though most people with Parkinson’s are diagnosed between ages 40 and 60, Fox was diagnosed at age 30 but his diagnosis didnt slow him down.
He shared his young-onset Parkinson’s disease diagnosis with the world in 1998 and, two years later, founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. Fox is committed to helping the foundation build Parkinson’s disease awareness and raise funds for research into prevention, treatment, and a cure. In addition to his advocacy work, hes still a working actor some more recent roles have included characters with Parkinson’s in the TV shows The Good Wife and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
“As long as I play a guy with Parkinson’s, I can do anything,” he joked in a 2013 AARP interview.
The Birth Of Spirit Rock
In time, however, even spiritual friends can drift apart for a while. Goldstein and Salzberg undertook grueling retreats with Mahasi Sayadaws stern successor, U Pandita, who taught that Vipassana was a war between healthy and unhealthy mental states. While Kornfield had deep respect for U Pandita, he felt that his influence at IMS was a mixed blessing. Joseph and Sharon turned back to this Burmese teacher whose great emphasis was effort and striving, he recalls. That wasnt good for most Western students. It triggered their feelings of self-judgment and unworthiness very strongly. So I felt it was important to continue to build on the things wed learned in the West, rather than turning back to the traditional way.
The former monk had another reason to think about moving on. He had fallen in love.
Liana Chenoweth, a young artist from Long Island, plunged right into the deep end of Buddhism, signing up for the famed three-month silent retreat in Barre in the fall of 1978. Naturally contemplative and inner-directed, she kept to herself after the communal periods of sitting and walking, sleeping in a cave guarded by three sentinel oaks.
I think Jack would have liked to have grown up in a big family that got along well, says Sylvia Boorstein, who was one of his first teacher-trainees. What his childhood did for him is to cause him to want to make peace in every community hes in. Hes eager to attend to whoever is most in need.