Ascent 301 – Learning to Drive

learning-to-driveAfter a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner and the obligatory Christmas movie, we wanted to watch something fresh. After a brief perusal of the visual cornucopia that is Amazon Prime, our attention was captured by Learning to Drive.

The movie was released in 2015 and features Patricia Clarkson (who is Susan’s cousin) and Ben Kingsley. Clarkson is a writing critic whose husband has left her. Kingsley is a Sikh driving instructor who moonlights as a cab driver in Manhattan.

One night, Wendy (Clarkson) takes a cab home driven by Darwan (Kingsley). She leaves something in the cab and he drives back to her place the next day in his student driver car. As she has realized that she must learn to drive, she is pleasantly surprised to learn that he is a teacher.

As they commence lessons, the movie showcases other aspects of their respective lives. Darwan shares accommodation with several other Sikh friends and family members. He is on the verge of an arranged marriage and is coming to terms with that. Wendy is accepting her husband is not coming back and is shocked to learn that she must sell her house and provide support in the pending divorce.

As the lessons progress, so does their bond and they begin to teach each other about the new phases of their lives.

Darwan’s bride to be arrives and the marriage takes place shortly afterwards. I loved the insights into the Indian culture and the perspective of the Sikh.

Kingsley and Clarkson both gave outstanding performances as their respective characters and the evolution of each was heart warming to experience.


Ascent 300 – Doctor Strange

imagesI’ve been yearning to see this latest addition to the Marvel universe since it was released. I’ll be seeing it later this week with some fellow yogis. Last night, my schedule was clear, there was a showing nearby, so I ordered up a couple of tickets for the 5:30pm showing.

The theater is a few back roads away, so NYC rush hour traffic was not an issue.

The movie stars Benedict Cumberbatch as a superstar neurosurgeon with a massive ego whose life is shattered after a devastating car accident robs him of the use of his hands.

After traditional Western medicine fails to help him, in desperation he heads for a place called Kamar-Taj in Kathmandu Nepal, where he hopes Eastern practices will help him.

He is advised to forget everything that he knows before he enters. When he meets the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) he is instantly turned off when he realizes they’re about spirituality & energy, not scientific practice.

His mindset is shifted when she knocks his astral self out of his physical self, then he is shocked as they decline to treat him. He doesn’t leave and his persistence convinces them to bring him in and commence training.

Strange struggles with the practice and the exercises and is kicked into warp speed by a simple insight from the Ancient One. He then begins to expand exponentially as his powers and awareness dramatically increase.

He learns of an adversary played by Bond- villain Mads Mikkelsen, who has stolen text of an ancient ritual that can undo the world as we know it.

mark-strangeStrange is reluctantly drawn into the conflict and becomes the champion of this realm and must dig deep into his resourcefulness and powers, including breaking a few of the rules to triumph.

The effects in this movie are phenomenal, especially the changes that are made to the physical space the adversaries are in. As usual with Marvel, there are great comedic moments and witty one-liners.

It was a non-stop thrill ride with some interesting twists. I’m excited to go see it again and will try the 3D next time.

Ascent 299 – Living the 300% Life

Ascent 299 – Living the 300% Life

When I heard about the 300% Life UnConference being held by Monica Day in Manhattan, I was interested. I’ve been following Monica on FaceBook for a while and totally love her openness and authenticity. And, here she is hosting an event in my town where she shares these gifts with us.

I took advantage of this opportunity and found myself getting more and more excited as time came for it to begin.

dsc_0804The event was hosted at the Gene Frankel theater on Bond St. in the Soho district of Manhattan. The opening reception was 6:00pm to 9:00pm and the 3 active event days were 10:00am to 9:00pm. Initially, this felt like it was a little intense, especially as I needed drive to the train station, take the Long Island railroad into Penn Station then hoof it a few blocks to get the F train down to the event.

The excitement superseded everything else and the adrenaline of a new adventure was intoxicating.

Interestingly, I don’t go into Manhattan that often. My preference is actually to go east on Long Island and experience the beaches and the countryside.

The city is always an amazing paradox to me. Walking 34th St. or 5th Avenue, on one side you see exclusive stores and high end hotels, while on the other you see people sleeping on the sidewalk, covered with a dirty blanket and a small bag with all their possessions.

It is the most interesting people environment to experience. So much diversity, yet so much similarity. The stations are always teeming with noise, from the chatter of the people and the musicians performing to make some money.

I like to be a little early for everything I do to enjoy the experience of getting there, have time for a coffee and to get settled in to the space before the festivities began.

Bond street is a wonderful piece of the city’s history and is a cobbled street. The theater is one of many small intimate theaters in the city and has a wonderful ambiance and energy to it.

I was one of the first participants to arrive and got my formalities taken care of. Some hors d’oeuvres were set up, including some delicious sausage rolls.

Other participants began to arrive and we commenced connecting, getting to know each other, sharing how we know Monica and our excitement for this event.

After what seemed like an eternity, the door to the hall opened, and we were invited to take our seats. As I had volunteered to photograph the event, I opted for a seat off to the side where I could move and take pictures without disturbing the presenter or imposing on the audience.



The room was almost full as Monica came out and took her seat on stage, welcoming us to the event and preparing us for what was to come. The first evening was an open reception and the the following 3 days were just for those who had signed up.

She had 4 wonderful presenters lined up, who shared their stories of pain, pleasure, self discovery and awareness. It was a wonderful evening of varying emotions and a great lead in to what was in store over the next 3 days.

Each of the following days was an amazing emotional and energetic experience as Monica led us in getting out of our heads and into our bodies. She shared personal stories, invited us to share ours, led us in movement and dance, performed various exercises of eclectic meanings, including tactile and kinesthetic, to open us up to the awareness, sensations and feelings of the body.

She taught us that the body is the repository of our truth and is our sacred transport. As such, we must honor it and heed it when it is trying get our attention.

I’ve been on this path for a long time and consider myself to be pretty enlightened & centered. Monica cracked me open and revealed to me an awareness that I simply didn’t have previously. To say I was amazed would be an understatement.

A significant lesson for me was on finding my edge. How much do we play safe and stay away from that edge of our awareness, that space where we can experience ultimate sensation and fulfillment?

I was truly awed at that I was introduced to and opened up to. There is so much more that I could share albeit I invite you to get to know Monica Day and experience it from her yourself. Monica’s website is

I’m so excited to see what unfolds as I move forward in my commitment to live a 300% Life. I’ll see you at the top.

Ascent 298 – Halloween at Chipotle

There’s been Halloween gatherings all over the place the last week or so. Tonight, on the official day, it was so great seeing all the young ones – and not so young ones – out in their costumes, ringing on doorbells and getting their goodies. It’s cool also seeing the parents dressed up with them.

We attended a Halloween party Friday night at the UU church in Manhasset, NY and got 3rd place for costumes.

Our friends Sharon and Jeff advised us that Chipotle will give a burrito for $3 if you show up in costumer. I love their burrito bowl and love hanging out with those guys, so we agreed to meet at 7pm at the Great Neck location.

We ran a couple of errands into Long Island, made a quick stop home to grab the outfits. I once again slipped on the lederhosen and ventured out into the chilly night to get my cheap grub. Next time, I’m wearing the pantyhosen too.


Our friends arrived before we did and texted that there was a line out the door! It had receded some when we arrived. They were already seated and eating, so we said hello and got in line to get our bowl of burrito goodness.

I love the burrito bowl with brown rice, black beans, veggies, steak, pico de gallo, hot salsa, guacamole and lettuce. Tonight though, I opted for the chorizo, which I hadn’t seen before.

Shortly thereafter, we joined our friends and commenced the consumption.

A handful of local police officers came in and I had to go compliment them on their costumes. Thankfully, they had a sense of humor and I didn’t acquire a set of tempered steel bracelets.

The meal was great, time with friends wonderful. Then, it was time to head home, lose the shorts and get something warm on my legs. Life is good.