Friday, April 18, 2008

Song reference from the previous post

I was referring to "Funeral for a Friend" by Elton John.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Michael's Funeral

It was actually a really wonderful experience. I'd never been in a big Jewish temple before, had never been a pallbearer, had never been to a funeral for as close of a friend (had to stop, find the song on youtube and now have it playing in the background), hadn't dreamed of the person until the morning after he died, had never shovelled dirt onto a casket before, etc., etc., etc. This all took place between 5:30 AM yesterday and about half an hour ago when we got home.

The way the flights worked, we flew into Providence but out from Boston, so Liz and I visited our first three apartments together in Allston and Brighton. After that we walked around HBS where I used to work when the kids were born.

It was strange going back to his house afterwards, when I'd just had dinner with him there in December. Nancy and Celine were there, and it was really nice seeing them and talking with them.

I want to publicly thank our friend Jeannie and her son Johno for taking care of Katie and Zack yesterday and today while we were gone, especially with everything Jeannie had going on last night after we left and today. Jeannie, all I can say is, you're amazing and we're very lucky to have you in our lives.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Liz and I are both blogging about Michael today. He passed away last night at 10:15. You can read her piece about it at

The first thing I want to share is a funny story about Michael that goes back to April, 1994. This would be at the end of the first Synergy Speaking From The Heart class, when the class puts on a Basic workshop. On the final day of the workshop is a healing ceremony. You divide the group into small teams and go through a lovely ritual where each person can experience energetic healing.

Usually, when you plan the groups, there is at least one person in the group who is familiar with the process.

As luck would have it, my group was made up of my fellow class members, but the healing ceremony we did at our own Basic was held through Temenos, not Synergy. Suffice to say, Synergy did things a little differently. For example, the Temenos style was to perform healings on the floor, but Synergy set up massage tables --- a few more things to manage from a production perspective, but much better for the participants.

As the first person's healing was coming to an end, we healers were asked to "wrap" the person before bringing them off the table. Not one person in our group knew what that meant, but nobody confessed. I don't know whose idea it was, but soon all of us were literally wrapping this person up in the cloth covering the massage table (and she was going along with it). None of us looked around the room to see what the others were doing; our solution felt right and totally natural to us.

Enter Michael Goldstein, who semi-dashed over to our table and quickly explained what the wrap was. "This is the wrap. This is the wrap" he said, over and over, waving his hands with urgent finality over an invisible person on our now-empty table. We felt completely ridiculous, but the story was a source of laughter for many months afterwards.

I hadn't thought of that story in years, but it came back to me as I was doing a healing on Michael on April 6, and I grinned uncontrollably and harder than I had in months. Later when I talked to Nancy about it, she laughed and said Michael probably wanted to be remembered that way.

Last night, I had this dream:

A white German shepherd is trying to get away from some children who are holding its tail. He's struggling, they're laughing. He's fighting and fighting.

Next, he's alone, sitting still on the floor. His tail is gone, along with most of his digestive tract. He's very still.

Next, he's laying on my bed at my house, right where my head was while I slept. As a boy, I put my head on his neck and felt his warm white fur. I began to place my arms around him, but just as I touched him he gave a small breathy grunt, and I stopped because I thought he might be in pain. He was very still.

Finally, there was something that Michael used to say near the end of every round of Speaking From The Heart: that despite all the hard work of managing the coaches, he saw himself as the ultimate beneficiary from it ("selfishly," he would say).

I'm sure I'm not alone when I consider myself extremely lucky to have been gifted with his friendship and wisdom.

Goodbye, Master Coach Michael Goldstein. You were the personification of tough love. You were the Skin Horse. You were the guy who told me when I was being stupid. You taught me how to walk on fire, sweat with my brothers and be a man. I love you, and I wish you peace.