The Possible Happiness of Life: A Memoir of Physicality

This is the rich memoir of an adventurous life of high spirits and deep curiosity, of exploring many countries, languages and cultures; of passionate social and environmental commitments and of joyous appreciation for the truly wondrous worlds of spirituality, love and sexuality. He has been fascinated by Life's mysteries from an early age.
There’s much to cover:
{ } Years at Stanford, learning to flourish in the normal world.
{ } Exciting and challenging years of graduate work in Russian and Czech at Harvard, and universities in Prague and in divided Berlin, with communist East Germany close in all around. Developing a sense of Europe and Europeans.
{ } Restoring a 400-year-old ruined stone house on the Magical Greek Isle of Hydra.
{ } Stories of the long struggle to end the war in Vietnam.
{ } Work at an early think tank, where he encountered an unending parade of distinguished thinkers and doers. Ecologist Paul Ehrlich, religious historian Eliade, a hundred more.

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Part I

Young years at Stanford. Exciting Harvard, & universities in Prague & divided Berlin, surrounded by Cold War East Germany. Romantic boldness: buying a 400-year-old Greek island ruin. The Vietnam War & social contradictions lead to radical unrest. I get my M.A., but quit to work fulltime against the immoral war.


Part II

Halting the Vietnam War. At a formidable think tank. Active in ‘60ies radical politics, social, cultural & sexual ferment. Publishing to celebrate admirable, progressive people. Buddhist monastery time in Kathmandu. Enviro activism: David Brower & Friends of the Earth. The great city of San Francisco. Free sexuality, Love, Life, Spirit. Origins of the Ren Faire, of Santa Barbara’s Summer Solstice Parades.


Part III

Deeper into exciting Bay Area life. 40+ years in the peace, enviro, gay, civil rights movements. Cofounding Earth Island Institute. The movement’s passionate expansions here & globally: founding of the German Greens, enviro & economic tours to the ‘enemy’ Soviet Union. At the U.N. Running a spiritual-activist boarding house. AIDS: challenges & learnings. Wild Nature in Big Sur, Sonoma.

{ } He lived in the full flow of the all-engulfing social, cultural and political ferment of the S. Cal 60’ies. He here shares his underground work with the radical New Adult Community, ardent social pioneers.
{ } Creating the Calendar of Contemporary Saints, books about admirable “saints for today.”
{ } Spiritual retreat time in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery near Kathmandu, encouraged by his best friend. Then, spiritually somewhat deeper but physically 56 pounds lighter, hepatitis followed, with great weakness and a year’s slow recovery.
{ } Falling in love with the great city of San Francisco, and West Sonoma County. He ran “Magical Premises,” a spiritually- and activist-oriented boarding house, entering into the freewheeling and passionate San Francisco Bay Area life.
{ } Environmental activism with David Brower at Friends of the Earth, and co-founding Earth Island Institute which now, 35 years later, has 64 projects. Michael witnessed the movement’s emerging vigor, urgency, power and proliferation of purposes. We organized four major biennial “Fate of the Earth Conferences.” Michael was invited to the founding congress of the German Greens party. He co-led tours venturing into the (then our ‘enemy’) Soviet Union, as part of the new opening up, where Mikhail Gorbachev soon surfaced. He co-led in publishing an eco-newspaper at the U. N.’s 2nd Session on Nuclear Disarmament.
{ } As the AIDS epidemic arose, Michael took care of sickened friends and others in the San Francisco epicenter, and raised money to help exhausted caregivers. Midst the fear and suffering there was a great deal of love, and both practical and spiritual learnings. (You learn some about his loves with women, but guess that his far more frequent yearnings have been for men.)
{ } His appreciative reviews here of the original productions of HAIR (in New York), the Cirque du Soleil, Ballets Trocadero, of the original S. Cal Renaissance Faire and Santa Barbara Summer Solstice parades are happy demonstrations of their mostly unnoted spiritual dimensions.
{ } He became interested in spiritual exploration, through meditation, time in nature, fasting, Sufi dancing and taking magical substances. Parties came to mean more, as celebrations, expressions of deep sharing and joy. He came to understand the essence of celebration, and chose celebration as his basic stance in life.
{ } Living in spectacular Nature in Big Sur, West Sonoma and Greece, . He fell in love with the wonderful gardening-and-social-change community of OAEC in Occidental there, volunteering for 10 years in their spectacular organic gardens, where they grow some 4,000 varieties of vegetables, herbs, fruit and flowers. He hopes that he conveys some of their inspiring mood.
{ } Finally, this book is an enthusiastic praise of Life’s possibilities, and a heartfelt encouragement to live Life as joyously and zestily as we dare.