The anthropologist Margaret Mead said that some people have a "teaching gene" and, if that's true, I think my father, Harry Schor, had that gene and that I inherited it from him. He loved explaining and demonstrating, and so do I. He taught me to swim, to roller skate, to ride a bike, to solve anagrams and to construct crossword puzzles. He taught me about puns and limericks. He was a mathematics teacher by profession and he taught me algebra and geometry at home, years before I learned them at school. My mother was unique amongst the mothers on our street. She had a job. She drove a car. She had passionately progressive political views and the loudest laugh of anyone I knew. I think I'm just like her.
I grew up in Brooklyn, New York and went to public grade school and high school. All four of my grandparents arrived in America, Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, between 1900 and 1920. None of them had had any education at all, and for them America was great because everyone could vote and everyone could go to school. My mother's greatest dream was for me to go to an Ivy League women's college, and I went to Barnard College and majored in Chemistry and Mathematics. I met and became engaged to my husband Seymour when I was sixteen. (That's us, in the photo, in 1952.) We were married three years later. I graduated from college in 1956 and we moved to Kansas where he trained to be a psychiatrist, I taught Chemistry at Washburn University, and I became interested in psychology. We settled in California in 1961. I earned a Master's Degree in Social Work from the University of California Berkeley in 1967 and began working as a psychotherapist. At the College of Marin in Kentfield, California from 1970 until 1984, I taught psychology, Hatha Yoga, and introduced and taught the first Women's Studies course. In 1974, I was awarded my Ph.D. in Psychology from Saybrook University. My thesis topic was, "Hatha Yoga as a Gentle Psychotherapeutic Tool."
I would say about myself that political activism was my spiritual practice in the 1960s. I was a member of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and the Marin Women for Peace. I marched, accompanied by my four young children, two sons and two daughters, in rallies protesting the Vietnam War. Just a few years ago, I was part of a clergy peace rally, and agreed to be arrested, along with friends and colleagues, as a protest to the invasion of Afghanistan. My grandchildren watched on TV and were proud of me. My first Mindfulness mediation experience was a weekend retreat in 1977 in a private home in San Jose, California. You'll see me in the photo in the front row on the left. The man standing in back at the far right is Sujata, the teacher of that retreat. My main teachers since that time have been Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberz (my first teacher of Metta meditation) and Joseph Goldstein. I began teaching meditation in 1985 and in the photo taken in 2002 I am surrounded by most, but not all, of my teaching colleagues at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. To learn more about them, check the Spirit Rock website, www.spiritrock.org and click on Teachers. My friend and teacher, Jack Kornfield is in the front on the right.
I have taught a weekly Wednesday morning meditation class at Spirit Rock for fifteen years (you can check the Spirit Rock website for information about attending this class). In addition to learning meditation instructions, practicing meditation, and hearing a talk about Buddhist psychology, people who are Wednesday morning "regulars" often announce personal events in their lives so that we can, as a group, offer blessings. One of our favorite events is the opportunity to introduce a new baby to the community and announce its name. In the photo on this page, the baby's name is Honor Rose, and her mother is my daughter, Elizabeth.
Pictures of Me