In the retreat with the Lakota people in the Black Hills I realized that we’re all mixtures of different things, no one’s pure this or pure that, and that often there’s some quality of brokenness built into these combinations.” | “I didn’t grow up on Mother Goose rhymes, I grew up on my mother’s stories of the Shoah and what she had had to do to survive. These were tales of death but also grit and courage, and they’ve influenced me from the time I was a girl.” | “Bernie was about to go out on an errand yesterday when I saw him standing at the door, his funny hat framing a sweet and happy face. I tried to capture the image right there, not a great photo by any means, just a casual, intimate moment that I may go back to years hence to remember how happy we were.” | “Nothing deters Stanley and me from our daily expeditions to the woods, not even shooting and the occasional glimpses of men in hunting gear with guns.” | “I am an immigrant, having come to the US at the age of 7. I remember tiptoeing silently down the hallway back then and listening to my parents talk in their bedroom about money, about how to pay bills and afford schoolbooks and clothes. Often the words they repeated were: What will happen?” | “Live your life of the fox, your less-than-ideal life, fully and completely. Instead we perpetrate violence against the things and people we did not choose. We’re afraid that this is all there is, we blame ourselves and strike out against others. Our craving, grasping minds want things to be different. Any life other than this one!”


Walking on uneven terrain outdoors
Walking on uneven terrain outdoors

A friend of mine, who is a Buddhist teacher and a business consultant, once told me that when there’s a shadow in the organization whose existence the organization finally confronts after denying it for a long time, the organization will often kick out the shadow—usually manifesting as a particular employee—as soon as possible, the farther and quicker the better, in order to continue business as usual. Not too many organizations have the patience to bear witness to the shadow, befriend it, and get to know it. Instead, off with its head!

We’re now about two weeks before the elections, and I hear a new tone from liberal commentators and politicians. They’re talking about the importance of humiliating Donald Trump, his family, allies and surrogates in the voting booths, so that the Republican Party learn its lesson and never, ever nominate anyone like that again.

Before there was wariness and dread, but now that the consensus is that Trump is headed for a trouncing, the melody of belittling, mocking, and even jeering is being played, as if Americans are finally coming to their senses, and come Election Day we’re going to put Trump and his minions, including those attending his rallies with raised fists and curses hurled at media, in their place. Remind them that this is a democracy, not a boobocracy, and even if they have forgotten the difference, we have not.

There’s a self-righteous, belittling tone in the face of Trump’s plummeting polls. It’s as if we can now let go of our guard, and rather than acknowledge our fear and even anguish at what happened to our country this year, kick the shadow not just out of the closet but out of the house, preferably through contact of my foot and the seat of his pants: What a loser!

When Bernie was at the Taub Clinic in Alabama, his therapist Danna would ask him to get closer so that she could put her leg and his in both sides of a red, stretching theraband. In this way she offered resistance to his right leg, thus strengthening it. The way she put it was, Come closer so I could lasso you. That, Toto, was when I knew I was not in New England.

And that’s what I feel like saying to the folks who’re angry and upset, who feel the country has let them down: Come closer so I could lasso you. Get inside that durable theraband with me, each in our own side of the stretching plastic, not to become alike or come to agreement, but to get to know each other and offer resistance. Inside that theraband we’re partners, and both of us become stronger the more it stretches.


The Dogs of the Kiskadee Hills: Hunt for the Lynx begins a trilogy about a society of dogs after humans have destroyed themselves and much of the world. Living with their families and clans in the Kiskadee Hills, they’ve developed over generations a rich tradition and way of life, and have prospered. But now, an unknown killer is butchering the Kisdees of the Hills.

Academy Award-winning actor Jeff Bridges says: “You will never look at dogs the same again. Eve Marko gives us a story that explores the path that life on our planet has taken, and asks what your role in that course might be.”


Eve Marko - Bearing Witness

To bear witness to anything is to be as close to it as possible.

It’s not to read books or see movies about it, it’s not to have an opinion or tell a story. It’s to let go of all ideas about it—be in the space of not-knowing—and simply be there, up close and deeply personal.

Eve has been involved with the Zen Peacemaker Order’s Bearing Witness Retreats—in places of suffering and conflict since her first visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau.

There have been 20 retreats at the site of those concentration camps since, along with retreats in Bosnia, Rwanda and the Black Hills of South Dakota, near the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Upcoming Bearing Witness Retreats:

Bosnia, May 2016 (Please email for details)


Eve Marko

Eve Marko is a writer of fiction and nonfiction, head teacher at the Green River Zen Center in Massachusetts, and a Founding Teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Order.

She has trained spiritually-based social activists and peacemakers in the US, Europe and the Middle East alongside her husband, Bernie Glassman, and has been a Spiritholder at retreats bearing witness to genocide at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Rwanda, the Black Hills in South Dakota, and Bosnia. Before that she worked at the Greyston Mandala for a decade, which provides housing, child care, jobs, and AIDS-related medical services in Yonkers, New York.

Eve’s articles on social activists have appeared in the magazines Tikkun and Shambhala Sun, and her collection for lay Zen practitoners, The Book of Householder Koans, will come out in late 2016. Her great love, Hunt for the Lynx, the first in her fantasy trilogy, The Dogs of the Kiskadee Hills, will come out in early 2016.

“When I was a young girl my dream was to be a hermit, live alone, and write serious literature. That’s not how things turned out. I got involved with people. I got involved in the world.

Two things matter to me right now: the creative spark and the aliveness of personal connection. In some way, they both come down to the same thing.”