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“Always Hungry?”

A gentle tap on the shoulder, a turn toward it, a smile, a recognition and a hearty guy hug (HGH – see last week’s column). It’s Dr. David Ludwig, MD, Phd, here at the Kripalu Yoga Center in the Bershires. We sit and nurture ourselves with wonderfully nutritious food and nourishing warm words. A hike follows and the walk and talk meanders through the life of the woods and the challenging lives of these old ugly men (OUM).
That experience was a chance encounter that occurred on Christmas day last year. This recently past Christmas, it was déjà-vu all over again. We had not communicated over the year and that gap was bridged in a moment with a hug and hike. Dr. Dave reported significant positive changes in his personal life and proudly pronounced the publication of his new book “Always Hungry?” ( He seemed so satisfied and simply satiated.
I met David almost four years ago while at my Taiji teacher’s school, Yang’s Martial Arts Assoc. in Boston. He was in a Taiji class and I was with a group of Taiji veterans with whom I had trained with over the previous 20 years. Somehow the Doctor and I connected and we bonded with weekly Taiji private lessons here for the next year. I appreciated his commitment of time, energy and money through the learning process. He received my guidance well and I duly noted the unusual y respectful and humble receiving of my often corrective feedback. After all, it is quite rare for anyone of such stature to “empty the cup” and really learn anew. It was also clear to me that we were going through difficult crossroads together. He was facing familial challenges and I was working with the passing of my son, Cory.
Dr. Ludwig was also gracious enough to read and write a complimentary blurb for my book “Life, Death and Life with my Son” two years ago. I accord with our double helix-like reciprocal relationship, last year I got the opportunity to return the book favor. He was at Kripalu for the purpose of putting the finishing touches on his book, which at the time was tentatively titled, “Stopping the food fight”. After listening to his passionate outpouring of his product and knowing that we “teach best what we need to learn the most”, I pounced on the opportunity to provide peppery feedback that may put a stop point to the food finish. The MD heard it, really heard it, ran off to his room and raced to a rest stop. The next day, he invited me to his room and read the fantastic finish. I was so wowed that I had nothing to say. The next day, I had told him of a dream that I had had that night. The dream’s direction was to do due diligence and go for it. Not that he needed my spirit dreams to do his deeds, and, it is always nice to have a little halo-do when toting the truth in a field filled with falseness.
Applying the inner work of the meditative disciplines of Taiji and Yoga to this life is possibly the spiritual purpose of those practices. Dr. David has clearly done his destiny duty well and his writing work of “Always Hungry?” maps out ways to conquer cravings, retrain your taste and attain a healthy weight. No wonder that he is also on the Kripalu board of directors. Now, maybe we can work on getting Yoga’s “brother”, Taiji (also called Daoist Yoga) in as a complimentary school to the Yoga school at Kripalu. Of note, I meet Melissa while walking with the Doc and she and I hit it off! Hopefully, there is hope for all wounded souls to have a re-birth, some mirth, while knowing that it takes a lot of work.