Noted author and teacher Wayne Teasdale passed on that further shore on Oct 20, 2004. It was devastating for us. He was our best friend, and he was instrumental in our coming to America.
Part Irish and part Italian, his wit and wisdom came through almost every moment. He never missed a beat when it came to making a joke. "And there's truth in humor," he would add, with a twinkle in his eye.
Image 1: Not long after we arrived in the US (top picture), we lived with Wayne at Hundred Acres Monastery in New Hampshire. We were strict vegetarians at the time, and since Wayne had taken the vow of Sannyasa from Bede Griffiths, he said he would observe the same diet as we did. But Wayne loved chicken. And Jennifer, the monastery cook, made the best. Wayne said it was sufficient for him to smell it.
One day, Russill needed to use the restroom during the meal. The door was slightly ajar, and when pushed, revealed Wayne wolfing down a large leg of chicken. Russill called out to the rest of the community to come to check out the scene. There was gravy dripping all over the floor, and Wayne had sauce on his face.
But we thought you were vegetarian, Wayne, Russill teased him. Yeah, but only part-time", he quipped.
Image 2: We taught alongside Wayne all across the US, Canada, and internationally until he became ill with cancer in 2002. We moved to Austin to care for him but sadly, he died before he could relocate.
During every single one of our retreats, we created skits that we enacted together. Here, Asha is an air hostess for Air India with a crazy Indian accent. Wayne was cabin steward with an equally hilarious Indian accent and a bobbing head. Russill played an orthodox Brahmin who unknowingly ends up with a non-vegetarian meal and gets his mantras mixed up.
Image 3: Bede Griffiths came to live with us in Vermont after our Hundred Acres Monastery stint. Many famous people came to visit, including contemplative outreach founder Fr. Thomas Keating and folk legend Arlo Guthrie. We were all on a strict diet due to Bede's health condition. It was the time Asha was inspired to begin her lifelong passion for nutrition and holistic health. We sneaked out with Wayne sneaked for ice cream and fries.
We love him so much! And we still miss him terribly!
If you are interested in his books, consider reading The Mystic Heart or A Monk In The World. They are both inspiring reads. Click an image below...