Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling

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Today is the 2 year anniversary of Garry Shandling leaving this physical world. I am so looking forward to watching the HBO Documentary next week about his life: “The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling” created by his friend Judd Apatow. I have always connected with his brilliant humor, his loving-kindness, and Zenful way of living. I learned that he had an Enso Circle tattoo on his neck to remind him of his Buddhist belief of impermanence, and as he referred to it: ego-emptiness. I wrote the following essay when he passed away, and I thought I would share. Miss you Garry!

An Essay I wrote about my love for Garry Shandling:
March 28, 2016
Lost my chance to Marry GARRY SHANDLING!
I have been “in love” with Garry Shandling for close to 4 decades! My first introduction to his brilliance was in Los Angeles, at the Comedy and Magic Club in Hermosa Beach in the late 70’s. I so got his humor from the start, and just knew he was a “rising star”. His positive energy was intoxicating as was his humor. I followed him on all the shows he wrote and performed in:  The Tonight Show, The Garry Shandling Show, and The Larry Sanders Show. I lived in Los Angeles from 1977 to 2006 and hoped one day I would get to meet him in person. Unfortunately, I never got the chance, but down deep in my heart I still felt as if we were soulmates! All my friends knew I had this deep love and admiration for him.
He was so talented, and yet so humble and exuded authentic loving-kindness. As the common phrase goes, “he came from good stock” a nice Jewish Boy with a great smile and brilliant sense of humor. He seemed to have deep empathy and respect for all people. He most likely learned those values at a young age because of family issues with his older brother’s illness. I have been looking for those qualities in a soulmate for many years. I guess we were both referred to as being a “JuBu”, growing up Jewish, but also following the principles of living as a Buddhist. Quan Yin is in my heart, and I try to offer loving-kindness and compassion to all.  Coming from a Jewish family too, I knew my ideal mate would have similar qualities that I admired in my Brother, Father and Uncles. A funny story, when I joined Twitter several years ago, he was the first celebrity I followed. Not understanding how Twitter worked, and since he wasn’t following me, he had no idea that I sent him some hello tweets and messages! After hearing the shocking news of his passing last Thursday, I still find myself feeling devastated, like it was a death in the family.

Over this past weekend I tuned into YouTube with my Apple TV and found all the “Garry Shandling” interviews and stand up shows and everything else I could immerse myself into, as I grieved his loss. I learned so many more interesting aspects of his personality and found myself loving and missing him even more! I loved hearing some of his stories, the one when he was on vacation with his girlfriend in Hana (Maui) and he broke his leg rescuing his newly temporarily adopted dog she named Shep. And then how the Universe ultimately reunited him with Shep in Los Angeles. When he brought the dog out on stage after a stand- up routine, my heart melted. He was animal lover, just like me, and probably got it from his Mom, who owned a pet shop. I loved the story about his asking George Carlin to read his jokes when he was just starting out….and as he said: Carlin said, “he was very green, but he was funny on every page, and he should pursue a career in comedy!

Watching the most recent show with him and Jerry Seinfeld (whom I also am in love with, another nice funny Jewish Boy, but he’s married!) on his Internet Show: Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”. It was filmed this past December, and the title: “It’s great that Garry’s still alive!” evolved from a funny story that Garry told Jerry, which has turned out to be very poignant, to say the least!  I loved how they were like two good buddies just hanging out for the afternoon, both so funny, humble, and very introspective. The Kvetch-O-Meter was hysterical! So, yes it was a very enjoyable and enlightening “Garry Shandling” Marathon weekend. It felt like I was “Sitting Shivah” for a complete stranger, but yet he was someone who I truly felt I knew, and so admired and loved.
We have all lost a beautiful soul, that’s for sure, and yes he was a “Star” that had risen to heights only very few have been fortunate enough to leap to. From now on when I look up in the sky here in Sedona, Arizona, I will look for the brightest star in these glorious dark skies, and I will say: “Hey There……What’s it like up in heaven Garry?” Maybe we can meet at the Pearly Gates, and I will finally find my soulmate waiting for me! Then we can both say in unison: “How’s my Hair?”
Love, Mars

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