I was born in Milan, Italy and came to America on a boat with my parents. We settled in Boston, where I grew up and attended some of the finest schools, including Harvard. After college I realized that San Francisco was where I belonged.
When I was in school I was thin and athletic. I played basketball, and ran track against some of the finest athletes in the world—several of whom went on to the Olympics.
After a few years hiatus post-college, during which I spent some time in Mexico and picked up a passable usage of the Spanish language, I decided on law as a career. I thought it would be something that would hold my interest for a lifetime. Also, I was a frustrated actor and needed an audience that couldn’t leave.
I worked for a year for the late, great Melvin Belli (King of Torts and King of Egos) and then attended Golden Gate Law School. I finished first in my class at Golden Gate Law School, then was accepted as a U. S. Department of Justice Honors Graduate and went to Washington D.C. I was in the organized crime and racketeering program in the hey day of the Mafia. I worked with the FBI to prosecute high level Mafia capos—bigger even than Tony Soprano. We used wiretaps, bugs, and anything else the Attorney General approved.
As interesting as it was working in Washington, I wanted to be in the courtroom, so I returned to San Francisco as a federal prosecutor. This is where the action got heavy! I tried 15 conspiracy cases in a row—mostly large scale international drug dealers as well as the first RICO case ever tried in this area.
In 1981, I began my own law practice and started specializing in taking on big, greedy corporations and stingy insurance companies.
I got married and had two beautiful daughters (who both now practice yoga). Then, about three and a half years ago, crashed and burned in a divorce.
During the latter stages of my marriage, I developed a steady—3-4 times a week Bikram practice, but then popped my knee in Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose). Surgery on my knee was unsuccessful. The doctor said the cartilage was removed, but now I had bone-on-bone! I had to figure out how to walk again—no way was I going to undergo a knee replacement! I swam, lifted weights, rowed, and then, in early 2006, after the most grueling and frustrating jury trial of my life against Wal-mart and an army of lawyers, finally decided that my health had to be first on my list of priorities.
The grace of God led me to Jason and that is how I began to renew the use of my knee. I know now the knee is merely the catalyst for the development of my inner spirit.
All the other stuff was just the beginning. Now, I feel like I am younger (with a bad knee) and I have great hope for the future! I’m almost ready to leave the law profession and become a full time yogi, but still need the money and, after all, how many Downward Dogs can you do in one day?
I should also mention that my Zazen practice has been integral to my life for the past 25 years. I think Zazen and yoga together are a phenomenal combination, which I intend to stay with until I drop. These two arts work like rocket fuel for the soul.