Leslie Ruth Cohen

Leslie Ruth Cohen (1942 - 1996) lived a creative and inspired life.  There was a twinkling palpable magic about her that she may have brought with her into life, but that she certainly expanded and nurtured through a life of character development grown out of true philosophic questing and loving relationships with family and friends.

Her open loving and energetic spirit was obvious in every arena.  Her marriage to Sam was one of those loving, working relationships that only grew and improved over the decades—a marriage that others just wondered at and admired.  As a mother, she was a natural.  She always possessed an uncanny innate sense of  just what was best for her two daughters Amber and Josephine—lights of her life.  She would persevere through hell and high water to bring her ideals for the girls to life.  In the end, it was most important to her that the girls have their own strong sense of self and their own direction, with a creativity that followed their own muse and ideas.  

Leslie’s brilliant and loving spirit poured out to all the family and extended family, and on to circles of friends and colleagues.  Any group that she was in, she was a central figure, and it is remarkable how many people felt truly loved by her.  They were all right.  Perhaps it was a spilling over of this caring and love that motivated her to be such an extraordinary homemaker, and to bring such creativity into practical crafts and arts of life.

While Leslie’s main passion may have been painting, her principle career work was as a Montessori teacher, and children were certainly a passion, too.  She brought the philosophic quest right into the classroom.  The stillness and light in those little faces when Leslie held court…  The lives set on their own journeys… She knew how to encourage her students to be reflective, to question, and to think for themselves, and that’s really what she did.

When Leslie decided to give more of her waking hours to painting, her own visions of color and light developed along on a journey with her, and a new style was born.  Still, always, it was her work in philosophy that informed all of her work and her life’s vision.

Leslie’s study with Anthony Damiani and Paul Brunton (PB) were really the guiding posts of her adult life.  She was close with both of them, in different ways, and the relationships sustained her throughout her life.

She was a core and founding member of Wisdom’s Goldenrod, where she participated in classes several nights a week for years, helped build the ‘campus’, organized and contributed to countless special events, and served on the board of directors for multiple terms, where she always made a conscious effort to apply the philosophic ideal to mundane affairs.

Leslie showed her incisive intellect and judgment in the book editing process as an invaluable assistant to her husband Sam, editing some categories of The Notebooks of Paul Brunton, editing Living Wisdom, by Anthony Damiani, and as  co-editor with Sam on the compilation of material from PB’s Notebooks called Meditations for People in Crisis

These two quotes from PB’s Notebooks speak to Leslie’s general joie de vivre and aspirations in her everyday life:
 
“Art is the culture of the Beautiful.  Yet there is no art greater than that of living.”

“To recognize, appreciate, or create beauty is to bring gladness into life.”