Sunday, February 18, 2018
It's been another week marred by an all too familiar tragedy here in the States. Another mass shooting has claimed the lives of children and adults.
I am not going to talk much about gun control or the insanity of our hands off policy towards firearms in this country. I wrote that post last year. There is no need to repeat myself. What I am going to focus on is how we are being manipulated into boxes. The attempt to frame this issue by vested interests (cough...NRA) is that any action is an attempt to take guns away from everyone. So it puts any sort of gun control into a defensive crouch having to say no we aren't interested in disarming most of you. This has actually pushed me into an extreme myself of no guns at all. Of course that is what the tactic is designed to do, push people to the extremes, especially the other side. That way you can yell, "You see I knew that's what they really wanted the whole time. I was right!"
As human beings we often fall into the trap of 'either or' thinking. You are either with me or against me, you are either anti abortion or pro abortion, you are either anti drugs or a junkie, or the tired current model of you're either for no limits on firearms or you're trying to take away everyone's guns. This my way or the highway thinking ends all of us stranded by the side of the road going nowhere. I have found when faced with a problem there is often a third solution that is neither of the extremes, but better than either approach. See just like you I want things my way. That works if I am absolute ruler of reality and all are my subjects and obedient to my will. This has yet to occur in my lifetime. Sometimes I do get my way, but often I do not. However there is more than just my way or your way, there is our way. Considering how interconnected we are in this digital world we are in dire need of "our way."
I think as a society particularly here in the U.S. we've forgotten how to listen to one another. We are so concerned with getting our own way, that there is no collective way. So here we sit with another fresh tragedy to bring our differences to the forefront. I don't believe this is inevitable. What I and all of us must do is to realize that there must be some other way that is neither your way nor my way, but a way that works for all of us. (Well most of us). Whenever I've been caught between two unpleasant extremes when it seemed there were only two options I always found a third way. So I guess this week what I am saying is there is always a third option, that neither side sees until they look for it.
So why am I telling you this? Well if you live in the States you desperately need to hear it. If you live elsewhere perhaps you can apply this third way thinking to some personal problem. Simply start with the conviction that there has to be another way besides these two. Once you begin to operate under that frame of mind you'll be surprised at what presents itself to you. Try it out after all, there is no time like the present.
Peace and Blessings,
Sunday, February 11, 2018
No suggestive pictures or catchphrases this week, alas I know you were waiting to be shocked. This week was all about noticing the world around me and how I'm interacting on multiple levels. Weather was the big teacher this week.
About midway through the week we had freezing rain. It didn't stick to the roads, but it did coat the trees and bushes with a layer of ice. The forest wore crystal. I went to visit a loved one who was recovering from a stay in the hospital. As I stepped out, I noticed the air. It seemed somehow white, full of something. It was cold but it brought freshness rather than the cloying bite that winter air usually holds. The quality of light and sound seemed crisp and invigorating. In short it smelled of magic.
Now when I talk of magic it makes some people uncomfortable. People both want to believe in it, but are worried about looking foolish for doing so. There is also some confusion as to what magic could be. What people mean when they say it depends as much on who they are, as to what it may actually be. I associate it with the deep mysteries of life, deeper meanings of the soul, and the power to create. For me it is about a feeling rather than an idea. What I had forgotten is that nature creates it. The turn of the seasons, the weather, and the rising and setting of the sun and moon; all of them generate the deeper currents of our life. Life will, if we let it, create magic of its own accord. It is up to us flow with it, and occasionally shape it towards an end that our heart yearns for.
It is easy to forget that true power is in the world and our response to it. We cordon ourselves off from it, and lead digital lives behind screens. I've been told time and again that the digital world does not hold the nourishment that my body, mind, or soul needs. It is the random world of leaf, trunk, and footpath that holds the wonder that I seek. The breath of magic is the inhalation of forest air, of the mountains' mist, the sea breeze, or the brisk dry air of desert wind. I must unplug to seek it.
So why am I telling you this? Well the confusion of the mind can keep us from seeing the magic around us. How often do you walk while you text? Do you walk or jog with headphones? Do you prefer the predictability of a treadmill and a screen rather than the outside air? Winter is not my season. It might not be yours either, but there is magic in it. Every part of nature holds wonder if you can find the right way to see it. While I was enamored by the super blue blood moon for it's symbolic power, I have come to realize that the crystalline forest and the first stirrings of the trees around me hold a greater energy. Nature is magical, the interplay of life and death, and the interdependency of all things as they move together in synchrony. Go outside, take a deep breath, feel the rhythm of living things and you will breathe in magic.
Peace and Blessings,
Sunday, February 4, 2018
I hope you had a good week. If you can tell by the picture mine was a bit out of the ordinary. While I freely admit that the pose is mine, the caption and words were added by a friend. This was the first thing I saw when I went to our game night. It was posted on the door, apparently they were having a surprise birthday party for me. Surprise!
I should probably back up and explain things a bit. First, I don't have a podcast...yet. Secondly the whole pussy picture happened because of a conversation with a friend of mine who was happy that she could talk about vagina with me and not have me go "Eww gross vaginal issues!" We got to talking about the word vagina and of course it's buddy penis. I've never really cared for either word it's like they clinically designed them to sound like an unpleasant infection. Having known people in the tantra tradition I am familiar with the sanskrit terms which I like better, yoni and lingam respectively. Yoni sounds like a dessert you'd order at a fancy restaurant. "Yes I'd like the spiced yoni with honey. Does that come with lingam?"
Some of you may find this type of talk very uncomfortable. Well it's about to get even crazier. I don't know how it happened but my mind started thinking of Voltron. For those unfamiliar Voltron, it's a bunch of lion shaped vehicles that join up to make a giant robot that fights monsters. It was really big in the 80s as a cartoon, and I even got a Voltron for Christmas one year. Of course instead of lion robots I was thinking of lingam and yoni joining up to became a tantric warrior robot. I couldn't think of the word for the tantric embrace at the time so we started to just call it Pussytron. We did eventually find the actual word ,yab-yum, but Yabyumtron just doesn't roll off the tongue the same way.
Now conversations about topics like the one above happen quite frequently between my friends just as much as the deep esoteric "spiritual" conversations. Sometimes we weave in and out of more serious reflections interspersed with sexual humor. Considering what's going on in our culture right now though a Pussytron would be useful to combat all the blatant sexism and shaming of women. That said, this is why if and when I try my hand at podcasting it would not be something you could listen to at the office, or around the kiddos (or your mother). I have been trying to avoid the pitfalls of the guru/healer/mystic persona. It puts you up on a pedestal and pretty soon you start believing the hype, and then your ego takes it from there. So I delight in poking holes in the notion of what a person in the spiritual arts business is like. It is also more genuine, I find humor is one of my strengths. As for why my humor is often sexual, well sex is such a taboo topic that humor seems the safest way to approach it. Do we need to have real conversations around it, absolutely, but we also have to learn to not take ourselves so seriously. The Pussytron conversation had me laughing like I hadn't laughed in months. At this time of the year where the gray days really weigh heavy on me, anything that lightens my heart is appreciated.
So why am I telling you this? Well, it is a shout out to the awesome friends that put together an impromptu themed surprise birthday party for me complete with Voltron hats sporting the pussy logo. It is also a reminder that life doesn't always have to be a chore. We've created a word in the past few years "adulting" meaning getting the drudgery of life done. We associate being an adult with just having to put up with things. We have squashed our dreams down so we can adult. I'm not saying that we don't have obligations, but I am saying that adulthood is not just about obligation. It is about taking responsibility for charting your course and creating your life. So when I do podcast it will be for adults, and it will be fun.
So how about you? Did you leave your sense of humor in your schooldays? Do you take appropriateness too far? Are you trying too hard to be respectable? Well stop it I say! Get on board the Pussytron and let's fight the dark forces together...laughing all the way.
Peace and Blessings,
Sunday, January 28, 2018
Here we are the last week of the first month of the new year. We're just about 1/12 of the way through the year. Time flies right?
This week has been about making it easy for myself. The flu has been circulating around the gym where I teach and I had been feeling under the weather. I made the call to not swim and not strain myself. So most of my activity this week has been due to my Tai Chi classes and Qi Gong workshop. It is winter after all and January through February tends to be when my personal rhythms are the slowest. Trying to keep moving and productive often results in burnout and depression. If I do get sick during this time frame I start thinking that I am probably dying. When that happens I just remind myself it's late January, I always think I'm dying in late January.
Structure tends to help with moods in the darker seasons, but since I am mostly self employed it is up to me to provide it. I sometimes make the mistake over scheduling myself in a way that in the summer might be just fine, but in the winter leaves me exhausted. There are times when people ask me if I want to do something and I am tempted to make up some other obligation so I can just stay in and relax with a book. It's actually good for me to have some of that empty time, particularly in these low ebb months. I like company and people to a point. After that point, well I remember one time I threw someone out of my friend's house because I was done with people for the night. (My friend thanked me for it later).
Society treats people like mechanisms rather than biological organisms. We have to be responsive to the environmental conditions we find ourselves in. We are not clockwork automatons, but living creatures with needs that vary from one season to the next. We have been brought up to believe in the myth of the "busy", idle hands and all that nonsense. There is a time for doing and a time for being. If you cut out or cut short the being time, the doing is not going to be done quite so well.
So why am I telling you this? Well you may be trying to barrel full steam ahead against the needs of your body and mind. Now while you may have little control over your work schedule, you certainly have much more over your personal life. It may require you to disappoint some folks, but you never know they may take a page out of your playbook and give themselves permission to just be. Other than your true obligations (work, caregiving, etc...) you really have a lot more leeway than you think. So I say don't plan anything if you don't feel like it. If people press you because you have that sudden opening just say you have an appointment. The appointment could be you, the couch, and a warm blanket, but that's your business not theirs. Take care of yourself and your time. If you don't no one else will.
Peace and Blessings,
Monday, January 22, 2018
This week I had the opportunity to witness winter. Right now I am witnessing the thaw which I am grateful for, but the snow did have its own teachings.
The thing about snow is that it shows your path. Well it shows everybody's path and if the snow lasts for a while it visually depicts our path through time. It was interesting coming across my own prints. I walked a pretty regular route during the frozen week, a slightly shorter walk for our dog. As I came across my own tracks again and again, I thought of how we all move through similar patterns across time. How many times had I walked in this exact same place. Each time I walked I was at a different point in my life's timeline tied together by this path.
January is a month where I sometimes struggle with seasonal depression, but I also mark the new year by seeing how far I've come (or not come) since the last time I trudged through this typically cold and gray month. I tend to move slowly (some might say glacially slow) towards goals. I also don't seem to move in a straight line. There is a lot of retreading the same ground. The snow was quite good at pointing out where I'd been before. In my life I've had the same issues come up repeatedly which also makes me question how much I've really grown and matured.
The snow had one more thing to show me though. Not wishing to mar the pristine surface more than I had to during one peaceful walk with the puppy, I decided to step in my own footprints. This was a much more challenging prospect than I had thought. Even though I was trying to match my own stride consciously, it was near impossible to step into the exact same configuration I'd previously walked. Even when I did step into my own prints it wasn't the same. The pressure would be slightly off on one part of the foot or the other. It soon became clear that I couldn't repeat myself even if I tried. For some reason this gave me comfort. I think it is because I kept seeing the same signposts along my personal journey I got discouraged that nothing had changed. Well it was quite cheering to know that even if I tried to it was not possible to repeat myself exactly. There were always going to be tiny variations in the stream of time.
Why am I telling you this? Well some of you may have vowed that this year was going to be the year that you were going to make sweeping changes in your life. If you are like many others, this is about the time where resolutions lose their steam. I'd say take heart though, things will be different even if just slightly. Each moment is new and unique. That is the secret of time. Each second is a jewel that will never be held again. We often get overwhelmed when we try to account for the larger patterns we wish to contend with in our life's path. What is a path though but a series of footprints? Each moment a new footprint is unique even when it crosses the same landscape. What if we gave ourself the freedom to simply walk our path without judgment? What if we honored the little things we noticed along the way? Try it for a bit and see what comes forward.
Peace and Blessings,
Friday, January 12, 2018
Welcome to the post holiday blahs. For me the tree is still up but the lights are off. It will come down this weekend. Currently the white death is falling outside, or at least that is what the TV forecasters frame it as: Snowmageddon, Snowpochalypse, or the Great White Death Storm, although that last one sounds more like a white supremacist metal band if I think about it.
Lately my posts haven't been as visceral, they've felt more like assignments that I have to get done. This happened to me before when I was working on my first book. It's not surprising that as I contemplate my second book I'm feeling the well running dry. However there is more to the story than that. When I committed myself to writing each week, I was recuperating from heart break due to the ending of a core relationship in my life. In the past three months, I've parted ways with several people and I've not talked about it on here. I didn't want to air my dirty laundry for the world, but in suppressing my feelings my creativity has similarly suffered.
I tend to love my friends fiercely. I think this is due to the fact that growing up I had few if any friends. Being generally liked was never part of my experience. It still comes as a shock when random people are kind to me. So when I forge a friendship I am loathe to give it up, because of this I tend to quietly put up with a lot more bullshit than most people do.
I had a group of friends I would get together with for fun and games. It had been going on for a few years, but for the last two I found myself existing more and more on the periphery. I'd go to gatherings and say hello and I'd barely get a word in. I'd be talked over, around, or simply ignored. I sometimes left with less than a paragraph of actual dialogue between myself and others. I started to bring other people to the gatherings so I wouldn't feel so lonely and it worked for a short while. I was ignored while people checked their text messages, twitter, and Facebook. I started noticing that the rest of the group was out together at a movie or other event when I got online and saw their check ins. For a while I rationalized this, maybe it was a spur of the moment thing, but it kept happening.
This went deeper than not getting enough invites. After a decade of trying to get my artwork out into the world I was in two gallery shows this fall. Nobody from that group came to either of them, they barely acknowledged I had something important happen. When I published my book not a single one of them came to my first local book signing which literally took place around the corner from their house. They never attended any of my events (which were free). In short, they had no interest in my life. I was their mascot. Something to trot out like a curiosity. This was shown to me clearly when I sought out a secondary group to get my gaming fix met. This second group made me realize how unhappy I'd been, because they cared not just about me but about everyone in the group. They showed up at my openings. They talked with me and with each other. They put their FUCKING PHONES DOWN!!! It was this shining of example of engagement that demonstrated how much I didn't belong in the other group.
I decided I would slip away quietly. I just wouldn't be available to the faux friends as much. So I began to reel my energy back in. Well they must have felt it because they latched onto some drama to pull me back in. I will sum it up. They wanted my help to attack someone online for the ignorant thing they'd done. I refused. They attacked me. Another friend intervened letting them know I had been upset with them. They promised to work on it so they could fix the relationship. It was ending prior to this blow up, but in my mind it was officially over the moment they publicly attacked me. I did give them a final chance and went to one last gathering. It embodied everything I had felt in the past year or so, nothing had changed. Before the drama explosion I had known the truth, there was no place for me there. The drama just hammered the point home.
This is probably the most detailed personal rant I've given. Let me be clear I don't hate anyone in the group that I left, I just didn't belong there. This is not the first time I've found myself in the center of a group I didn't really belong in. I've seen this pattern repeat every so often for about two decades. Each time though it has gotten less intense. The first time it happened I nearly died, because I hung on to the group identity long past the time when it turned toxic. I tried to make do with people and I let myself be hurt in the process. What was interesting about the pattern this time was that the initial decision to disentangle came from seeing the example of something better. I almost got out of this situation drama free, and I tried to be adult about it. I didn't add anything to the drama except my frustration that their had to be any in the first place. I let others do the heavy lifting when it came to tearing down the structure. I just lit the match once the debris pile was ready.
Why am I telling you this? Well to be honest I needed to vent, but I also realize that many of you are in similar situations. Many of you have stayed in hurtful relationships or situations because you just didn't want to bring it all crashing down. In staying though you have lit a beacon for all types of disrespect and abuse. I just let myself be numb to it so I could have the illusion of belonging. I was lucky enough to have true belonging come to me whilst I was still partially engaged in that illusion. Most of the time we don't find anything until we let go of what we stubbornly are trying to hold onto. We worry about being cast as the one who burned the bridges.
So how about you? Where are you sticking around long past your welcome? Are you miming the part of belonging even though it is slowly draining your life away? Are you afraid of going it alone? Well in the words of Aerys Targaryen I say, "Let them all burn." You are not the ones who hosed the structure of your relationship down with noxious and flammable materials. You are simply the one with the matches. Be like the cat in the picture above, riding the unicorn of righteous fury, delivering the rainbow, and breathing fire. Sometimes you have to raze the old structures of your life if you want fertile ground to plant new dreams in. Don't let fear stop you. Let all the false things in your life burn. What's left when the ashes fall away is what matters.
Peace and Blessings,
Sunday, January 7, 2018
Happy new year! Today I am grateful because the deep freeze of arctic air has lifted and we have come up above freezing for the first time since Christmas it seems. We ushered in this year with a full moon, the first half of a blue moon. It was also a super moon as will be the second full moon of the month. This will be coinciding with a full lunar eclipse. So if you believe in astrology that's quite a bang to start off 2018 with.
Months before I had discovered what was going on in the sky during the first month of the year, I had high anticipation that 2018 was going to be a powerful year for myself and for many others. It felt like it was a year for manifesting and coming into your own. For myself I had several projects that felt like their time had come and another one that landed in my lap unlooked for, but welcome. On the Medicine Wheel of the Mesa I would say this year the energy of the East is strong. In the East we step into who we are becoming. That's what 2018 is for me, stepping into and embodying my own power, and letting my light shine out strongly.
Manifesting our dreams is exciting, but it also a bit scary. We have to open our hearts, be seen, be vulnerable enough to allow ourselves to receive. We have to take responsibility for our desires and our actions. If something goes wrong who is to blame but ourselves. This worry of screwing up grows out of my old nemesis perfectionism.
The worst thing you can be is wrong, if you are a perfectionist. Making a mistake is something you punish yourself for repeatedly. It is one of my primary blocks in creating art and life changes. Failing of course is part of the journey. You learn quite a bit from failure, but perfectionism expects you to know without any of the messy screwing up phase.
Why am I telling you this? Well the new year is here, and there is quite a bit of extra possibility magic floating in the air right now. Before we fall too far back into our old routines it would be a good idea to commit to creating the changes we want this year. Now is the time to get our seeds for what we wish to plant and grow in our lives in this coming year. I myself am knee deep in planning for my teaching this year, testing out a new healing method, kicking around the idea of doing a Qi Gong video, and brainstorming for my next book. So dream along with me. Come up with at least one thing that you want. Begin dreaming it into your world. 2018 is for all of us.
Peace and Blessings,