Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Little Execution That Could

In the ultra-conservative state of Oklahoma, a Death Row prisoner had reached the end of the trail. With all last ditch appeals overturned, his time of departure from the earthly plane was booked, his place at the death table set and ready.

However, the cooks who created the menu didn't know how to mix lethal cocktails for their charge and the fellow didn't die. Supposed to be zapped within twelve minutes, forty-five minutes later he was still lingering in the twilight zone.

Apparently, he called to a female prison warden and said, "Uh ma'am, I'm not uh...." Yes, he wanted to say "dead" but even under these macabre circumstances that dreaded word couldn't be pronounced.

While he slipped into unconsciousness eventually, those enlightened prison wardens (note sarcasm) decided to let him be. Thanks to the amount of deadly substances that did make it into his veins, his heart and soul decided to hop on a train to heaven and beat it out of there.

Alas, Samuel Beckett! If you were alive today, what a wonderful stage play you could bring forth based on this man's conversation with the warden.

"Uh ma'am, I'm not uh...."

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Hafiz Delivers the Bottomline

BECOMING HUMAN 

Once a man came to me and spoke for hours about
"His great visions of God" he felt he was having.

He asked me for confirmation, saying,
"Are these wondrous dreams true?"

I replied, "How many goats do you have?"

He looked surprised and said,
"I am speaking of sublime visions
And you ask
About goats!"

And I spoke again saying,
"Yes, brother - how many do you have?"

"Well, Hafiz, I have sixty-two."

"And how many wives?"
Again he looked surprised, then said,
"Four."

"How many rose bushes in your garden,
How many children,
Are your parents still alive,
Do you feed the birds in winter?"

And to all he answered.

Then I said,
"You asked me if I thought your visions were true,
I would say that they were if they make you become
More human,

More kind to every creature and plant
That you know."

c. 1320 to 1389 • Translated by Daniel Ladinsky

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Wooden Tongue of a Racist

Donald Sperling, the filthy rich owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team, was secretly taped ranting and raging at his mistress for posting photos on Instagram posing with men of color. Famous men of color. Unfortunately for that unattractive human being, his poisonous words were leaked to the press.

With the spotlight of the media bringing his ignorant mind into the light, a public outcry has erupted. His hurtful "plantation slave owner" mentality has been stinging to the dignity of the African-American population, but great good will come of his unvarnished prejudices. No longer can the American zeitgeist of racism be swept under the carpet, that stinking cloth lining which forms the underbelly of our social fabric. 

We ought to celebrate the utter stupidity and grotesque racism of Donald Sperling. Thanks to him, perhaps a new level of awareness and decency will rise up to the surface, like cream in milk. 

Only one question remains. No one has bothered to point out that he has a wife and a mistress. Could it be that the boy's club transcends all racial boundaries?


Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Weeping Grandfather

Most often, weeping is associated with an outpouring of grief; a  logical, customary and normal reaction. Weeping out of gratitude is also easy to explain; a person who has been on the brink of starvation, abandonment, death, or any other calamity and has been saved by a fortuitous event also cries because they can let down their guard and release the fear and pain.

But less common is the person who weeps because of a joyful event. This requires more careful examination. Would not human emotions of joy be limited to expressions such as laughter? Clapping? Dancing? Singing? Why do people cry with joy?

Although weddings are the most common venue where people weep (and for good reason - they know what's coming), a more interesting example caught my attention: a video of an 50 plus man whose daughter tells him she is pregnant by giving him a binky-pacifier with a telling note.

After the expected surprise and delight (she must have been married with an income that supports a newbie - otherwise why would he be happy), the grandfather starts to tear up. And tear up more. And then the floodgates open as he sits in the diner booth, where the suprise was delivered unto him, and weeps uncontrollably.

Why?

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Fair Food

Multinational corporations drive global economic policies, with tentacles that reach into the four corners of the globe. Preferring to live in the shadows like some sort of cockroach, a successful predator company (termed "an individual" by the US Supreme Court) can eat away at the global soul while humanity slumbers - feeding its life-blood into the coffers of Big Biz.

Occasionally, a conglomerate becomes the target of a group of citizens, either from the inside (distressed employees) and/or as the result of the media shining a light on predatory corporate policies. When this happens, and a groundswell of outcry arises, the potential for change increases.

There is no greater horror for a business than a successful boycott, because profit can only be gleaned from the masses buying buying buying. A group of tomato pickers in Florida who were underpaid and ill-treated decided to boycott Taco Bell to protest slave-wages and slave-treatment at the hands of tomato growers. Word spread and within a few years, companies such as Walmart, MacDonalds and others have started to do business only with growers who practice fair labor policies.

Thus, a new label you might start to see on your veggies at the supermarket: Fair Food. This is the stuff to stuff into your grocery cart, because it will signify nourishment that was brought to your table with a modicum of human dignity and humane treatment. Vote with your purse!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Protection By Prayer

Would you march into armed conflict clad only in a pair of shorts, tee shirt and flip flops? Or would you prefer to be protected with combat fatigues, bullet proof vests and all the other armour available to modern man (although those iron cages used by combatant Knights the Middle Ages must have been hell in and of themselves). The answer is obvious: safety first, although it would be an oxymoron to term anything safe when it comes to warfare.

Another type of battlefield exists in the multi-dimensional universe, where psychic-energetic-spirit beings play out an invisible gottcha game with dull humans. As the wheel of samsara turns endlessly, many of us come ill-prepared for this more sublte battle, assuming that what you can't see won't hurt you.

Shamans, priests, lamas, mystics and all other variations of religious expression all pay homage to the forces of protection. Just as you wouldn't leave your doors unlocked with a sign that reads, "Robbers welcome," so must we protect our psychic doors.

Blessing all beings, wishing them love, peace, and abundance of all kinds, is one of the best protections since the dawn of time. With the golden light of goodness emanating from our prayers, motivations, good acts and wishes for the well-being of all, we are well armed to go forth into life as we know it on planet earth.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Unbearable Lightness of Being is both the title of a novel and a feature film adapted from the novel (which, according to the novelist, was a disastrous interpretation of his work). Although both the book and the film passed through my brain's cognitive learning center, nothing of it remains as retrievable information - except the title.

Like a parrot taught certain phrases, this title has been running through my mind many times a day for the past few weeks. God knows why, except now the time has come to give it a voice, since it has been screaming for expression. 

It seems that the author was combing several contradictory world views into one enigmatic title, as if to signify that no definitive answer could be ascertained. Because - it is impossible to experience lightness of being and an unbearable gestalt simultaneously. When lightness of being is present, nothing else intrudes on that space, just as a light switched on chases the darkness simply by its illuminating and pervasive character.

If something has the characteristic of being unbearable, then by its very nature, it cannot be awarded the privilege of partnering with lightness. Thus, the oxymoron inherent in this famous book title gets under my skin.

The only unbearable lightness of being that my imagination conjures up is perhaps a feather that has landed on my nose and is ticking it in an unbearably itchy manner.

But I don't think that is what the great Kundera had in mind. Sorry, Mr. Man of literary genius; the nose-tickling feather might be an insult to your deeply constructed premise, but it is the only way I can lighten up my take on an unbearable title. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Watching Paint Dry

"Watching paint dry" refers to a period of time when an action is accomplished so slowly as to be considered horrifically boring to the participant. However, this is a highly subjective analogy.

Personally, I love watching paint dry, but only Latex paint, because it dries quickly and always changes color transitioning from wet to dry. And this transformation also contains suspense, because one never knows for sure what the color will actually look like, especially if the sun casts light or shadows on that newly colored wall. Only an artist (painter) and meditator such as myself could possibly endure this exercise.

On the other hand, sitting through nine innings of a baseball game is like "watching paint dry" in the conventional use of this phrase. By the end of the fourth inning, my legs want to power walk me out of the stadium. Of course the father, son, husband or some other male that dragged me there would mightily disagree. The hunched posture, fist pumping, and bellowing are all body language that bespeak of enraptured involvement.

My French husband (not a baseball enthusiast) would have the best resolution to the variations in human perception - a philosophy of life that bypasses heated arguments about how one chooses to spend their time: vive la différence.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Following the Turd

Our culture has an oft used aphorism - the blind leading the blind. The Old Testament has a variation on the theme - an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. (Gandhi wisely remarked in response to the latter, "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.") 

And last but not least, another popular phrase - following the herd - has been reinvented by moi to evoke another paradigm - following the turd.

No, this is not an instruction manual for discovering sewage leaks. It refers to studies done on evil, i.e. acts perpetrated by people who would otherwise have no inclination to rape and murder their neighbors or commit other heinous crimes against humanity...yet nonetheless commit these crimes.

The only explanation offered by the studies is that group-think is contagious. When opinion leaders propagate destructive ideas and gather support through a mind bending lens, the social fabric twists itself into a venomous snake with its members acting en mass. Individual morality is sublimated and a form of mass insanity replaces personal values.

The only solution is the same one that applies to our every act: self-examination and a knowing that we are interconnected - no us and them. Taking responsibility for one's own actions and their karmic repercussions means that we need to grow up. Mindlessly following the turds will only get us into deep shit.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Future of Now

An inquiring person once asked a wise man what he "saw" for her in the future. Instead of using his prodigious intuitive and visionary skills, he replied, "Look at what you are doing now, and you know what your future is."

Of course we all know that life can take the most unexpected twists and turns. Tragedies of infinite variations strike the good people; health and wealth can be the boon of greedy, nasty people.  People can also win the lottery or get discovered in a bar & grill. However, karma usually manifests in more logical and understandable forms, i.e. you reap what you sow.

Setting aside those inexplicable lightening bolts that change our lives for better or for worse, the mindset/actions of an individual matter greatly. Whether through education, prayer, dreams, visions, or common horse sense, personal motivation flings us like an arrow from the taut bow into the trajectory of our lives.

A fail-safe motivation for any set of actions is a wish for the highest and greatest good of all. Since the intricacies of the karmic tapestry are too vast for comprehension, the best prayer is the one that covers all bases without ego-centric motivation.



Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Easter Bunny: Rated NC17

This blog's content is banned for anyone who still believes in the Easter Bunny, because it would destroy the beauty of childhood dreams and magic. And lord knows, keeping dreams and magic alive makes the world go round.

As my little down arrow whizzed through the News Feed on Facebook, it passed a video about a rabbit. So the second finger of my right hand stopped and pressed play. That was a mistake, it seems. So the second action of my pointer finger was to press pause, rapidly, when the contents of the video rolled forth.

A rabbit was being skinned alive for its snow white fur; pinned down on a low table and spreadeagled to allow for a perfect pelt to be lifted off its tender skin. 

It's hard to describe my gut reaction. Firstly, there was no way that image was going to be implanted in my brain for the rest of eternity if it keep playing on my computer screen. Secondly, my mind just couldn't quite grasp the concept that anyone would be so amazingly cruel to skin an animal alive. Bad enough that it might be killed for its fur, but "the shortcut" was inexcusable, a sin against the very essence of life.

Something about the innocence of animals makes cruelty against them terribly painful. I hate to admit it, but the vision of that animal pinned down felt worse than the many images I have seen of humans murdered or mutilated (although the sight of a person being skinned alive would be unbearable as well).

Is it because human beings have the potential of transcendence, no matter what has come to pass in their lives? Do animals have that ability as well?

If Christ died for our sins, he might have died in vain, because the human creature is still sinning big time two thousand years later.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

A Fable About Grace

Once upon a time there was a noble boy whose heart was very sad. From the earliest age, the sounds in his household were not those of melodious coos of love, but harsh, angry words hurled by adults trapped in a downward spiraling illusion.

He grew into his teenage years valiantly trying to carry the good that he knew lay somewhere under the turbulence of negative emotions. But with the pressures of adulthood nearing and his raging hormones spinning forth a vortex of mixed emotions, he broke down. Carrying the burden of pained adults was one he could not longer bear.

For over a decade, the young man wandered through the wilderness, clutching his golden bejeweled crown close to his chest. Wild tempests whipped his water-drenched royal purple robes and his curly locks lay plastered against his face, drenched by torrents of rain.

One day, the young man saw a large rock by the ocean, and climbed upon it. Gazing out at the sea, he saw the sun rising on the horizon, kissing the earth with is life-giving warmth.
Peace descended over his being and he knew the healing power of the sun.

Enlivened by the sun's radiance that penetrated the depths of his cellular memory, he climbed down from the rock and began walking the lands. The radiance of the sun's rays penetrated all those he met. He carried the sun within and all was well at last.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Chadors and Monokinis

A woman's sexuality has been the focus of male attention since the dawn of time. Of course we couldn't propagate the species if a built in electromagnetic attraction hadn't been part of the original design. But how cultures have managed this inevitable force between males and females has an evolution as diverse as the flora and fauna of Madagascar.

Consider the chador and its many varieties, with some so draconian as to only allow slits for the eyes. Recently, my sister had a stop over at the Dubai airport, where she reported seeing women in full combat chadors (those slits are redolent of army tanks with their peep holes). She posed an interesting question: how can you tell who's who? One possible answer are the shoes. She did see Manolo Blahniks and other uber-expensive footwear on these body bags called chadors, but identifing a woman by her shoes could be dicey in a rich country like Dubai, where the female's closet is likely to have a whole wing devoted to footwear.

Moving on, consider the French culture of swim wear: monokinis. For the uninitiated, this is a bikini minus the top, though not necessarily indicating a price reduction of 50%. Which also signifies that a woman's breasts are exposed to every Tom, Dick and Harry who happen to be swimming at the same beach or pool. While some might regard bare-breasted women as the fashion statement of tribal women in Africa or New Guinea, the sophisticated French also seem to be unashamed of that built-in feature of the female model.

And last but not least, at the Yangon airport in Myanmar, a huge illuminated wall panel displays a very blonde, blue-eyed woman in a delicately suggestive sheer blouse - selling perfume. Nevermind that the females of this country all have beautiful black locks, golden skin, and wear long skirts and blouses with sleeves. Obviously, the western version of female allure has infiltrated this previously closed-off nation.

The point? Simply, since Eve tempted Adam with the apple, people in their remote parts of the world have dealt with female sexuality in radically different ways - and most of them dictated by their fathers, husbands, brothers, male politicians and god help us - the clergy.

Women, please wear whatever you please, but be prepared to be at the vanguard of a cultural revolution that may come with a price.
 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Anxiety's Antipode: Impermanence

Have you ever had thoughts racing through your head that question every decision you make, every step that you take in one direction (that eliminate other directions) and live in a state of stomach-churning fear that makes you feel like you are at the edge of a cliff with vertigo?

That, my friends, in something akin to anxiety. Of course other side effects could be dry mouth, heartburn, and if anxious enough for a number of years - perhaps heart failure, stroke, or other unpleasant auto-immune diseases.

With that cheerful introduction, there is a cure for anxiety (in addition to Prozac and Valium). Will you really care when you are on your deathbed that twenty years ago the sink leaked and ruined the flooring in the kitchen? Or that the dry-cleaners lost your favorite sweater when you were forty-two? Or that you didn't have enough money to buy the dream house or have the dream marriage or raise the dream children or flaunt the dream body or achieve the dream career? Or perhaps you had the mansion, the career, the car, the family, the fit body, the friends, the adulation - and all the headaches that go along with that too!

Whether failure or success by our worldly standards, the only thing we know for sure is that we will all die. Our existence on this earth is impermanent.

Not trying to be maudlin, but really, the things we stress out about, every moment of the day, are truly insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Even for those who have been in the most horrible conditions, such as concentration camps and prisons, the one thing that helps the strong to survive is knowing that all things must change.

Those who die in peace are those who lived in peace. And the only way to understand that the rantings of our mind are insignificant is to remember, moment by moment, that "...
we are all dancing on this earth for a short time." (Cat Stevens)




Wednesday, April 16, 2014

65 Years Ago Today

It's four o'clock in the morning and instead of trying my hand at a middle of the night meditation, so highly recommend by yogis of all stripes, the allure of the iPad has captured my focus. Why the restlessness? 

Sixty-five years ago at Flower Fifth Avenue hospital in NYC, my little 8 pound baby body was being squeezed and compressed in my mother's birth canal. I was born about 4 hours later, but my mother never knew it because they used to put women to sleep with general anesthesia in those days. Modern advances in medicine - just like the advertisements on black and white television that proclaimed Camel cigarettes as the first choice of doctors.

Many cultures celebrate the day infant humans enter the world, with little misshapen heads and bodies that can't do anything for themselves except cry for help. Other cultures don't keep particularly good birth records because the day of special significance is when one leaves their body.

In a bookend effect, most people are also helpless when they discard their garment of flesh and are reborn into spirit. While the birth of a baby is a celebration, the birth into spirit is often regarded with sorrow.

But perhaps we have it backwards. Are we born into a world of suffering, eventually to be released into freedom from gravity? Maybe, maybe not. One wise man, when asked this question about life after death, said, "Die and find out."

In the meantime, it feels good to be sixty-five, with life ahead of me that is as new and challenging as when I first entered adulthood. Until the last breath, there is always a new lesson, a new skill, a new chance, to find the essence that makes life worth living while we have the privilege.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Can't Make This Shit Up

No need to beat a dead horse with this story. A California man was arrested for stealing a car in order to have wheels to make it to the courthouse for a required appearance.

Can't make this shit up.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Newbies at West Point Are Crying

West Point, the elite officer training school, has a gaggle of disappointed graduates this year. With the war over in Iraq and winding down in Afghanistan, most of them are unlikely to see combat. And they are sorely disappointed.

Some of the more creative thinkers figure that if they join the elite Green Beret or other Special Operations units, they might still be able to kill a bunch of foreigners since the US operates covertly in a number of countries.

One would think that these newbie military beings would be thanking god on bended knee that they don't have to command their fellow humans (and themselves) into battle, that their role as protectors of the peace would be the most proud position they could ever dream up.

But in the machismo world of combat, war wounds and battle yarns are the stuff of brotherhood/sisterhood that the wannabe West Pointers yearn for. (Unless you are a shattered soul, like so many of our veterans, who are left with the real horror of their crimes against humanity or the pain of crimes inflicted upon them by the "enemy.")

Way back in the 1960's, a more enlightened military figure suggested that the Armed Forces retool themselves into the Earth Battalion, using their vast training and resources to help rebuild infrastructures, plant gardens in ruin-wracked cities, and train the young and lost to develop disciplined purpose. If only those smart West Pointers with their dumb ideas could think outside the box, what a wonderful world it could be.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Mindfulness Can Happen to Anyone

Sooner or later, the paradigm of mindful awareness can creep into even the most unaware person. It only takes repetition in the mainstream of the collective consciousness, via information tributaries, to chip away at a mindset as thick as encrusted lava.

A very sweet man, with whom I have been lawfully living for 30 years, always chills his mind/body via long hikes through nature. It's true that the brain chemicals emit lovely good-vibes juices throughout the body when one exercises. Mother Nature also gives forth the vibration of life force and equanimity (when she isn't in a bad mood and sends hurricanes, tornedos, tsunamis and earthquakes). So yes, hiking in nature is a form of meditation and creates a buffer from soul draining phenomenon such as electric-magnetic waves via computers and cell towers.

However, what if one were unable to walk? Or too old to trip off into the mountains for some fresh air? What if one were on their deathbed but not dead yet - in need of equanimity and peace?

Herein lie the benefits of mindful awareness. The sweet man usually gets up earlier than me and makes his breakfast. Knowing that every little sound reverberates throughout the house, he asks me today if his oatmeal-making ceremony has awakened me, to which I reply, "No." He then shares an astonishing fact. He is making the cooking experience a Zen exercise in mindful awareness; moving quietly, slowly, silently, intent on gentleness at every second.

Having been a practitioner of meditation for some 45 years, this information he shares gives me great joy. Now all that is needed is for me to acquire his habit of daily exercise and my world will be in balance. 







Saturday, April 12, 2014

Dream Lover

We sleep about one-third of our lives away, quite literally (although some people dream 100% of their lives away metaphorically speaking). That beings said, dreams occurring during what is conventionally called "sleep" can become an important component of our experience while in human body. 

A supplement called 5-HTP, often taken to boost serotonin levels and a precursor to L-Tryptophan (which is now banned by the FDA) causes drowsiness when taken in larger doses

And here is where the good news comes in for insomniacs, nervous people who wake up a lot at night, or people whose bladders can't wait until the morning. It is a great way to insure a deep, long night's sleep when taken in sufficient quantities.

Aside from the benefits of a good night's sleep, 5-HTP stimulates dreaming as a potential side effect. As I fall into all categories of the above sleep-deprived, this non-prescription remedy has been a godsave for me, excepting in one area. It is supposed to aid in reduction of appetite and weight loss which, alas, is not one of its effects on me.

However, the dream-stimulating side effect of 5-HTP has roared into my body chemistry like gangbusters; my dream body now partakes in sagas of historically long proportions. Since I don't want to be totally unconscious and unaware for 1/3 of my life, dreaming all night long, thanks to 5-HTP, has been a great boon.

So last night, I was of a young, marriageable age encountering a bright blued-eyed young man of beautiful countenance. He seemed to like me, but at the same time gave off other subtle clues that he might be relationship adverse. The bitter-sweet angst and euphoria that carried on throughout my night time slumber had one great effect upon waking this morning.

Whatever the bodily aches and pains of the aging body, one thing is for sure. The emotional aches and pains of those young and possibly in love (or not) are no picnic either. So, titillating as it was to have spent the night in a quasi-love affair with a blue-eyed angel circa age 28, I am happy to say that in the waking hours - security, romance, and fulfillment are a dream come true. Even if I now qualify for Medicare.





Friday, April 11, 2014

The Most Beautiful Woman in the World

Some months back Gweneth Paltrow was the cover photo on People magazine, billed as "the most beautiful woman in the world." Of course she is a lovely lady and a wonderful actress, but the most plausible reason she was on the cover was because her publicist had some kind of privileged pull with the Editor-in-Chief.

Standards of beauty do operate within universal golden rules. Large, widespread eyes are considered the most attractive for females in almost every culture on this earth; African, Asian, Caucasion. Beady-eyed gals, eat your heart out.

Apart from a few other measurements that seem to have a their basis in carnal assessments (slim waist, rounded backside), very few talk about the "glow" that a loving, peaceful person emits. And in reality, that radiance is the most beautiful thing to behold.

Once I was on a cross-country flight, assigned to a window seat. Boarding after me, a tall woman with a very wide face, a long crooked nose and small blue eyes took her place in the middle seat next to me. Although she was smartly dressed in an elegant tweed suit, my first reaction, besides noticing her style, was how incredibly homely she appeared. Not even average; her countenance was downright odd.

But as we conversed something happened. She showed me the tattoo on her left arm, indelibly inked by a Nazi concentration camp guard. She told me of having her two year old son torn from her arms and her soccer star husband worked to death in the camps. She alluded to certain things she had to do to survive but never actually told me what they were.

Waiting for me on the other side of the country was my little two year boy, who was being watched by his grandparents while I was away. I cried the entire way across the United States as this woman told me of her survival and resurrection. Her victory over death.

As we disembarked, she waved goodbye to me. As she turned to leave, I was suddenly overwhelmed by her beauty. It seemed that she was the most regal, noble person walking amidst the masses, her face a luminous orb of divinity.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Mysterious Mind/Body

Writers and psychologists claim that the more one uses the words I, me, and mine in their prose, the more self-involved the author of such verbiage. As a being who tries to distinguish between her ego and a more expansive, universal mindset (and choose the expanded version of consciousness)  this cautionary advice bedevils me at times. Afterall, talking about oneself is so much fun.

So in the spirit of self-indulgence, please forgive this bit of me, myself, and I.

Yesterday I woke up depressed, feeling as if the world went away and nothing was worth anything. Today I woke up and gazed out my window at the plants growing, the sun shining, (which it was doing yesterday when malaise was my best friend) and opened my computer with great enthusiasm to conquer a myriad of technical issues with software and pay bills.

In the supposedly objective universe, there is no way to make sense of the mood shift. All of the "facts" of my life were the same yesterday as they were today. Friends and family are OK, the financial situation has remained stable, the earth didn't shake, and confronting bills and software problems should make one less enthusiastic about life in general.

My only conclusion is that we are all at the affect of chemical forces in our brain and body that shift and change depending on what we might have eaten in the last week, where our psyche went in the dream state, what we picked up in the ethers as part of the collective unconscious, and even electromagnetic activity shifts during the night of our time zone.

Perhaps the only thing I can do is to try to take myself less seriously, since apparently my mind/body does as it pleases despite my best efforts.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Garden of Delights

Only the most hard-boiled misanthrope would scoff at the sight of a baby something-or-other, whether it be a human baby, kitten, puppy, infant elephant or even a delicate newborn caterpillar.

Some of this universal delight can be attributed to the innocence and vulnerability of the young, who are defenseless and nonthreatening. They have not yet been taught egotistical behaviors (in the case of humans) or predatory behaviors (in the case of beasts). And last but not least, "miniatures" have always held a certain fascination, so a mini-rhino, mini-giraffe, or mini-snail seem ever so precious.

However, these cute little things get big and far less adorable; downright expensive and hard to maintain (elephants, lions, and St. Bernards included). But one divine creation that only gives as it grows is a plant. Yes, they do need attention depending on their species, but they are the bounty of Mother Earth.

This spring, tiny green leaves unfurl from a bare brown tree branch, a frothy chartreuse display of delicacy. A pale blue-green lobe spouts from a dormant succulent, peeking out from the remains of its dried up ancestor.

Renewal: the surge of life force that brings a smile to the heart and a sense of well-being in the moment.

 


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Boundaries

Boundaries often refer to invisible geographic lines which distinguish one country from another. These areas can be mapped out by a competent surveyor to determine agreed upon delineations of land ownership. The problem with these "lines" often lies in the disagreement among parties as to exactly where those barriers should be laid out. Wars have been fought, neighbors have killed each other, and natural boundaries such as great and high mountain ranges have vanquished trespassers as well.

That term is also used in a more wishy-washy manner when referring to one's personal space. One's etheric and/or physical boundary is often a matter of dispute as well - and  difficult to pin down. For example, co-dependent people don't set appropriate boundaries, meaning that they confuse their own identity with another person with whom they are embroiled, thus perceiving the other's problem as their own. Where their internal life ends and the others begins get discombobulated.

Setting personal boundaries can be vexing and difficult to define for someone whose space has been invaded constantly; for example, a parent who does physical harm or insults their child's dignity and self worth. These children risk growing into adults that don't even know what a boundary is, let alone learning how to draw the line.

Or, we can have false beliefs about what it means to be a giving, loving person -  which inadvertantly turns us into doormats instead of help mates.

The realistic way to set a personal healthy boundary is to know where your center is. From that fulcrum, it becomes much less mysterious to discover the radius of that circle. 

Happy hunting!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Golden Rules

In my book, three quotes from vastly different cultures sum up the entire way to navigate, survive, and thrive in life:

"Be ye wise as a serpent and as gentle as a dove." 
-- Jesus Christ

"Trust in God but tie your camel first." 
-- A Sufi saying

"All You Need Is Love."
-- The Beatles

If anyone would like to add their own golden rules, please feel free share!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Aging Yuppies Unite!

A number of decades ago, way back in the 1980's, social scientists made up the word "cocooning" to describe the nesting habits of Yuppies. In the brave new world of home computers, burgeoning take-out food menu options and DVD's, happy couples stayed at home instead of going out for fine dining and entertainment. After all, why go out for "it" when "it" could come to you?

Years later, in the distant future of now, aging Yuppies are discovering the antipode of cocooning, and that be community. Sure, we could all stay home snuggling under our favorite polar-tech blanket selecting movies from our flat screen wonderland of choices, but - been there, done that.

What really rocks my socks now is the sweet joy of people joining together for the sheer pleasure of human interaction. We need each other for cross pollination - a different sort than the internet-of-all-things can offer up. The mere fact that we are alive, can walk and talk, have gas in the car, food to eat, children who have grown up to be good people, all the sweet things life offers...what a pleasure to share.

And when one in the community of friends falters, love rises up to support a flagging soul. Truly we are gifted people with gifted lives in a lull of history where all is well. Perhaps it is simply the calm before the storm, but what else is there to do but enjoy, even as we baton down the hatches for old age, sickness and death.


Psychics Anonymous

A flurry of videos have popped up on You Tube since the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370, posted by psychics and hypnotists who claim to know what happened to the disappeared jet. One of the most interesting was an Indian guru, known as a subconscious memory and soul healing expert.

"Soul healing" could be a bit dicey to define, given that the soul is not a quantifiable aspect of human consciousness and some philosophical and religious systems don't recognize that we humans even have one. (The extra-sensory part of our being is defined with other terminologies.)

However, hypnosis has been widely studied, and although it is not a fool-proof method for determining "facts," it has been demonstrated to bring forth remarkable behaviors, insights, and memories from the hypnotized.

The video of the Indian guru gleaning information from two hypnotized people was riveting; one of the people demonstrated such emotionality as she described people drowning in the submerged jet that I had to press pause and then fast forward past her description of dying people. She is either an academy award winning actress or was really tapping into the fate of those passengers.

Apart from the actual demonstration, however, the most interesting aspect of all these videos was the vitriol expressed in the Comments section of the You Tube videos.
Psychics, soul retrievers, hypnotists and mediums beware! You have a lot of haters out there.

It might be interesting, however, to poll psychics of the world as to where the missing jet has landed. With the cost of one planeload of fuel to look for ocean debris, some computer analyst could come up with the most frequently mentioned scenarios, sifting out the most absurd (such as the plane was teleported to Arcturus), and then use that data as well as high tech gizmos.

Why not? Anyone with deep pockets out there ready for the experiment?


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Pop Quizz: What is JSOC?

1) Judaica Society of Cantors

2) Just Simply Offer Cannabis

3) Justice System of Crimea

4) Joint Special Operations Command

If you answered either 1-3, you get an "F" for faked out. The real JSOC is an elite counter-terrorist wing of the US government that reports solely to the White House, although it has been known to co-ordinate with the CIA, military, and local law enforcement worldwide, including warlords in countries like Somalia, who appreciate the deep pockets of Uncle Sam when deciding to whom their loyalty resides.

JSOC operates with impunity and metes out punishment with little regard for the collateral damage often inflicted in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Collateral damage is a wonderful term, by the way, for sanitizing and desensitizing the public and the military to the shameful and tragic loss of innocent life and property. Regular soldiers, however, who have committed the collateral damage under inaccurate orders, seem to be having a hard time with PTSD.

With covert operations in 75 countries to date, the elite force operates with no checks and balances except presidential whim.

Folks, if you think we live in a society where the law protects you, think again. Under the guise of national security, our civil rights have been grievously eroded. Maybe this is not news to the average African-American male, but those who only turn on TV news will never know the truth.

While I am not a fan of those who steal national security data and broadcast it to the world, there is a point to be made. If the average citizen does not make it his or her duty to become aware of what lies beneath the surface, we risk being led deeply astray.

Awake and aware; without cultivating these qualities, the lessons could be painful on many levels.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Neutral Zone

The normal mindset, if one can designate anyone's mind as normal, consists of a light speed flow of thoughts that have a negative or positive spin. This simply means that those little fluttering ideas either have a downer or upper effect on our mood, physical well being, and ultimately our entire spiritual condition.

Another interesting spot in this dance of polarity is the zero point, or neutral zone, where a certain silence, stillness, in-the-now neutrality lives and breathes. Rare it is for the workaday mind to rest in this space when it comes without effort - a strange but peaceful phenomenon.

What? I'm not revving myself on coffee to power through the papers, emails, dishes, office meetings, day care, or any of the multitude of things a human being has to do to live a life (at least in Los Angeles). I'm just floating downstairs, calmly moving through the requisite items with no electrical charges firing me into the depressed or the excited mode. 

I take a mental inventory and my mind just won't rev into any gear other than neutral. Hmmm. OK. Feels relaxed. Relaxing. Relaxing again and again and again. My habituated, conditioned mindset wants to fight this feeling but it has no power against the strong tide moving through physical matter. Ah yes, being in the zone. Appreciate the "what is", cause the "what is" is always changing into another "what is" and who knows what that "what is" will be except we can know with certainty that it will be another now.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

It's All About Me

Today as I did my usual bedtime ritual of taking an "artistic" selfie and posting 'best of show' on Facebook, I had an epiphany. Everything I do is all about me. My world of social media has turned into an exhibitionist art gallery,  somewhat akin to Yoko Ono's art show some years back when she stood naked in the gallery on a podium. One might say that a Facebook post of more demure demeanor does not compare to the outrageous Ono-Gaga, but in some ways the desire to be seen is not dissimilar.

And then I remember the article about global warming that stared me in the face over a bowl of oatmeal and a latte this morning; a woman in Bangladesh whose land is being submerged and who sold her two children into bonded slavery because she couldn't feed them.

How do these two worlds co-exist, mangled together through the lense of an HD computer screen? Where do I file away in my existence the pleasure of posting funkie selfie portraits and the impending doom of the many?

The world is too small and too large. But it's raining outside and the plants are happy.



Living With the Difference

For many years my life was a bubbling brook, chortling along as it passed tall pines, grass meadows, and thickly wooded forests of cedar. I...