Showing posts from October, 2014

Halloween Chic

I have never had much imagination in designing a Halloween costume, as being someone other than myself is not appealing. (How utterly devoid of playfulness can one be?)

That being said, the human mind is capable of amazing combinations and permutations of inventiveness when invited to do so. But this year, let's forget about witches, ghosts and goblins. That's so fifties.

The best costume of this new era, spotted at a Halloween fete recently, was a man dressed as a Netflix envelop and his mate, a box of popcorn. Now that's hip.

Nonetheless, the propensity for people to shock, horrify, or otherwise disgust their fellow partygoers still remains a big draw. Thus, the best costume to hit the market for 2014: 

"The Sexy Containment Ebola Suit" (CNN, Ashely Banfield)

While healthcare workers might disapprove of this mockery  of a seriously serious issue, why not? People decorate their front yards with tombstones, skeletons, hands coming out of the ground clutching helplessl…

Forgiveness and the Brazil Butt Lift

OK. The usual morning ritual of the past ten or so years - turning on CNN with the morning coffee - had been abandoned lately. Tales of ISIS, Ebola, murderers and politicians had become just to, shall we say, too much.

Yet with a deafening inner silence that could not be blotted out with Yanni on Pandora, desperation drove me to the TV remote. And what a blessing appeared on the screen. A middle-aged, plump Vietnamese woman stood at a podium and she was talking about forgiveness. This obviously well-groomed, well-fed woman had been the iconic image of a napalmed human being during the Vietnam War. The picture seen round the world, captured by a journalist, shows her pre-pubescent naked body running toward the camera, her clothes burned off her body, with an expression and body language evoking hell on earth.

Today, she was honoring the Vietnamese photographer who shot the photo, and who had also taken her to a nearby hospital where her life was saved after his journalistic coup de gr…

I Have Nothing to Say

The Power of Art

If you are sad, do not, and I emphasize, do not listen to sad songs. Those little melodies and words will creep into your heart and wring it out like an old dishrag; tears dripping down your cheeks like rain on a dusty window pane.

Similarly, if you are sad, listen to some elevating music, pick up the Good Book (and it ain't necessarily the Bible but any Scripture from the soul of humanity) and voila! The soft heart will begin to glow with a faint light and the air invigorates the lungs with new oxygen.

Sometimes it might seem frivolous to build museums, concert halls, install art in subways, statues in city plazas, build state of the art sound studios, buy the  tiny sound systems with huge volume, or any of the other gizmos that bring art, music and literature into our lives. (And let's not forget the wonderful graifitti artists of the world.) After all, aren't at least a billion people, if not 2 billion or more, in dire need of food, water, and medical attention?

And yet, a…

As If Your Hair Were On Fire

One of the basic tenets of Buddhism is that the consciousness separates from the physical body at death, shedding it like a suit of worn clothes. Continuing on with its journey, the experience of mind/awareness minus familiar trappings such as the former body, its given name, place(s) of residence, family or lack thereof - all those anchors with which we used to identify ourselves are now gone. Gone, human being, gone.
That, according to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, is where the rubber meets the road. Stripped of all external props and illusions, what will a being do, feel, react to? Did that charitable guy who gave to his church every Sunday do it out of pure compassion or to look good - and even perhaps assuage his guilt for some trespass? Did the walking wounded of damaged egos, assaulted dignity, blinding ignorance see the Light? Did they become liberated from all wrong-doing, or is that consciousness still traveling with a nightmare of karmic baggage (minus the illusory body whic…

The Spark of Music

My parents were atheists, born of an era when Jews flocked to America to avoid pogroms in Europe or stayed and got trapped by Nazi insanity.

My father, a second generation American, also grew up in a tough area of the Bronx, a member of the only Jewish family amongst street-wise Italian immigrants. He reports that he had to fist-fight his way through the neighborhood on a regular basis.

My parents felt that there was no God - as who would allow such atrocities on this earth -  and thus turned to music as their divine source; he a violinist, she a pianist.

As a latent mystic, it irked me no end when my father pronounced with unerring regularity, "Music is God." Sure, music can elevate the dragging soul and lift it to ecstatic heights, but so can heroine.

Ecstatic bliss may feel good, yet what goes up must come down. An endless stream of consciousness goes on and on and on. (That train of thought never went down well with the parental units.)

But today, even this obstinant, pig-he…

Alone Together

The famed author Joan Didion wrote that true grief feels as if one were the only person left living on earth; a sentiment echoed by many others who have suffered the death of a mate. While this perception has merit, as experienced firsthand by this blogger, in fact we are not alone as lone survivors in the shipwreck of life.

The spirit of a loved one does in fact exist. While invisible, the feeling/being of that person can envelop you so deeply that you feel whole again, at one with the being that was lost to this life. Said entity has a life of its own, responding sometimes in predictable patterns but then again so full of surpirses too that one becomes a believer in the mate-in-spirit paradigm.

As comforting as that out of body connection may be - even bringing tears to my eyes when it happens - somehow the earthly touch, the physical body, cannot be replaced by a lovely visitation. In that sense, aloneness is palpable and painfully real.

They say that time heals all wounds, and that t…

The Paradox of Love

After watching a three hour Turkish movie that won the Palm d' Or at the Cannes Film Festival (the equivalent of winning the Academy Award for Best Picture in Hollywood), I was struck by its universality; an expression of a thread that runs through the human family called "confused love."

Although the film is set in the stunning landscape of Cappadocia, (the Anatolian region of Turkey), thus giving an exotic air to the ambiance, the actual drama could be played out in any small town. Pick a small village in an isolated part of a country, far away from an urban center, and you can find the kind of maddening, incestuous, and frustrating atmosphere where a fishbowl of human emotions lies in stark magnification. 

The dynamics are as old as those hills: ancestral ties uprooted, poverty vs. wealth, young wife versus older man, debauched drunks with long-suffering wives and children, frustrated artists whose stage lights have long been extinguished, couples torn apart by lust or …

Judgement Day

Many religions have the concept of a judgement day, where a soul meets its Maker and must account for all doings good, bad, or indifferent. And others are simply superstitious and do things like spitting to ward off the evil eye, or some such nonsense.

In truth,  judgement day arrives not on the dawn of our departure from the mortal coil, but operates from second to second in our daily life. No god on high sits on a mighty throne hurling thunderbolts at us sinners, nor is there a jury of super angels herding us off to heaven or hell.
 It is our own conscience at work which lets us know whether our actions are right or wrong. Key operative  words: "our ownconscience. Who else is qualified to pass judgement? Only in the deep recesses of our minds can we dare admit to ourselves that which we do as harmful or truthful. For who are we to pass judgement on another?
One of my favorite sayings these days is, "Mind your own spiritual business." May we allow each other ou…

If I Were Blind

A friend related a wonderful story today. He had been searching on an Internet dating site for a suitable mate, an activity akin to playing roulette in Las Vegas where there are more losers than winners and the odds of hitting the jackpot slim to none.

In the course of his gamble, he encounters the photo of a femme fatale he describes as "...a stunner" ( in this case no, she was not sporting a stun gun in her profile picture).

After some chit chat back and forth, she writes to him the following question: "Do you think I am beautiful?"
In a reply worthy of a Zen Master, he retorts, "If I were blind, would you still be beautiful?"


Tonight I went to the Apple Store in the Thousand Oaks Mall to have my laptop fixed. Unrelated to the naughty Macbook Pro event - but as with all machines - my indispensable Nutribullet had died. I needed a new one badly. But instead of going to Bed Bath & Beyond (my daughter sent me a coupon) my brain kept saying, "Go to Macy's."

I never go to Macy's but I was in the mall afterall and my brain was nagging me with the chant, " Macy's Macy's Macy's Macy's." So I forced myself to enter their home department with its overly bright flourescent lighting and a staggering array of kitchen paraphernalia.

Deciding to splurge, I got the more powerful Magic Bullet but the box was big, heavy, and I was also schlepping my laptop. I staggered with full arms toward a distant counter, where a demure little lady with neat black hair and wire rimmed glasses waited for me.
She observed the uneven and labored gait I displayed unabashedly, but stayed behind her…

Happiness Is A Chemical Event

If each person could have a moment to moment tool - a roadmap which diagnosed the precise needs of the mortal coil - perfect health in body/mind could be achieved at all times.

Instead we rely on blood tests, CAT scans, muscle testing, shamans, shrinks, denial, and other forms of diagnosis to attempt the state of well-being and most often failing miserably.

Case in point. I avoid sugar like the plague. (Thank you God for creating the stevia plant.) Sugar in all forms usually makes me feel weak, sick, and is touted to be the major culprit for many a bodily imbalance. And yet, in a "what the fuck" moment, I downed a large tablespoon of organic honey, produced with compliments from the bees of the Pacific Northwest.

In about five minutes, my energy rose to a blissful high, my heart chakra screamed with joy, and every cell chortled with glee. Case in point. Despite the fact that my anti-cancer diet recommends avoiding all forms of sugar, my body simply adored that boost from the be…