Showing posts from January, 2014

Unconditional Love Means No Matter What

The current US State Senator from Virginia exhibited a heart so large that nothing but the term "unconditional love" could describe what transpired.

His 24 year old son, a brilliant student and former campaigner for Senator Deed's election, developed a mental illness of an undiagnosed nature; undiagnosed because the night he definitively broke apart, there were no beds available in the state's mental hospitals to take him in.

The father and son had been out on an errand and upon returning home went to different parts of the house. When Senator Deeds stepped outside to check a noise, his son came up behind him and began stabbing him in the head and lungs, miraculously not killing him but landing him in critical condition. 

What stopped the young Deeds from finishing off the job? In midst of the attack, his father kept saying to him, as he was being stabbed in the back repeatedly, "Gus, I love you. Why are you doing this? I love you. I love you."

Deeds credits th…

Don't Spam on Me

In the good old days before the ubiquitous internet, the phrase, "Don't shit on me" ranked at the top of defensive statements. But with the information age solidly underway, the heralded new protest has become, "Don't spam on me."

Google and other search engines attempt to assure us that spam filters and other such gizmos will protect us from unwanted solicitation. That, however, is not the case with one of my email accounts: the most frequent scam spam that now arrives every day in multiple numbers is the one telling me of a fortune left to me by an aunt in Nigeria or something along those lines. The tactics differ in trying to rid myself of them; the first was to ignore them; then I wrote polite replies; then I replied back to the scam messages in capital letters, FUCK OFF ASSHOLES. However, even this foul language discouraged no one. Probably a virus or a robot does these emails, as any human should be put off by such a response. My latest maneuver: delet…

Blog Update: 66 Countries Click In!

To date, the following countries have clicked on this blog, some more than others but all in quite the global display:

Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Ecuador, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Latvia, Luxenberg, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Myanmar, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Puerto Rico, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela, and Vietnam.

The Age-Related Positivity Effect

For all those young, vibrant youths that bemoan the approach of thirty as if it were a death sentence, maybe they are on to something. Apparently, the brain begins to lose its fluidity as the neurons start to chill out and fire with less speed after age 25. To make matters worse, male fertility peaks at age 20 (what idiot designed it that way?) while female eggs are at their freshest and best up to 28 years old.

Most senior women would decline to bear a child even if they could, although the over 50 male sometimes struts his stuff like proud peacock if he can land a young babe with child-bearing urges. We older women love to play with the adorable little ones and then send them home so that their young mothers and fathers can lose a night's sleep. Our old bones need to regenerate in slumber, by the way - and we did pay our dues.

In this complex array of physical realities, growing old does have one wonderful benefit. Studies have shown that the older brain, while seemingly slower an…

Celibate or Celebrate

In a small Italian village, two family lineages have been feuding since the time of the Medici dynasty. The descendents are still involved in a centuries old lawsuit and these current day relations don't even know what caused the initial argument! Following like blind sheep, they continue to hate the other lineage and press on with the unresolved legal dispute. (Obviously, no one else in the case can figure out the problem either or it would have been resolved at least a hundred years ago.)

This ridiculous scenario reflects another trend - the telling and retelling of history until it has been so revised that the original intent has been obliterated, relegated to rituals and beliefs useless for the modern mind. Tragically, people who believe in these texts don't know they are no longer viable, continually fighting wars over smoke and mirrors.

To lighten up about this unfortunate human flaw, a Tibetan lama related a great joke. Back in the 6th century, a wise master wrote a trea…

I Dreamt I Was In Algeria

Those wondrous events called 'nighttime dreams' are at times magical, frightening, uneventful, impossibly symbolic, sexual, or a simple rehash of the days events, and more. Both ancient and modern cultures hold the dream life with reverence; after all, we spend about one-third of our lives asleep and busy with all things belonging to the unconscious and involuntary bodily functions.

Naturally, I was astonished to find myself at a party in Algeria last night (in my dreams, of course) with a hostess whose house, in waking hours, sits only a block away from mine. I have never before graced the soil of Algeria either in my etheric body or in physical form. Like any tourist, I was walking about marveling at the newness of experience yet surprised at how familiar this land seemed.

Without troubling the reader with all the intricate details of this long sojourn, suffice it to say that the Algerian people were very helpful in directing me to the nearest grocery store that was open late …

Democracy in Action: A Flip of the Coin

Democratic governance is widely regarded as the most humane form of population participation in how laws are conceived and enacted. Take American presidential elections as an example: often the winner gets 51% of the vote and the loser gets 49% of the votes. As third parties don't have much traction in the USA, we shall leave the math simple for the sake of argument.

While fair elections ostensibly solidify the will of the people through the democratic process, in fact this line of reasoning makes no sense. The President may have gotten more votes than his opponent, but 49% of the people did not want him. That's a helluva lot of people unhappy about their Commander-In-Chief and Chief Executive.

Chief is an interesting designation, an atavistic remains harkening back to tribal times. (Although they still abound around the globe, modern society will be replacing them with 21st century politicians in no time.) In some cultures, the chief is all-powerful, with or without a concomit…

All Hail to Great Beings

I was brought up as a devout atheist but out-of-the-box mystical experiences, in my late teens and onward, rocked my worldview. Although the idea of a God that exists somewhere up in heaven seems implausible, the truth remains that spirits, angels, and other wise beings exist on planes unseen to the average work-a-day mind.

Despite firsthand eyewitness accounts, a certain cynicism has remained with me. While seeing is believing, old thought patterns that counter the "what is" still challenge the birth of expanded consciousness and a reverence for the subtler planes of existence.

For any statements that have been written in this blog to date which offend humans, spirits, angels, ascended masters, mythical beings, gods, or other beneficial entities, I offer my humble apologies. In this spirit, I make an offering of bounty and abundance to you of the other worlds: incense, flowers, music, fruits and vegetables of all kinds, beautiful landscapes, palaces, special retreat places an…

How to Eliminate Cancer Forever

The one sure-fire way to get rid of cancer is to die from it. Once the body has been possessed and devoured, it's enemy - those mutated ravenous cells - self-cancel as well. Cancer cells kill the very source from which it derives its sustenance, in effect sawing off the branch they sit upon.

Microcosm and macrocosm. Human beings are to Mother Earth what cancer cells are to the human body. As we multiply exponentially every day, invading deep pockets of global energy, the earth's body is slowly dying. In our ravenous desire for more, we eat away at the bounty of life.

Indigenous people of the Andes and other native cultures bear witness to the effects of their Mother's mistreatment at the hands of industrialized societies. They have warned us, but the power is not theirs to initiate radical behavior changes. Rogue citizens running the corporations of the world need to listen up.

We are the ones we've been waiting for. Mass movements of people must change their daily habits…

Wild Caught Baby Giraffe

In the wild, lions must dine on the closest food source they can spot. The easiest meal is an animal that has been separated from the herd, or a young vulnerable beast whose mother and friends aren't close enough to kick ass.

Case in point: a full grown giraffe can actually kill a large lion with a swiftly moving hoof that sends the king of the jungle flying into oblivion. The height of the gangly giraffe also makes it near impossible, even for a leaping big cat, to sink its teeth into a hunk of flesh large enough to grab hold and bring down its prey.

The worst sight ever seen on film, for this animal lover, was a mother giraffe and her baby loping across a savannah with a hungry lion in pursuit. The calculating cat with yellow eyes waited until the baby was far enough away from his mother, tall as a tree, to take down the young'un at her side.

As he dragged the exquisite young thing into a nearby bush to begin in on the chops, the mother stood only fifteen feet away. The cameram…

The King's Lawyer

Martin Luther King Day passed me by in a fog. The day was filled with tasks that no one but me could accomplish, pressing upon my soul with an urgency. It's Monday! Time to get cracking.

1.  Transplant the long-suffering succulants that the deer had ravaged on our hillside decor and replant them in a safe haven by the driveway, where Mr. and Mrs. Deer & company dared not tread.

2. Call Blue Cross to get a new doctor assigned to me as the one printed clearly on my new insurance card wasn't taking new patients. (Thank you, idiots who did the computer programming for this actually life-saving Affordable Care Act.)

3. Call a collection agency to pay the $23.80 bill for lab tests that was apparently long overdue. Not that it was unaffordable. It must have somehow gotten lost in the "to do" pile that never got done.

4. Shop for food for dinner. The three "kids" (all now adults) are coming over and the refrigerator is bare. Luckily for my husband, they come over …

Anomalous Preference Targeting

The world of psychotherapy has a catchall title for pedophilia: anomalous preference targeting. When I first heard this phrase from a psychotherapist friend, it tumbled and rolled around in my brain for a good five minutes; the abstract wording anomalous preference targeting was noteworthy in and of itself for its qualities of disassociation; talk that sanitizes a heinous behavior with vague abstractions.

This morning I repeated the convoluted phraseology - anomalous preference targeting - to my husband over a cup of strong black tea, which helped get the neurons firing in order to wrap itself around those three long words again. This new terminology is mystifying because it could be applied to anything and everything, from overt weird behaviors to food choices to an outstanding trait that appears unexpectedly in a family or culture.

For example, a woman could have an aversion to any prospective mates under 6'5" tall, scrupulously avoiding contact with any males under that he…

Doing Time

How many of us have been blindsided by an event that our emotional body registers as traumatic, painful, and completely unexpected? Whether through wartime, illness, infidelity, accident, mega-misunderstanding, sudden death and everything else in between, the loss of a normal everyday life style causes us to stretch in ways we would never choose consciously.

Many years ago, my friend's two year old drowned in her backyard swimming pool. When she went outside and saw him floating face down in the water, her first thought was, "Oh God, don't let me have to learn about this."

She related her spontaneous reaction to me at the little one's funeral, which she conducted herself. Her confession has stayed with me for all these decades because it seemed an astoundingly conscious thought to have when she realized her family's fate.

Truth comes wrapped in many packages; some with bright golden hues and others clothed in a black night of the soul. Learning through ecstatic …

When Lost Is Not Lost!

I met a Zen master today. Since this is such a rare occurrence, I decided to seize the opportunity and ask him to advise me about my path in life. I told him, "I don't know where I am, I don't know where I'm going. I feel lost." He surveyed me with a smile and replied, "How can you be lost if you don't know where you're going?" - Richard Thomas Scott
The problem with habitual thinking lies in its repetitive track, imprisoning consciousness on the beaten path. In this mode, creativity and out-of-the-box insight are dialed to the "off" setting. Adding insult to injury, the tendency to polarize ideas into dualistic compartments, where thoughts solidify into a position on one side of the spectrum, further shuts down this fabulous computer called the mind-brain and imposes blinders on the perceiver.

What the above Zen fellow means is that you cannot be lost unless you already know where you would like to go; nothing exists inde…

Now You See It, Now You Don't

Can you image having a picture perfect Christmas holiday with your husband, two boys ages five and seven, and elderly parents, when a massive tidal wave wipes away everything called "your life" except you, the sole survivor? Within a matter of minutes, with no forewarning?

Despite the Hollywood movie about a family of similar makeup who miraculously survived the Indian Ocean tsunami that killed 200,000 less fortunate souls, the above scenario is quite the opposite. An autobiography by this soul survivor, who went from a state of walking dead to a life with coherence, tells it like it is. Wave, by Sonali Deraniyagala.

All of us will die one day - the only thing we know for sure about life. But when our reality changes so radically with no psychological preparation, the shock can be almost too much to bear. People do become mad with grief, unable to relocate the center of themselves which was severely dislocated by the unexpected - the shock of seeing others suddenly removed fro…

Awash in Talent

Germain to the topic of supply and demand are the many artists creating their own particular brand of music in this digital world. As the mother of three adult children, all of whom are contemporary music composers/musicians, my ear not only listens to their marvelous creations (no, really, it's not because I am their mother) but thanks to them, sounds also float through my house that their aged mother would have never before known about.

One the one hand, the amount of talent out there is phenomenal. Thanks to the easy availability of software for composing and recording, not to speak of YouTube - the instant window to the world if you can get anyone to click on your channel - the cup runneth over with good juice. But true to the law of supply and demand in this mysterious material world, the supply outweighs the demand. In plain English, this means that only the lucky few stand out from the crowd to garner the attention a.k.a. bucks to convert their passion into rent money, food,…

Supply and Demand

I managed to dodge courses in economics during my sojourn as a student, all the way through college graduation. The closest I came to this subject, which few have apparently mastered in the real world, was helping my teenage daughter with Economics 101. It was almost mind-boggling.
One concept that defies my peculiar sense of logic is "supply and demand," the economic drivetrain that sets prices based on the scarcity or abundance of a desired thingy. In other words, the more rare the item is, the higher the cost. When something is commonly available, it loses its luster and the price point plummets. For example, the world is awash in diamonds. But De Beers, the world’s leading diamond company that has dominated the exploration, mining and marketing of diamonds since the late 19th century, decided to parcel them out little by little - thereby creating a perception that diamonds are rare and must therefore cost more money. In truth, if all the diamonds available were to flood th…

Sholem Aleichem's Final Act

Those of you unfamiliar with Jewish Eastern European culture might not recognize the name Sholem Aleichem (1859-1915), although his impact on the literary world was profound. His plays and books, written in Yiddish instead of the language of intellectuals of his time - Russian and Hebrew - depicted ordinary life in the shtetls, or small villages that were in essence ghettos imposed on the Jews.

By the Czar's orders, Jews were cordoned off in the Pale, a 400,000 square mile area covering parts of Russian, the Ukraine and other Eastern European nations of today. Jews were only allowed to pursue low level occupations, which made their lives miserable. Photos of the period record the poverty of the persecuted.

But Sholem Aleichem, a pen name which means "peace be with you," found humor in the darkness, shedding a brutally honest yet lighthearted ray of joy into the daily travails of his people. He was called "the Yiddish Mark Twain," to which Twain respon…

Buckets of Grace

The beauty of a mystical experience lies in its spontaneous occurrence. While a person can train his or her mind in logic and reason, a mystical event cannot be predicted or called up at will. Visionaries develop methods of "seeing" that enable them to enter doors to the inner worlds with an evolved precision. A yogi can train and strain until the body contorts into a pretzel or some other astonishing position.
But a bone fide bucket of grace, that dumps evolutionary leaps of awareness into ones being, cannot be manufactured by practice - or will. True life cases in point:
An inveterate alcoholic drank a fifth of scotch every day, as well snorting a gram of cocaine, and had zero desire to become a sane, sober man. One day he woke up and before he could crack open his little vial of white powder on the night table, crystal clarity washed over him, as real as a shower of water. He looked at the actual crystals with no desire. His bottles of scotch remained unopened. From that…

Growing Power

Stock brokers talk about growing portfolios; pediatricians and therapists talk about the personal growth of their patients, but the kind of growth referred to here relates to the plant kingdom.

People with a knack for cultivating their viridiplantae (a nod to Latin lovers) have "green thumbs." Others, who seem to kill everything they touch that grows in dirt, have "black thumbs." However, the secret in transitioning from black to green follows the same formula as everything else under the sun: awareness and attention to the 'what is.'

If you didn't grow up on a farm, or have a parent that grew their own food or at least a small garden, then mostly likely you are flummoxed at the thought of planting anything. Or maybe that orchid in your apartment or on your office desk simply withered and died on the vine, never to grace your space with its beauty again. And now you think that your romance with plants has withered away and you are incapable of ever loving…

The Antidote to Frivolity

“The antidote to frivolousness and laziness is to meditate on impermanence. The reality is that you don’t have much time left. Every day, moment to moment, we are getting closer to death. That means our access to our precious human body is not going to last much longer. Since it is the vehicle for attain higher rebirth and enlightenment you want to use it very wisely. So when you notice this reality, how can you be laid back, and not do anything for your own happiness? This would be very unwise. So right now, train your mind into the reality of impermanence and compassion, and abandon thoughts and activities that will bring suffering.” 
-- Chhoje Tulku Rinpoche

Sometimes people critique Buddhism as a pessimistic philosophy all about suffering, but actually it is a realistic view of life. And the point of all this direct, hard-hitting talk is to bring a person to the point where they seek the answer to the suffering. And the answer is hidden in plain view if one leads the examined existe…

Einstein and the Internet

“Never memorize something that you can look up.” 
- Albert Einstein

While the above yields insight into the quirky mind of a giant of science and mysticism, Einstein made this remark long before the onset of the Information Age and Google. In his time, 'looking up' data meant either a trip to a library or access to a serious book collection. As only great centers of learning were able to provide adequate resources, populations in outlying areas where left to their own devices.

However, in this day and age, anyone with an internet connection can access more information than one ever dreamed possible. Google's avowed mission to digitize everything in the universe capable of documentation bespeaks of mind-boggling possibilities.

With the ability to simply look up anything, anywhere, at anytime, the logical conclusion is that we will never have to remember anything if we follow Einstein's dictate. Considering that many in the younger generation today are fixated like moths to…

One Red Hot Mama

Only 1% of the earth's crust is solid rock. Underneath the ground we stand upon, seething molten rock circulates, looking for cracks in the tectonic plates to spew forth its innards when the pressure builds to an intolerable level.

When Mother Earth feels the need to express a mood, her external affect is measured on a scale from 0-8. Her personality can be relatively benign, emitting whispy plumes of volcanic ash and a small trickle of liquid fire-rock, or higher up on the scale, she could become a murderous monster with the ability to wipe out life on planet earth as we know it.

Mama's biggest super-volcano and most living, breathing entity resides in Yellowstone National Park, deemed "Old Faithful" by tourists who love to watch her spew boiling water with the regularity of a cowboy with a wad of chewing tobacco in his cheek. Her caldero, a crown chakra that spans a 50 mile radius, breathes and heaves under an aliveness that bespeaks her massive power and presence.


What Is the "What Is"

Modern day gurus advise us plebeians to accept the "what is" as a recipe for sanity. Could this be a 21st century colloquialism resembling God's original utterance, "I am that I am?" 

Despite the enigmatic nature of this Holy reference, both the former and latter phrases are loosely related to unconditional acceptance of perceived circumstances (internal/external) and the idea of Self-knowledge.

I can't vouch for the authenticity of the biblical source, as it is near impossible to get an interview with God and the sources are unreliable. So how about a truism from a real live human being named Thich Nhat Hanh -  

“Life can be found only in the present moment. The past is gone, the future is not yet here, and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life.”

Which brings us back to the "what is." No matter the life phase, bio-rhythm, season, geographical location, or hormonal cycle we are in, one cannot escap…

The Dalai Lama Speaks of Love

"The foundation of all spiritual practice is love. That you practice this well is my only request. From the earliest stages of our growth, we are completely dependent upon our mother's care and it is very important for us that she express her love. if children do not receive proper affection, in later life they will often find it hard to love others.

In the beginning of Buddhist practice, our ability to serve others is limited. The emphasis is on healing ourselves, transforming our minds and hearts. But as we continue, we become stronger and increasingly able to serve others.

The Buddhist notion of attachment is not what people in the West assume. We say that the love of a mother for her only child is free of attachment. Cultivating closeness and warmth for others automatically puts the mind at ease. It is the ultimate source of success in life.

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive."

--the 14th …

The Prescription Kings

Americans make up 5% of the world population and consume 85% of the world's prescription narcotics. Dude - that's awesome if you're a pill popper or the owner of a pharmaceutical company. For the rest of us, it's a sad commentary on doctors, their patients, and most of all Big Pharm a.k.a. the multi-billion dollar companies like Eli-Lilly and Merck who lobby Congress to write bills in their favor. And write them they do.

It would take a thesis to roll out the nefarious ways of the pharmaceutical companies and how they conduct slanted studies, push products to doctors with hefty checks as  "thank yous," and manipulate governmental laws. But with only coffee as my upper, it's not a happening idea.

As a former cancer patient and pain pill popper, I certainly know the value of narcotics when used for a good reason, although a skilled hypnotist could have done the trick as well. But alas, insurance companies don't cover that service -  they cater to Big Phar…

Most Dangerous Country on Earth

Gallup and the Worldwide Independent Network polled 68 countries at the end of 2013 to determine which country was considered the biggest threat to world peace. The winner for this undistinguished honor was the USA, with Pakistan coming in a distant second. The other baddies of the world ranked so low that they are not even worth citing. (China was almost off the radar, which was an oversight of gargantuan proportions.)

Granted, the countries most wary of the the United States are in the Middle East and our neighbors in South America, all of whom have experienced the wrath of Uncle Sam's military-industrial complex directly. 

Ironically, when questioned which country was the most desirable for habitation, the US was also number one again.

This raises an interesting point. The United States is perceived as the world cop because it plunders the planet for resources, to insure its high standard of living - often in the name of democracy. While the rest of the world abhors the rape of th…

Everything's Real in Reality

A precocious four year old was cavorting about the living room playing charades with her mommy, grandma and me. Acting out a terrifying Tyrannosaurs Rex, then a slithering snake, she was totally engaged in the excitement of the moment. Then, with a skip and a hop, her attention ricocheted elsewhere and she whisked into her mother's childhood bedroom. 

The tiny lady re-emerged proudly wearing a bead necklace, compliments of mommy's suitcase. But instead of resuming the game in which we were embroiled, she marched straight up to me and delivered the following words about one inch from my face - a feat made possible as I was sitting on the floor:

"Everything is real in reality."

Then she made poste haste for the bedroom, to adorn herself in yet more finery. When she re-entered the gaming area, she remarked, "I'm smart, kind, and beautiful," then resumed the game with a wonderful pantomime of 'a moon'.

I was gobsmacked. Why did this fun-loving little on…

Don't Get Sick Here

The United States, one of the richest countries in the world, has state of the art medicine and medical facilities - for the richest people in this country. Try being poor, or better yet middle class, and find out that medical attention may cost an arm and a leg. 

A group of friends were talking recently and one woman recounted that her mother lost her home when she had to sell it to pay for medical bills. An Irishwoman in the group was horrified; in the British Isles that would never happen.

Granted that in countries with socialized medicine, a sick person might have to wait for months to get an urgent test requiring specialized high tech equipment. Not a good deal either. But in these countries, private policies are also available for more flexible care and they don't cost the equivalent of rent or a car payment plus insurance.

Now that Obamacare has set in, the situation should theoretically improve. But God help the computer illiterate. Or worse yet, those short on patience or ti…