Sunday, December 3, 2017

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. It served all in its path with spontaneous joy, providing drink and hosting creatures seen and unseen in its clear waters.

And then, as nature is wont, it meandered onto broad plain strewn with jagged rocks, torn from their mountain summit by an ancient volcanic event. The little brook widened into a larger bed and grew in power, but as it strengthened, so did the obstacles. For a time it deftly moved around rocks large and small, scarcely skipping a beat and simply raising the decibles of its melodious song.

And then, the waterfall. What was a natural course became an event of daring proportions. With no choice, the stream fell helplessly over a ravine, tossed from side to side by the formations of the tall precipice. As it plunged to the earth below with a great splattering of its resources, a new equilibrium thrust itself upon the once peaceful brook. Henceforth, the path would be steep, fast, and unpredictable.

A wise woman who knew my late husband and loved him dearly recently remarked. "You must learn to live with the difference."

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Last Breath

What separates life from death is our breath. If your heart stops beating or an organ fails you cannot live, but it is the air flowing in and out of the lungs that is the final arbiter delineating the space between the mortal coil and what lies beyond.

Oddly, or not oddly, I have a distinct memory of my husband's last  breath. The time was 11:45 PM; the view through the window was a rich black. No moonlight or starlight penetrated the ineffable sky. The family was gathered around his bed, all eyes trained on his face softly lit by a flickering candle. His countenance yielded no signs of distress, even as his lungs were compressed by massive tumors. 

And then his last breath slipped away - quietly, softly, as if in a simple meditative state. He was still warm, his body relaxed and magnificent in death as in life. And yet, the great mystery had just unfolded before our very eyes.

When a baby is born, the delivery is not complete until that being draws its first breath. Rebirth into the infinite is a mirror reflection in reverse as the angels of light carry the spirit, buoyed on its last exhale, beyond the confines of our knowing.

That simple act, breathing in, breathing out, is the life force in action. Someday ours will flow in, then out for the last time. Knowing that our breaths are numbered, I cherish the air as it flows in and out; a delight more subtle, more refined, than any earthly pleasure.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Feed Your Inner Lion

“Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself”: FDR’s First Inaugural Address

This oft-quoted statement by Franklin Delanor Roosevelt has earned a lofty place in the annals of history. While offered up as a pedigreed insight, it is in fact an oxymoron - a Gordian knot bereft of the bold followup that would unravel its chokehold. 

Fear is fear whether triggered by a lion chasing you across the veld or a response to an imagined threat with no rational basis. Fearing fear in and of itself is the same as feeling fear with a distinct cause attached to it.

Fear has the same function for the mind as pain to the body. Bodily pain is a physiological language developed to call attention to an imbalance in the form. Fear is a red flag that informs a person that that his or her perception is a distortion of the "what is." Some clever being once used an acronym to nail it: F.E.A.R. stands for False Evidence Appearing Real.

Then again, there is no such thing as free-floating fear - or anxiety, its first cousin. The phenomenon that resembles a stinkweed in full bloom has its roots in an event, buried though it may be in the sediments of time. The bold person experiencing fear knows to look more deeply into the causative factors rather than suppressing it with drugs, alcohol,  unhealthy co-dependency, or other escapist strategies.

The key is to nourish the feeling of fear with insight and relaxed contemplation... and voila! The Gordian Knot is liberated from its convolutions. FDR, could we revise your worthy attempt to say, "There is nothing to fear?"


Friday, November 3, 2017

Simplicity Within Stillness

Today is Friday, a time when the workaday world feels the gravitational pull of the weekend. A shaft of light filters through a crack in the darkened cocoon of responsibility, and the indwelling spirit senses freedom.

For some, Friday night is date night, a time when the psyche sheds it's clock-watching persona and flies into an expansive sky of hope. Hope of what? Depending on the person, those enticements vary wildly: beer, sex, weed, movies, shabbat dinner, clubbing, meditation marathon, a night at home with kids or pets or mate or oneself welded to TV, or simply alone. Silent.

For those who are servers, cooks, truckers, babysitters, caregivers, entertainers and so on and so forth, Friday night is just another day in the life, with nothing out-of-the-ordinary. However, as most of us live amongst the ranks of daylight worker bees, !!weekend!!! remains the germaine topic.

Having lived in Southern California for 43 years, my network of friends and acquaintances has mushroomed into a diverse chain of beings who nestle in every sector of greater Los Angeles. Given this diversity, my choice of potential amusements runs the gamut from gardens of worldly delights to out-of-body forays into subtle realms of existence.

As I contemplate the impending weekend on this Friday morning, the wide-open blank pages of my ICalendar trigger a bi-polar response. Ah! Nowhere to go, no one to see: a peaceful, still and uncluttered span of time when anything becomes possible and ethereal dreams remain untested by real time rubes.

Then the pendulum swings to the opposite extreme and low-level panic sets in. What if I am missing a phantasmagoric movie or party or dinner or dharma talk or theater or a be-here-now-in, or any other life expanding event of which I have yet to know about? If I don't pick up the phone, text, or email someone with a plan of action might I fall into a big black pit reserved for lost souls?

In the center of this bi-polar swing lies an answer that quells the wild mind of either/or. Simply allowing for each second to unfold, without pre-conceived notions of "weekend!!!" bubbling in my brain, a simplicity arises like cream floating to the top of unhomogenized milk. No need to do anything or be anything; by simply breathing and noticing what my senses are taking in, a simplicity arises out of stillness that is a balm to the mind. Ah yes! Breathe in breathe out. And then,"doing" is done.

Thursday, November 2, 2017


All things have a beginning and an end, which is why mans' classic search for immortality seems like a fruitless, irrational pursuit. Perhaps it is the very inevitability of change, of birth and death, that causes human beings to resist this inconvenient truth when faced with the demands of survival on a daily basis.

What to do in this fleeting interlude we call life?

Some play hard, most work hard, and those holding the middle ground sleepwalk through the tedium of daily life maintenance. Granted, in the spinning 24 hour wheel of daybreak to daybreak, many choices can be be happy? To be sad? To be angry? To be depressed? To be joyful?

Choice can be a difficult concept to grasp when one is flooded with emotion, especially negative ones. No one seems to mind being happy, and when in that enviable state, there is no need to choose. One simply is. Yet, given the inexorable march of change, that happiness will morph into something less desirable.

How those ups and downs are navigated will make the difference between a life well-lived and a life of suffering. If we choose to hold the big picture, while simultaneously attending to the niggly details of life on planet earth, a certain equanimity will overtake us. In that space of equanimity, choice becomes a viable mechanism to shift gears and enter a more productive and positive zone.

To be empowered is to realize that we can choose our perceptions, and that the ability to flip the switch is a gift inherent to us all.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Surrounded by Giants

Save for desert dwellers and inhabitants of the Arctic circle, most people on planet earth are surrounded by green and leafy giants - the trees. Environmentalists voice passionate support for their plant friends, but most of us take trees for granted, simply because because they are ubiquitous.

Do you know how many trees you pass on the way to the nearest store? Or how many populate the town or city in which you live?

These tall beings emanate an energy unique to each one, just as humans have distinct fingerprints and singular physical attributes. To tune into each tree-being and then multiply that being-ness by a few billion, it becomes clear...and overwhelming...that the protective force-field emitted by theses guardians of the earth is far more powerful than any nuclear weapon.

Without the trees' oxygen production we would suffocate. Without the respite provided by their shade, we would fry. Let us bow in reverence to the great plant-protectors that befriend us with a quiet and life-giving power.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Unbearable Politeness of Being

Theoretically, it is impossible to become enlightened and simultaneously act in a self-serving manner. Like the surgeon who uses dissolving stitches, analyzing one's own mind in order to understand its modi operandus dissolves egotistical motives; the ultimate metaphysical manifestation of courtesy.

How does one set about doing this in the fast paced western world of materialism?

The Dalai Lama and other great masters instruct students to critically examine the teachings and the teacher before buying into them. While this lazy American practitioner makes no claims as to a true understanding of the dharma, nonetheless it seems important to carefully examine doctrines for their relevance. Personal understanding, grounded in experiential knowledge, is the only foundation upon which to build. 

Conversely - or perhaps paradoxically - trust, faith and dedication are vital ingredients in following a path to realization. When one is a beginner, a worthy teacher must be found.

As one ventures into the newness of every moment, it is essential strike a delicate balance between common sense and the commitment to a goal that may seem elusive and mysterious. This applies not only to the spiritual path but every other endeavor in this conundrum called "life." Nobody has the magical formula but as long as there is breath there is possibility.

Sunday, September 10, 2017


What could be better than sitting on a shady terrace during sunny, cool California weather with an easel, canvas and paints on hand - that is, if one is an amateur, a professional, or another sort of being with artistic impulses.

Imbibing this glorious moment, entranced by the vibration of cerulean blue flowing off the tip of my paintbrush, I become aware of an intrusive sound that penetrates the rapture.

It's a jackhammer. It's Saturday. It's a lily-white upscale suburban neighborhood filled with people for whom order and neatness is the most prized value. It's a town whose city planners manage a budget colored black - as in profitable.

I pretend that the machine's noise doesn't matter; an unimportant annoyance in the background. This rationalization lasts for about15 minutes, but as the rata-tat-tat lingers on, my awareness begins shifting. The Complainer-in-Chief starts her internal dialogue about people who have no business disturbing the peace on a weekend, let alone the ubiquitous weekday drone of machinery used to keep my town in its impeccable Pleasantville state of orderliness. Trees that drop leaves or seeds face the death penalty, and city money that could be used for art or music in the schools goes to repave roads that need no repair.

Thankfully, the Complainer-in-Chief is governed by a higher power, the Awareness Squad, who steps in when the former starts becoming too self-important. The person running the jackhammer suffers far more consequences to his hearing and body organs than the artist on her hilltop terrace who is annoyed by the distant sound. The well-oiled organization of this township is a blessing and a boon when one contemplates the enormous suffering of human beings worldwide who lack clean water, food, or protection from inhuman humans.

When we count our blessings rather than our complaints, life takes on a sweetness that has no limits. There is no end to love. There is no end to compassion. There is no end to gratitude. Everything else has an expiration date.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

God's Will?

The horrors of abnormal weather systems, provoked by climate change, are vesting their wrath upon us. Interpretations abound as to the meaning of it all. For sure, Mother Nature is expressing immense displeasure at the treatment of her bounty. Human folly and short-sightedness are one cause, stoked by a capitalistic fervor born of the Industrial Era.
Or, if Darwin was right, human beings are overrunning their environment, thus precipitating a culling of the global flock through war, natural disaster, and human greed, among other less obvious causes.

Whatever the reason, certain people have an irrational perspective. This morning on CNN, a plus-size lady in a giant pickup truck was interviewed by a reporter. She lives on the Atlantic seaboard of Florida, which is in grave danger from an oncoming hurricane of never-before-seen proportions. Despite urgent pleas from the authorities to evacuate, she is staying put.

"Why?" queries the reporter.

"Because we always have stayed to ride out hurricanes," answers the over-consumer.

One small difference - this is a never-before-seen hurricane of historic proportions. Comparing it to its weaker siblings is not a valid point of reference. Yet the reporter doesn't seem to catch this illogical conclusion and continues:

"Aren't you afraid?"

Our GMO-brain-damaged citizen replies, "God will provide. He will keep us safe."

Here is where the hubris of this woman may be a fatal character flaw. How does she know what God wants? Did she have a visitation from one of his archangels to say that he personally is making an exception for her while deciding to wipe out dozens of others who, like her, will be in harm's way? And if those of her ilk are spared by God while he obliterates so many other good folk, then heaven forbid! The cretons will have inherited the earth.

So while the quintessential white woman of pick-up truck fame rests her trust in God doing her a personal favor, I would prefer a different prayer. May all human beings wake up from their slumber of indifference and make a change for the common good. Maybe then we won't need to pretend that we have God's unlisted phone number.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Background Noise or News?

To my housemates, the incessant background hum of CNN is a source of annoyance. Bi-weekly one of them will query, "Why do you keep on CNN all day? Isn't it a downer..." with an effect akin to the whine of a mosquito in the dead of night.

As a courtesy I turn off the telly or mute the sound when one of my co-inhabitants enters the room ... and in deference to all sentient beings within a 300 foot radiance, the volume is kept at miniscule decibels most of the time.

I myself couldn't understand this addiction to the near-ubiquitous CNN drone that began during primaries 18 months ago, but then came an epiphany. The study of human behaviour involves analysis of cause and effect. Big events have big impact, yet subtle and seemingly insignificant happenings inevitably trigger a landslide of outcomes. Thus, in order to predict future behaviours, an exhaustive study of past and present actions is imperative.

Right out of the gate, it seemed glaringly obvious that Donald Trump was a pathological liar and a card carrying narcissist with borderline personality disorder. Why people of sound mind chose to ignore the obvious is a mystery but provides a clue to my CNN habit.

Every day, even each hour, a new clue to 45's horrific modus operendus unfolds. To catch all the nuances, one must keep tuned in to track how events/words/tweets play a role in the collective wakeup.

Like a suspense novel, every new twist unfolds the plot. So now the question is, will this story have a happy ending or a tragic one? More accurately speaking, will the universe bend to the arc of truth in my lifetime? In my childrens? Or sometime in the ineffable future?

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Great Acts

Great acts are made up of small deeds. - Lao Tzu

According to legend Lao Tzu was keeper of the archives at the imperial court. When he was eighty years old he set out for the western border of China, toward what is now Tibet, saddened and disillusioned that men were unwilling to follow the path to natural goodness. At the border (Hank Pass), a guard, Yin Xi (Yin Hsi), asked Lao Tsu to record his teachings before he left. He then composed in 5,000 characters the Tao Te Ching (The Way and Its Power).

Many of us feel an overwhelming sense of despair at the state of affairs in Washington, D.C.
We have a madman in the White House, a Congress filled with mentally challenged Republicans (minus a few), not to speak of an uninformed and ignorant swath of Americans who mindlessly follow, unaware that they are sawing the branch they sit on.

War, disease and hunger plague millions if not billions. Those of us living in prosperity pinch ourselves at our good fortune, fully aware of the blessings of the lucky few...and fervently wish that the evil eye continues to sheathe its glance. Some might pray for the rest of humanity to find abundance, peace and happiness. Some might donate life-giving funds or other material items to alleviate suffering. Nonetheless, the enormity of humanity's plight and the missteps of self-serving leaders trigger a sense of futility. Our life-affirming offerings seem like droplets in the ocean, disappearing into tidal waves of dysfunction.

This is why we need great masters whose panoramic vision spans the totality of existence and, with their clear vision, nudge us to proceed with courage. Lao Tsu's famous words of wisdom, "The thousand mile journey begins with the first step," or alternately, "Great acts are made up of small deeds," provide an antidote to the collective sense of disempowerment. Rooted in reality, his words of wisdom point out a truth hidden in plain view. Every state of being, every accomplishment, is merely the tip of the iceberg. Near-infinite acts/events form the foundation upon which positive outcroppings appear.

Understanding thus, how could we ever feel discouraged? The truth is that everything matters, whether we impact a billion people or just two. Patience, courage, wisdom and compassion become the tenets of day to day existence. As long as we never give up, any act large or small will propel us into a brighter future.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Trees Speak

Many years ago I imbibed a weed-laced dark chocolate brownie in an attempt to kill the pain of radiation burnitis. The shopkeeper of the medical marijuana store had gifted me with this delight, perhaps taking pity on an almost bald, thin woman who could barely walk into his digs - clearly a cancer victim. He warned me to eat only half.

Ever the chow hound, even when half dead, I scarfed the first half of said treat before Michael and I had even reached the car. Our house was 30 minutes away and about twenty minutes into the drive home, having not felt any effect of the cannabis, I downed the second half of that yummalishous chewy, chocolatey pastry.

Gluttony always meets punishment as its bride. Afterall, isn't gluttony one of the mortal sins?

The cannabis of 2017 is not the cannabis your grandmother smoked or ate; in this case, my peer group are the grandmothers. Shortly after arriving home, the environment took on a different luster. Colors jumped off the wall; subtle and previously unnoticed house sounds became a chorus of machines; the plant world outside my windows danced and swayed with verdant alacrity.

After an indeterminate stretch of time, spread out on the couch and floating outside the normal realms of perception, lo and behold! A tree peered in the window and invited me to come outside to introduce myself.

Twenty-seven years ago, I planted 13 trees around the house. Those saplings were now tall, strong guardians of the property. The tree that beckoned me outside told me its name and I bowed in acknowledgement. Of course they already knew me, she who supplied their water and gave them first life in decades past. The next tree waited expectantly, much like a guest in a formal greeting line. After moving around the property making proper introductions, I slumped into a lawn chair and gazed at this tribe with a fair degree of astonishment.

Why had I not noticed that each tree was a living being with a personality and its own potent mode of perception? While I certainly took note of new leaves in the spring or branches in need of pruning, never had I addressed the gestalt of the tree.

Nature speaks to us if we listen...and this communication is a symbiotic bond that extends far beyond the reaches of time and space. One needn't be stoned out of his or her gourd to partake in the subtle yet powerful exchange. The only requirement is to stop the busy-ness and feel...listen...breathe.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Fox and the Ass

Dear Vladimir (a.ka. the Fox),

Congratulations on your superb strategy of rigging the election to secure King Rump the presidency of the United States of America. First of all, his uber foxy wife Melania speaks Serbo Croatian, Russia's linguistic cousin. What more could you want than the president's pillow talker to have a genetically in-bedded tribal bond with you, not to speak of the prize of power - a beautiful woman seated next to you at a state dinner. (Maybe King Rump and his consort sleep in separate rooms, but hey, let's keep this scenario for the sake of argument.)

And let's not forget that your remarkable ability to lie straight into the face of another and have them believe you unilaterally is truly a gift. Maybe you even believe your own PR. Afterall, 25 years holding the reins of power is a feat only to be matched by Stalin, Mao, and a few other obscure dictators around the world.

Lest you think this analysis is anti-Russian, please rest assured that my perception of American Imperialism cloaked in the guise of "bringing democracy to the world" is no less cynical.

While this chess game of political-material gain plays on, and while glasnost holds great promise, your success in bringing the US and Russia together holds a bitter price for the common person in America. King Rump may hold the key to a closer relationship, but please ask the downtrodden (and yes they do exist in the vastly rich nation of the Americas) how they will fare when their access to medical care, higher education and food is denied. Please ask the people of color how they will feel when the voting patterns are rigged to prevent true equality of access. Please ask the fish, the animals and the trees how they will survive the roll-back of protection from humans and corporations, who are deemed humans by the IRS.

Success in one arena weighed against devastation in another is hardly something to gloat about. The only hope for mankind rests in actions and policies nested in a humanitarian basket of gem-like beings of good will. Alas, between the Fox and the Ass, this seems an unlikely proposition.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Kristallnacht USA

For those who don't know their history, "Kristallnacht," as explained in Wikepedia:

The "Night of Broken Glass"

The violence against Jews lasts into the morning hours of November 10th, 1938 and becomes known as Kristallnacht—the "Night of Broken Glass." Several dozen Jews lose their lives and tens of thousands are arrested and sent to concentration camps. 

And what does this have to do with the USA?

Today a digital Kristallnacht was launched against the media; more specifically CNN. Trump tweeted a video that used computer simulations to make it look like he punched out a CNN reporter. The big ape continued to pound the hapless face of the reporter as he laid sprawled out on his back. 

The inane pundits who defend Trump (for a living) said it was a joke, modeled after the faked violence of televised wrestling. To those who understand the power of imagery, this was a dog whistle to the white militias of the far right to begin an American born and bred version of Kristallnacht. No need for thousands of storm troopers. His millions of followers via Twitter now have their marching orders, delivered effortlessly with a click of the mouse.

Trump's threats to the Fourth Estate have now taken an

ugly turn for the worse. We need to be afraid but not afraid

as in cowardliness. This strike to the heart should be a

massive wakeup call...and we need to listen with a special

ear....lest we fall.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Inspired Depression

The term "inspired depression" might be an oxymoron, but I experienced this state today for the first time after binge-watching The Putin Interviews by Oliver Stone.

To the uninformed and unsuspecting, one might fall in love with Vladimir Putin after watching him skillfully navigate four hours of Q&A. Not only did he exhibit a high degree of intelligence and knowledge, but his seemingly reasonable and rational approach to geo-politics certainly contradicts the narrative going on in the USA. One might develop sympathy for the Russian leader for having to endure the aggressive and bad faith actions of the USA over the past few decades when the Cold War was supposedly over. His narrative was not at odds with my own analysis of the American brand of Imperialism and hypocrisy.

One problem, however, is that something in him appeared as the trickster, one who has mastered the art of trickery. Tricks are by nature deceptive and cause the trickee to fall for the con-illusion. Only in the last hour segment did an element of fear creep into my heart. This is a man who cajoles with an ethnic, folksy wisdom coupled with a laser intellect and savoir faire most unusual, yet this a man who gets even...with avengence.

Despite the admiration that had been brewing in my heart for the first three segments of The Putin Interviews, in the end I was left with that "inspired depression" feeling.

No one's hands are clean - neither the USA or Russia. There is reason and right on both sides. The truth for one is not the truth for the other although the two super-powers talk of peace and global unity in the same oratorical sweep.

Where did the mutual mistrust and suspicion start? Who is telling the truth? Who is defending and who is retaliating? Whose heart is in the right place - when an awful global conflict is brewing again? Who will lay down the sword first and out-stretch a hand? And will that hand be severed in a ploy or will it be truly welcomed?

I, for one, could not untangle the web of illusion Oliver Stone laid out for us in the grand halls of the Kremlin. Nor can I untangle the strangling cords of the American Congress, that seems to have been cast adrift in a sea of uncertainty.

Turning to meditation, prayer and faith is a great idea...but don't forget to watch your back.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Big Shit, Little Shit

My son walked in the house the other day with an unexpected remark: "There's a pterodactyl flying around in Port Hueme," the beach community where he is vacationing.

A giant, dragon-like prehistoric bird flew over my head like a jet fighter - in my mind's eye. Observing my quizzical look, Kripa lead me outside and pointed to his car's rear window that was covered with what looked like a bucket of white slime. Big bird had bulls-eyed his vehicle, along with other medium sized birds that left brown poop stains dripping down various car body parts.

Fast forward to an evening of leisure contemplation on the side terrace of my house, where plumes of delicate pink flowers grace a vine clinging to the wall. It is an area frequented by hummingbirds and for good reason. Their delicate little beaks fit perfectly into the tubular, succulent center of the petals.

On this fair night, a hummingbird enroute to the flower restaurant dropped his own bird slime emission so small that it looked like a tiny droplet of water that left nary a trace on the flagstone terrace below.

Shit may be shit, but the bigger the amount that gets dumped, the bigger the mess. This obvious fact does have relevance in our day to day lives. The amount of mess-ups in life are in direct proportion to the size of self-centered egos. The bigger the tale we spin that creates an "us" versus "them" situation, the bigger the scope of conflict, misery and malfeasance.

For those who don't want to shit on others or Mother Earth, it would be well to downsize the ego and light up the god-self. In that evolution of consciousness, what we leave in our wake would remain pristine.

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Foxiest Fox in the Skulk

The prize for best diplomatic chess player goes to Vladimir Putin, the foxiest fox in the skulk. Yes, in part the term "foxy" might connote physical attractiveness, which is true, especially when he appears in full hockey regalia (although he does show tell-tale signs of aging with an emerging sagginess of skin around the jawline). Yet, foxiest in this vernacular also connotes "most slippery" in achieving his goals.

He pulled off a magnificently malevolent comment this week. He said that hackers are like artists, creative beings who, like painters, might wake up in the morning so happy that they are inspired to paint - or hack. He posited that their motive would be fueled by patriotism to Mother Russia.

Herein lies his brilliant manipulation. Perhaps he knows that American intelligence has ironclad proof of Russian state-sponsored meddling in the presidential elections via internet hacking. Perhaps he thinks its time to get even more subtle in his subterfuge to make him smell more sweetly on the global stage.

What could be better for one of those state-educated Russians idylling in a drab apartment than to be flattered for their artistry, compared to a fine artist. No longer a computer nerd, the hacker is now elevated to a status the likes of Plutenko by the President himself.

The coup de grace is the connotation that such illegal acts are in fact patriotic to the Motherland. No worries that these fine hackers will need a poison taster anytime soon.


Monday, May 29, 2017


The only thing we know for sure is that every living thing has a finite other words a date with death. Contemplating thus on my garden terrace bursting with verdant life, I wonder: What will this spot look like in 100 years? And then to really up the ante, What would it look like in a billion years?

Given that I am officially a "senior" citizen, for certain there is no way of knowing what my garden and house will look like in that modest 100 year span, let alone a billion years. Every little plant I have nurtured, every artistic touch on my house, will certainly crumble and be no more - or to the contrary, be transformed into something even more glorious. I would wager, however, that in a billion years my environs will either be underwater or a moonscape or dust floating through distant galaxies.

As these musings can only be chalked up to sheer speculation, one thing remains...appreciate appreciate appreciate...and waste no time in being present to the fleeting presence of one's life on earth.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

When a Tree Falls in the Forest

Remember the old days when a mom or dad or teacher posed the question, "If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"

We could amend the question to fit an almost endless stream of circumstances: "If the news media or social media don't report on the slaughter of man or beast on a distance land, did it happen?" Or how about all the events of life and death on this planet over the eons, of which we have no knowledge but lead us directly to this point in time?

Decades later, these koan-like questions don't confound me the way they did as a teenager, when the question screeched to a halt at the "dead end" sign in my brain. Obviously, if no information comes to us via one of our five senses (or sixth sense for some) it has no relation to our data bank on a conscious level. In that sense, ignorance is bliss and we are a sum total of our direct perception. Whatever befalls life on planet earth and beyond that is outside of our purview is in fact nonexistent to us.

Quantum physics tells us a different tale of interconnectedness. Every movement of atoms and molecules will eventually create movement in our own molecules and atoms, effecting us in ways so subtle that we have no conscious knowledge. And yet, our very being is formed and dissolved back into the great mystery along with all those events of which we never knew but which impacted us profoundly.

So the answer to "If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" is YES AND NO. The ability to hold opposites to be true portends the ability to be at One with the All-That-Is. And that is good.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Looking Good

The only good thing about King Rump's tenure in the White House (hopefully short-lived with the grace of the All-That-Is) is the chance to oggle at the outfits of the First Lady. Of course the title of "First Lady" has a touch of irony. In reality, she is probably the Last-to-be-Summoned-Lady in King Rump's little black book.

Nonetheless, for us plebians who are under 6 feet tall and wear an extra 40 pounds, we can always marvel at that long slender body with endless dineros to command the best of the best designers to drape her elegant form.

I loved the creamy white top with a slender ass-hugging orange pencil skirt as she sashayed up the stairs of Air Force One wearing high heels that would topple most females with the first step forward. I wasn't as fond of the white pant suit that clearly outlined the body part between her legs in a country where women wear black burkas. Not that I approve of latter attire either, but the obvious f-u to the sensibilities of another culture showed a self-absorption that detracted from the beatific shell.

But hey! Let's be grateful for small favors in this upside-down backwards world.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Ain't He Sweet

Dear dear Vladamir has showed that the bromance between King Rump and himself is alive and well. Today he offered the American government the transcripts of his meeting with King Rump in the Oval office to shore up his buddy's claim that no classified information was shared between the West and East.

A photo of the blue-eyed Rusky looking like a sheepish pussycat flashed across the TV screen next to the bloated alligator-esque visage of His Hindness.

I wonder, how do we know a transcript supplied by an adversary of the USA hasn't been subjected to artful editing? On another note, perhaps this is a wicked little trick of Putin. Afterall, if the White House is being bailed out by Putin, this does suggest a rather comfy relationship.

Sweet or sly like a fox? You decide.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

I Grew Two People

As I sip morning coffee on my divinely beautiful back terrace, surrounded by purple and yellow wildflowers, a 28 year old goddess stumbles out of the house, golden-blonde hair tangled in perfect disarray and blue eyes shining. She encircles my shoulders in her arms and presses her creamy smooth skin against my cheek with a sweet, "You're the best mommy in the whole world."

An hour later, the commanding presence of my 39 years son appears at the patio door with his trusty dog-friend Dunkin, who gets first dibs on a sloppy kiss to his grandmother (me). Then his master bends his massive frame to give me a very human and tender kiss on the cheek.

Luckily, my female child is slender and delicate, and my male child a vision of manly protection, capable of taking down a bear in the woods. I muse - in our world of value judgements, it's a good thing the physiques weren't reversed.

In addition to a sense of gratitude for my two amazing children, a sense of complete dumbfoundedness overtakes me. I GREW these two in my stomach and then pushed them out in to the world, where they slowly but surely became separate humans with all their very own characteristics.

Looking at this process as an alien from another world, it seems bizarre, if not miraculous. And so it goes. The world of creation in which we live has an inexplicable quality that no one can explain, not even those who devoutly believe in the Bible.

Today is a day of wonderment. May it be so every day.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Bizzaro World of King Rump

Letter From King Rump to FBI Director James Comey:

"While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the bureau.” 


Historical note: when Hitler rolled into the Sudetenland pre-WWII, he expected to be pushed back by the Western powers. When he was not, he was astonished, and thus concluded that he could carry on with his world-domination dream.

The parallel here is that King Rump continues to push the boundaries of democratic government with its checks and balances. If the Republican dominated Congress cannot push back to this dictator-in-progress and truss him up good, then we shall have a catastrophic result. We the people must take charge and throw the bums in jail by electing truth seekers.

Friday, April 28, 2017

And the Winner is...

Former President Obama remarked today that Obamacare was viewed more favorably than President Trump, 47%-36%. That, in my estimation, is waving a red flag in front of a mad bull. Surely, a Twitter shit-storm will ensue from the pudgy little fingers of our ersatz leader as he reacts to this inconvenient truth.

This brings up a critical point. Integrity, honesty, and authenticity are vital in all components in human relationships. Marital partners, business partners, teachers, students, friends, et al cannot have a productive and healthy future without those ingredients. If they are missing and what presents is a shell of illusion covering festering malfeasance, what will it portend other than disaster?

School kids in the early 1960's were told an apocryphal tale about the young George Washington. The lad chopped down a cherry tree and when this travesty was discovered, the owner of said tree was furious. Little George, being the swell kid that he was (supposedly) confessed to his crime. This story was meant to instill in five years olds the idea that no deed cannot be rectified by honest and truthful behavior.

Good character does not infer infallibility but rather a willingness to course correct for the common good. We must continue to throw a light on the darkness that has descended over our nation to illuminate a path to goodness. There is no time to lose.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

I Can See Russia

Sarah Palin's infamous remark, "I can see Russia!" from the Alaskan shores drew mirth and scorn for her dumb-as-shit comment. However, this morning as I sat in contemplation, it did occur to me that the Russian empire stretches around the globe.

While it appears to loom largest as a power broker in Eastern Europe (note invasion of the Ukraine), in fact this vast land does circumnavigate the earth to sit quite close to the United States...if you include Alaska, technically a state in the USA even if it does belong to the Eskimos in spirit.

So, for all of us who live in California and enjoy wonderful weather and the bounty of harvests, beware. China, Russia, and even little North Korea have long arms that can either embrace us with good will or wrap themselves around us like a deadly python that will squeeze the air out of us.

Bearing all this in mind, wouldn't peaceful, productive, reconciliatory policies serve for the benefit of all?


Carmen Scherubel-Valentine has left a new comment on your post "I Can See Russia": 

In a perfect world...

North Korea wants to land a nuke on us. We can't just sit by and let that happen. 


Of course defense of our lands is a top priority, but my blog suggests that there are many ways ameliorate threats that don't involve the use of lethal military force.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Fresh Face of Obama

I turned on CNN this morning expecting to see more demented and insane policy decisions of the Trump administration being reported on. Lo and behold! Instead, the relaxed and good vibes presence of Barack Obama lit up the screen as he held a discussion with university students. I promptly went into an alternative reality where he was still the president and the tangles of ego-centered "me first" policies were being gently massaged out of our government policies.

The bad news is that this dream-like dream is not so...he no longer holds the reins of power. The good news is that he has re-entered our lives as a force of reason. Reason. Reason. Reason. As a wise man once said, "Common sense is uncommon" and no matter what one's politics, it is glaringly obvious that a thoughtful, compassionate man has re-entered our lives after 8 years in the hot seat.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

To Err Is Human, to Forgive Is Human

"To err is human, to forgive is divine" is a well known aphorism with questionable philosophical underpinnings. I quite agree that forgiveness is a powerful force and is the gateway to love - the most beautiful, healing, and wondrous thing a human being can emote. For that matter, animals can also express exemplary feelings. The dog, wo-man's best friend, can warm the cockles of the hardest heart with its unabashed adoration of the master. However, if the divine (God) is all forgiveness and love, then who is responsible for creating all the evil-doings of mankind? Perhaps it would be more correct to say, "To err is human, to forgive and love is human." Until someone can explain how an all-knowing and all-loving God can fuck up so badly, I can only assume it is we who create all that is good and bad on this earth.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Boredom as Dis-ease

There are no psychiatric diagnostics nor classification codes for a state called boredom.
Our world is filled with wonders, horrors, and every shade of the rainbow in between; logically there could be near infinite ways to engage the mind interactively given the vast stimuli available to the human mind.

Thus, why would anyone ever be bored? It is simply illogical except if one examines the feeling of boredom through an analytical lens. 

Boredom = not understanding or perceiving the vast range of potentials dwelling within our mind-body that exist no matter what our intelligence level, social status or education.

Boredom = a semi-paralyzing depression that dampens motivation to explore, expand, and create.

Boredom = a passive-aggressive stance towards oneself and others akin to a stubborn mule that sits on its hind legs and refuses to budge. It bespeaks of an unwillingness to give of oneself to the collective.

Boredom = a state of numbness born from a stressor that has not been brought to conscious awareness and liberated.

Boredom = a feeling of isolation from the world that feeds on itself, leading to further disengagement and deadening of the senses.

The next time you or someone close to you feels bored, try looking into the mirror of self to find the blockage. Once uncovered, perhaps that deadened state will morph into life-affirming activity once again.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

When An Inconvenient Truth Becomes a Convenient Lie

It would be hunky-dory if people embraced inconvenient truths and had the courage to face their own demons to say, "Scram." Alas, it takes a level of scrupulous honesty, or bull-shit busting, to face what is really going on instead of doing the ostrich routine or living a lie that you pass off as a great scenario.

The tendency for most humans is to do the chicken dance (no offense, my fowl friends) and strut through life with pretension. The fact that we actually elected a President who has perfected this art form is nothing short of astonishing. It is the anti-miracle of centuries past and present.

On a somewhat smaller stage, how many of us do the same thing in our little lives? One cheating husband actually told me that it was an act of compassion to lie to his wife about his infidelities...that the truth would be too painful so he was being kind to conceal his alternate life.

What liars don't take into account is that everyone knows everything on some level of awareness. The collective consciousness holds all the data and those who are adept etheric researchers can discover the data. Those who are not gifted at detecting subtle energy patterns nonetheless are aware that something is not kosher. It is like having a ghost in the house...a discontent spirit that can't be seen or heard yet vibrates through the airwaves with a disturbing frequency.

Up until the age of 40-ish, I told white lies a.k.a. exaggerations of the facts. While it is not a criminal act to say, "I won the blue ribbon in a horse competition when I was thirteen," when in fact it was a second place red ribbon (guilty as charged) nonetheless it is a misrepresentation of "what is."

The sad truth, if not the inconvenient one, is that we are totally OK being real, being authentic. If only we realized that we have nothing to lose but loss itself, what would we gain?

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Questions in Search of an Answer

The moment seems real yet the moment the moment has passed it becomes a dream. There is essentially no difference between a waking memory and a motion-picture that sleep-time rolls out.

This begs the question: does the present moment event exist? Is it measured in nano-seconds, seconds, minutes? Certainly not hours or days. What is "a moment in time" when time itself is a relative concept? Does this mean that our version of reality is mere flimsy fiction to justify a worldview?

If ordinary human perception is an experience of the dreamtime, it begs the question: where is reality, if anywhere?

Friday, February 3, 2017

Puppies and Kitties

Television pundits drone endlessly as they attempt to unpack the disaster that this new presidency has wrought upon our nation and the world. While it is important to be informed and craft a personal plan of action, the overall gestalt weighs upon the soul mightily.

As a counterweight to this dreadful reality, my choice of entertainment has shifted radically. Scrolling through Netflix, I bypass drama, comedy, and all sorts of high-concept films to select puppy and kitty documentaries. None of these films would make a splash in the world of intelligent filmmaking. Yet, the vision of innocent and vulnerable domesticates cavorting on the flat screen can drive away the blues in a nanosecond.

Despite a slight case of self-judgement about such light-weight choice of fare, the smile on my face and the light in my heart tells me that budding life is a joy to behold. To be renewed is essential for our health and welfare in these times...any way we can find it!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

I Cry for You

When I think about the election of 2016, one image comes to mind: a woman in 17th century Salem dragged to the stocks. Her hands and head are shoved into rough hewn holes; a vulnerable, painfully humiliating punishment in the village square. Jeering crowds hurl rotten fruit at the immobilized woman, her alabaster skin colored by stains of cruelty, her soul tainted with the hateful thoughts of her tormenters.

Certain sectors crow over the misdeeds of Hillary Clinton with chants of "lock her up." Yet, they enjoy the spoils of a country that has pillaged the planet for self-serving gains of the material kind. The utter injustice of a psychopath seizing power while the real leader is vanquished has become a real-time nightmare.

I cry for the hurts inflicted upon Hillary Clinton and more importantly on our nation and the world. We can only hope that the arc of truth shall prevail over the span of time, but it is we who must bend that arc.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Pain As a Gift

Sentient beings don't want pain on any level - physical, mental, emotional or spiritual. However, that is the one sure-fire experience of incarnates and is intricately laced within pleasure and other states of sensation.

Looking on the bright side, pain does present a viable alternative to the thinking, worrying mind. While most of us waste endless hours contemplating trivial matters or events of grave importance, the moment pain erupts due to injury, illness, or loss, all mundane concerns vanish. Pain puts us in the here and now; everything else recedes into the distance.

This is the gift of pain, and allowing oneself to experience the immediacy of the sensation is a built in meditation, courtesy of mother nature. As the mind surrenders to the call of immense discomfort, it ceases to be that which we must escape, and becomes on some profound level a friend that reminds us of the need for balance and mindfulness in all things.

Thus I contemplate as I rest with legs elevated, nursing a frayed tendon in my leg and grateful that the pain has brought me back from a labrynth of disembodied thoughts.

Between the Frying Pan and the Fire

When the first inklings of a pandemic started brewing in late January, I was in Bodgaya, India, the place where the historical Buddha attai...