WWSP's "The Alternate Boot!"

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

John Cage-Like Diorama!

I could have been bitching about the weather yesterday. Windy. Raw. Dark. Rainy. A cold, hard rain. Rain that seemed to pelt me from above and sideways too. A sort of punishing day. Might make you want to ask, "What did I do to deserve this?" It's like that when you are near the lake. It was an uncomfortable day to be out and about. Instead of complaining, wishing for another kind of day, I was doing my best to be present (see previous post).

I was walking with two canine friends on the lakefront. The lake was a big, gray roiling mass of water. It roared and crashed against the rocks. The noise, the sound that the lake made was overwhelming, amazing. CRRAFGGGGYAAASSHHH! Something like that. Something you can't translate. A sound of mayhem that resonated over and over across the park like a phonograph record stuck in the groove. At the same time, I was passing a few large, trees with newly-sprouted leaves, and about 100 or so birds (I think they were Starlings?), were up in the branches singing, chirping, coughing, snickering, chattering, creating an unholy racket, totally vibrating, alive and noisy. A huge collection of crazy-ass birds declaring their existence, making a huge, crashing, dissonant, symphony of birdsong.

It was sort of like being in some weird, life-size, John Cage-like sound diorama, sound waves crashing against each other from every direction. It was pretty brilliant. Captivating. Enveloping. I suppose my furry friends and I were just another element in this amazing, over-loaded, sound-environment. So yeah, it was a hard rain day.  Instead of bitching, I was taking it in. Present. Pretty impressive.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Being Present in the Present.

I write this on a rainy Monday morning, listening to Miles Davis' classic record "Kind of Blue."  This post could be called "So What?!"

Wiser folks than I, (yes, they are legion), say that the best way to be, the best way to live, is to always "be present." You know. Show up. Be aware & awake. Eyes & ears open. Look sharp. Be in the moment. Don't judge the moment. Drop the worry, doubt, guilt, confusion, expectation, anticipation, hope & fear. Just be present in the moment. Sounds simple. But not so easy to do. It's a practice. A discipline. A simple rule for living. Easy to understand, less easy to embody.

I gave it my best yesterday. I had to face some unpleasant circumstances. I had to be places, and do things, I didn't really want to do. I did my best to drop all of my baggage. I did my best to "be here, now." Funny, I watched myself do this simple thing. Sometimes I strayed, I started to judge, recoil, pull back, jump in, but then, I caught myself doing it. I just took a few deep breaths and let it all go.

I did find a certain calmness and patience that I don't normally exhibit. I didn't take the bait, I didn't respond in my usual ways. It was a little strange, I mean, I felt a bit like a stranger in a strange land. The strange land of my own being. A stranger to myself. I was watching myself. A little bit of a  head-trip.

So, the unpleasant circumstances of my day just sort of passed me by, I noticed them and let them melt around me. No worries. No anger. Lots of silence. I had so much less to say. The silence was comforting.  The present is a big space, ever-expanding. No time for my usual routines. It was a pretty good experience. Being present in the present, I recommend it!

Sunday, April 28, 2019

The Reality of Our Reality!

One step from calamity.

It's kind of weird to write about what didn't, but could've, happened. I mean, what happened is what happened, what didn't happen, didn't happen, but I seemed so close to a catastrophic happening in the middle of my day, a painful reckoning with major consequences.

Not to be overly-dramatic.

Almost had a very unpleasant reality yesterday. What are the probabilities? Don't know. Seemed that I was precipitously close to catastrophe. The simplest, most mundane of situations: carrying my bicycle down the back stairs. A couple flights of steep, wooden stairs. Lugging my bicycle down in a hurry, thinking of other things. One false step, and my bicycle went crashing out of my grasp. I could feel my left ankle wobble, on the verge of locking. I was teetering. I have notoriously tricky ankles, I can't count the many times in my life where I have twisted an ankle. This all happened in a flash. No time to think. Luckily, I was wearing heavy Timberland boots. These boots have saved me so many times. One instant, suspended in time, this could have easily gone very ugly - twisted ankle, broken bones, lying in a heap at the bottom of the stairs. I could see that moment. I somehow righted myself, caught myself, so instead of crumbling, crashing down a flight of stairs, I pulled up in one piece. Safe. Sound. Shaken.

It was only in the moments afterwards when I realized how lucky I was to have dodged a bullet. No doubt. I could see in my mind's eye another reality rolling out before me. A crumpled form, serious damage to my body. Who knows? It didn't happen, but oh, so very close. Really. One step from calamity. That's the reality; any time. No sense in worrying. But that is the reality of our reality.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

It's Okay to Have Rules, It's OK to Break Rules...

Rules for living.

First rule: rules are made for breaking. There are always mitigating circumstances. It's OK to break the rules.

Second rule: it's good to have some basic rules (see first rule). Helps to channel our energies.

Here's a short list of rules I am living by at this particular moment...

Meditate every day.
Listen to music every day.
Write every day.
Pick up my guitar and strum every day.
Rise early. Go to bed early. (hat tip: Benjamin Franklin) 
Simplify.
Think first.
Don't over-think.
Refuse to bury Hope (hat tip: Pope Francis)
Always be moving.
Laugh.
Love.
Live in the moment.
Always be humble.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Waiting for the hawk to appear.

Waiting for the hawk to appear. 

The homeless guy in front of the grocery store told me he just saw a large hawk flying overhead. He had a gleam in his eyes, like he had seen something miraculous. We searched the vast blue sky together. It seemed essential to locate the hawk in flight. No such luck. Two men on a street corner, looking to the skies, hoping to get a glimpse of something extraordinary. The homeless guy told me: "In the Gnostic Gospels, God rebuked man for flying."  All I could reply: "Hunh!"

For some reason this all seemed interesting and significant. (Maybe the conversation was a bit more resonant for me because I had just had a supremely vivid dream where someone who had passed away, appeared to me, and showed me the little wings that had sprouted from her shoulders?) I got home and searched a bit on the internet, looking for references to flying in the Gnostic Gospels. I could find no such reference. A mystery upon a mystery. Blind leading blind into the darkness.

Waiting for the hawk to appear.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Little Diversion: Chuck D. and The Clash!

We need our little diversions. Most of our lives are filled with little diversions. Essentially we are all little diversions in the big rollicking narrative of our species and of our planet.

So yes, we live our little lives, occupying ourselves any way we can to avoid the void, the sadness, the madness, the weirdness. Case in point, I am so happy I found this podcast on Spotify: "Stay Free: The Story of the Clash!"

I just finished Episode 3... total of 8 Episodes.

An extraordinary diversion for sure. Not only is it thrilling and cool to relive the story of the Clash (the only band that matters), but it is also thrilling and cool to hear all the voices of the band and the folks who were there when it all emerged out of the bleak, punk, London 70's.

Maybe best of all, Chuck D from Public Enemy narrates the story. There is something so powerful about Chuck D's voice; his intelligence, his humor, his deep knowledge of music comes thru in each episode. Oh yeah, also cool, he draws a line from The Clash to Public Enemy and it totally makes sense.

Inspiring stuff. A nice little diversion for sure. Essential listening.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

This Will Not Stand!

I do think William Barr, the portly, rumpled, older, white-man speaking nonsense in measured, lawyerly, authoritative tones, the current U.S. Attorney General is a fraud. His words are weasel-words! He is trying to pull the wool over our eyes. Trying to protect a Criminal in the Oval Office. We watched it all in real time. It was sort of flabbergasting.

Did Barr think we wouldn't notice? He lobbied the Criminal in the Oval Office to be appointed to the job, based on his views that the President is "above the law." It was the Nixon argument in a nutshell: April 6, 1977: Nixon: ‘If the President Does It, That Means It’s Not Illegal'  Barr is a bad actor. He tried to mislead, misrepresent the Mueller Report. The report actually lays out a devastating case against the Criminal in Chief. Read the full Mueller Report here. It is well-written, it is essential. I dare you to do it. If you have any "reading comprehension skills," you will understand. The man in the Oval Office belongs in a jail cell. Really.

Barr is trying to shut down talk of obstruction of justice, shut down talk of impeachment. He is not acting in good faith.

No Man is Above the Law!

I don't think Barr's strategy will work. Maybe it buys some time. It makes the Democrats jobs a bit more difficult. How to cleanse the system? How to bring the criminals to account for their bad acts? It's gonna be a messy fight. It's gonna take time. But it's happening. I do believe. Too many threads, too many scandals, too many bad acts and bad actors have congregated, like flies to a pile of shite.
Our country is better than this President. We really are, we deserve better representation. This will not stand!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Darkness. We are Waiting.

"There’s a beautiful Inuit word “qarrtsiluni.” It means, “sitting together in the dark, waiting for something to happen.” - Teju Cole

Yes, aren't we all just sitting in the dark, waiting for something to happen? 

Some of us carry a spark, you see it in our eyes. Some of us bring, or fashion, candles, the solitary flame lights up our own faces, and casts shadows and reflections upon others. Some us band together and make big, roaring, crackling fires. The circle of fire lights up a group of beings, and brings them warmth, it also consumes the logs, creates sparks, and makes everything ash.

Still, finally, we are all, mainly, in the dark. There are flashes of light. There are times of candles and fires, times of deep illumination, but those times ebb and flow, they gutter out, fade away. Darkness. We sit. We are waiting.

Monday, April 22, 2019

A Pretty Good Day!

Easter Sunday 2019 in the Heartland.

A glorious day. All sunshine, blue sky, warmer temps. Changes everything. The day carresses. As I've said before, we are the weather, so lots of bright light and far-seeing good vibes.

Funny. I was all over the map inside my head. Did anyone say "mixed-up, spiritual confusion?"

For instance. I read Pope Francis' homily at the Easter Vigil. I mean, I know the Pope is the head of a criminal enterprise, a corrupt, dysfunctional organization with a long record of abuse and cover-up, but at the same time I do think this particular Pope is an extraordinary voice, an essential voice, and this Pope seems to want to do better. Why did I read the text? The line "Do Not Bury Hope," that resonates with me, I think of the great, long-gone Studs Terkel's line: "Hope Dies Last." I'd say that's my motto!

I also found myself turning to the Great Google... sort of betrays my "confusion..." and asked...

Can you have Hope without Faith?

"In resolving this dilemma, the etymological foundations of the terms “faith” and “hope” are significant. “Faith” (from the latin fidere – to trust) is typically defined as a belief which expresses confidence in the truth, value, or veracity of something or someone, and is often characterized by an absence of verifiable empirical justification or logical proof."   

“Hope” (OE hopian – confidence or trust) is an expression of what Husserl called “directed intentionality.” For Husserl, hope might best be understood as a confident expectation in the achievement of a desired state of affairs, and it was an example of what he called an “anticipated fulfillment of intention.”

The short anwer from the "Philosopy of Religion," -"... they have faith because they have hope. That is to say that we know that a person who has faith has it because they have hope and they could not have hope without having faith because faith is necessary for hope."

Not sure I'm persuaded. Maybe I just have a blind, dumb, hope without any faith... but then again, maybe I do have faith, faith in what? The next moment. A better day.

Next I Googled, Can you have Chrisitianity without Christ?  I came up with the concept of Christian Atheism - "Christian atheism is a form of cultural Christianity and ethics system drawing its beliefs and practices from Jesus' life and teachings as recorded in the New Testament Gospels and other sources, whilst rejecting supernatural claims of Christianity.

Christian atheism takes many forms: some Christian atheists take a theological position in which the belief in the transcendent or interventionist God is rejected or absent in favor of finding God totally in the world (Thomas J. J. Altizer) while others follow Jesus in a godless world (William Hamilton). Hamilton's Christian atheism is similar to Jesuism."

Yeah, Jesus seemed like a nice guy, got a little big for his britches, (watch that Ego Jesus), and ultimately kind of got a raw deal. Roll away the stone!

Hah! Then for some reason, maybe because I was listening to Bob Dylan's, (I have been on a major Dylan kick lately, so many fantastic albums, his work is the soundtrack to my life) great born-again, gospel album recorded at Muscle Shoals entitled: "Saved," with that resonant line, which I repeated all day long - "I have been Saved by the Blood of the Lamb." (I kept picturing a cute little lamb offering me a cup of blood. Weird!)

I mean, maybe Dylan Not Jesus? My Dylan is a mystery. I like him like that. Jesus seems kind of simple & impossible ("Love thine Enemies!"), Dylan is complex, contradictory, enigmatic, maddening, confounding, disappointing, inspiring, a very creative, flawed human being.

I Googled Jews for Jesus -  I mean Dylan is a famous Jew who fell for Jesus in the late 70's and made what now in retrospect are some fantastic gospel albums, with fabulous musicians, and a handful of great female backup singers.  Check out Bob Dylan "Trouble No More - The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 (1979-1981)" to hear this band tearing it up live.  Of course, Dylan pushes it too far, I just hate that freaking song "Man Named All the Animals." Makes me want to throw the CD into the trash, so I mainly skip that one. Still fabulous album. Dylan is on fire with the Holy Ghost for sure. I mean I am imagining a Holy Ghost, a little white bird with supernatural powers, especially the gift of tongues frequently whispering in Dylan's ear especially during sessions for "Highway 61 Revisited," "Blonde on Blonde," "Desire," "John Wesley Harding," "New Morning," "Nashville Skyline,""Blood on the Tracks," "Time Out of Mind," and in the basement and on the road with the Band! Oh yeah, pretty much every time that man opens his mouth he seems touched by the poetic spirit. Official release and Bootleg, in song, in converation. Mysterious!

"Jews for Jesus (originally called Hineni Ministries) is a non-profit Messianic Jewish organization that seeks to proselytize Jews towards the belief that Jesus is the promised Messiah of the Jewish people. Jews for Jesus is not considered a sect of Judaism by any mainstream Jewish authorities.[1]"

Yes, confused. Confusing.

Of course, later in his career Dylan seemed to retreat from his Christian-thing, and kind of went back to the enigmatic poet/man of mystery thing. Anyway, it was a confusing day. Digging the tunes, the sunshine, and words of encouragement from the Pope. What did it all add up to? 

A pretty good day.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

One Soul...

"I pray that man will soon realize that we are all of one soul..."

 - Bob Dylan at the Sunrise Ceremony led by Cherokee Medicine Man, Rolling Thunder (1975)

"At times, it seems that everything comes up against a stone: the beauty of creation against the tragedy of sin; liberation from slavery against infidelity to the covenant; the promises of the prophets against the listless indifference of the people. So too, in the history of the Church and in our own personal history. It seems that the steps we take never take us to the goal. We can be tempted to think that dashed hope is the bleak law of life... Do not bury hope!

- Pope Francis, Easter Vigil, (April 20, 2019)

Saturday, April 20, 2019

"...no one is in charge, nothing is true, and chaos rules each day." - Rick Wilson

Rick Wilson, GOP strategist, stalwart "Never-Trumper," author of "Everything Trump Touches Dies," has all the best lines... 

"... an administration where no one is in charge, nothing is true, and chaos rules each day. All are borne out in the special counsel’s report."

AND

"As I anticipated just before the report’s release, Americans now have confirmation for the history books of the most crucial in-kind donation to an American presidential campaign, ever. We see in black-and-white the degree and depth of the Russian active measures, propaganda, and intelligence warfare efforts that were the secret sauce of Trump’s 2016 victory over Hillary Clinton. It wasn’t just MAGA or the Wall or celebrity bullshitting. An essential element of Trump’s victory was the work of Putin’s Little Helpers.And we have confirmation that at this critical moment, we had an attorney general who put Donald, not America, first."

Friday, April 19, 2019

Great Presidential Quotes!

Hah... this is an actual quote from page 290 of the Mueller Report

President Trump upon learning of Mueller's appointment: "Oh my god. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I'm fucked."

If only!!!  

I mean, this will go down as one of the greatest Presidential quotations of all time. Up there with Nixon's "I am not a crook!"

Of course, ufortunately for us, that lying, compromised, pissed-off, Putin-friendly, frustrated, raging, ignorant fat man depicted in Mueller's report is still in the job. 

What to do? The Democrats are always the ones who have to do the clean-up. It's ugly, unsatifsying work... but shite, someone has to step up for the good of the country.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Democracy Dies By Redaction!

This Barr/Mueller charade is such a freaking con-job. The Washington Press Corp is being jerked around, played like a fiddle. The rest of us are in the dark, being hustled, lied to, played with. What a freaking joke.

We've all watched it unfold. Today, maybe, finally we get to read some of the actual Mueller Report. But who knows? This has all unfolded like a really cynical, tortured, cheap-ass, PR scam. There are some folks who really, really, really don't want to the truth to come out.

These folks are working over-time, "setting expectations," trying to "mold perceptions," trying to contain the scandal, shape the news, etc.

It's all a load of shite. More freaking lying. A grand lying exercise. It is so obvious, all these sober-minded creeps in fancy suits selling a load of shite. We need the real thing. Not the spin. Not the redactions. Not the tortured explanations. Not the stupid excuses.

The plain, bald, truth... un-redacted... there is a blatant, corrupt, coverup going on in plain sight, and we are all being hood-winked...

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Something Happened...

"Something Happened." 

It's one of Joseph Heller's novels. Most folks know Heller from "Catch-22" which is an amazing read, one of the all-time great novels, but "Something Happened" is also a brilliant, captivating, disturbing, & mind-bending book.

I think of it often, even now, so many years after reading it. It captures the vast uncertainty, and unknowingness of our moment to moment lives. There are big things going down, all the time, and we are swimming in a vast sea of possibilities. Something happened. We wander around wondering what.

Sometimes we just float along, going with the flow, then we look up and big portions of our lives have flashed by. What happened? Something happened.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Numbers.

Numbers.

More numbers to confound me.  I don't want to think about numbers. I just don't. I would rather live in contented, ignorant bliss about certain subjects. You know, you pick and choose what to track with, you track with what you track with. There are some numbers I just don't count.

Monday, April 15, 2019

"You Can't Trust the Weatherman, Man!"

Math (see previous post). My aversion to math has probably stunted my potential. Maybe. Probably. Aye there's the rub. A very smart person I keep tabs on, tells us most of us don't really understand how probability permeates our everyday existence:

"the ratio of the number of outcomes in an exhaustive set of equally likely outcomes that produce a given event to the total number of possible outcomes."

Right. I'm one of those people who figures whatever happens is whatever happens, whatever actually happens, is what happens, without really understanding the "ratio of outcomes..." and how arbitrary or contingent, or random it all may be.

The last few days in the heartland have been a wild ride; fairly warm and sunny one day, furious blizzard the next, sort of mild the next. I coined my own phrases about the situation...

"You can't trust the weather, man."

AND

"You can't trust the weatherman, man."

Maybe if I knew a bit more about probabilities, computer modeling, and prognostication it would all be so much clearer, but who knows, probably not.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

I Am A Mystery To Me!

Yes, it's true. I don't like to count the years. I just don't. I try my best to live in the moment. I don't want to add up, or total, or divide, or subtract the moments, the days, the years. I always, always hated math. I know it's useful, and an important tool in making sense of our world, but I'd rather not. I just don't want to math my life. My life does not add up. Not even to me. So instead, I'd like to swim in the poetry of my time. No summing up. Always try to deepen the mystery. Because it is all pretty much a mystery to me. I am a mystery to me.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Electromagnetic Patterns - Connect to Everything!

Yes. I suppose that it isn't that we are just too stupid. We are the "clever monkeys" don't you know? We are also small-minded. Narrow-minded. Parochial. Tribal (see previous post).

One of my Gurus once counseled to "run the gold," you know, imagine you have a crown chakra, and turn it to gold.  Is that what all those folks were doing in those old biblical paintings?


What happens when you "run the gold?" You transcend your tribe. You have a chance to see "the games" that humans play, and you rise above. Is that really possible? I don't know, certainly, a worthy goal. And if we transcend, where do we go? How about to a Universal Mind?

"Universal mind or universal consciousness is a concept that tries to address the underlying essence of all being and becoming in the universe. It includes the being and becoming that occurred in the universe prior to the arising of the concept of "Mind", a term that more appropriately refers to the organic, human, aspect of universal consciousness. It addresses inorganic being and becoming and the interactions that occur in that process without specific reference to the physical and chemical laws that try to describe those interactions. Those interactions have occurred, do occur, and continue to occur. Universal consciousness is the source, ground, basis, that underlies those interactions and the awareness and knowledge they imply."

You know, maybe we need to "become the Universe, become God-like, but you know, lose the Ego?" You know God as a constellation, a force field, an ocean, a ray of light (hat tip to Madonna). Sounds a bit heady, I know, but maybe the only hope for the Species? Can we really function as an ephemeral constellation? Think of it as aspirational

Mind and Universe - "They differ only as a drop of water differs from the ocean. They are the same in kind and quality, the difference is one of degree only."

Maybe instead of thinking of ourselves as Human Beings we need to think of ourselves as "electromagnetic patterns" with a mission. Connect to everything!

Friday, April 12, 2019

Another Double-Edged Sword.

I suggest you check out this story from Morning Edition on NPR: Should We Have Empathy For Those We Hate?

Turns out even empathy isn't what you think it is. It's actually a double-edged sword. Just like just about everything else. We use empathy to love those we love, and to hate those we hate. How to expand the circle? How not to hate?

Seems empathy for those we describe as "the other," is on the down-swing. What does that portend? Tribe against Tribe.  Check out the headlines. You can see where this is going, and it's not pretty.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

What's the Narrative?

Not sure.

What's the narrative? Is everything going to hell? Is everything gonna be OK? Last night my friend recapped world events as she heard it on public radio on the long ride home. A gruesome catalog of dysfunction, disinformation, chaos, bad blood, bad actors, craziness and stupidity. Our fellow human beings; a motley crew.

Just a typical day in paradise. The best of times and the worst of times. What to do? What is the narrative? Should we be mildly amused, deeply horrified, zoned out, whatever? I decided to go to sleep. Turn down the lights, hit the pillow.

Maybe today will be better?

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The World and Wonder of Blue.

A beautiful spring day yesterday. Lots of sunshine. Late afternoon, sitting on a bench, looking at the lake, big, beautiful, very still. My friend and I spent lots of time contemplating the color blue. Shades of blue. How many shades of blue are possible? It seemed like an essential question. There was an amazing spectrum of blue. Infinitesimally light blue, to super dark midnight blue and everything in between. There was something profound about the blue. It opened us, soothed us. It seemed important to take it in, experience it, let it wash over and thru us. Blue. The world and wonder of blue.

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

The Mill of Now...

I hate to go back, to look back. I tend not to be wistful or nostalgic. I mean, I am so much about living in the moment, always onto the next thing; the next song, the next show, the next meal, whatever. I have the voice inside of me always: "There's no turning back."

Right.

At the same time I do love reading history. First-person narratives of other lives. So, really, I am often time-tripping, but usually in someone else's head. So in that way, I do often go back. I wade thru other eras, other times, other places. But still, even then, it's all just grist for the mill, the mill of now. What can I learn? How do these stories reflect and enlighten my life now?

What to do today?

Monday, April 08, 2019

Counter...

Counter to the trend...

Being hopeful.
Happy to work.
Tuning out the noise
Working thru the lies.
Open-minded.
Sense of wonder.
Not bitter.
Not cynical.
Trying to tone down the sarcasm.
Not afraid to say, "I don't know."
Not bored.
Happy to sit in silence.
Or sip coffee listening to Sting's very inoffensive, almost sweetly coma-like, "Nothing like the Sun."
"Soft Rock?!" OK. Whatever.

Sunday, April 07, 2019

What To Do?

The Human Being thing.

On your best days, you try to be the best Human Being that you can be. It's not easy. "It's not easy being green!" We are all nature's experiments. We are all a bit arbitrary and unfinished, and soon to be obsolete. You look around and realize most of the worst shit in the world is instigated and promulgated by your fellow Human Beings. Sometimes you just have to give them the benefit of the doubt, you know, maybe they just don't know any better? And of course, you are totally and thoroughly implicated in this assessment too. Still, there's no escaping. And maybe no excuses either. If you are a Human Being, you have to step up and admit that you are part of the problem. I suppose you can also try to be part of the solution, but, it's funny, the problems we create seem to loom so much larger over us all. The solutions usually seem pretty paltry, temporary and probably a bit misguided.

What to do?

You don't want to disown your species, (although, there are times it seems the only sensible course),  but you have major doubts that we can ever really get our shit together. People are so disappointing, and often appalling. You wonder where it's all headed, but, then again, it's probably out of your hands. So, on your best days, you just try to do your best to be the best Human Being you can be, knowing it's not enough. I mean, just probably not good enough. But it will have to do. You must try to live with a bit of intelligence, a bit of grace,  a bit of humility and hope for the best. And encourage other folks to do the same.

Saturday, April 06, 2019

Serene in the Midst of Sorrow...

Is there something to be said for just hanging in there?

You know, just enduring - "to remain firm under suffering or misfortune without yielding?" Quiet, graceful endurance. To remain firm, but maybe not too firm...

Lao Tzu tells us it's better to "be like water." Soft, yielding, gentle...

Nothing in the world
is as soft and yielding as water.
Yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible,
nothing can surpass it.

The soft overcomes the hard;
the gentle overcomes the rigid.
Everyone knows this is true,
but few can put it into practice.

Therefore the Master remains
serene in the midst of sorrow.
Evil cannot enter his heart.
Because he has given up helping,
he is people’s greatest help.

True words seem paradoxical.

(Tao Te Ching, chapter 78, translation by Stephen Mitchell)

Also from Stephen Mitchell - "We need to remain serene in the midst of sorrow. Then, evil will not be able to enter our heart. The things the world loves, and the things the world hates, are counter to the Tao. It doesn’t seem to make any sense, yet it is true; and, we know it is true."

Friday, April 05, 2019

Details and Truth!


This "screen-cap" from Twitter-land sort encapsulates the weird PR/Spin/Disinformation world we live in. There are those spinning public narratives, trying to influence our perceptions, trying to obscure the Truth, confusing us, and filling our heads up with mush. This is how you sell shit that no one wants, it's how you fool people, how you waste our fucking time with idiocies, and keep us confused about what's really happening all around us. It's also how authoritarian strongmen, governments, and corporations keep power, keep the people in the dark.

Often folks just throw up their hands, give up, on what is true or not true. They just believe whatever they want to believe. The world of perception is reality. Truth is whatever you want it to be. There are also those who know that lies, disinformation and spin are great tools to obscure, the deceive, and to keep power. They do not care about truth and lies unless it helps them maintain their power, their position, their advantage. They have learned you can "hack the press," they also have their organs of propaganda that pump out disinformation 24/7. Noise. Fucking noise.

It is better to keep our heads, to focus on the details, to get to the essential truth. I believe it is possible. I believe it is essential. Takes a bit of determination to cut thru the B.S. To call out the liars, the spinners, that bad actors, but it must be done. What happened? What actually, really happened? Not what people think, not what people say. What fucking happened? What did they do? What are the facts? Who did what to whom? Who, What, Where, When, How... and then, maybe, Why? You know, simple, verifiable questions.

It requires us to be aware, be awake, to always be questioning, always trying our best to verify...

Thursday, April 04, 2019

Paranoid & Psychotic!

“A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what's going on. A psychotic is a guy who's just found out what's going on.”William S. Burroughs

Right. 

So if I am feeling a bit paranoid and psychotic, it's just that I have my eyes and ears open wide. Not surprisingly, I am actually sort of relieved to find that that portly, sober-minded, logical-sounding Attorney General that got all that attention last week, by releasing his weaselly "exoneration" memo, the guy who I thought was baldly and badly lying to us, is almost certainly baldly and badly lying to us. I am relieved because even though I'm feeling a bit paranoid and psychotic, I'm not wrong. I am seeing clearly.

Funny. This AG must be playing for time. Hard to believe that the man could seriously believe that his blatant B.S. would stand up in the clear light of day. Why would the guy risk his reputation and supposed integrity for the lying, criminal abomination who occupies the White House? Seems the obstruction of justice train is still rolling on. I thought I was tracking with the story, and then it all seemed to derail, but now I see, it's still the same story, just another chapter we weren't expecting. Our current President is a deeply corrupt and compromised figure, there is a trail of crime & lies still to be reckoned with, the day of reckoning still awaits.

I do believe it will arrive and justice will be served. Hope it's sooner rather than later.


Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Is It Even Possible?

Maybe it's all in my head?

Is it possible that being a long-term meditator, a person dedicated to meditating, dedicated to stilling the raging inferno deep inside has made me more sensitive, more perceptive, more aware of the rushing river of my passing life?

Is it possible that my sense of smell is much more acute than ever before? I mean, I started to notice that I was noticing all the odors floating in the air around me. It seems my sense of smell has become four dimensional. I can see odors in technicolor. Is that even possible?

My "bullshit detector" seems much more acute too. I see and hear the lies. I get really uncomfortable almost instantly when someone is lying to me. It is sort of like listening to the radio with an undercurrent of static and white-noise undercutting the lying, weasel-words. Very weird. Makes me very selective of who I end up spending time with. I want to avoid the annoying noise.

I find that my life is now a long-form improvisation, a "process of weeding out." My life is getting more stream-lined. I am aware of being aware. Watching myself, as I watch myself, without being self-conscious; in the moment, aware of the moment, forgetting that I'm aware of moment. Pure experience.

I am much more sensitive to the food and drink I put into my body. I experience the inputs. My body reacts almost instantly to healthy, wholesome food. There is an ease and comfort that comes with a good meal. I find I can add huge helpings of garlic and cayenne pepper to soups and salads. These herbs light me up, open me, make my life more edible.  Alternatively, heavily-processed foods don't sit well. I get nervous, edgy. I react especially badly to sugar. Funny. Early in life I was addicted to drinking Coca-Cola. Now that seems impossible.

I am also more aware of, and sensitive to, my emotions , internal thoughts and energies. Worry and doubt are dark clouds, anger is a toxic, debilitating energy, opens wounds; joy is overwhelming, floods into me, for instance, picking up my acoustic guitar and playing an open chord, lights me up. I experience joy as a healing golden light.

I am super-sensitive to light. A low light, or candles, are better. I am also super-sensitive to the gloom. Dark clouds sit on my shoulders like a heavy overcoat. I don't just experience the weather, I become the weather. I am weather. Strange.

Can it be, that as the years pass, instead of getting hardened, and set in my ways, I am softening, getting more sensitive, more aware, more permeable? I have to work hard to keep my space with the world. Not an easy thing to do. I try to be aware of everything, fully awake, but I do my best not to let the world overwhelm. That's the trick. Meditation! I recommend it!

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Not Easy...

It's definitely easier to give advice. Less easy to listen to someone giving advice. Easier to see bias in another person, less easy to see it in yourself. Maybe that's why it's edifying to read stories, to watch films and observe other folks living their lives. You can put yourself in someone else's shoes, try on someone else's hopes and worries, float outside of your own narrow corner of the Universe, and try to imagine what it's like to be someone else. Maybe you can learn who you really are by imagining being someone else? Is that how we develop empathy? And compassion? For others? Maybe.

How we choose to live, who we choose to live with, what we tolerate, what we don't tolerate. What we imagine. Where we put our intention. Who we decide to love, who we shun. This is all just long-form improvisation. How do human relationships work? Why do some relationships flourish over time, over a life, and some don't?  Why do some relationships work, and some decidedly don't? Beats me.

We all have to live with people. Not an easy thing to do. We have to live with ourselves. Not an easy thing to do either.

Monday, April 01, 2019

The Virus of Bad Ideas...

There was that famous question: "Can't we all just get along?"

Of course, unfortunately, the answer is: "No, we can't!"

There are some really bad ideas floating around in the history of human consciousness. Pernicious, vicious, terrible, anti-human ideas. Think of them almost like debilitating, brain-destroying, viruses. Diseased ideas. Ideas that are repellant, ideas that healthy-minded folks can't just go along with.

Many of these diseased ideas revolve around domination and racism. Look at the long march of history - genocide, slavery, oppression. Often the bad ideas float to the top and captivate big swaths of humanity. Why is it that human beings are willing to sabotage themselves, and sabotage other human beings just like them?

You hope that the best ideas, the life-affirming ideas, will win and carry the day. But it seems to always be a battle. A battle of ideas propelled by fear, hate, love, compassion, etc. All the contradictory human emotions swirling around each other.

So, yes, we like the idea that we can all "get along," that's one of the nicer ideas floating out there, but there are some folks walking around with bad shit in their heads. They need a rethink, a reprogramming, a detoxification. Or maybe they should just be ignored, or shunted to the side?

Maybe we can try to reason, or persuade them of the better ideas? Or is that just a bit of wishful thinking? Some of these bad ideas never seem to die, they just lie in wait, ready to inhabit, the next host. Bad shit on the rise.

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