Wednesday, June 27, 2012
INITIAL HOMILY PREPARED FOR CONSECRATION TO THE ASSEMBLED FREE ILLUMINISTS FROM CONSECRATION ROCK, ARABIA MOUNTAIN, APRIL 29, 2012 April 29th, 2012 Arabia Mtn., Lithonia Ga Episcopal Consecration Homily By Father Palamas +In the Name of the Father, and of the Mother and of the Holy Spirit. Spring Flowers A couple of years later, I was beginning a Graduate program @ Naropa University, a Buddhist College in Boulder CO. It was an intensive summer program in Contemplative Education that included meditation 2-3 times a day, yoga, tai chi and various Dharma Arts. This particular day, I was taking the introductory Qi Gong class from an elderly Mandarin gentleman who was reportedly one of the first to bring Tai Chi and Qi Gong to the United States. He was a lovely man, gentle and joyous to be around. After holding animal postures as long as possible we took a break and I approached him with a singular question-“Why are my feet on fire!” He smiled and put his arm around me, while I rubbed on my feet that genuinely felt hot. He gestured to the man next to me and said, “This man here has been in training with me for the past 8 years and has not felt this yet and here you get it in the 1st lesson!” He put me in a headlock and ruffled my hair continuing, “Oh, but don’t you get the big head about it, everyone has this-you just got lucky and were receptive today!” “What is it?” I asked incredulously. “Qi, Chi, Ruach, Spirit…whatever you need to call it”.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
I have been enjoying Alan Watts, from his days as an Episcopal bishop, and look forward to watching the character of his writing expand over other books. The suggestion of which book to look for next came from Father Tau Palamas, a dear friend with an affinity for Western Esoterica his entire adult life, while living a laudably normal life with family and the public where he can touch their lives with his magic without forcing others to confront the remarkable mysteries he loves best. If the term Western Esoterica doesn't mean much to you, what I simply mean is the experience of discovering the secret life of the energy that flows all through each of us and all we know. He delivered a humble, funny, awe-filled homily during an ordination service held on Arabia Mountain (just like the title of the album by the Black Lips), and by his permission I will share it along with some personal thoughts. http://m.livejournal.com/read/user/tausirhasirim/135183 INITIAL HOMILY PREPARED FOR CONSECRATION TO THE ASSEMBLED FREE ILLUMINISTS FROM CONSECRATION ROCK, ARABIA MOUNTAIN, APRIL 29, 2012 April 29th, 2012 Arabia Mtn., Lithonia Ga Episcopal Consecration Homily By Father Palamas +In the Name of the Father, and of the Mother and of the Holy Spirit. I am so overwhelmed and full of joy at this gathering. It is truly an auspicious event. This year marks the eleventh year of my formal involvement in the Western Mystery Tradition, beginning on the night of 9-11-01, when I became an Entered Apprentice Freemason the very same day that the Twin Towers fell in New York City. It was a night full of mystery and it was the culmination of much “head work” on my part-study and research, that lead me to the Temple of Masonry. Eleven is certainly an important number in the world of Magick. I recall that night very well. We were sitting in the Fellowship Hall finishing dinner before ascending the steps to the preparation room and Lodge room proper, when the Worshipful Master stood up and brought us all to attention with the clinging of his fork with his glass of sweet tea, saying, “Many of you called me today to ask if we would still meet tonight after the horrible events in our country today. My response to you then and to all of you present is that we most certainly will and more especially because of today’s events. We will join in Freedom and Solidarity to welcome a new brother into the Temple of Liberty.” And now, here we are meeting in Free Communion-eleven years after, continuing the search for Light and the work of Service to Others. Often I am asked by friends what I’m currently working on, as I am usually involved in some study or practice that seems exotic to them. Once such friend, who is now an Episcopal Priest, Fr. Josh, would always ask questions that were leading towards, “…so what’s the point?” I call this approach, the “So What? Test.” There are many reasons and causes that have led me here today but I want to focus on one in particular that most fully expounds upon my answer to the “So What? Test”. One day, my friend Mike caught me doing something odd with my fingertips at Gardunos restaurant in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This was around 15 years ago on a camping trip across America after graduating from college. He was use to my craziness and simply said, “Whatcha doing with your fingers there?” And so, I showed him-when you take your thumb and index finger and get them extremely close together, yet not quite touching, you can sense an electrical charge or pulse, like in Reiki. You can imagine how this Civil Engineer out of Ga. Tech responded to this, yet I was in earnest and steadfast in my conviction that there was something to it. Several years later, after my Masonic endeavors began, I found myself blindfolded and on my knees at the home of Chic and Tabby Cicero! Have I piqued your imaginative curiosity yet? I was experiencing/receiving the Neophyte Grade of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. At the apogee, the zenith moment of that degree, where the officers are raising their vibratory rate to a fever pitch and the whole temple is about to burst into a spiritual orgasm of light, while the Hierophant brings down that light into the Aspirant’s sphere-I felt a surge that began as a hair standing tingle on the scalp and descended into a cascading current down my neck and spine that caused me to loose my balance a bit! Chic’s response to the description later on was a knowing smile. Spring Flowers A couple of years later, I was beginning a Graduate program @ Naropa University, a Buddhist College in Boulder CO. It was an intensive summer program in Contemplative Education that included meditation 2-3 times a day, yoga, tai chi and various Dharma Arts. This particular day, I was taking the introductory Qi Gong class from an elderly Mandarin gentleman who was reportedly one of the first to bring Tai Chi and Qi Gong to the United States. He was a lovely man, gentle and joyous to be around. After holding animal postures as long as possible we took a break and I approached him with a singular question-“Why are my feet on fire!” He smiled and put his arm around me, while I rubbed on my feet that genuinely felt hot. He gestured to the man next to me and said, “This man here has been in training with me for the past 8 years and has not felt this yet and here you get it in the 1st lesson!” He put me in a headlock and ruffled my hair continuing, “Oh, but don’t you get the big head about it, everyone has this-you just got lucky and were receptive today!” “What is it?” I asked incredulously. “Qi, Chi, Ruach, Spirit…whatever you need to call it”. A few years later, back at the Ciceros, I was asking Chic for some personal instructions with the Middle Pillar exercise as I wasn’t really getting that much out of it outside of frightening my ex-wife with weird vibratory sounds. He suggested that the problem lie in my failure to strongly visualize the descent of light. So, a few weeks after this instruction I tried it again with his suggestions on a lonely stretch of beach in Florida that bordered a preserve. It was a full moon and I was completely alone. The practice clicked!. As I drew the light back up my spine, towards the end of the practice, aligning my breathing with my visualization until the light reached my head-suddenly the light burst from my crown into a shower of electricity and chills covering my body like a poncho. It brought tears to my eyes…they were healing tears. I was in a failed marriage and the light began the break out of it. There are many other points in between where this has occurred as well, but these experiences have had their culmination more recently in a practice that my new wife and I have developed. Our love for each other is explosive and contagious. Once we got together my wife quickly identified two power spots on our property, one we call the vortex, where we place our hands-one up and one down over each others-within a circle, and charge each other up like the positive and negative poles of a battery. Then we bring that energy to a third party-a friend or someone in need who comes to visit us and let the energy flow to them. The results have ranged from absolute peace in one man who can be rather type A-he immediately went to the couch and silently slipped into a peaceful sleep-to streams of tears from a woman who has suffered through an abusive relationship. She fell to her knees and bathed in the light for quite a few moments. And so this brings me to the “So What? Test”. What is all of this about? Is it simply to feel the heebie jeebies running up and down my spine? Is it only for self knowledge? Are all of these initiations and ordinations and today’s consecrations about fortifying the fortress of the Self? The answer is self-evident. This light-this creative, healing and consecrating reservoir of energy is meant to be given freely to others. Like the Paschal Candle at Easter that lights all of the other candles of the parishioners attending-the source of this light is not in the least bit diminished by the spreading and sharing of itself. So today I fully receive this Light and Consecration in Free Communion so that I may turn around and freely give it to others. +++Gloria Patri, et Matri, et Spiritus et Sanctus, Amen First, what a wonderful opening, setting a beatific mood. Another reason to start my day with it. For another, the conclusion: I relate to that giving of light, and think, just as I seek to find a way to get my creations out, it's urgent for us to consider how we feed the well in ourselves from which we offer drink to all. While I wish things could be made well with my old friends, I found myself wishing my "idle" musings to contain, not only the stories I write, but the wonders that lie further on the pathway of magic. I feel so much is there for the asking. I consider that we are also being asked for much in return, though that burden is borne more truthfully when born lightly, and not with unnecessary suffering for suffering's sake. Even the sometimes befuddling obscurity of where to take successful next steps, I believe, is a service for those who need to believe in me in the sense that they need dreamers who will sacrifice all else to find their dreams (or even search!). I also think the path need not seem so perplexing...occasionally, with ritual meditation and focus inward, the next right action will occur to us. Now, ASKING in a given way just may be advisable...I just know I may not see a given pathway in the reflection of my will, but there IS always some next way forward, to develop things sometimes far outside any obvious consideration of financial survival----to conduct spiritual renumeration. I think the identification of those two nexus made a massive difference, and while there are places that give me rest, and sometimes power, I marvel that very definitive points may be identified and wonder how they might occur to us. We always feel great points of ambiance, I guess you could say, but a nexus or portal seems even more definitive. The universe comes to us from everywhere with whatever power we allow ourselves, but undeniable places of focus and consecration, in which to deliberately step free of mundane thoughts and worries, is a worthwhile magical objective. These points leaped out at me, and this is at least something, while the entirety of the homily has not yet been mined for reflections. One thing I like is that the homily will always have something to say any time it's read. It may very well become the ideal place, once I begin sincerely editing this again into a book, to end the first Be Chill, Cease Ill book, as the body of the next seems already beginning. (Imagine the epistles of the New Testament written as blog posts, just for a minute. :-D)
Sunday, June 17, 2012
Hey, old man!That's what I'd say if I were calling Daddy at his home today. "Hey, old man!" is something he might say, himself. If he was really deep into relaxing in front of a Braves game, maybe "hey!" would do the job. I really don't see any reason I shouldn't say Hey to him today, like I would any Father's Day. We're still putting the pieces together, because it's a different picture without you living and breathing...but let me sketch it out for you! (And oh how I HATE you, Blogger, for changing the post format to where the spaces between paragraphs are no longer preserved...rendering my writing one monolithic column, no matter how many times I hit "enter" between them.) I liked telling people I could sense you with me while I'd draw, in particular. Next thing I have in mind to draw is a brief comic inspired by my talks with Mama, now that she's trying to find a way to open her life to someone who can be for her, maybe, in a way like you were. I didn't get to it immediately when my friend Cooper gave me the inspiration---he brought up a famous autobiographical cartoonist named Harvey Pekar and suddenly, bells went off---so maybe what I write now can become the basis for it...and for sure, when I draw it, it will be for you. "It's got to be about innocence and love and wooing on the Internet," I thought, when I decided to draw it, instead of forgetting the conversation (which has stretched on quite a while, especially recently). "She's innocent, isn't she?" said Tracy, who I met Friday at the Yard. "Your mom and I need to TALK!" Innocent. That's the word, all right. But maybe it can be a little broader, and take some inspiration from this time on Father's Day. Maybe one Father's Day I'll be a father, too---looking at pictures of you Debra posted, you with us, you busy around the home helped build with your own hands, I've got to say it looks comforting, and not just challenging. Judging from your smile, I'd say it looks great! But yeah, what I've been meaning to draw is a little story ---and I hope it will kick off the other stuff I've desired to draw, as I've been so laser-focused on making music of late---about Mom, your best friend, and where she is along the path of life without you. If---and when---she finds someone to love again, sure, he can never be you, but I know, five years on, now, you would not want her to be alone. That must have been one of the hardest parts of knowing your time was coming: what would Mama do? She is well-cared for: you left her the best set-up possible. But sometimes you just need someone to talk to, to hold, to kiss, to feel around you. She really enjoyed listening to you. No, there's no replacing you, and who you've been, that's for sure. I listen to her, watch over her in a way, try to advise her thoughtfully. I remind her that she did, truly, fall in love once. I remind her, with these men and the kind of pretty words they send to her, the kind of thing I know you didn't really do, there's no sacrifice (besides their time, if they are not cutting-and-pasting like skunks). I reminded her the other day it was not always easy, but that you two learned to grow together. I remind her she didn't know You loved us SO much, and did all you could without, maybe, as thoughtful a role model for fatherhood as you might've liked. But you did your best to become what you thought a father should be, to do what you thought was right for a man with a family to do. You even had your own dreams, your own tasks you loved for their own sakes', the kind of things you hoped you would do again, especially opening a restaurant, talking to people, serving people...just taking care of your own kitchen, like you did at Brenda's Place. So much of the stuff you wouldn't necessary want me to be proud of? I thought was very, very cool. I did. Sorry, but when you were a bad boy, you were also my idol. Maybe in the intervening years I could not see you so well for all the every day things I found so boring in my restless days. I am glad you knew, know, always, know, how I love you, and appreciate you more all the time. I would sure miss you today, but I felt, in the days after you died, you became like part of my very nervous system. I feel that way right now, like I'm enjoying your company again in a dream, as I often do. You were already my Dad in this dream called life, and we actually spent a lot of time together, and spent it pretty constructively, and it was always kind of fun, doing guy things with you. I'm glad that, as soon as I began to appreciate what it was like to earn my own living and keep up my own life, I told you how I appreciated your sacrifices and gifts. I'm glad I made you proud. I have only begun to spread your name and mine, and I believe in that whole-heartedly. My wife, who I know you loved very much, like a daughter, just told me how she likes hearing me over here clacking away, how she loves it when I write, and asked what I'm writing about. "My father," I told her, and she came over and gave me her ginormous sunny smile and a hug and two kisses for that: "Happy Father's Day, for your dad, too." She's been such a perfect fit for making my dreams come true; her dreams, too, enrapture me, and I feel they mesh together in the strongest way possible. She doesn't worry about a thing that she doesn't have, which is really humbling and is the root of her continuous, reliable goodness, the mild sun like San Diego itself---even when there's a haze, it's never really cruel. We live in a place that is like her: beautiful, appealing, tempting you to live, making you laugh. What I really want to do is share with people that you cared deeply about spiritual matters and I think you were always curious about knowing the experience more deeply. I love the scholarship you began to invest again in your faith as you knew the end was coming; a remarkable soul like that one, like yours, deserves security in the knowledge of all that exists beyond this world. I would SO love to tell story after story about you now. So many of them are very funny to me, and I will probably do that as they come to me, because this isn't a downer thing for me, to memorialize your life. I could care less if they bore other people, even if the stories are, in character, much like the kind we all have. But you know I would tell it in the most unforgettable manner, with all the magic I can pray for, and it would keep passing you along, and so you would not be over, as every work of art must be. Well, Mom's on the phone. I didn't want to shut her out if she needs me. It's already amazing enough to be so far away and for us to be close, even though my dreams took me all the way to California, where your own whims took you and your rowdy buddies before you ever met Mom. Anyway, she called and we're still on the phone. She told me her vacation bible school had 171 students this week, even though her dog-sitting kept her home some nights. She keeps dogs usually four days a week now. No wonder there was dog hair on the shirts our dear Sabrina washed for us (and then put on sale with her own things: I have friends like that, and we're trying to live a dream like yours, our own businesses). She has a surprise for me! She's going to finally meet someone, instead of this Internet stuff. I mean, how are you going to take your personal computer fishing with you? (Okay, these days, you CAN, but that's not what I mean.) I've told her before you would be proud of the life she has made for herself, how well she keeps up her responsibilities, and how full of life she is, how lively and eager to share with people, even after you had to go. She's so happy with the memory of your surprise birthday party! You didn't know, so you suggested Mom go with Debra on her doctor's appointment. Suddenly, Aunt Linda showed up while you were cutting the grass; she was a life saver, because Mom didn't want you to know anything was up! She threw all these clothes that were lying around the living room into a closet! People started arriving, your old friends like the Tilleys and Brother Billy. "What are Y'all doing here?" you asked them. "Happy Birthday, Cecil!" they told you. It's the one time Mom was able to surprise you like that, but she had lots of surprises for you, didn't she? She's telling about the window she shot out on y'all's Ford Pinto with the b.b. gun while you were chasing off a dog, and the priceless look on your face when she told you what she did with her wonderful aim. You'd be glad to know, she's still laughing about the time you tried to wash the box fan on the porch with a garden hose...while it was plugged in. She wishes she could've seen your face. I'm glad you didn't electrocuted, too. I'm thinking about Briggs, the dog that lived at the service station y'all bought. She's telling about the old faithful lawn mover, the Murray we had out in Shannon. Thirty years later, it's still cutting grass! "I don't know how much longer it'll KEEP trucking," Mom says, " but it's trucking now!" She cut the grass herself; she is proud that it's a as good as any man could do, "maybe even better!" She trimmed the hedges, and she has a guy coming over to re-appraise the house this week, so she can pay another bill off and bringing it down from 30 years to 17 more years to pay it off. And hey, two things...the guy I told her was no good---the one who claimed he had been flown by a private Italian airline to do a construction job in Ghana and said he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her?---she's over him. It was hard for a minute there---such lovely things, and he claimed to be a Christian---and I always encourage her to keep her eyes on the future, and keep her heart buoyant. But when he asked her for money for a phone and a laptop for his work in Ghana? Hoo boy. I know she says she doesn't judge people, but discernment is another matter!! "You don't see me crying about it, do you?" she says. He ended up asking her for a $28,000 loan, a peculiar thing for a man with such a job and supposedly such cars and a home (anyone can take a picture of a thing they're not in)! Now she's telling a story about the fire department rescuing your old friend Billy's son from a hot popping grease accident that wiped out the stove and microwave. He apparently ran through the house with the pan on fire. There's a lesson in here about keeping your head. But before I forget? While she's offering me "silly Bella," her adopted dog that's laying in the bed with her right now? "If I didn't love you," she told Bella, "you sure wouldn't be sitting up here with ME!" The thunderstorm drove her pet guests all running for her protection Thursday. It's really hard writing this while we're on the phone. :-D She's telling me she would've liked to keep the '95 Chevy, but Deb's got it. I can't remember why she was talking about tires. She's trying to get her friend Janice to stop sitting around the house in a housecoat so she doesn't miss out on things like the car show her husband and son and daughter-in-law went to...she doesn't want to see her best friends invalid, practically. "You've gotta get up and keep going," she says, "like the bunny in the battery commercial. Or a Timex: take a licking and keep on ticking! Takes a lot to stop me," she says proudly. She tells me about the accident she had last year tripping on a baby's gate, which she thinks fractured her left collar "cause it sticks up now like the right one! But I'm a tough old bird," she says, laughing. Now she's telling me about your Dad's Army papers, and her Dad's...and what happened when you lied to join the Army. She wishes she had a flagpole for the one they gave her Dad. She's sorry someone cut up the flag she left out all night one time. I got so involved in telling you what she's saying...she's going to meet a guy by the name of Jim Pope, who ran for state congress some time ago. He wants to meet her on Wednesday. And it sounds like a date. For some reason, I remember how hard I was on you guys and myself years ago, when I couldn't see anything special in Mom's talents. You told me she likes to put together jigsaw puzzles. You were so mad at me that I denied that this was anything special. It was special to you. Who was I to say the woman you loved---much less my own mother---has no special ability? Over time, I've come to appreciate her a lot more, as I have stopped needing to insecurely think of my own self as special for what I am able to do. She's putting the pieces together, Dad, even though she can only feel what maybe it would look like, complete. She's like me: working with full fervent hope and optimism to put together a picture of what will be by feel, knowing what fits and what doesn't, even if it's no more possible to see just what it should look like in the end than it is to remember everything from a dream...especially one you haven't written down. But write something, and you then at least have the choice of keeping it, however busy you'll be later selecting the memories you want the most. I've been telling her, she needs to concentrate on having friends...have a friend. You never know where that may lead you. "I wasn't looking for a mate when I found Angela," I told her. "She was just someone who came in with my sister...someone I met face-to-face for the first time with her fiance, my friend." There's no replacement for that rump-slapping, playful man you were, I think, but there just may be a slap left in that old fanny after all, and from her love of laughter, I have to say she's a long ways from done with having a real friend. "We'll wait and see what happens. All the worry in the world wouldn't change things...it'd just make you feel bad...is what it'd do." She apologizes...it's two in the morning there, after all. "Y'all give each other a big hug for me," she says. "We'll even come up with a kiss," I reply, "that's not too gross." She likes telling me "give each other a big hug and kiss for me," after all. I think it's lovely. The only thing that's a little tiny bit sorrowful---and it could be an emotional pit, without the grace to fly above it---is that, if I tell her to do that with the dogs, it just isn't quite the same. Maybe if I would be a funnier guy, like I used to not stop doing hardly EVER, I'd tell her to do that, anyway. It's just a warm thing to say when it's time to finally say goodbye.
Saturday, June 16, 2012
It's not formatting with line breaks. Sorry. Maybe the photos will remedy that. Outside, a gaunt, white-haired man in his late fifties, glances up at a windmill in the daybreak as leans over a wooden fence for a bucket of goat’s milk left a moment before. He passes into a red barn, where he eyes a somewhat abused 1959 Triumph motorcycle standing in filtered sunlight, sitting on the tarp next to a tool box. “Looking good, Rosie,” he says to the vintage bike. He puts a handful of pesos into his battered blue jeans from the dresser of a small converted loft, adorned with a mirror and a silver crucifix. A made-up twin bed sits in the corner. An antique book sits on the pillow. On his way through the yard, an eight year old boy comes up to him. He seems to have Down’s syndrome. “Senor Quijano!” he says. “Vamos a pescar?” *”Soon, Emmanuel, “he replies. “I am glad you are using your words now! But you remember the promise I made you. If you will use the bathroom like a big boy, and keep using your words to talk to your mom and dad, I will take you fishing again with your brothers. “ “Bueno,” says Emmanuel, smiling lightly. “Trabajo con mis palabras hoy?” “After lunch,” Quijano replies, “like every Thursday.” * *En Espanol; es translado---Ed. He walks into the back entrance of the kitchen, where a cook puts on a huge stew pot to boil. “Buenos dias, Al,” he says. “Buen mattina, Isaac!” he replies genially, sitting the pail down on a counter. He reaches for a plate, which he fills thoughtfully with hash browns, chorizo and a corn cake made with sun-dried tomatoes. He slips two cups of black coffee onto the tray, then slips into a panel in the wall, revealing a dumbwaiter. He crouches inside it, tittering, then pulls a rope that releases a counter-weight, taking him up a floor, inside the wall. He steps out of the wall with the tray, just outside Dr. Simon’s office. Dr. Simon sits within, meditating with an empty mind when he senses someone approaching the door. He rises, crosses the room, and opens the door before there is a knock. “Buenos dias, Doctor,” says Al, smiling. “Ah! Well! Good morning, Senor Quijano! How are you?” “I had noted you arriving so early lately---or, at least, found you already hard at work, without note of your entry---breakfast begins by sunrise, and while everyting is hot and fresh…?” “How thoughtful of you,” replies Simon, taking the cake in his hand. Dr. ERIC SIMON: Senor Quijano---Alonso, you have been a faithful addition to our community efforts as well as some aid in the daily functions of the clinic… ALONSO: I am not the miracle worker, Dr. Simon! I merely empathize with those who need a little help breaking the clouds overhead…or at least, to provide an umbrella! There’s no wholeness without the sun. There is a sense of well being found there, encouragement to most all growing things, substantial at the tiniest level. They are difficult times. It seems, outside of the peace of this sanatorium, there compete many different realities of facts. Pardon me: I was trying to follow politics when this occurred to me. But wholeness requires a perspective on what is really happening. SIMON: Consider that what we know is really happening, in the present, is actually what has just happened in the instant before. ALONSO: Always, you share your clever thoughts with me, Dr. Simon! Then all is memory, and in memory, then, is wholeness. They walk together down a flight of stairs. SIMON: The work of wholeness we promote here in these cases involves the resolution of what body of our time we will choose to activate as our memories---which, born of the past, are always known as the present, wherein anything is known. ALONSO: So our choice of memories, then, makes us who we are? It does follow! When memory is weakened, the resultant state becomes dementia. The wall of self we build requires the mortar of our memory to stand in time. SIMON: And the existence of memory requires the quality of time for it to be known. They arrive in a recreation room, where three or four people sit scattered about while a video presentation of Chicano murals plays on the television, itself a model several years out of date, but still serviceable. A sandy-haired man sits in the corner playing a piano piece in A minor with a serious look on his face. ALONSO: We know memory, which is no thing at all, by its qualities, one of which is time. Whether it is hallucinatory or not, Memory is the prime determinant of consciousness. And its other quality? Our selective process, through which we sort out what is not important to remember; for to remember all too much seems a burden found only on the backs of patients of such a place as this asylum. SIMON: Yes, the totality of one’s memory at one time without discrimination would make for a cognitive helplessness. We find together the keys to banishing the sensation of such excessive dissonance, and so some of our patience find barriers between themselves and wholeness dissolving, and life, more appreciated and enriching. ALONSO: Every difficulty is for our advantage, and in our questions lie answers to infinitely more glorious triumphs than life before, in some Golden Age armada or in some melancholy wandering, knowing the pits of rotten peaches. SIMON: The trained memory, then, makes, from the quintessence of impressions, one, assembling all important facts that pertain to one’s True Will, which ably discards the rest. A Mexican doctor in her mid-50’s walks up with an armload of charts, peering from her glasses at these two. ALONSO, somewhat uncomfortably, bows slightly towards her and says, “I beg your pardon, Dr. Leones, we were discussing no thing.” DR. PATRICIA LEONES: I hope your True Will, doctor, will involve your further, more …invested participation in the volunteer hours for the clinic. DR. SIMON: Good morning. I …would that I only had more time to give. I note your own dedication to the program. I am pleased you value my involvement, as you have noted often of late that you do not find my documentation satisfactory in recent cases. DR. PATRICIA LEONES: I have a board to which I answer that does not want a reputation for witch doctoring, when funding depends on the absolute legitimacy of our clinic. (Quijano demurely excuses himself to attend patients.) DR. PATRICIA LEONES : I am concerned about recidivism in the long term, but only whatever follow up we can manage will inoculate me with your undeniable optimism—an odd quality, considering your, to put it bluntly, brooding demeanor. If you are implying I find your apparent short-term successes encouraging, you know that I do. I am making these volunteer appointments out of my own personal time I could be giving to my family. But our social work sector is already in over their heads. DR. SIMON: I have one such out-patient consultation scheduled at the day’s end. DR. PATRICIA LEONES: Yes. Vesta Gemini, amnesiac, survivor of a brutal kidnapping and mass execution. Still without fundamental knowledge of herself before the incident. Someone you deem fit for society. DR. SIMON: In this case, she has to make her own decisions. The quality of her decision making is on par with societal norms---if not somewhat more enlightened. At any rate, I do have an exercise prepared to aid her in crossing the threshold, as she has succeeded in finding employment, her own dwelling place, and some crucial peace of mind. DR. PATRICIA LEONES: She is telling us ahead of time she wishes to diminish, if not discontinue, therapy, save for some continued occasional appointments for evaluation of her recovery. Is she afraid of what she will find? Is she participating in this suppression? DR. SIMON; What do I know about that? These things, an individual must find for one’s self in time, uncovering honesty, in what we have been, in what we are to be. That is a natural party to sanity. DR. PATRICIA LEONES: There is one thing, Dr. Simon. (she takes off her glasses) I do not discriminate in segregating cases by gender, and I have observed some…affinity between some specialists and effective treatment. I trust you will maintain your utmost professional manner with Ms. Gemini. DR. SIMON: I feel…obliged, then, by your trust. And wish you well on your rounds this fine sunrise.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
I keep promising to edit these writings into book form; it's hard to stop writing new work (here and elsewhere) and practicing songs long enough to get anywhere with that. My own short-coming. I intend to share a good bit more in this space, but I wanted to take a minute to thank T.J. Jones, my old friend, to whom this blog and that book is dedicated. I began writing this to entertain him, after nearly two decades inadvertantly spent out of touch. I have to consider the confidentiality of some of the material entrusted to me but have no problem sharing its actual effects in my life. What a thrill it is, when something from my inner life is picked up in the eyes of another, to take into their own mind and experiences---to be part of the life that person’s choosing to live. I am in awe to realize that I’ll never know how different each of you are, with lives full of experiences your own, and I am touched to go with you in some way, even if I never know: I feel it. I should reach out and feel it far more often: that’s what a true spiritual experience is like. It’s about the feeling you have when you realize your connection to how ever many others have been part of your life, something as real, fundamentally, as anything that can happen on this globe. Never sell it short, the part you have played; live your life right, and live truly, so others at least don’t forget you to remove the pain of knowing you. Live your life right---and you’ll know, by how it really, deeply feels---and in your wake may lie gratitude and empathy with people who you don’t see or hear from in your everyday life, who are touched in the moment by you, by the existence of your real life, the one dressed in these decisions and events.
Friday, June 8, 2012
Because many of you (back in GA) are shocked and saddened by the horrible murder/robbery of that dear pizza delivery lady, I'm going to tell my story, which began with me walking up to a darkened stoop and losing a pizza when three guys hopped out to beat and rob me. The darkened stoop should've been my hint. I was just raising money for my CA trip and needed a part time job, and now, my brain said, "you're being robbed." I twisted, I threw blocks with my arms, I spun my shirt out of their grip and bloodied my knuckle on the street. But I knew not to let them on top of me. I fought all three of them off until I thought to yell that I was being robbed. When a neighborhood light came on, they changed their minds. It lasted about eleven seconds. I didn't kick their asses (I despise hitting people), but I had my money, myself in one piece, and a king-sized mad-on. I then did something you shouldn't. I hopped into the car and chased one of them down the street until he jumped a ditch in someone's from yard. I know it sounds unbelievable but that's exactly what happened, in North Rome in 2005. Johann Balasuriya's training for Angela and I paid off; I kept whipping myself out of their inept hands and blocking them. They didn't get anything. The one I chased may have peed himself, though. I hope it changed his life, but who knows. None of this changes the sad circumstances for that poor little girl, no. I only share this because I want people to know not every robbery turns out like the criminals want.
Thursday, June 7, 2012
REMEMBRANCE by Ray Bradbury And this is where we went, I thought, Now here, now there, upon the grass Some forty years ago. I had returned and walked along the streets And saw the house where I was born And grown and had my endless days. The days being short now, simply I had come To gaze and look and stare upon The thought of that once endless maze of afternoons. But most of all I wished to find the places where I ran As dogs do run before or after boys, The paths put down by Indians or brothers wise and swift Pretending at a tribe. I came to the ravine. I half slid down the path A man with graying hair but seeming supple thoughts And saw the place was empty. Fools! I thought. O, boys of this new year, Why don’t you know the Abyss waits you here? Ravines are special fine and lovely green And secretive and wandering with apes and thugs And bandit bees that steal from flowers to give to trees. Caves echo here and creeks for wading after loot: A water-strider, crayfish, precious stone Or long-lost rubber boot -- It is a natural treasure-house, so why the silent place? What’s happened to our boys that they no longer race And stand them still to contemplate Christ’s handiwork: His clear blood bled in syrups from the lovely wounded trees? Why only bees and blackbird winds and bending grass? No matter. Walk. Walk, look, and sweet recall. I came upon an oak where once when I was twelve I had climbed up and screamed for Skip to get me down. It was a thousand miles to earth. I shut my eyes and yelled. My brother, richly compelled to mirth, gave shouts of laughter And scaled up to rescue me. "What were you doing there?" he said. I did not tell. Rather drop me dead. But I was there to place a note within a squirrel nest On which I’d written some old secret thing now long forgot. Now in the green ravine of middle years I stood Beneath that tree. Why, why, I thought, my God, It’s not so high. Why did I shriek? It can’t be more than fifteen feet above. I’ll climb it handily. And did. And squatted like an aging ape alone and thanking God That no one saw this ancient man at antics Clutched grotesquely to the bole. But then, ah God, what awe. The squirrel’s hole and long-lost nest were there. I lay upon the limb a long while, thinking. I drank in all the leaves and clouds and weathers Going by as mindless As the days. What, what, what if? I thought. But no. Some forty years beyond! The note I’d put? It’s surely stolen off by now. A boy or screech-owl’s pilfered, read, and tattered it. It’s scattered to the lake like pollen, chestnut leaf Or smoke of dandelion that breaks along the wind of time... No. No. I put my hand into the nest. I dug my fingers deep. Nothing. And still more nothing. Yet digging further I brought forth: The note. Like mothwings neatly powdered on themselves, and folded close It had survived. No rains had touched, no sunlight bleached Its stuff. It lay upon my palm. I knew its look: Ruled paper from an old Sioux Indian Head scribble writing book. What, what, oh, what had I put there in words So many years ago? I opened it. For now I had to know. I opened it, and wept. I clung then to the tree And let the tears flow out and down my chin. Dear boy, strange child, who must have known the years And reckoned time and smelled sweet death from flowers In the far churchyard. It was a message to the future, to myself. Knowing one day I must arrive, come, seek, return. From the young one to the old. From the me that was small And fresh to the me that was large and no longer new. What did it say that made me weep? I remember you. I remember you. Thanks to Professor Challenger for passing this along from another friend. What a great initiation to my long-unrealized dream of memorizing poems! (I have another from Pablo Neruda which I've begun as well---a bit short but terrific in its atmosphere and natural setting, "The Stolen Branch.")
Monday, June 4, 2012
“There’s a Source. From there you have you, me, and all we know and countless details more. Creative energies bring all forms. Kindness allows all to shine. Love allows all forms. Beauty answers our awe and stirs our most challenging questions. These things expand. They exist in abundance. We receive this, and contemplate all that comes to us with these faces. Whatever guises some say also exist, it seems unnecessary---but there it is. Without these faces not that nor the rest of it exists. Creation has been making faces at us, all this time. This is a story of some of the faces Creation has made.” Something like that should be my first words of the next prolonged and first complete novel I wish to write, in a blistering pace over a few weeks, preferably. I want to humorously follow the flow from All Potential to the forms and friends I know, and all that stands between me and that is an ethical consideration I need to here mull over, for I wonder if I must not write what I dread writing the most in order to turn loose and clear-mindedly work all the many hours and days on energetically giving form to so many very cool ideas I want to try, if I can just effectively generate, and not leak, energy. I can be willing to write some of this just for my own personal life dealings: describe the nature of friendships. The Stux are a bunch of weird, contrary friends making their place with M’magination. The personal things I have to say that I don’t want to hurt anyone are the consideration, but how about I just say them here? The saddest thing to tell of late was the loss in my life of three people who had been my best friends and were or were like family to me, over the last six months. There are much sadder things in this world, and I don’t know why we’re not all working together in our part to alleviate some of those, when our own precious miseries really just revolve around a way of thinking. We disagreed, and not one bit of my energy can be brought to bear to make it a’right, save in the peace I wish each time they cross my mind. I decided I could do without how they each treated me these days, and would use anything negative of what they thought of me to cultivate a better person in me, to believe better in myself no matter what these people dear to me said, and to be better while incorporating and healing those feelings that need not fester doubt, but rather call my own actions to answer. I want to write about celebrating the good of them in my life, without dwelling on the history of how I have judged them, and however I may have misjudged them each, I believe in my intentions with them and chose freedom from cycles of behavior I thought took me apart in my efforts to put together my own life with conscience and competence. I realize they all are doing their best, too, so for now best for me not to expect more from them, and keep nurturing and challenging myself in this life I honestly find really full of joys. I envision setting up my happy memories of them, how they seemed like people I could really talk with and used to go so many places with. Then, provide something of what went wrong? Do I really want to dwell on that again, and how would I not feel like crap writing about it? Maybe I should relish the distance I have from those words; how can my own discussion of these things not be self-serving? But to serve myself with understanding, and what I’ve chosen in life to do nothing about, I wish them the best and wish I could make it all better for them. I really hope it IS getting better for them. And I wish I could be part of things getting better for them, and enjoy that with them. Maybe some day. I have a deep affection for my creative ideas, too, and cannot abandon them to stare off too long across the seeming abyss between me and those people. I was not finding in them the friendship I need for this time in my life, and it seemed true what they took from me was not the ongoing friendship they need, too. I really thought a lot about why they took me that way and had to remember carefully what I should truly see in myself. I gave them the apparent last of my best thought out answers, each of them. I decided at the very least I should take a year off from each of them, and while I wouldn’t want to spend more time revisiting how much they pissed me off, physically, just took that anger and subliminated it in the realization we should stop talking for now, informing them why in only so many words as it took, then deciding I believed better about myself and saw the reasoning in my intentions. I rather imagine they did the same. Now, only time will tell the value of whatever’s been said. Maybe this is the start I needed. I’m so highly uncomfortable with airing their dirty laundry in any direct connection with who they were, and the good news about fiction is that you can blur certain lines and keep the essential truth. It is not imaginative writing in the sense of things being allowed to take any form they want, but would it be destructive to write closely about the benefits and circumstances that fit into their lives? I do not want to write anything for revenge, or maybe I don’t want to publish it for revenge, but write to help people relate. Even with changed names, I find my commitment to telling about life at odds with my desire to keep their privacy, and I remember them in considerable personal detail such as they shared, so . If I didn’t write about it at all it might feel like some kind of skeleton in my closet! I just know that, a week ago, I was feeling, and my wife with me, like having this happen with a third person I’d considered a best friend, mutually, at some points in my life was driving me crazy. But I decided not to be crazy that way. It’s not fair to my wife, for one, who never had a lot of the benefits of those relationships, just has me, and from her perspective, each of those friends had been more entrenched in their own troubles than active in being my friend in recent years. So, the break seemed unnecessary, but there it is. Now, while I don’t have the quiet but, I thought, ongoing friendships of those people (or maybe more than I know), I questioned if I might find the necessity in these situations, what deep-seated psychological issues of my own I might resolve with the dissolution of certain attitudes about myself that I found so limiting for my friends’ considerable chagrin. That was the difficult thing: I knew each of these people, by evidence of their relationship with me as they practiced it now, had their own troubles, and here now I could do nothing about those for them. If I could just go through those troubles with them some more, maybe I would see them overcome those, as I believe they each in part want to do. Part of me is certainly with them. I know they can do it, each of them. My description of each of them would reminisce over what I found cool about them as people. For all the hours I spent thinking about their problems, their problems with me and my possible problems with myself, I just want to make a few truth-filled pages and still feel like the door’s open to leaving them out—but I want to write about something with heart, and if I start with things on my heart, honest problems I’m trying to quantify in the world alongside the sometimes-less-than flattering silliness in people and the immediately pleasing silliness of the Stux interpretation of being human and things human. My lasting belief in them would be the detail that marks the completion of each brief portrait. Then, I want to nestle this in a hilarious book, about “my lasting belief” in the Stuckwayze. It’s really about a particular (or not too particular?) brand of comedic philosophy, the funny side of our wrong answers and creative deviation. I just wonder if it’s not that little bit of seriousness occasionally necessary to keep the humor from being so light-weight as to fly away from meaning. It grounds these words of life in something about which I wish not to simply forget, but about which I need to lighten my heart the way “being Stuck” lightens our own hearts around here. It is all these many laughs that help keep us together so well. Flying away from meaning towards the simpler things in life as we set the language on its head is the joy of Stuckwayze humor. But without our own stuck ways, would we need a laugh? Inserting these relationships blown apart by problems might be deeply enriching to someone else’s life. Then again, there they would be alongside how I really feel. It’s sad to know the asshole side of them when there’s so much more they are to other people. Using my voice to try to hurt them would be an asshole thing for me to do, too. But what if what I learned from our problems together is what other people need to read from me, for benevolent reasons? I thought deeply about what justifies my life, what drove my very certain decisions and then, through sometimes melancholy reflection, why those had been necessary, and what I needed to see in myself from the experience. What words I can provide will be the most trustworthy ones I can write. I gained them from being trustworthy. See, I really wanted to deal with them in some way that gave the impression of how it was without getting caught up by the illusion of what was and the pain we had to overcome, a price that comes with loving people sometimes, and even being loved. No one ever said everybody’s going to do it the way you would’ve wanted, after all. I am trying to find my own next necessary important steps. I never meant to hurt any of them with my life. I just wanted to live mine, my way, and love them and support them in living their own, their way. If they appreciate it at all, if they spend time thinking about me at all, I hope they honestly evaluate what I was saying to them. Now, for myself, I need to act with the wisdom of my own advice, and make my private pain weightless, so my mind can be free to enjoy the many other imaginative concepts that only need hours and hours and hours of my undivided attention. There are so many things about which I cannot write a word without acknowledging that it is all right for me to come to grips with what has troubled me, for it’s like this: I can’t really forget about a story, can’t stop working on it, until it’s finished; otherwise, it’s bound to return someday. Maybe it’s meant to be this way with these things: if they become part of something that requires years of procrastination, perhaps I will have the essence of these problems cast into details formed without hurtful resemblance to people who’ve trusted me. How much of they see of themselves in this is actually quite fine with me because they’ll never need doubt how I saw things after that. But I may simply go with this idea: describe them personally as outlandish made-up creatures, imaginary friends, and from there attach the problems and my modest thoughts towards their resolution. I spent a lot of good and sad times as well with their companionship. It may seem in their retaliatory words they may hate my pride in myself, but I have to both maintain my love for the right things in my life and still be able to answer to my own conscience. It could be my conscience has had a thing or three to learn about how to function properly of late. I know that doing what I believed was right has made me uncomfortable and unhappy in a rather immediate manner, as only one who knows only the distractions of his own choosing may know, for it’s freed me to think about these things in as much depth as I could stand. By writing about them, I can lift them into the light. I’ve been living without being so troubled in between each of these friendship-ending quarrels, as I have again in the past week. I may have considered not making them happy a failure of mine, if not one made cooperatively, but in honesty I did not fail them, nor myself. The value of what I shared with them and what I had to decide of myself might be part of my most precious gifts to the world. I believe we all bring precious gifts to the world, and must actively observe what this world takes from us and what of value we need in the moment. So, I realized, while I’d avoided honoring my troubles with written words, I had given of them much futile energy, but also much care and consideration, so as to become adept at understanding my feelings and what I could of those of others as well. Perhaps these experiences I owned needed a place where they would not be the primary body, but rather, humanizing elements amidst comedic anarchy, just as they themselves were born of an inevitable dramatic anarchy that seemed so unnecessary, yet there it was. It can seem so self-righteous to know answers to others’ problems, or even to offer attitudes, thoughts and ideas that seem so useful in fulfilling life, so maybe a book full of imaginary characters doing everything whatever wrong way occurs to me is the proper, if ironic home, for such discussions. While they might ground, in passing, a breezy narrative, they expose real life stupid decisions in a way that may be useful to someone who hasn’t made them but might. I was going to say something about how writing joke after joke, as I used to make in times past with these friends, may be some kind of vehicle for carrying away burdens I’ll need to let go if I hope to concentrate on what’s to come. I hesitated to do the work because I did not want to have those sad, sometimes angry feelings anymore, and wanted to get up with projects I’d be much more happy to share with everyone, based on events that are a good more “made up” to say the least. Perhaps detailing them, to whatever point I’m inspired to detail them, could invoke bad feelings again, but they’re even unsafe without the interface provided by writing, which is why I recommend this activity for everyone, no exceptions. Perhaps detailing them without feeling bad, as I’ve done in discussing them with my wife, and avoiding elevating too many of the negative things said or the neglect to a primary and chronic irritant, has already been done, but what if writing about them was not the gateway to continuing on, as whatever wisdom they provided may be left ungathered? These things were urgent enough to put me off much of my creative output, after all. I have been writing a single story, presently near ten thousand words after about a month, and have been unable to write much on any other one. Granted, I’ve been giving my all to my relationship with my wife and the growth of our music to a viable professional standard, and if this has served the confidence in the success of those things, it’s time well spent. I’ve given to friends as well, but what I’ve longed to do is fashion whole bodies from among the works of my interest, for in this I find purpose in the world, a skillful and diligent version of the sort of more spontaneous words I find in me that belong to whoever I find needs them. In the case of a few friends, a creative effort to present them is an existing goal within the body of our friendship, inspired by them. I want the things I write, draw and play to come from me just as spontaneously as those deeds and words on the spot to friends---to put my mixed vocation into form and practice arriving at said form with the same kind of certainty as I feel in offering those words and deeds, and for the same reason: they seem to belong to you, and that’s why I make them, because they were words in recognition of you, inspired by our shared ability to understand. With this much written, I wonder if my effort to shut this out was denying a necessary inspiration that must be claimed before the rest of these things falls back into my hands, now boosted by the increased experience of my writing about difficult personal things well and reasonably. (It’s like, in a video game, you need the experience of clearing each board before you’re prepared to do well on the next. And it’s the same sorts of things over and over again, too, dressed in different forms, ideas, and strategies.) I try to go from the Source of all things to each of the various faces of everyone and appearance of everything that Source becomes in the first pages of this new book. That decision to feel how you are going to feel, with care towards the sort of thoughts those feelings dictate you illuminate in your inner world, is a primary point we all share with existence, from which we derive our individual lifelines. And then, there’s the Created People, the ones whose faces smile in vacant, teeth-clenched grins, with their deliberately different and funny observations of us and the world we made, alongside joke after joke that makes up their own versions of the various things in the world we made. In my life, they began with faces my sister and I made, which could be drawn as simply and slap-dashedly, haphazardly as possible, a particular kind of face I taught my wife to make, a face we make while we make some of our stupidly-clever kinds of jokes that sometimes give us belly laughs. Those faces were not Ugly, as we used to call them; she identified them correctly as Stuck. An entire "nation" of made-up people have these faces, and it's their way of thinking and doing that we creatively make up to make one another laugh, sometime in the presence of other people. They are said to be “smooth down there” so a lot of what we do as humanity really seems ridiculous or curious at best, so while we may agree there’s something “wrong with them” we have a drive towards the absurd that is apparent to them, too. It seems the Source wants to flow into a few of “them” too, though they only “appear” in our personal cutting-up and have thus far run too wild to document with something so tame as words on a page. But it seems like their story’s about ready to become well-documented. I am at peace now with how little control I have over their fictional adventure and how little plan I have for its plot (besides those who look for the UnStuck one rumored to live in the world---a secret revealed on a visit back to the place where they first set foot in the world, the Isle of Venju). Look how little control I had over the personal and more broadly in the world general difficulties: “they seemed unnecessary, but there they were.” Should I be overly troubled over where one laugh line after another then takes me? Will ever be funny to me how nobly I tried to say the most thoughtful and right things I could find in me to say, and how, while it’s boosted so many people in my daily path, those things stung three people with whom I had so many days made of them my first choice in company? Can the friend that Nature is, the friend that Creativity is, the friends that going outside in the world now announce each its own place in the present moment into which I must ever welcome my future? By next week, I may find the Stux were impossible to tell, that they must remain our hilarious in-joke, and the desire to give their Creator my troubles as detailed by me may disappear beneath the flood of other inspirations, for the flow’s given me a precipitation of possibilities which each provide something to drink of my time, each of which I’d like to see come to life. At this point, I simply want to be unleashed to spend all of my time doing all of them I can to my fullest creative potential, and for my friendships to blossom in the creativity and receptivity I can bring to them. A lot of the things I want to do with my time, involving friends---and all my active true friendships center around the creation of something, even if it’s just a bit of warm company—can fill out the book, too, so it need not be depressing at all, as the most potentially depressing things are not the center of its world. I think the Stuckwayze will have their own twists on most everything I do, so there should be no shortage of words dedicated to thinking funny may arrive ---which is good, because between the songs and the comics I’m drawing and the places I have to go, my writing’s going to have to keep coming out in an industrial-strength flow whenever I can make time to do it. The intention has been, okay, let’s see what I need to get rid of in order to unleash the Renaissance man I feel called to be. I don’t want others to compare myself to them, the little I’ve done, for the purpose of putting and keeping themselves down, but I’ve been shown sometimes I have no power over that, they’re already looking for ways to be troubled about that and other things, however much my intention to make things that make people feel good and feel deeply. It’s what my real friends want for me, anyway, because it’s silly to think I need anyone diminished in any way for me to reach my true value. In this, I have abandoned for a time so many ideas that still I think promise a greater, complete form, and so abandoning the idea of contacting these few people, who I could not get upon request to treat me and maybe themselves the way the way I needed becomes natural in this light. Once you make the problems you’ve had part of the world of ideas, they become ideas, and you become aware of what your own ideas are, and can decide which ones to express, explore, or avoid examining with lost perspective. You can poke yourself in the eye with those if you’re not careful!