Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
"The fundamental, simple, and great mystical realization is that by which you identify yourself with consciousness, rather than with the vehicle of consciousness. Your body is a vehicle of consciousness."
Koko just couldn't pass it up any longer, that tiki torch cocktail lounge with it's glorious lacquered bamboo façade, so when Grace needed a ride to the airport to visit her aunt, he volunteered to drive her, knowing the trip home would take him right past the place - past it's flapping torch flames, and red chop suey script sign. The round trip would take him much farther away than he could've known. He parked her car, the one she loved, the one her father bought her, in the side lot, and ambled into the place as the sun was setting.
"Gee," he told the waitress, whose features are long since forgotten, "I've never had a Mai Tai." "Then let's fix that," she said, smiling. She always smiled at the first easy Mai Tai, and easy it was, bright orange hanging garden of fun in an imperial pint glass. The second was still fun too. But the third spelled trouble, and forgetting her face was just the start of it. She knew that sideways loss of recognition all too well, working at The Tiki Lounge, there in downtown Glendale. But Koko really had never had a Mai Tai –at least not an official one, and he could've sworn that he didn't feel a thing after the first, or even after the second. He never felt all that much anyway, so the third seemed like a reasonable experiment. He hadn't quite finished it when leaving seemed like a good idea too. The King Kong Club interior looked too flammable to last.
It was an easy drive. Weren't they all? A quick hop home – and just to be on the safe side, there were unexplored back streets that pointed in the right direction, and promised a cop-free ride. After all, it was always smartest to err for caution's sake.
Now it was dark, and there was a stubborn cassette acting up in his wife's car's tape player; and a funny, winding little suburban street, right where they should all be straight, and a little too much foot on the... BLANGG!! ...and the film broke.
"Pingk... pingk.. .pingk..." went the wrecked car, steam hissing out of the stove-in front end. From where Koko was, near the top of the telephone pole next to the streetlight, you could see everything real easy. Steam poured out and roiled up through the light against the dark sky, hot water running all out on the blacktop. Some other liquid, dark and glittery on the ground. That stuff. Sticky.
The Celica's front end was really bashed in, but the pole wasn't even crooked! And what was that down there below? Koko wondered...what is that I see hanging half way out the busted window down there? The windshield was busted too, like a tempered glass spider-web target. The steering wheel was whacked into a loopy shape, his motionless arm draped through it. Lights in the neighborhood snapped on, and Koko could hear their approaching voices..."It looks bad... somebody call the..."
There, twenty feet below, very badly busted face just in out of the light, was him. Me, thought Koko. But he was up here, safe and sound, it seemed – though he couldn't see his hands or body. Perhaps because his body was down there, a bloody broken mess, wearing a red drenched punk t-shirt and black jeans.
Koko stayed for a minute, silently hovering up high, next to the streetlight. It had been long enough now, until he realized that that wasn't him anymore. He wasn't alone- no, there was somebody safe just behind him, just out of sight, and they spoke to him, just not so's anyone could hear. They told him it was time to go, and so he reluctantly moved along, shepherded into the warm grey cotton night. From then on, he forgot, with only washed-out flashes coming back years later. A piece of effervescence. An inventory of some kind...
Koko came to, briefly, in another ambulance, being taken to the hospital where the University had their plastic surgery residency. Then he slipped back to that other place, where he wasn't him anymore, and stayed there for "twenty hours" or so. The girl had long gone back to waitress again at The Tiki Lounge by the time he finally woke up, for better or worse. He had a little different face. He had a whole different life, beyond this one it seemed. Alongside, perhaps. It's funny, to die; to know how easy it is. Like walking into another room. It was a knowledge that would play a part in changing him many years later, when he finally realized that he couldn't just live this body's life anymore.
And as for Grace, well she cried of course, for Koko, and for her car. But from that point on, they never discussed it again. They would be apart for many years by the time he really came back to life.
"If an earthquake opens the prison walls, do you think an escaping prisoner will complain of the damage done to the stone and marble work?"
Saturday, November 14, 2009
The book: How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and Beyond is now available everywhere, but ask for it it at your local bookstore!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
It seemed a little odd, living the high life low, or the low life high in San Francisco. It always smelled so fresh and clean, even with the stinkiest stuff on your breath, or on your conscience.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
"...our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world...as in being able to remake ourselves."
We're a little like moss on a rock here on earth -a simple colony of life. In the same way that any collective life form experiences stress when the conditions for it's survival begin to change, our world is experiencing some stress. For all of us, as well as each of us, there's a need to adapt.
There's a flaw in our culture's perception of Darwinism. It's not about "Survival of the Fittest." It's about Survival of What Adapts in the Most Cooperative Way (see Dr. Bruce Lipton). What carries us through the tough times, with Love. It's an altogether different definition of fitness. It's a Spiritual Fitness.
The biggest, meanest guy may clobber everyone who disagrees with him, take all the food, and force himself on the prettiest women; but his karma (created by ego and fear) and the failure to evolve spiritually, will cause his destruction (sex specificity intended) -a genetic dead end. The richest guy may have the most secure, most isolated fortress, the largest vault of canned food, and the most guns and ammo; but his isolation and fearfulness will lead to spiritual atrophy, and the inward collapse of his world. Those attributes and characteristics that are associated with Power are dying out, as those associated with Ethics are on the rise. Life on earth is always adapting; the parts that don't, won't last.
Hard times stress the colony, challenging it, forcing it to change; and now we see the shape that change is taking. It's like breaking up bad pottery, and soaking it until it softens and becomes the clay that forms the basis of real life, in order to start over. People are coming together to re-configure their world on that basis -what's real and important in life; inspired by a sudden common awareness of what the management of Earth's abundance actually entails, and what the real consequences of continued unconscious exploitation will lead to.
A new cooperation is exploding into reality, based on the spiritual unification of humankind, facilitated by the internet, and manifested in an expanding sense of community. Expanding cooperatives, reuse and recycling, uncontested environmentalism, the election of Obama and the impetus for universal health care, local food production, the accelerating growth of animal rights awareness, vegetarianism, social support systems of all kinds, as well as the public momentum to institute these ethical concepts by means of regulation and legislation, is the shape of the change.
Extremists and fundamentalists, religious, financial, and militaristic, are dividing themselves off -defining their differences in preparation to be shed from the whole. They actually constitute just a small part of the world's total population. 2012 actually marks the end of their world. It will be a little messy, but it's happening. Do everything you can to help it along. If you open your heart, you'll intuitively know what that is. You'll know how to behave, how to shop, how to contribute, how to vote. You already do.
In a manner of speaking, "The Rapture" is actually taking place now amongst those who are awakening to this new consciousness, many of whom are experiencing hard times, and finding themselves and their neighbors falling through the same cracks in the system that allow spiritual evolution to enter. These are fractures in the false world of materialistic consumerism, and a dis-identification with a media that's destructive by design. The Christ Spirit that's returning isn't the bearded redhead in the paintings, it's the spirit of Ethics, Cooperation, Compassion, and Love.
Those who want it all, who think they have it all, who are trying to get as much as they can, and will do anything not to lose it; who want to keep things like they are, who suffer the delusion of their superiority and entitlement, who think they can will the truth to be what they want, are fast being Left Behind in a spiritual morass -a hell of their own. They won't remain here suffering while the blessed ascend to Heaven, they'll simply become redundant. Their hateful opinions will hold no sway. Their methods of fear-mongering will become ineffective. Your biggest job may be to help them catch up to the change with love and compassion.
Heaven will return on Earth as we stop poisoning it (because we must), restore natural balance, use free energy, distribute the earth's resources equitably, and evolve into our divine state of spiritual unification. The balance is returning as it must, and if you're part of that change, you needn't worry about the hard times. It matters what each and every one of us keeps in their heart, just be sure it's Love.
"Our present world is conditioned by our present mode of consciousness; only when that consciousness passes from its present dualistic mode...will the new creation appear, which is the external reality of which our world is a mirror."
Monday, October 19, 2009
"A change in the weather is sufficient to recreate the world and ourselves."
A loud crunch from outside woke me up - an alarm in the silent snow-world outside the trailer door. I opened my eyes, but couldn't quite tell what the heck I was looking at through the breath-cloud above me. It was... a blobby icicle directly overhead- a curious stalactite caused by the frozen condensation of my overnight breath. The little trailer had become a walk-in freezer because apparently, someone had left the door open about a foot wide. The same someone let the propane for the heater run out, and left the VW stuck up to it's front doors in the snowbank out front. The snow drifting in the door pointed like a white arrow to the perpetrator, who happened to be bundled up in my sleeping bag (in my clothes).
There I was, there we were, hung-over and snowed-in, in a trailer park just off the road that led from the Gallatin Canyon to Big Sky, Montana. Our answer to the call of the wild. When the older brothers left San Diego and headed to the silver-mine ski town of Park City, Utah, we younger brothers felt we had to push it a little farther. Park City in the seventies was too safe, too familiar, and we didn't feel like hanging around for the exploitation boom. Already the fur and turquoise crowd from Scottsdale were making their way via Santa Fe, seeping up into the Wasatch, wandering Main Street licking their chops. So my friend Jimmy and I shook our brothers' hands and set sail for Montana, where no kid from San Diego had ever gone before. At least none that we knew of.
It was a long, eventful trip. That's a hazardous web of highways that crisscrosses the West out there from Wyoming to eastern Oregon, and down to the Arizona border. Cowboy trucker's Bermuda Triangle. Salt flats. Black ice. Nevada. Endless long stretches of road. Trickster spirits dancing past the car in the dark night. You always felt lucky to get where you were going, so when we finally turned up the road to Big Sky, and beheld majestic Lone Peak topping the end of the valley like the Paramount logo, we knew we'd reached some level of teen-aged legend. No San Diego boys had ever seen this, we thought.
We got jobs at Huntley Lodge, a brand-new resort built by Chet Huntley, half of the iconic NBC News anchor team. We skied all day, and in the evenings waited tables at banquets, playing image-conscious conferees from Michigan or Minnesota one against the other for tips. I also set-up and bussed at The Yellow Mule, the least appetizing name for a restaurant ever. It was one of my jobs to build a fire in the huge dining room fireplace, and since I was always cold, and always a little angry back then, I built them big and hot. Hot enough to render a couple four-tops unsitable. The silver and glassware pinged and shimmered -too hot to touch. The golden light of the fire waved like a mirage around the tables in front of the hearth. Customers would start rubbing their thighs, and the back of their necks, and suddenly leap up clutching their napkins, back-pedaling away from the heat before they spontaneously combusted.
That'd git my boss about as ding-dang teed-off as a cowboy restaurant manager can git. And quite the cowboy he was, pointy-yoked shirts with pearly snap buttons, curly hats, and even scarves tied in such a way as to look a little too decorative for Montana. His name: GREG, was branded in the back of his tooled-leather belt. He walked bow-legged on purpose.
As it turned out, he was from San Diego, about two miles from where we'd grown up.
For some reason, a Montana State Trooper took us under his wing and set us up in the little trailer park down the road to Bozeman. The crunch that awoke me that morning was that Trooper, delivering the bloody haunch of a road-kill deer by shoving it into the snow bank out front. He left things there for us stuck in the snow, like Boo Radley and the hole in the tree. State Troopers can lead lonely lives. Later in the day after we'd warmed and sobered up, we butchered the venison in the trailer's little bath tub, being careful not to touch the fixtures because of the live electric current that ran through the plumbing. A lot of things out there were not nice, or easy. Like the girls. Like the incessant bitter cold. Like life. It wasn't Park City.
There were rough hill-people from Karst Ranch, who lived off venison. Laconic cowboys and ill-tempered truckers we drank with at a big log roadhouse bar called Buck's T-4, where we'd acquired our hangovers and lost our driving skills the night before. Rosy, the classic veteran waitress I worked with at The Mule, came in late with her husband, the largest man in Montana, who with predictable western irony was nicknamed Tiny. She was always laughing. He always seemed pissed. A local asked us where we were from, and when we told him San Diego, he spit in a cup and said, "Well, I won't hold it aginst ya..." And he didn't. They appreciated that we weren't (quite) hippies, that we worked hard -and that we held our liquor well. That was important up in that part of The Rockies. To us too. We knew when we went there that the legal drinking age in Montana was just nineteen, and I was almost the drinking age. So we got by without incident.
But man, it was pee-freezin' cold that morning out in front of that trailer, looking up at the Spanish Peaks like a row of dog's teeth reflecting the rising sun against that blue, big sky.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
"You can't put your foot in the same river twice..." Heraclitus
While I'm here, let me say this about that. Life doesn't seem fair in many respects. Why do some people become movie stars while others are beset by tragedy and struggle? Why are people born with disabilities, or contract terrible illnesses? Why do young children die of incurable diseases?
Because each soul is receiving the precise instruction necessary for their personal evolution. Fundamentally, every life is tragic at the level of mortality. That's one of the reasons why we're here, to break through this form into the Eternal. The tragedies or disabilities are more or less tragic or disabling dependent on the energy they're fed. Some of the most grievous disadvantages are invisible from the outside. Some movie stars are beset by terrible tragedies and struggles. Some laborers are the most serene and contented people on the planet. Some fashion models are suicidal. Some paraplegics shine happiness like the sun.
Have you ever noticed that small children succumbing to terminal illnesses often have the quality of a loving and benevolent teacher, perfect in their wisdom, as serene and knowing in their surrender to The Eternal as the wisest ascended master? They are just what they appear to be. By that point, they can only be exactly what they are. They're only here briefly because they have that one little thing left to do. Maybe just to release fear one last time. It's like they've come back to make sure they turned off the coffee.
Be sad, experience feeling sad, let it's energy move through you until it passes and you come back. Then stop energizing it and energize joy. When the sun sets here, it's always rising somewhere else. It's always there, we are turning to face it.
"If you open yourself to the Tao, you are at one with the Tao and you can embody it completely. If you open yourself to insight, you are at one with insight and you can use it completely. If you open yourself to loss, you are at one with loss and you can accept it completely."
The Tao Te Ching, 23
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
In the years as I was entering High School, my brother dated a beautiful young woman named Jane. She was fresh-faced and true, and very, very intelligent. They went to college together. She supported him pecadillos and all, bearing witness to the craziness of our home with great grace and compassion, and for a while there I had a chance to know a balanced and loving person who lived in their own skin. It may not sound like much, but at the time it seemed a rare thing to me. Through her I learned a lesson about who we are at our beginnings, and who we can be.
She came from a close-knit family, talented and a bit eccentric perhaps like our own, but right side up. They were supportive of one another's eccentricities with obvious and enviable love (which is Source energy), while our own family lived an illusion of wellness.
In the wake of my first break-up, Jane and my brother often encouraged me to date her younger sister, but to me she seemed much too young. At seventeen, drugs and alcohol were all around me, all the time. There'd been trauma at home, and within my peripheral family. Aside from that invisible resumé, I'd been working in the world of adults from an early age and I just felt old already. In my finite teenage wisdom, I didn't see how an innocent 15-year-old girl could possibly have the necessary experience to match my worldly self-centeredness.
I finally succumbed and picked up Jane's little sister for a date to Balboa Park in San Diego (seen as "Xanadu" in the opening of Citizen Kane). [Since] I've learned that the thing that often offends you most about someone else is caused by the subconscious awareness of that same characteristic in yourself (thank you, Dr. Jung), it follows that I diagnosed Annette as suffering from a case of unconscious vanity. She kept noticing herself in the reflection of store windows, which I couldn't help but notice when I was noticing myself. She made me conscious of me.
After touring the museum, we were sitting on a big park bench making very small talk when Annette suddenly pulled her feet under herself, and stood straight up next to me. She threw her arms up over her head, rolling her wrists out to push her palms up, and agitating like some faerie Maytag, she loudly pronounced, "SOMEDAY I'M GOING TO BE A GREAT AND FAMOUS ACTRESS, AND EVERYONE WILL KNOW MY NAME!"
I was casually chagrined. I tapped her calf and suggested that she get down as people were looking. And people were looking. They were smiling. Her future fans were already noticing her. Annette was molding the plastic life ahead of her in an altogether good-natured way, and I hadn't a clue what I was witnessing.
She starred in the high school drama club. She went on to ACT in San Francisco. She broke out in Stephen Frear's The Grifters and went on to become a great and famous Academy Award nominated actress. Amongst other things to her credit in a very accomplished career, she married Warren Beatty and had a family of her own. They're probably a little eccentric, and lovingly supportive of it.
I liked to joke that she settled for second best, but I was painting "funny" over my feelings- flummoxed and intimidated by someone so young who could create their Karma with such focused intention, when for so many years I just kept feeling, well clueless. It makes me smile now -the beautiful accuracy of that park bench prophecy.
Some people are born with symphonies in place, ready to come out by five. Others enter into young adulthood blossoming into their Karma. Annette just knew. Some people (ahem...) don't know what their purpose is until they've had to survive every other possibility, and like Sherlock Holmes, whatever else remains must be the truth.
Her older sister Jane went on to Johns Hopkins and became a Cardiologist, I think. I think she knew too.
"You have your paintbox and colors.
Paint paradise, and in you go."
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Everyone has unseen influences that make up who they are. Influences from inner and outer worlds, from other dimensions of being. In Faith and Mr. Floppy, the kids all have "esoteric energies" that contribute to their personae -in the "real" world, and in magical dimensions. Here's Gideon, Faith's sort-of boyfriend, and Topher, her step-brother, and their respective esoteric selves...