Friday, February 25, 2011

Tales of the Koko Lion, Part 21: Two Feathers, Second Feather

............................................................................read about the first feather



Koko stood on the deck, looking across upriver to New York, to the promontory at the bend, but he didn't know why. He didn't...but then he did.

It had been a couple years. A couple difficult, challenging years in every way, except in the ways it mattered most. His work had gone disappointingly, one remarkable opportunity after another had taken a sudden turn south, until it seemed that you just couldn't even make the stuff up anymore. His big breaks had all broken. How could he be put in such unique and impossible rooms, only to have their possibilities evaporate? He worked his tail off, and yet nothing had taken flight, except his capacity for Love, which drew in the sky. His heart was full and open. She was always there. Food was always on the table. They lived a frugal life of sheer abundance, which didn't seem possible to them either. But it all worked out, somehow.

He knew the lessons he'd learned from the river, just sitting and listening to the wind, the songbirds, the bullfrogs, the sundance writing on the passing water, and the eagles' calls from the top of the white pines; it all taught him how to live a different way. An impossible way.

Now, he was being tapped on the shoulder again, by the unseen. It was telling him, the same way it had before, that the eagles had another feather for him. Another feather? Another feather. A different one, for a different reason. Look over there, they whispered in his ear, where you're looking now.

His neighbor had offered the loan of his kayak, whenever, so he took him up on it and set out upriver, rowing against the lighter current close to the bank, and then cutting across to the shallows on the other side. The sheet of water over the smooth river rock field got so thin his butt dragged and hung up on the bottom; so he hopped out, and ported the kayak up to a channel near the far side. New York.

Almost as soon as he arrived at the point, he knew he wasn't going to find anything, even though This is where you have to look for it, was what he kept hearing, with that same insistence as before. He floundered around in the lush, leafy undergrowth on the bank, looking up into the virdant cave trails that the animals had made, but he wasn't going to find anything but deer ticks in his hair, if he was willing to look for those. Or if Suzy would.

Why do they tell me something that's right, but not right? he thought.

About a week later, he repeated the futile exercise again, and then again, until his neighbor asked him what he was doing with his kayak, and all he could think of to say was, "Oh, nothing, really...just going for a paddle..." And now it was loud again in his ear, making him a little crazy, making him walk back out on the deck, peering purposelessly across the river to see what was much too far to ever see. This is crazy, he thought.


Right at that moment, a big female eagle hopped out of her New York tree on the point, and wheeled down south over the river, heading his way. She flapped her huge wings a couple times, gaining altitude and just as she did, a single white tail-feather fell from her fanned tail, fluttered lightly down, and set atop the current in the middle of the river. His heart stopped. There! They silently hollered in his ear.

"Hey!" Koko hollered back.

"What?" replied Suzy, who was planting flowers in the Vole's Garden. "Did you want me?"

He ran in, changed into a swimsuit, and ran down the rock steps, yelling crazily, "Watch that white spot on the river and tell me when I'm close to it!" and he dove straight in.

"Keep going out!" She yelled. "Keep going!" He could see it, when he craned his neck up above the little waves in the river. It was coming right to him, bobbing along, and when it arrived, he was right there for it. He put the quill shaft between his teeth, and swam in through the suddenly cold water, to his big sitting-rock. He held it up in front of his face, fourteen inches of a perfect, snowy white feather, just deposited magically before his eyes by the great female eagle whose awkward, oversized "chicks" would spend the summer learning how to fly out over that same piece of river.


Koko amazed, How and why, in the entire world, could a man be standing where I was standing, looking where I was looking, and see that, if it isn't for me?


The white feather is for having survived the years that so many never survive to see. The years until your head and tail strike pure white. Now, you know just how big this vision of life is. You've learned the lesson of Action and Repose. You can wait for it, and watch for it, but then you must dive in and swim to reach it. Have faith in the unfailing wind, in the abundance of the river, in the heavens in your heart. Now you know how to grow. Now you know how to fly.


Later, at the little town's street festival, Koko told the abbreviated tale to a woman at an Eagle Conservation booth.

"It's against the law for anyone but an Indian to have an eagle feather!" She snapped with authority. Koko could only think, I don't think she understands how it happens...

"My great-great-grandfather was Kickapoo," Koko said softly. He knew it was okay, in his heart. His grandfather tapped the woman on the shoulder.

"Oh...well..." she sidled and smiled a bit, "then it's okay, I guess."


.....................................................................this just popped up the other day

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tales of the Koko Lion, Part 21: Two Feathers, First Feather


Koko woke up with a funny picture in his head that morning. Funny, as in different, entirely unexpected. It was a picture of a feather - a single, perfect, chestnut-brown eagle feather. Why it would be filling his mind was a mystery, but almost the instant he swung his legs out of bed, he found himself pulling his feet through the stocky green cargo pants he wore for working at the River House.

"Where are you going?" Suzy asked raising her head, his sudden, purposeful movement waking her all the way up.

"I have to go...up the river bank," he answered. He was kind of gone already, busy concentrating on an inner voice (perhaps the voice of his Kickapoo great-great grandfather), telling him: They have a feather for you, up the river bank. You must get up and go find it... It was like that. Crazy, but solid and insistent, and not to be denied, and so he found himself pulling on yesterday's socks too.

"There's a feather there."

"What?"

"A feather"

"A feather?"

"That's all. They're just telling me, "there's a feather waiting for me up the river bank."

"I'm coming too," she said, jumping up and into her clothes as he headed out the bedroom door.


Music: Ne-me'hota'tse (I Love You) by Joseph Firecrow


They started upriver, along the Pennsylvania side, she wore rubber gardening clogs, and he had the rubber knee-highs that came with the house. Each of them carried their long ash walking sticks, hers with the bark peeled down to white wood, his with the necessary girth to give any threat a good whack, if need be. If Suzy had known just how many snakes she was stepping over, or on, she would have been screaming like a schoolgirl the whole way, but she hadn't been there long enough to know yet, and Koko's intuitive calling took precedence over any phobias she was nursing. Funny, how an intangible necessity can vanquish any fear the mind might create. The snakes all seemed to know, and stayed well hidden, on her account, no doubt.

The two of them crunched and squished their way up the bank, weaving out to the river's edge and back "inland" along the scant deer and critter trail, sometimes on firm ground, or hopping rock to rock to avoid the spots you couldn't stand on without sinking.

He knew right where they were going, to the place up under the stand of towering white pines beneath the eagles perch. There, every day, from their pine-top promontory above the tree line, one or two of the great white-headed adults could keep watch on the river from the Narrowsburg bend down to Masthope. They sat stoically hour after hour, but they also did their fair share of preening and squabbling, so it made sense that a feather might be found underneath the spot, if one made it down through the tree limbs to the ground, or missed being carried away by the wind.

The longer they looked, the less likely it seemed, the grass and poplars low on the bank would have swallowed any feather landing there, and up in the barrens at the base of the trees it was easy to spot anything on the ground, if there were anything but pine needles. But still the insistence in his head: Keep looking, it's here for you.

"Let's hope they didn't get us out of bed for nothing." He said, clamoring back down the dry bank to the soft river's edge. He'd give it one last look, navigating along the base of the bank, where the pine roots held back what the river couldn't have. His eyes scoured the grasses for any sign of a feather that might have fluttered down from a hundred feet up and landed lightly, but to no avail.

"Did you find anything?" Suzy asked from up under the trees.

"Nope. I don't know why I felt so strongly..." Koko replied, like he expected all intuition to be magical, or something. He turned and looked up to her above, and as he did, something caught his eye.

There was a series of shallow, twisting caves in between the tree roots cascading down the bank. He bent down, and looked up into one that was about eighteen inches wide and a foot high. Hello, it said...you see, here I am for you.

One perfect, foot long, chestnut brown eagle feather sat tucked on a rakish angle, as though positioned by a stylist's hand, up in the mossy cubby hole. It was only visible from where Koko squatted in front of it. He

gently brought it out and held it up by the quill shaft, "Suzy..."

She looked at it with wide eyes, and looked back to him and smiled and didn't say anything.


This is to let you know that the eagle's steady gaze looks right past this world to your great-great grandfather's home in your heart. This is their gift - the gift of this feather for the faith in the voices of your ancestors that you can hear when you open your heart. This feather tells you how much more can always be seen if you look beyond this world, into the invisible world where everything comes from, and goes to. Down on the ground, it's hard to find without this faith; from up where the eagle looks out over the big picture, anything can manifest.


"Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up a stone; you will find me there."

Logion 77, The Gospel of Thomas

Sunday, February 13, 2011

An Excerpt for My Valentines...

For the day that Love rules…an edited excerpt of the chapter "Love is the Medium, the Small, and the Large" from How to Survive Life (and Death), Conari Press. Happy Valentines Day!

..............................................................................................apologies to Jawlensky


All the most difficult and damaging parts of life originate in the conditions created by an absence of Love. On the grand scale of things, without the selfish and exploitative parts of human nature that create so many problems for the planet and it's inhabitants, there would only be the beautiful flow and support and creation of Love. Everyone would get along and want for nothing.
That wouldn't be such a bad world, would it? For everyone to take care of everyone else. In fact, I believe it's the actual goal we all share in "the end."

Here's something interestingly scientific: Did you know that medical science has now determined that our hearts, unlike any other part of the body, contain a complex cellular structure similar to our brain? The same neurons, neurotransmitters, support cells, and so forth. In fact, our heart is directly linked to our brain, and along with being able to independently learn, remember, feel, and sense, our heart can enable our brain to perceive certain things, to inspire types of thoughts, and to determine our emotional experience.
And what do you think constitutes the energy of the heart? The language of the heart? It's the medium...the small, and the very, very largest of all "invisible" energies.
In fact, before moving on to your next undertaking (pardon the expression), it might help you to realize that you are adrift in, surrounded by, and have always been swimming in an invisible river - a virtual ocean of Love. It's easy not to see it. We tend to keep our heads above the surface, our hearts are always down in it.
So the main job of life is simply to eliminate the obstacles that prevent our perception of Love; the free flow of Love into us, out of us, through us, and around us. But it's not so simple, is it? We need to strip down our ideas about the world, and especially about ourself, to learn to swim naked in this river of love, and become one within this medium, this beautiful dimension that can carry us through this life, and beyond. And who among us, I ask, doesn't like to swim naked...especially where we're in the dark?
Put aside your reservations (and inhibitions) for a moment, if you will, and let's go swimming. Here's how:

Since Love is all understanding and acceptance, naturally it's what allows everything to become beautiful as it possibly can be in our perception. When we open our heart, and accept everything and everyone as they are, simply and without judging or comparing, we're briefly granted the ability to really see the sometimes heart-breaking beauty of life's constant struggle to return to Love.
When we open ourselves to the current of Love, we can find ourselves within it, and realize that we actually live there. We recognize that in that flow of Love, everyone and everything, even what seems terrible to us, is being what they need to be, doing what they need to do - for their expression and evolution, and so, for ours too. Instantly within that moment, absolute tolerance and acceptance becomes literally a "no-brainer."
When we open our heart and use it like we would use our brain to look at the world, only with this filter of loving compassion up front, everything and everyone becomes okay just the way they are. And in fact, as absolutely beautiful as Love allows them to be (sometimes a little sadly beautiful) in their own right.
Each person takes on the wonderful quality of themselves, bumps and all. They might be crazy, God bless 'em, but they're amazing nonetheless. Everyone you've ever known becomes kind of perfect. Everything that has ever happened, or will happen in your life, and in the world, is fine as it is (like it or not), because it needs to be that way in order to change and connect back to the flow of Love. Back to the place where Love will carry you too.

If you try your best to become Love, you'll find you never have to worry about who you are, what you look like, what you have (or don't have), what you've done (or haven't done)...you just won't need to worry about your outsides ever again. Your insides will be your outsides.

...and there goes the swimsuit.

Stop struggling against the current (if you are), and head downstream. Let go of all those internal obstacles to Love; let go of all those petty external details (and they all are). Strip down your mind and allow the mysterious and wonderful flow of Love to carry you home, dressed only as yourself.


The book, "How To Survive Life (and Death)," is available from Conari Press, or at all major booksellers––but ask for it from your local bookshop.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tales: Channel Surfing the Cascading Ethics


"Only that which can destroy itself is truly alive." Dr. Carl Jung


I was watching a show on PBS called Nova Science Now "How Smart are Animals," which had some wonderful demonstrations of animal intelligence and emotional sensitivity, but didn't manage much more human awareness concerning the quality of our animal partners' consciousness than existed in the '60s, back when Dr. John Lilly was doing a lot of the same things with dolphins as was shown on this show documenting "the latest" science can offer. It tended to depict intelligent animals as performers - the standard egoic human-enhancing context.


"...not from a law being passed, but from each human understanding innately that these are ancient, sentient earth residents, with tremendous intelligence and enormous life force. Not someone to kill, but someone to learn from."

Dr. John C. Lilly, about dolphins


But still, it demonstrates expanding global awareness to even allow that animals are much smarter and more conscious than people (corporate media) dare to admit. We're the only ones on the planet who have to wear clothes, go to school, get jobs, eat processed food, worry about our baldness (or facial hair), or try to find God. Who's really got this Life on Earth thing mastered - us, or the "lower" species?

We may not fully realize this truth until they're all gone. But I think we will. In fact many more people than publicized know plenty about animal consciousness already.


"Denial is the acceptance of ignorance as truth

through force of will."


At the same time, on The Biography Channel, there was a show called "Mediums: We See Dead People," that investigated irrefutable evidence supporting the validity of human psychic abilities; even to go so far as relating psychic powers to quantum non-locality and wave function, suggesting that there is an extra-dimensional field of accessible information within the Time/Space Continuum; and suggesting that this human form temporarily plays host to an extra-dimensional spiritual being.

Of course, all that's been very well known for thousands of years, but the knowledge has slowly, deliberately been covered-up by egoic commercial and political forces, so they could use it for their own designs. It's not covered-up anymore. It's on The Biography Channel.


"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing

There is a field. I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about.

Ideas, language, even the phrase "each other" doesn't make any sense."

Jalal al-Din Rumi (1207-1273)


On yet another news channel, a young Egyptian man describes the composition of the crowds of his country's revolutionary protesters: they are young; they are educated; they are tech-savvy; they are peaceful; they consider themselves part of a global community; they are tolerant, and open-minded; and they have had enough of unethical behavior from political leaders. In short, they are the human consciousness movement that is growing exponentially in our world today.

The "power elite" is being backed into their corner, making their last stand, as the huge shadow of rising global ethics covers them, and their corrupt hegemony begins to unravel. It's obvious to everyone, except only the most intolerant, self-centered, and closed-minded minority. When these changes become inevitable, materialists squirm and consolidate, and create the conditions for their extinction in the coming tsunami of ethics, and the Great Flood of the human spirit.


"We need to work on the world, so it will not be so oppressive." James Hillman


In a wonderful interview in HuffPost, even my crafty, wise, and very congenial uncle (by marriage), Dr. James Hillman, preeminent Jungian analyst, author, and social commentarian, suggests that the "Super Rich" are considering the ethical alternative to bottomless greed and elite criminality, but his assertion is framed within the corporate media context of right and wrong, black and white, us vs. them - a context which he rightly condemns. That frame is far too narrow for what's going on here, as the spiritual consciousness of this planet, and all life on it begins to dynamically coalesce into material ethical reality. The standard of exploitation will be destroyed, and a new world will arise.

The truth is not black and white; it's not even shades of grey. The truth can be seen from all the way out in space, where, in some other planet's space-based telescope, it simply appears as a small, round ball of blue.


"The common name for God used by the sages is HaMakom, "the place." God is the place of the world, the field in which all things arise and return."

Rabbi Rami Shapiro, on The Pirke Avot

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Animated Atmospheres

Things are always busy busy right before KidScreen, and I've been hard at work on a show I can't show yet, but I hope you'll get to see soon. In the meantime scratching away on d-zines and writing furiously in a hunt-and-peck style leaves me needing to meditate a little, every day if possible...While doing just that, I discovered that my wife, Sue Pike "The Animal Talker®"- Reiki Master and Playshop giver, has her sound healing friend's Eluv's new, and thoroughly amazing CD "New Beginnings," full of smooth, soothing sound healing stuff that is absolutely perfect for sitting and naval-gazing...like one might do in this bamboo meadow I recently whipped up for a Hasbro website game.

Here's what the cover of this wonderfully groovy, interiorly-oriented, luscious sound thang looks like. I highly recommend that you pick it up and sit down to some amazing healing bowls and ocean sounds...

...a little like this gentle crashing wave splashing up on the shores of my "Codename: Kids Next Door" EFX file...how's that for a linkin' blog?