the people along the sand all turn and look one way;
they turn their back on the land, they look at the sea all day.

as long as it takes to pass a ship keeps raising its hull;
the wetter ground like glass reflects a standing gull.

the land may vary more, but wherever the truth may be -
the water comes ashore and people look at the sea.

they cannot look out far, they cannot see in deep -
but when was that ever a bar for any watch they keep.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

You Can't Stop What's Coming

"You can't stop what's coming...and it ain't waiting for you. To think so is vanity."

That's what Tommy Lee Jone's character says at the end of the movie "No Country For Old Men," as he is recounting a dream he had about his father.

Of course, he's talking about death, or at least the inevitability of age. In the dream, he sees his father, riding a horse in the night, holding fire inside a hollowed out steer horn. He knows his father is going on ahead of him, that he's going to build a fire in the night, and that he will be waiting for him.

You can't stop what's coming. Regardless of what we may do between now and then, we will not stop the day of the inevitable. There will not be a Rapture - no one is going to be turned into spirits in the twinkling of an eye and taken up in the air to be with Jesus forever. We will all die. Every last one of us.

And it's not going to wait for us to be ready. It's not going to ask our persmission. We won't be able to schedule it, like we do our doctor's appointment. It will not come in any way that we can foresee or guess. To think otherwise is truly vanity, foolish beyond measure.

In many ways, this really is no country for old men. It is a hard place, and old men tend to be feeble. It is a place where memory can be a weapon, and old men have lots of memories. It is a place where the young are rewarded, and old men are...well, old.

So what do we do once we see - really SEE - that our fathers have gone ahead of us to prepare a place for us? What do we do when it finally dawns on us that we can't stop what's coming?

Well, we certainly can't stop everything, but we can do some things. We can determine how we will live before we die. And how we will love. And we can take control of the little things that we can control...not what happens, but what our responses are. We can choose to explore, or question, or trust, or doubt, or forgive.

I can't stop what's coming and I am in control of very little. But I can do some little things, right now, in little steps. Little goals, little accomplishments.

It doesn't stop anything...except me obsessing about the fact that I can't stop what's coming. I can distract myself from the inevitable. I guess it is a denial, in a sense. But it is also choosing to rage against the dying of the light. I will not go gentle into that dark night, and I will not yield to the inevitable until the inevitable murders me.

How about you?


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Life Is Glorious

"Life is glorious, especially to the cursed and the damned."

These words, spoken by Anthony Hopkins in his role as the patriarch in the latest version of "The Wolfman", had - and continues to have - tremendous impact on me.

Life is glorious! And who better to understand that than a condemned man?

Ever since I left religion, I have felt an insatiable hunger for LIFE. I have become hyper-sensitized to the pulses and rhythms and vibrations of life around me. I yearn - you could almost use the word "lust" - to live life at its craziest, beyond full, beyond meaningful. I want to move beyond a peak state of consciousness and catapult into the universe, soaking up every drop of life that there is.

I have always had this madness for life inside of me. However, religious culture put a cramp on that in me. Religion, at its heart, is about control...a system of doctrines, roles of authority, social programming and reward that causes people to step in cadence to whatever values the religion holds dear. The expectations put on me by religion nearly killed me - while I had to acknowledge my own worthlessness and sin (which, in the religious mind, are just nomenclature for natural and instinctive desires, our animal nature), I had to acknowledge the awesome glory and goodness of God - which I did not actually always see or believe in or understand. A beautiful sunset, or a tender moment of sexual intimacy, could not be enjoyed for the pure pleasure of itself, but had to be recognized as a gift from God...the same God who apparently had no time for healing cancer or alleviating injustice or eradicating disease.

The wildness of rock music? In my particular religious group, it was declared as sin. Enjoying the "fleshly" pleasures of life - food, sex, drink, even a little controlled violence? Sin (except, of course, for football).

I think you get the point. Religion - for me - was not about affirming the glory of life, but of controlling the wildness of human nature, and therefore robbing glory from life. The Bible actually taught that "all creation groans" because of the sin of man. I agree with that to an extent - witness the Gulf of Mexico. However, "all creation" is not groaning - I hear singing, and laughter, and raucous joy. Only a rigid, frightened and judgemental religious mind could hear the music of the spheres and call it "groaning."

Leaving religion, I left with a sense of condemnation. By the reaction of many religious friends, and through the thoughts of my own mind, programmed as it was by years of conforming to the religious machine...I felt cursed and damned by turning my back on religion.

Oddly, however, I felt more alive. In the past six years, my health has improved, my attitude has improved, my experiences have broadened my knowledge, and I am a more expansive person than I have ever been. I love more, laugh more, accept more, and actually serve more.

I am a spiritual man - my hunger and thirst for spiritual things has only increased. I am currently working towards a Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology, which is a study of the spiritual dimensions of consciousness and relationships. I meditate. I often journey to a "peak state" where I contemplate mysteries both ancient and future. I experience lucid dreaming. I howl at the moon. I embrace the wildness of my human beast. In my dreams, I run wildly through darkened woods, filled with vitality and energy and power. I devour everything I can. I pray. I weep. I laugh, hard. I play guitar and write songs. I paint.

I make my son mow the of the benefits of being alpha male.

I do not know if I am cursed or damned...though, when I get around religion I certainly feel that way. Occassionally, when the car blows up or the sewer line breaks, I wonder if God has cursed me for choosing not to believe in Him the way I used to. Then I wonder if He is sending calamity in order to get me to return to Him. Then I ask myself, why in the hell would I return to an understanding of God that includes Him sending calamity to woo me back into His arms? Sounds perverse, doesn't it?

I do believe in a Spiritual Mystery...a Life Force that underflows everything that is. It is good, playful, loving. It embraces darkness, violence, death, and even pain and suffering...for it embraces everything, and everyone. I don't understand it...I seek it.

In the meantime, I am daily learning how to live my life more gloriously. I am loud, I am intense, I am opinionated, and I try to be loving, affirming and to be the most intensely loyal friend you will ever know. the glorious life of the cursed and the damned!


Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Beast

I have finally admitted to myself that within me lives a beast. For most of my life, I have tried to either deny it, or lock it up so deeply that no one would ever know, and I would conveniently forget.

However, I kept hearing him roar in that deep sub-basement. I would ignore the terrifying sound, and go about my life. But occassionally, with no warning, I would see the consequences of his escape. My kids would be afraid of me, my wife cold and distant, a hole would appear in the wall at the end of my fist, something would be thrown and broken on the floor. Friends avoided me.

The stink of the beast was on me.

I would corral him, re-imprison him, put more locks on the cage, and go about my way. But more and more, his presence became something I could not ignore. He kept escaping. He kept doing damage. I kept denying...which, I later learned, was like feeding him steroids. The more I denied, the more powerful he became.

Then, I had a revelation. I thought he kept escaping, but then I learned that I was a sleep-walker. My beast was not escaping...I was letting him out. In the haze and daze of soul-sleep (which happens when overwhelmed by the meaningless stresses of our culture), I was going into the deepest recesses of my sub-conscious, and opening the cage of my beast.

I understood why I was doing it. My beast was my protector. He was my guardian angel. He was that part of me that rose up when I was afraid, or confused, or hurt...and he would strike back with his fierce and vengeful wrath. He has no rational he struck at whatever was near, whether or not it was the source of my pain. His job was to destroy that which I feared would destroy or hurt me. Period.

I love my beast. I created him...or maybe I discovered him, hidden down there in my deepest being. But once discovered, I loved him. I wanted him. I needed him. All of us need a sense of protection - and my beast was always able to protect me. Yes, he hurt others. He drove them away. He placed me in a world of isolation and loneliness. But that did not matter. In my most primitive, ancient heart, I was afraid. And to the primitive part of us, fear equals annihilation. And there is only one primitive response to death...KILL OR BE KILLED.

So the beast attempts to kill whatever my primitive mind and soul feared was trying to kill me. If he cannot do that...he will lash out at whatever he can. Innocent people suffer. Those who love me fear me.

And I am left alone.

In a way, my beast has done exactly what I wanted him to do. He has destroyed the threat, and now he and I live alone in the world we have created.

I love my beast. I hate my beast.

But now that I know about him, and why he exists, and how he operates...I think...I hope...I may, one day, be able to overpower him. I cannot banish him altogether, but I can become stronger than him.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Eternal Now

An old friend of mine recently wrote a blog about keeping an eternal perspective in the here and now. It got me to thinking in a big way...what is an eternal perspective?

Obviously, for Christians, it is Heaven...being in the presence of God eternally, not being punished for sins on earth in eternal torment, enjoying whatever bliss God may have planned for that infinite space.

But - I think - an eternal perspective on that simply means making sure you meet the qualifications to enter Heaven upon your death. Which means acceptance of Christ as Savior. In the evangelical Christian belief system, good works don't matter - "all of our righteous deeds are filthy rags." Good works only have value as they help other people make the right decision about Christ, and therefore go to Heaven when they die.

Even as a devout conservative evangelical believer, I had doubts about this view. Certainly eternal reality meant more than just getting to Heaven. And is death the only things that demarcates the reality of eternity from our here and now? Are good works only a form of proselytyzing, trying to "bribe" others into belief because you are caring for their needs? That always bothered me, and often made me feel hypocritical when I was "doing good works."

Nowadays, I have a much different view of "eternal." I do believe in some type of consciousness beyond death - but that is only belief, I have no proof. I do not believe that eternal equals infinite in time. Eternal means - to me - different, other, above me, bigger than me. It means mystery. It means something that is so big, so vast, so incomprehensible that it brings a certain type of definition to my life.

Eternal reminds me that I am not...eternal, that is. Even if my consciousness survives my death, it won't be eternal...because it does not extend to the infinite beginning or infinite end. At some point, in this life, I will cease to be. Eternal reality helps me to understand that, embrace that, and seek to live a life that matters.

For me, eternal means now. In fact, I believe that eternal has no value at all if it does mean now. Because my time is limited, and because there is something bigger and perhaps more real than me, I am motivated to understand and live my life now with every ounce of energy I have. And there are so many ways to do that - another gift of eternal. Loving others, helping others, experiencing joy, acquiring wisdom, forgiving, trying new things, watching the glow of the sky during the sunset...and on and on.

Last summer, my family and I walked a rigourous mountain trail and came to a beautiful, isolated waterfall. I stripped off my shirt and jumped in the pool at the base before I had time to think about it...and nearly imploded with cold! I couldn't catch my breath for a few seconds; but, after that initial shock, the pristine crystal clear water, the remote location, the beautiful mountains and the perfect sky above my head brought a sense of renewal and life that I can still feel to this day. It seemed as if years poured off of my body, and pure light and life poured into my soul. I got out of the pool minutes later, but years younger.

That is eternal, and that is now.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The UnDecision Decision

"There are no neutral decisions in life. Every choice either does or does not get us closer to our goals."

I saw this posted recently on facebook. Wow! I had to comment - "whew - that's alot of pressure."

Welcome to the purpose-DRIVEN life, emphasis on DRIVEN. Being all about purpose is the latest trend in human development. It sells books and makes celebrities out of people who preach it.

But, I got off that train a while ago. I do not want to be DRIVEN. I want to flow. Being purpose-driven stirs up the image of a slave being driven by a harsh task master with a whip in its hand. I would rather jump in a river and let it take me where it wants me to go, while I lay back and bask in the hot sun and the cool water.

Life in our culture is driven to the point of despair. Sadly, most people I know live life under the incredible pressure of every decision being crucial to something - their success, their failure, their joy, their wealth, their health. Yes, I realize that actions are important, and have consequences...but not every decision is either a "make it or break it" fulcrum.

Some decisions can be meaningless, fun, irrelevant - and should be.

I don't think life is about reaching a goal or arriving somewhere. I think life is about living - about being the flow, enjoying the ride, and learning as you go. I had no idea I would end up here, and I have no idea where I will be in ten years. I had goals and plans, but none of those happened the way I envisioned.

The river had other ideas.

Recently, I was trying to decide where to place some landscaping stones in my back yard (yeh, a big decision that is really going to impact the direction and purpose of my life!). I thought and thought, and could not decide. Finally, I asked my son. He laughed and said "it doesn't matter; you know and I know that whatever decision you make, it will the wrong one."

So - here's to making a decision that is wrong! An undecision. I choose not to choose. I don't have a purpose. Or, better yet, I have a purpose, and that purpose is to UnPurpose, to let go and let God, to go with the flow.

See you wherever we end up. Or not.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

An Efficient Life

Recently, I watched the movie "A Serious Man." Being a typical Coen brothers movie, it was glib, dark and comic in a side-ways sort of way. At least no one was brutally murdered...a change from their most recent flicks, like "No Country For Old Men."

However, the central theme of "A Serious Man" was a brutally beautiful one...and that is, a life lived seriously is in danger of losing its meaning in a heartbeat. The protagonist in "A Serious Man" is a man who tried to build the meaning of his life on his possessions, his position, and the perceptions of others.

And, as the movie shows, that is a bubble that is perilously easy to pop. And once popped, what becomes the meaning of that life?

Our culture - and sadly, religious culture may be the most guilty of doing this - puts pressure on us to be "serious" and "efficient." We are given this view of adult life that is filled with discipline, control, and accomplishment. We need to look good, act good, and make sure there is no dust in the corners. We are expected to be efficient...budgeted and balanced.

The reality is, however, that life is not like that at all. There is dust out there, and mold, and dirt, and rot, and imperfection. Try as we may, we cannot keep clean. We cannot stay balanced - life demands inbalance and chaos. And it will get it whether we like it or prepare for it or not.

The concept of impermanence, which lies at the heart of Buddhist thought, teaches that nothing lasts. Nothing. A chaotic impermanence is at the heart of existence and reality, and struggling against that (by denying it, or putting more trust in rules than chaos) is what leads to suffering.

I don't know about suffering (still working that one out) but I know it certainly leads to confusion and exhaustion. The more we struggle to be efficient, the more frustrated and tired we become, because the universe just is not commited to efficiency.

In fact, the universe is commited to lavishness - and I think lavishness is the only way to live life. The universe does not seek to preserve energy, but to expend it. Thus, novae and nebulae and laws of inertia (which states that an object in motion remains in motion unless acted upon by an outside force).

I know this sounds alot like carpe diem - "eat, drink, for tomorrow you die" - and it is! And yes, even in a reckless way.

There is an old saying - nobody says on their death bed, "I wish I had spent more time at the office." I would embellish that - nobody says on their death bed, "I wish had been more serious and efficient."

A good friend once told me - "if something is worth doing, its worth doing wrong." I agree! Too many times, we wait until we have attained what we think is some level of readiness, or worthiness, or perfection before we launch out and live. But let me ask - were you perfectly ready when you had your first child? I wasn't - and yet it turned out to be the most amazing, beautiful, transforming and joyful experience of my life.

One of my favorite verses in the bible is from the book of Proverbs - "Where no ox is, the manger is clean. But, much increase comes from the strength of the ox." Yep - dirt, messiness, inbalance and inefficiency are all signs of a life well lived!


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Above Us, Only Sky

There are a few places one can stand where the heavens seems to open above you and you are overwhelmed with feelings of...exposure, vulnerability, belonging, eternity.

For me, most of those places happen to be on mountain tops. Reaching a summit - a "peak" if you will - is an inspiring moment, whether if it is attained on a short hike-up, or a climbing expedition.

Peaks are important places to me, and I think to all of us. From the peak, we can see the world around us in all its beauty, glory, expansiveness...and untouchableness. Yes, untouchable...the world we see from a peak may include the world in which we live, but we cannot touch it, control it, own it. It is too big for us, and we are too small. When I stand on a mountain peak, I am amazed at how small all the mountains and hills and roads I see below me really are...and I get a sobering idea about how small I really am.

And - I get a momentary glimpse of how big, how eternal, how majestic and beyond me the world truly is.

Most of all, I like to look at the sky. Standing on a peak, there is nothing above me, only sky. I am at the place of pure exposure to the heavens, and the heavens are also made vulnerable to me.

I like to lay on my back on a mountain peak, and gaze up into the emptiness and infinity of the sky. Yes, there are stars...but each one is billions and billions of miles from the other thousands of stars I can see...and from me. It is an empty and infinite sky.

And there is nothing between me and it. At the peak, I am at the point where there is no roof, no canopy, nothing blocking my way. The sky is mine...all I have to do is figure out how to get up and in to it.

Plane passes overhead, reminds me that I still have alot to understand.

But I know this: peak states, those "states" where people experience a peak moment of consciousness, of life, of those moments, there is nothing between you and the eternity of sky. Peak states - whether they come through meditation, or prayer, or running, or fasting, or having one of those moments with your children or a loved one...that peak state is a reminder to you that there is a mountaintop with your name on it. And that mountaintop - that peak - is the one place for you where nothing, nothing, nothing stands between you and the heavens...and all heaven means to you.

Let us find our peak states. Let us seek, strive, work and dream for our peak states. For when we find them, there will be nothing above us, only sky.


Thursday, February 11, 2010


I have always struggled with faith.

I have never really known what faith is. Is it trust? Is it belief? Is it action taken on the basis of belief alone (like the bible says, "faith without works is dead")? Is it the product of reason?

The bible teaches that salvation comes by faith alone. It also teaches that faith is a gift of God. If that is true, then does that mean that only God chooses who will be saved and who will be damned, and He gives faith only to those He chooses?

I have wrestled with questions like this for years. I have never been comfortable with faith, or understood exactly what it was, or how it works. Jesus said that if a man had faith the size of a mustard seed, he could tell a mountain to be taken up and cast into the sea. Many times, I have tried to summon that very small seed of faith and get something done...something far more important than moving a mountain. Things like the healing of cancer, or the end of conflict. It never happened, which of course made me worry that I could never have enough faith to be saved...if I did not have enough faith to move a mountain!

For the past several years, I have tried to replace faith with reason. The problem is, as I examine my life through meditation and contemplation...I find I am using faith almost every moment of every day. I least I think I am.

Is faith trust? If so, then I am trusting of things I can't verify by reason all the time. Or maybe I am trusting things that happen consistently because I do them over and over and always get the same result. Things like turning on a light switch, or driving in the right lane, or moving through an intersection when the light is green.

So, faith. I can't live with it, and can't live without it. I don't know what it is, I don't know how it works.

I guess that is exactly what faith means.

I think I am going to contemplate love for a bit.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


I do not believe in the God presented in the Bible. However, I also do not claim that He cannot or does not exist. My understanding of God - obviously - is not relevant to anyone but me, and certainly not to the existence of said Deity.

The God of the Bible never really appealed to me, even as a practicing Christian and pastor. In these years of my life, I find myself drawn to a more deity-less spirituality that is akin to Buddhism. I acknowledge mystery and otherness. I do not know if that mystery is personal, or material, or energy, or consciousness. It is just mystery. But it is worth exploring to me, because it helps me make sense of my world and my life. Exploring otherness helps me to live in the current...and that is a good thing. I think I was born a mystic, because even as a small child I was enchanted by mystery and attracted to a notion of God that was, well, mystical.

I do find connection to some aspects of the biblical God - or the religion that the bible gives shape to. I am attracted to the notions of Incarnation and Grace. Incarnation - god fully enters humanity as a human, and uses his power to make himself powerless as a god. Wow. What an amazing concept. And Grace - that our experience of and relationship to God is not dependent on our performance of religious actions or compliance to religious doctrine. Any person can experience and relate to God (as an Other, if he is) because God has chosen it to be that way.

Hinduism, taoism, buddhism all appeal to me spiritually. They inform my ideas of God somewhat - hinduism the idea that god may be an amalgam of all the forces and powers of reality, everything from weather to nature to human nature. There are nine billion names of god in hinduism - nine billion being a symbolic number to indicate that there are mulitiple understandings and faces of God for every human who has been, is or will be. Taosim, the idea that there are patterns in nature, in the cosmos that reveal the divine essence, that give meaning to what we are, and as we pay attention to those we can understand our place in the cosmos. Buddhism - well, there is a lot there - but primarily that divinity is within us, that we are sacred, and that impermanence and emptiness are the underlying realities of the cosmos.

But I also embrace other spiritual paths - shamanism, and its deep sacred connectedness to nature. And altered states. New age mysticism, for its challenging populist spirituality. Quantum mysticism, which defines spirituality as a scientific value that we just have not figured out yet.

A songwriter that serves as my spiritual guru wrote these words..."god's too big to put in a book, but nothing's too big to fit in my heart." well said - god is ineffable. There are not words that can describe god...god is beyond anything humanity can construct...especially a book and a religion. but the human heart is another thing - god can fit in the human heart, because the human heart can become (and already is) god-shaped and god-sized.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


For the past several months, the concept of Namaste has been startling my soul like a lightning bolt out of the blue.

Namaste (see previous post) simply means respect. It is a core universal power that I desperately want and need more in my life. It is what I want to be remembered by. I have so far to go in learning how to give it, receive it, live it.

Today, I had a "ah-ha" moment. I saw a bumper sticker on a car - "God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve." Like seeing through hydrogen, I understood why I have had such a hard time forgiving the Christian religion. I realized that modern, evangelical organized Christian religion does not teach respect. It teaches arrogance, exclusivism, elitism. In the 20th century, that brand of Christianity promoted intolerance of women, intolerance of blacks, intolerance of gays, and intolerance of anything not white and American. As a result, the world turned against our country and millions in this country turned their backs against the religion.

A simple example: the whole position of the church against gay marriage. Why would anyone who lives in respect CARE about the sexual activity of another person? Only an agressive fundamentalism that does not respect but only cares about who is right and who is wrong could be against a commited relationship of any kind.

Respect means recognizing the divine imprint and image on every soul. Christians, for the most part, recognize something different - the sinfulness of every soul. I used to buy into that - and saw myself and everyone else as fundamentally wrong. As a result of Namaste, I have come to see that every person (except for sociopaths) is fundamentally right in one way - we each desire to be loved, and to give love. And THAT is the divine imprint on every soul - and that is the heart of Namaste.

But the church comes along and says "NO - you can't love THAT way...", or "you can't do this" or "if you believe this way or that way you are going to earn the wrath of God and go to hell."

I reject that. I would much rather live my life saying - "I see the imprint of God on you, and I see the reflection of God's glory in your eye, hear it in your voice...and I RESPECT YOU."

Here is a what happens when you RESPECT.


Monday, January 25, 2010


In the past several months, "Namaste" has come to be one of the most important realities in my life.

Namaste has its origins in Sanskrit, used throughout southeast Asia. It is a common address there, much like "Hello" or "Goodbye" is common in the West...(Goodbye = god be with you).

Simply, namaste means "I bow, reverentially, to you."

But like most things Eastern, it is layered with meaning. Namaste is also a lifestyle, that is centered on the fundamental reality of reverence or respect.

Namaste is the principle of recognition; in this case, recognizing the divinity and value that is in each person. When one lives in the principle of namaste, one is living in respect to all of life, to the divine spark that is in each person and indeed in every living thing.

In namaste, respect - which is something that is seems to be missing in so much of life - is central to a person's living.

Recently, after the devastation in Haiti, I saw two examples of "anti-namaste." Both of these actions issued from people who claim to be Christians. Pat Robertson, head of CBN, said that the earthquake in Haiti - and the suffering and poverty that seems to envelope that country - was due to a pact made with Satan over 200 years ago. On the heels of Robertson, Bill O'Reilly (and a cabal of conservative talk show hosts, including Sean Hannity and Neal Boortz) began to openly question whether or not it was appropriate to send relief money to Haiti, and began to question the political actions of the president.

Both of those examples are pictures of what it means to live in denial of namaste. Sadly, I see many people living this way. The chief concerns of cultures seems to be what is right, what is wrong, who is right and mostly who is wrong. Then, once the people or group that is "wrong" are identified, they are challenged, attacked, ostracized, and alienated.

This is not namaste. Namaste begins and ends with respect the divine value in another person. Of course, it does not mean ignoring destructive or hurtful behavior...but it does not begin with th judgement of behavior, and it never ever moves to the judgement of internal character. But respect and value of another is the operating core of what it means to live in namaste.

Namaste has changed my life, which is why I try to greet and part from every person with "namaste" on my lips and in my heart.

May you live, give and experience namaste every day!


Life is a strange brew of action, contemplation, rest, recharging...and then starting all over again.

Most people I know - including myself, whom I don't know that well - spend alot of our energy on activity that does not actually accomplish anything. So our actions tend to be wheel-spinning, and not actually moving us anywhere.

In the the book "God and The New Physics", Paul Davies talks about the energy depletion of the universe. One theory of cosmology holds that there is a certain amount of energy in the universe, and as the universe expands and continues, the energy in it is depleted. At some point, that energy will be gone, and the universe will cease to be...though no one really knows what that will look like.

There is an obvious model for that life on this planet. Energy is not perpetual...only a certain amount seems to be available in nature, and once you use that energy, it is gone. It is not spontaneously has to be expended to create energy...and so the cycle goes.

I don't completely embrace this model of energy depletion...because I believe in other dimensions of realily that can renew and create energy.

But, it is a good concept to explain why some of us seem to be tired, exhausted, frustrated, and non-energized about the living of our lives.

We only have a certain of amount of energy within us at a certain time. We use it, we lose it.

Therefore, we must use our energy carefully, wisely, or else we will come to a place of depleted energy and unable to move from where we are to where we want to be. You know this is true - you have known people who have come to a place where they may want to grow, to live, to experience, to love, to know joy...but the cannot because they have depleted their energy reserves.

OK - now to the main point, about ACTION. There are two fundamental life actions that I observe...treading water, and swimming.

TREADING WATER is expending energy to simply stay afloat, to keep the head above the water. The assumption in treading water is that somebody or something or some God will come and save you, give your life purpose and direction and blessing, and will take you where it wants you to be (which hopefully will be where you want to be).

SWIMMING is expending energy to move in a direction. Any direction. It assumes that no one can save you but yourself - that you are responsible for purpose, direction, blessing, and meaning. It does not deny the possibility of being saved...but it does not expend energy to simply stay in the same place. It moves.

At the end of both activities, energy is expended. You are either exactly where you started, and in need of being saved (still) - or may have moved to shallow water, where a new journey of hope can begin.

I have come to recognize that my time, my energy, and my opportunities are limited. But I can choose to tread water or to swim.

I am going swimming.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Life Is Not A Day At the Office

Well, of course, I don't want my life to be defined by my job...but that is not what I mean.

At my office, most of us are compelled - or at least committed - to line up our "to do" lists, and then work through them methodically. At the end of the day, our goal is to have removed those items into the "done" pile, and begin to build a new "to do" list for the next day. That is what is expected of us, that is what we are paid for, that is what a day at the office is all about.

Life is not like that. I have seen so many people (and I have done it myself) try to line up the "to do" lists of life...and work through it methodically.

It just does not happen that way. "Jurassic Park" the movie has a central theme - "life happens." Chaos is lurking in each and every moment, waiting to take our finely tuned plans and our "to do" lists and turn them into butterflies flapping their wings in an electric storm.

But that is still not what I mean. The "day at the office" mentality causes a type of soul lethargy. So many go around with the feeling that they can't get around to the stuff they really want or have a passion to do, because they have to tick off the "to do" list of things they are responsible for. They view life as "work" - or at least as a day at the office. Here's my list of "to do" things that have to get done before I go home...I get paid to do them, I will be evaluated on whether or not I do them and how I do them, and my job and my future depend on my doing these things.

I guess, at the most primitive level, that is what work is all about (though I think we can change our thinking about work as well). But certainly, life is not like a day at the office. Not only only does chaos intervene, but so does choice and serendipity.

You will never, ever, ever get your "to do" list of responsible things done - so don't put off your dream list, or your passionate purpose, until the day's end. Being able to pursue your dream and live your passion is not your reward for doing all of your chores. Not at all! You are alive to pursue your dream, live your passion...not do chores. You were not created to be a chore machine. OK, yes, chores come with life...someone has to clean the toilet and wash the clothes.

But don't put your soul in a catatonic state by saying..."I can't live my dream until I do the laundry." There will always be laundry, there will always be dust, there will always be chores...and hiding where you can't see it, chaos waits to make a grand entrance.

Live your dream and pursue your passion...and do the chores when you can. If your "responsibility to do list" stays uncompleted, or's OK. You can let go alot of those things, and let them return to the natural state. For example, dust will always win. You dust and wipe and clean...and it will come back. It's everywhere, and when you die, not only will it still be there, you will become part of it!

Don't let dust get in the way of the pursuit of your dream. Don't say things like "OK, I will take a walk and learn photography and paint a picture and travel a trail...after I win the battle against dust."

My recommendation is to leave your "to do" list and that way of thinking at the office. In such an environment, that may be a good operational modality. But leave it there. Let your life be about your dreams, your passion, your soul.

Life is not a day at the office. Thank God!


Friday, January 1, 2010

Looking Ahead...2010

If I have learned anything from 53 years of is that looking ahead with a "new year's resolution" mind set is tricky, delusional and disappointing. Sitting in the midst of post-Christmas trauma, contemplation is more about recovery than it is about understanding.

But - understanding does come. And a look ahead can be...if nothing else...a way of holding out your hope so that
you (and others) can see it and have a better understanding of who you are and what makes you tick.

I have already stated that 2009 was a difficult year, but one in which chaos and pain moved towards culmination, transf
ormation, and serenity.

2010 is the year for that process to bear fruit. In 2009, I began to reclaim a spiritual life. When I left the church (and Christian religion) in 2004, I was hurt, bruised, confused and angry as hell. I eagerly embraced atheism as a means to get back at God and to freak out the horrible Christian people I knew. Over the years, I softened up a bit...even to the point of admitting that - yeh, I do believe there is a God - and yeh, the story of Grace as seen in Jesus is a good one. And, OK, there are some Christians who actually live like it. Those five years of wilderness wandering helped me to see...from a dying man's point of view (not a teenager who wanted to be cool) the value of a spiritual world view. That true spiritual life is a blessing.

So, I start 2010 with a strong spiritual center again, and am eager to explore it.

In numerology, 2010 has the value of 3. 3 is a very important is the first "odd" number in the numerical sequence, and it is also the second prime. The number symbolizes completion, wholeness, revolution...not the end of a process, but the beginning of its culmination.

There are so many threes to note: the Divine Trinity, the mind-emotions-body triad, the past-present-future dimensions of time.

The triangle (above) - a potent symbol from the most distant days of humanity's past - represents a coming together of dualities. One line stands alone, two lines cannot encompass a thing...but three lines? Ah, you begin to see.

The triangle has become a symbol for my year, and what I see coming in it for me.

I am also embracing the number three - 3 - for this year.
Another interesting observation: in 2009, I began to embrace a new path. Part of that path has been to explore and experience meditation as taught by eastern and quantum mysticism .

Part of that experience is to find a mantra - a word or phrase or note that can help you focus your thoughts and express your intention in meditation.

For several weeks, I have been drawn to OM. Now, OM is the most common and universally known mantra out there. Nothing real unique about it...except its meaning is powerful to me. OM is said to be the sound, the note, of creation. It is the pulling together of order out of chaos, it is the sound of the mind of the divine within us. I must say, when I chant OM...I become focused, and experience a convergence with the divine, with the deep past of my ancestry, unlike anything I have ever known.

Look above, and you will see the symbol for OM. Guess what? The numerical value of OM is 3. The symbol for OM looks like a three! Woooooooooo.....

OK - so here's my western-formulated and expressed wish list for 2010...go on, read it. If you have come this far, you may as well go all the way. Everything expressed here, for the most part, reflects my newly embraced path and journey...

1. to grow in meditation and understanding of the mystical path, namely zen

2. to release my creative mind as I have never done before, specifically:
- write my books
- more poetry, and publish
- get back to making and recording music...with a vision now
- water color
- photography
- drumming
(seriously, all this stuff is stuff I do but not intensely...the time has come to live it, intentionally and intensely!)

3. back to running, getting in shape, taking control...I was working towards it in 2009, gave up in 2009, back in it for 2010...feel the wave!

4. begin my Ph.D. studies (if finances make it possible...will find a way)

5. begin my first step in certification as a Licensed Professional Counselor

6. Make a strong (and sometimes hard) choice to reconnect with friends (I am not a people person naturally, but I love people...and this is what my dharma is saying to me now)

7. continue to grow in honoring the family that I have and love

8. finish my back yard (landscaping) and build a zen garden - loving the outdoors

9. begin to release my personal power towards helping others

10. exercise my servant giving giving with joy and love and a flow of abundance

Is that enough? Probably not. But it is the first ZEN TEN of my new life.



Looking Back...2009

It was indeed the best of times...the worst of times. Started the year working with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy...a dream job that turned into a nightmare. Came back to is a good place...a place to work that is stable, fun, meaningful, and very little pressure. Gives me the chance to review and work on other areas of my non-work areas (wow, lots of work in that sentence). So, without commentary, here is a list of things done, experienced, and...uhm...whatever! Films: Star Trek District 9 Inglourious Basterds Knowing Zombieland The Informant! Drag Me To Hell Moon Music: Mastodon - Crack the Skye Steve Tibbetts - YR Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack Books: Hero With A Thousand Faces The Tibetan Book of the Dead Drood The Song of Kali The Hour I First Believed The Stain The Lost Symbol Getting In the Gap Places I Went: Boca Grande, Florida Nantahala Forest, North Carolina Memorable things I did: kayak across the bay and in the mangroves in Boca kayak down the Ocoee River with Pam kayak down the Nantahala hiked several neat trails in Nantahala tried salvia (omfg) caught N1H1 - so did wife, she ended up in hospital for a week started my back yard...can't wait to finish it 2009 was a good year in many ways, but also a very difficult and painful one. Had to come face to face with some difficult issues - in my marriage, my personal life, my finances, and my attitude. Actually, many of those difficult issues were started years ago, but found their culmination in 2009. In numerology, the year 2009 possesses the value of 11, and 2. 11 being a Master Number, is considered the perfection of 2 (1+1). 2 represents duality, conflict, chaos. 11 represents the culmination of chaos, which can lead to either reconciliation of duality and transformation, or disintegration and destruction. I would say that sums up 2009 pretty well for me. The great news is that it seems that 2009 became a year in which I payed attention, made some good decisions for my inner life especially, and the culmination of chaos led to reconciliation of duality and transformation. I reconnected to my spirituality in 2009 (I had to - alcohol and drugs weren't doing it for me) and discovered a path that is bringing about radical empowerment to me. Not ready to talk about it completely, but it is very real, very hopeful, and very personal. My marriage remains strong. My personal life stronger. My its been in years and years. My finances...aacchh! Still suck...but we buy stuff like we had lots of money, so damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead. 2010 will bring further resolution and clarity in this probably see you in bankruptcy court. I know probably no-one has read this. If you do, at least sign in below in the comment section, let me know someone cares, someone pays attention. Please. I am so desperate for affirmation from someone. I am so alone. All I want is a friend.