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.

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.