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 A Refreshing Mint for the Breath of the Dragon 1 comment
picture 10 Apr 2008 @ 16:48
[excerpted from DoingIt!, July, 2006]

Right now
rampant and increasing anger, fear and uneasiness
is causing the "beast"
to stir.

In a secluded glen of old forest, where the hoot owl’s cry and the concept of time is muffled by a blanket of moss and diffused through an aura of magic, Merlin councils young Arthur on the spectre of… the dragon.

I must have seen and read as many versions of the tales of King Arthur in my life as anyone not currently role-playing or serving up oversized turkey legs to tourists at some Medieval Knights buffet attraction. And the mysterious concept of the dragon—everpresent, ethereal force—has always intrigued me as one of the legend’s most potent archetypes.

People within the lore are always working to understand or tame the dragon, or at least to work out a chivalrous gentleman’s agreement whereby the tiny hamlet is not in so much peril of being razed by the dragon’s breath. Yet while understanding it as a force to be reckoned with few within or outside of the yellowed pages of these stories have ever really gotten a handle on articulating what it is exactly.

Well I got a glimpse of the workings of the dragon this weekend, and feel it has immense relevance for us all at this time, for it is raising its ugly head—fueled off of the fearful energies of a good number of us—and only we have the power to calm it.

The dragon is a living, metamorphosing, waxing, waning force, alive by definition as is fire by most scientists’ pre-requisites of life. It is the collective consciousness on one level, and on another we are also able to disengage and observe and work from within it.

We are each part of it. Our emotions fuel it.  More >

 Things Better Left Unsaid: Checks and Balances on Being a Smarty-Pants1 comment
picture 10 Apr 2008 @ 00:40
[excerpted from DoingIt!, March, 2006]

“We teach… what we most need to learn.” This concept was brought up again in my life a few months ago by a dear friend and brother, and it has really been working on me. As such, a lot of corollaries of this tenet have been presenting themselves as layers and layers of its wisdom unfold.

Where I believe I am in possession of enough life wisdom and experience, and am of a mind to drop breadcrumbs along the paths of others as they have been left for me… I often seek moments and openings where something I believe I know might help another.

I feel I do a decent job at crafting these toasted gluten cubes positively, and work to deliver them without causing the other to feel accused, judged or nauseous [I season lightly and bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes]. “Speak to the highest in another and that is what will respond” was the lesson of another teacher I long ago took to heart.

But of late I have gotten a glimpse of another style of my intentionality where others are concerned: What if I take all those things I want to say… and don’t say them?  More >

 Distillation of the Peak Experience5 comments
picture 8 Apr 2008 @ 15:55
[excerpted from DoingIt!, July, 2005]

As sort of a part II to last month’s article written from the place of “in the soup” in the wake of the France trip, I wanted to delve into what I consider some common nuances of peak moments as I have experienced them—this perhaps as a means of distilling them to the point of being able to reproduce them on a more consistent basis (for all of us).

Where I have, on occasion, written certain pieces for DoingIt! while listening to a piece of music repeatedly (really repeatedly, as in programmed on the cd player or iTunes to just keep playing the same song over and over), my article on France (and this one on the heels of it) was written under the influence of the first track of the “Motorcycle Diaries Soundtrack”. “Apertura” is a kind of sweeping piece that slowly builds from sparse acoustic guitar strains to bold passages that feel to me like—flying, having broken free of a body, triumphant, liberated… in other words, in that unfettered place I have been in about all of the peak experiences of my life, whether back to the fast downhill bike rides or swingset incidents of my youth; near weightless immersions into pools, lakes or oceans; peak sexual experiences; the epiphanies of various healing excursions; or other mind-altering events of pure and natural causes.

I have to believe that such places are common to the experience and memory of each of us. They are individual expressions of where we get to on the wings of divine revelation, artistic fervor, from the runner’s high to the symphony to that crème brulee’ or event that takes you out… for whatever timeframe… and remind us that perhaps beyond or underlying the individual aspects… is the more profound common creative source point to which we all yearn to return.  More >

 What's Working-- the Power of the Pressure Cooker1 comment
picture 8 Apr 2008 @ 15:39
[excerpted from DoingIt!, July, 2005]
["What's Working" is a regular feature from the magazine-- that includes uplifting accounts, success stories, etc.]

One of my favorite teachers is Sandra Ingerman. She continues to be one of the most authentic, intentional, powerful yet basically egoless people I have met. Her “Medicine for the Earth” book and workshops are causing much positive change to be initiated in the world by any who wish to contribute to transformation and transmutation of toxins, internal or external in the world, on however large a scale to which one might commit.

Once, in a class I attended, she introduced the concept of allowing the “spiritual pressure” to build in oneself during a peak experience. I found myself really drawing upon this lesson recently, during work of my own that broke me through to a deeper connection with Spirit in my own life (outward manifestation) and a greater awareness of who I am and what I came here to be and do (inward manifestation).

In using the example of a Native American power dance—in which one sits still, invokes spirit, listens to the power of the beating drum, and waits to see if a power song will come— Sandy conveyed how any rocking of the body or making of sounds or squirming by participants… would most likely dissipate the energy attempting to come forth, and ultimately lessen or prohibit that experience.  More >

 In the Soup in the Wake of France0 comments
picture 8 Apr 2008 @ 15:18
[excerpted from DoingIt!, June, 2005]

“Let the World Change You…
and You Can Change the World.”
-- from the DVD menu of “The Motorcycle Diaries”

Place. A sense of place can impress itself upon us whenever we give it a chance. It can be a familiar spot we visit each day, or one faraway, but it needs a still and willing audience to allow it to do its magic. Place needs to be in partnership with one willing to see things differently, one willing to hang out with those differences for however long their significance takes to reveal itself.

“In the Soup”. A place I feel myself consciously walking through on occasion, when numerous related or unrelated events are working, swirling, congealing, sometimes inter-connecting like random puzzle pieces, some passing through consciousness without perhaps tying into the whole, others striking certainty broadside, most not the moments or snippets one would believe would be the life-altering ones.

It is a space I feel coming on slowly, as a reality or awareness incrementally dissolving into the fore, as pre-conceived notions, in agreement, fade to black. Food I eat, paths I walk, stimulus I feed upon—all are dictated by “the soup”, and my willingness to comply, built on the trust that this process has always yielded consistent value, benefit and context to my being. Sometimes these bouts lead to epiphanies and changes in the contours of the map that is my life; others glance off and veer tangentially, having served as feints, teases, the odd red herring… or time-released conclusions only to achieve their maximum strength and effect at later dates.

The symptoms of oncoming or ongoing excursions “in the soup” can include: lightheadedness, flashing light from hidden corners of the mind, the awareness of a deepened heartbeat, a lump in the throat, welling of tears of any sort in the corner of the eyes, a steadfast and reverent breathing/walking/ attention, ever-cautious of continuing to “get out of the way of it”. They can portend of exhilaration, resonance, clearing; dark emotions resolving themselves into new dawns or starry skies; stillness in the face of awe or a knowing that any movement—physical or mental—might upset the delicate balance needed for fragile and tentative meaning to slip from whatever other world into this, from the sigh of potential into wispy existence.  More >

 With Liberty and no "Just Us": Oodles of Opportunity in a 50-50 World0 comments
picture 7 Apr 2008 @ 23:12
[excerpted from DoingIt!, April, 2005]

It seems much of the world has brought itself to a state of either-or.

Blue/liberal/democrat state or red/conservative/republican . My “one” religion or your blasphemous, misguided, imposter religion. Sadly, much possibility, variety, imagination, toleration has gone out the window for an us vs. them (U.S. vs. them), dug-in, black and white mentality. And we’re just the ones to clear it up. In this I see an immense opportunity.

“All living souls welcome
whatever they are ready to cope with;
all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous
and wrong, or deny to be possible."
--George Santayana

"Let us welcome controversial books and controversial authors."
-- John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Where the world we all knew innately as children-- fueled by (questionably authentic) parental urgings to “play nice with others”-- was full of unlimited potential, novelty and worth based on all of the diverse people, creatures and opportunities “God” put on Earth in all “His” Glory, Omniscience and Bounty…

… somehow some of us have come to believe that:  More >

 (Enthusiasm) A Good Problem to Have17 comments
picture 7 Apr 2008 @ 19:29
Maybe I am just a numbskull. I have a problem… but I believe it is a good one. I love it and hate it. It is the best and worst of me. In all of it there doesn’t seem to be a resolution. A minor war rages within. And it’s cool with me, most of the time.

It’s just that I get interested, enthused and excited… about everything. Well, many things. This has contributed to me being a jack of all trades, master of none. It keeps me perpetually interested in learning something new. It has me jumping from thing to thing. It makes me question my focus. It helps me to be a good “big picture person”, but to also appreciate and admire the “detail people”. It got me a shot once on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” with Regis. And I know enough to be dangerous on a lot of subjects, but am never really able to craft detailed arguments and stories that don’t ramble or ping-pong into all kinds of other areas. It helps me “get” the references in just about any Dennis Miller rant and to understand the nuances within most comedy and appreciate a lot of Charlie Rose interviews. It’s a real pisser when it comes down to answering someone’s question of, “So, what to you do?”

When listening to music I want to immerse into this genre and be able to play each instrument that comes forward with a solo… until the next song, that is of a different genre and highlights other instruments. On Saturday mornings I can find myself switching between the Topeka and Kansas City PBS stations, delving into the garden shows, home improvement shows, art classes, quilting shows, and cooking shows… and to then chastise myself for having spectated the morning away as opposed to having participated in one of these or any of my other interests during the same period. I think I sometimes freeze amidst maybe too many choices. At times I hear the echo of my feisty, New Yorker roommate from Annapolis, chiding me to, “Do something… even if it’s wrong.”

This universal interest in things makes me lose myself in front of a magazine rack or in a bookstore or on internet searches that take me from A to D to J and back to B, and 12:45 to 4:30 pm, without my having known how I got moved around the gameboard.

“Fires can't be made with dead embers,
nor can enthusiasm be stirred by spiritless men.
Enthusiasm in our daily work lightens effort and
turns even labor into pleasant tasks."
-- James Arthur Baldwin

"Catch on fire with enthusiasm
and people will come for miles to watch you burn."
-- John Wesley

“Charisma is the transference of enthusiasm."
-- Ralph Archibold
 More >

 I'm Not Going to Let it Bother Me Tonight1 comment
picture 7 Apr 2008 @ 18:32
[excerpted from DoingIt!, November, 2004]

I pull back from the immediacy of the world and try to sense what is in the wind. I do this a lot, and have sensed it as an especially important task these past days in putting the presidential election (the lead-up and now in the aftermath) and pulse of the country in perspective in these weird times.

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”
-- Hunter S. Thompson

I feel the swing of the pendulum of popular opinion. It is always in motion. It signals the ebb and flow of the tide of the collective consciousness. It foreshadows times of embracing more light and periods more intent on hiding from that light.

These days the pendulum of morality is swinging back, the tide of fear is washing in, attempting to hold us to dry land and ward off increased attempts to test the depths of the waters of our truest (and greatest) nature. Ironically, the moral backlash taking hold in our society… is a direct response, proportionate to equally great fear… of realizing exactly that which would lead us to removal of all such fear. Not so ironically, history repeats itself and the pendulum has returned on its appointed rounds, such as it has as any given civilization or culture arrived at the dawn of a new age, a new paradigm, change seemingly for the better, but change nonetheless.  More >

 Acts of Faith, Authenticity and their Repercussions0 comments
picture 7 Apr 2008 @ 18:08
[excerpted from DoingIt!, September, 2004]

Faith is the strength by which
a shattered world shall emerge into the light.
~~ Helen Keller

Without faith, nothing is possible.
With it, nothing is impossible.
~~ Mary McLeod Bethune

To one who has faith, no explanation
is necessary. To one without faith,
no explanation is possible.
~~ St. Thomas Aquinas

I have taken to looking at the various hurdles and obstacles that have been popping up in my life… as stress tests of the mettle of the ongoing acts of faith I have committed to.

I figure such tests wouldn’t even be popping up… if I wasn’t even enrolled in the class! So there’s my slick way of welcoming little annoyances and irritations, temporary pitfalls and some real humdingers-- as gold stars and smiley-face stickers on exercises completed satisfactorily; my version of “God doesn’t create challenges we don’t already have the skill to overcome”.

Any act of faith, by definition, requires a stretching beyond what is known to our small selves to be possible… into the realm of hope and belief that it must be so. Such acts are not safe (for our “small selves”), involve change and never leave you the same as you were prior to taking the leap.  More >

 What I Know is Possible1 comment
picture 7 Apr 2008 @ 16:56
[excerpted from DoingIt!, June, 2004]

If the doors of perception were cleansed
everything would appear to man as it is,
-- William Blake

Okay, so here it is. Without a bunch of hedging and hemming and hawing. Send your inner monologue, your cynical side, the jaded, protector pieces of yourself out for a cup of coffee. Better yet, let them listen: these aspects of ourselves have often been standing in the fire and holding the dream even more tenaciously than our warmer, fuzzier sides.

This is the put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is part of the show. The be-careful-what-you-wish-for-because-you-might-just-get-it, crank-it-up-a-notch, step-up-to-the-plate-and-swing-for-the-fence reason for being here. We are about to reveal the man behind the curtain. We are all about to deliver on a promise made long ago.

In a nutshell--

All we all want… from our deepest levels of yearning… is to connect. To know we are seen and received and understood. To know we belong. To feel we’ve returned home. Each of us has had access to a place within ourselves that knows exactly what this looks and feels like; that is the barometer of how close we are in a given moment, and the homing device that adjusts our course ever closer to this unseen, but ever-present idea of home.

Each of us made a conscious agreement to disconnect from that point of knowing for a time (perhaps of lifetimes). Each of us agreed to feel all of the “this is not it” for as long as necessary. Now is the time at which we all agreed we would wake up… and claim “it”.

 More >

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