Even in absurdity, sacrament. Even in hardship, holiness. Even in doubt, faith. Even in chaos, realization. Even in paradox, blessedness
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Hey, original t-shirts for sale!
bird on the moon weblog
all the pictures
call me moonbird
"Life expands or shrinks in proportion to one's courage." ~Anain Nin
UPDATE: Regarding the pain issue,
UPDATE: Regarding the pain issue, I'm going to the doctor tomorrow. I've had some accupressure done, which helped a bit. I have an appointment for massage/cranial sacral therapy and some energy work as well. I'll update the update regarding the doc, but the most likely scenario is maxillial sinusitis for the face and possibly a pinched nerve in the back.
Thanks to everyone who's been pulling for me.
Looting spreads through Port-au-Pince amid
Looting spreads through Port-au-Pince amid reports that US troops forced Aristide out, and another first hand report from American volunteer Renee, working in Fermathe, a few miles up the mountain from the capital. What follows is a condensed email forwarded to me.
Well, I guess most of you heard by now that Aristide has left the country. I don't know if this is a good thing. I don't know that this is a bad thing... What comes next, who is in charge, will this calm tensions, and many other questions remain to be asked and, hopefully, answered. It is too soon to predict what happens now. I hope and pray this placates the opposition and is accepted without violence by Aristide's supporters and that new arguments and bloodshed don't come from it.
Good News [via MeFi] Scientists
Good News [via MeFi]
Scientists all round the world today went home for a nice cup of tea after a revolutionary breakthrough explained everything. The new unified theory (NUT) unites science and religion, explains genetics, the origin of the universe, quantum phenomena, and provides the first instant cure for a hangover in human history.
"Pain as Sacrament"
For this moment, it has subsided... the mysterious pain that has rooted itself below my left eye, a drilling and subversive pain that has upturned my world temporarily. This reprieve is a sanctuary, and the sanctuary is the stillness in my body, reverting to the relative normal. It's a time to think, and thank. This strange visitor has brought with it a teaching, in fact, many.
To feel is a blessing, for feeling is the hallmark of animate consciousness. All that we do is based upon perceptions acquired through processing information. My body has decided to relay information in a concise and immediate way. For that I'm grateful, even as I cradle my face and ask why, oh why, and what, oh what. Pain re-invites you into body awareness- it stops the walking brain and clothes it with skin, muscle, sinew, ligaments and blood. We are often our own greatest mystery, from our surface to dark and warm interior to the periphery of the soul; understanding does not come through peeling it all back but pulling it all together.
Whatever has set a brushfire to my facial nerves, thank you, albeit with hesitation. Though I wince in your presence, you are a covenant that submits me into the raw animus of being. Each twinge is a silent clarion to the ultimate destination we all face, all endure, all transmute... no matter how trivial or quaint. Pain is part of the pilgrim's progress, part of the bargain of life, and the reasoning is just. A life without pain of some kind just isn't possible; no ignorance or Utopian ideal can offset the fundamental nature of our biologic selves.
For the moment, I'll accept this reprieve. Maybe the pain will even take this opportunity to leave. If so, I certainly won't miss it. But I'll embrace the experience as a sacrament, something that reunited the chronically separated ideas of body, mind and spirit. Ecstasy does the same thing, and on the continuum of experience are not distant neighbors. But pain is a struggle, a desperate jaunt through the complex matrices that compel our days forward or screech them to a halt, a force to be revered. Not that I invite pain like I would ecstasy but I invite the lesson and the knowledge it bears, as I bid it to leave that I may examine that which has gone awry.
Your work is done, now let me heal.
Embattled Aristide 'leaves Haiti' Mr
Mr Aristide is said to be on his way to neighbouring Dominican Republic from where he will seek asylum, according to news agencies in Haiti.
UPDATE: I've been told by my local Haitian friend Ivan that the rebels have seized the Sisters of Mercy charity hospital in Port-au-Prince. This disturbs me; it's a children's hospital, and is likely being plundered for it's medical supplies while the children who suffer greatly go without. Please keep these innocent and helpless children in your thoughts.
Warm breeze on cool night
An appointed hour
I want to ask you
Before you, awestruck;
'It's OK, I'm on the
Hundreds of healthy people in Africa, Cambodia and two U.S. cities will begin taking doses of a powerful AIDS drug as part of a series of studies into the use of medicine to stop HIV infection before it starts.
The art of abstraction: 'the
The art of abstraction: 'the idea that anyone who creates anything is a hacker.'
Almost everyone can and should be a hacker, according to the curators of a new exhibition on the fine art of hacking at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina SofŪa in Madrid, Spain. Alongside the museum's collection of masterpieces by Picasso and DalŪ, Hackers: The Art of Abstraction explores the connections between hackers, artists and anyone engaged in any kind of creative work, an idea that the curators of the show say was inspired by McKenzie Wark's The Hacker Manifesto.
I've been having some very
I've been having some very strange problems with pain lately. The other night, my right leg kept me up half the night with a grinding, flashing pain. At the same time, a space below my left eye was radiating a massive amount of a similar quality of pain. Not much medicine-wise works against it. So, I'm researching pinched nerves and like things today to nail down a possible cause. Any doctors in the house?
Pair of comets set for
Each comet is currently visible in telescopes. Scientists can't say for sure how bright they will get, but there is some optimism that both might reflect enough sunlight to be visible to the unaided eye at the same time.
WOOHOO! California gay weddings can
California's Supreme Court has refused a request from the state's attorney general to halt gay weddings... On Friday, 21 gay and lesbian couples exchanged vows at a village hall in New Paltz, New York.
"Wisdom of Brokenness"
The way to be whole, he told me, is to be shattered;
Ridiculous & Lame Attempt to Bug Me
The game is on; as I type, a comment-spam bot is raiding this site. There's been 50 'unnatural' 'comments' today thusfar. I never bothered to do the MT patch since this was never an issue before. My bandwidth is very obviously rising like yeast in Hell's Kitchen.
And spammer, listen up; no one will buy your penis pills by clicking a link near your phony name. I feel very sorry for the one poor shlub out of a million that indeed comes through and buys your drek. C'mon, have a little ingenuity. Sell lemonade for Chrissakes. Learn how to make a sandwich. You already have some tech-savvy, why don't you get a job doing tech support at AOL? You'll love it.
Gay-tolerant societies prosper economically [via
Gay-tolerant societies prosper economically [via MeFi]
Research... shows that the big new-ideas and cutting-edge industries that lead to sustained prosperity are more likely to exist where gay people feel welcome. Most centers of tech-based business growth also have the highest concentrations of gay couples. Conversely, major areas with relatively few gay couples tend to be slow- or no-growth places.
Spot the irony: US promises
Spot the irony: US promises 'safer' landmines
"Rebellion in the Bones"
Behold the contrast revealed by the rising blue of morning
As the light ascends, the visitor recedes
Port-au-Prince braces for attack What
What follows is a portion of an email sent out by an American working at St. Joseph's Home for Boys, where I stayed last April for my all-to-brief visit in Haiti. I can't stop thinking about that home and the Delmas neighborhood, and pray that no violence comes to them.
The rebels are talking about moving on Port-au-Prince next and Aristide supporters have put roadblocks up around the capital to try and stop them. But, nothing has happened yet.
There are lots of rumors flying around though. Any of you have been in Haiti before aren't surprised at that.
I'm listening to the rumors, but for now I am getting most of my information off of CNN and the internet, just like most of you. That is not the most comforting or reliable way to get the news, as I am sure you have experienced. I spent one report on CNN today yelling at the television.
So...it seems as if we are in a time of limbo. Not sure what is going to happen and when something will happen.
Life is very much the same here. Michael [the founder of St. Joseph's] was up at Wings [also founded by Michael, a residence for developmentally disabled children] today and he said things are normal in Petionville. It is very quiet in Fermathe, as always. I walked up to the market area this afternoon to get a pate and the woman I always buy from looked at me a little surprised and said, "Oh, you didn't leave." The sounds of Karnival have filled the last few nights...
Golden Silence? Two years ago
Two years ago it was Afghanistan. Last year it was Iraq. This year? Massachusetts, San Francisco, and Sandoval County, New Mexico -- the all-new "axis of evil."
But wait, there's more! Thanks to Christopher Monks at Utter WonderFor a much needed belly laugh: Dungeons and Dragons, The Homophobic Edition!
Militant Homosexuals: "Easy to spot by their flamboyant shirts and/or butchy haircuts, Militant Homosexuals are increasing in numbers faster than heterosexual bunnies. With a total disregard for public decency and an insistence on kissing each other in public, MHs will stop at nothing to "marry" one another or hold impromptu Cher impersonation contests."
Backwards driver's peace mission An
An Indian taxi driver is planning to drive to Pakistan in reverse to help establish peace between the nuclear rivals. Harpreet Devi, from the state of Punjab, has been driving in reverse for two years. And he has even mortgaged his house to pay for the Pakistan trip. It is all part of his "reverse philosophy," built around his experiences since the day his car broke down. ...[the] idea of it was "that you can improve a situation by going into reverse."
Haitian rebels advance on Port-au-Prince
Eternal Egypt [via dangerous meta]
Eternal Egypt [via dangerous meta]
At first slightly confusing, this website guides you through the types and histories of Egyptian artifacts.
Can religion be blamed for
Are religion and religious differences to blame for war and conflict? Many war leaders have claimed to have God on their side, but should religion get the blame? A "War Audit"... investigates the links between war and religion through the ages.
That's not playing by the
That's not playing by the rules, ol' chap: UK spies 'bugged UN's Kofi Annan'
British spies were bugging UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's office in the run up to the Iraq war, former UK cabinet minister Clare Short has claimed.
> :: Burroughs Special ::"
But Pan lives on in the realm of imagination. In writing, painting, and music. Look at van Gogh's Sunflower's, writhing with pretentious life. Listen to the Pipes of Pan in Jajouka. Now Pan is neutralized, framed in museums, entombed in books, and relegated to folklore. But art is spilling out of its frames into subway graffiti. Will it stop there?
[kinda sorta via MeFi]
"The Passion of Christ" Disturbs
They said the movie... deviated in bizarre ways from the Gospel accounts, fell flat emotionally and was numbingly violent. The Christians said they had been dismayed to see the inspiring prophet Jesus reduced to a mere victim. The Jews said they were horrified to see the Jewish high priests rendered as bloodthirsty schemers demanding Jesus' death over the protests of a sympathetic Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor.
Only in the Land of
Only in the Land of the Mouse: Slavery Alive and Well in Florida
Modern-day slavery is alive and well in Florida, the head of a human rights center said Tuesday as it released a report on people forced to work as prostitutes, farmworkers and maids across the state. Human traffickers bring thousands of people into the United States each year and Florida is believed to be one of the top three destinations, along with New York and Texas...
Rolicking and raucus MeFi
Rolicking and raucus MeFi thread on lil' Georgie's feeble attempt to introduce bias and prejudice into the Constitution for the first time in US history. Way to go, ***hole,
I awoke early this morning to set up church (the term is used very loosely) for Ash Wednesday. I found that someone had smashed our glass door with tremendous force, and stole a bottle of spare change we use for the relief organization Spare Change. This was a very surreal scene. Of course, nothing can really be done. Other than ponder the motivations of those so desparate that they would go to such extremes for a few dollars at best.
Again, the theme of hunger continues...
The party stumbles into ashes of atonement
It is in the severe light of a cold morning
I revel in these old rites though sin confounds me;
Daily we divine with bacchanalian delight
Why wait, O Beloved?
We'll seek our recompense in the rising sun.
I got my settlement today,
I got my settlement today, and woo-hoo kiddies, the $13.86 isn't enough to buy a new CD! Irony? Nah.
Over a hundred vivid images
Over a hundred vivid images from last year's Carnaval in Haiti. Hopefully next year, they will celebrate again.
So cool; I was just interviewed by my local public radio station for a special report they're doing on local and world-wide hunger, tied to this week's Hunger Banquet that I emcee on Friday. I was rather nervous going into it, but once in front of the mic, the smooth juice started to flow and I think I built a pretty strong case for local hunger action. They'll be taping the banquet on Friday, and hopefully air the story within the next few weeks...
Big Chief says tradition drives
Since 1947, Big Chief Allison "Tootie" Montana, 78, of the Yellow Pocahontas tribe in New Orleans, has continued a family tradition he traces back at least 140 years. Through designing and constructing a new suit almost every year of the 50 he spent masking, Montana has helped to keep the history of Mardi Gras Indians alive.
The Autism Quotient ...autism... may
...autism... may not be a simple on/off condition. Its symptoms -- including difficulties with social interaction and a disinclination to make eye-contact -- exist on a continuum. In other words, although it's impossible to be a little bit pregnant, it may be possible to be a little bit autistic....
Hunt for ancient human molecules
New technologies may soon allow scientists to identify some of the genes of humankind's oldest ancestors.
Celebrating the Rebirth of Psychedelic
Is this higher intelligence (i.e. enlightement, satori, samadhi, zen) a product of our evolving brain opening new experiential neurological circuits, OR is there some kind of "objective" higher intelligence in the universe who we are starting to tune into, OR both?
Far from the mad crowd
There is almost certainly a spectrum from sanity to madness, and different kinds of madness are not discrete from each other. Overall, 60 per cent of people who meet the strict criteria for one mental illness also meet those for another. This hardly suggests a watertight schema.
The Colorful German Festival of
The Colorful German Festival of Fasching
Well, it's Fasching time again - Southwestern Germany's peculiar mix of Catholic Carnival and ancient pagan Rites of Spring all rolled into one. Where we live, in the deepest, darkest part of Germany - the Black Forest - it goes on for the whole week leading up to Lent (falling some time at the end of February, beginning of March, depending on the church calendar for that year). Revelers adorn themselves with elaborately wood-carved masks, which are passed down from generation to generation, and are transformed into witches and devils, forest trolls and swamp ghosts, who will take to the streets to "sweep" winter away, shouting, Naree! Naro!
Very Scary: Leaked Pentagon report
The report... concluded: "Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life.... Once again, warfare would define human life."
I'm afraid that this might
I'm afraid that this might be a case of too little, too late: Aristide Agrees to Haiti Peace Plan
As thousands of looters rampaged through Cap-Haitien Sunday, rebel leader Guy Philippe predicted a quick victory over Aristide's partisans, who sought to block any advance by erecting flaming barricades on the highway into the capital, Port-au-Prince, from the north. "I think that in less than 15 days we will control all of Haiti," Philippe said at a Cap-Haitien hotel as he swigged from a bottle of beer.
I'm also a bit disturbed that, so far, only France has agreed in principle to send in a peacekeeping mission. The international community has been watching this carnage, sitting on their hands, talking plenty but not doing a single thing, not even dispatching relief and medical supplies to the affected areas. If this violence escalated, there could be an all-out collapse in Haitian society, at a cost far greater than peacekeepers, supplies, or the milquetoast peace agreements put forward by generally apathetic neighbors who have the power to stop this.
Tonight I'm going to see
Tonight I'm going to see Steve Martin's "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" on it's closing night. I've been waiting to see this play forever. Ah, sweet serendipity intrervened, and I found myself with a ticket extended.
Iran's bloggers fear clampdown "We
"We always wear masks in our society." said Lady Sun, who started her blog in November 2001 and later married one of its readers. "This is a place to take them off."
Our eternal self, whatever it
This history of the soul begins by reminding us what a let-down our bodies are: they fall apart sooner than they should, they only live once and they're wracked by a series of unhealthy passions and desires. It's as a way of compensating for many of our frailties - Rosalie Osmond suggests - that people have throughout time been so drawn to the concept of a soul.
Mammals 'choose' sex of offspring
Experts from Edinburgh and Oxford Universities have found that some species are capable of influencing whether to produce sons or daughters.
Very sad: Great Barrier Reef
The brightly-coloured corals that make Australia's Great Barrier Reef one of the world's natural wonders will be largely dead by 2050 because of rising sea temperatures, according to a report released Saturday.
Fascinating account: Journal of a
Fascinating account: Journal of a Schizophrenic
I first started hearing voices when I lived in Chapel Hill, NC... I lived in a great big house with 6 other people, and there was a pool table in the garage. No one else was around - I'd always liked being by myself a little - when I heard someone call my name. I looked around and didn't see anyone; I walked outside and couldn't find anyone. I chalked it up to overactive imagination and went back to the table.
We All Say 'I Do'
As is often the case, words fail and flail in inarticulation when facing the joy and pride I feel right now with this tidal wave of love that's rolling across our collective conscience from the Golden City, San Fransisco. Our movement has finally come of age, as I was telling a friend last night. We're beginning to reach the top of the wheel, a place where our sexual identity will no longer matter. That point may still be a very long way off for us all, but with this last week in history, we've seen glimpses of the promise of that day. The point is for us to realize the original idea of this nation; to become a bastion of universal rights. With that, we are aware of the responsibilities, and accept them with honor, as thousands this week have pledged to their spouses for life, clutching roses sent by strangers from far away.
I'm overcome with happiness today. May all those tears of joy shed by the thousands of newlyweds be as a wellspring for transformation of a society too long accustomed to prejudice and fear. The time has come, and may we all say 'I do.'
The streets reflect the light you give them
Domino effect: Dozens line up
Domino effect: Dozens line up for gay weddings in New Mexico county
Gay and lesbian couples lined up to tie the knot today in this northern New Mexico town after the county clerk agreed to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples, joining San Francisco. Roughly 15 couples had been granted licenses by late morning, the Sandoval County clerkís office said. A sign-up list for applications had grown to 38 couples.
UPDATE: Is Chicago next?
Huh. The monitor has decided
Huh. The monitor has decided to heal itself. I was busy making contingency plans for another. Good thing I checked first.
It's funny how much we rely on technology, and how one little slip can send big or little worlds a'reeling.
It is Friday: Can semen
It is Friday: Can semen cure the blues?
A researcher says male ejaculate may act as an antidepressant -- but other scientists aren't swallowing his theory.
Cambodian king backs gay marriage
Cambodia's King Norodom Sihanouk has shown that advancing years are no barrier to an open mind and liberal attitude.
It's always something. My monitor
It's always something. My monitor is for some reason only showing a small fraction of my screen. I'm going to take the computer into work and try out a few different monitors, to determine whether it's my new sweet little computer-wooter, or if the five year old monitor has gone on the fritz. PLease, O Holy Mother of Silicon, let it be the monitor.
New world found far beyond
Preliminary observations suggest it may be up to 1,800 km across, making it the largest body other than a true planet to be discovered orbiting the Sun.
Happy 31st, Wo!
Happy Birthday, Jen Wo!
Your music and your friendship are dynamic forces that transform and illuminate. Be ever proud in your achievements, even in the humility that contains the vast creativity and spunk that is your name. Be goofy. Be exceedingly goofy. May your laughter herald the awakening of sun and the budding of spring. Know that wherever you saunter toward your destiny, you will always be our mountain girl!
Love always and beyond,
What a great idea: send
What a great idea: send flowers to a random couple waiting in line in SF to get married...
SF to sue California over
After sanctioning more than 2,700 gay marriages in the past week, the city said Thursday it is suing the state of California, challenging its ban on same-sex marriages on constitutional grounds.
"Skipping, Tumbling, Praying Stones"
ďIn the beginning was the stone. It began to roll, and ironically, it gathered moss.Ē
As a child, my pockets were always full of stones. Iíd go to the riverbank, and collect stones for a whole afternoon, on the virtues of their color, size, shape and texture. Stones taught me my first lessons on uniqueness, and finding heaven within remarkably small details. Some of the Ďbestí of those years remain with me, though now itís rare that Iíll keep a stone that has settled along my path. But Iíll pause to bend down, touch, observe, and for a moment hold the cold stillness in my hand, ponder itís millions of years in age, and let it go...
There was a cathartic joy in my youth in tossing rocks into the river and the mudflats, the splat and kerplunk of the Earthís reception was calming to a little boy with much on his still forming and quite confused mind. One day, I remember reading a comic strip where two characters were nestled in a pen and ink equivalent of my little edge of the world. The boy tossed stone as the girl watched, lording over him a bit. She tells him that it took thousands of years for that stone to make it to the point where his grubby little hands found and tossed it, and it would take thousands of years for it to return, if at all. He sighs, suddenly fraught with guilt. I tried to toss a stone that day but couldnít, and had to be content sitting upon them, watching the play of the gulls in a mid-winterís breeze, and the passing of ships, large and terribly complicated, through wild currents of the channel.
Stonehenge, the Kabaa, the Blarney Stone, Dome of the Rock, the Shivalingams of the Bramaputra River, Uluru; these stones and rocks of varying sizes mark points of pilgrimage and create around them a holy space, catalysts of ancient energies and divine messages to the faithful. Like lodestone, they gather to them the iron filings of our veneration and devotion. They seem to transform their landscapes, concave the light and transfix the viewer. We touch, kiss, grapple and clutch them, we smooth them with our passionate fingers or climbing feet. Somehow, these outcroppings and splinters of deeper Earth jab through our liminal awareness and remind the animal within what exactly we are dealing with, the nature of our nature, a crystallization of our base elements into a form that requires great strength to change. Even the mightiest river cannot forge a canyon overnight. Through stories and legends, mere pebbles become attractors of magic, and radiate a power that speaks to the heart in the molten language of itís birth.
Often, if we journey to a sacred (in dogma or personal association) place, we will bring back a stone. If we donít lose it or forget itís origins, when we hold it again, the memory of that place returns. I unfold the satchels of my now meager collection of rocks and travel back to Haiti, the Olympic Peninsula, Hungary, the coast of Maine or even those places I havenít been; Israel, the Antarctic, Guatemala, Outer Space. To anyone else, it may seem like a bozo is on the carpet staring at rocks, to me, my passport is being stamped and Iím far away. I know I cannot prove that these bits of our crust retain the essence of their origin, but they contain the molecular memory from where and whence the were birthed from the soil. How many other hands have traded and revered these stones, became lost or found in their swirls and patterns, and revered them as holy? For whom after me shall these become more than mineral, a life and process not geological but energetic, transformative, universal?
A sweat lodge near here was built on the side of a hill. After the first ceremony was performed, a boulder rolled down the hill and settled on the corner of the east gate. A visiting Chippewa elder said, ďthis stone is a place holder.Ē It keeps the space, like a corner stone, it anchors and affirms it within the environment. Like the Hajiís revolutions around the Kabaa, the world near that hill and the bent saplings that have made a holy space for humans revolves around that tumbled boulder, which in itís excitement, could have demolished or hurt. Instead, it came to rest, and assumed itís duty as a pivot, or axis, between human and the world of which we are comprised but distant in mind, keeping watch over the other stones made red in the fire for our arduous prayers.
Perhaps thatís the attraction we seekers have for the stones; each is a little axis, even a little planet, itself in orbit to the billion year song of the Earth and a nexus for our fleeting time upon it. Why not venerate something far older and seemingly unchanged than our quick-as-blink lives? Contact with such a stone that draws us could be like approaching a god of old times, a stalwart, a strength in times of turmoil (ďMy Lord is a rock in a weary land, glory, halleluia!Ē).
With stones, we heal and hurt. We toss them with Molotov Cocktails over streets of shattered glass and peace, or place them on the body with great care and delicacy, to bejewel and fascinate remind our organism of itís origin. We build temples of them. For stones, we travel far, abroad and within. From a tiniest glittering grain to vast monuments of granite, we place immense value upon them, and the world around these changes through their luster or attached history. We live upon stone, and die upon it, and return to it, even if we havenít returned the stones we picked up along the way. Though not alive as we define it, we are outlived by the famous and common stones, and our lives are woven by some threads of mineral that begin with the Universeís beginning. Our most fundamental connection to the Earth may very well be through a stone that tumbles in our pocket, or by which we leave an offering of ourselves on our holy pilgrimages and ecstatic wanderings upon this slight sphere, skipping across the surface of totality, tossed by a young hand, creating worlds to pass the time.
A very good interview with
What was it Oscar Wilde said? "Someone who knows the price of everything knows the value of nothing." Some things have eternal value, and compassion is one of them. I hope we never lose that.
I would have never guessed
I would have never guessed [half-hearted gasp] Scientists Accuse White House of Distorting Facts
The Bush administration has deliberately and systematically distorted scientific fact in the service of policy goals on the environment, health, biomedical research and nuclear weaponry at home and abroad, a group of about 60 influential scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates, said in a statement issued today.
Traditional knowledge 'in peril'
Forest lore and knowledge passed down over generations by indigenous peoples is open for exploitation by anyone...
I'm pretty under the weather, rather the weather is under me, under my skin, and it's a cold hard rain. Bizarre analogy, I know, but if you had this bug [and knock wood, you don't] you'd understand it. Anyway, not much posting on the creative front as a result, until my brain stops running out my nose.
A wonderful guided meditation on
A wonderful guided meditation on the Labyrinth, via MFi [flash]
The Festival of Shivaratri
Just across the Bagmati river, in a wood, other devotees calmly adopt their yogic postures. Popularly known as the Naga Babas, these mystics are naked. They say being naked is a form of yoga.
Howard, you fought the good
The amazing natural sculpture of
The amazing natural sculpture of Andy Goldsworthy
The screenplay of Harold and
The screenplay of Harold and Maude. Put on some Cat Stevens and have a read.
Venezuela and Haiti: Covert intervention
The story of the Dibbuk
The story of the Dibbuk Haunted Jewish Wine Cabinet Box, formerly for sale on eBay.
I cried as I made
I cried as I made my way through this photo gallery of the SF Queer weddings. Many of these pictures show the partners with their children by their side. The couples are old and young, audacious and no frills, but all very clearly in love and making history.
Poverty 'is world's worst threat'
The leader of Catholics in England and Wales, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, says the biggest challenge confronting the world is not terrorism but poverty.
My fast has officially concluded
My fast has officially concluded at 64 hours, 8 minutes.
Haiti revolt spreads to new
Haiti revolt spreads to new town
"Short Term Famine"
Woo-hoo! I awoke feeling great, other than a touch of bronchitis, and have decided to continue the fast until 11am, or 64 hours, but likely not past that. I have a long drive today for work after lunch and will need all the clarity I can muster for those crazy back-mountain roads.
This has been a wild experience, and far easier than the last time. One thing that you never think about until you're 'in it' is the phasing back in period. You'd think that the body wants to go to town, and indulge in seven courses of solid food. Actually, those first bites are very strange, and the body doesn't want much. Just little portions of soft food. Despite my bold cravings produced in the mind, I've got to do what the body says, for once.
One thing I think fasting does for you is it reconnects the typically jumbled lines of mind-body communication. The way I see it, the mind and body are very much 'one,' but behave as if they're siblings and have their little disputes with themselves. This forces them into survival mode, and they operate optimally to ensure the mechanism's survival. After the fast, you can train yourself to continue with the would-be twos functioning as they naturally should be. Environmental (not ecological, per se), sociological and psychological factors help maintain this false split, and coming out of a fast with a keen awareness of you as a single organism, you have new armor to defend yourself.
Lunch today will be a simple meal of an orange, mashed potatoes and maybe some beans. I'm grateful for the chance to eat as well as I do, and grateful likewise to be in short term famine, to remind me of how so many of our people struggle day to day with hunger. I'll never forget the story I heard in Haiti of how a family would have to take turns eating; once every three days for each member of the family ensured equal distribution. We should be beyond that now. It's the 21st century for Earth's sweet sake, and simulated starvation, such as mine right now, should be the only forms of hunger left. We have the resources, the reasons, everything... we just need to start seriously correcting it now.
That said, it's time to make lunch, a simple enough act. But this time, with mindfulness, with clarity, and with my hope that hunger become a choice rather than a way of life.
"Last Fast Day"
I'm approaching my fasting record, 55 hours, well... fast. I'm at 52 hours now since my last food. I had about 4 ounces of juice to stave off the hypoglycemia, and right now I feel fairly normal. Reaction time physically is slow but my mental awareness seems very sharp. I'm not hungry, but have had to endure some bizarre cravings. Right now, it's mashed potatoes made with sour cream and sprinkled with bleu cheese.
But it's breakfast tomorrow morning, a simple bowl of granola, that will usher eating back in. I'm excited and at the same time very curious as to what my body will have to say regarding this latest adventure.
More along the lines of
More along the lines of a post earlier today: This is your brain in love
Diamond star thrills astronomers Twinkling
Diamond star thrills astronomers
What if Jung and Freud
What if Jung and Freud had an intimate moment?
Notes I've Left on My
Notes I've Left on My Kitchen Appliances as Written by My Kitchen Appliances by utter wonder's Christopher Monks
The fast continues, clocking in
The fast continues, clocking in right now at 37 hours since my last meal. Disorientation and energy are not really issues right now, I'm feeling fairly clear and awake/aware. Work may prove to be a challenge, with our office stocked with junk food and idle time. There are meetings I must be coherent for as well, but with a little extra planning I'll do fine. My dreams were non-stop, and all fairly easy to interpret content. I'll be breaking fast tomorrow around breakfast, naturally, or even longer if my body wants to.
The science of love Over
Over the course of history it has been artists, poets and playwrights who have made the greatest progress in humanity's understanding of love. Romance has seemed as inexplicable as the beauty of a rainbow. But these days scientists are challenging that notion, and they have rather a lot to say about how and why people love each other.
Does everything have to be 'hard wired' these days? If we codify love as an emotion into a simple pulsing of chemicals, where is room for the mystical/spiritual connections we feel when we fall in love? Is it thus invalidated? Certainly not. While I find the scientific approach to this fascinating and equally valid, the root of the feeling is something I believe no scientist could ever dissect, lest they open up their own soul.
Yet again: Hubble sees 'most
Yet again: Hubble sees 'most distant object'
It just keeps getting better and better... NASA has picked a wrong time to end research.
A tribute to Bill Hicks
He was sceptical, scatological, struggling for success on his own terms. Then suddenly life changed for comedian Bill Hicks: his work was being taken seriously - and, at 31, he was dying.My favorite Hicks quote: "I lay in a field of green grass for four hours, going 'my God, I love everything.' The heavens parted, God rained down gifts of forgiveness unto my being, healing me on every level, phycically, physically, emotionally... and I realised our true nature is spirit not body, that we are eternal beings, and God's love is unconditional and there's nothing we can ever do to change that. It is only our illusion that we are seperate from God or that we are alone.In fact the reality is we are one with God and he loves us. Now if that ain't a revolution, I don't know what is!"
(from the classic rant, 'Heaven Comes out of a Cow's Ass')
DMT, Moses, and the Quest
"Right here and now, one quanta away, there is raging a universe of active intelligence that is transhuman, hyperdimensional, and extremely alien... What is driving religious feeling today is a wish for contact with this other universe."
"The Fast Begins"
It's been about 20 hours since my last bite of food. Actually, the last real taste of anything was a wonderful morsel of dark chocolate. My last fast was in September, and for some reason this first day seems much easier. My mental state is a bit flaky, and I'm fighting off a low-grade headache, but in general I'm functioning moderately well. Coming off the sweatlodge was a perfect time to do this; begining ceremony with ceremony. Also, in two weeks, I emcee for the second year Western North Carolina's Third Annual Hunger Banquet. This way, going into it, I'll have a fresh experience of starvation.
Many folks are being very supportive and understanding of this; so far, no one is shoving piping hot pizza in my face, unlike September (they meant well). One thing is for sure; I do want to sleep, very badly, and I have a long rehearsal to get through. But surely, at the soonest opportunity, I will be snoozing off some hunger...
Owl's sight restored with delicate
A great horned owl found starving in the wild because it had gone blind could be released this spring after having new lenses implanted in its eyes.
Owl has been popping up a lot for me lately. During the hottest and most intense round in the sweatlodge yesterday, I had a vision of an owl's face, much like the one in this story, half concealed by a warm darkness. On the altar mound outside the door-flap, I had placed an old totem I have of a half-man half-owl. Bumping into this story reassures me that there is something I've got to learn from these amazing birds...
"Rainbow Over Crossroads"
You rest at an intersection of wagon-wheel tracks, a memory,
Close those eyes that have never stopped witnessing;
I can see you from my soaring place above
You have been tossed into a seemingly pointless trek
O refugee of road,
Pleasantly stranded but in motion...
You leave the criss-crossed ruts that burned the dirt
May the road bear you well
Today we'll be having a
Today we'll be having a much anticipated sweat lodge led by a revered Chippewa elder and storyteller. Following the lodge, we'll have potluck, after which I'll begin my next fast. My goal is 55 hours or bust, or until my body signals that it's ready.
Happy lover's day. Just remember that love isn't just for couples; it's a universal thing, and no single day could dare contain it all.
Origins of Valentine's Day
World Press Photo of the
World Press Photo of the year 2003 by French photographer Jean-Marc Bouju of the Associated Press shows a detained Iraqi man comforting his 4-year-old-son at a regroupment center for POW's near Najaf, Iraq.
Nuances of gay identities reflected
With the universe of gender and sexual identities expanding, a gay youth culture emerging, acceptance of gays rising and label loyalty falling, the gay lexicon has exploded with scores of new words and blended phrases that delineate every conceivable stop on the identity spectrum -- at least for this week.
What if poor nations actually
Indulge in a dream scenario for a moment: Suppose the world awoke tomorrow and, miraculously, every country suddenly enjoyed the same per capita income as the United States, or roughly $40,000 per year.
Sorry, Johnny Boy, looks like
Sorry, Johnny Boy, looks like the party's over.
Tragic, sure, and I don't think a marital indiscretion is anyone's business other than those afflicted. But Kerry is a pandering lobbyist led old school politician who doesn't really belive in anything, and this will likely implode his campaign. Sorry again, Johnny, I really feel for ya, but it was your choice. This will surely pave the way for a real candidate for change. It's not too late.
Remember Howard Dean?
Yes! San Francisco Officials Marry
Totally wild: I think I
Totally wild: I think I just stumbled across an old friend from my childhood while Googlesurfing. Rocky was my closest friend in my very early days; every day we played kid games like 'space pirates' and various twists on superhero themes. I lost touch when he moved out of state...
Now look at him... if that's you, way to go, Rock.
Send in the clones... Scientists
Send in the clones... Scientists Clone Human But Therapies Still Far Off
Metafilter, my primary blogospheric addiction,
Metafilter, my primary blogospheric addiction, has been down since Tuesday... the mystery endures for fellow MeFites, who, devoid of snarky comments and clever witticisms, must be content with other distractions, like the outdoors.
Here's the last known feed...
UPDATE: From the Mefi's group on Flickr.com: "So you might have noticed that mefi has been down. A processor fan died yesterday, shutting down the box due to heat, and refuses to boot again. New fans are being shipped and hopefully things should be back up on Friday or Saturday."
Where time stands still: Hihokan
Once upon a time...ah, lets be exact: In April 1971 Japan's first Hihokan which stands for "House of Hidden Treasures" opened its doors in Awa, Okushima. However, the exhibits where limited to phallic-vulvic altar symbols and intercourse themed antiques as you could see since centuries in bigger Shinto shrines anyway.
Censor 'Scooby-Doo'? Words fail The
The Bush administration has decided that people with bad hearing have bad judgment, too, and need special guidance from the federal government. So the U.S. Department of Education is declaring about 200 television programs inappropriate for closed-captioning and denying federal grant requests to make them accessible to the hearing-impaired.
New star emerges from dust
Such an event has only rarely been recorded by astronomers.
Introduction to Tibetan Orthography I'm
I'm an armchair linguist who knows the Japanese and Korean scripts well, and has a nodding acquaintance with many others. I'm no longer shocked by letters and pieces thereof magically disappearing or changing shape or engaging in shameful public acts with each other. I've come to expect baroque and archaic rules and long lists of exceptions. But Tibetan's pure, shameless, in-your-face weirdness still managed to shock me.
Can't help but wonder about
Can't help but wonder about who's financing John Kerry (who, as of yesterday, lost what little potential confidence I could've had in the pandering Poll-O-Crat).
The mysterious Voynich Manuscript, via
The mysterious Voynich Manuscript, via Reality Carnival.
Debunking the Shrub: Fact vs.
Debunking the Shrub: Fact vs. Fiction in the [p]Resident's recent PR campaign.
Beautiful ceremony: Trees 'married' to
Beautiful ceremony: Trees 'married' to appease rain god.
What would a creature from
What would a creature from another planet really look like?, asks our inquisitive friends at the BBC.
"Real aliens will be very alien indeed," Cohen and Stewart write... Anywhere that physical matter exists and there is an energy source could lead to the development of something of sufficient complexity that we would categorise it as "life".
The Critical Mass of Enlightenment
Out of thousands of seeds only one tree is born. Out of millions of sperm only one flips the ovarian switch to turn on an infant's life. Though the potentials for life are abundant, the critical mass of fulfillment of those potentials is atomically small. The mystics believe the same law works in the evolution of human consciousness. Billions of humans have been born, each carrying within the shell of their personality the potential flower of Christ-consciousness. They are Gaia's near-countless seeds falling upon her earthly cradle. Billions live and die considering themselves blessed if the wings of existence scatter them upon barren, rocky fields of orthodox behavior. Only a tiny proportion of humankind ever reaches a full flowering.
Plants give up their secret
Researchers said they had taken another step toward understanding how plants split water into hydrogen and oxygen atoms -- which may provide a cheap way to produce clean-burning hydrogen fuel.
Mockingbirds, by Mary Oliver In
Mockingbirds, by Mary Oliver
Tree shrines of India, via
Tree shrines of India, via plep.
Three Wise Men may have
The traditional infant Nativity play scene could be in for a drastic rewrite after the Church of England indulged in some academic gender-swapping over the three Magi at its General Synod in London this week. A committee revising the latest prayer book said the term "Magi" was a transliteration of the name used by officials at the Persian court, and that they could well have been women.
Much taboo about nothing Nice
Nice essay about the sexual and artistic urges.
Kerry Confronts Gay Marriage and
Kerry Confronts Gay Marriage and instantly loses the support of a massive voting block. He would support a Constitutional Amendment ™ banning gay marriage if it contained the 'right language.'
Kerry is just another Poll-O-Crat whose only concern is getting elected. He's doing this to beat the 'Massachusets liberal' smear from the right, to appeal to the centrysts. I've been thinking that, with Dean likely out, I'd get behind Kerry if he could beat Bush. So much for all that.
*Whereas two people who've get the licence, sign the dotted line and pay lower taxes is a civil institution. And the problem there is...?
Oxygen `found beyond solar system'
The oxygen naturally exists and is not produced by plant life, as occurs on Earth. But the finding demonstrates that the chemical composition of atmospheres on planets many light-years away can be measured. Scientists believe this could one day lead to the discovery of life on a planet in a distant star system.
Earth's cloud forests threatened Pressures
Earth's cloud forests threatened
The Pentagon's Weather Nightmare Growing
Growing evidence suggests the ocean-atmosphere system that controls the world's climate can lurch from one state to another in less than a decadeólike a canoe that's gradually tilted until suddenly it flips over. Scientists don't know how close the system is to a critical threshold. But abrupt climate change may well occur in the not-too-distant future. If it does, the need to rapidly adapt may overwhelm many societiesóthereby upsetting the geopolitical balance of power.
Christian question alarms flight An
An American Airlines pilot terrified passengers on his flight when he asked Christians to identify themselves and went on to call non-Christians "crazy".
"Burnt Offering Haiku"
To begin again
Until a time comes
Y crackle in the flames
Silence, listen now
US blocks Cuban Grammy nominees
Ibrahim Ferrer, 77, (of the Buena Vista Social Club)told press in... Havana: "I am not a terrorist. I couldn't be one. I am a musician."
More violence in Haiti At
At least three police officers have been killed in bloody fighting with militants on the streets of Haiti's fourth largest city. Rebels seized Gonaives two days ago in a challenge to President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
This is very sad. Being a great lover of Haiti, I've struggled with this situation. I do think it's time for Aristide to either have face-to-face negotiations with the rebels or stand down and allow for UN monitored elections. And no matter what happens, I do plan on going back this summer.
The amazing arabic caligraphy of
The amazing arabic caligraphy of Hassan Massoudy, via Mysterium.
"Falling Back to Grace"
A situation of human politics provoked this mad throught, which made me stop what I was doing to jot it down:
Fellow creatures on this Earth do not 'fall from Grace,' as do the minds of humankind. At worst, they fail to be weary of predators and their lives end in death. Even this yet nurtures the cycle. We invent a million ways to be separated and tossed from goodness, and most of them are only by words. No bird nor wolf would hang their head in shame over a howl or a chirp, as far as we know... the crows and ants do have forms of justice that we've observed, but likely hinge on action rather than delicate systems of social graces. What we need to invent are a million means of validation, affirming our nature, to remind and rejoin us to the Grace and goodness we imagine we are always falling away from.
In the end, life and our love know no gravity.
Zoo's gay penguins ignite
Roy and Silo, two chinstrap penguins at the Central Park Zoo in Manhattan, are completely devoted to each other. For nearly six years now, they have been inseparable. They exhibit what in penguin parlance is called "ecstatic behavior": That is, they entwine their necks, they vocalize to each other, they have sex. Silo and Roy are, to anthropomorphize a bit, gay penguins.
[via digaman at MeFi]
"Dreaming in Poetry"
I just awoke from my rare midday nap, wherein I was told about a long, long lost version of the Bible. An older gentleman (the scholar), his daughter, and I were leafing through it's black and silver ink'd pages and discovering many, many lost chapters: The Dals, The Book of Cuts (whose main analogy was 'the peeling of a worm'), the Taf of Ir and Ur, and Diamedes and Antidiamedes which included a sub-chapter called Identical Pentacles. The daughter flipped randomly and read a passage that was something like this: "Take thou all the wisdom of days gone by and give them to your parents. Take thou the scrolls and books of lost prophets and convey them to your ancestors; let them be as a living feast of saints." She put the book down, turning to her father, and said: "Does that mean that you're now a feast of saints, father?" We all laughed, and that was that. We read on, and I think the more we read the more it was clear that this wasn't anything close to our idea of the bible.
Then, I was 'running' a mile on my back along the road to get some blue candy from the gas station. Very strange. It amazes me what the subconscious mind, if indeed that is the mechanism, can do with it's inherent and usually quiet creativity. Sometimes, the dreaming me is much sharper than the awake and doing things me.
I'm sifting for artifacts
Feeling "horny?" An French gentleman
An French gentleman performs a great variety of musical works with bicycle horns strapped all over his body. WMV file.
Yay! The new computer is
Yay! The new computer is here... with a caveat.
All of the data that the, dare I call him this, computer technician burned from my old computer is corrupted. I have indeed lost nearly everything. He's already sent off the old hard drive for a refund, and has threatened *me* with legal action. What action, I dunno, since I haven't done anything. All of my digical pictures are gone. Music. Writing. Everything is toasted, jumbled, scrambled beyond recognition.
I have some old backups on disk from September, but it's still a far cry from what once was. Yet the sheer, stunning beauty and speed of this new system somehow takes the pain away, or at least sooths it a bit.
The rain hasn't stopped
The storyteller, unable to sleep,
Let's all hold hands, take
Let's all hold hands, take a deep breath, and be in anticipation together: track the delivery progress of my new computer! I will do everthing in my power not to hug the UPS delivery person when they arrive.
Also, your own Jaybird has a 'date' tonight at around 6:30. It's been a very long time since I experienced one of these nerveracking and giddy events.
This month marks Salvador Dali's
This month marks Salvador Dali's 100th birthday.
Rooms of the Mind [via
Rooms of the Mind [via Iconomy]
Cheney's boys were the ones,
Cheney's boys were the ones, appanently:
Federal law-enforcement officials said that they have developed hard evidence of possible criminal misconduct by two employees of Vice President Dick Cheney's office related to the unlawful exposure of a CIA officer's identity last year. The investigation, which is continuing, could lead to indictments, a Justice Department official said.
Lady of Lesbos Poet, courtesan,
Poet, courtesan, bisexual, victim... look beyond the labels for the essence of Sappho
Pigeons' human-like ability to navigate
Homing pigeons are finding their way around Britain by following roads and railways, zoologists claim. They say the birds' natural magnetic and solar compasses are often less important than their knowledge of human transport routes.
An amazing fractal algorithm: "the
An amazing fractal algorithm: "the Buddhabrot set," via MeFi.
It's Wednesday, and there's no
It's Wednesday, and there's no better reason for a night on the town.
Mass. High Court Rules for
The Massachusetts high court ruled Wednesday that only full, equal marriage rights for gay couples - rather than civil unions - are constitutional, clearing the way for the nation's first same-sex marriages in the state as early as May.
Hacking your brain with the
Hacking your brain with the number 6, via boingboing.
World's oldest pilgrim (125 or
World's oldest pilgrim (125 or 132) makes the journey of Hajj.
Oh happy day, New computer
Oh happy day,
The Glass Bead Game [via
The Glass Bead Game [via sTaRe]
Herman Hesse's Nobel Prize Winning Novel, The Glass Bead Game lays the foundations for an Artistic/Conceptual Game, which integrates all fields of Human and Cosmic Knowledge through forms of Organic Universal Symbolism, expressed by its players with the Dynamic Fluidity of Music. The Glass Bead Game is, in Reality, an Age Old metaphor for what has been called, the "Divine Lila" (Play or Game of Life). This metaphor has been expressed by every great Wisdom Tradition known to man, and its players, the Magister Ludi (Masters of the Game), use as their instruments Ancient and Modern modes of Symbolic Wisdom traditionally presented through Sacred Art, Philosophy, Magick and Cosmology.
Japanese Phrases You'll Need to
Against All Odds The first
The first great human-rights campaign -- the movement to end slavery in the British Empire -- had no business succeeding. But the legacy of its extraordinary achievement lives on today.
Another day, another North Carolina
Another day, another North Carolina ice storm. It doesn't actually look that bad out there, but as usual schools have surrendered. The birds are pecking all over for anything, but the ice is pretty thick. Alas, I still must go to work, like the burds, and peck through some thick ice for seed.
Six year olds review classic
Sophie He sounds like he's just smelled something really bad, like cat poo.
Holly Bums on sticks.
Ben It's great. I actually really like it.
Follow-up: Groundhog booed as he
Follow-up: Groundhog booed as he sees his shadow
Yeah, that's smart. Critisize him. He's got the power, y'know.
I am unusually hyper and
I am unusually hyper and jumpy for some reason today.
Football festival aids elephants Almost
Almost 100 elephants have taken part in a football game in India as part of an annual festival aimed at encouraging locals to protect the animals.
US officials knew in May
Senior American officials concluded at the beginning of last May that there were no weapons of mass destruction... in Iraq
(Feigns great surprise)
Yup, it's Groundhog day today
Yup, it's Groundhog day today here in America. Incidentally, it's also the first birthday of .:bird on the moon:.
Here's the very first week. Thanks readers for making this so much fun for me. (big sloppy morning kiss)
Ok, I think I've solved
Ok, I think I've solved the nightmarish computer dilemma; there are a million great Dells up on that virutal streetcorner of consumer crack, Ebay, and far cheaper than their outlet store. Cheaper than the other brands, that are apparently below Dell in the echelon of quality. Once my direct deposit goes through Tuesday at midnight, it's be like Vegas all over again. Sigh...
Sometimes, posts like this are just trolling for validation. Tell me I'm a good boy even though I've been looking at computers on an auction site for how many hours? Sheesh.
Haitian president lays groundwork for
Aristide said at a news conference Saturday night that the group established a framework for continued negotiations with a March deadline for concrete actions. Such actions would include a temporary electoral council that would allow for new parliamentary elections by midsummer, Aristide said.
Following the lead of Mossy,
Following the lead of Mossy, I took the Belief-o-matic quiz, which I haven't done in years. Mahayana Buddhism has outpaced Unitarian- Uinversalism and Liberal Quakers, with Neo-Pagan and Taoism edging up New Thought and Hinduism.
1.† Mahayana Buddhism (100%)
The life-or-death struggle with the coked up computer "technician" goes into it's second week today. The interrim computer he put together to appease my ire crashed last night while backing up data from my old hard drive. So, still no data and a big cold lump on the floor awaiting service or junking. Again, the Award for Prestigious Service in a Pinch goes to this blueberry IMac from 1999. No longer a 'spare' computer, it's proven it's worth.
The "technician" just called and wants the box. Another trip... this time, he'd better honor his guarantee and buy me a new computer like he's been saying. If no, I might just... say a bad word or two.
UPDATE: Well, I walk in and he hands me a check for $500. Nice. Now what about my data? He says he can't get it off the harddrive. C'est la vie. He wants to open up a dress shop. Big money there, yada x2. HUH? Can't get my data? He begins to berate me for not backing up, which I was just about to do when it shut down, and says if I want to pay $1000 he could send it to a place where they can do 'that sort of thing.' Otherwise, he says I might be f***d. A technical term, mind you. He built and warenteed that computer, so if he really means what he says, I can arrange that he writes another check in that amaount if he can't get the job done right.
UPDATED UPDATE: Here's an Ask.Metafiler thread where I threw out some questions about the situation.
"Cha Cha Your Heart Out"
"Don't wait for the hearse to take you to church" is what the placard had been reading in front of the Baptist church across the way from my driveway for the past few weeks. Some fellow, and honestly, it wasn't me, decided to have a little scrambling fun and change it to "Cha Cha Your Heart Out." Not only did this scramble-wise lettersmith change the message, they changed the message.
This revision is timely; the winter is at it's grayest and most seemingly desperate to exact a tax of frost and bitterness from we who trudge awkwardly through it. The sun gains a minute a day, yet this is hard to notice when thick and thin ice intermittently become that which holds your body up. "Cha Cha" is definitely in order, should a hearse barrel down the highway we should be dancing after it, a gaggle of salsaleros in it's dark wake, generating light and color of our own amid the monochrome cold.
If anything, this message is timely also for the church. Not the actual building itself, but indeed the whole worldwide family of faith that has struggled to serve a hopeful message in a world deluded with the usual suspects; war, famine, apathy and over-consumption. Have religious communities, even the most progressive and advanced, shed the trappings of power and the brokering of such? Has policy replaced individual faith as a tenet more meaningful in the global dia/monologue? Is there transparency in our doctrinal umbrellas, or are the shields becoming thicker and making more partisans in the global search for meaning?
Well, it's a gray area, just like the slumbering mountainsides. We see signs of openness, such as the unprecedented amount of interfaith dialogue, and at the same time, Israel for one is being decimated by all sides in an effort to secure their faith in a position of power. Has the spiritual state of the world nudged one hyper-generalized iota toward our present understandings of the cosmos? I think to the latter, the answer is a meek yes, riddled with stage fright and wobbly knees. But it's being pushed forward, and has no choice but to be confident, cracking voice and all. It's growing up, it has to, because we are.
Daily, we're undoing what we used to know about reality. The science sections of our mass and messed media broadcasts are becoming more like a stroll through alchemical tomes and long held shamanic visions of the 'real reality.' We're stopping and bending light, inventing whole new forms and rules of matter, going beyond matter to view that void that permeates everything. What we know is dust on a chalkboard and the eraser hasn't seen any rest. I'd like to think that evolution is continuing not only with our organism but with the organisms we've created to interpret the mysteries we're embedded in. Religion, in the capital R sense of the word, has make remarkable changes in the past hundred years, but on the whole these changes are cosmetic and fashionable. But where is the "Cha Cha" in the quest to connect, to discern and do good work? It's in you.
The concept of religion, these different teams all scampering about trying to achieve the same thing, is moving from a 'corporate' model to an 'incorporate' model, with you as the gatherer and the stitcher of the ideas into one warm quilt. We're making religion into spirituality; moving from a system where we're born into 'the Company' and thus brought up in it's ways, to making choices and discovering what's useful to us, what guides us on the way and gives us structure. So many people have a discovered, via the wild current of information flowing with more of a gush than ever before, cross-cultural wisdom. Westerners can see themselves in the Tao, and can just as easily slip on their Saturday best and see the same ideas in the synagogue. Or the side of a mountain. Or in a historical novel. Or in art. We're in a bind because we will continue to need Popes and Lamas, Gurus, Shamans and Houngans to dispense the knowledge we crave, but we're assimilating it in ways that handedly dispel borders, rivalries and dogmas. In our cosmopolitan mixing and matching, we're discovering that so many themes of universality, the ubiquitous nuances of human experience, to be more useful than the one channel network of wisdom that served our ancestors. But even if we discount the most archaic and anachronistic of these, we lose the context of our own personal metamorphoses. We need them, and we need them to get along.
So, westerners desiring knowledge from specific paths only to blend these into an amalgam... is that alright? Yes, as long as we acknowledge and respect our sources. In our curiosity, we can create a deeper context for understanding the global, by respecting these ancient rivers of faith which course through our new cities. We shan't muddy them up, but we will party on the docks. For the joy in seeing that, despite the symbols and customs, we're all yearning for the same thing, we can connect in ways never before permitted, making for richer lives with more and more nodes and hubs of meaning. There is rapture in knowing our souls are all designed to speak the same language.
I am fully cognizant that this is a rosy picture painted with a brush made of horsehair generalizations. It's impossible ever to lump all spiritual experience into some easily configurable theory. I write this as a bumpkin on a rock watching little bits of stuff float down an icy stream. But, from these little bits, there are clues. And even if the clues don't match up, it's worth it to put the idea out there, to press for change, to advocate a feeling, that hopefully it may catch. The idea itself has been around for a long time, and it will continue to circulate and percolate. While it's winding through, it's hard to notice the effects. But a little time changes that perspective, quick. In the next hundred years, backing up to examine the state of our faith, ho-hum or Cha Cha, it'll be extremely hard to say that things wouldn't have changed. It may be downright evolutionary/revolutionary. The First Church of Fermionic Condensate, anyone?
So, to that prophetic rearranger of messages, cheers, and thank you. While church elders are likely to be steamed at your apparent jest, I know you mean well. You're slipping us a more positive note, an invitation rather than an admonishment. From the Hopis to those on the Hajj, from the Baptists to the Buddhists, from the seagulls to Sirius, we'll take you up on your offer, though I can only speak for me, and of those just mentioned that reside in me. Let's have a Conga line through communion and dance the Merengue toward the expansion of meaningfulness in our brief but glittery lives. Let's crack a smile as we sashay through the goodness and wisdom that has been left for us, and weave it into our own style, wearing a legacy whereever we go.
I'm not going to wait for the hearse to take me to church when I can Cha Cha my heart out right now. That's my church: being in the dance, on a crowded dancefloor full of seekers moving in the light, moving in their own way, interpreting the music with their unique bodies, and putting all the motions together into something totally original, new, and something that works and feels good for them. Under it all, is a drumbeat older than any of the ideas we hold dear or let flutter by us. May each step in the dance honor that, and guide us in the Cha Cha.
Revision: in the third paragraph, there was an odd mix-up: I had family instead of famine. Trust me, being a Joslin ain't all that bad.
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are Copyright 2005 by theodore "jay" joslin and joyous jostling studios. Thank you, Wanderer, for All.
i am jay joslin: a spirit-fed mountain hopping lover of everything, an ordained lefty-veggie-homo, and bon-vivant go-go dancing with all the messenger mockingbirds of morning.
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Keep it even,
"Not all who wander
You contain everything
Everything contains you
If you desire the Infinite,
look no further than the window.
Ten Considerations for Being Well n this Goofy Universe
0. If you find yourself
wonderstruck, donít forget to return the favor. 1. Always be of service to
the whole and the Holy. Youíll find that the Holy will reciprocate by being
of service to your becoming Whole. 2. You will be called upon
to use your mind and your vision in ways I cannot possibly glimpse. Never
turn down an offer to shine that light so uniquely yours to help others in
their darkness, and youíll find that when itís your turn to be in the night
that thereíll be someone along the way who happens to have a little glow to
share . 3. The rewards of being
true to yourself are infinite, even when outwardly your efforts are met
with nothing. 4. Youíll also see that
knowledge and wisdom will come from within yourself through your own
struggle and curiosity... your loved ones may guide you to insight, but
yours is the power to choose it. 5. Youíll find that some of
your choices couldíve been better, or at times were downright stupid. Thatís
okay... I have a closet full of reckless decisions, but without making them
I wouldnít have the slightest idea of what a good one might feel like if I
tried it on. 6. Your growth will be a
mysterious, comic, ecstatic and sometimes scary ride, and I pray that you
strive to savor each minute of it, even the most difficult or embarrassing
minutes. Donít count on second chances. 7. In those times when
everything collapses around you, and whatís left wonít go right, donít
forget your chances of being alive in this solar system, in this galaxy, are
a little on the slim side. So slim in fact that it could be called a miracle
to breathe this air, drink this water, and have whet ever predicament youíre
having no matter how you shake, rattle and roll it. So go with the cosmic
flow and always choose something over nothing, while remembering that
thereís a little of each one hidden in both. 8. Respond as best as you
can with love to adversity rather than reacting with fear... Love, in any
situation and being the primordial source and essence of ALL THIS STUFF,
leaves / enters us with the most possible ways out / in. 9. Whatever youíre doing,
celebrate the process of doing as much, if not more, than what youíve got
when youíre done. Magic lives in the action. 9 Ĺ . All matter is energy.
All energy is infinite. We are but raindrops falling to the ocean, a short
time in this shape until weíre reunited with the expanse from which we came.
Your delicate yet sturdy, resilient body is a temporary shelter of energy
that has swam the universe eternally and will continue eternally. You are a
sudden crystallization of the infinite. One must ask themself, therefore,
why be bored? 9 3/4 . Choosing to live in
the moment is courageous but becomes effortless once you begin...feeling
obligated to survive in the past or future is dangerous and is difficult to
continue. Itís one of the few risks Iíd recommend not taking, right up there
with trusting icons and shrugging off coincidences. 10. The Universe itself it
not confusing, we humans just like it that way. Do frogs seem bewildered ,
butterflies befuddled and amoebas addled? Nope, just us, my child. So,
whenever things just donít make sense, just take a deep breath and laugh as
best you can, because thatís what you get for choosing this goofy,
unpredictable place called Earth to embody yourself upon.
0. If you find yourself wonderstruck, donít forget to return the favor.
1. Always be of service to the whole and the Holy. Youíll find that the Holy will reciprocate by being of service to your becoming Whole.
2. You will be called upon to use your mind and your vision in ways I cannot possibly glimpse. Never turn down an offer to shine that light so uniquely yours to help others in their darkness, and youíll find that when itís your turn to be in the night that thereíll be someone along the way who happens to have a little glow to share .
3. The rewards of being true to yourself are infinite, even when outwardly your efforts are met with nothing.
4. Youíll also see that knowledge and wisdom will come from within yourself through your own struggle and curiosity... your loved ones may guide you to insight, but yours is the power to choose it.
5. Youíll find that some of your choices couldíve been better, or at times were downright stupid. Thatís okay... I have a closet full of reckless decisions, but without making them I wouldnít have the slightest idea of what a good one might feel like if I tried it on.
6. Your growth will be a mysterious, comic, ecstatic and sometimes scary ride, and I pray that you strive to savor each minute of it, even the most difficult or embarrassing minutes. Donít count on second chances.
7. In those times when everything collapses around you, and whatís left wonít go right, donít forget your chances of being alive in this solar system, in this galaxy, are a little on the slim side. So slim in fact that it could be called a miracle to breathe this air, drink this water, and have whet ever predicament youíre having no matter how you shake, rattle and roll it. So go with the cosmic flow and always choose something over nothing, while remembering that thereís a little of each one hidden in both.
8. Respond as best as you can with love to adversity rather than reacting with fear... Love, in any situation and being the primordial source and essence of ALL THIS STUFF, leaves / enters us with the most possible ways out / in.
9. Whatever youíre doing, celebrate the process of doing as much, if not more, than what youíve got when youíre done. Magic lives in the action.
9 Ĺ . All matter is energy. All energy is infinite. We are but raindrops falling to the ocean, a short time in this shape until weíre reunited with the expanse from which we came. Your delicate yet sturdy, resilient body is a temporary shelter of energy that has swam the universe eternally and will continue eternally. You are a sudden crystallization of the infinite. One must ask themself, therefore, why be bored?
9 3/4 . Choosing to live in the moment is courageous but becomes effortless once you begin...feeling obligated to survive in the past or future is dangerous and is difficult to continue. Itís one of the few risks Iíd recommend not taking, right up there with trusting icons and shrugging off coincidences.
10. The Universe itself it not confusing, we humans just like it that way. Do frogs seem bewildered , butterflies befuddled and amoebas addled? Nope, just us, my child. So, whenever things just donít make sense, just take a deep breath and laugh as best you can, because thatís what you get for choosing this goofy, unpredictable place called Earth to embody yourself upon.