A New Day Dawns in NYC

Certainty in Uncertain Times

Parks clear. Cleanup begins. Leaderless movement now a placeless movement. Mixed messages. Clear focus. Regroup. Recommit. Refocus. Violent here. Nonviolent there. Streaming video captured with smartphones of confrontation reminiscent of peaceful resistance images from the pre-YouTube past. Pepper spraying grannies and pregnant women. Molotov cocktails. Rumors of anarchists building weapons. Crowds shut down a port. Hygiene issues. Drugs. Fights. Unclear focus. Clear messages. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in park maintenance and police overtime.

Dismantle the camps while the campers sleep. Worked for George Washington in Trenton. Works now.

Now is the winter of our discontent.

No camps to occupy… good news for the anti-OWS folks, bad news for the pro-OWS folks.

But if your enemy is not in one place, they can be anywhere.

Bad news for the anti-OWS folks, good news for the pro-OWS camp. (more…)

Onward and upward

I wrote a quote on the inside cover of a journal spanning April 26, 2002 to January 12th, 2004. The quote, captured before I started journaling, accurately sums up the content that eventually followed:

To become acquainted with yourself is a terrible shock (Carl Jung)

This journal covers the summer leading up to my marriage. It covers the death of my father a month after tying the knot. It covers a time of doubt: for myself, my marriage, my life. It covers my birthday in 2003-2004 during a trip to Mexico when I rediscovered the ability to relax… after almost 18 months of trying.

Basically, it covers my dropkick into adulthood.

I reread this journal yesterday and reacquainted myself with myself, clearly seeing the incompleteness of my search for self during those years. The profundity of the Jung quote also struck me as doubly true. Here is a record of my search from almost ten years ago when that search was very present and active, now viewed through the lens of those intervening years, a perspective full of insight and sympathy for that past, incomplete me. (more…)

Entitled deadbeats protected by the minions of bloated govt.

I went to downtown Portland yesterday to see what three-to-five thousand whiners, deadbeats, slackers, and ne’er-do-wells looked liked when they descended en masse on Portland’s “Living Room” (Pioneer Square). Here’s my report:

On the surface, the crowd seemed disturbingly normal. It spanned in age from teenager to elder in very equal proportions. I overheard radical socialist and/or anarchist ideas (same thing?) disguised as thoughtful conversations about taxation, offshoring jobs, lacking healthcare, access to education, holding banks accountable, and long-term unemployment. People carried signs supporting collective bargaining rights and the power of numbers… numbers of people, not dollars. There were a handful of people in masks or dressed up like Wall St. Banking Puppets. Otherwise, lots of Gore-Tex, baseball caps, and wool apparel. After all, it’s Portland and it’s getting cool.

There were funny signs: “Soylent Green is People! Corporations are Not!”

A sign with an image of a rabbit that said, “Screw Us and We Multiple”

Amusing and not too america-hating on the surface. But aren’t you all subversive freedom haters? What’s on the other side of that sign buddy?

Fortunately, to stave off my own critical thinking, there were some signs clearly spawned by anti-trust-your-benevolent-corporate-friend, anarchist nazis expressing disturbing notions like: “Unemployed Construction Worker willing to work under the table since I can’t even land a minimum wage job” and “Single mother of two with no health insurance”. (more…)

Caught in the Thought Loop

**Psst. Psst. Can you still hear me? Are you sure you want to do this? Think about it. It doesn’t seem very safe. Are you sure you want to try? Think about it. Shouldn’t you just stick with what’s safe? Think about it. I mean, really think about it.**

**I don’t think you’re doing enough. You should hurry up! I think you’re doing too much. You should slow down!**

**Why not make a list? It always help you sleep when you know you have a list to jump on first thing in the morning, right?** 

I know this voice, it is the sound of my thoughts. It is the sound of my busy, buzzing, preoccupied mind. Maybe it sounds like your thoughts too. But there are other voices, voices that appear in my head but come from somewhere else entirely. Strong voices, sure voices, voices saying things that don’t really make sense when I think about it… but somehow I know they’re spot on.

Example: it’s Monday morning and I sit at my computer for another day of typing my way toward making a living. These voices say:

***Feel that connection? Feel that inspiration? Yeah, that’s why you’re here. You live this way because you love it, not because it is the next right move up the career ladder. You live this way because it’s in alignment with who you really are and that feels good.***

But then the voices start to argue.  (more…)

We seem to have hit a wall

Dear Action-Film Screenwriters,

I watched ‘Tron Legacy’ last night and I have a question:

For a film built on the premise that getting shot with a special laser will send you into an alternate reality, why do you then spend so much time trying to make reality in ‘The Grid’ seem plausible?

I was more than willing to totally suspend disbelief when I sat down. That was the point really.

See, when you try so hard to make the fabric of this reality seem tangible, you ultimately have the opposite effect : you merely remind me that I’m watching a movie about digitized beings shattering one another with flying discs and energy walls. If you think about it, it’s totally ridiculous.

So why are you making me think about it?

You’re bringing me down man. (more…)

I use a lot of quotes in my work but one of my absolute favorites is Einstein’s well-worn definition of insanity:

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

What struck me the other day was that Buddhism has a similar description of insanity called samsara (which is so very related to karma). Simba from ‘The Lion King’ might call this the ‘circle of life’ (albeit with that anything-is-possible-if-you-wish-hard-enough fluffy Disney spin).*

'No Perpetuating'

*Yes, I am taking some liberties but I am also linking one of the greatest mind of the 20th century to records of an enlightened being to a song by Sir Elton John, one of the world’s greatest dressers. I am doing this because it amuses me. (more…)

Run, run, run, but you sure can't hide

Recently my friend Jeff in Kansas City gave me a thought on which to chew. He said,

‘I always saw you as a Portland guy and never really as a midwest guy. I didn’t feel like you came to KC for something. Rather, I felt like you ran away from something.’

I said something glib like, ‘Yeah, I think you’re right’ and nothing more because, while I totally agreed, I couldn’t articulate what that ‘something’ was.

Last week, I wrote a missive entitled ‘Refocusing‘ about the perspective you get when you take yourself out of the middle of the picture. The next day, I figured out what the ‘something’ was:

I ran away from myself.

I ran away from a life lived almost solely in my head.

I ran away from a narrow, unsatisfying, and incomplete perspective.

As a result, I lived life in KC from my gut and from my heart. I perceived reality first through my feelings, then through my instincts, and never through my head. It was a hell of a ride.

All my life I’d done the reverse: I ‘made sense’ of something, decided how I felt about it (yes: thinking about feeling), and then checked my instinct. When I ran away in the fall of 2009, I ran from that way of living.

I ran from deficiency thinking (the deadliest weapon of the busy mind).

I ran away from hearing past friends and lovers talk about my ‘wall’, that emotional distancing which kept me safe and them on the outside.

I ran from being a self-control freak.

I ran from thinking about feeling to feeling about thinking.

As a result, I made my decisions without consulting the busy mind which had imprisoned me for 34 years. Many of those decisions were ‘foolish’ inasmuch as they didn’t ‘make sense’: keep me emotionally safe, bring in money, or advance my career.

They were the best decisions on my life.

In the late summer of 2010, I ‘let myself back in my head’ and began interpreting reality through my gut and heart, then conducting a single ‘makes sense?’ checkoff with my head. After I let myself back in my head, the money and the career naturally took off again.

Fortunately, now I see those trappings for what they are: traps.

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