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Play me

Play Me

Change, Play, Power By August 5, 2020 No Comments

If you’ve been watching the news, you know that Portland has had a hard time of it over the past months. Our downtown, once an eclectic hub, is now a dystopian pantomime. There appears to be conflict everywhere. A lot of us are homeless and others unemployed, writing our futures not in pencil but in sidewalk chalk that fades fast with the rain.

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Soft

Soft

Change By July 9, 2020 No Comments

On nice evenings the park two blocks away fills up with people enjoying the outdoors. They circle with their dogs, sit on benches, and spread out their picnics. It’s essentially a Norman Rockwell scene with every turn of the path. Or as close to Rockwell as gritty Portland, Oregon, will ever get.

There are daredevils at the skate park and high schoolers playing a pick-up game of sand volleyball. I sit on the hill above them to watch these youngsters fly up concrete walls and fling themselves into volleyball nets, reminding the rest of us what it is to inhabit a body so new it can still forget its edges.

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Light-walker 2

Illumination

Change, Self-discovery, Uncategorized By June 21, 2020 No Comments

I believe that as humans we are built for all things. All feelings. All experiences. I believe this with the fervor of someone who has swung the pendulum of experience pretty wildly for most of my 40 or so years.

Joy. Passion. Victimhood. Oppressive control. Hilarity. Co-dependency. Murderous rage. Apathy. Profound, spine-tickling inspiration. The range of experience here on earth is enormous, and we are wired for all of it.

I like to think of our capacity for experience as an enormous and glorious muscle we get to flex or leave on the couch as we choose. Not everyone flexes all of this muscle, or even some of it. And that’s where I fit free will into my theory. We are free to choose the couch or the flex (or flexing from the couch, which I’ve also practiced pretty extensively).

My belief in this fundamental equality among all people has helped with The Question that has been at me since I was wee. The why are we here at all? question. The big ask that no one else can answer for you, regardless of how human they also might be.

So far my answer goes like this:

I am here to feel, taste, spew words or milk, run marathons or win pie-eating contests, found teaching hospitals, raise little humans, chickens, retreat into silence or sell out stadiums, buy a tractor, inherit a fortune, change my identity, change it again, change careers, partners, locations, find stability, lose it, and find it again, this time with one ear cocked for the punch line.

The more I allow myself to experience—feel—and to keep this aspect of being-ness moving through me, the healthier I am. When an experience moves, it changes. But if it sticks it goes against our basic process of evolution. For me suffering has always and without fail come from the sticking of something, the stagnation.

And aren’t we professional sufferers as much as anything else? We each know the trapped, burning thought streams that keep running over and over through our heads. We know physical suffering and emotional anguish the way we know our own faces—closely, daily, and with an intimacy bordering on fanaticism.

But we also know illumination. The breakthrough. The big shift that pulls someone out of an abusive relationship, a hopeless addiction. Sometimes it pulls a nation off the couch and out into awareness on a scale that we’ve been secretly awaiting no matter how radically it will disrupt our lives.

Covid-19 has disrupted our lives. Racial, class, and systemic inequalities have been disrupting lives for so long they have become our baseline. We have been politically, racially, socially, spiritually and emotionally divided for so long we haven’t even been able to see the gulf for all the years it has swallowed.

Yet something feels different to me with the current collective experience. I have the insistent, growing impression that a new narrative is being born from all this recent feeling. I still overhear a lot of polarization among my neighbors on my park walks, and there is still much confusion clouding us at the moment. But there is also something emerging that is bright as a new, undiscovered element and I’m going to say this anyway, even if it’s a little premature:

I believe we are done with suffering.

Wait? Does this mean we won’t feel pain anymore? That utopia is near?

Unlikely. We are built for pain as much as pleasure, after all. But pain is not suffering just as illumination is not the absence of darkness. I think we’ll always have the gamut of experience on earth, and I think we wouldn’t have it any other way. But I do not think we need to suffer the way we have. To be divided. To play the powerless part.

The organism that we form together is incredibly powerful. Individually we are sparks of that power, but together… together we are an innumerable light.

Our light knows that senseless death is senseless, and will not sanction it. It knows that unity is born from understanding so deep it touches our commonality, makes us gasp, get up, and remember we are free.

Free to change ourselves, our suffering. The world.

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Fed 2

Fed

Change, Self-discovery By May 26, 2020 No Comments

I first heard this poem about the cow that eats all day, only to starve at night on her fear, when I was in my mid-twenties and searching.

A man read it aloud on a CD in that lilting, irregular way Rumi is often performed. I hated the poem when I first heard it. The stanzas made me ache with self-recrimination. How often had I been this cow? Safe when I trusted, but oh when I fed on doubt…

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what you open up-2

What We Open Up

An Authentic Life, Change, Self-discovery By May 3, 2020 No Comments

The world of woo has changed pretty radically in the past 10-20 years. Slowly, surely the occult has become less other, and today we have influencers and celebrities freely endorsing their preferred mediums and shamans. CEOs now take vision quests and share these experiences with their leadership teams. Certain astrologers and their kin have even become celebrities themselves. Practices that were once strictly supernatural have become… well, kinda super regular.

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cracking

Cracking

Change, Self-discovery By April 24, 2020 2 Comments

I recently went upstairs to the little closet sized room with the sweet window that hides at the back of my 1912 house. I stretched out on the shaggy white rug in there and decided I’d try to meditate. I had a tension headache and sometimes moving it through meditation can help.

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tree path

Care

An Authentic Life, Change, Communication, Self-discovery By April 1, 2020 No Comments

There’s a big movement happening, and it seems to me it is coming from the earth up. I can feel it under my feet on my daily walks, which I now commit to in taking care of myself. It’s been a long time since I regularly walked for my health. I’ve got a little more time for it now with work going remote, a little more flexibility. But that isn’t the real reason.

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the mouse

The Mouse

Change By March 26, 2020 No Comments

Our neighbor Ashley came over a few nights ago. Oh, I know what you’re thinking: WE ARE IN QUARANTINE, WHAT DO YOU MEAN SHE CAME OVER??

Believe me, Ashley is well aware of the pandemic. She didn’t want to come over. I could hear the hesitation in her voice when I called, my own tone panicky, pleading.

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Distance and a new sensing

Distance, Desire, and a New Sensing

An Authentic Life, Change, Self-discovery, Writing By March 19, 2020 3 Comments

These are early days, still. This fact, if nothing else, seems clear.

We are “social distancing” and this is wise. We are trying to shop generously by leaving something on the shelves for our neighbor. Netflix hasn’t crashed (yet), which would undoubtedly send the quarantined over the edge.

We are witnessing the changing trajectory of our world in real time.

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