Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Do You Hear What I Hear?

When one embarks upon a conscious path of "personal development" it may be, that is the only measure of certainty they will have - "I will begin." In the classic "heroes journey" narrative, once the "hero" agrees to his or her quest, there's no telling what they will encounter once they get under way and they are invariably, transformed by the ensuing journey. So then "change" isn't necessarily the objective on these ventures - however it often can become a significant repercussion.

The storyline need not be of the epic proportions of various myths or historic characters (of course it could be). One could leave "the shire" of their respective life through innumerable events. A personal health crisis, a divorce, a career change, a geographic relocation, a career change involving a geographical relocation, activism (political, environmental etc.).

It always seem to me that in these stories the featured character seldom thinks themselves to be particularly extraordinary. They often have a mentor, either someone that has been in the periphery since their birth; assessing their readiness to begin the training to then follow their "destiny." Other times, the individual show some proclivities or "calling," and is introduced to a "teacher," to further develop these natural talents. Their natural abilities serve them well and they frequently develop any number of hidden potentials, as they are called upon to meet various challenges on the road of their quest.

If this paradigm, be it structure or metaphor - series of developmental initiations, can be (and is) applies to individual lives; it seems to me, that it could readily be superimposed upon the "entity" of humanity. It seems abundantly clear to me that humanity is being called to undergo widespread and varied transformation. Given the size of humanity there would need to be innumerable heroes.

Just as individuals find it necessary to examine and identify various belief systems and influences that they live by - which no longer work, so it would be with the larger human population (body). For the individual, whole ways of being, are renounced; and so it carries to the masses through gradually adaptation of individuals.

Various groups of people are calling for change on our planet. It is just as likely, that life itself is expressing this call as well. I can certainly attest that change and transformation is at times, a tumultuous process for myself. I have either talked to or heard others describing similar turmoil in their lives. I cannot see that it will be any different collectively. Various systems are being challenged and falling all over the globe. I would see this as the same transformational process of life, death, rebirth that is inherent in the cycles of nature.

When the winds of change blow it is often messy. For all the beauty life offers, and is present within humanity and on the planet - there most certainly are innumerable horrific contrasting events. Each of these, might well be the catalyst which creates for someone - the passion to "be the change." The change certainly cannot come about, until there is enough change in the prevailing consciousness to anchor that change.

The heroes journey consistently illuminates, that those that are seen as quite plain and ordinary can (and do) summons from within themselves, that which brings about extraordinary results.

A change of mindset yields: answering the call to be the Hero, rather than to continue to be calling (looking) elsewhere.

To That Which Stirs Pay Heed

Accept the machinations
Embrace the rage instead
The machine will live on
Self-Neglect has a shelf-life

Energy spent virtually on illusion
         Moulds a reality
            Until it's - present

Question face value
Accept no answer
But that of your own
Earnest digging

Drink not from the collective well
The water
Has long since
Taken on the taste of their taint

Awaken the sleeping giant
For so long held in exile
Fragments yield a greater whole
The journey feared most - to the home beyond the myst.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Lost and Found!

I've seen a post on Facebook, a couple of times now, with a caption that reads something like: "if you really want to know who someone is, wait until there is an issue with their computer."Presumably the implication is that Prince or Princess Charming, then might become the Tasmanian Devil.

I don't have an immediate story regarding my computer - but I sure do for my cell phone! So through the account of my lost cell phone, allow me to introduce myself.

I got out the door early, on what is a gorgeous summer day. Destination, a morning busking performance before working later this afternoon. I had to turn back once - just half a block from my front door, when I realized I didn't have my song sheets, again. Thank you - guidance (I won't even try to lay credit to my "memory?") Once I had retrieved my folder of song sheets I set out again. As I got almost to the intersection I saw the bus sitting at the red light. Now intent on getting "that bus" - I waited to see if there was going to be a break in the traffic (flowing against my path) that would allow me to cross to the bus stop, before the light turned green and the bus carried on while I was unable to cross). The bus pulled into the stop and the cross-walk signal changed to walk, I ran across and up along the side of the bus, fortunately there were passengers disembarking which gave me the opportunity to board! (In hindsight I may have lost my phone during that little sprint - however I had no awareness of it at that point so I'm happily riding my forty foot public transit limo to my gig, blissfully unaware.

After getting off the bus and walking a couple blocks I both saw that no one had the busking spot and slapped my pant pocket and realized I was minus one cell phone. I walked back the couple of blocks to where I had got off the bus, still no sign of it.

I walked back in the direction of my busking spot. I thought about where the bus was heading next, it didn't seem worthwhile to try and hustle around on foot. I had visions of being too little too late and it just being a waste of energy. Besides if someone turned it in to the driver - he would turn it in at the end of his shift, to the Transit "Lost and Found." (otherwise it well may be just lost).

I have a shift this afternoon and one tomorrow afternoon, so I don't need to be concerned about not having my "schedule" which is on my, more "mobile" than usual, phone. I believe at some point my phone spoke with my computer (unbeknownst to me) and my future shifts are on the calendar on my laptop. So if there is some delay in either finding my old phone or replacing it, I have access to my current bookings.

It's still a beautiful day and for the love of God: "the show must go on!!!" I decided that this was going to be a practice in being present and equanimity. I must say, I pulled it off - flawlessly!! In many ways it was just as though I came into town - without my phone. I frequently do that anyway. I like to give myself some "windows" (pun intended) of unplugged. I specifically affirmed for myself that this was not in any way, shape or form going to digress into a "shame-fest." What is done is done! (and I don't even know at this moment what is done?) I couldn't rule out that the phone was not still at home and I didn't have it, because, I didn't bring it.

I played with great gusto and enthusiasm, it was a lot of fun. Certainly more fun than chasing around after a missing phone - that I didn't know was missing and even if it was, my chasing it wouldn't get it back any sooner. (if... I lost it on the bus and if..... someone turned it into the driver..... it wouldn't be taken to lost and found until after his shift ..... whenever that might be).

When any thoughts about my phone crept in, I acknowledged them and re-centered on the music. (all my "contacts" are on that phone!) This is my 3rd phone since that contact list was initiated, each time I get a new phone and contract; the old list was just transferred to the new phone. Could be it's time to clean up that whole thang!

Here's how that's going to go. If the phone turns out to be lost, then I will "formerly" announce on Facebook and invite anyone that wants to continue to be a "contact," to send me their number, via private message. This will not account for everyone that was previously on the list - but then again, I don't even know who was all on there. If I don't get your renewed request to be on the list - then that is what it is. Any other numbers that are needed, will find their way back to me somehow.

After I finished singing - I walked over to "London Drugs" to use their facilities and then back to the Market where I had been busking, for a snack. I got myself a vegan bran muffin and a ginger beer. The former because with or without phone, I still maintain intestinal well-being can make or break your day and the latter, because I just plain throughly enjoy, a good ginger beer.

After my snack I walked toward "town" as I recalled, there was an outlet of my cell service at the mall.  It came to me, that they could advise me on what I needed to do and what my options were. I bid good day to a couple people I often see in that 'hood when busking. One a women that is a ardent supporter of my art and the other a fellow, I have chatted to a number of different times. I am learning he is a writer and has published - so I will be wanting to talk to him further. He has shared some of the events in conjunction with his experience with the "mental health" system. One day he asked me - "what get's your blood pumping, what inspires you to get up in the morning?" I have to admit, that question still echoes around in my being - I haven't as yet, come up with what for me is a satisfactory answer.

I got to the mall and talked with a young women at the cell outlet. She directed me to their free phone and 1-800 customer service number. After navigating the automated call screening and listening to some elevator music and intermittent assurances that my call was important, another young women came on the line. Eventually through the language barrier (she spoke perfect English - but I don't speak or understand tech-talk) she informed me that my number can be temporarily suspended and the phone itself has been put on a "black list" so that if someone found it and tried to activate it for their own use - that will be, a no go!

Did you have the locator on? she asks. My locator is "slap my pant leg" that's how this whole thing began - the slap informed me there was phone in pocket - interruptus!

"So, no you didn't have the locator on?" I certainly didn't consciously have it on (as I'm not familiar with the feature) so unless it was randomly switched on within the "settings" page - I would say it's off.

I learned that paying out my phone (if I don't retrieve it) will be $235.00 "The good news" she continues - all bubbles, sunshine and corporate effervescence - is that I can get a replacement (same model as the previous one) for $99.00 and lower monthly payments for my new plan. "I'll leave a note on your file to that effect. Somehow I think this is probably better new for "Bell" than for me - but I see if I can embrace the "phone is half full" for now.

Well that handles that! The cell outlet then steered me to their free computer so I could go online and get the contact info for the transit company. From there I left a msg. with "Lost and Found."

The busking gig yielding me $19.45 so, if you're one that insists on assessing the day through the lens of materialism; then, should replacement be necessary, that is:  ($235.00 + 99.00) - $19.45 = oh my what will I do - the calculator is on my phone!?! I would then be "out" $314.55 (not to mention a new "otter box" for the phone and amortizing the costs .... blah .. blah .. blah


As I choose to see it .... handling one of life's inconveniences, while maintaining conscious choice over associated feelings and beliefs -  maintaining focus in order to be here now and fully enjoy the moment - living life with trust that everything always works out for me - PRICELESS!

Sunday, 26 June 2016

A Great Leap (or many unseen small steps?)

Today is a most auspicious of day for me and my writing. Whether it extends beyond today I couldn't say. As I sat pondering the direction this post might take while a maelstrom of thoughts assault my awareness - I decided, "I'm going to take the pressure off!"

It's a gesture in the direction of doing and being for it's own sake. Without the fixation on whether it makes "any difference" or not. Frequently circumstances are such that the reflection of a particular act goes seemingly unanswered. Of course the drive to have some sort of echoed knowing of ramification, is the influence of seeking external approval.

I would "like" my writing (and further, my life) to be "meaningful." However, when I consider books like the "Bible," the "Talmud," the "Torah," the "Koran," the "Tao te Ching," to name but a handful; which have been present for centuries and at best they might be said, to be only having a minimal effect, measured over......  well... centuries, I need not be concerned with the impact of my writing.

Along with my actions, I can focus more on the inner guidance to be the measure of success. I work at one residential care facility - one floor is mostly rehabilitative in focus (so there are visions of many of those folks returning home - though it is considered "slow rehab.") The other floor is long term residential mostly "young/middle aged" folks that due to various situations, require long term care and though the environment through which they receive this care could possibly change - they will always need some form of care.

The facility is run by the Provincial Health Authority and God only knows how many other tiers of bureacracy - which means there's policies and directives up the ying/yang. This doesn't even begin to include the various attitudes of the myriad of different staff ("I'll do this/I won't do that" etc.)

I understand the need to "encourage" folks to do things they might find challenging in order to restore or preserve function. I also recognize that the arbitrary refusal of some, to lend a hand - is more about them, than any higher good.

I try to maintain an attitude of "how can I serve" I understand the need to have a unified approach in some instances - I will not however, commiserate with those that spend more time complaining about how hard they are working; and then inform a resident, they didn't get to answer their call bell sooner, because "they were busy." I will not make someone wait for something, because their assigned worker is on a break - I'll just do it.

I'm not there to police anyone else's behaviour and I am not there to revamp "the system." I will speak up when I feel it's called for. I will also quietly go about my way, and do what the moment calls for. I have little tolerance for policies or group-mind, that attempts to override my humanity. So then my "directives" are as much internal as external. I'm not setting myself apart as "better than;" this is simply what my life has taught me, with regard to making a contribution.

I do receive positive reflections from many of the people I serve - that, is icing on the cake. The accolades are secondary, I follow my own lead. I suppose you could say I'm "doing on to others as I would have them do onto me; though it's not like I'm thinking that all day." How does this impact their lives overall? On days I'm not there? After they're discharged? I have no idea.

How does anything I do in that setting - impact the entirety of humanity and the challenges on planet earth? I can't say for sure. I suppose it's the same as my comment regarding my writing - I can only interject words/actions of wisdom, compassion, healing, transformation; in the moments. I always have more questions than answers at any given time.  I try to cause more good, than harm - and do what is right (for me) not necessarily popular.

At times I think my "contribution" is immeasurable and invisible.

Then again - it was said the journey of a thousands miles begins with the first step (and many steps there after) so maybe this journey of mine is going somewhere.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

My Own Blessing (allow... rinse...repeat)

"Bless me Father for I have sinned!" All these years later I recall that idea and specific phrase that was being coached to my Catholic elementary school class by Father Hanley.  I can't recall what age this particularly "teaching" was introduced (I do remember some of the "catechism" was being taught in Grade one, in order for the young initiates to be able to receive their "first communion.") But I was at the school for six school years altogether so hard to narrow it right down.

I wasn't "Catholic" so although they allowed me to attend the school (I suppose I'll never know their rationale at this point - could have been a "cash-grab" or perhaps they entertained that I would convert somewhere along the line) I was initially segregated from the class and not able to attend mass. Then I could sit in on the classes and go to the church - but I wasn't allowed to participate in any of the rituals. I could sing the songs - I remember in particular enjoying singing a rendition of "St. Francis' prayer ( a long standing connection ensued as it turned out).

My point is, that despite my non-affiliation that teaching was "impressed" on me anyway! Oh sure Father Hanley had a sense of humour - I remember in that class, which was preparatory for going to "confessional" he quipped, "Now I don't want to hear anyone saying - Bless me Daddy for I have goofed!" We (which is to say me) only saw the priest at these classes and church services, so not really frequently enough to form an opinion regarding his character. The power I endowed him with; what with his connection to GOD, went beyond my general anxiety with adults and consequently I gave him a wide berth.

That phrase came to mind as I pondered beginning this blog post. I have missed a couple days (in what not so long ago, I declared to be, "a daily commitment to write") Part of the "sticking point" of starting was just that - I have broken my commitment!  To what, one might ask? I suppose that could be spun any number of different ways. Probably the only consideration that matters is what I'm making it mean?

I can't imagine that any one else cares if I write or not. I find it interesting that the "confessional petition" finds it's way to my conscious mind. Particularly given I'm not an absent Catholic - I never "practiced" at all. I was, at the same time, in attendance at Anglican (Catholic lite) Sunday school. I did my best to "zone out" on those occasions - which was aided by tranquilizing strains of the organ and hymns sang from books, that looked on the verge of disintegrating; but some of the "message" might have got through anyway. No one ever asked me, but had they bothered to seek my definition of hell - I likely would have said, "it happens here ever Sunday morning at St. Christopher's!"

Exactly what commitment have I broken? If I were to consider this matter from the point of view of "commitment to self;" I would immediately be able to see, that over the days that I didn't produce anything in the way of a new blog post, I busked each morning, and then went to work in the mid-afternoon until 11:00 p.m. each night. Today I did some reading and allowed myself an extra nap and gave myself the day off from busking. I took the time to glue and clamp my guitar which has developed another couple cracks (top lifting from the body). This is at present the only guitar I have and I intend to make it last. I saw a video of a fairly recent recording of Willy Nelson and Loretta Lynn. Willy's guitar had a big hole bashed in the face of it. If he can still make music with a guitar in that condition - so can I. My guitar still sounds great - (there was a buzz sometimes audible to only me) I'm pretty sure it will disappear once the glue sets. I wanted to get at this ASAP as leaving it, invites further splitting and potential complication with repair.

I also started looking through some online sites for new songs to include in my busking. There's nothing to say I can't continue to refine and "polish" those I already sing - but some further variety will keep it fresh (in terms of diversity - not so much repertoire itself, given the songs are circa 70's or earlier).

The uptake of this is there actually is no lack of commitment on my part. Or, perhaps an additional call to redefine the idea of "commitment." It doesn't serve me to subject myself to "shame" or self-criticism for perceived "failure." I can set intention to write as frequently as possible - in a measured and balanced way along with whatever else I have going on. A mindset that includes "punishing" does nothing to foster enthusiasm; being, (at least to me) the antithesis of encouragement.

I'm not here to go after the low-hanging fruit by bashing any particular religion. I most certainly will continue to examine for myself, any indoctrination (whatever the source) that has me thinking less about myself, for ultimately doing that which was in front of me to do. If in order to do that the writing needs to be superseded, then so be it.

I can best serve myself by first, not making outlandish commitments. In order to live in the "present" a more effective stance would be to commit to guidance and needs moment to moment. It might just be that an arbitrary commitment made in the past - doesn't serve the current situation. This both means I don't give up on the writing altogether but neither to I cling to it dogmatically if the rhythm of my life calls for some adjustments. My writing has always been informed by my life experience - so sometimes I need to allow myself room to live so that experiences can unfold.

I am not a "flawed" being (nor do I believe anyone else is) but I'm not here to hoist my beliefs on anyone else about that either. You can believe what you want about yourself. Anyone is free to bless me if they feel so inclined. But I neither believe it is necessary to be "blessed" from outside of myself, nor in giving away my power expecting/needing the absolution from others.

If it can be held to be true that "sin" is an old archery term that means "missed the mark" then I'm doing that in various ways, all the time. What I also hold to be true is that the damning and the blessings are mine to bestow. I don't blame the Catholics for my internalized shame - I presented with the baggage of my ancestral inheritance already along with me. I can't say they didn't anything to lighten my load - but then again, maybe they were never meant to. That was, is and will continue to be, my responsibility.

Father Hanley wherever you are - Bless you!

It's been quite a ride since last I saw you! I bet we could  have some interesting chats now, if it were possible for us to "shoot the shit!" (Oops was that my outside typing?)

I am blessed (and I "goofed.")

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

"Check, Please!"

Without taking much in the way of time this morning, to "check-in" and set the tone for the beginning of the day - I made some quick choices and got on my way. I did do a little reading (a few passages from my continued reading of the bible - (I believe it's what they call "letter's from Paul"). I still suspect the reading of this book won't have much impact on my life. Particularly after reading and being reminded of the existence of "The Gospel of Barnabas." The periodic surfacing of these various manuscripts - most certainly raise many questions. The contents themselves could have profound implications. If nothing else it make me wonder what else has be "excluded." However, I set an intention to read it and I will see that through. At this point it will perhaps, give me more of an understanding of what adherents are making reference to when they speak of it.

I had a quick couple cups of coffee - which given the current state of my digestive system (soured/off) might have been ill-advised.  I suspect the upset in my abdomen could be related to the recently completed antibiotics I had been taking for a post-piercing infection. I have begun some probiotics - but not until I began experiencing the current discomfort.

Then I dashed out the door with my guitar and if anything, some half-baked notion that I would duplicate yesterday's "success." I had slept in this morning, so I wondered if I would even get my intended performance spots. I got into town and walked the few blocks to the first potential spot - which was open! Alright then, I'm all set to go!

It wasn't until I began setting up that I knew without even having looked, I didn't have my folder of song/chord sheets. As quickly as I started setting up I just reversed the process, nothing was going to happen, until I went home and retrieved that folder.

I was a little frustrated as I had "asked" - if I had everything I needed, before leaving. I got, that yes I did.

I hopped on the next bus back to my neighbourhood and walked back to my place. Once inside there was the folder on my table where it had been left. I sat down and considered the prospect of returning into town to sing. I asked a series of questions and sought the further guidance of my sacred divination tool (an "American quarter" that has been designated for that purpose).

"Is it in my highest good to go back downtown to busk?" ......... No
"Is it in my highest good to have a nap?" ...... No
"Is the money I would have made busking of any concern?".... No
"Is it in my highest good to meditate right now?" ...... Yes

While I sat and quietened my thoughts, I began to pay attention to my body. It actually felt like it "needed attention." It felt a little flat and tired. (and here I was intent on driving it out to "perform") As much as I enjoyed busking yesterday - it was at least a good portion of the time, in the direct sun. "You're dehydrated." I do tend to abstain from drinking water while I'm playing, as I don't want to need to answer nature's call mid-set. The guidance would appear to be indicating, that given the warmer temperatures to be expected for the next while - "nature is calling for water."

"Guidance" I've come to remember today, is in the moment applicable. So the question isn't whether I "generally" enjoy coffee. It is instead, is coffee being called for currently? A successful "busking" experience yesterday - doesn't mean that just because I have time off today - that it is to be filled with more busking. As was the case - today, "rest" and "recharging" were being called for. "Go inward.... listen.... direct your attentiveness on what you need.... giving through busking has it's own energy demands ...... your own reserves are low and will deplete further without "self-care."

I even gained some "insight" regarding my sarcastic query: "I thought I had everything I needed before leaving to go to town!"

"Your question was "do I have everything I need?" The answer is Yes, you are equipped with everything you need within yourself. "You didn't ask do I have everything I need for busking?"

By leaving the folder at home you ultimately took the extra time to stop and consider what you really needed. If you grabbed the folder and rushed back downtown - you would have had a different experience, but it still would be sometime before you connected to what you needed.

The morning turned into a refresher on the difference between moment to moment guidance and "pushing the river" by means of a mind-driven agenda. Sometimes there might be a need to give a little push to step through some inertia. Other times "forgetting" something might be just the needed refocusing necessary - to redirect energy and attention. Certainly I have had other occasions where getting on with a busking set wasn't straightforward. (had to walk from place to place to find a spot, got started and broke a string etc.) - it can just as readily be, that the guidance in those moments is - accept, adapt, resume.

I had the opportunity on top of all the previous, to enjoy a leisurely lunch, in my own home. While eating I determined that I would come back into town for an errand and then to write. I ran into a friend on the bus and had a nice chat on the way to town.  I got to the library and learned a little more about the online search and reserve system.  And then on to the coffee shop for the relaxing creation of this blog along with what is currently, a more digestion friendly beverage.

Another brilliant example of the experiences that are "in the wings" to be received. It is not necessary to cling to an "intended agenda;" or lament the "loss" of an expected experience, as there is a perfectly wonderful alternatives ready to take it place.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Joy to My World!

 Sitting in the cafe, enjoying a cup of matcha, basking in the warm glow having worn my "minstrel of the streets" hat today. From my perspective, any day I get out there and do it - is a success! Contrast this to what might be a prevailing attitude that suggests, the fact I'm doing it at the "age" of 56 at all, would be indicative, of being an abysmal failure. (I just had to think about how old I actually was) that's hilarious to me, I wonder "what that means?") cue the melodramatic organ music.  I suppose what it means to me, is that I'm not particularly orientated to the whole "agism"thing.

Tell ya what, whether you play a musical instrument or not - hell take a book, stand on the street corner and read aloud (put your hat on the ground) and then just keep doing it and doing it and doing it (with varying frequency for x 3+ years) - then share your thoughts with me regarding what it is to busk.

Today it was one women stopping a sharing "I love having music in the streets" another women stopped and shared with me her feeling of nostalgia; telling me the story of being a young girl, small enough to sit under the piano bench, while her mother played and sang. She said she used to put her ear right against the piano so she could hear and feel the music. The song I was singing ("Grandfather's Clock") was one of the songs her mom sang!

Another fellow stopped by and reminded me "I'm to meet him in front of the pawn shop Wednesday morning - he get's his cheque, will be there to get his guitar and rings out and will make good on the twenty dollars he's into me for." Oh and while we're at it can ya make it $21.00, he says, "I'm going to go and get a Gatorade." He's been orchestrating this rendezvous for a couple weeks now. The money is neither here nor there to me - it does seem really important to him, so I will give him the opportunity to preserve his dignity and values. (the other day he says -"ya never know when I might need to borrow that again, you sure as shit don't get to borrow more money, if ya don't pay what you already owe.") He's got a story that touches my heart - which I won't share, because I believe his sharing it, was a sacred trust and so that's that!

A mother with her toddler (maybe he was 2-3) came by, he was carrying a little travel size guitar. I stopped playing an said hi to him and crouched down to trade "high fives" and gush some over his guitar!! I went back to my music stand and he came with me - I said alright then, are you going to play with me? I started to sing again and he began his improvisational rendition right along with me. That certainly drew more than the usual volume of attention. People were stopping, pointing, smiling and filming, we (well mostly the young maestro) created quite a stir. We finished, exchanged another round of high fives and he says "One more!" His mom vetoed as they had to go, but thanked me for allowing her son to "jam." (my pleasure - seriously what's not to like about experiences like that!!) I dropped my guitar pick and he picked it up. I said, "you better keep that you're going to need that!" His mom thanked me said she had been making them for him because he kept losing them. He then really went to town strumming his little guitar!!

Another fellow stopped and was very attentive. He was examining my guitar as I was playing and then asked me about it when I finished. He was familiar with the make and model and commented that it was a good sounding guitar. (it's actually one of my favourites of all the guitars I've owned and it is by far less expensive than many others). I told him I loved the sound and also liked that the guitar being not ("solid wood") - was certainly more forgiving to the riggers of street performing. I said, "it is taking a beating - but then again, I don't have it to keep it all showroom pristine, I'm going to play it until it's dust!" He laughed and then handed me a twenty dollar bill he'd been holding folded in his hand while we were chatting. On the one hand this gig is not all about the money, however it also is a perfect arena for me to discover my "glass ceiling" of cash flow and financial abundance generation. I certainly don't want to repel money!! So that twenty he handed me all at once, was as much as I made at the previous set (minus the dollar I gave buddy for his gatorade).

To keep this all in perspective I can hold it all in the framework of joyfully doing what I love to do; while not taking myself, too seriously (that is the practice). I can certainly appreciate the warm reflections and interactions - but if I don't take the whole thing "too personally" then when there are contrasting experiences, like the two different times when individuals plugged their ears as they walked by, I don't take that to heart. I can check in and see where my "volume" is at. I can also smile, thank them for the gift they are offering me and respectfully decline it, and bless them on their way. 

I'm not going to be all things to all people musically - anymore than I am in any other facets of life! (thank God for that!!)

Thank you City of Victoria for issuing me a twenty-five dollar "license" with which to share my heart.

Thank you people of Victoria for a multi-faceted, ever expansive journey, of joy and generosity! 

Sunday, 19 June 2016

What is, In a Name?

I touched yesterday on the idea, of identity/identifying. At the time it seemed to be a rich subject for me; but also a tangent that was too far removed, from where I was going with the other post.

So I deferred it until today. My initial reference was related to my dad and how members of different branches of the armed forces identified so strongly with their particular branch. Naturally each thought their's was the backbone of the whole military. They even had, what at best could be called "tongue in cheek," but what others might consider derogatory "nicknames," for the other forces.

It got me to thinking about this business of "identifying." Where the military is concerned, the recruitment strategies often play the "patriotism" card. Now there's a very strong energy/mindset/paradigm/indoctrination - if ever there was one!

Personally, I don't really understand it. I mean I do "understand" it intellectually - but I don't, nor have I ever embodied it at depth. As long as I've cared to consider the reason for that, I attribute it to my particular spin on the experience of being adopted. For so much of my life, particularly when I was young, I had a profound sense of "not belonging." Even when I was "told" I was a member of some particular subset of humanity, I wasn't able to feel the association. I certainly couldn't grasp why or how I could "take pride" in my city, my country etc. I never felt I had "ownership" of such things, so how was it, that these things were "mine" to be proud of? Why would I be proud of this piece of the planet and not somewhere else? It's not like I can take credit for the natural beauty, the resources, of "my country." Seems to me if I did, then I'd need to claim the same approval and connection with "arms manufacturing" and distribution of "my country;" as well as abusive domestic and foreign policies.

I can be grateful for the conditions that I'm fortunate to live in - but I don't identify with that; even though anywhere I go in the world, people would make "assumptions," upon finding out I'm "Canadian." But does that mean I'm going to kill someone that isn't Canadian? Not to me it doesn't. Though obviously this idea of categorizing humanity, nationalizing, ethnicity, religion, gender etc. has occurred for probably as long as there has been humans - I believe it is largely a flawed premise.

Does that mean it going to disappear anytime soon? Probably not. But it certainly doesn't mean that beyond a very well entrenched veneer, it is based on anything of substance (truth).

All I can do is continue to burrow into the layers of my own persona (which includes such things as "nationality") and as I increasingly discover, that various "attributes" that were seemingly "cast in stone" actually are not; I begin to wonder what then, is "real"? I actually believe the answer lies somewhere very close to "nothing." I can't articulate the implications of that, beyond saying: "what I am" is nothing - which is to say everything." Maybe I was given a "head start" toward this "understanding" due to not having some of the major layers to release in order to conceive of my soul's perspective. It doesn't mean I don't have my work cut out for me on other fronts. I reason that this, at depth would hold true for anyone (based on, my being part of the whole, so what is "true" for me would hold "true" for all). This is not the same as saying: "my way or the highway." My reason for making that distinction, I'm not trying to make me right while making others wrong - I'm saying if I can see this as possible, so could anyone.

What would this mean?  Well, it would mean, throughout history, people have been killing each other, over a more complex version, of "po-tay-to" & "po-taw-to."

If what I'm presenting were to be true - wouldn't it take "centuries" for all the entrenched ideologies, vendettas, wounds etc. to heal? It could. If that were to be the predominant thoughts held pertaining to this.

However, there are countless examples of medical miracles that have transpired. In many cases the one "inflicted" was deemed "incurable" by the medical establishment. Which means, that within accepted practices, knowledge of disease processes, available technology etc. there is "nothing" else that can be done, and there is then given, a corresponding "educated guess," as to what "life expectancy" remains. So then the "patient" decides - "I don't accept this prognosis" and seeks alternative healing avenues. As we know - healing, cures & remissions have in some cases been realized. In many of these "extraordinary" case histories, the source of the healing is said to have been divine. This would mean, that the divine force is able to work outside of "expected" time frames, outcomes, expertise, precedented case history etc.

So then, why couldn't this same divine force, be influential in the release of age old mindsets and/or, the expansion, of a soul-consciousness of "oneness?" That would mean that historic precedence, time/rate of transition (to reach a critical mass of the population) could be exponentially accelerated. Ideas such as "what is "realistic," are based on what has always been, defines how it will always go. Why is it that when one speaks in terms of embracing even a modicum more, from a well of "unlimited possibility' - they are dismissed as be "overly-simplistic" - "unrealistic" - "PollyAnna," etc?

For me I've concluded I need to embrace a "bigger problem" - it actually doesn't matter if it comes to fruition or resolution "in my life time." If I don't expand my consciousness and embrace a bigger picture, I'm in danger of getting overly concerned about such things as losing my iPod. Having one, losing one, or replacing one, will do nothing to lessen the numbers of victims of genocides, prisoners of war (or conscience), refugees, political oppression, mass-shootings, religious persecutions, ideological ideations, racism. My experience is in order to see a bigger picture it has been necessary for me to begin with a much smaller focal point. Paradoxically, that which is sometimes called "navel gazing" can penetrate the smallness of what I once called "me," to a much expanded horizon. I suppose the sky really is, the limit (unless the "kid's movie" has it right - "to infinity and beyond!"

Admittedly the clouds cannot be seeded with willingness for others to embrace such consciousness - I don't believe the "how" is mine to be concerned about. Today it looks like a written account - tomorrow has it's own requirements.

As I have touched on in other posts, the knowledge of my Irish ancestry has only presented itself in the latter part of my life. Even my limited experience and exposure reveals to me a vast, illustrious, magnificent, history contained within the people, the culture, the stories and the lives. I have at times lamented the bitter sweet reality of finally a known ancestry, while at the same time never having been "steeped" in any of it. I now hold to be true, that it has had and is having, an impact and influence nonetheless. It has unfolded this way for a reason.

Unquestionably it stirs my imagination, fans the flames of my curiosity, touches my heart deeply to make this connection and consider a further knowing of these "roots." Conversely some of the "healing" I have experienced, comes in the form of a "balm," for wounds that are at least in part of my own creation; they would be of an illusory nature, such as I described earlier.

I suppose that for me - no matter how glorious the robes of my external associations, there will always come a time; when I must seek an inner directive rather, than follow the dictates of whatever the many variations of the collective, are trying to hoist in any given moment.  I cannot allow sheer numbers to dictate my actions or inactions.

Is it even possible that any "movement" can be so "altruistic/righteous" that there can be an all encompassing way to engage with it? At what point does the "hero" become the "villain?" The "freedom fighter" the "terrorist?" The "patriot" the "racist?"

As significant on the one hand that "history" is - it might not be much more than habitualized thinking and as Einstein once said: "we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them."

Saturday, 18 June 2016

As the Myst Lifts (I See What Must Not be Missed)

My father (dad) who was there to carry the torch (me) when the journeys of both my biological parents didn't include their staying together, nor either one of them raising a son; was a musician in a military band ("The Naden Band.") Through most of his tenure with the band it was a "Navy" band later in the history of the band; due to the machinations of political manipulation, there was reshuffling through the ranks of the entire Canadian Military - some bases closing. At this time the band was then comprised of a mixture of musician from bands of other branches of the armed forces (army, air force etc).

This was a move that my dad didn't embrace.

There was a pride that each member felt within their chosen branch of the service. Once "unification" came in; I suppose it stripped the various members of a part of their "identity" (or at least that which they "identified" with). Gone were the uniforms that clearly delineated the wearer as Navy, Air Force or Army. It was replaced by something... well ... "Uniform." All the members wore the same basic green uniform;  the only talisman of their former branch, were some small badges and pins with symbols representing them.

My dad hated that uniform! Without fail every time he came out of the bedroom; having donned his "dress uniform" for a parade or concert - he would say: "I look like a God Damn Doorman" (his "caste"system/hierarchal mindset aside) he did look like a doorman. The uniform was a darker green colour and was trimmed in gold braid (down the pant legs, on the rim of the cap and shoulder epaulets). There certainly wasn't anything, that would have indicated to anyone looking on from a far, that would visually give them a clue, that he was in the Navy (or a sailor).

I will return to this theme of identification another time.

 Dad seemed to speak with enthusiasm about his early military career. The band was then posted on one of the ships - so each member had a his set of shipboard duties while at sea and they travelled the world; where the band performed at different functions and ports of call.

The changes I mentioned earlier and I suppose, some of the realities of his "chosen" path as he aged; clashing with some of the romanticism of his youth, combined to have him not happy in his work. To hear him tell it - he was the only one in the whole system that was doing anything right!

Yes.. I'm aware of the parallels; my writing etc. clearly demonstrates I have a mind that is quite adept at critical analysis. Both my dad and I are Virgo's - so I honed my critical proclivities on some sort of parallel path as him. I wouldn't say I have been motivated through life by a need to be "right" - more a fear of the consequences of being "wrong."

My dad's dissatisfaction with his career certainly was no incentive to "follow in his footsteps." I was never drawn to go that route anyway - I didn't know where I was going, but I knew it wasn't there. Interestingly he spoke of himself as a "pacifist" - maybe that was the voice of his soul? Goes to show how misaligned one can become in this life. Though he was an accomplished "musician" (clarinet/saxophone and snare drum) which he parlayed into a viable life experience, quitting school in Grade ten to join the navy and "see the world."

When I was clearing out my parents house after they passed - I found a cardboard tube which contained some rolled up "sketches" that my dad had apparently done at some point. I also remember him doing a correspondence drafting or architecture course for quite a period of time. The latter I know he poured a great deal of time and energy into - the former I didn't know he even pursued. He quit the drafting course at some point as the "math got too much for me." The drawing ..... well given it was stashed away in a closet, I presume it also represented another "passion" unrealized.

Who am I to judge? I would say nonetheless, that he had gifts and potentials in these areas. I said in an earlier post I didn't know the man; among my gifts, is an ability to read people; filling in the blanks I would say my dad was a sensitive creative soul. He was able to express that through music (until a medical mishap in a military hospital, extracted all his teeth, rather than just the lower ones) Ill-fitting and his intolerance for, dentures combined to end his music playing. He said he couldn't "blow his horn any more." He must have been constantly conflicted being "a sensitive" in the hyper-masculine, highly structured environment of that path that he chose, to continue to generate an income.

I know him to have been self-sacrificing to a fault - so once he had the prospect of a family (myself and a sister) I'm guessing that though he made a few attempts to both follow his heart and broaden his horizons, he would not have taken the risks (really gone for it) if that meant jeopardizing the "security," that he was trying to provide.
Of course in this day and time, there is so much more consciousness around the emotional/spiritual nurturance that is part of parenting. Both my parents I would say were most certainly products of their time.  I can see the "influence" of a patriarchal society on both of them - they provided for us in a material sense, impeccably. The emotional tenor of the household was that of "stiff upper lip" and a walk through life, that involved not "going to pieces." (emoting). Of course this was the "mandate" the operating system - but there was all kinds of "emoting;" or reactions, to someone that was spontaneously, doing so.

I was so proud of my dad when I was a young boy and attended the parades and concerts, sunset ceremonies and military tattoos. The drummers were in the front row in the marching band, he was at the centre, right behind the drum-major. That military marching music is indelibly etched upon my heart. I suppose it got stirred in with love, pride and looking up, to my dad.  Though it got buried in a stew of emotional upheaval and wounds (there is no getting through childhood without each having their own version of this to process) there is no denying, that as I sift through and take ownership of all that which is mine, there is love there present for my dad.

I'm not destined for a military path. There is no question though, that in a more balanced way, I can benefit from a self-loving application of precision, structure, discipline, order, tradition, ceremony and service. I have my dad to thank, for my "training," modelling the need for these qualities into my awareness and planting the seeds for their future development.

In the muddle of the myriad of things my dad said to me over my lifetime; he often said, "I want you to have the opportunity for a better life than I had." This is no "competition," but I most certainly have more advantages than he did - it's up to me to leverage them and stand in them and find my way to serve.

I didn't do "this" alone, I stand on the shoulders of my ancestors. It must have been intended, that I "stand" rather tall, as I have four lineages carrying me "into battle."

I love you Dad and I miss you - Happy Father's Day!

Friday, 17 June 2016

Couldn't Seem to Find the Right Card!

As "Father's day approaches this weekend I ponder the conundrum of "My Two Fathers." No that is not a title for a 21st century response to the sixties T.V. series "My Three Sons" - but I suppose it could be. Certainly at this point in history, there are far more "extended families."

What I refer to is the two fathers that figure in my existence. One that is part of my ancestral lineage and the biological contributor and the other that was more involved in my biography. One that was in my presence throughout my life (until 11/2 years ago when he passed) the other that was present through his absence (I couldn't say if he still walks planet earth or not).  What they shared in common was I really didn't know either man. Obviously I could tell you more of the father that was physically present; though perhaps surprisingly, not that much really.

The reverse is also true, neither of these men really knew me either. That's not unique to my "family of origin" - I've heard many men and women share their sadness around this lack of knowing and connection with one of the more pivotal figures in their lives.

There isn't as much "stir" or commercial impetus around "Father's Day" as there is for "Mother's Day;" I reckon part of a sad reflection of our society that doesn't pay much attention to the presence of the Father, but certainly can prattle on regarding absence or shortcomings.

Only the most naive would think it not a super-human under-taking to be a parent. The "days" to commemorate these people most likely stem from the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) that "commands" one, "honour thy mother and father." Even though the large swaths of a secular society renounce the place for religiosity in their lives, they're still quick to uphold some of it's many tenets.

The problem with these highly commercialized days is that there is a huge social pressure to participate (along with a set of suppositions that everyone has the "Hallmark" - "Ozzie and Harriet" relationship with their parents all the year through). To not embrace the day and the sentiments expressed therein is to seen as being "ungrateful." No quicker path to disappointment than going into one of these occasions with expectations of joyful connection (or any connection) when that's not the "family" dynamic.

What can I say? I'm alive, so I can't really say my father didn't prepare me for life. Especially now he's not even here, so most certainly (though true previously) whatever I make of my life, is on me now.

The social agreements around the "sacred cow" of parenthood (which I would say is biased with it being a graver transgression to speak ill of the mother - society is only too willing to malign the father/masculinity etc). make it challenging for people to process the truth of their relationships with their parents. Even when entering into a "therapeutic" relationship (counselling, healers etc.) the "client" can minimize, dismiss, protect these parents; because part of their "personality" has internalized a deep shame/guilt/fear of betraying "mom and dad."

Certainly it is what it is, at this point for me. However, if I was allowed to state a preference, I would have appreciated some useful skills to take into life (something - fishing, carpentry, blacksmith, maybe a sense that who I am, is actually okay) rather than a legacy of baggage to unpack.

I'm realizing that I have undertaken a "spiritual by-pass" of sorts where both parents are concerned (all four for that matter). I was in a big hurry to get to "I accept them for who they were" and "they did the best they could - with what they had" after all, "it could have been so much worse." (all the P.C. bullshit that is particularly fashionable in "spiritual circles.") and yes it would be good to get to that place of peace, personal responsibility, and acceptance.  Come "hell, tide or high water - I will get there!

But first, there is much that some parts of me need to say - much of what went down in that house of ours, just wasn't okay in any way, shape or form! They did not "do the best they could," they had free will choice to deal with their shit and they did not. They chose instead to project their garbage all over myself (of course there was a sister in that home as well - but she can speak for herself). Maybe they were unable (between the two of them) to conceive children because they were vastly ill-equipped to actually be parents. I needed to be loved and cherished - appreciated, encouraged, supported; so that I could self-assuredly step into the world. Instead I was criticized, humiliated, shamed, physically abused, made to believe I was responsible for their short-comings and ultimately for their lives.

Yes for my part I "took all this on" I have been "dependent" where I might have been independent. I was never held hostage so if it wasn't "possible" to have left when I was younger - I certainly could have severed the relationship once I reached "adulthood." My ability to relate in the world were formed in that dynamic and much of it hasn't yielded me a stellar ride. I most certainly hold that all that is within me can be healed, transformed and transcended.

For that to occur I must (and have at least in part here) given voice to that which "Hallmark" doesn't articulate (and many others one might encounter over this weekend, won't encourage, support or hold space for.

As I fully prepare to step into the role of "self-parenting" this represents the unconditional loving father, I need to be, for myself.

I suppose in a very convoluted sort of way, my Father's have had a hand in my getting to this place. I hereby give you both, that which is yours to deal with, wherever you are, in your own soul's journey. I in turn, will attend to what is mine.

I will continue on the path of forgiveness toward you and toward myself - not for your benefit but because it is the loving act that I need for myself, to continue to find inner peace.

With that vision in mind and heart - I will say "Happy Father's Day!"

Talk is Cheap? (but first there would need to have been some)

“Being honest may not get you a lot of friends but it’ll always get you the right ones”  - John Lennon

It's possible I may have referenced this particular quote in another post, searching it just now, showed it had been accessed before. I may have just been thinking about it some other time and wanted to see exactly how it had been stated. I seem to retain the flavour of various quotes I read, however, whether it is the creative within me or an inclination to spin things "my way;" I don't remember things verbatim. Hence, if I'm going to quote something, I generally look it up so I can reference it correctly.

It might be that where friendships are concerned, like so much of the rest of my life, things are in transition. I say this, while at the same time making clear, why I opened with this quote. At the present I'm not sure of the accuracy of this quote, based on my experience. Now I presuppose one must make allowances, for the fact; that just because it was something that someone decided to immortalize, of the many things John Lennon said in his lifetime - doesn't mean it's true. (if indeed he actually said it).

I can certainly vouch for the first part - it seems to me there isn't necessarily a glut of appetite in the social milieu for honesty. Giving that to be true, one can seemingly mow through a multitude of people on a personal quest to show up more authentically in the world. Maybe it's "growing pains" maybe I don't have the vaguest idea how to relate to people on an ongoing basis. 

"We go way back" - I don't say that much (the whole idea of "friendships" with "history" is pretty much non-existent to me. Now before it is presumed that I go through people brushing them off by the dozens - this is not the case. I have "terminated" some connections, I have admittedly in my life time, allowed some to shrivel on the vine. I would say of my efforts to create networks, community, friends and support over the last eight years (time since I got back on my own after a divorce) that I have been sincere in seeking connections. I have undergone huge change and development as a result of relentless self-exploration (which in part was prompted by the afore mentioned divorce). I reasoned I can't take the same package of goods right back out there. I needed to find answers.

My propensity for honesty comes not from place of virtue or higher ground, but one that was motivated first by self-preservation and increasingly by self-love. This has done nothing to verify Lennon's supposition that though perhaps few, this would result in "the right friends." 

This is not meant to be a testimonial of criticism, for those that are in the periphery of my life. I'm seemingly welcome in various groups of people - I've not had a door slammed in my face per se.

I do begin to wonder with regard to "friendships" if I'm the one that does the lion's share of calling, contacting etc. - then maybe the other person isn't all that in to, remaining in touch. Conversely I don't have endless time to "hang-out" nor do I suppose that others do either, so I have no idea how people go about coordinating such things. I'm not sure it's worth all the complications.

What the hell are all the rules with regard to "intimacy?" By which I mean open, transparent communication (to know and be known) the hell with sex! I mean it's okay, as far as that goes; but I'm really talking about just some genuine human connection. Seems to me seeking that not only ensures that you don't have "a lot of friends" but is conducive to having none. As much as intimacy is said to build relationships based on honesty, trust, willingness to be "vulnerable," it seems to repel rather than attract.

Maybe this is what Lennon is referring to when he says "honesty may not get you a lot of friends." Admittedly I'm not keen on trying again and again to meet new people (so maybe that's where the breakdown in finding the "right friends" takes place). I look at the failure to achieve lasting relations ..... well.. as failure. People aren't calling me back because there's something wrong with me. And I'm sure as shit not going to call them and ask them what that is! There's already the pain of failing, why would I want to invite another shit-kickin on top of that?

What the hell? Does one have to go on multitudes of "first date" - like scenarios (that aren't even for the purpose of "romantic" connection; just to meet people and maybe, find someone you can talk to regularly (what ever that is?). 

I can't say that this day and age of internet/"social media" and text messaging has done anything to help matters. What the hell is "social" about it? Sure it provides the means to talk to anyone - anywhere (assuming internet is not sanctioned there). But take any medium that allows for "live-time" text "chat." This is rapidly becoming people's "idea" of staying in touch? It allows for spontaneous connection, of course this assumes one or the other is "open" to that unannounced "drop-in." On the rare occasion I've received such a "visit" (assuming I'm not about to run out the door) I've enjoyed the surprise. Often I don't seem to see that reciprocated. I presumed people "inviting" you to be "friends" meant they actually wanted to be some form of 21st century electronic "pen-pals." 

They do not! 

On some occasions there is no response - on other occasions there is a text form response delivered via email  (after I've gone off-line and been ignored) which avoids the need to have a "conversation" which you really can't have in text form anyway - given how easy it is to mis-interpret the written word. Then it would seem that conventions that used to apply to telephone conversations have gone altogether - for example: "well I've got to go now and do ....... "Good bye - nice talking to ya!" don't apply at all to text chatting.  All of a sudden the conversation just stops! Mid - exchange! No Good bye, fuck you - nothing! It's just over! It's just rude if you ask me! 

Another variation is your "chatting" and then the chattee states, they need to get to bed - "okay cool, have a great sleep, great to talk to ya." They end your conversation but then the online ticker tape of names indicates they are still on line (oops an unforeseen - but fully seen, faux pas! ) 

 Do I monitor this shit? No I do not! But you can't help but see it when you stay online and the name just hangs there!

Why don't people just do the decent thing and "unfriend?" (oh I don't want to hurt his/her feelings)  Do you really think all this disingenuous bull-shit is not hurtful? At least in the old days (when people just "screened" calls using their answering machine - you didn't have to see that you were being snubbed, you could entertain the dignity preserving notion, that they weren't home. Now thanks to Gates and Jobs you can watch the fabric of "friendships" unravel right before your eyes (from anywhere in the world! (bloody marvellous this age of "communication!"

The more I think about, it the more attractive seems the idea of just becoming an itinerant, nomadic, hermetic, monk! But maybe it's just a phase I'm going through!

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Reflections snoitcelfeR

Mirror Mirror on the Wall
For that which I see
Will I Love it - at All?

Some said - "it's tainted from a fall"
Convinced of it's truth
Upon Life - I am, the great pitfall!

Through the din - I heard a call
Trust inner light
To expose holes - in a deceptive shawl

I held a vision oh so small
A mirroring love revealed
That called fate - my, tainted wall

Mirror Mirror on the Wall
For that which I see
Will I Love it All?

Monday, 13 June 2016

Sacred Covenant

I have not come:

To serve your fears
To bend to your conditioned expectations
To act out your fantasies
To wage war with your enemies
To conform
To acquiesce
To affirm your path for you
To shoulder your burden
To be your knight
To provide you the love you deny yourself (from yourself)
To be your God

I am here:

To realize and honour the altar of my own heart
To be the love of and in, my life
To know myself in God
To know God in myself
To serve the truth
To transform and create peace
To be one in the many
To be the many in the one




Sunday, 12 June 2016


Tell me then:

On that beach
That for you
Conjures explicit imagery




Which grain of sand

Was so extraordinary

As to render the rest


Saturday, 11 June 2016

Can You Bear the Weight of the Sword? (before you swing it)

To no one in particular and yet to the entire population of the planet; I am responsible for me and me only.
It's my blog - I can say what I want, regardless of a readership that is significantly less than the world's population, I'm saying it anyway. First of all, my soul-objective is not to "attract" (appease) readers - if it were, I might just fall back, into a patterned inclination to sculpt what I say. By this I don't mean just the creative choice of words; but rather, what it is, I'm saying.

Second, energetically I believe my declaration carries weight. So it doesn't matter if everyone reads it, in speaking it, begins a life of it's own (with my ongoing contribution). It also doesn't matter if contrary to "marketing" strategies; the ongoing dialogue/content of the blog, has the visible effect of reducing readers. In the end analysis, my saying what I need to say will continue to be said. Perhaps resulting in a "build it and they will come," or perhaps becoming the electronic media world equivalent of, "the tree falling in the forest" (i.e. if I write it/declare it and nobody reads it - does anybody hear?)

What am I saying? It's two fold (unless the diametric presentation is tantamount to a singular statement in which case - it's that!) My intention is to be one hundred percent responsible for myself. (my beliefs, my behaviour, my feelings, my action/inaction) "Intention" is both the end and the means; so even while living further into what it is I'm declaring (& along the way I initially place some responsibility "out there" somewhere) it is still my intention to "bring it home."

The flip-side of this is: I am not in any way, shape or form going to take responsibility for anyone else.  In that, the previous clarifying statement also applies; as it seems currently to be true, that I can still on occasion, "assume" responsibility for another, that is not mine.

What does this look like? Well, as a man I can only speak from that perspective. Hopefully that would imply that I don't speak for all men, but if not, there it is. I am tired - really tired, of  energy and behaviour directed at me that lays claim to the state of the world being brought about by men.

So if you are a women - forget about scapegoating me for what is unhealed within you. I am not here to be anyone's whipping post. If you are unwilling to look at yourself and want to play spiritual hot-potato with "responsibility," I'm out - see ya! I have empathy for your pain - but I also have empathy for myself and therefore; I love myself enough, that I would be willing to "witness" your pain - but I will not, be the target of your pain. If you are discontent with the state of the world and the zenith of your contribution is to blame men - well then, isn't that a bloody convenient "get out of jail free card for you!"

Where I'm concerned I commit to continuing to ferret within myself what would make me think I am responsible for others or that I take on the toxic energies that belong to them. That is mine to discover and transform.

If you are a man - forget about your contention, that I am the "competition" that there is so "precious little in the world" and if I get any, that means you'll get less. Forget that "dog eat dog" mentality (I have no appetite for "dog") whatever it is you have - I don't want it (on many days I don't know what to do with what I have) I didn't come here to wage war with you. Deal with your own shit with regard to your insecurity and self-hatred. Don't project your view of masculinity on the world and oppress and persecute, any that don't fit the criteria.  I've spent much of my life trying maintain a profile that is largely invisible. Problem is, now some part of me has decided to be seen and heard. This creates a little internal tension, with that part that was intent, on parading around with the cloak of invisibility.

For my part - I have unquestionably when "threatened," been a hostile presence in the world. The lion's share of my hostility has been directed at myself. This in no way absolves me of the reality that at times that same contempt toward me, has been directed at someone else. So there has been "collateral damage" as I wage war within myself. Still just as I have continued in my life in abusive situations - perhaps longer than was merited; so it has been with those that received my angst. No one has ever apologized to me for that which flowed to me - in fact from a place of "responsibility" the apology, atonement, forgiveness and transformation, continues to be wanting; from me toward me at some levels. Why would that be any different in "reverse." My atonement, self-care, commitment to transform my "wounds" is my "apology." I don't owe anybody - anything, nor do they "owe me."

The journey of each is between them and God. If they don't "have a God" ...... well, God bless them. At least some of the time I don't feel I'm going this alone - I wouldn't want to return to the terror of thinking I'm alone - always.

I hear it (see it) touted that the path to empowerment is to assume the energy of a "warrior" - wielding one's great sword, dispatching their "enemies; hacking and slashing and leaving a trail of carnage in their wake. Frankly this is a grave and dire imagery! Beyond that, it is a misguided (at the very least limited use of) warrior energy.

Look around the world - there are endless examples of "swords" being swung in every imaginable (and unimaginable) ways. What has changed? The technical presentation of the sword. So now we have "smart bomb" swords, computer-guided missile - swords, improvised explosive device (IUD) swords, chemical weapon - swords, atomic -swords, economic sanction - swords, pharmaceutical and agricultural - swords etc.)

I'm suggesting a more apt use of the "warrior energy" is to go within - use that sword (of truth) to cut away the layers of "defences" to bring light to the wounded that lies within. My supposition is that one needs all the strength, courage and tenacity of the warrior energy, to march this road to inner peace. If the trek is halted prematurely; then it may just be, that one remains encamped within one of the defensive "layers," and the "warrior" energy that might have taken them all the way to liberation, is co-opted. There,  a limbo of self-hatred, is projected on the world, the hacking and slashing proceed and proliferate as once again, the "enemy" is seen "out there."

Claim and wield your sword as you must. But before you swing, be sure of your target.

Unless this energy and sword are harnessed for their potential, expanded, peace-seeking intention - "we" may never see the day when "swords are beaten into plough-shares."

Did Gandhi or Mother Teresa (to name just two) possess even a modicum less "warrior" energy than some of history's more renowned "warriors?" They had to deal with the same "humanity" within and without themselves, before they could live their chosen paths.

There is a medallion on my altar - it belonged to my adopted dad's father. I suppose he must have actually answered one of those ads in the old magazine's. It is from "Charles Atlas" - awarded for achieving "physical perfection." (a benchmark of achievement that didn't prevent his passing from a "heart condition.") Personally - referring back to the old ads, I would do well to remember, it's me that is kicking sand in my own face - not the bully on the beach). I'm reminded of the imagery of the "God" Atlas hoisting and carrying the world on his shoulders. As anyone that knows me realizes - my shoulders are not that broad. I therefore set down the erroneous assumptions and "weight of the world" and more correctly assume responsibility for the real estate my size 7 1/2 feet take up and the six inches between my ears. Let it be done!

I am aware of how instantaneously one can find themselves in tumultuous waters. I work in a predominantly female work environment. There is plenty of blatant anti-male sentiment - which despite "human relations" polices, is not neutralized. Hey... the world (including me) is still working this shit out. For my part .... when I suddenly feel like "tearing someone a new asshole..." I can realize ... there it is.... I've been working it (or whatever) but shit...... that still hurt's!! Infinitely more options abound by the time I'm in this space.. made possibly by my not fanning my own flames.

My declaring where my responsibility begins and ends... doesn't mean others will stop foisting their shit my way. I suppose it will continue until it "doesn't trigger me any longer" and even then, it will continue - but it won't trigger me any longer.

It takes far more courage to use the sword of truth to surgically, magically/mystically transform myself, than it will ever take, to hack someone else to death.

Friday, 10 June 2016

To the Self, For the Self, From the Self

Today marks the beginning of a five day stint of shifts which run between the hours of (3p.m. -11:00 p.m.) While this is in alignment with some increased "cash-flow," I haven't (since returning to the "work-force") been inclined to take so many pre-booked shift in advance; particularly these hours.

I am implementing some flexibility, upping my opportunity to shift my financial picture and have further resources, to meet some life goals. I'll certainly see after doing this block of shifts; how turning the day around for an extended period, flows for me. I have done this shift time before; but sporadically mixed, with other shift times and interspersed with varying amounts of time off in between.

In a way, it's all an experiment; one which has an overall theme of "Self-care." I suppose I used to be inclined to try and create some sort of patterned approach to living. An extended period of time that removed large swaths of my previously existing structure; began to show me the rigidity with which I unconsciously upheld such forms. Now I'm trying to foster a more creative approach that embraces some form and some spontaneity.

In the case of this next five days, I will be working until a time of evening that I'm often already in bed. I'm not inclined to sleep in way later while on these sort of shifts (unless one day I'm particularly tired) because I like and want, to have some appreciable time during the day, that allows for the fulfillment of other needs.

For example I considered leaving writing today's post "after work" - I have tried that a few different times and have found it a struggle to stay awake during the process. (I suppose that might lend well to my developing further empathy for those that read my posts).  I don't just go right to bed when I get home; as it is, I'm all energized from working and need time to unwind. Just the same it's not a great time for me to work at something that requires my being "alert." Today then, in order to work in my writing, I've taken that on where it "fits" and is more apt to happen).

Exercise so far, has taken the form of some stretching and I will then also either walk to work or ride my bike. If I want to get to the gym over the next five days - that will need to factor in; as would any decision to play music around town.

For me I'm recognizing that sometimes my commitment to my own self-care, looks like a associated commitment to a variety of other pursuits. However at other times, the same self-care vision, might well be, that some of the a sundry focuses might be juggled, lessened or omitted altogether. A paradigm that would see omission as a "failure" would in this light, be "self-defeating."

Of course "self-care" flies in the face of indoctrination that one need be "selfless" to be a "good person."

The paradoxical way life present is that one that fully takes care of their own needs first has endless energy to direct to others. If the opposite approach is implemented (placing little or no regard for personal needs) energy is depleted, resentments set in, enthusiasm for and effectiveness at, being of service wanes considerably.

As essential to over all well-being as "self-care" can be said to be - it might seldom if ever being applauded by those in your sphere of influence.

The thing is - if I don't take it on (and ideally before there is the onset of various crisis from having not done so) who else is going to do it?

Spoiler Alert: NO ONE!

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Less is More!

 A conversation I was engaged in last night touched on "our" personal guidance system. For the purpose of the discussion we were referring to the ability for each to be "in their body" in order to be aware of their feelings, which in turn provide an aspect of this "guidance." The conversation traversed a broad range of subject matter including such phenomenon as being: "cut-off" (from yourself), disassociated, repressed - living in one's head. We both had our respective experiences with this and could certainly recognize within the sharing of our experiences; that this "sleep-walking" was neither good for me (as a man) or her (as a women). It also afforded us both the gift of recognizing that neither gender had the monopoly on these processes of desensitizing.

So then, what of the idea that is tossed around as part of the socialized milieu, that one is being "over-sensitive?" Of course to begin with this is a "relative term." For someone convinced that all the armour and shielding is still required to navigate through life; anyone that is modelling a more "open" way of being, might well be tagged: "over-sensitive." But can one really be too sensitive?" I would suggest that as with other ways of being, there is not a standardized criteria and therefore it must be determined by the individual for themselves. Certainly I have seen behaviour from someone that touts the need to "develop a thick skin" as lacking in compassion. Again something that is subject to relativity, which is best not "judged." After all, I am that person on some occasions.

For me there is an ongoing need to determine what ways of being are "working for me" and which are not. My "reaction" to some circumstances might well be part of a more complex mechanism that remains in place - a creation of mine perhaps once necessary for emotional/spiritual survival. This is mine to unravel and own; regardless of what is going on for someone else, which might be the very thing that "trigger's" me.

As I said it is up to each to "define" themselves. Most certainly the influences that contributed to us developing various "personality traits" (some of which we might be looking to release and/or expand upon) will continue to be operating in the world. There are endless "models," stereo-types, "paradigms," none of which could possibly accurately fit for everyone; nor is it reasonable for anyone to try and embody one of these frameworks as though it was an "off-the-rack" suit that would allow the shedding of one, in favour of donning the other.

I'm not here to define what is an appropriate presentation for anyone else. In truth, though I know myself to be on an evolutionary path - I don't know precisely where it is leading nor do I know what I will discover newly within myself. There is seemingly as much mystery within myself as that which I encounter in life outside of myself. Hmm.. as within as without. I suppose that makes sense then, that if my inner world determines what I see in the external world, then I don't guess I can see or experience anything different outside myself, if change doesn't occur inside first.

I have to say that being able to experience life beyond the confines of my head is truly a gift. Yes there are times when I would not be so quick to affirm that.

I can't lay claim to a "methodology"through which changes have come about. I certainly allow myself a fairly diverse diet of experiences, "guided" by that which calls me in some way. I have no idea what any of those same experiences would do for anyone else.

All I do is share some of these experiences through this writing along the way. It excites me because whether some of these experiences are "run-of-mill" to others, they are often first time or of a variety; that were not known to me, at other times in my life. Overall this keeps me inspired; that for example, my age is not a barrier to exciting new life developments.

Today I was out busking - just thoroughly enjoying making music in the streets. At various times during the first set I was approached by different people. One fellow that I am acquainted with as he frequents the downtown core (which clearly so do I) he shared with me some very "sensitive" truths regarding his own health and the passing of his son. I feel so privileged to have people perceive me to be approachable and deeply touched with what people share of themselves in the course of my day. Other people stopped and introduced themselves; as our paths haven't so much crossed before, as we are on the same stretch of town intermittently, as I do my thing and they do theirs.

I'm not for a moment trying to set myself a part from anyone else. I'm simply expressing my appreciation to have a growing connection with myself which in someway, opens the door to connecting with others. Today I was present to having a wide variety of "community;" in the form of various people, that I have had some form of rapport with, over the now three years that I have been busking. Another fellow that I see most every-time I play in a particular part of town.  He sells a "street magazine" in front of a nearby store.  Today he asked if he could take my picture which he wants to use for his entry in some sort of "vendor contest." The "winning pictures" will be used to produce the annual calendar they sell around the end of the year." I always buy a copy of his magazine - we hang out for a while and shoot the shit and solve a few of the worlds dilemma's. Imagine, now he felt okay about approaching me for his creative project. I have been videoed and had pictures taken many times, I have no clue what anyone does with them. I just love the opportunity to have an opportunity.

I ventured to the library courtyard after a meal break. Got there just as another performer was clearing out. I had begun yesterday to play with the modulation of my voice in the same "venue." My experimentation was cut short as it turned out there was a booked event, so I only played briefly.  Today I had ample opportunity to really play around with the acoustics in that courtyard! I have been "shut down" there in the past - the office workers in the upper tiers of the building can lodge a complaint and one must move on. On other occasions I played for the better part of two hours and not had a complaint. I haven't been quick to go there for awhile as I initially thought, what's the point of going there, if I'm just going to be asked to move on. Then I've  got to find another spot - set up again etc.

These last two days my "objective" was to have some sensitivity for those working and myself. What is possible here? I'm not a "trained vocalist." I have the capacity for a big huge powerful voice. A gift on the one hand, but not much good if it gets ya - "moving on down the road!" An "idea" was planted in my mind that went something like this: "Just because you have a "big voice" doesn't mean you have to use it constantly. I might at this point just be stumbling to express in some half-baked fashion, that which more experienced singers take for granted.

I both dialled back my singing and playing volume (used a soft pick so I could still where I wanted, strum energetically but it was softer sounding). With my voice I paid attention to the relationship between me and the acoustics - I played around with a "big - little sound" or maybe a "little big sound" (I did say I have no idea the "correct" way to articulate what it was I was doing).

It was an entirely different experience for me. I reckon it was parallel to what I have experienced as an audience member. There have been occasions where the band has "over-powered" the venue and at that point I can't hear the articulation of the different instruments or the voices - it's all just lost in what I call a "muddy sound." All I know is I was able to do so many different things with my voice with so little "effort." There were times when I got goose-bumps as certain notes were hit or sustained (sometimes called "God-bumps.") I'm not saying that this necessarily implies that I was giving some sort of spell-binding performance - but I certainly was aware experientially, of being on (in) new territory and I was really getting off on it! It gave me a entirely different experience of being engaged in and enjoying myself in the music.

An elderly lady came to the bottom step of the platform and said something to me. She was so soft-spoken I didn't get it, so I came down the stairs so I could hear her. She told me that she had been throughly enjoying my beautiful voice and that it had made her day!

Imagine if you will, being someone that at times has entertained the ideas that "I'm no good to anyone," "I having nothing of value to say or contribute" "I have no gifts or talents" (you get the idea) and then one day, you're on the receiving end of a heart-felt reflection such as that!

I am in awe of the "rate of return," no matter what I "give," I seems I cannot out give life.

It's a good thing I didn't get "over-sensitive" I might have "broke down" right there in a public venue and cried!

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Should All "By-gones" be left "By-gones?"

"Honour thy father and thy mother" is one of the Ten Commandments in the Hebrew Bible. The commandment is generally regarded in Protestant and Jewish sources as the fifth in both the list in Exodus 20: 1-21, and in Deuteronomy (Dvarim) 5:1-23, though Catholic counting this is the fourth commandment.  - Sourced from Wikipedia

Setting aside the countless numbers of people living and dying by these variations in syntax and interpretations; what provisions if any, have been made for (in this case) parents that were "unhonourable?"

This is not to be a tirade through which I join the ranks of those that seek to vilify the parents, for the shortcomings of the off-spring.

At the on set I acknowledge the astronomical under-taking of those that take on the role of parenting. Of course not everyone embraces it as such - but I don't want to get lost, in the minutiae of that. It might be readily argued perhaps rightly so, that I have nothing credible to say about parenting, given I've never been one, nor am I likely to be.

I didn't have the style of relating with my parents (adopted) that would reveal whether my unique presentation in their lives was a  source of growth (or fulfillment). Certainly I was privy to statements that could lead me to conclude, they subscribed to the "we made our bed and now we have to sleep in it" - school of thought. Without hammering myself - I believe it fair to say, if my parents got anything in the way of guidance regarding adopting children (given it was 1959) they still may not have been "prepared," for some of the curve balls I threw them.

In this post my tack is more questioning, to what degree do these tenets of biblical antiquity continue to "inform" us here and now, in this the twenty-first century? Beneficial? Detrimental? Lost values? No value?

As I scanned further into that Wikipedia entry, it refers to a time when to curse one's parents or strike them, was punishable by death. It also mentioned that the "Talmud" associates the honouring for parents to be equivalent to an honouring for God.

Given this is a theology that depicts a wrathful, vengeful Deity and the correct relationship toward "Him," was that of "God-fearing" - how does that shape the approach to parenting while at the same time demanding "honouring?"

I can only speak for myself when I say along the way to considering a personal relationship with a God it has been necessary to have many a no holds barred dialogue. I believe this to be the ground work to an open hearted connection ongoing. I mean if this God is Omnipotent - then there is nothing that is on my heart that is already not known. The point is for me to be honest that it is there and not pretend "piously" it is not.

The thing I seem to observe with regard to evolutionary trajectory is that even though practices may change (some virtually disappearing altogether) but even though the "law of the land" might be said to be secular in nature; there are still energies and "throwbacks" to the past. While it might be said readily enough - "you can't teach an old dog, new tricks." Has anyone stopped to think about how hard it is to release and old DOG (ma?).

So while one might not be stoned to death for dishonouring their parents (at least not here in Victoria)   you might well experience a "social flogging" for speaking disparagingly about your mother or father (frankly, more so - mother) it seems there are huge tolerances for men and men as father's, to be endlessly dragged through the mud. To be honest, some men have created a reality that invites that. I'm not slamming all women in this assessment - I am saying some can hide within the dogmas of their choice; spinning that to their own bias (human behaviour - not one distinct to gender).

The onset of Patriarchy (for whatever period of time that has been in place, has not been beneficial for women or men). Ironically or maybe necessarily so, evolution, through the women's movement (a necessary move forward) has had many women embracing the same "undesirable" qualities in order to attain their equality and equity (the same qualities they denounced in men) - that shit, has been ushering men into early graves for quite sometime and it has been upheld by men and women. Patriarchal minded women are not likely to usher in peace any more than men living, believing and behaving that way.

A continued call for an outward balancing for all of humanity seems to me merited - which would mean the inward balancing of the individuals from both genders (and would also extend to those that don't identify with the binary dictates for sexuality).

Which brings me back to dogmas and other deeply entrenched societal agreements. I fully acknowledge my need to take full responsibility for my life, my choices, my beliefs, my behaviour. It's up to each to decide if that is true for them as well. I'm not here to tell you what's what; only that it's true for me.

In order for anyone to come fully to terms with their personal biography (for the purpose of transforming it) they must be allowed to speak frankly. In order to do so it will necessitate "stepping" beyond the bounds of these dogmas; otherwise, (whether in their original context they served some useful purpose or not) one is held captive by the ensuing stigmas or varying fears of reprisal. This brings about a non-beneficial upholding, of a negatively pervasive status-quo.

This post spun from the referencing of just one "Commandment" which came to mind after a couple of conversations today, that touched on parenting and family of origin influences.

I don't think the present can be lived to it's full potential by not honouring the wisdom from the past. Hence new is not necessarily better or even progress. Neither is it beneficial to be entirely bound by dictates from the past - not everything about the "good old days" bares repeating.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

If You're Looking for Inspiration - You Won't Find it Here!!

Is there community without compromise?  When I say compromise, I don't mean creative/constructive conflict resolution where differences arise. Of course I would have to say that where some of that more collaborative communication is involved - I am a work in progress.

By compromising in this case, I am referring to the abandonment of one's authenticity in order to a gain ongoing approval in the community.

Much has been said about the the devaluing of self, where "strategies" such as people-pleasing, "going along to get along etc. are concerned; it amounts to dishonesty and as a consequence, any relating/relationship is built on lies. There can be no "connection," if I'm not telling you the truth - as I have first of all, disconnected from me in order to lie/pretend/withhold to someone else.

Yet many of the "communities" I have experienced,  even while denouncing "dogma" have the equivalent of that very thing, (in the form of exclusion - who's accepted - who isn't) they might not have it "written;" but the thread runs through the group, in the behaviour that is up - held within.

"It's a place for "like-minded" people!

You want to find out - how welcome you really are?

Question that premise!

Disagree with a popularly held idea and see what a brouhaha it creates. I'm not talking about being a contrarian just for the sake of disagreeing. I mean if something smells like shit - don't join the chorus line; seeing it and proclaiming it to be a rambling rose.

I don't know about anyone else's rationale for seeking answers in their life; by choosing some form of spirituality. For me it was an inability to reckon any longer, with the pain I felt inside myself. I certainly didn't come in the door looking for "community." Oh sure, I spent some period of time hoping to find someone that would uphold my bull-shit for me, but that turned out to not be in my best interest either. "Like-minded" people - what the hell, the very idea is the same pile of horse-hocky that resulted in my soul screaming to get my attention. There will be no soul - realization through maintaining the guise of a sheep or a chameleon.

Along the way - there have been connections with various people for varying lengths of time. Is authenticity risky? Your damn right it is! Maybe none of those people were meant to be "ongoing" relationships/ friends (whatever). There have been innumerable first time experiences of varieties of intimacies - sharing, self-disclosure; many of which were immensely pleasing - until they weren't. Not that the experiences themselves suddenly became unpleasant, the relating just went the way of the dodo.

It seems I have put myself out there - put myself out there - put myself out there and for what?

In this moment I'm inclined to say the whole notion of community if highly over-rated and if I were to be concerned about P.C. I'd say: consequently, I give it a resounding "raspberry," as it doesn't happen to be a concern - I will say "Fuck it!"

For years of my life I have tried to make things okay, that simply were not, in any way shape or form fucking okay!! Why.... because I so desperately wanted to "fit in." To what?? That's the billion dollar question?

How could I delude myself into believing that to follow suit with people that are doing shit and treating other people like shit, I could feel better about myself, because I'm now, one of the gang! (Well at least they're not picking on me). 

"Special interests groups" are nothing but breeding grounds for some colossal egos (and I ought to know) - I certainly bolstered mine to no end, until as the adage said - "Pride goeth before a fall." Oh and what magnificent falls they were!

Don't for a minute think, that just because the theme of a particular group is healing and transformation, that there can't exist through the collective within that group, a web woven of mass-denial; whereby each individual contributes to the lie, which upholds their own wounds as well.

If someone walks in there and matter of factly blurts out, "oh by the way, the emperor is butt-naked;" they will soon come to think they opened the very gates of hell, when the wrath of the group-mind unleashes on them.

Community more abstract that real me thinks! I've had many a satisfying encounter with "random" strangers in the streets. Maybe I've spent my life trying to put too much energy into trying to "chase" "win-over" "gain approval from" all the wrong people.

Maybe the Buddhas' impermanence was speaking directly about the relating to others when he talked about "attachment being the source of suffering." If I let go of any investment/expectation  on any conversation ever leading to even another conversation, how much more free might I be?

Community - enhancement or encumbrance?

That lone drifter in the old westerns - I'm not so sure he was always the "trouble-maker" everyone made him out to be. He just incited the rage of the masses that seethed at his audacity to live free.