Donald Trump and his new Republican Party proved something: That a Constitution written when indoor plumbing was actually cutting-edge technology, is not itself strong enough to withstand a manipulative assault on it by a modern day organized crime mindset that literally came of age in the dark gaps found between its words.
day by day
drags on by
frozen in place
by violent tides
an unstable tower
but not suffer
the poison is gone
people need love
the rest is loose
we end up
One of the exercises that I found particularly helpful when discussing the concept of ’emptiness’ in Buddhism, was trying to figure out at what point a car is a car.
For example: We have a car in front of us…
If I remove the engine, and the leave the rest of the body, frame, etc., is that still a car?
What if I then take off all of the doors, is it still a car now?
Or how about if I took out all the wiring and stuff, is that still a car then?
You can see how the exercise goes. At some point the realization began to set in that all things are all composite. We ourselves, are not singular. And we really are not separate from other beings. We are all made of of countless other components, and those things themselves are made up of even smaller elements. You can follow this logic as far down as you like, ultimately splashing around in the quantum foam like are in a 50’s surf movie.
But what if applied this logic to other things? Like what happened yesterday at the capital.
At what point does a protest become a riot?
At what point does riot become sedition?
At what point does a sedition become an insurrection?
At what point does insurrection become civil war?
What I have discovered is that rarely are there clear lines showing separation in nature. We tend only to be able to identify things after a new form has become apparent to us. In Buddhism, I have found this very humbling. When it comes to public safety, things get very messy and dangerous very quickly.
This used to be a cohesive blog to some extent, until a few years ago. A few years ago I started to get migraines.
Actually, based on what I now know about migraines, I guess I’ve had them for most of my life. So the fact that I say it the way that I do means they got pretty bad. Bad enough to have screwed with every part of my life, in one way or another.
I always loved writing, but as the migraines got worse, the ability to string two thoughts together has gotten more difficult. Add to that the fact that most of it is written on a tiny little phone screen, and I fat-finger things when I trying to ride an epiphany and get the words out as fast as they roll through.
Then there was this thing I learned about that can go with migraines, called aphasia. I can ‘see’ exactly what it is that I want to say, but its word isn’t with it anymore. When I am writing and it happens, I give up. In daily life, I just come out with weird shit, like referring to a cutting board as ‘the under-the-knife block’. I get frustrated because I want the writing to be good. I’m starting to not care about that as much as i used to. Fuck it. If my typos bug you, there plenty of other blogs you can visit.
I’ve written a lot, but I think I deleted even more.
Poetry has helped me though. Because I don’t have to string thoughts. I have to evoke images and feelings, and tie them together in some sort of dance. And so, that’s been the majority of what I’ve been writing.
Many times I have tried to write about what I had been going through, only to delete it the next day when everything seemed to change again. If you know someone suffering migraines, you know what that means.
Much of it is related to chronic pain, and so a great deal of this involves dealing with that, when I wasn’t in migraine. And often with both at the same time. Although migraines tend to take over the show. Back pain is kind of like a guy who follows you everywhere playing a harmonica. He would be obnoxious and drive you crazy, right? But imagine if he were to then follow you into a Lou Reed concert or something. If you were even able to hear him, even then he would at best be mildly irritating. Migraines are like that. They’re so loud, they drown everything else out around them.
And with pain, comes pain management. And with pain management comes medicines. And I am in recovery. And it’s at that point that Pandora’s Box comes apart at the seams, as the scotch tape repairs let go again.
That’s been the juggle lately, anyway. Or at least it’s a good jumping off point for a few things.
It’s not so much that I’m naturally a negative person. It’s just that I am starting to figure out that if you avoid seeing the positive stuff in life, then you’re only left with negative things to look at. And, yes there is a difference. Ask anyone with self-esteem issues, it builds upon itself like compounding interest.
a cosmic pulse goes out from you
like a sunspot on my mind
stirring and interfering with myself
and the ways I live and die
veering down an antique canyon
searching through rubble and pictures
for you, thru you, i come to them
regret rains down like foam
a testament to eternality
and the permanence of love
families go on, friends are gone
when the strings of you unwind
the gordian knot of grief, it shivers
resonates itself through space and time
the 7th dimension of too much hurt
revolves in time with Yamantaka
I have come to believe that people pray to God not because One exists, but because our Ego does. I believe Prayer works because it takes our most naturally destructive energies (intention, will, hope, judgement, etc.) and channels them outward, rather than back toward ourselves where they do the most damage.
The last few years has been a tough ride for me personally. I lost a brother to an overdose. I lost my mother to cancer. I lost one of my oldest friends, and the best man in my wedding, to Alzheimer’s. There’s also a handful of other major events that would take too long to explain in this particular post. When I look back at every one of those losses, there is a fairly large gap in my blog post history. Who knows why? I suppose it’s one of the ways I don’t deal with grief, by simply ignoring any decent coping mechanism I have for processing it.
A week ago today, I lost one of the most influential people I have ever had the privilege to know and collaborate with. This time the loss is directly relevant to my spiritual well-being, as well as what I write about.
Brian and I met over a decade ago, when he was hired by a friend of his, who was also my boss. A lucky break for me since the same guy had been telling me that I would probably get along really well with his friend Brian. A suggestion that sparked one of the most pivotal relationships in my life.
He was more than just a friend. He was a mentor in a number of areas for me. At other times, he preferred to be the student. It was one the purest definitions of friendship I have ever experienced. For myself, I believe that’s because we recognized ourselves in each other.
Over time, we created and authored a number of blogs that discussed a range of topics. He was one of the few people I can honestly say was able to deliver criticism to me in a way that completely bypassed my defenses, and the need to defend myself from the criticism. He could bypass my defenses and deliver information in a way that made it easy to see his point, simply removing my normal need to save face.
I don’t write because I want to. On most days, it’s more of a need. But, when my ego flairs, writing the type of stuff I do can be painful sometimes. Based on what I know, I suspect that Brian had to learn how to reduce his own ego before he could help anyone else with theirs. I am a far better person today for having known him.
I haven’t used his full name for a few reasons. The first of which is that I haven’t sought any sort of permission from his family to compose a written memorial. But also because I think I knew him well enough to know that, the idea of anyone trying to memorialize him in any way, would have given him the heebie jeebies.
Over the years he pushed me hard to get over myself, and to finally realize some of the projects I wanted to work on. But, like most people, most of it’s blocked by whatever bullshit excuse for a fear that I’d given myself. Each time that he pushed, he was careful to do so in a way that was always most helpful to others, and less likely to focus accolades back on us. In other words, Brian showed me what humility was, from the inside.
Okay, so now after having written all of that nice stuff, it also appears that I have also acquired my own glasses-wearing, mustachioed Obi Wan-ghost, wandering around and bugging me that I’ve still got work to do.
You see, I am not trying to memorialize Brian so much as I am trying to write about the passing of a close friend as a way to exercise my own demons. And also to let people know that I plan to change directions with this blog for a little while, if that’s okay (and even if it’s not). This blog was never meant to be a political bitch session. That’s purely a side effect of our current political climate.
I have been working on a series of essays that discuss the current and ongoing change in status that cannabis is experiencing as medicine, as well as how that might affect people in recovery for things like alcoholism.
Because of some of the training I have, both personally and professionally, this is a topic of great personal importance to me. It’s also one that few seem willing to tackle. And it’s here that Brian recently applied his gentle pressure, for me to continue to explore the subject, so that we could continue to help others in whatever way works for them.
My secondary reason for this post is to ask help from the readers: If you know anyone who can be helped by this information, please share it with them, this topic must be a give and take. Like much of our political discourse these days, the medical benefits of things like cannabis are subject to media favoritism. And the popularity of certain methods and medicines, ebbs and flows on public perception. A perception that is largely informed by backdoor deals and lobbying efforts, usually designed to enrich someone else, somewhere else.
What we really should be doing is using the technology we passively browse, and instead push it to increase our own access to information. We need it to help us expand our knowledge of the truth, and about the real efficacy of our medicines, and our politics. And for many who are trying to recover from addiction, helping them to increase the quality of their own internal lives.
Having said all of that, I want to once more thank Brian for everything he was able to teach me (not always such an easy task). And to also let him know that I miss him, and that I love him. Something I’m sure he knew, but I don’t think I got to say out loud.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason everyone could care less about Trump costing the taxpayers millions of dollars in security costs just so he can golf every damn week, is because at least then we all get a brief respite from the vomitron that is our 24 hour news cycle.
I grew up in the northeast, and was in high school during roughly the same time period as Brett Kavanaugh. Here’s what I know about that time period.
Parties were measured by how many kegs they had. When a party was described with terms like ten kegger, no other descriptor was required. This was only a couple years after Animal House was released. And some of the most popular movies about high school life at the time were Porky’s and Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Both movies were shining examples of how all early 1980’s high school students spent their time — on academics, sports, church, and service.
Every guy I knew that went to a private prep school (which is admittedly a very small number of people) were absolute douchebags. They all basically acted like entitled pricks about everything, especially with girls. And, thanks to people like Owen Labrie, we know more about what happens at elite prep schools than we used to, and we know how far we still haven’t come.
I knew women and men who were raped and sexually assaulted. If the topic came up around someone new, the most empathetic response you could hope for was, “That sucks”, before they quickly changed the subject. But when the victim wasn’t around, people would ask each other what she was wearing. The idea being that if you dig down far enough, there’s always something wrong with what the woman did to make the guy rape her. If you were a guy, you could also count on being made fun of, and told that “You can’t rape the willing!”
Today, while listening to both witnesses testify, I didn’t focus so much on the details of their words, as the context of their speech. And what I saw was a very scared woman testifying before the entire United States Senate, and openly discussing one of the most frightening events of her life.
Then I looked up to see a room full of dour faced white guys hiding behind a hired gun, one who just happened to be the same gender as the victim. And each and every one of those Republican Senators sat in their shame and pretended to look busy, while their constituents made sure to note whether their Senator has the guts to ask their own questions, or if they abandoned their responsibility to a woman that no one voted for (this is getting to be a thing with these guys).
And then the nominee/accused rapist spoke. And suddenly I was too angry to watch anymore. I used to know guys who talked to people like this. Every entitled prick I have ever known has acted the same way.