Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sunday Sermon [Your Personal Song]

Hola Everybody,

My beloved Mets have taken a September swoon, quite possibly creating a choke of historic proportions. Here's hoping they win today!

* * *

-=[ Your Personal Song: The Power of Listening ]=-

Sometimes we don't look at things as much as overlook them. The most important tools to our happiness are right there in front of us waiting. But like an old friend who now suddenly appears as the person you have been looking for all along, we see the power in things we take for granted if we take the time to simply pay attention.

Being present, or paying attention, is a good example of what I'm talking about. We spend so much of our lives lost in memories of things past or pining for future fantasies, that we have no time for the present moment. The fact is that without now, we can't do anything. If we're not present, then we lose.

The NY Lottery has an ad campaign with the slogan, "You gotta be in it to win it." And so it is with life.

Most of us don't pay attention; we're too full of assumptions. We don't actually see our loved ones, we see our own projections.

We don't really listen...

I had a teacher who used the following story to highlight the power of something as simple as listening. Some of the details are sketchy, but I think I've been able to preserve the core message.

In an east African tribe (I forget which) a child's life is counted not on the day it's born, nor on the day he's conceived, as in other cultures, but on the day the child is a thought in the mother's mind. As soon as the mother realizes she wants to have a child, she will go off alone somewhere, under a tree, for example, and she quiets herself and simply listens. Not listening for anything, or asking for answers or anything like that -- just listening.

Bare attention...

She waits to hear the song of the child who wants to be born in her heart. And as she hears this song, she sings it to her herself. When she returns to her village, she teaches the song to her husband. In that way when they make love, when they unite, they sing this song to invite this child to be born. Later, when she conceives, she sings this song to the child in her womb.

She teaches the song to her neighbors so that the first thing the child hears when it is born is its song in celebration of its birth. Later, as the child grows, if it falls and scrapes its knee, an adult will soothe the child's cries by singing its song. When the child grows into adulthood, the song is sung in celebration of their rite of passage. When there is a marriage both songs are sung.

Finally, when that individual grows older and passes from this existence the song is again invoked.

Imagine living in a society in which such attention and listening were truly valued. A world where stopping and being present is like a hit song we all celebrate and dance to...

What would your song sound like?



Saturday, September 29, 2007

Self Acceptance and Relationships

Hola Everybody,
Visited my Reiki girl yesterday and I actually feel much better today. That shit (reiki) scares me, but it fuckin works! LOL

I went to see The Kingdom yesterday and it was pretty good. It's Syriana for Dummies. LOL!

I still don't like sitting and my internet connect is maddeningly inconsistent, so it's report time!

* * *

Until we lose ourselves there is no hope of finding of finding ourselves.
-- Arthur Miller

Acceptance and relationships. Whew! Big one here. I want to explore what happens to the way we relate if we awaken even a little bit. This is the kicker, the fire with which we test ourselves. When one person meets another and the interplay of energy takes place, it pushes to the surface all the little places we pushed back from the light. Whether it's a history of violence, emotional bulimia, habitual criticism, or repeatedly having our trust betrayed -- these become like little messages that rise to the top, that come to the surface. What happens in a relationship is that your beloved becomes a mirror of yourself.

That's why it's not enough that one "fall" in love. Falling in love is based on neurochemicals combined with a limited sense of self. It's based on the grasping aspect of the mind. However, a relationship can become, if we bring more awareness, humor, and consciousness to it, a wonderful way to go deeper into living. But I get ahead of myself.

For most of my adult life my relationships with women were a series of dysfunctional interactions that either left me bruised and bleeding, or caused others much pain. My relationship history resembled a series of car crashes. My way of relating to women was screwed totally and so when I decided to make changes in my life, the first thing I did was call a moratorium on romantic relationships. I knew I didn't know what the fuckI was doing, so I wanted to stop, look, listen, and learn a new way.

I went almost two and a half years without a relationship and maintained celibacy during that time (yup).

One of the first things I learned during this time was that I couldn't love another until I could love myself. Not an earth-shattering insight, huh? And yes, I'm sure a lot of you will immediately say you love yourself, but you need to look at this a little deeper. People think if they boost their self-esteem that this equals love for one self. However, let me ask you this: if what you perceive as yourself is basically fucked up, isn't boosting the self-esteem of something inherently flawed -- still fucked up? Or, as a Baptist minister friend of mine used to say down south: "Dip someone into the baptismal waters and all you'll come up with is a wet sinner!" LOL! I used to laugh at that one.

In other words, truly learning to love yourself unconditionally is to accept yourself as you are, fearlessly exploring where you are causing your own suffering, learning how to move away from those patterns, and creating newer ways of relating. I'm sure we have plenty of arrogant people walking around "loving" themselves, but that's not the kind of love I'm talking about here, people.

So there I was, I learned to bring unconditional love to myself, warts and all, identified where I was causing my own pain and went on a long and hard road to recreate myself. I took a clear look at and became willing to undo my character defects. Along the way, I learned to relate to women as human beings, rather than as objects of my desire and made life-long friends in the process. In taking away the relationship ("I need you") and sex ("I want to fuck you") agenda, allowed me the space to relate to women as friends, as people.

And it was a great discovery for me. I mean women are totally fascinating creatures with thoughts, perspectives, ideas, compassion, etc. Okay, I'm exaggerating a little here, I knew all this before, but in not being focused solely on the "game," I was ale to meet women in a respectful way and my way of relating to them slowly changed.

Very important period of my own development, those years.

Well, time passed, I grew, I became more comfortable in my own skin to borrow a phrase from a friend, and I thought I had made great progress. And you know what? I DID! I learned for example, that I had major trust issues, that I often resisted true intimacy because I was afraid of people getting to know the real me; I encountered a fear that fueled my anger – all this with an attitude of acceptance and unconditional love. In addition, I went on a program of self-discovery and improvement that made me a better person, I think.

Then I met the woman who would eventually become my wife…

Oh boy! My marriage was one of the most challenging experiences I ever undertook. Don't get me wrong, I loved and was loved in return; I grew in ways I never imagined as a result of my marriage and I still reap the rewards of that union. But remember all those things I mentioned working on? They all came back with a vengeance!

At first I couldn't understand it, where were all these little monsters coming from? Why were all my "mini me" goblins running rampant in my love life? Didn't I resolve that anger "mini me"? And the trust "mini me"? I thought I got rid of that little fucker?!?! Like abandoned children, all my little monsters were wreaking with the tidy picture I was attempting to construct.

As I said before, relationships act as a mirror to our deepest selves and those little gremlins running around in the dark corners of our psyches will come out to play as soon as we get close to someone. It is almost impossible for us to get to know ourselves alone. There are always blind spots, unexplored corners of our past and present lurking somewhere. In this way, relationships become a way for us to put to the test all that we have learned. A relationship, especially a romantic relationship, is the crucible in which we dissolve the impurities of our hearts. It is where the dross is turned into the golden thread with which we sew the tears in our hearts.

Genuine love lies in making relationship like a practice -- a sacred discipline -- in which two people agree to make (and change) agreements, explore honesty (true honesty, not that bullshit that gets thrown around 360 posing as honesty), and questioning assumptions.

For me, awakening, or living in a more conscious manner, is a process. Sometimes I'm in a groove and things flow, at other times, I slip and really make an asshole of myself in the process. However, the thing is not that I'm some fuckin bullshit blissful guy floating two inches above the ground, that's totally unrealistic -- a spiritual stereotype. The point, I guess, is what's my (and your) general direction?



Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Jasmine's Story

Hola Everybody,
During a speech I gave last night (on racism), out of nowhere, I came out with the line, "... making the impossible, possible and the possible, inevitable." I don't know where I got it from (it ain't mine!), but it was pure genius! LOL

I will probably post a version of the speech sometime this week, for anyone who's interested.

This is a repost...

* * *

“The power of love to change bodies is legendary, built into folklore, common sense, and everyday experience. Love moves the flesh, it pushes matter around… Throughout history, ‘tender loving care’ has uniformly been recognized as a valuable element in healing.”
-- Larry Dossey

Life never ceases to amaze me: the cliché that life is stranger than fiction is true. I guess that’s why they’re clichés! When I first started school and beginning the process that eventually led to a career as a “healer,” I went through an experience that would forever change the way I look at healing.

Early in my recovery, I received a phone call in the middle of the night. It was an old and dear friend who had actually stuck with me even during my darkest days. She called to tell me that a former lover was on her deathbed at a nearby hospital. I’ll never forget her words. She said, “Eddie, I know you and Jasmine did a lot of fucked up shit to each other, but they don’t expect her to last the weekend. If you have anything you want to tell her, now is the time. They’re giving her last rites as we speak.”

I thanked my friend and as I put down the phone, I didn’t know what to think. Here was someone who had caused me great pain, who had been the object of numerous homicidal fantasies, who now was dying. As I thought of her, it was hard for me to feel the old resentment and anger without a pang of conscience. After all, I thought, I was equally cruel to her. I decided then that I would visit her that very moment.

As I began to get dressed (it was about 2am), I had reservations. Her family wasn’t too fond of me. In fact, the joke was that they wouldn’t even mention my name, and when they did, they whispered my last name as if actually calling my given name aloud would evoke me! So, in essence, in that family anyway, I became “Rosario” in the shushed confines of their home.

I decided that I would go anyway and that if there were any objections, that I would just leave and at least know in my heart that I attempted to make amends.

That Serenity Prayer actually does come in handy, folks.

As I rode the bus to the hospital, my mind kept coming up with various scenarios: the mother would curse me, I would make matters worse, or my presence would only magnify the pain.

I finally arrived at the hospital and, after locating the room, I entered the dark room quietly. The room was full of family members all huddled around the bed where a wasted and frail young lady lay seemingly unconscious. No one noticed me, as I listened to the priest murmur some last rites. I waited for someone to recognize me and, as the priest finished his ministrations, the mother turned and looked at me and with tears in her eyes cried, “Eddie! Oh Eddie, mi hijo, lo que a llegamo!” And she took me in her arms and sobbed. I could hear murmurings as my presence was made known.

The mother explained to me in hushed tones the situation: her daughter had fallen into a coma after a long bout with HIV and it was expected that she would die soon. I tried to apologize and explain that if my being there was inappropriate, I would leave, but the mother stopped me and led me to Jasmine’s bed. It was hard to look at Jasmine, lying there now wasted by disease. Her mother spoke to her as if she could hear her and said, “Mira nena, look who’s here to see you – Eddie!”

Honestly, I didn’t know what the fuck to do, but something told me to take her hand, which I did. Then I bent over and whispered to her, expressing how sorry I was for the things I did to her and how we hurt each other; that I was now living a good life free of my destructive patterns and active addiction. Her hands felt cold so I rubbed my hands together to generate heat and warmed her hands. I kept this up – talking to the unconscious Jasmine and warming her hands, and then her face, her arms, etc.

When I felt I had said what I had to say, I began to walk away and then I heard Jasmine whisper, “Eddie?” Everyone in the room stopped talking and when I turned around, there was Jasmine smiling at me weakly, whispering my name. At that point, everyone in the room started doing the sign of the cross and Jasmine’s mother was praying and saying that it was miracle and people were just running around calling the doctors and there I was in the middle of that whole scene wondering what the fuck was going on!

Jasmine would live for about four more months. I don’t know if I had anything to do with that, but Jasmine said that it wasn’t until she felt the heat from my hands that she began to regain consciousness. Before, she said, she felt she had settled into a form of resignation of meeting her fate. It’s hard to describe what Jasmine said, but I now think she was on her way to meet her maker. She had lost all hope for life, she told me, and had deteriorated rapidly. She said feeling the heat from my hands awakened her to the fact that there were certain things left undone that needed doing.

During her last days I became of a primary care-giver to Jasmine in that AIDS ward. In fact, the nurses called me Jasmine’s “boyfriend” and would arrange her hair in pigtails and her face would beam when I entered the room. Me? I resolved to do what I could – to give what I could to a person in need. Not only because Jasmine needed it, but because it was what I wanted to do – what I had to do.

And she would often request, especially during times of extreme stress, that I use my hands in the same way I did that first night. I never got it at the time. And when I would ask her, she would only say that my hands ran hot (which they do) and that the heat would lessen the feeling of numbness that would overwhelm her body.

The doctors could not explain. Indeed, what I witnessed during those days in that ward was that the doctors were often at a loss for answers for “prescriptions.” What I learned at that time was that a healer, whether she be a doctor, therapist or whatever, must act as a channel, or conduit of a healing entity or force. I don’t care whether you call it, God, Goddess, Christ, The Great Spirit, Chi, or whatever. Furthermore, in order to become such a channel, there are four essential qualities a healer must possess: trust, faith, love, and humility.

Though different healers may channel this healing energy by different techniques, none of them can heal – no matter what their technique – unless they use it with love and humility. Out of all of these qualities, love is probably the most troublesome because all healers have days when they are not open to love. There are no recipes or formulas for staying open that way. To love also doesn’t just mean loving others, it means loving one’s self too.

I learned in those days that healing does not necessarily mean to become physically well or to be able to get up and walk around again. For me, healing means achieving some kind of balance between the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual dimensions. For example, Jasmine would never walk again, and her T cells were, like, nil. Doctors were at a loss to explain her existence and just resolved themselves to minister to her while she was still alive. However, Jasmine became spiritually awake and though she was young (she was 33), sometimes she gave the impression of a very wise, very old soul with far more knowledge than her years. I believe that suffering kicks up the spiritual dimension by a lot of notches.

Don’t misunderstand, Jasmine, like many AIDS patients – even more so than patients suffering from cancer or other life-threatening illnesses -- was lacking in qualities of self-worth, self-esteem, and self-trust. At one time, she told me, she felt these qualities were blocked by a lot of guilt, shame, and ambivalence. There were issues Jasmine never had a chance to address, that she took with her to her grave – such as her addiction and deep-seated feelings of guilt. But we did what we could, – she and I. In some ways, we were like ships passing in the night. I was reinventing my life, starting anew, doing the things I never get a chance to do. Sometimes I would forget this. For Jasmine, this was as good as it was going to get. She was on borrowed time and that sometimes worked to minimize her motivation. I have friends who say that they were living with a disease, not merely dying. I don’t know if Jasmine ever got there. But we learned to trust one another, one day at a time -- together -- and laughed many times at how easy it was to revert to old patterns. However, Jasmine also had a seven year-old son she had to say goodbye to.

Jasmine’s “healing” didn’t occur at an individual level, because we are all connected through a vast network of relationships to an infinite number of people and creatures on the planet. The process of healing even one person has consequences for all of us. It did for me: acting as a channel for this energy, I now know, looking back, that Jasmine’s situation had a healing purpose for me.

As Jasmine began going about resolving the issues in her life, especially with her son, she seemed to become more at peace with her illness. There were days that her smile would remind me of the Jasmine I had known – beautiful, alert, intelligent and spunky. But those days became more and more rare. Eventually, taking care of Jasmine became a job that took priority over everything else in my life, threatening to burn me out. A part of that had a noble purpose, sure, but a part of that was also my codependency issue. There were times I would forget that I was but a channel through which some of this was happening and I would also forget that Jasmine would not get better.

She took me hostage, Jasmine did. She was afraid of dying alone in that cold, sterile hospital room. One day, after a particularly rough night (I had obtained special permission from the hospital administration), I was irritable and tired. My life had been consumed by Jasmine’s disease and I was feeling spent, confused, and sometimes angry – all triggers for my addiction. Jasmine hadn’t even spoken for days and if I wasn’t there doing it, she would not be cleaned in a nice way, so there I was cracking jokes about cleaning Jasmine’s ass and laughing about it. Sometimes I swore I saw a grin on Jasmine’s face during those times.

Anyway, I was tired and I wanted to go home, shower, and re-energize myself. I tried calling her sister, but she could not be reached, so I turned to Jasmine and told her I was leaving and would be back as soon as I could. I hated doing this because she would become agitated if I left the room, let alone tell her I was leaving. Jasmine’s greatest overriding fear – her horror -- was to die alone.

As I left, I turned to look and there was this look of stark fear on Jasmine’s face. I blew her a kiss, my anger gone now, and promised I would be right back. She was upset… but I reminded myself she always got upset when I left the room. I took the elevator to the lobby and just when I was about to leave, something almost physical stopped me dead in my tracks. It was as if I had run into an invisible wall. And it hit me, I realized I had to rush back to Jasmine’s room.

I knew what was happening.

Jasmine passed away as I was entering her room. When she saw me, the most beautiful smile of gratitude and contentment came over her face. She couldn’t mouth the words, but the look in her eyes -- I’m sure if she could she would’ve said, “Thank you, Eddie.” I stood by her, heard the death rattle, and she was gone…

The only difference between Jasmine and us, I came to understand, was Jasmine’s degree of illness. It seems to me that the whole planet is going through what Jasmine experienced with her terminal illness. My conclusion is that there must be a way to for all of us to go through a cleansing process to eliminate the hatred, greed, pain, grief, and rage that has been repressed for so long.

The thing is this: there is a way to do this if you only give yourself the time and space required to do it. There is a way to tap into the healing energy.



Monday, September 24, 2007

The Monday Myth

Hola Everybody,
Just to clarify a little regarding yesterday's blog: the blog really wasn't about praise per se. It was about uncovering what it is you feel you lack by silently giving it to others. If you attempted the exercise described, you would have understood this. One responder stated she was having a hard time doing the exercise because everybody in her life always gave her praise. I highly doubt that and if I had her in my office, I guarantee that within fifteen minutes we would be uncovering a whole stack of material for this exercise. Nevertheless, that's not my purpose here. That's work...

We all have aspects of our personality that are reactions to what we felt we lacked as we developed. It's normal -- part of the developmental process of every human being. If you can't find something you didn't get enough of it just means you're not looking in the right places, or that you're perfect.


It's Monday, the day I deconstruct popular myths! LOL

* * *

-=[ Monday, Monday ]=-

It's common folk wisdom that Monday is the most depressing day of the week. Seems like many popular songs get a lot of mileage out of the accepted notion that Mondays are uniquely depressing. On the surface, it would appear logical enough that if we enjoy the freedom and activities of the weekend more than weekday work, then it should follow that Mondays suck.

In fact, some studies found that more suicides take place in the United States than on any other day of the week. However, when we focus on how the average person feels, we see a different story unfolding. A group of researchers at SUNY at Stony Brook, foe example, decided that if a blue Monday syndrome really existed, they would have to do more than ask people whether they believed their moods were foul on Mondays. And in fact, when asked, most people do say this (duh?!). However, what people often say about their emotional state may be more about their internalized assumptions than about what really happens.

Without revealing what they were looking for, the SUNY researchers asked forty-six married men to answer some questions about their moods every day for three months. Then they did the same thing with another fifty-eight men -- this time simultaneously getting the men's wives to report on how their husbands were feeling. All the results pointed in the same direction: The men were most cheerful during the weekend, but Mondays didn't depress them more than any other day of the week.

Taking on yet another approach, the researchers asked more than 600 men to fill out a questionnaire designed to measure, or be sensitive to, depression. Each subject filled out the form only once, but different people got it at different times of the week. It turned out that Monday's subjects didn't feel any worse, on average, than those who received the measure on other days. It would seem then that -- at least for men -- Mondays are really no more depressing than the rest of the week.



Saturday, September 22, 2007

Feelings, pt. I

Hola Everybody,
My online access is limited on weekends. Plus my mother's talking to me right now. She thinks it's rude of me to not listen. Writing for me is an intensely focused activity and I tune people out. Anyway, I can't write like this, so I'm reposting something I wrote a couple of years ago. I happen to think this was pretty good. Enjoy and have a great day.

* * *
"Tears are always like a breaking. When tears fall, it is like a rain of grace.
It means that something has actually touched the truth of your heart,
has actually cracked and caused some rain."

-- Sofia Diaz

I think once you begin to awake, you begin to learn how to embrace feelings. As we begin to dissolve rigidly held, or what I call "frozen," beliefs, we begin to make room for all feelings, both ones once labeled positive and those we have abandoned as negative. Developing the capacity to remain present, fully in this moment with whatever arises, instead of resisting feelings, leads us to a direct and powerful gateway into a deeper love.

But first let me clarify what I mean by "feelings." People often confuse the words feelings and emotions to be synonymous. However, they have quite different roots. I am a huge word fan and sometimes this pays off in ways I would never dream. Feeling comes from the Old English word, fellen, the physical capacity to experience something as it is. Feeling is one of the five senses, along with sight, hearing, smell, and taste. It is also deeply associated with being present and in touch with the sensations in the body. Emotion comes from an Old French word, emovoir, to stir up, to create agitation. Emotion then, creates movement within the mind, or better put, it creates movement within consciousness.

Feeling is passive, a capacity to experience, while emotion is fluid and leads to action and expression. Feelings occur within the here and now—in the present -- and come in all flavors. If we remain open and receptive to them, they can lead us home to peace, to a deeper love. Emotions usually become attached to a story in time that then leads us into a whirlwind of drama. By assuming that every internal feeling has an outside cause, the purity, power, and mystery of feelings are lost. They become dramatized into a personal soap opera. I like to call this tendency our personal novellas -- from the Spanish-language, over-the-top soap operas.

When every feeling becomes a self-centered emotion referenced as "me, me, me," it becomes a habit and we react (becoming reactive) instead of settling into the experience. In fact, we can be very emotional without feeling deeply at all. We can also feel things powerfully, to their very core, without becoming lost in the emotion. The truth is, if you practice enough and develop the ability to drop the drama from the feelings, you begin to develop a much greater capacity to feel, and in the process, you become less reactive emotionally.

The woman I quoted above, Sofia Diaz, is a mentor to literally thousands of people, mostly women. She says that feelings are neglected in our culture, dominated by the emphasis on rational thought. She goes on to say that, "If you feel the trees from your belly, it is an entirely different universe than if you think about feeling the trees." Once you begin to practice, she says, an entire universe reveals itself. A universe you never knew existed before.

Let me try to clarify that a bit. Usually we need to say: "I am angry because of what of what Fulano de Tal (Trans: "Joe Blow," "so-and-so") did." Most of our energy then goes into changing Fulano de Tal and very little into what we feel. It is extremely rare for anyone to be willing to feel without logical cause:

"How are you doing?"

"I'm so mad I could kill with my bare hands."

"My God! Why?"

"No reason, just a wave passing through. Feels great, actually. I love it!"

Imagine a response like that -- how liberating it can be? Imagine being with a feeling as a vibration, like listening to music. If we are honest, we really don't have a fuckin' clue about why we are feeling what we feel. Is it really the guy who cut you off? Or was it that funny remark your co-worker made yesterday? Perhaps your really angry with my father.

What I am submitting here is that the stories we attach to our feelings are often inaccurate. Like old maps to territories that no longer exist. The more agitated you become the more complicated things get and the further away you are pulled from your actual feelings.

When we remove the drama -- the personal soap opera -- attached to our feelings, the feelings become less distinct, and they begin to defy labeling. Someone reading my daily rants may get angry and see me as a pompous ass possessed by a need to show off my pseudo intellect to the world, for example. Another may attach the story that my posts are motivated by a need to share my experiences and create some form of dialogue. Who's right?

Let me offer another example that most here will identify with. You are getting ready for a first date. You feel a quickening in your heartbeat, a tightening in your belly. Label it fear, and you have the beginning of one story: I might be rejected. I know I'll say something stupid. Now, label the same feeling excitement, and spin a different story: Maybe he's the one. However, if you leave the feeling undefined, and just feel it as a mystery, you will discover that fear and excitement are a hairbreadth apart, separated only by a different story. They easily change into one another.

Try this the next time you feel afraid. Ask yourself if you know, for sure, that what you are feeling is fear. Could it be equally labeled excitement? Can you leave it without any label at all? The same is true of grief and gratitude. The next time you feel deep grief, see if it is possible (just for a moment dammit!), to feel it more deeply while thinking less about why. Then look around at anything, a flower, a color, a bird, and see if your tears are only of regret or also of thanks. Fear, and excitement, grief and gratitude, anger and power, sadness and vulnerability: they are all separated from one another when we make them into an emotional drama, but they become one when we feel them as pure energy.

This is the first miracle when we awake: the more deeply we feel -- the more present we are -- the more at peace we become and the simpler outer situations become. When we become less of a knee-jerk responder, we can give the gift of a pure response to a situation instead merely reacting to it. We can express what we are feeling in tune with the present moment. In this way, grief or anger or overwhelming affection can all be gifts to enhance the world, to bring it more color, more aliveness. Feelings become a generosity of spirit.



Sunday Sermon [Praise]

Hola Everybody,
I can't believe my mother actually tried to take money out of a male dancer's briefs. Her rationale? They're gay!! I'm not gonna give them my money! SMH


I will be gone all day, enjoying the weather...

* * *

-=[ Praise ]=-
Praise the Lord! Jesus is gonna save me and cut my taxes.
-- A Co-worker

LOL! I love this quote. It came during a moment I was trying to explain the dynamics of the right-wing coalition of economic and social conservatives. Two groups that were once natural enemies.

Anyway, I'm here to talk about praise today. I will address the above issue soon enough...

I am fervent believer that insight alone will not create change or free anyone. In fact, staying stuck on insight -- staying stuck on the habit having to know intellectually -- actually serves to keep you bound to your suffering. All your insight and proclivity toward staying stuck in your head manages to do is make my dick itch, to put it crudely. No, one must integrate head and heart, metaphor and experience, in order to change -- to awaken to your true self. So I offer these exercises in the hopes that some will do them. They are meant to edge you toward the experience, rather than merely the thought, of true freedom.

Imagine praising the next person you see. Imagine praising this person to the point it would be embarrassing, you're so praiseful. What would that praise look like? Picture someone you know -- anyone -- and feel what is the most powerful praise you can offer him or her.

As you're doing this, remember your parents. How do you feel? I'm willing to bet that you have chosen a career and searched for a lover as a reaction to the praise you never got from your parents. Take the time to remember what you didn't get from your parents and look at what it is you seek through your career and relationships.

What do you wish your parents had told you more of? Try to really feel back into your childhood. Feel, as a child, what your parents said, or didn't say to you. What is it you wish they had given you more of? What do you wish your parents said to you?

To the next person you see, silently give them the praise you didn't get from your parents but wish you had. Try giving this praise silently to everyone you see for the next three days. In your mind, give this praise silently to your parents, right now. Note how this feels. How does it feel to offer the praise you never got, but wished you had?

Holding back praise limits you. It limits the capacity to love you were born with. The capacity to give love through speech, sex, and touch. It also imprisons the love you could offer through your life's work.

If you want to awaken to the full potential of the love that flows through you, give the praise that you wish your parents had given you, but never got. Give it silently to everyone, and give it out loud to your lover, whether you feel they deserve it or not. Go ahead, what do you lose? I do know that what you gain by giving this praise: you discover the full offering you were born to give as a gift to the world.



Friday, September 21, 2007

[un]Common Sex Blog [Feminine/ Masculine Polarity]

Hola Everybody,
Once again, it's Friday, the day you all claim to have been waiting for... and what? It's here! What?!! LOL

It's Friday and that means, I get to write about everyone's fave topic: S-E-X! Yaaaay!

* * *

-=[ Sexual Attraction: The Feminine/ MasculinePolarity ]=-

I have written before how we tend to use the word love to describe many things. One on level, one can love anything: a child, a parent, and even an object. Love is that state of openness. Then there's romantic love, that's one love we're all obsessed by, as in, "Will I ever find 'The One' who will love me." Finally, there's something a little more mysterious and vague-sounding. Something we sometimes call attraction, or chemistry. Ever meet someone and immediately you feel a palpable sense of connection? Most of us have had this experience. A man or woman walks into the room and it's like...


You lock eyes and there is something there's a powerful attraction. This is what I call sexual attraction and what a former teacher called sexual polarity. I've written more extensively about love and romance, but today I will address sexual attraction.

Have you ever had the following happen to you? I once met a woman with whom I initially didn't have much feeling for. I hear women often say, "He was nice, but that 'chemistry' wasn't there," to explain why they won't date what seems like a nice or compatible guy. Well, that's how I felt about this particular woman: she was "nice": pretty, smart, goal-oriented, but I didn't feel that spark when she was around. Hence, I spent most of my energy chasing after another woman who was only nominally more attractive and whole lot more high-strung.

Eventually, I tired of the drama queen and went out on a lunch date with the first woman (the sparkless woman). During that lunch, I discovered this woman to be an engaging conversationalist with whom I shared many similar interests. We eventually started seeing each other more regularly, but still, that spark wasn't there, and it was just 'nice' being around her and doing things together.

Then it happened. I don't when or how, but that spark suddenly appeared out of nowhere and I found, much to my surprise that fuckin spark was all over the place and I couldn't get enough of her. Holding the cheeks of her ass like it was fruit while I made love to her from behind was my particular corner of heaven. The sad thing was that just when that spark was ignited in me, she was losing it.

I was crushed.

What I didn't realize then, but know now is that chemistry, or sexual attraction, or spark is something that one can learn to turn on and off. At the time I sensed this -- after all, how could this spark, this sexual attraction/ chemistry come out of nowhere? Didn't this attraction thingee just drop on you like a ton of bricks immediately?

Sexual attraction -- that magnetic pull, the yin and yang of the Masculine and Feminine -- affect our lives profoundly. For example, even a few moments of sexual attraction can cause the memory of a trip to the library linger in your mind for days. Total strangers can raise your body temperature. Even online connections can make you flush and cause your heart to pound.

On the other hand, when the sexual attraction is weak in our intimate relationships, we begin to feel that something is missing -- often blaming our partners and ourselves. The fact is, it seems, that sexual attraction is or isn't happening. Before I understood that sexual attraction could be consciously turned on or off, I called it chemistry. In today's world of relationships based on friendship we act as if sexual attraction is not as important as, say, communication. Therefore, our relationships over time tend to become more talk, less action.

However much we would like to admit it or not, talk just ain't enough for many of us.

The good news is that we don't have to remain slaves to sexual polarity, being passive victims to its ebbs and flows and unreasonable desires. With practice, sexuality can become an exploration of unseen and healing sexual energies as well as a way of expressing our deepest love. By becoming versed to the wisdom of sexual polarity, making love becomes exquisite, a whole-body symbiotic form of prayer of the infinite mystery of man and woman.

The first step in this mastery of sexual polarity is becoming conscious of when it increases or decreases. For example, your lover is barking at you, or putting you down and you feel your body shut down, you become numb, and maybe even weak. You might even become disgusted. I know of a woman who can't stand the way her husband chews (he does chew in a fucked up way). On the other hand, there are times when your lover's beauty and presence overwhelms you, magnifying your love to the point of bliss.

So I guess you might be asking by now, "duh, Eddie? What the fuck is sexual polarity?!!" LOL that's a good question. Simply put, the way sexual polarity works is like electricity or magnetism, sexual polarity is a natural energy that requires two poles. For example, for magnetic energy to flow, you need a north pole and a south pole. It's the same with sexual energy -- in order for it to flow, you need two poles. We can call these two poles -- Masculine and Feminine.

Masculine and Feminine do not mean man and woman, but are universal forces. While it is true that most women have a Feminine polarity and most men have a Masculine polarity, there are exceptions to the rule. The point being that a natural energetic force flows between the Masculine and the Feminine. This is why a conversation with your friends of the same sex comes to a halt when a beauty walks by -- a force automatically flows between the Masculine and the Feminine, and your body/ mind reorients itself line a compass needle. It's also why the way to a man's heart is not through his stomach, but through his cock. If you doubt me ladies, just remember there will be a lot of cold dinners and sputtering candles tonight.

Like magnetic energy, sexual polarity can be either repulsive or attractive, depending on which poles are brought together. In intimacy, when one's partner's Masculine energy is brought near the other partner's Feminine sexual energy, an attractive force of sexual polarity is created that pulls them together. On the other hand, when both of their Masculine energies are brought together, their attractive passion is decreased and even repelled and pushed away by that unseen force.

Okay! There's so much more to all this, and this blog is already long. Next week: How to create sexual polarity!

Remember: not all sex has to be a gourmet meal, sometimes it can be just as satisfying (if not more) to have a quick bite! LOL



Thursday, September 20, 2007

Attracting the Love You Want

Hola Everybody,
Today's my friend, Shearoc's birthday! Happy birthday hun. May your journey be slow and joyful. Her birthday wish is to have 100 blog comments!

It's "Relationship Thursdays" and though I don't jack about it, it still doesn't stop me from writing about it!

* * *

Attracting Healthy Relationships

All of us want to be loved, to experience a loving, healthy relationship. Still, I see so many people frustrated in their attempts to find such a relationship. It seems to me that people are often frustrated in their quest to find someone who will love them unconditionally in a mutually respectful relationship.

So what's the secret? How do we attract and find a healthy relationship into our lives? Well, I don't even own a cat, but I'm going to give you the answer to these questions -- for free. I learned this the hard way, because I am dense, but once I realized it and put it into practice, my relationships (and my life) have been so much more fulfilling and rewarding. I offer it here to you in the hopes that it will work for you.


The major obstacle that stands in the way of establishing a loving relationship with another person is that unloved part of ourselves. That unconscious aspect of ourselves that we have never fully loved nor accepted that stops us from bringing true love into our lives. Even if we were to encounter or bring in a healthy relationship into our lives, this unloved (and mostly unknown) part of ourselves acts to prevent us from enjoying and cultivating the new love we feel.

Here's why...

If you don't love yourself, you'll doom yourself to spending your precious life looking for someone else to do it for you. And the sad part is that it never works, because people who don't love themselves attract other people who don't love themselves. How can you get someone to love you unconditionally when you're not doing it for yourself?

When you truly love yourself deeply and unconditionally for everything you are and you aren't, you attract people who love and accept themselves deeply and unconditionally. If on a fundamental level you feel unlovable, then you will attract a lover who feels the same way.

In not loving ourselves, we cause ourselves to seek in desperation someone else to love us. The rationale being that if they give us enough love, our unlovable part will disappear. It never does. The only thing that will make that go away is loving ourselves unconditionally.

Many of us spend our lives running in fear from that unlovable part of us. When we finally stop and confront it, we usually discover it's a particular kind of fear, and there are only a very small number of them.

One that plagued me for years was the fear of abandonment. It's not hard to see how this fear played havoc within my relationships. In being afraid of being alone, I was compelled to either keep people distant so it wouldn't hurt when they left me, or clung to them so ferociously that they couldn't leave without dragging me with me. Clinging was like adding insult to injury and was extremely painful, by the way.

Another big fear is the fear of being smothered. An individual caught in the grip of this fear falls prey to the anxiety of losing one's freedom and individuality. Fearing that surrender to the union will cause them to lose their autonomy, they will keep people at arm's length -- just as a person who's afraid of drowning will keep an arm's length from the water's edge.

The good news about fear is that it's simply a pulsating energy of queasy sensations in your stomach area. The best description of fear I ever heard was from the renowned therapist, Fritz Perls who stated that fear is merely the excitement without the breath. And here the breath plays a significant role in overcoming fear. Breathe into the fear and watch what happens: it disappears like so many butterflies fluttering away.

If you dare to love that fear directly, you can actually feel the fear dissolve. In its place you will now feel a wide open space into which a new and wonderful relationship can enter. That's what happened to me, and what I see happen to people who muster the courage to love themselves and all their fears.

The grip of fear holds you in check and makes it impossible for you to enjoy good relationships. The reason? Fear makes you push people away when they get too close. That's because our fear gets associated with closeness and it stirs up our complexes when let people in. Therefore, in order to keep the fear under control, we keep people at a "safe" distance. We push down the very aspects of ourselves we need to bring out to the open. Having already judged ourselves as unlovable, we struggle painfully to have others love us. This is akin to a dog chasing its own tail: the more they try to love us, the faster we run from it.

It is only when we give that scary place a moment of love that we can begin to actualize a relationship based on healthy values.

Do you want to stop the merry-go-round? Do you desire to solve this problem right now? Fortunately, you can -- right now, right here, this very moment.

First get out of your head and tune into your body. Do a quick-scan of your body. Are you afraid that the ideas in this blog won't work for you? Do you fear that nothing will work, that perhaps you're fundamentally flawed and just aren't good at relationships? Do you despair that you will never enjoy a loving and intimate relationship with another?

Right now, feel all these so-called negative feelings and love them. Love them as you would unruly children who in actuality crave attention and care. These are the feelings we have abandoned and like orphaned children they press their dirty faces to the window panes of our minds and hearts, pleading to be let in, Invite them in, clothe them, sit them by the fire and kiss their dirty little faces. These are the parts of ourselves we have thrown to the curb, let them back in.

No one ever loves themselves deeply and unconditionally all the time. Don't expect to perfect at it, especially in the beginning. Begin with a moment or two of loving yourself and work up from that. Even better: simply commit to loving yourself. That way, when you find yourself not loving yourself (and you will), you'll always have the commitment to fall back on.

One important note: remember that loving yourself has nothing to do with egotism or conceit. That's not self-love, Egotistical people are desperately to get other people to love them, even though they feel deeply unlovable inside. That's why everybody sees through the tacky boasting: it's so phony and apparent to everyone else that the person is crying out for attention.

No, what I'm talking about here is genuine, heartfelt, humble love for yourself. It's a feeling of acceptance for everything you are and everything you aren't. Only Gods and Goddesses feel absolute love and acceptance for themselves all the time and no one is truly comfortable around Gods and goddesses -- they're too fuckin' infallible. The important thing for you, however, is to make the commitment to feeling that way. Making that commitment to loving yourself helps you develop a firm foundation to stand on throughout the ups ad downs of your life.

Say it now -- go ahead:

I commit to loving myself deeply.

Feel that idea in your body. Use it as the basis for the inner work -- your own evolution.



Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Art of Loving

Hola Everybody,
A little update on the "home" front. With the help of a politician I've done work with in the past and the non-profit I work for, I have been able to make some headway against the people who stole my property. It seems, according to legal counsel, I may have enough legs to stand on to file claim, I'm not sure yet. Whatever the case, I'm loving the fact that the very same people who initially dismissed me are now running around shitting their panties.

I'm also looking to move into my own room/ apartment by the end of this month.

What galls me is the thought that though I have the financial and networking resources to dig myself out of this mess, I can't help but think of what would've happened if I would've been, say, a single mother, with little or no resources and no political connections.

It's a sad day to come face-to-face with the fact that we have allowed our nation fall to the level of the most ignorant and greedy.

It's Wednesday, the time of the week when I wax philosophical...

* * *

Philosophy and the Art of Loving
Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.
-- Erich Fromm

I had to read Erich Fromm's , The Art of Loving, as part of an early counseling psych class. Looking at the syllabus, I saw that immediately following the Art of Love, we then had to read Peck's The Road Less Traveled, and I briefly considered dropping the class. Self-help books?!! Huh?!!

Fortunately for me, I didn't drop the class because the professor was someone who I respected and who would eventually become a mentor. Both books changed my outlook drastically. It is interesting that both books offered compelling perspectives on love, a topic that is often not addressed by philosophers.

Fromm is not that well known these days. Some writers fall out of fashion for different reasons -- some good, some bad. To be sure, some of Fromm's writing seems a little "wooly" in retrospect, but make no mistake about it: he advanced some powerful ideas. The Art of Loving, though written in 1958, is one of the more interesting books on the subject of love.

Early on, Fromm associated himself with the Frankfort School -- a school of thought that had a huge influence on me (as well as everybody else! LOL!). He developed an interest in Zen Buddhism as well as the work of Freud. His writing focused on humankind's alienation under modern political systems. His work advocated a form of humanistic socialism as an alternative to the extremes of capitalism and communism. His early writings dealt with the ways deal with freedom. His position is that we often fail to deal with the responsibility that comes with freedom and instead we seek escape. He was one of the first to identify the ways in which people seek escape from freedom -- through robot-like conformity, submitting to authority, and losing ourselves by indulging in destructive practices.

He was especially fascinated by the story of Adam and Eve, seeing the shame that they felt upon eating of the fruit of knowledge as the birth of human self-awareness and the loneliness and alienation that can cause. He felt that this led to us trying to deal with our alienation in various ways. We try to utilize our creative energies to transcend society, we try to find groups we can belong to, and we look tirelessly for connection through love -- romantic love in particular.

In The Art of Loving, he looked at various types of love that we can feel, including parental, sibling love, erotic love, self-love, and love for God. He argues (quite successfully) that our focus on romantic love is partly an escape -- a flight -- from our aloneness and alienation from our fellow man. More importantly, he argues that to "fall in love" is to misunderstand the basic nature of love. Real love, he asserts, should contain care, responsibility, respect, and knowledge and the way we pursue romantic love often excludes these characteristics.

Fromm described our existence as though we were all in our own kind of solitary confinement, separated from those around us, and fearful of the responsibility that would come from real freedom. Furthermore, we feel ashamed and afraid to use romantic love to try to address these perceived problems.

He argued for a saner society where this would not be the case. For Fromm love meant "to commit oneself without guarantee, to give oneself completely in the hope that our love will produce love in the loved person." He differentiated between mature and immature love. From wrote, "Immature love says: 'I love you because I need you.' Mature love says: 'I need you because I love you.'"

Whether or not you accept the premise that romantic love is often a dysfunctional flight from aloneness and alienation, this is a book worth reading for its range of reference and thinking.



Monday, September 17, 2007

The Jena Six

Hola Everybody,
I'm a little late with the following and I haven't done the kind of research I should have. In any case, if this doesn't disturb you, regardless of the color of your skin, then I don't know what will.


The Jena Six

All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke

A black student asked permission from school administrators to sit under the shade of a tree commonly reserved for white students. School officials advised the black students to sit wherever they wanted and they did. The next day, three nooses, in the school colors, were hanging from the same tree.

This occurred about a year ago in September 2006 in the small segregated rural Louisiana town of Jena.

The Jena high school principal found that three white students were responsible and recommended expulsion. His superior, a white superintendent of schools, over-ruled the principal and gave the students a three-day suspension, saying that the nooses were the actions of youthful indiscretion. Black students decided to resist and organized a sit-in under the tree to protest the lenient treatment given to the noose-hanging white students.

As a result, racial tensions remained strained throughout the fall. On Monday, December 4 2006, a white student who allegedly had been racially taunting black students in support of the students who hung the nooses got into a fight with black students. Allegedly, the white student was taken to the hospital treated, released, reportedly attended a social function later that evening.

As a consequence of this incident, six black Jena students were arrested and charged with attempted second degree murder. All six were expelled from school. The six charged were: 17-year-old Robert Bailey Junior whose bail was set at $138,000; 17-year-old Theo Shaw -- bail $130,000; 18-year-old Carwin Jones -- bail $100,000; 17-year-old Bryant Purvis -- bail $70,000; 16 year old Mychal Bell, a sophomore in high school who was charged as an adult and for whom bail was set at $90,000; and a still unidentified minor.

On the morning of the trial, the District Attorney reduced the charges from attempted second degree murder to second degree aggravated battery and conspiracy. Aggravated battery in Louisiana law demands the attack be with a dangerous weapon. This is where it begins to get shady: the prosecutor was allowed to argue to the jury that the tennis shoes worn by Bell could be considered a dangerous weapon.

When the pool of potential jurors was called, fifty people appeared, all white. The jury deliberated for less than three hours and found Mychal Bell guilty on the maximum possible charges of aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy. He faces up to a maximum of 22 years in prison.

The rest of the Jena 6 await similar trials. Theodore Shaw is due to go on trial shortly. Mychal Bell is scheduled to be sentenced July 31. If he gets the maximum sentence he will not be out of prison until he is nearly 40.

* * *

Some of us may be surprised or even shocked that something like the above could happen in 21st century America. The sad fact is that, for many people of color, this isn't shocking or even new. While many do not experience racism to this extreme, many of us have to live in a racially charged environment where taxis won't stop for you or store security guards follow you.

I don't care if you live in some backward southern town, or a huge cosmopolitan city, racism is one of the foundations upon which our society rests. Don't get it twisted: racism is not an individual choice, it's an institution. And even if no one will claim to adhere to it, it still exists. It would exist even if there weren't one racist person in this nation because it is the very fabric of our society.

But don't just stand there, do something:

Go here to click on an online petition:

And don't stop there: tell people about this. Teach your children. Tell your parents. The teachers. Your representatives. Tell everyone, because this makes your society sick and its hate infects you and everyone you love.

You can listen to a radio segment by one of my fave investigative reporters, Amy Goodman (click here)

In addition, Big Noise Productions will be coming out with an documentary on the Jena 6 (Click here)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunday Sermon [The Tablecloth Trick]

Hola Everybody,
My access is limited on weekends, so this is all I have to offer to you today. Here's hoping there's gratitude in your attitude... 

The Tablecloth Trick

Love says
let's get down
in the pit of your fears
and wrestle
hip to hip.
Let's swing
the maypole of lust
through your butterflies and
free their belly dust.

Love says
let's pry
your dirty fingernails
from the antic box
where howls and yelps
flutter and scratch.
Let's pull the thread
that unravels
your naked source.

Love says
let's slide
through the rollercoaster
of your heart
and run our toes
through the muck.
Let's bowl
in your mind
and scatter the knobby pins
of your fort.

Love says
let's do the tablecloth trick.
Let's pull
out the smooth assumptions
you squat over and see what's left.
Love says
let's tickle,
let's scuffle,
let's go eyelash to eyelash
and see who blinks first.

Love says
I want
I'll devour you to
the last earlobe.
we'll play.

-- Kathlyn Hendricks

Click here to visit her website

* * *

My name is Eddie and I'm in recovery from civilization...


[un]Common Sense