Sunday, July 31, 2016

Sunday Sermon [On Fear]

Hola mi gente,
The overriding theme of the current election cycle is fear. In her attempt to make a case for herself as a viable presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton went the conservative route and went all-out to stoke fear. It was almost obscene. “Donald Trump” was mentioned more times than anything else. I guess the case for Hillary is, “vote for me because Donald Trump.” Disgusting… 

Today, I bring back one of my favorite teachers, Pema Chödrön, who offers us a lesson on, yes, you guessed it: Fear

How to Battle Fear

Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly. But the teacher said she had to do it and gave her the instructions for the battle. The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful. They both had their weapons. The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, “May I have permission to go into battle with you?” Fear said, “Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission.” Then the young warrior said, “How can I defeat you?” Fear replied, “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.” In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear. “

* * *

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Poetry [Flowery Combat]

Hola mi gente,

I wrote this so long ago… it reads a little dated, I guess. I used an excerpt from the following poem as an epigraph to my post yesterday.

Nows [no. 1]

How could they possibly have known –

all those dear, dead ladies.

The masochists, the crazies,

the stalkers, hedonists,

suicides and the lost…

That they were blindly serving

one solitary purpose:

to be my basic training,

an endless apprenticeship

preparing me for your

final assault on

my frontline?

And how could I possibly have known

that all my martial arts

would fail me

against the flowers and laughter

that were your forward troops,

the outstretched heart

of your army?

-- Edward-Yemíl Rosario ©

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Friday Sex Blog [Flowery Combat]

Hola mi gente,
I want to see the new Bourne. On another note, I refused to watch either political convention as, in my analysis, both parties are irrelevant. Both are as two dogs shackled to the same stake: capitalism. Fuck them… 

Some of you will see this as sexist...

Flowery Combat

And how could I possibly have known
that all my martial arts
would fail me
against the flowers and the laughter
that were your forward troops,
the outstretched heart
of your army?


You are attracted to mutual sexual energy. Yes, it is true that you love your friends and family as well as your lover. But the unique aspect of intimate relationship is not love; its uniqueness is due to the attraction of the polarity between the masculine and the feminine -- the yin and yang of sexual attraction.

Every man and woman embodies both masculine and feminine energies, although each individual’s proportion is unique. This proportion determines your sexual gifts. It also influences whom you will find sexually attractive and who will be attracted to you.

Let’s try this for a minute. If you had to choose, would you prefer sex with someone who is radiantly alive, fresh and juicy, longing to surrender to your loving -- or with someone of deep integrity who sees through to your heart and wants to take you with confidence, passion, and total presence?

If you have more masculine sexual essence, then you will be attracted to a more feminine lover. By feminine essence I mean to describe the feeling of light, which feels as love and shines as all life. A feminine lover will spread open as radiance, full of life-force, yearning to open as love and to receive your deep love. A feminine lover’s smile can literally light up your life and inspire your heart. Most women and some men have a more feminine sexual essence. (And please: having a more feminine sexual essence has nothing to do with juvenile notions of manhood, or a lack thereof.)

If your sexual essence is more feminine, then you will be attracted to a more masculine lover. By masculine here I mean to describe the quality of consciousness. In this context consciousness is manifested as a deep and penetrating presence. A masculine lover will take and ravish you with deep and intense loving. A masculine lover can crack you open and expose the heart of a moment with humor.

If you are like most people, heterosexual or homosexual, then you don’t have a balanced sexual essence. Everybody has some feminine and masculine characteristics -- especially on the surface. But deep down where it really matters, in the heart of your heart’s desires, your sexual essence is probably quite noticeably more masculine or more feminine. Deep down you desire to ravish or be ravished sexually, whether or not you have that opportunity to enjoy this depth of loving in your life.

The masculine and the feminine are the Yin and Yang of love’s play -- they attract each other like magnets. Because of that, you will attract a lover whose essence is your polar opposite, a lover who, deep down, wants to take what your enjoy giving, who wants to give what you enjoy taking. And it is within this polarity that lies the delicious torture, this dance of love, this “flowery combat” of intimacy. 

Yet the very thing about your lover that drives you to bliss, will also drive you crazy. The lover who really turns you out in your sexual heart will also frustrate you to no end in the more mundane, superficial parts of your life. For example, if you have a feminine essence, then your masculine lover’s confidence will turn you on, except when he or she is rushing like a bull in a china shop when discussing your feelings in a moment of conflict. If you have a masculine essence, then your feminine lover’s spontaneity and liquid sexual responsiveness will turn you on, except during times of psycho hysteria and unpredictable shutdowns.

In moments of deep connection and communion, the masculine and feminine open as an extraordinary gift -- two facets of one jewel, two facets of one reality. But in the more mundane moments, the shallower, everyday-dust-of-life moments, their differences can clash. For example, when trying to communicate something verbally, the masculine wants to understand the problem and get to the point, looking for a conversation that will travel as straight a line from point A to point B and hopefully with a resolution when all is said and done. The feminine sees talking as it would a dance, as a way to connect to feeling, to be together, enjoying the currents of a shared life-energy.

What often happens, the more masculine partner gets frustrated by the feminine’s seemingly impractical style, while the more feminine partner is frustrated by the masculine’s strict adherence to a know-it-all matrix of The Way Shit Really Is.

Deep intimacy is based not on getting what you want, nor on compromising yourself, but on giving the deepest gifts of your sexual essence. Observe your superficial masculine need to solve a problem or your superficial feminine need to connect with your partner emotionally, and instead, offer your deepest heart and open completely to the moment.

If your feminine lover is babbling on about nothing in particular, offer your deep and unrelenting presence without turning away or zooming out; penetrate your feminine lover’s heart with your gift of absolute presence.

If your masculine lover has reduced life to problems, solutions, and projects, overwhelm your lover like a monsoon of liquid light, soak your lover in love’s deep waters.

The masculine: “I am consciousness, and you are mine, my bright bitch.”

The feminine: “I am light. Take me… if you dare!”

Manifesting as feminine radiance and attending as masculine consciousness, every moment opens as one conscious light. Play your differences with humor, opening as one, loving as two.

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

Thursday, July 28, 2016

On Education

Hola Everybody,
Almost all my thinking on education owes a huge debt to Paulo Freire’s critical pedagogy. If you ever read anything on education, read him. Most of the following is shamelessly glommed from Freire. 

Critical Thinking

Freedom is not an ideal located outside of man... It is rather the indispensable condition for the quest for human completion.
 -- Paulo Freire

As one teacher put it to me: Thinking is an action. Critical thinking is a subversive action. For all aspiring lovers of knowledge, thoughts are the laboratory where one poses questions in the search for answers; it is the intersection where visionary thinking and theory and external action meet. For me education is about freedom, it is the practice of freedom. At the very core of critical thinking lies the longing to know -- to understand how life works. 

Children are naturally predisposed to be critical thinkers. Children arrive into the world of wonder and language literally consumed with the thirst for knowledge. As any parent can attest, sometimes they are so eager for knowledge that they become relentless -- demanding to know the who, what, when, where, and why of life. In their search for answers, they learn almost instinctively how to think.

It’s unfortunate that this natural passion for thinking is often stifled by a world that often confuses education for conformity and obedience. Too often, children are conditioned early on to perceive thinking as dangerous. Tragically, these children cease enjoying the process of thinking and learn instead to fear and loathe the thinking mind. Whether in homes that teach by way of punishment that to obey is more valuable than self-awareness, or in schools where independent thinking is deemed as unacceptable behavior, most of our children are forced to suppress the memory of thinking as a passionate and pleasurable activity.

By the time children pass into adolescence and adulthood, they have come to dread thinking. Those who have escaped the dread of thinking will instead fall prey to the assumption that thinking will not be necessary; that all is needed is to retain information and to regurgitate it at the appropriate moments. Those that enter higher education similarly find themselves confronted by a world where independent thinking isn’t encouraged. Fortunately, there are some classrooms in which individual professors work to educate as a practice of freedom. In these settings, thinking, and more importantly, critical thinking, is what matters.

While thinking is natural (organic), critical thinking isn’t and students do not become critical thinkers through osmosis. First, they must embrace and experience the joy and power of thinking itself. Critical pedagogy (pedagogy being the science of education) is a teaching strategy whose aims are to restore or empower students’ will to think and to become fully self-actualized. Educate comes from the Latin root, educare, which means to bring forth. Hence, the main focus of critical pedagogy is to empower students to realize what the capacities they already have. 

This is an essential point when teaching critical thinking. For me, critical thinking is the ability to see both sides of an issue, of being open to new evidence that challenges previously held notions, of being able to reason and to demand that claims be backed by evidence, and being able to deduce and to infer conclusions from available facts, solving problems, etc.

Simply put, critical thinking involves first discovering the who, what, where, when, and how of things and then using that knowledge in a way that empowers one to make the determination of what matters most. This ability to establish what is important is essential to the practice of critical thinking. Critical thinking is the art of analyzing and evaluating thinking with the aim to improve it.

Most of all, critical thinking is an interactive process demanding participation from all involved. Critical thinking is a way of approaching ideas that aims to understand essential, sometimes hidden truths and not simply the obvious and superficial. Most people will resist critical thinking. After all, they’ve been taught to be more comfortable with passive learning. But it is this demand for initiative that critical thinking calls for that’s most exciting. It invites students and teachers alike to think passionately and to share ideas in a passionate and open manner. When all stakeholders realize that they are responsible for creating a learning community together, learning is at its most meaningful and useful. In such a setting, everyone leaves knowing that critical thinking empowers all of us.

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Perfection of Cruelty

Hola mi gente...
The following is based on true events...

The Wrenching

Cruelty and fear shake hands together.
-- Honoré de Blazac

Upriver from NYC’s borough of Manhattan lies Rikers Island -- the largest penal colony in the world. A fortress of the lost, vault of the doomed, the island of the dead. It is in actuality a warehouse of human bodies, like so much meat. Rikers Island is also one of the largest mental health facilities in the world -- though its essential purpose has very little to do with norms of behavior. The only way to enter is through a short narrow bridge. I call it the Bridge of Lost Souls.

The woman’s facility, officially the Rose M. Singer Center, is known as Rosie’s or Lesbian Island by those who live or work there. Many of the women, just arrested, are coming off drugs or crying about their children. Those going through withdrawals vomit from time to time, others sit rocking back and forth, sweating, weeping, chewing their bottom lips or fingernails.

Move your gaze across the grass being mowed by a handful of women in uniforms and toward a compound of brick buildings, all of them in poor repair -- paint peeling, bricks needing repointing, sidewalks cracked. Walk past the women pushing laundry carts into Rose M. Singer proper where women in green state prison uniforms, either delusional or depressed, sit watching daytime television, rocking ceaselessly as a side effect of their medications, and continue forward, past women staring at you from behind bars, towards a section that awaits the most contradictory of populations.

There is a spotless nursery for women who have come to Rosie’s pregnant, or, less frequently (but not unheard of), those who have been impregnated by the too numerous sexual liaisons that occur between male guards and the women. The purpose of which, for the women, include the procurement of food, drugs, cosmetics, feminine hygiene products, and, lest there be any confusion about affection, a welcome contrast to the flesh of another. Finally, you come to where women have been bedded with their newborns (some having given birth while being shackled), where they have learned to nurse and feed and wipe and whisper their babies to sleep. 

The hallway is dark and gloomy but the floor is spotless, gleaming from the daily buffing it receives. It is here where I sit waiting during one unbearably hot and humid New York City summer day. Paying attention, I observe a ritual that takes place each time a woman comes to live in the prison nursery with her newborn, a ritual so utterly contrary to human nature, yet unremarkable in this place for its regularity and its bureaucratic numbness. 

They are taking away another baby from its mother. I don’t want to see this, I think to myself, my gut clenching. But I continue watching, just close enough to see a baby boy being held by his mother one last time. The mother, Shannelle, can’t be more than nineteen, and her face literally glows with maternal love, a facial expression too advanced for such a young face I think to myself. The maternity ward administrator, a kindly looking elderly woman, watches too, as does the child welfare worker who is there to take the child. How long, I wonder, will they allow her to hold her baby?

Now Shannelle collapses in grief around her baby, who, unknowing, pats at a yellow barrette in her hair. Shannelle had come to Rosie’s pregnant, after she and her sister had gone out one night to buy candy and two men had come up and asked them where so-and-so lived. The girls, streetwise and nobody’s fools, expected an incentive for their trouble, and after a brief negotiation, walked the men over to the house in question, a distance of a mere block, and when they knocked on the door, the police were inside, having just arrested the inhabitants for cooking and selling crack. The two girls got different public defenders, one a realist, the other a fool. Shannelle was assigned the fool, a recent law graduate from Harvard. Her sister agreed to a plea, avoided a trial, and got a year. Shannelle’s lawyer convinced her that she was innocent and that he would mount an impassioned defense on her behalf, if she allowed him to take her case to trial.

It was the first time a white, college-educated male had shown an interest in her, and so though she felt some trepidation, she agreed to his proposition. The jury took forty minutes to find her guilty and the judge reluctantly sentenced her according to the harsh edicts of the Rockefeller mandatory minimum drug laws, which meant Shannelle received three years to life.

Now the nursing administrator signals the child welfare worker that it was time for the removal. Shannelle crushes her son against herself, then looks up, eyes full. “I will just die,” she cries. “I can’t, I can’t” But her baby is gently taken from her and placed in the arms of the waiting child welfare worker.

Don’t look anymore, I tell myself. And I am reminded I am in the House of the Dead, the years killing the women here as surely and painfully as unchecked cancer... 

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization… 


[un]Common Sense