clearskies, bluewater

Insights, reflections and creative imaginings for our awakening world

1 Comment

The Power and Irony of Words in the Age of Technology

Words have power. This statement is known to be true by every person who has ever read, written or studied language, including stories, poetry, song lyrics and rhetoric. Words shape our world, our societies, our institutions. Words have power to destroy worlds, and they conversely have power to heal ourselves and our world. When you think about it, what an amazing superpower is the word.


While what I just wrote is true, it is also true that words are everywhere, as ubiquitous as grass, as sand, as leaves, as stars. We talk or hear others talking in a constant stream (or river or even ocean) every minute of every day of our waking lives. Out of all those uncountable words that we take in and give out, only a few have real power in our lives– the kind of power to change, heal or save us. What makes those particular words special, and all the others just so much static on our consciousness’ radio?


The internet and mobile devices have exponentially increased our global ability to use words (and images) for communication and persuasion. Here are some statistics for you (from

Internet Statistics 2017

  1. There are now 3.74 billion Internet users in the world as at March 2017.
    This is compared to 3.26 billion Internet users in 2016.
  2. Asia is the continent with the most Internet users. Asia now accounts for 50.1 percent, or more than half, of all Internet users in the world. The runner up is Europe, with 17 percent of all Internet users.
  3. China has the most Internet users of all countries. At over 731 million Internet users at the time of writing this, China currently accounts for more than 25 percent of Internet users worldwide.
  4. As at January 2017, the United Arab Emirates is the country with the highest Internet penetration in the world — with an impressive 99 percent of its citizens, or about 9.2 million people, using the Internet.
  5. The internet influenced sales to the tune of $2.1 trillion in 2016.
  6. Over 5.5 billion Google searches are made every day.
  1. Over 2 million blog posts are published on the Internet every day. (this figure is a low estimate, and according to, today there were over 4,500,000 blog posts uploaded to the internet!!

As you can see, usage of Google, blogs, social media and the internet generally is literally increasing daily. Over a third of the world’s population is online at any given moment, and undoubtedly this figure will increase exponentially in years and decades to come. This brings up many questions, such as, what are people reading on their devices? What kinds of images are they viewing?  How much of it has actual content beyond a momentary flash or the briefest acknowledgment? Out of the millions of words and images one might glance at (or even consume) in a day or a week, how much of it actually touches the human heart and mind? What influences one’s behavior, and why?

Clearly, these questions are being studied by researchers worldwide. The times we are living through now are seminal for the decades ahead. Through our ongoing fascination (addiction?) with virtual reality, we are forging a new world of partial realities:  partially flesh-and-blood, brick-and-mortar, 3-d reality, and partially a new kind of sensory reality that has nothing to do with three dimensions. This is simply what is occurring; there is no stopping this new world, it is here and will only gain in speed and intensity during this century.

Technology is the new power of the word in our world. Rhetoric, that art with its roots in antiquity, is alive and growing in the Age of Technology. But I think the fundamental questions of humanity remain and demand to be addressed, now more than ever:  What is Truth? How do we live good lives and care for all other living beings? How do we live with moral integrity, and give all people the dignity and respect they deserve?  Is it even possible in the present times? How shall we create the future world so that our planet, Gaia, upon whom we still depend for our very lives, stays intact and protected from further destruction?

We can argue about getting down on one knee in an act of rebellion towards the power-elite, spend all our money on trivialities via our cellphones, squabble all night long with strangers through facebook, and otherwise waste enormous amounts of energy and time on things that ultimately do not matter in the big picture of our lives and collective world. So, I ask again, which words have real power, and how do we find them? How shall we share them in this age? And how will we use them to create a future world that is based upon respect, love and light? How can we best use this incredible power of the word we have been given?

When I first began this blog back in 2012, I used it as creative therapy for my loneliness and sense of isolation, due to living in a foreign country where I felt completely out of sync with the people around me. For a time, I dedicated my creative efforts to writing every day, connecting with other’s blogs and finding a very small community of like-minded folks to connect with virtually. snoopy-writer1

Now, nearly six years later, I very much feel that my small, nearly inaudible voice through Clearskies, Bluewater blog is utterly inconsequential (although it’s been fun!) For the small handful of readers who have followed this blog and encouraged me through its lifetime, I am grateful for your support and readership. I feel that it’s time has come to give it up. With two to four million blog posts every single day, there is an inconceivably vast amount of words out there to explore.  And judging from my WordPress statistics page, the irony is that an old blogpost I wrote years ago, entitled “Tits and ass, cocks and bosoms, etc.” still gets the most hits from searches across the world.  I wrote that one-off as an experiment to see what kind of response I’d get: Ha! Just as I suspected, people are still caught up in that low vibrational place, looking for some kind of momentary titillation I guess.

Dear Readers, whoever of you decided to read this post, I would love it if you would also take a moment to hit the like button. And if you have found value in this blog over the past years, please comment and tell me what you found most interesting or valuable.  I’ll keep the blog alive for a few more weeks to give folks time to comment or like.  And I’ll write a final post before I shut it down.  So, if you’ve felt shy in the past, here is your opportunity to open up and tell me anything you’d like me to know!




1 Comment

Listening to your own wisdom

This month has brought a huge amount of energy to us Earthwalkers, both collectively and individually. For months now I have shared the collective experience on this blog. Tonight I would like to share a personal view.

Obviously Life isn’t always what it seems on the surface. It’s important, when given some breathing space, to take time to reflect on your life and relationships, in relation to how they brought you to Now. I have had opportunities to do this recently, and it has been helpful.

Dear Readers, perhaps some of you have also been looking back at events and periods of your life in order to understand how you have come to Now. What those experiences brought you, whether painful or joyful, were opportunities to grow and heal your soul. We often cannot understand it in the moment, and indeed some of those painful times hurt so much that all we really want is for them to be gone! Now! Forever! But, we still had to live through them, and coming out the other side we can again breathe, think, and gain understanding.

I think it’s very difficult not to have regrets about your life; what I might have chosen, had I not gone down that road, may have been much more wonderful and made me infinitely happier than the path I did choose. Then there’s the trap of guilt; had I chosen differently, I might have spared my loved ones a whole lot of pain and suffering. This is all speculation, and probably not a helpful way of thinking. After all, I chose what I chose, and my current life is the result of the cumulative effects.

I’ve had intense moments of sorrow lately about things that happened in my past. I believe they have come up again for review so I can heal and let go of them at ever deeper levels. We are really not consciously aware of how profoundly we hold our human experience: memory stored in our DNA from eons of time and vast experiences that we may only recall as a vague feeling of discomfort, anxiety, anger, or sorrow. As we continue to evolve into our multidimensional selves, we must let go of the old experiences of separation. How many times have we loved someone, only to be hurt by them? Or likewise, have hurt the very one we so passionately cared for?


We may feel alone in the world, but in reality we are always connected with all life, both on Earth and in the starry realms.

Nothing we said or did can be taken back. The play has been performed, the actors all played their roles perfectly, and that show is done. More and more I see my life as a series of one acts, improvs and feature length films. I observe myself living my life a lot these days. Now I am riding the bus; now I am standing in the sun with these other people; now I am cooking; now I am dreaming about what happened years ago. It’s an odd feeling, like I am both in and out of my body, observing and being observed.

The events on the world stage this past month have caused great anxiety and also moments of great exhilaration within my soul. I’ve had moments of pure stillness, when I am certain that beneath all appearances to the contrary, we are fundamentally alright, we will be alright, and in fact, will enter a golden age at some point in the not too distant future. Then I have days when everything seems grey, dark and nearly hopeless, those moments when fear grips my soul so strongly that I have anxiety attacks. The fluctuations are crazy, like a lifeline; up and down, relentlessly.

Dear readers, I write these words to you all tonight in hopes that some of you may take them to heart. Those of you who are feeling similarly buoyant and despondent by turns, please know that you are not alone. Even if you feel like you must be going mad, or the only one who feels like that, you must know that there are far more of us walking upon the planet now than ever before. Together we are here to create a new world. It is time for the crumbling and destruction of the old paradigm for real: Here and Now, in all the countries and continents of Gaia. The old ways of controlling people, resources and economies no longer work. We are collectively awakening, en masse. So the struggle, or rather battle, for freedom is raging strongly at this time.

From this battleground, the fires are burning. Eventually they will smolder, and then there will be ashes. From those hard won ashes, the Phoenix will rise. It’s happened before, countless times throughout our planet’s history. And it will soon happen again. The battle of the human soul is both personal and collective. If you feel like you are in the middle of a battle of some kind or other, that is correct: You absolutely are. So take the time, as much as you can, to rest. To find stillness and peace within. The more peaceful and joyful our experience while in the midst of all the chaos, the more we can each contribute to the whole. I do not advocate drowning yourself in substances which make you oblivious, not at all. Rather, it’s all about becoming evermore conscious. But warriors need to step back from the battle, in order to replenish. Every day.

Thank you for all that you are doing to help the world, the animals, and nature. Everything counts; no matter how small, it matters not. What matters is that you are contributing to the good, the positive. Keep forgiving yourself and everyone else, and shining your light.


On Judgement and Gratitude

Here it is, Thanksgiving Day in America again. This holiday, more than any other, has the beautiful quality of going beyond all borders, ethnicities, polarization and ideology, if one embraces the core of what this day represents. Giving Thanks. Put another way, it is the epitome of Gratitude. What are you grateful for? Who are you grateful to? When do you feel gratitude? And, most importantly, why?

These are difficult, confusing times to be alive on Earth. At this moment, after all that has taken place over the past year in regards to world events, it is so tempting to fall into despair, anger, and judgement. Not many are feeling truly and deeply satisfied with Life-On-Earth at the moment. And for good reason, anyone who isn’t living in a cave must be aware of what a bloody mess we have created for ourselves.

And yet. What strikes me as the very most basic, important and useful thing that each of us can do, is to resist the strong temptation to judge, blame and shame another (or all the others) for our current state of the world. It is the easiest thing to do, and actually the most harmful. Blaming another, no matter WHO it is or how much you may dislike or revile them, only perpetuates the cycle of hatred, anger and fear that humanity has been living in for millennia. Judgement, like anger and all its associated mental and emotional states, stems from Fear. Fear is the Big Hook for us humans: it keeps us on an endlessly painful and imprisoned state of consciousness, from which we can be manipulated, coerced and otherwise made to follow others’ ideology and morally corrupt strategic plans. You who are reading this blog know what I am saying: the fascist regimes and authoritarian schemes created by small minded, even smaller hearted beings who rise to power do so through these tactics.

What can be done, you may ask? How can we turn this monstrous machine of human misery and suffering around? What will the next four years and beyond look like, for America and for the world? How can we cope? Who is to blame? What will happen?

Dear Readers, from where I stand, it seems obvious that the only way forward towards a world that is peaceful, healthy, joyful and abundant for all, is by moving from a state of judgement based on fear, to a state of grace based on gratitude. It is so easy, so ridiculously easy to scoff at these words and blow them off as some kind of airy fluff, to blow them off and instead hold onto skepticism, pessimism, the idea of separation, and moral indignation. That is what has been going on here on this planet for centuries. And we can see the effects of this kind of thinking all around us. Is it working for you? For your neighbors, including the ones without homes, who are taking up space in your alleys, sidewalks, and parks?  I ask each one of you to take a hard, long look inside of yourselves, and ask: Is your way of thinking, feeling and acting helping to further the goal of health, peace, and justice in the world, or helping to keep this old, ugly and worn-out paradigm in place?


If you say it cannot be done, then get out of the way and let those who are changing the world’s paradigm do their work unencumbered. Do you really think one more human and his or her new administration is going to magically fix all that is broken in our country or in our world for the rest of us?

It is high time to stop believing that someone (anyone) else is going to save the world for us. No government anywhere can or will do that. What is needed now, and going forward, is “the kind of transformative social movement that has altered the course of history in the past.”(Wen Stephensen)  All huge, world-changing social movements throughout time worked because everyday people got so tired of what they were living in that they banded together and gained people power, then they went ahead and changed their cities, states, countries and yes, their world, for the better.

We are past the tipping point. We are now on course to change our world, the whole of humanity in the days ahead. This is no longer an isolated fight here or there, it is about ALL of Us Humans awakening to the realization that there is no savior, no ship coming down from the heavens, and no being great enough to save us all and our planet from ourselves. There is only us, each and all, every single day living and breathing upon this fragile and utterly strong planet that is our home. So what remains, on this day of Thanksgiving, is a choice: Will we continue to support fear and aggression towards each other? Or will we finally see ALL others as simply another small but powerful bit of the Whole, nothing to be afraid of, and find compassion, both for others and for ourselves?

Happy Thanksgiving to All.

1 Comment

Election Eve musings

As I write this tonight, the United States presidential election is only a few short hours from being decided. By the time most of you read this post, we will know who will be taking the reins of this country’s government for the next four to eight years. This election cycle, begun by presidential hopefuls over a year ago, has been particularly painful to watch unfold. Painful for its lack of authenticity, and for the lack of any human whom could be considered a true leader to the end. It has been bitterly contentious to the extreme, and very tiresome.

Whoever wins the coveted title of Supreme Leader of the United States of America come 2017, I wish them much inner strength, fortitude and integrity for the difficult road ahead. Our country has seen bitter opposing sides on issues before, but never before have the problems that we face been so enormous and global in scope. Never before have the People of Earth been facing the possibility of world-wide catastrophe on the scale that we are now going forward into the future. The problems that we face, as Americans and as world citizens, are in fact so large and dangerous, that no one single human could possibly have the skill, courage, heart and intelligence to navigate them. So in essence, the person who next sits in the Oval office, although with considerable power, will not have the last say in regards to most of the situations they will be facing very soon.

Which leaves the rest of us, dear Readers. If you haven’t come to it quite yet, I am confident that you eventually will realize that the fate of Earth, our beloved home planet, and everything upon Her, including the humans, rests quite literally in our hands. All and each of us. Every single day, the decisions that we make, the thoughts we think, and the feelings in our hearts and souls determine what goes on in our world. This has always been true, but never more so than now. You don’t like what’s happening ‘out there’ in the world? Tired of people destroying the environment, of killing and hating one another? Tired of seeing people sleeping on the sidewalk as you pass by, like so much rubbish? Sick of animals being abused and slaughterd by the millions so humans can buy cheap hamburgers? Fed up with people lying, cheating, torturing, abusing and violating each other? The list goes on and on.

What can we do about it? First, it should be obvious to all but the most naïve, that electing yet another political pundit is NOT going to change the world for the better. That said, what can you do to change this world, to make it friendlier, cleaner, more sustainable, more safe? To reduce hatred, greed, power-grabbing, ignorance, ugliness? How can we make this world more equitable and fair for all people who live here, not just the ones with money and supposed power?


The answers are perennial wisdom of the ages. We end hunger by feeding those who need to be fed. We end lying and greed with truth and generosity. We end war by becoming peaceful. We end disparity and smallness with equity and largess of spirit. We end hatred and fear, by finding love and peace inside ourselves, and sharing it with everyone we meet during the day. We recognize our common humanity rather than turning away in fear, shame, or disgust. We open our hearts in all the thousands of ways we can, and we embrace the simple fact that we are very fortunate to be alive, to simply breathe in air, to feel the sun. We become grateful for every single good thing in our lives, without exception.  This is how we change this world. We take full responsibility for our part in creating it, every single day. We care. We are kind.

The world will go on, without a doubt. Whether Clinton, Trump or Tinkerbell is sitting in the White House matters not nearly as much as what you, yes small, insignificant you, are thinking, feeling, and doing each day that you live. As you realize your true worth, your actual significance, and how much each and every human being matters, you will begin to grow up and become the person whom you aspire to be, no matter how old you are. It isn’t and never was, outside of you. The others are merely reflections of your soul. I am you and you are me and we really are all together, as John Lennon once wrote. We are in this together, and it is time to really, deeply understand this fact.


So no matter who wins the presidential election on November 8th, rest assured that our work continues. Becoming truly Human is the real work of being alive. I see the Light that you are, whether you can see it or not, and I honor it.


The courage to act on behalf of the truth

“I am not afraid, because this is the choice I’ve made.” –Edward Snowden

It has been a few weeks now since Edward Snowden’s revelations about the NSA’s spying program hit the internet and news media. For many people, this information has been shocking; for others, simply a sad confirmation of what they had long suspected: The United States has indeed become the world’s largest corrupt government in the world. The main principles upon which it was founded, namely that of democracy, liberty, and freedom for the People, largely no longer apply. There is no more compelling evidence to this fact than the tremendous gift that Edward Snowden has given to the world; the truth.

As of this writing, Snowden remains in Moscow, waiting to hear from all the countries he has applied to for political asylum. So far, no country has come forward to help him, which I find extremely disappointing. It makes one wonder if there isn’t ONE free country left in our world who refuses to be intimidated by the United States’ bullying tactics. The EU, upon finding out that their closed door meetings have also (not surprisingly) been subjected to the NSA’s spying protocol, has declared that they are shocked and are demanding an explanation. Explanation? Pretty self-explanatory, isn’t it?

Big Brother’s watching All. Who can stop them? Snowden comments, “The greatest fear that I have, regarding the outcome, for America, of these disclosures, is that nothing will change. People will see in the media, all of these disclosures. They’ll know the lengths that the government is going to, to grant themselves powers, unilaterally, to create greater control over American society, and global society, but they won’t be willing to take the risks necessary to stand up and to fight to change things, to force their representatives to take a stand in their interests.”

Here then, is some of the transcript from his interview with Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian. I hope you will take 12 minutes out of your life to watch it, if you haven’t already. In my view, Snowden is a person of great courage and moral character. He chose the high moral ground in his actions, instead of simply leaking information anonymously, he deliberately decided to be open about who he is and what he has done. He is a rare and extraordinarily brave soul, and I have nothing but great admiration for him.

“You can’t come forward against the world’s most powerful intelligence agencies and be completely free from risk because they are such powerful adversaries that no one can meaningfully oppose them. If they want to get you, they will get you in time. But, at the same time, you have to make a determination about what it is that is important to you. And if it is living unfreely, but comfortably, something you’re willing to accept, (and I think many of us are, it’s the human nature,) you can get up every day, you can go to work, you can collect your large paycheck, for relatively little work, against the public interest, and go to sleep at night after watching shows, but if you realize that that’s the world that you helped create, and it’s going to get worse with the next generation, and the next, who extend the capabilities of this sort of architecture of oppression, you realize that you might be willing to accept any risk and it doesn’t matter what the outcome is, so long as the public gets to make their own decisions about how that’s applied.”

“It’s getting to the point where you don’t have to have done anything wrong, you simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody– even by a wrong call– and then they can use the system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you’ve ever made, every friend you’ve ever discussed something with, and attack you on that basis, to derive suspicion from an innocent life, and paint anyone in the context of a wrong-doer.”

“You have to think, you are living a privileged life, as you are living in paradise, in Hawaii, and making a ton of money, What would it take to make you leave everything behind? The greatest fear that I have, regarding the outcome, for America, of these disclosures, is that nothing will change. People will see in the media, all of these disclosures. They’ll know the lengths that the government is going to, to grant themselves powers, unilaterally, to create greater control over American society, and global society, but they won’t be willing to take the risks necessary to stand up and to fight to change things, to force their representatives to take a stand in their interests. In the months and years ahead, it’s only going to get worse, until eventually there will be a time, where policies will change. Because the only thing that restricts the activities of the surveillance state are policy. Even our agreements with other sovereign governments, we consider that to be a stipulation of policy rather than a stipulation of law. And because of that, a new leader will be elected, they’ll flip the switch, say, because of the crisis, because of the dangers we face in the world, some new and unpredicted threat, we need more authority, more power, and there will be nothing the people can do at that point to oppose it. And it will be turnkey tyranny.”

The primary lesson from this experience was that “you can’t wait around for someone else to act. I had been looking for leaders, but I realised that leadership is about being the first to act.”

Over the next three years, he learned just how all-consuming the NSA’s surveillance activities were, claiming “they are intent on making every conversation and every form of behaviour in the world known to them.”

He described how he once viewed the internet as “the most important invention in all of human history”. As an adolescent, he spent days at a time “speaking to people with all sorts of views that I would never have encountered on my own”.

But he believed that the value of the internet, along with basic privacy, is being rapidly destroyed by ubiquitous surveillance. “I don’t see myself as a hero,” he said, “because what I’m doing is self-interested: I don’t want to live in a world where there’s no privacy and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity.”

Once he reached the conclusion that the NSA’s surveillance net would soon be irrevocable, he said it was just a matter of time before he chose to act. “What they’re doing” poses “an existential threat to democracy”, he said.

For Edward Snowden, it is a matter of principle. “The government has granted itself power it is not entitled to. There is no public oversight. The result is people like myself have the latitude to go further than they are allowed to,” he said. “I feel satisfied that this was all worth it. I have no regrets.”

Related articles


Purpose and open-heartedness

I have begun to wonder if the secret of living well is not in having all the answers but in pursuing unanswerable questions in good company. Rachel Naomi Remen, My Grandfather’s Blessings (from Karl Duffy’s mindfulbalance blog)

I woke up this morning feeling blank. Without an agenda, without to do lists, and without a real sense of purpose. I know that my friends and kids all got up, dressed and made ready to face their agendas, obligations and lists. All around me humanity seems so busy, knowing what they have to do in the course of a day. Only I seem so directionless, and it is strange and disconcerting to live this way. Old programming thoughts crop up: ‘you really should figure out what to do with yourself, you are acting like a deadbeat, maybe you ought to get a clue,‘ etc. but when I attempt to ask myself what it is I even want to ‘do’, I come up blank. It’s a weird feeling, this Wandering Jew aspect of life.

A Wandering Jew (Ahasverus). Jews are depicted...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I feel I could be anyone, go anywhere, slip in and out of life’s corners and cracks unobtrusively, just observing and watching all the others playing out their life dramas like a spectator. Shall I judge this feeling, call it bad or unhealthy, try to fix or change it, strive to find some kind of purpose or grounding so that I can appear normal and acceptable to society again (whatever that means)? I remember years ago, my friends and I used to speak about ‘social outcasts.’ I guess we were alluding to the fact that we felt ourselves to be somewhat in that category of society. Now I am again feeling a peculiar kind of self-imposed exile from the hive or group.

Is it all right to admit, in the middle of your life, that you really haven’t got a clue what you are doing? Obviously I am not the only one. And yet. Aren’t we supposed to be …. what, exactly? Cool, hip, together, successful, rich, beautiful forever, sexy, amazing, fabulous, wonderful, positive, happy, fulfilled, amusing, sweet and basically perfect? And when we are not these things, then what are we?

Human, all too human, wrote Nietzsche. I am a human, struggling. I don’t have it together, whatever ‘it’ even is. I don’t have some great, wonderful dream I am working towards. I am not a star in any way. I am simply a person, watching all the other people, hearing their stories, and feeling it with them. Laughing, crying, nodding my head. Sometimes holding their hand, sometimes wanting someone to hold mine.

My friend and I took a walk in nature this afternoon. She talked about how most humans have a need to feel they belong somehow, to something larger than themselves. I listened quietly, and then I asked her if she also felt that way, that she needed to belong. She told me that somewhere in her twenties she had a profound experience of knowing she belonged to God, and that her purpose in this lifetime was to be close to God’s presence and do His/Her work in the world. And she has been doing it ever since.

I think my friend is very lucky to have such a sure sense of why she is here and what she is supposed to do. It simplifies life in a hundred ways if you no longer have to ask, ‘why am I here?’ For those of us who have deep questions as to our purpose, life is more difficult. When faced with the same question I asked my friend, my short answer would be, ‘more than to feel I belong, I have the need and desire to feel I understand.’ Some days I approach understanding, though very rarely is it in a way which satisfies these persistent, annoying questions. The questions persist, no matter what I do. But I also persist in my pursuit of being open-hearted, allowing myself to bleed, to fully feel all of it. Suffering abounds on this planet, there is simply no denying this fact. Part of my purpose in life is to be empathic to others, to be a witness to their stories. Not with idiot compassion, but with real strength and understanding to the degree that I can. I am learning that I can bless other people by my own true presence. We have the ability to bless or curse each other all the time, but are often quite unaware of what we are doing. So maybe finding one’s purpose is a gradual and on-going process, which develops and becomes stronger the more we recognize our own inherent worth, without egoism. This is the direction I am now heading. I think it is a path with heart.

Collage with musicians

(Photo credit: OnFoot4now (Didi))

As always, Dear Readers, I love to read your thoughts. Please leave a comment if you have any regarding this idea of purpose (or the lack thereof) and opening your heart. Thanks for reading tonight’s ramblings.



Human frailty and brokenness

We humans are such a mixture of things. Not only that, but we can shift from one state to another in the blink of an eye. Our capacity for emotion is truly spectacular, if you think about it. We like to think of ourselves in a particular way: I am this sort of person, I experience life this way, and through these thoughts we create a kind of veneer or mask of how we present ourselves to the world. But just underneath this veneer is another layer of the soul which is more honest, more vulnerable, more fragile. This underlayer can frighten us at times, and so we prefer to ignore it or pretend it doesn’t exist. To me, the veneer isn’t nearly as interesting as the real human underneath.

Case in point: coming back to Viroqua after being away in Denmark all these months, and catching up with friends and acquaintances. After the initial hellos and hugs, we begin to talk. Then the truths come out; I am unhappy, I have been ill, my body is falling apart, my husband cheated, I was wronged, I was hurt. People walk around their lives carrying an enormous amount of pain which is generally stuffed down in their consciousness as a coping mechanism. I have a friend who does counseling work with people here. She put it this way, ‘by the time people arrive to my office, their angst is already visible.’  Then we spoke a bit about various people we both know and their ‘disorders.’ I found this a very interesting phrase, and it speaks volumes about the world we are living in, when we mention people’s disorders as casually as their job or where they live. I wonder if at this point in history, we don’t nearly all have one sort of disorder or another, ready to be classified by ‘professionals’ and dealt with by experts. How many of us are on medicine for anxiety, depression, bi-polar disorder, eating disorders, or just plain inability to cope? Or if we opt out of the medical model, we instead substitute endless arrays of herbs, vitamins, pills and powders to allay our suffering and ‘disorders,’ in an ongoing attempt at, what? Some kind of normalcy, an ideal of health, a solution to neurosis and pathological conditions? Why are we so eager to fix what is wrong with us? Indeed, why do so many of us believe there is something wrong with us, needing to be fixed?

An East Indian guru named Paramahansa Yogananda, who was very wise and kind, once said, “Everyone is crazy. It is just that we all want to be with people who have the same kind of craziness that we have.’ I think there is a lot of truth in these words. Whether we choose to try to fit into some kind of ‘normal’ mold in order to get along better in mainstream society, or to purposefully act different and be a weirdo of sorts, or else opt for something in the middle, neither too conformist yet also not too weird, we still, deep down, need some kind of confirmation, somebody else to see us, to be our witness, to love us, to say ‘yes’ to who we fundamentally are. It is a scary thing to let your guard down and tell the truth to another human. And yet, it is the only way to live an honest life.

There is a young man who lives around here whom I have known for the past few years. He is a friend of my teenage daughters. This young man simply pulls on my heart strings for some odd reason. He is strong and good looking, intelligent and creative, funny and thoughtful. He has so much potential as a human being, and a good heart. And yet. I saw him today for the first time in nearly a year, and he could hardly smile and just barely allowed me to hug him for a few seconds. There is something damaged about this young man (I think he is about 19 or 20), when quite young he must have been hurt in a fundamental way from which he is yet to recover. He has a lot of talent as a singer and actor, and I know he has written poetry. He was born and raised in this rural area of Wisconsin, and I think his spirit is too big for this small place. We have all encouraged him over the past few years to get out of here, travel, see new vistas, experience life in another way. And yet. He remains here, and cannot seem to muster the self-confidence and courage that it would take for him to go elsewhere. All that potential, and the chances are all too good that he will end up wasting his life in this dead-end place, living a life which does not fulfill him, does not foster his creativity or natural gifts. Sometimes a person just simply has to leave home. The trick is to make them realize it, and then help them to find a way to actually do it. It is so easy to see what another person needs or what would help them, usually much easier than to be so objective with oneself. We all need someone to be our mentor and guide sometimes, to take us by the hand and say, ‘I see you and what you are going through. I want to help you to figure this out, whatever it is.’ It is a cold, lonely world to try to go it alone because of pride and stubbornness. So much better to admit our failures and pain, to admit our brokenness and that we simply don’t know. Yet it can be the most difficult thing of all to do.

Well I have done it again, another blog with observations and questions, but no answers. I apologize if this pattern is frustrating you, my nice Readers. As you can see, I myself am quite frustrated at this point. Where do we go from here? How do we manage our broken, painful lives? How can we help each other get through it and remain sane, stop giving ourselves labels of disorder, telling ourselves lies or else going through the motions of living without any real joy or satisfaction? I know some can do it, some humans are so good at living, and living well, with relatively few real problems or angst. They have found the ‘key to the city,’ so to speak. They are the lucky ones. Then there are the rest of us, with our disorders and angst, our inability to cope, our various pain and sufferings. We are the ones who the others put on those happiness workshops for, who take advantage of our pain and try to make a living out of it (with only the best intentions, of course.) Oh, skeptic, must you rear your ugly head again?


Parallel universes here on Earth (not the astrophysics kind)

We are living in incredibly strange times. Obviously. Open the internet and you will see things, read words, look at pictures, which will astound, frighten and madden you. Out of the roughly 7 billion humans now living on our beautiful and overused planet Earth, the differences in how people think, feel and experience life are awe-inspiring. There are some who say ‘we are one,’ meaning we are all human and share certain commonalities. In a very limited way, this is obvious true. What I have come to believe now, however, is that in 2012, our diversity and differences hugely outweigh our commonalities, to the degree that one can easily make the case for the statement, ‘we are living in parallel universes.’ Disagree? Just look at some of the newest and most popular videos on Youtube today.

 Magic Johnson crew pays 2 billion in L.A. Dodgers

Hotel owner’s wife mistakenly sleeps with ‘mystery guest’

A double dose of Blake Griffin

Mario Balotelli crashing Andrea Stramanccioni’s first press

We’re not going to Vegas! Jet Blue captain freaking out

Sand Flea jumping robot

Kat Graham: Put your graffiti on me

Arthur C. Clarke predicts the internet and PC in 1974 (this one was actually rather interesting, and the only one I bothered to watch.)

Now I will use a random Youtube video as an example of living in a parallel universe. This one is by a young woman singer named Lana Del Rey, the song is ‘Born to Die.’  This video is, to put it simply, absolutely absurd. Lana is sitting on a chair, flanked on either side by two real, very bored looking tigers, on the altar of an amazingly Rococo church somewhere in Italy, I am guessing, dressed in a white dress, a lot of red lipstick on her lips, with a garland of blue roses upon her head. She is lip-syncing to the song, as the video goes on to show her and her dark, sultry and sulky looking boyfriend as they meet and then make love in his old muscle car somewhere or other. It goes back and forth between her in the church and them in the car, then in a bed somewhere. The song is awful, the girl can’t sing to save her life, the guy appears to be a total loser by the looks of him, and all in all, it is a perfect example of another superficial, meaningless commercial attempt to attract young consumers to buy this young lady’s music. Amazingly, it has been viewed over 34 million times. Some of the comments written under the video say things like, ‘she’s honestly a legend,’ ‘the way she sings, ‘oh mee’ at the beginning!’  ‘I wanna hug those tigers so badly. Cute!’ and, ‘Bullshit. Taxes only go to the war machine and banks.’ And it only goes on and on, in an endless stream of opinions about her, her boyfriend, and all the rest.

Dear Readers, are you also not absolutely amazed and appalled by the sheer degree of meaningless, superficial, commercial, weird, bizarre and utterly nonsensical human-made (well I think, although this is also up for discussion) creations floating around out there in our world at any moment in time? True, I am of an older generation of humans, and could probably be considered a dinosaur by those under the age of 30, rightfully so. And yet. And yet, I simply cannot swallow all this nonsense as anything but that, none of it can be taken seriously as something having artistic value, just none of it! We humans have collectively lost our sense of aesthetics altogether, our sensitivity towards Beauty, our understanding of what we are doing and why we are doing it. I occasionally take a look at some of these Youtube music videos, if only to see what it is that millions of people are interested in watching. Again and again I am simply amazed by the utter vulgarity and ugliness of them, the majority having to do with animalistic sexual poses and nearly pornographic. I really wonder why they don’t just take off those absurd outfits and just fuck each other, I mean why not, that’s what they are all about anyway. At least seeing that might be slightly more interesting than what they actually do show.

Am I the only one who is mystified by the world we are now living in? Does everyone who is under 30 understand and appreciate the strange images, babbling, lingo and crudity which has more or less taken over the world?

There was a musical from the early 60’s, called Stop the World, I Want to Get Off. Wikipedia’s explanation about the story says that the play’s title was derived from a graffito, in other words, some poor frustrated human’s scrawl on a wall somewhere in Europe. Well, I am in utter sympathy with that poor fellow. I just am not interested in these parallel universes, while simultaneously mystified by what any of it means. Does anybody know?

Here is a beloved quote from my old and wise and utterly sane friend, Rilke. I include it here as a juxtaposition to all the craziness I just wrote about above.

But fear of the inexplicable has not alone impoverished the existence of the individual, the relationship between one human being and another has also been cramped by it, as though it had been lifted out of the riverbed of endless possibilities and set down in a fallow spot on the bank, to which nothing happens.

But only someone who is ready for everything, who excludes nothing, not even the most enigmatical, will live the relation to another as something alive and will himself draw exhaustively from his own existence. For if we think of this existence of the individual as a larger or smaller room, it appears evident that most people learn to know only a corner of their room, a place by the window, a strip of floor on which they walk up and down. Thus they have a certain security.

We, however, are not prisoners. No traps or snares are set about us, and there is nothing which should intimidate or worry us. We have no reason to mistrust our world, for it is not against us. Has it terrors, they are our terrors; has it abysses, those abysses belong to us; are dangers at hand, we must try to love them.

How should we be able to forget those ancient myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.

Ps: On the other hand, now I have found another Youtube, by a Russian band called Gorky Park. They have a song called’ Stop the world I want to get off’ and it’s not half bad. At least I understand their message, and it’s even a little artistic. So I guess some parallel universes are somewhat understandable after all.

Pps. As I now go to post this, I can see there are several other blog posts about parallel universes, most are much less tongue-in-cheek than the ones I am concerned with. Apologies to those real scientists out there who may have by accident thought I was discussing something scientific!


Perfectly Unperfect (in a perfect world)

Greedily, hurridly, I swallow the last bite of Perfect Chocolate Mousse. With whipped cream, for added flavor and fat. I can’t help it, tonight it was just calling me, the last uneaten half of last night’s Perfect Dessert. Last night I savoured it, slowly tasting its rich chocolatiness and orgasmic flavor. Not tonight though. Because tonight, I have another blog to write. Right here, right now.

This blogging business!! It is sort of driving me crazy. I suppose you pro/bloggers out there know what I am talking about. There are different stages to the thing. First you begin it, unsure about how exactly to proceed, what you should write, if anybody out there in blogland will find it or want to read it. Then, you just start writing, and the sheer fun of it, of having a couple, then maybe a handful, or even more, other human beings read your writing gives you some push to continue.

Then you get the bloggers’ bug and you kind of like Have to Write.

Then, the inevitable Writer’s Block comes. Then it goes. And so it continues, in fits and starts. Now that I have signed up to follow several other writer’s blogs, I am finding an awful lot of mail in my inbox each day. We bloggers are a prolific bunch, as it were. I got a bit discouraged by it though, and started thinking, Hey, maybe I am another one of those bloggers just writing to write every day, with nothing exactly important, interesting or well-written enough to keep other people’s attention.

But hey, I also think I can’t let that stop me. I have to be honest with myself about why I have this blog in the first place. Is it just so that I can show a few other humans that I actually can write something, since I have finally just this year decided to be brave enough to actually call myself a writer? After all, I know I am at least as good as the woman in that little town I came from over there in America, who was the editor-in-chief and owner of her own independent newspaper for the past 4 years or so. She has no problem calling herself a writer. So what is my problem, anyway? Sigh. Self-esteem, and the lack of it. A demon I simply can never fully shake off.

Back to the thing I really want to write about tonight, the idea of Perfection. I read a blog post today by the Alternate Economy guy about it. He says,

 Humans are capable of perfection. It is, in fact, the whole reason we have incarnated as humans. To become perfect. There is no other reason. We exist in order to experience. Not some things, but everything. That is why we have agreed to life. In order to experience all that can ever be experienced. But the goal of this process, the reason for experiencing everything, is to perfect oneself. We are here to become perfect. Not in one life. Not in this life. But perfection is the goal.

 Now, reading this again, I can see his point. I think. And okay, I concede his point. Perfection is the goal. Is it the goal? Is to become perfect the real reason we humans incarnate life after life, and experience most everything but perfection?

 I think about the idea more in this way: We are born, we grow up, live our lives, have all sorts of experiences, and one day, we die. This is true for everyone on the planet. Of course it is true that we can perfect things, or parts of ourselves. Maybe somebody has a talent for dancing, for example. He just loves to dance, always has. So he works and works and works on becoming a great dancer. One day, he realizes that he really IS a great dancer, with perfect moves. Sometimes when he is dancing, the whole world falls away and all that is left is simply the dance. He IS the dance, he becomes the dance, no separation. For that instant in time, he has reached Perfection. Yes. He could die afterwards and not regret it. After all, what more is there to do, now that he has reached Nirvana, Bliss, Perfection through his dancing.

Dear Readers, it is my very humble opinion, (which I am happily entitled to here, being as it is my own blog!) that once a human has reached utter perfection across the board, meaning in every way possible, Game Over. No reason to stay, no reason to keep being a human anymore. Unless, of course, one chooses to become a bodhisattva, meaning choosing to come back to this earthly plane in order to help free all other suffering beings. Well, there is that. But if one looks purely at one’s own evolution, then one really has to ask the question: Why AM I here, Really?

 The Alternate Economy guy believes it is all about Love. Learning to really Love. He says,

Love is the perfect feeling. Love is the perfect state. Love is the perfect thought. If we can live in Love, we can become perfect. Because we have aligned ourselves with the Universe and the Truth. The Truth is that Love is good, Love is easy, Love is beautiful, Love is coming, Love is given freely and Love is everyone’s. The Truth is that through the perfection of Joy, Receiving, Passion, Hope, Compassion and Generosity we will become Love. We will become perfect.

Well, Dear Readers, what say you? Is it true that Love is easy? You know, it reads so nicely, it sounds so sweet; Love is free and everyone’s, Love is beautiful. Yes, of course it is! And yet. And yet, I cannot help but feel that there is something missing in this, it is too facile. Where is the depth to this kind of sweet, happy, beautiful love? I don’t wish to offend Alternate Reality Guy. I believe in Love and want the Ideal as much as anybody, I really do. But Life has shown me, through experience, that there is simply more to this human story than that. Why do we have to struggle, to suffer, to undergo terrible traumas and tragedy while in these earthly bodies? If it is true (and I personally believe that it is) that there is a benign, compassionate God somewhere, watching us humans with such keen interest to see what we will evolve into next, then it would be logical to assume that there are really very good reasons for all of it, the darkness as well as the light, the depth as well as the heights. Is it possible that our concept of Love could use a broadening, a bigger viewpoint than is ordinarily possible as the small human beings which we are most of the time?

Many years ago, when I was a young woman, I worked with a woman who had wisdom. I was going through a hard relationship, and was very sad. She wrote me a card which said, ‘even a beautiful painting has shadows to give it depth.’ I have never forgotten her words in all the years since. We love the tragedy as well as the comedy in life, because we need it. To become perfect, maybe. Or maybe just to become fully human.

Only one thing is really certain for me; I know I will not become perfect before I check out of this life. But. There are moments, moments of absolutely perfect, beautiful bliss. Whether it is found in feeling my beloved’s arms and mouth, tasting chocolate mousse, listening to a perfectly played violin concerto or seeing the pale, full moon rising over the eastern sky last night, makes no difference. We live, we suffer, we are imperfect, but every once in a while we receive perfect Grace. Then there is a reason to keep getting up each morning, to give thanks for another day. For it all. All of it.

Leave a comment

A crisis of faith and learning resilience

 Perhaps I should begin this post with a pre-emptive apology to some of you Readers. It seems some of you are of the opinion that Positive Thinking is the key to life and happiness, and have blogs dedicated to that idea. Don’t get me wrong, I, on occasion, enjoy thinking positively as much as the next person. At times, I have even adhered to that selfsame philosophy of, ‘Just think positive, and everything will turn out fine.’ or something equally out of the Optimist’s Club handbook. But. From my peculiar point of view, I cannot fully embrace Positive Thinking as the Answer to Life’s Persistent Questions. Life has shown me that it is too simplistic a theory to hold the waters of life’s sometimes extraordinarily turbulent storms and strifes.

 Since beginning this blog, I have been meeting bloggers of all philosophical descriptions, and it is fascinating to see who shows up with a Like or comment, depending on what topic I write about. Of course, WordPress’s blog universe is simply a reflection of our world, full of every description of human being. By now you may be able to see that in a very real way, I share the title of the blogger whose title is ”I am not defined.” For those of us who have more questions than answers, it is difficult to define oneself, one’s beliefs, one’s firm standpoint. Twenty years ago and more, I was full of self-definition and had opinions on most everything and everyone. I look back at my youthful self now and have to just laugh at my self-righteousness and snobbery. The older I become, the less I am sure of and the fewer strong opinions I hold. I take that as something positive, though.

 Perhaps what I am really facing these days is a crisis of faith. I read a few blogs here which deal with this topic. The people who write them seem so very sure of their faith, whether in God, Jesus, Angels, Divine spirits, or in their own ability to be positive no matter what. I have to say I admire their surety, their rock-solid beliefs which can explain away just about every question and situation which might show up in their lives. No matter what they are facing, they have a ready answer for it all, through that magical concept, Faith. How fortunate to have that to fall back on!

 There is a book which helped me many years ago titled, The Art of Resilience, by Carol Orsborn. I would like to share some of her thoughts about this matter, in an effort to help myself, but also those of you who may also share some of my questions about Faith and Life. She writes,

Do I really believe that there exists for me and the universe a loving presence– or not?
To reply in the negative would fully justify my sinking deeper into despair. If this is a dog-eat-dog world, I should, indeed, be watching out primarily for my own welfare. It was toward this possibility that all rational evidence pointed. I could easily answer ‘no, I do not believe the universe is loving.’

On the other hand, I’ve learned from experience that whatever it might cost me, the only way up and out of this abyss would be to somehow find a ‘yes.’ Feeling the darkness closing in on me, I set my thoughts and even feelings aside and leaped for a ‘yes’ as if it were a rope thrown to me from the depths of the mystery.

Then she quotes William James,

Believe, and you shall be right, for you shall save yourself; Doubt, and you shall be right, for you shall perish. The only difference is that to believe is greatly to your advantage.

 These words contain wisdom. In the end, it is impossible to say absolutely that one way is Right and another is Wrong. This kind of thinking underlies most of humanity’s gravest troubles. But, to believe, or place your faith in, something greater and vastly superior than yourself, and then to live life from that standpoint, seems to be a wise thing to do no matter what. This is not the same as ‘just think positive’ which I simply cannot stomach as a lifestyle choice. But, to place my trust in something greater, ”to transcend my self-interest in order to take the risk of believing that it is worthwhile to love others, to sacrifice for others, even knowing that in doing so, one becomes vulnerable, exposes oneself to pain and the potential for disappointment,” makes sense to me. Transcending self-interest seems to be my Big Work right now. I’ll let you know how it goes. As always, thanks for reading.