Tag Archives: love

Every Age is the Best Age to Be

Engaging while aging.

Iris Apfel- Fashion Icon- is 96

“You’ve got to move to change the state you’re in.”- The Levins

My parents recently shared a marvelous HBO documentary with my wife Julia and I, titled, “If You’re Not In The Obit, Eat Breakfast.” The quote belongs to George Burns but show is the inspired by Carl Reiner, writer of The Dick Van Dyke Show, among other amazing accolades. It spotlights individuals in their 90’s, who are actively doing what they love and exemplifying the phrase, “still going strong!”  It featured not only Carl’s fellow comedians, singers, actors, and writers but runners, painters, sky divers and more.

As a performer, any time I see someone decades older than me still rocking it, I am seriously heartened. If it is being done, it can be done.

Dick Van Dyke- 91, Carl Reiner- 95, Mel Brooks- 91, Norman Lear-95 years young

When I was young, I joined a band of merry makers who performed comical skits for a local nursing home. We didn’t “knock ’em dead” but we didn’t stir them to life either. The truth is, we weren’t very good but this was my first real exposure to older people sitting around, seemingly lifelessTo my young mind, they had been attacked by the spiders of time, who had consumed their vitality and left them covered in cobwebs. It terrified me.

When I came home, I told my mother about the experience and began to cry saying that I did not want to get old. My mother hugged me and told me not to worry. She suggested that I continue to focus on doing what I loved. Then she said something that sent up a flare in my mind that has never gone out: “Every age is the best age to be.”

Betty White, actress and animal rights activist is 95

My fear was assuaged and I remembered my grandmother. My grandma Ida was filled with vitality and so were her gingerbread men with their raisin eyes and buttons. These cookies were always preceded with a mighty hug and practically leapt from the dish, rising up with the love that had gone into baking them. Here was the difference. My grandmother’s vitality was not inspired by fulfilling some stereotype or motivated by winning my affections, but was driven genuinely by merely offering love.

One of the points made in the film was that one key to vitality was spending time each day in face to face engagement. Not on the computer or phone screen, but face to face with someone in conversation. Face to face engagement with life itself. Actively enjoying life is its own vitality generator.

My family exemplifies this. My mom, in her eighties, does Kundalini yoga, meditates, swims, does her crossword puzzle, and laughs with abandon. Her older sister Phyllis is still auditioning and acting in LA.  My dad remains an avid reader, actively studies history, goes out with friends, and is the classiest host of life’s party that I know. His older sister, Bev is 89, volunteers at a pre-school, plays mahjong, and just got back from seeing her 98-year-old cousin whose catch phrase is, “We’re on the move!”.

Before we saw the documentary, Julia and I were pondering all the time spent in youth, pining to be older. She conjectured about how much more constructive life could have been or how much fun could have been had instead of yearning for the things that could be done when we were “old enough”. That yearning is supplanted, for many, with a new yearning for all the things that can be accomplished once we are sufficiently prepared. Life can be postponed with the thought that everything must be “in place” before we begin to live our dreams. Conversely, we can miss opportunities, telling ourselves that we are no longer in our twenties, thirties, forties, etc.

Ursula Le Guinn, author is 87

The documentary mentioned how much energy we now spend as a society trying to remain young, not allowing ourselves to see how beautiful we are, where we are.

Over the past few years, when Julia and I have gone to sing for local assisted living residents, we have witnessed drooping spirits rise up and bloom as they start to sing along with songs that they remember. This isn’t just a remembrance of the past but a shared connection with others in the moment.

Tony Bennett, celebrated singer is 91

Active engagement with something or someone we love, puts the wheel back in our hands. Whether we are blessed with examples within our circle of family or friends or take heart from documentaries like Carl and his friends, we can choose to do what we love, with love and share that love at any age. When love drives the boat, we can navigate the waves with pleasure.

“Hope brings motion. Motion brings change. Change is your friend when the going gets strange.

The going gets strange.”- The Levins

Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist monk, peace activist is 90

Empathy Closes the Gap

Finding ways to relate to the “other”

Bring anger and pride under your feet, turn them into a ladder and climb higher.- Rumi

In the wake of the events in Charlottesville, I believe we each have been deputized as ambassadors of good will. When things become so ugly, it is easy to get drawn into the rabbit hole of fear and contempt. While it is certainly important to speak out strongly against hatred, it is vital to stand as love. That is the strongest aspect of our being. Being able to align ourselves with our compassion will allow more people to recognize and come back to their own humanity.

Isis, neo Nazis, the KKK and similar terrorist groups represent a cancer that can claim us if we become disenfranchised from our hearts. Many people are drawn into those groups because of a prolonged isolation from love.

It becomes all too easy to put people out of our hearts when we are confronted by violence and atrocities fueled by ignorance, greed and fear. The motivation for us to strive not to give into hatred ourselves, is the toll it takes on our internal being, peace of mind and overall health. If we allow fear and loathing to dictate our speech and actions, the outer circle that we banish our “enemies” to, will start to contaminate the inner circle of our loved ones, as well as everything we hold dear.

I have talked to friends who have survived family abuse who said they finally came to forgiveness, not because they would ever condone what was done, but because it was the only way they could survive and have any semblance of wholeness.

One of the things, I believe, that has opened this floodgate of hate crimes is our increasing inability to talk to one another across a widening divide. While leaders have used fear of the “other” to gain personal power, average citizens are drawn into factions. They are carefully segregated and become calloused towards folks with who they might otherwise have been able to find common ground.

Professor of Sociology, Rob Willer, points out in his TED talk that many of us are going into our separate ideological silos. We watch different news, have different friends, we are reluctant to date someone from a different party and don’t want our children to marry across political lines. His suggestion for bridging the gap between us is what he calls “moral reframing.” It is recognizing that everyone has their own moral values. When you are speaking to someone about a button-pushing issue for them, use language that embraces their morals. Certain terminology that will allow them to let down their defenses long enough to actually listen to you.

I believe that life is, in part, a game of semantics. We all have a set of vocabulary words that we feel define our beliefs. We also have a set of words that set off flares for us. The key in this game is not to have the person you are trying to reach pull up the stakes of their circus tent and hit the highway on you.

“Moral reframing” will obviously be much harder to practice with people who have been indoctrinated into a hate group, but even within those dark circles, there are those who can still be reached.

I used to watch To Kill a Mockingbird every year, to remind myself what it means to be human. In one of the most powerful scenes, a small girl innocently dispels a lynch mob by talking kindly to one of its ring leaders, who seems to wake up and remember that he is a family man and a decent person at heart.

The time is now to start reaching out to those who have not yet reached the place where they are susceptible to becoming inhuman. This tragedy in Charlottesville, and the one in Barcelona, have shaken us up. There is a window of opportunity for us to start a conversation. I am not suggesting we start with the people perpetrating the violence but with people we know, maybe within our family, who belong to a different political party, who may be feeling the need to reach out as well.

We all feel innately that we are in the right. I was taught in theater school that when playing a villain, you do not play them as if they are choosing to be evil but make the audience feel, “But for the grace of God, there go I.”

Rob Willer ended his talk with the words, “Empathy and respect.” These are the pillars that hold up the building we are all sharing. They are the key to every philosophical and religious understanding.

It is also only natural that, with the tensions we are retaining, with all we encounter in the news, that we will use humor to lighten our perspective. While I am a fan of certain political comedy, and applaud the comedian’s ability to spotlight truth in the face of tyranny, I also know that there is a certain point where I can find myself tipping into vindictiveness.

I recognize that when we continue to insult and hurt one another’s feelings, it escalates our collective antagonism. The result has become increasingly more violent. We can begin to find ways to relate to those we consider to be “other” in small ways. The Hindu teacher, Yogananda recommended that we become “smile millionaires.” I have personally found that a genuine smile offered without an ulterior motive, can dismantle walls.

Perhaps practicing “moral reframing” even before we look for the right words to say to one another starts with a willingness to admit that those “other” people are still people, even when they are consciously or unconsciously identifying as monsters. If we are not at the place where we can admit that yet, then we can start by becoming more human ourselves.

 

“I can see you are me in disguise, let me wipe the tears from your eyes.”- The Levins

 

Many Happy Returns

Birth, Death and Friendship

“It’s all one big day.  The sun is a maypole and we are winding away.

How many moments, reflected like diamonds, gather around you

to light up your way?” – Time to Go/ The Levins

***

The return journey around the sun is an opportunity for reflection. As the date of my entry point into the world approaches again, I have been thinking a lot about how our lives are intertwined.

I have never officially participated in a birthday maypole dance, which is traditional on May Day for some, but while I was living in California there was one morning that passed for one. My wife Julia decided to orchestrate a sweet celebration for me by secretly inviting two of my closest friends to town.  There is a dream like quality of discovering two familiar faces that inhabit your heart but not your daily space suddenly appearing behind a door. Time excused itself and the spaciousness that surrounds all things momentarily expanded, imbuing the surprise with an elongated sense of being inside and outside of myself simultaneously.

This occurred the day before my birthday. There was much rejoicing late into the evening. Music, reveling, creating new memories to laugh about.  Some friendships pick up right where you left off.  I fell into sweet dreams which were shaken up the next morning when my cousin phoned to tell me that my uncle Jeff had passed away during the night.

My mom’s brother Jeff was my holy goof. Sometimes, he would rake his two-day stubble across my face suddenly in an enthusiastic ritual of affection. His natural earthy musk would be mingled with apple cider vinegar, which he would practically bathe in to promote good health. To this day, this act reminds me that love is something that can playfully invade your private space.

Jeff was a beautiful synthesis of Baba Ram Dass and Woody Allen. He had the understanding of how we are more than our bodies while maintaining enough of the episodic-neurotic New Yorker to keep things real. I had just been down to see him in the hospital the week before. He had been singing to the nurses.

His message to us all during his battle with cancer was to be at peace. He had been an actor and a dancer.  Instead of losing a leg and being dismantled piece by piece, he decided it was best to take his curtain call. He managed to be released from the hospital and with his powers of intention, slipped away quietly in the night.

I entered the living room that morning, with my uncle now a part of me. Julia and my friends were there for me but I felt Jeff was with me, as well. Somehow, even closer than before he left. There was an unspoken reassurance that our journey together was not tragically linear.

I put on one of my favorite records, which is Jethro Tull’s Songs from the Wood. All of us began to dance around the living room. I sang along with the lyric, “Join the chorus if you can. It will make of you an honest man.” Again, there was the sense of being inside and outside of myself simultaneously.

The doorbell rang. It was my neighbors and their little girl bringing me a gift. The sun streamed in as I knelt down to receive the wreath of Spring flowers she had woven for me.  My neighbor’s daughter had long blonde hair and little red checks. There were flowers in her hair, as well, and in the golden light, she looked like a cherubic faery. We invited them to join our dance, winding around each other, taking up the invisible ribbons, celebrating the life that was ours to share.

This was many years ago. Yet, even though those friends and neighbors are far away, I am still intertwined with them. As for my uncle, I offer up this new lyric to him and for all of us holding the memory of someone dear while we celebrating our entrances and exits on this grand stage.

“I cried because I lost you.

I lived because I loved you.

I laugh because I knew you.

I’m vast because I’m with you.”

Many happy returns!

 

Drawing power from thin air

Staying connected during times of social upheaval

“Every once in a while, a salesman will enter your midst who knows how to influence you towards something that is important to him and inspire you to see him as the solution. It makes no difference who thinks they are in control of you, they aren’t.  Tap into the leverage of being connected to your own power.”- Ester Hicks

Listening to a  recent talk by author Ester Hicks, a pioneer of spiritual thought,  I was reminded how marvelous our internal resources are.  The stream that flows through us constantly offers us solutions to the problems that crop up in our midst. My wife, Julia, often reminds me not to take on the energy of injustice but to use my love to bring about the results I desire .

“When you connect to your own power you cannot feel fear at the same time. The only bad thing that can happen to you is that you temporarily use some bogus thing as your reason for not knowing your power. When you don’t know your power than you give it to someone else. There are plenty of others that will say, “I will take your power from you. I will let you believe that I am the most important thing in the world to you.” It doesn’t matter which group is in power, they are not ever the vortex through which your good comes but they are often the subject by which you deny your own vortex. You have a vibrational cache that you have access to at all times. The only disempowerment that can come to you is to use anything as an excuse not to tap into that.”- Ester Hicks

In the midst of social upheaval, there are always examples of those who are tapping into their stream, their ‘vortex’, or the energy that observes and is us.

Max Loughan, at thirteen, created a generator that pulls and converts electricity from the air for less than fifteen dollars.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyRlbXUIscg

When interviewed, he said:

“I just want to invent a better future, I don’t care if I get money or credit, all I’m looking at is to make the world a better place, to advance it.”

This is a boy who knows that energy is not confined to his ego.

Connecting to what is ours to claim may seem selfish to some but our true power takes us beyond the tyranny of our ego’s need for validation and into a poetic state where…

“Everything that was broken has

Forgotten its brokenness…How can this be, but

it is. Every day has something in

it whose name is Forever.”

-Mary Oliver/ Everything that was broken

Going beyond the need for names to define our connection to what connects us, may your alignment give rise to the actions that bestow freedom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MLK and “interrelated structure of all reality.”

How MLK stayed connected to love.

It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality. Did you ever stop to think that you can’t leave for your job in the morning without being dependent on most of the world? You get up in the morning and go to the bathroom and reach over for the sponge, and that’s handed to you by a Pacific islander. You reach for a bar of soap, and that’s given to you at the hands of a Frenchman. And then you go into the kitchen to drink your coffee for the morning, and that’s poured into your cup by a South American. And maybe you want tea: that’s poured into your cup by the Chinese. Or maybe you’re desirous of having cocoa for breakfast, and that’s poured into your cup by a West African. And then you reach over for your toast, and that’s given to you at the hands of an English-speaking farmer, not to mention the baker. And before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half of the world. This is the way our universe is structured, this is its interrelated quality. We aren’t going to have peace on earth until we recognize this basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality.

-Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Today we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.- a man who utilized his stream, or what Mooji would call, “the cosmic current of existence,” to help expand our universal understanding.  MLK was a man of action. His actions were blockbuster without having to shoot his way into enemy territory, punch out the bully or watch as the villain plummeted from a great height. Instead he actively connected to love, to the energy and awareness that manifests as all of us, to help us to see, feel and experience this, “Interrelated structure of all reality.”

You could say that MLK was selfless. He was willing to sacrifice even his life to get us to know that our differences are not only skin deep, mere pigmentation, but that our true Self includes everything that we perceive, and can conceive.

Again, I will quote Mooji to show how the actions of MLK stimulated a whole generation to work together towards our greater freedom.

“If you study and learn as a person, you can only function as a person- maybe as a good person, a skilled person- but when you awaken… you start moving as a whole environment. When something arises that needs to be done, that need is recognized, and a movement to fulfill it begins, and other streams join in until it becomes a river. You see how the forces join together.”- Mooji

How did MLK do this?  Martin did not allow himself to be defined and filled in with hatred of injustice but he would daily pray to be used by love, to live in the manner of love. He made sure to perform regular services for others. He strived to stay in good bodily and spiritual health. He meditated on the teachings and actions of his spiritual leader.  Most importantly and the hardest of all, he prayed for the oppressor.

His knew that love was a non-dual reality that transcends our limited clinging to the black and white.

This morning I ran across this Joseph Campbell quote:

“The Indians addressed all of life as a “thou”- the trees, the stones, everything. You can address anything as a “thou”, and if you do it, you can feel the change in your own psychology. The ego that sees a “though” is not the same ego that sees an “it.” And when you go to war with people, the problem of the newspapers is to turn those people into “its.” “ – Joseph Campbell

Matt Khan in talking about surrendering to love says it starts with taking a vacation from concern.  Not denying the things that are wrong or unjust, just taking a vacation from filling ourselves, our mind and body, emotions and cells with what is wrong.  Allowing ourselves to connect or surrender to love allows for solutions to our concerns to come through so when we come back from vacation, we can get back to work refreshed.

We are all a perception away from being able to act as a unified field.  The victory of MLK is not a victory for the church, or for one people but for all of life.

He knew who he was and his most constructive actions came from that knowing that he was, “free at last.”

Today is a chance for reflection and for being aware of the work that needs to still be done.  Still, in the midst of it all, may we be able to connect to love so that our concerns can be faced without anxiety but with the expectation of solutions we will usher in together. 

 

Committed to choosing one another

Love and creativity within the wedding ceremony.

“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate then when I fall asleep your eyes close.”
– Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Sonnets

“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”
– Dr. Seuss

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”
– Maya Angelou

“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.”
– Mignon McLaughlin

********************

 

This weekend I had the sweet honor of officiating at my nephew Ian’s wedding down in Jupiter, Florida.  My uncle Jeff performed the ceremony for Julia and I at our wedding. Both Ian and I penned our services with our partners, to better reflect our beliefs.

Julia and I based our service on a Jewish ceremony. We did our best to supplant entrenched patriarchal ritual and language with egalitarian and mystical inclusiveness that honored tradition while bridging the gap between our families and the Catholic-Judaic divide. (As a kid I used to say that Judaism and Catholicism were a synapse apart; both of them were motivated by guilt. ) We found the common thread was love.

My nephew Ian and his beautiful bride Claire are best friends happily growning and intertwining their lives together. Their ceremony did not have any religious overtones but recognized that their union allowed them to “understand, support and nurture eachother without sacrificing who they were.”  They lifted the egalitarian spirit high, focusing on their love, which spilled over into splintered factions of the family and embued us all with tangible hope.

They didn’t promise anything  in their ceremony as they don’t believe marriage is about permanence but adaptation. “People, emotions, relationships change.” So, they didn’t vow to always feel exactly the same as they did standing together before us, but they commited to choosing one other every day, moment to moment.

I got to ask Ian if he chose Claire “to be his partner through all of life’s adventures, valuing her being, her growing and her happiness alongside his own.”

Claire got to ponder if she choose Ian in the same way. Both of them responded with those two words, that when uttered in complete earnest ring out like bells: “I do.”

Claire walked down the aisle to music from Wes Anderson’s Royal Tannenbaum’s soundtrack. They led the procession away from the alter to something from A Life Aquatic. Their ceremony and the whole wedding had the colorful triumph of a Wes Anderson movie.

Ian proposed to Claire with our Shakespeare-inspired song “God’s Spies”. Julia and I were further honored by getting to sing it as they swirled just above the Loxahatchee river for their first dance.

The wedding coordinator said she had managed thousands of nuptuals but she hadn’t seen a couple who only had eyes for each other the way Ian and Claire had. As she said this it was hours later. Claire and Ian were both still  dancing. They were reaching out for one another, connecting, twirling and the stars were laughing.

“We are telling different tales. Secrets falling from our lips. When our eyes are free from scales, we can see what was eclipsed. 

… So we’ll ‘pray and sing and tell old tales and laugh at guilded butterflies and take upon us the mystery of things… as if we were God’s Spies.’ “

-Shakespeare/ The Levins

My parents celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary on Ground hog’s day but they also got to dance and have their own festive feast the next night with all their loved ones around them.  A bunch of us sat around late that night sharing stories from our various wedding experiences.

Julia and I head back up to New York today, back to the cold of winter. We face the prospect with the strength of love renewed, choosing one another moment to moment.

May your connection eclipse the cold of tragic headlines and bring you to a place where all you hold dear dances with you in earnest delight.

Beauty has claimed you

Caravan of dawn

There’s a caravan of dawn. Always on the curve.
  Always moving on…
Breaking up the darkness with an aviary song:

“Beauty has claimed you.
  Seasons are changing.
Love makes its debut.  Bowing your heart strings”

Side by side- wide as the horizon,
  
giddy as a bride; the universe inside them. 
Lighting up the streets.  Lighting up the fields.
Splash the sky in streaks of azure, lilac, gold and teal.

“Beauty has claimed you.
  Seasons are changing.
Love makes its debut.   Bowing your heart strings.
Splendor reveals you.
   Nothing conceals you.
Beauty has claimed you.”

Breaking up the darkness with an aviary song, singing:
River of broken hearts
“Gather up all of the broken hearts.
Pour them in a river of tiny parts.
Set them in motion, lighten their burden. 
Head for the ocean. Flow out and over, away from the falls. 
Rising  like mist ‘til  they can’t recall,
Not being  kissed  by sunbeams. 
 Separation is only a morphine dream.

Authentic joy and honesty cut a path right through to me.
Splendor reveals you.  Nothing conceals you.
Beauty has claimed you.”

I close my eyes and breathe you in as if I’ll never have to leave again.
– The Levins
hearts rising up
 

Making friends with the monsters

“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“There are four questions of value in life, Don Octavio. What is sacred? Of what is the spirit made? What is worth living for and what is worth dying for? The answer to each is the same. Only love… Love will find a way through paths where wolves fear to prey.”- Lord Byron

Dr. Frankenstein

As Human beings, we have been given access to and are a part of the expansion of the universe, our potential is godlike, we rise, we grasp, we even gain glimpses of the infinite. Still, the one thing we cannot control and that happens to us all is death. It is the great leveler and it drives us. It stirs in us like a phantasm, it dances with us, it calls to us. It causes us to build empires, to reach for the stars. It stirs our longing to create poetry and songs to court it, to postpone it, to live after it.  The true dancers are augmented by it and live before it. But the mad scientists in us long to create something that will defy it. Because love ones are lost, the captain Nemo in us arises to take revenge on all of the war machines that rob others of their loved ones, blind to the irony of this destruction. The poet William Blake said Eternity is in love with the productions of time.  We are all part of the grand play and because we long for the light behind the veil, we are fascinated by the shadow play rippling on its surface.

Our fascination calls to us from the Mountains of Madness* to procure something unexplained, something beyond our mortal frame. We long to face our fear- to see and feel beyond it, to be assured, even beyond faith that there is something more than the terrible treadmill emptying into the void.

Yet Friedrich Nietzsche said, “If you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” The void can appear to be an abyss instead of an invitation to recognize our identity beyond form. If one clings too tightly to this mortal coil, the inevitability of shuffling off can lead to despair or worse to a rage that leads to malevolence. Nietzsche also said, “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.”

My Uncle Jeff said when he was a boy, he would make friends with all the monsters so they wouldn’t get him.

On a Saturday night while my folks were out, I would arrange all of my stuffed animals on the couch so they could see the TV and watch Creature Features with me. I too made friends with the monsters. My favorite universal classics however, had elements of pathos in them. It was when Quasimodo, the deformed bell-ringer said to Esmerelda the gypsy, “You ask me why I saved you? Oh, I tried to carry you off, and the next day you gave me a drink of water and little pity,” that I knew we were all capable of being monsters and heroes.

HUNCHBACK-OF-NOTRE-DAME-1939-2

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein monster echoed this understanding 145 years before I was born, “I do know that for the sympathy of one living being, I would make peace with all. I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other… I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend. Make me happy, and I shall again be virtuous.”

Brideoffrankenstein

Many of the classic monster movies offered insight and compassion for the monsters inside us, thrust into life and yearning for love’s absorption.  One of my favorites was The Wolfman.  Maria Ouspenskaya, playing Maleva, the gypsy, alone had the ability to transform poor Laurence Talbot back from his wolf form while the moon was full because of the empathy she had for his suffering.

Maleva and the Wolfman

Maleva:The way you walked was thorny through no fault of your own, but as the rain enters the soil, the river enters the sea, so tears run to a predestined end. Now you will have peace for eternity.”

Because my father was a radio man, he was able to introduce me to the host of Creature Features. At the time, it felt like I was meeting Abraham Lincoln. I thought my dad was the coolest guy in the universe for knowing him. Looking back, I realize that the hosts of these shows were our link to movies that would open the door to exploring the unknown, the chance to make peace with our monsters.

Last night the cool ghoul pioneer host Zacherley passed away at 98.  He not only had a laugh to rival Phyllis Diller but he was important enough to leave us, not in January or a month where he might have been overlooked, but right before Halloween.

zacherley

Long live Zacherley and those who get us to recognize that our abyss isn’t all that terrible. It can be laughed at; it can become a part of the firmament that inspires and thrills us at night.

Zacherley archives:

https://youtu.be/tiTkGiVNt_8

Zacherley on Mike Douglas:

https://youtu.be/Xb5J7qB5w-0

May your All Hallows Eve be merry and dance within your void!

*- a reference to HP Lovecraft’s book At the Mountains of Madness

14 years of Wonder!

“In the place my wonder comes from, there I find you.  In your heart where the world comes from, there you will find me…When you be beside me, I am real.” – Bruce Cockburn/Love Song

This post was written on 8-18-16:

Wedding Photo

Fourteen years ago today I married Julia Ann Bordenaro in the Stephen Mather Redwood Grove and Amphitheater in Berkeley, CA.  It was an enchanted day and certainly the sweetest decision I have ever made.  Certainly the grove of trees provided the perfect sheltering atmosphere and the amphitheater held a theatrical flair that was open for us all to enjoy. The breeze, the music and love floating through us and our company of cherished family and friends was like the summation of a Shakespearean comedy.  Still, the decision I made was to become a soul mate.  Not to be completed by but to make the commitment to a partner who would not settle for less than my true authentic being.

Julia and I have formed a bond that is not conventional and yet feels like we are home, regardless of where we are.  Six years ago, we left our comfort zone in California and embarked on a quest to play music full time together.  We continue to succeed and manage to uplift one another, even while we spend most of our time together on and off the road.  Our policy of only one of us getting to go down the rabbit hole at a time has been very effective. That way one of us can hoist the other up out of the pit of doubts and other beasties the mind can concoct to throw us off course.

We continue to see each other, regardless of how we may be seeing or not seeing ourselves from day to day.  The journey has weaved us in and out of various circles with many beautiful people assisting and joining us as we strive to be the bridge between communities.

To commemorate our time together I will share snippets of some of our lyrics with you:

“You’ve got to move to change the state you’re in.”

“Hold my hand, and I will lead you to a quiet stream. Together we will understand the meaning of this dream.”

“I can see you are me in disguise.”

“I am one of many, I’m not one alone.”

“There’s an intricate weave between seen and unseen, pulsing life into winter until white becomes green”

“When I step out of the story, then I get the chance to see…there’s a bigger picture here, something more than me.”

“Hope brings motion, motion brings change, change is your friend when the going gets strange.”

“I can bench press the world by just letting go.”

“I’m all things at once and I’m nothing at all.”

“Be the particle and the wave.”

“A smile is forgiving.”

“Hey, let’s be big today, we’ll travel all around chasing troubles away.”

“I am here and I am needed, I will stand up and be greeted by what comes my way. I will fill my day with love.” – The Levins

The Levins on Couch poster

I am so grateful to continue to have Julia in my life.

May your bonds be fulfilling and invite you to be a soul mate to yourself, wholly committed to life and spilling over the side; barely contained ; )

“With love, with love, with love”

 

Loving more than the myth

“See all things, not in process of becoming, but in Being, and see themselves in the other. Each being contains in itself the whole intelligible world. Therefore, All is everywhere. Each is there All, and All is each. Man as he now is has ceased to be the All. But when he ceases to be an individual, he raises himself again and penetrates the whole world.” – Plotinus (Greek Philosopher)
 
Hassidic dancing with the Easter Bunny
Yesterday Julia and I honored the idea of resurrection with a breakfast of pancakes, eggs and two Power Puff Girls cartoons. After that, we finished reading an article  by Ken Wilber on Integral Spirituality.
The article, based on his book Integral Spirituality reminds us that religion and spirituality have the capacity of guiding us to both grow and wake up. Even though a large portion of the world has become stuck in a place of needing their group (religion, nation, race etc.) to be the sole bearers of Truth, there is an increasing awareness that we are all here together on the planet and share more than we are aware of.   The need to believe that each holy book is historically accurate and that the stories within them are to be taken as absolute and literal, has caused us to attack one another instead of recognizing our capacity to be and share profound peace.
IntegralSpirituality
After spending a lovely day with friends we read about a terrorist attack on a Christian gathering.  The sting of it, reinforced the sadness of choosing to remain stuck in a level of needing to take our myths or understanding so literally that we are not able to see one another in ourselves.
As the teacher Mooji points out, my concept of ‘me’ is a myth as well. 
At the end of the article we read that morning, Ken Wilber concludes that, “evolution and love go hand in hand…The more we love, the more we flourish. The more morally sensitive we are…”
Wherever you are today, may you be gently carried by love so you can see how beautiful you and those around you really are.