Friday, October 12, 2012

Profits of Doom

Do you remember the early days of your inquiry? Can you recall the sense that you were discovering things that had gone hidden for ages, but now were being "leaked" out and shared in hushed tones by those that had risen above the masses of the incurious, simply foolish or otherwise deluded?

You figured out long ago that there were dark conspiracies afoot and a storm on the horizon. Or maybe your belief system indicated the imminent return of your Savior which required a certain amount of prep, because it was for you and those who were less informed or blessed would certainly come to try and take your "blessings" from you. You knew that time was running short and that you had to try and open the eyes of your neighbors and loved ones. Bit by bit you heard other voices chime in and began to see that you were not alone. Websites popped up and groups formed to begin to prepare for what was to come. Take careful note of that word and reflect on that concept for a moment.


 For many that has a definite meaning to it - get in a position to be able to endure whatever comes at you in this existence so that you may continue on at any cost. This may mean aligning one's self with a group of kindred spirits, or simply stocking up on canned goods and ammo preparing to duke it out with any that would come into firing range. For others it could be shedding the bonds of a system that appears to be failing and starting out on a new path, which is likely a very old one. The thing that is obvious is that many are feeling the oncoming change and being compelled to adjust, or are finding new ways to burrow deeper into what is known in search of the comfort that lies in being rigid and unyielding, while hoping for a return to the "good old days".

How does it feel now that your discoveries have gone mainstream? That industry has sprung up to support your efforts? How many movies or TV shows can you watch that deal with any number of Doomsday scenarios? I'm quite certain that a post-apocalyptic world will be filled with hot babes with crossbows, their hair care products and makeup being being the things they stocked up on the most.  Hey, there must be be quite a number of you out there to make the resonance that pervasive.
Check out what these guys have to say;

Well, if Mick and Keef are feeling it.........

The force that I see in play here that is the biggest threat, and that suggests something to the contrary within the message, is that we need to further isolate ourselves and prepare to do deeper battle with each other. Throughout human history we have see this played out in various ways, and to arrive at a literal bunker mentality with encouragement from central casting is no surprise at all. How many ways do we have to look at a fellow human and see the "other"? How many ways do we divide ourselves into groups suitable for suspicion, derision, or even attack? We have been taught to compete in our work, our play, and even in our art? The world may need to be entirely fragmented before it comes around again and unites as a whole.

Paranoia and fear of those not fully in line with our own sensibilities is the biggest weapon used against us by those who would seek to control us - whoever/whatever that may be. Our egos will not celebrate our diverse nature and allow the full expression of All without a fight, and now there are those who will profit from this mindset and encourage further division and fear as it will bring greater profits. I hear firearms and other assorted forms of destruction are hugely successful ventures right now. Soon it may be that simply waiting for "the other shoe to drop" may be insufficient and some sort of "pre-emptive" measures will need to be taken. I just don't know.

What are you feeling? Can you get to the core of you and filter out all of the noise to hear what your best friend intuition has to say about all of this? I won't be trying to add my voice this time because all inquiry into the deepest parts come up blank and empty. There is no great revelation or spectacular show to share with anyone. Just that same still, silent, glowing, grinning presence that brings calm and serenity when I inquire within. A deep breath taken in and thoughtlessly released. Beauty is all around, as it has always been, coexisting with destructive (to our interpretation) forces that bring about change and renewal. There is a sense that something is afoot, but something is ALWAYS afoot - it is a constant. Trying to figure out what will be is likely one of the oldest exercises humanity has engaged in. How many ages have passed that were thought to be the "End Times"? Yet here we are still.

There was a time when I sought out an avenue to try and discern what, exactly, was going on in the world. I would log onto various websites and have discussions with fellow seekers knowing that with enough effort and the right link TRUTH would be revealed to me. I was told that to find said truth, I must earn the right by striving harder, sacrificing more, or buying into someone else's belief because obviously it had not reached me yet as I was not worthy or not doing it right. What I began to see was a feedback loop of ever-increasing intensity that got deeper and deeper into the DOOOOOMM! meme. Every day brought that single event closer and closer, with links, pics, and a parade of commentary to support the doom-of-the day scenario. I wonder what it is today that is the final straw?

The end has come to many over this period of time of seeking, as has always been the case. Change is afoot as it has always been. I can absolutely guarantee that things will continue to change, sometimes even in big and dramatic ways - as they have always. This time may be unique, but it may also be mundane. Who knows? Do you have a link?

As an observation of a purely personal perspective, I can tell you that the constant rolling around in all of this increasingly shrill alarm sounding has taken a toll on me. The sense of being unable to do anything to ensure the safety of my family and those around me who inhabit this sphere is devastating, and has led on more than one occasion to a deep despair. I have found myself wishing for a quick demise more times than I could count, but continue to endure and marvel at what is available counter to the racket that exists "out there". Right there in every breath. What will be will always be, and the importance of perspective and above all, acceptance, has revealed itself. The gift of this life is wasted in an attempt to wall oneself up and defend against the inevitable force that is change. Being able to bend with the wind and find comfort in the swaying seems preferable to steeling against a force that will eventually snap you in 2.

Be well, Love each other and yourself. Refuse to be divided against those who may not see the world as you do, and hear the words of a wise man, now departed.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Delivering the Goods

"You better watch out and hold on tight,
                        We're headed your way like dynamite!"

Something sure is, or has more likely arrived and is being felt at some level by all those with the capacity to feel. Those who cannot simply continue to follow their base impulses and carry on as though everything is as it always was, while this mysterious force that is afoot twists at a subtle level and appears to be driving some people insane. But it simply shall not be. Change is a constant and those who cling to the hope that somehow a return to "normal" is possible are likely to be left disappointed and bitter. It's all an illusion anyway.

    Speaking of illusions and getting back to the title of this little missive, one of my prior jobs was as a truck drivin' delivery guy. This put me in a position to observe a lot of different things as well as learn a whole lot about what was real and what was something quite apart from reality. In my first foray into this realm, I was delivering foodstuffs to Chinese restaurants all over the Twin Cities and up into the Iron Range and Duluth. This taught me, simply by observation, that the folks running these places often  worked harder than any people I had previously encountered. I recall rolling my hand-truck down some shaky stairways, laden with bamboo shoots or cans of plum sauce by the case - whatever the order of the day was - and often finding a small area back in a corner that was obviously used as sleeping quarters. Some of these folks actually lived in the storeroom of their restaurants, or at least were there for long enough hours that a nap was needed. It was pretty hard to complain too loudly about my own "hard work" when I at least got to go home to a clean, good-smelling house with an equally good-smelling wife and just put it behind me with an electronic distraction or a couple beers. How could people live like that?

     Another thing that struck me deeply was the level of generosity that was displayed by some of the proprietors. Very often, an egg-roll or small container of fried rice was offered, maybe a few chicken wings - you know, a sample of their wares as a gesture of gratitude for my efforts. These were always the family-run places where you would find mom and dad in the kitchen, the kids waiting tables, and toothless grandma popping the stems off the green beans somewhere out of sight. There was even a spot in Silver Bay that I stopped at once a week where I was met with a hearty handshake by the Matriarch, led to a table set just for me, and a menu set down with instructions to order a lunch and choose what I would then take home for dinner or a snack later as it was 14 hour day. This stop also featured a semi-regular introduction to whatever daughter, cousin, or niece had dropped in or just arrived in country, with the inevitable telling of her superior cooking skills and qualities as a prospective mate. What a trip. I was just the delivery guy, yet I would be treated like family. There was usually not much chance to communicate directly with the elders due to language barriers, but seldom would my gaze not be met with a wide grin and genuine warmth. Very humbling and a great teaching experience that I will never forget.

     The next role I assumed in "delivery guy" land was bringing high-end furnishings to our clients and setting it all up, instructing in the care of their new goodies, and acting as a customer service rep when things were in need of fixing or retrieving. This opened a door to another kind of insight that was quite different from the Chinese food gig. This was during the mid 90's, and was a time when if you had a pulse and didn't have to be in the workhouse for more that 20 hours a week, you were employable. I had become a homeowner and a Father, and found that I had attained a status that was never dreamed of in my world - dad and sole breadwinner. It was also during this time that I was playing in a shitty cover band on the weekends for extra dough, and also just to hang out with my friends and keep my chops up. These were the golden times, or so it seemed.

    One of the things that began to creep in around this time was a sense that something was slightly amiss. Day after day I would load up my truck with exotic woods and crafted metals, filling these huge new housing developments with furnishings and marveling at the number of very young people occupying these spaces. It was common to roll up to a 3,500 square foot shack with a couple brand-new SUV's in the driveway, maybe a Beemer for the wife, Harley's  - you get the picture - and then start dragging in 10-20K$ worth of goodies to adorn the castles we now know as the McMansion. A question kept popping up in my head after a while. Where the hell were these kids getting all that money?!? I think we know the answer to that now, don't we? It was an illusion.

   Not surprisingly, the interface with these customers was an experience quite apart from the folks at the Chinese joints. It seemed the norm that along with the huge shacks came a huge ego, and very little sense of gratitude. The level of expectation was pretty high, and very early on it became a test of wills and often went directly to a shakedown of these prickly creatures. You see, one of the rules our company had was that we were not allowed to carry the customer's existing furnishings around, and that they were required to have the space the new goodies would occupy clear and ready for us to install the new stuff. Guess how often that happened? I'm sure they saw us a some kind of knuckle-dragging, low functioning monkeys that could only get work like that because we were unable to do anything else. They were quite mistaken in that assumption I can assure you. I sought out this work because I liked the physicality of it and the simplicity of filling up a truck in the morning and knowing you were done when it was empty, plus being teamed up with one other person away from the "hive" and getting to interface with people was always a treat, even though I may sound disparaging of them. It was a tremendous learning experience and it felt very free and autonomous.

   My first partner in this venture was US Marine veteran of the first Iraq war, and had participated in what has since been named the "Highway of Death" event. Dude was damaged, but still had a soul somehow, and had precisely ZERO tolerance for bullshit or drama. So, when Amber or Tiffany asked us to move the existing sofa bed down to the basement so we could put in the new one because Ted was too busy or out of town or otherwise could not be bothered to do so, my man would get the look - a slight twisting of the corner of the mouth, soon followed by the question "show us what you need us to do and we'll let you know if we can do that". Often that would be enough to create a frown, merely hinting at a potential unwillingness to do their bidding, or get the cash out to grease the wheels, but frequently we would take a look, grumble a bit about the difficulty (or relative ease - hey, we were honest at least) and then the bomb would be dropped. "That looks like about $50 right there". The first time it happened, I was a bit taken aback. "Dude, we aren't supposed to charge for extra services like that - we aren't even supposed to TOUCH their stuff! This feels wrong". What was wrong was feeling the least bit guilty about entering into an agreement independently to get something done that ultimately benefited all involved. They got their furnishings, we got paid for breaking "company rules", and risking injury above and beyond, and it was all good. I got over it VERY quickly.

   There were many other times where the customers simply asked nicely if we would be willing to help, and in most of these cases we would do so without hesitation because hey, you asked nicely instead of assuming we were there to rearrange your house for you. Attitude was everything here, and I never felt bad about doing it for free, even if it was high effort or dangerous. Tips would almost always be offered, and I even got to take home some very nice used furnishings for my own home. The solid oak Ethan Allen dining table I am currently at as I type this was from one such trip. "If you want it it's yours - we were going to throw it away......."

    "Throw-away" brings me back to these huge suburban palaces we would so often enter, all gleaming with miles of granite counters and maple trim. Being formerly in the trades (cabinet maker) it was fun to   take a look at the craftsmanship employed in building these mammoth structures. Far more often than not, in fact almost universally, they were slapped together with a level of care that makes me wonder how some of them are standing today. Sure, you may have lots of space, but just don't look too closely at that woodwork or the sheetrocking or the landscaping or the vinyl siding.........crap, all of it. My little 1 1/2 story home near the urban center had been built in 1927, and was constructed to a level of quality that allowed it to still be completely solid and even beautiful in its own way many decades later, something that I am pretty sure will not be the case with the shacks built when they were tossing them up as fast as humanly possible. They sure were big though..........

   Around this time I also began to get these strange and very frequent calls and letters from my mortgage company, practically begging me to refinance at a lower rate and take out some extra cash for  "that family vacation, new car, or home improvement you deserve". It got to the point where it felt like I was being hassled, so one day when they rang me up I asked the caller a simple question. "I understand you want me to refi at this wonderful lower rate, and maybe take out some "equity" on top. Why in the world would you want to do this as it will mean less profit for you in the long run?!?". I knew something was up when the answer was "Because you have been such a good customer, and you really DESERVE to take advantage of the rapid rise in home values. That's YOUR money!" Oh boy. Here is Wells Fargo going out of their way to "reward" me for being so awesome? I wasn't buying it. I did refi once, but did not take out a bunch of "equity" until I needed the capital to do improvements to try and sell the joint after values plummeted.................

    It wasn't long after that that life delivered a couple solid blows via a 2x4 upside the head, with the deaths of both parents, being diagnosed with a potentially fatal disease, and being fired from my job after a major surgery took me off my truck and into the office, where I struggled to fit in, then moved to the prep area, and finally back onto the truck where I struggled to get back up to speed. Despair had set in and the path through darkness began in earnest.

     Luckily for my family and I, my wife rose to the challenge and went out and got a job that met our needs and does to this day, at least financially. Now, I find that her situation in that position has come full circle and it is a cage of sorts that threatens her health and sanity. It is all a cage, really, the entire wage slave paradigm. During my time at home and the "dark night of the soul", a tremendous amount of new awareness was picked up and carries me forward today as I ponder going back out into the workplace to try and reclaim my place as breadwinner and all that, but to be honest the heart really longs to find a way out of this doomed model and get to the end of that long dirt road in the middle of nowhere, drawn strangely to a lifestyle far closer to the smiling restaurant owner than the smarmy suburban success story. Those are the people I encounter daily, raging behind the wheel while texting and screaming at the kids in the backseat, because their video has ended and mom isn't loading the next one fast enough. The McMasions are becoming the new 'hood in some ways, and so many of those places are abandoned or underwater it wouldn't surprise me if they stat knocking them down again.

    So, how to detach from all of this entanglement and head off into the far reaches to live closer to the Earth, in a manner more closely aligned with the people who lived here on this land before my ancestors even began arriving from the Old World? I suppose I could get back into a truck and hit the road, playing at "normal" for a while longer before the next 2x4 starts swinging, but there are all these angry, aggressive lunatics out there now taking out their angst in ways that are a perfect metaphor for the times. Something is afoot, and I see it on the faces of people everywhere. It is a sight to behold, really.

   I used to think "entitlement" was a catchword used by those on the "right" to dismiss those who they wanted dismissed or minimized. I now have come to see that it is a real thing, and know better why the old Chinese folks were always smiling. Perspective is everything, gratitude a necessity, and nothing will ever be like it was before. Thank goodness. The pics are a reminder of where the happy place can be found, lost in vibrations and grateful for the gifts and interest of that which animates us. Thanks for taking me on this trip, and thank you for joining me in this small part of it.


Monday, July 23, 2012

It's Nothing Personal

Ramblings from an uneducated fool.

 It has been 9 months since I last felt motivated to sit down and write anything in this space, long enough for much to transpire, more to expire, and for endless opportunities to become lost in the trap that is Earthly desire. It is also the length of time require to conceive and bring forth a human life, and for some reason the notion of birth/rebirth seems at the fore a great deal these days. It would seem that much is as it always has been, yet nothing will ever be the same again. And why would it be? What is the "normal" that people talk about? How can we hope to "go back to the way it was" if we only then wound up where we are now, wishing we were somewhere else preceding it? At a base level, when I hear talk of getting the "job situation" or "housing prices" back to "normal" it just ceases to be anything other that a repeating of some sort of mantra. Give it up, folks. There is no going back anymore.

 I have had a very interesting time of it over these last several months, having been through a process of tempering it seems, watching so many illusions be revealed for what they truly are and seeing the potential for some tiny rays of understanding to peek through. I went many months without a computer and found it to be pretty OK to be cut off from my usual haunts and sources of "information". I did miss many of the people I had come to consider friends, though. The one message that gets louder and louder, however, is that through all of this trip known as Life here on Earth, it really isn't about "Me" in any way, shape or form.

 It would appear that the entire concept of "Me" is the biggest trap there is - the starting point for all manner of ills, bad feelings, anger, and the biggie of all biggies, fear. What a magnificent tool for both manipulation and total freedom, this concept of the Self which puts us immediately at odds in so many ways with the balance of Creation. I just don't buy it anymore - sorry. The dissolution of same would appear to also be the key to reintegration with All, and having had an experience of that state I can say only this - there is no other event that can be placed above this because the Void contains, within its complete and utter emptiness, the potential for anything and everything. Words tend to be pretty inadequate to try and describe what it is that has been shown to me, but I can say with great confidence that what passes as "normal" around here gets further and further from what seems to be, if I dare use such a loaded word (and I guess I do!), Truth.

Please hit the refresh button on the word fool from the beginning, because this is only a report from what passes as an individual vantage point and truly, I know nothing and have little clue where this comes from or why I am bothering to bang on these keys to spell any of the observations out. Maybe it was the spicy dinner or the DMT documentary, or the afterglow of Lovemaking.........

 It almost seems profane in a way to continue to use the words "me" and "I", as it becomes more and more evident that heading down that path is the on-ramp to suffering and woe. Rising from an early bedtime, these words came in and wanted to get put out there so the reflection might help to further distill them and maybe be put to the test by others that have an opinion. Ego looking for validation? Surely. That component is still on board, but more and more it trails behind at a distance and only jumps up when there is a strong trigger or a moment of inattentiveness to what is trying to intrude upon the mindless state that is making a home at the core. It is simply a deep breath, exhaled and radiating outward to go where it will, leaving a calm and warmed space behind that contains - nothing but stillness and a subtle vibration that occupies every particle with this body. Is that it? Is this something to strive for and see as an accomplishment of some sort? I think it is.

You can have all your book-learning, all your credentials and social status, material goodies and presumed power over others. Take it all, because it is worthless in this space. What are you trying to prove? What are you so afraid of? All those things are distractions from the essence of what Life has come to mean here - allowing everything to wash over this form and without judgement or entanglement and to just simply Be. I now see why some people wander off into the wild and never return. Those are the true Masters, the ones who can just jump off and realize they always had everything they needed the whole time. I wish I knew what I was talking about, but then I would have to go to through the motions of trying to employ the mind to do what it seems incapable of doing yet again. Fool. Wisdom does NOT reside above the neck in the cranium.

 Looking out at the world we appear to be inhabiting, it gets more and more difficult to identify with so much of what is transpiring. Listening to politicians speak and then hearing what their followers spout when they line up on their nice, neat opposing sides is so alien it seems a sad joke. There have been a number of candidates banging on the door lately, all hoping to convince me that they are the one that will finally fix everything for me if I just get on board, and all I can do is laugh and wish them luck. "What are the issues most important to you this election cycle?" How about the hope that at some point you will cease to try and legislate the world into something that fits all people all the time? Give it up, dude. I know that we are supposed to pick a side and recite the talking points according to our party or particular fears, but please.......

 Apathy is not something they seem to know how to deal with, although once the frustrated look wears off and I ask if they are seeing a lot of this these days, the heart warms a bit when they reply in the affirmative. Good luck with all that, Fearless Leaders. Would you like some cool water? It's hotter that Hell out here, isn't it?

 When the religious devotees appear, it is a similar drill. Those who are so convinced of their having "figured it out" can only shake their head and usually search for that piece of scripture that they hope will prove their point when confronted with the words I utter. Are they doing it for me or are they trying so hard in an effort to validate their own position by getting others to agree with them? The Jehovah's Witnesses are the most persistent of the lot, and the same couple and many of their relations have been coming by for a couple years now, why I'm not quite sure. I don't get it sometimes, this need to try and convince others of their own personal discoveries, but I do have to admire their devotion and ability to absorb ill treatment. Striving to live a life as filled with Love and compassion as is possible is the ticket to Heaven as far as I am concerned, because in doing acts of Love and kindness it comes right here into existence in real-time. Why wait for some payoff after you croak when it is available RIGHT NOW?

 Last night my wife and I were on our way to a party to celebrate the release of a CD that 2 friends and I made. It was a very inspired project that had the feeling of Divine support in its ease of production and the vibes that surrounded it. It was nearly effortless and I was quite proud of the results even though my role was as Producer and Engineer rather than Artist (not about ME!).

 I was feeling so very good as we neared the exit off the freeway, and then noticed a car screaming up behind me at a great rate of speed. 2 lanes over was another speeding car and it was obviously a drag race of sorts between the 2. There was nowhere to go to avoid this oncoming fool, so I applied my brake briefly to signal him to back off and angrily flipped him the bird as he got quite literally 3-4 feet from my rear bumper at 60 mph (he had approached at a speed likely close to 80). It scared me, and of course the anger reaction kicked in immediately. I wanted to engage this transgressor and indulge the component within that wields the sword and awaits just such incidents to prove he is needed. Deep breaths. We are ok.

 I let him pass and he would not meet my eyes and seemed to look down a bit as his passenger looked ahead in terror. I could not fully take on the anger that wanted to dig into me, and found calm returning in short order. This is major progress compared to the past 6 months or so.

 The evening was an amazing celebration of music, good food, pets, children, and I got to see some friends I had not been with in over a decade. It didn't seem like a day had been missed. Taking to the makeshift stage and rending the air with raucous vibrations brought on a wave of joy and genuine celebration in the crowd. No judgement, no expectation, just rolling with the flow of what appears more and more to be an endless stream of ease and even bliss, if only "I" can get out of my own way.

 I used to punish myself for all of my perceived shortcomings and failing to really "achieve" anything of note in this lifetime, but it has dawned on me that everywhere I look there is beauty, grace, and most of all, the opportunity to be lost in Love by giving it freely and being willing to accept the gift of same. All that is required is to clear out the noise and distraction, and make way for the vessel to be filled to overflowing. It is All, a blessing, and so very welcome as the outside world by all appearances spins off into some sort of mad death spiral. This whole viewpoint could be shattered in the morning, or it could become the new, permanent resident here - we shall see. But please, let's not go back to anything resembling "normal".

 My best to any and All who hear these words, and the same for those who never will.