Swimming

There is a place you must go, and though you cannot see where it is, you know it is, know the distance you must travel is vast and unknown, and there is no sun to serve you as a guide, nor any guarantee that you will make it there, and instead be condemned to dwell in the darkness of infinity, and while there, you ask yourself: “How much more must one endure? How long can one endure?” 

But these questions do not suffice, for you know the answer is obscured by the shadows of uncertainty, and so you grasp what you can, to guide you through the night, and hope you will return to see the sun again.

And so you turn to the memory of the notes that still exist within you, for darkness has no power over them, for these notes reside far above the clouds, above the sky, above the heavens, where the shadows of light are bred and born and transformed, from the greater darkness within the universe, which we will never reach or fully know, but still know it well, for those notes, though born in darkness, are overcome by the power of light that breaks apart from the darkness from which they were issued, and sheds.

And with this light, you know darkness will never win the war, for light is far greater than the birth of night, and so you arm yourself with those notes as your guide – The Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G, which stirs in you the will to live and swim towards the light.   

 

The Day The Train Left WordPress

This is my final departure post on WordPress…

“The Sequence”

Moving away from WordPress and towards the Sun

It was over a year ago I witnessed an alarming signal from WordPress. It didn’t affect me personally and it did. Someone from another WordPress site had “liked” a piece I had written, and curious about that site, because it had the word publishing as part of its name, I decided to saunter over there, to learn more about that site.

When I clicked on the link, the message I saw was disturbing. The site had been deactivated by WordPress. But why? Gradually,  I came to realize  I had less control over my content than I thought I had.

When I addressed this issue with WordPress over Twitter they downplayed it. But I was not satisfied with their response and I expressed my concern to the team on Twitter.

Anyway, it’s taken close to a year to migrate my content here and into my own .com site. I will provide (at some point) a more thorough comprehensive article about that fine line between ownership, copyright, and ultimately, censorship. But for now, I am just interested in dancing with words

So if you’re still interested in reading what I am writing, what I am painting, what I am photographing, what I have written, get on the train and head over to this station:

thingsthatnevermadeitintoprint.com

For some reason, Google, for now, is showing the wrong url, which opens a page that designates the site as not secure. This is an error based on a single by highly important letter in the url. The correct url is provided above: “https” not “http” That’s the significant letter.

This is not an end but a journey into another chapter.”

And, of course, the next piece will be about the fine print behind Internet giants — at least some of them. It would be a monumental task to research the fine print of all of them, but when you do read the fine print, you discover you are agreeing to their terms, not yours, and this can unwittingly put you at a disadvantage. But I will probably spend more time discussing how to get free from the noose of WordPress’s stylistic dominance on formatting, which is almost virtually impossible. 

Slight detour —

Beyond Physics

This Buddha is made of pewter. I have had him for decades. I found him (or should I say he found me?) in Chicago where I was born and lived until I moved to Maryland in 2005.

He is always with me. He has gone wherever I have gone. And I have traveled to many places, both physically, and throughout the mind, knowing I am nothing more than a drifter along its surface. Still, I attempt to connect the threads, like a spider would, while knowing this is an exercise in futility.

This Buddha is as constant as I am devoted to him. He easily fits into the palm of my hand, and his location is always precise, exact. He never veers away from the middle.

But now that I have stepped into the last chapter of life, and I am in a space, filled with everything I love, Buddha is now anchored between the world inside and the world outside of my window where the sun sets. But there has been a subtle shift that defies the laws of physics and which I am unable to explain. He has adjusted his focus towards the northwest.

At first, I thought I had done something, that I was somehow responsible for this shift, this adjustment. But my pattern has been consistent. Shortly after I awaken, I say: “Good morning, Buddha.” Then I stroke the crown of his head, delighted to see the smile on his face, the fullness of his belly, and go about the ritual of waking up to yet another day. 

Nonetheless, I continued to grapple with this puzzle as a scientist would.  I measured the shifts. They were frequent, and seemed beyond the scope of probability. Further, every time the shift occurred, I would re-center him, while keeping track of the cycle, and continued to ask: Could this shift be nothing more than an subtle act on my part, or could it be something more esoteric, beyond my comprehension?  What role did I play?  It was entirely possible that no-one other than myself was the author of what appeared to be a mystical experience, but which was, in fact, nothing of the kind. Perhaps I had a skill unbeknowst to me as a Magician?  But I did not trouble my already troubled mind much longer with this puzzle, and so I let it go. And in doing so, I was now free. Free to fly beyond the sky.

(Note: This is one of those pieces that will keep shifting until it finds its way home. In the meantime, let it take you wherever it is that you go — even if that place is nowhere.)

 

 

 

 

 

Sanctuaries: The Many Moods of a Room

Sometimes we have to build our own sanctuary, not with our hands, but with our minds, a room we can access whenever life poses excessive challenges, those times when we need a break, a safe refuge. I chose to travel into another age: Vienna, 1783…

And into a single, but immense, room, on a Sunday afternoon. Its architecture? My version of Baroque. The entrance to this sanctuary consists of white double open doors, not far below a ceiling high enough to elevate the mind. I step into the room, wearing my fancy but comfortable crimson flats, and I feel the bounce and vibration below of hickory floors, bathing in the sunlight, and bouncing off white-washed walls, trimmed with gold leaf. The double windows are wide and open, and I can feel a fresh and gentle breeze fill the room with the scent of exotic Spring flowers.

I sink into the cushions of a plush couch, and with my eyes closed, I listen to a greater vibration fill the room, the sound of a fortepiano, direct from heaven, and with a light so intense, I can see it, though my eyes are closed. This light pours into Mozart, who will leave us in eight years, and whom we will mourn until the end of time, and I listen to him finish the unfinished Fantasia for Piano in D Minor. I am in heaven now, interrupted only by the footsteps of a young boy who walks through the door, and I cannot help but feel his joy, for he has wanted to be in the same room as Mozart, though he may not even know it yet, and I cannot resist opening my eyes, and I smile, for I have always wanted to meet this child, and it fills me with joy to embrace Beethoven.

In The Hallway of Paradise

I have read about amazing stories about people who are by any standard normal. A woman, for example, gets in her car in an empty parking lot, but she forgets there’s something in the trunk she needs. So she gets out of the driver’s seat, and unwittingly leaves the car in reverse, and forgets to pull the emergency brake. There she is, lifting the door to the trunk and the car begins to roll backwards, and is about to flatten her, but a mysterious male appears and pushes the car, and thereby she escapes being crushed to death. And once she regains her composure, she looks for the man in the empty parking lot, but he has vanished into thin air. It could be a fable, or a scene from a horror story or flick. But who knows? Maybe it happened.

Although I approach stories like this with a healthy dose of skepticism, I would never attempt to judge their authenticity, since I have immense respect for belief systems. We all have them. Furthermore, visionaries of all stripes and colors claim our species has yet to tap the surface of those dormant parts of the brain, access doors to greater consciousness  Sad, isn’t it, that we use a fraction of that organ.

Imagine what we could accomplish if we could activate those features…

Maybe we would be far more capable than producing wars for the purposes of sport, and corporate profiteering, destroying the environment through forced ignorance, killing our neighbours, casting shame on the poor, and seeing the rich as the predators they actually are, gloating in their insatiable appetites for more and more, because nothing is ever enough for them.

However, they are perfectly at ease providing the employees of their empires with wages that only increase their struggle to survive, squeezing as much as they can from them, treating them as merchandise, and the taste of abusive environments, nothing more than animals — not only so their profits can increase — but to satiate their appetite for cruelty, which is as great as their appetite for money. Animals in zoos, for example, lead lives of luxury, by comparison, though disadvanteged in that they have unwillingly become captives, and however palatable the displays are to approximate a natural environment, creating the illusion of freedom, they still spend their lives in cages. 

So given the limitations of our species, we can expect almost anything, even mystics can be charlatans.

“It is not difficult to establish contact with the spirit,” said one at a meditation seminar. “The seed lies within us.” (This may be true.)  “God is everything and we are part of God, so in essence we are God.” (I wouldn’t go that far.) However, I like challenges with a bite. Maybe not God, but what about Guardian Angels?  What about them? Was that possible?

He then introduced what he referred to as “Diving Rods”. They looked a lot like those contraptions people use to scrape the surface of sand for the hidden treasures below. “These rods,” he said, “are used to determine, measure the length of one’s aura.” I was picked for this demonstration. Phil and I stood opposite each other, across the room. He held out the Diving Rods, and with minimal movement of the wrist, they began to vibrate.

“Can you feel the pull?” he said.

“Not really,” I said.

“Let’s try again,” he said.

“Okay.”

“Can you feel it now?”

“No.”

“Well, they don’t always work,” he said. “Sometimes there’s a fluke in the system.” I wondered which system exactly he was referring to? Flukes in the spirit world system? Were they intervening, blocking the connection? It’s possible.

“Let’s move on to visualisation,” he said. “The most common technique we use to contact elementals is through visualisation.”

“So you don’t really see them?” I said. “I mean, like here, in the room? Is your guardian angel here right now? Standing next to you?”

“Not necessarily,” he said. “But I am in continuous contact with my guardian angel (did he say angle?). He’s always there whenever I need him. I can always see him on the top of the hill.”

I was confused. Always with me, but on top of — which one was it? Was it a hill, or the hill? His hill? It was a lot like basic high school Algebra — x+y — just never clicked. I only understood them as alphabet partners, existing solely to join other letters to make words. Sometimes, however, we must cope with uncertainty — it’s healthy. So I gave the idea of visualisation another shot. I repeated the word slowly and in all caps:

V I S U A L I S A T I O N

“So I’m supposed to contact my guardian angel through the technique of visualisation?”

“Precisely,” he said. His enunciation was crisp. It made me think of crackers.

“Visualisation.” I repeated out loud at first, and from thereon, I drifted and began mumbling the word, until I finally reached the portal of silence. Once I crossed that threshold, I bounced it on the walls of silence, bit into it, to see if it resembled anything comparable to anything I had ever tasted — just because.

Daydreaming, surprisingly, posed a significant obstacle in my search for spiritual significance. Daydreaming from an early age was as natural as breathing. It was where 5 year olds could travel without a passport. The freedom to wander through the mind, drifting from one image or thought and into the next, and into the one next to that, sliding between reality (for that is necessary) and the world of imagination, well, is not only is time-consuming, but requires stamina, which I always had possessed, and later reinforced during my training as a dancer. But unlike visualisation, which requires focus, daydreaming uses an altogether different lens. So I developed a hybrid of daydreaming and visualisation. However, as you seldom can predict how hybrids will behave, you factor that risk into the equation.

I was now curious. I wanted to meet my guardian angel — just because.

Naturally, it didn’t happen immediately, and the fun began to fade. It almost felt like a 9-5 job. And for me that was no different than living in a cage. So my interest waned. I was ready to give up. My time, after all, was valuable.

Now I know you can guess what happened next.

The unexpected happened on one uneventful night. First, I felt them. Then, I heard them. Then, I saw them. Just as I was about to go to sleep. Apparently that’s when they like to show up, right before you drift into sleep. They slip through that dimension, I suppose, which our feeble brains cannot detect. So in addition to having more than one, they were not just any old (well they were old) angels. Not at all. These dudes were heavyweights.

They came dressed in business suits and immediately started to whine. They had long stringy hair. And they all talked at the same time. They stood around my head, like 3 probes attached to some cosmic radio; you know how radio waves go in and out depending on frequencies? — that’s how they sounded. And they argued amongst themselves about the most ridiculous details of my day.

“I really think she should’ve done something with her hair today. You know, she’s gonna have to make a decision about that soon. What will it be? Brown? Platinum? Black? Those roots are looking kind of, well, bad, really bad.”

“So what will it be, Princess?”

But they didn’t bother to wait for a response.

“Personally, I like the platinum —”

“That makes her look too pasty. What do you think, Gabe?”

“I think she should go with red. She hasn’t done that for a long time. And it complements her freckles.”

“Hey,” I shout. “Why don’t you tell me something I wanna hear? Why did Einstein insist on a week when I told him one night with him would’ve been enough? And what about the spaceship in my backyard? Why did Carl Sagan get to go on it, but I had to stay behind? I mean, even though Einstein stayed behind with me, and together, we watched it disappear, I was feeling so nostalgic. I wanted to fly away. And here I was, grounded with Einstein.”

They take notes on everything I say, and feel free to come and go as they please. They’re everywhere. I can understand emergencies, but parking lots?

I sit up on my bed, groggy and looking like a ghost, with dark blues circles under my eyes, and red threads in my eyes. I sit there dumb, speechless, and think it’s time to audition for the Living Dead. This amuses them. And they giggle.

“Go away. You guys are creepy. I wanna go to sleep.”

But do they listen to me?

Hell, no.