Monday, May 30, 2011

The Marigold Deva: Gratitude Unlimited!

You have planted my blooms on your garden terraces partly to balance out the insectivary of the place, yet also with this special awareness that some traditions connect such flowers with the souls of the departed. The blossoms flourish, as the memory of deceased loved ones lives on in your hearts.
      On this day to honor in memory humans that have passed on, also notice that the saffron color of my blossoms is that hue the Buddhist monks of Southeast Asia wear in many places, a color of special cleansing and purification qualities. It may seem ironic to you that this is also the color associated in Yogic tradition with the second chakra or reproductive center of the human body. There is nothing ironic about this, unless you listen to irony as a reminder not to take your own assumptions too seriously. Sexuality is really the life-force itself, a sacred energy.
      Likewise, you are boldly sharing here what some readers may consider a sort of psychic experience of connection with the Nature Kindgom or Landscape Angels. Of course, it is nothing of the kind! This communication emerges simply and naturally from your ability to let your boundaries dissolve… and to become One with All Things.
      Your personal human self has boundaries and limitations caused by beliefs, most of which have no validity. This is the realm of your ego, nothing bad about it, only it may hamper your ability to listen to silence from that place of inner stillness… here, where you can hear us, or hear the Larger Self of totality that all smaller selves are parts of. When you forget your self, awareness of Self expands into awareness. 
      Here you know it: You are not only alive, you are Life itself!
      Give thanks on this day, not only for those who lived and died, also for the beautiful safforn colored flowers that help balance the insect life of your garden, and for those flame-robed Buddhist monks, the mendicants that appear in the quiet predawn streets of Far Eastern cities as mendicant monks to gather their food fro the day from householders, and melt away back to their monasteries with the growing daylight--rather give thanks for everything. Sprinkle marigold petals in a path that leads to the Ancestor shrine to guide the souls back for a visit…
      Remember the Ancestors every day. Ancestors are all people, all life-forms, every aspect of this Living World that has gone before and now meets you in the present moment within you.
      Open your heart to gratitude unlimited. 
      You'll be astonished! 
      Anything is possible.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Willy The Crazy And Wonderful

To really love someone with all your heart is dangerous. Love is ferocious and sometimes painful. It's a physical sensation I can feel in my chest, like a pressure. And yet how else can you really feel totally alive? There's nothing safe about life.
      In my blog about "Calling The Toads" I mentioned really loving and being loved as something real and true--unlike perhaps 99% of the rest of our thoughts, ideas, images, and beliefs about reality. This is what John Lennon meant when he said, "Yoko and me, that's reality." At the time he wrote that, he had whittled his awareness down to a primal core of actuality. If we can be honest, most of what we believe is real or true has no validity--it's just opinions and ideas.
      I've been so cerebral all my life, I adore this material world, Nature. Bodies. Matter.
      My youngest child Willy, pictured below is over a year old now, and he's not a replacement for his late, beloved older brother James. No. Willy is a crazy cat in his own right, a suitable comrade for a crazy writer and artist like me.

      There is indeed this thing about writers and cats. All sorts of other varieties of people appreciate the company of felines. However a serious writer tends to be a recluse a lot of the time, totally self-absorbed, or at least focused on the task at hand to the exclusion of all else. Only a "dog person" could think cats are actually aloof, however cats will put up with a lot more distraction on the part of their human than a dog. Cats are, of course, great meditators and nappers as well as yogis.
      Dogs are simply higher maintenance. Perhaps some more balanced writers appreciate that neediness yanking them out of their writing trance… only I'm not that balanced. At this point, it would not be fair to the dog for me to have that kind of child.
      Willy is a totally brat, as any cat deserves to be. He can get quite aggressive and rambunctious if he feels neglected. However during my early AM spells of writing and editing at the iMac here, he's often happy to stay curled up on my lap and meditate as an alternative to active playtime.
      Then, when my eyes get bleary at the monitor, it's healthy for me to break from my trance, stand and stretch and then toss some of his little paper balls around. You should see that little buddy jump and spike a ball down over the net. Or we race around and around through the adjoining office and bathroom playing peekaboo and fluff-your-tail behind the doors.
      He's been a life-saver since James died and I couldn't shake the sadness. He makes me laugh and lights up my life. Though it's no longer actually his "baby food," he still loves the ritual of having me offer a sprinkle of "You want some of Your Precious Baby Willy Food?" into the hopper, and then with a satisfied "Prrt," he chows down.
      He was a mere handful when he arrived in the spring of 2010 and he's huge now. Willy's a talker, and that voice gets me every time.
      He's also as real and true as it gets.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Calling The Toads

Life is a Magickal adventure: each heartbeat is a miracle; each breath you take is an unrepeatable treasure!
      Do you really live with this awareness of a daily basis?
      To be honest I cannot claim that I live so mindfully every moment of every day, though that's my aim. Almost every morning I wake up feeling reborn. I've spoken before in this blog about the mystery of sleep, that total oblivion where you either dissolve into the abyss and no longer exist… or you experience parallel selves in those parallel universes of other timelines that we call dreams.
      The strangest thing of course, is that you seem to come back every time, or I suppose, maybe only until that time you don't come back. Yet an even deeper mystery may be that it also seems that we've all been in this Universe all along. We are part of a Living Universe, like those proverbial droplets int he ocean, we fly from the surface of absolute unity into a shining lifetime of apparent individuality, only until we fall back into the limitless ocean of Life. The All-Attractive Singularity welcomes us back!
      Though I'm not into ritual Magick in any serious, formal sense, I know what Real Magick IS: "The art of altering consciousness at will." Perhaps the most potent tool humans have is imagination, which like anything else powerful, can also take you out of your body, into your head and distance you from the truth, instead of creating new realities. It's sharp on both sides…
      So what is true? Your own body; Nature; the planet, the Sun, Moon and Stars. The Universe. If you really really are fortunate enough love someone and be loved in return, you're both real--to each other. Beyond that it's mostly just ideas, fantasy, cerebral cotton candy!
      Now that I've circled back to being the Fountain of Creative Fountain of Eternal Youth that I was at age 7 when my 2nd grade teacher initiated me into Greek mythology, C.S. Lewis, and the Magick of books, again a full-time writer and artist--I realize this IS the Real Magick.
      Creating Worlds.
      At the request of my publisher, I've just finished doing a cover painting for my 2nd novel which they plan to publish soon, so that readers of the first one don't have to wait too long. It's very exciting to be 7 years old again--which in a sense has always been my true age.
      So now when I wake up early each day before dawn, I go outside under the numberless stars in Paradise Garden where I live and call the toads. The Moon comes down just like it's Cinderella's coach that has rolled to a stop, the door opens, and instead of a glass slipper followed by a slip of a waifish girl with conders on her cheeks, the toads come hopping out onto the ground… I crouch down in a Siamese squat. The toads gather around my feet and together we sing…
      What do we sing? I'll let you do the imagining on that part!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

In Defense of MAME As A Triple Goddess!

I'm a heretic in regard to at least one particular dogma of the so-called "gay canon," an opinion that actually extends far beyond the world of gay men.
      This particular opinion is totally biased due to the fact that I love to sing and dance with certain favorite movie musicals. We have a beautiful 50-inch flat-panel monitor for watching DVDs which also has good sound. So I fully enjoy this practice of singing and dancing with some of the best music and dancers in the world.
      I do it because it feels so good and it brings joyful energy and well-being into my body and soul!
      A particular favorite is what I consider one of the most wonderful musicals of all: MAMEMame. Now I'm aware that many loyal Angela Lansbury fans never forgave Lucille Ball for using her clout and claiming the lead role in this film version after Angela created the role on Boradway. Plus there's the common critique that Lucy was too old, too cool and calculating, that she couldn't sing. All nonsense! Take a look at this marvelous film with fresh eyes and an open mind and you'll see how wonderful it really is.
      Lucy put her heart and soul and considerable talents into this film, and who says what age Auntie Mame should be anyway? She's ageless by nature. Lucy looks gorgeous in the film (yes, her close-ups employ a blurry filter, so what?) and it's the perfect role to cap her long career, though the flop of the film at the box-office and the critical dish apparently broke her heart. It appeared just after the peak of the major Hollywood musical era.
      Well, I grew up in Thailand with the original Broadway album, so I've loved the score and brilliant lyrics since I was very young. However due to the commercial failure of the film, the quality DVD now available was not released until just a few years back.
      I AM so grateful!
      Plus, with greater awareness of such things, I now recognize the depths of the story. Mame is the guardian spirit and benefactor of your inner child that maintains a curious, fun-loving, forever young perspective. With someone like her around, life could never be drab or boring. She's also a Triple Goddess, Maiden, Mother and Crone. Before her orphaned nephew Patrick Dennis comes to live with her, she's the Maiden, carefree and celebratory. She becomes Mother to Patrick; then after her beloved Beau Burnside dies, she gains the wisdom of the Crone.
      And yet she loses none of her flair and humane intensity.
      Her most famous line is "Life is a banquet, and most poor sons of bitches are starving to death!"
     So these days I can sing and dance with LOST HORIZON as well as MAME, both of which require that you think for yourself to enjoy how fantastic they really are. Check them out.
      Anyway "Think for yourself, and question authority" is still the best motto, in fact, more than ever!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Violet Satin Hibiscus Deva

All of us in the Nature Kingdom, whom you may also call the One known as the Great God Pan, express our fierce delight and calm appreciation that in your innermost heart you have again actively opened your awareness to this direct communion.
      That practice you know as the constant cleaning of your inner energy is the major key for you at this time in order to keep this horizontal mind-bridge open. At the same time, with the ability to SEE non-duality or Oneness there is also no need for any practice except for Love.
      That key practice is gratitude, a perfect echo, a reflection of how we in Nature celebrate our intimate and indissoluble link with you.
      Your acknowledgment, even your awareness of our existence is not necessary to the unchanging fact of our close kinship with you.
      My appearance as a lovely pale violet flower with dramatic pistils and stamens has drawn us back together into mutual alignment of our specific embodiments. However, all along we always share our participation in the same singular realm of manifest things. You and we are One.
      When you SEE the true Oneness of All, the greatness of being you call the Lord of Forest and Field is SEEN as One with you.
      Your smaller, limited sense of self dissolves back into and returns to its indistinguishable unity with the Universal Self.
      Now, all this is plenty to absorb at the moment… so please breathe deeply, sit straight and allow your mind to empty like a handful of sand when the hand opens wide, turns over and both palms brush together to release all of the grains.
      Enter a timeless state as you remember that these are the sands of time. They are the grains of eternity.
      All your dreams can keep.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Enchanted By The Rock

A week ago Tomas and I went camping at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area with some friends. It's a favorite place of mine for opening myself to a special communion with Nature and to meet a simplified, primal connection of Earth and Sky that speaks deeply to my cells. I drove us there, partly because my Pookie-Mouse had worn himself out with some long, hard work days. Plus I enjoyed the glorious Hill Country landscapes along the way.

      We're seasoned campers and pretty good at the whole thing, yet with Tom's work burn-out and me still in the midst of intense revisions of Moontusk Book Two: Orchid of Awakening for the publisher, our preps turned out to be slightly lacking. We forgot a few important things--somehow!--only I do love our inflatable mattress with the battery-powered pump! It's a bit bouncy and by morning has always lost some air, but works many times better than wrestling hard ground through thin foam pads, as we've sometimes done.
      The good company of some special friends also helped with the Magick of breaking free from routines--always a healthy thing on all levels!
      In the morning, early on Tomas went down into the stream-bed to try out his new camera on some wildlife. In his inimitable fashion he'd done plenty of research to get just the right tool for the job and finally rewarded himself with the purchase the day before. He's doing a lot of wildlife photography for the new edition of his A Hill Country Nature Book that he's working on. He's still learning the specs on this fine little Artificial Intelligence, only he's already gotten some choice shots. That's largely due to his phenomenal talent as a photographer.
      At any rate, later around mid-morning the groups of our companions finally got sorted out and ready for the hike up the rock. For those readers unaware, Enchanted Rock is the 2nd largest exposed granite dome in the continental USA. Native Americans heard the awesome and sometimes eerie sounds of the layers of rock heating and cooling and rightly attributed a special power to the place.

      By my own brand of scientific animism the sound really IS spirits communicating. By that I don't mean anything supernatural or paranormal. My animistic tendencies are now merged with non-duality or Oneness, which feels totally right to me, indicating that Spirit is all there is, if it exists, it's like Energy, it's the basis of All Things. None of those dualities like spirit and matter, good and evil, us and them, hold up under close inspection. They're merely concepts, while the totally inclusive Oneness simply IS.
      So last Saturday I had the privilege of sitting silently for a while, hand upon the granite, listening deeply, in my heart and in my cells. I heard the rock speaking. Only I can't tell you in words what it said . . . except this is the kind of deep listening we all need to do with matter, with our bodies, with the Earth itself.
      The truth is a few things that exist: you and me, our bodies, Nature, the planet, the Sun and Moon, the stars and the Universe. And weirdly enough, all those things are One. Love, which has no opposite. Beyond that, it's all just ideas--mental fluff.
      Sorry for all this philosophizing, but there's no remedy: I'm a Sagittarius. That's why my pal Nerissa sometimes calls me "Bruce the Deep"!

      Enchanted Rock not only enchanted me, it grounded me and brought me back to center.
      Even a pebble in your palm is worth listening to.
      Why not give it a try?

Friday, May 6, 2011

LOST HORIZON 1973: A Lost Masterpiece?

Yesterday I had invited my pal Richard to come over in the afternoon to share with me my DVD of Ross Hunter's musical production of LOST HORIZON, a 1973 remake of the classic B&W film by Frank Capra made in 1937. We had a great time and I think he really enjoyed the film. Conventional cinema history still dismisses this multi-million-$ box-office bomb as a terrible film, an embarrassment to all concerned--a total flop. At present I am also reading the classic novel LOST HORIZON aloud to Tomas, and of course, it's one of the greatest examples of English prose in modern literature.
      Now that I've been studying the film and singing and dancing along with its tremendous score and choreography for some months now, I do beg to differ with the common opinion of the 1973 version.
      How did this negative view come about? The film itself is still virtually unavailable to contemporary audiences as Columbia Pictures has never yet released a DVD version. In 1992 a "Pioneer Special Edition" was released on the now defunct Laserdic technology, however it lacked 3 major songs, several reprises and the beautiful "fertility" dance sequence that Olivia Hussey did with a group of scantily-clad male gypsies. Sometimes you can find clips on youtube, only they also seem to disappear for copyright reasons.
      In official terms, only the soundtrack album of the OCR of LOST HORIZON 1973

Lost Horizon: Original Soundtrack (1973 Film)

is available on CD. However a few months back, frustrated to obtain the film, I discovered what may be a slightly "piratical" DVD version on eBay, which I joined exclusively so I could purchase the film. I was already enjoying the CD and learning the tremendous songs, so melodic and wise and still ahead of their time! I cannot responsibly provide a link to the restored DVD version I have, however I'll mention that it has a lovely image of handsome young Michael York and gorgeous young Olivia Hussey on the front cover. It includes those missing 3 songs, and is the next best thing to a fully restored studio version.
      There are many reasons the film flopped initially, despite an incredible cast that includes Liv Ullman, Peter Finch, Sally Kellerman, Bobby Van, Olivia Hussey, John Gielgud, Charles Boyer, Michael York, George kennedy and James Shigeta; a script by famous gay author and AIDS activist Larry Kramer; Music by Burt Bacharach and Lyrics by Hal David; plus fantastic choreography by Hermes Pan. This film is delightful, beautiful, inspiring and profound, yet due to its pacifistic message and theme of life-affirming moral values while the Vietnam War still raged + the fact the era of great Hollywood musicals had just ended, all conspired against it.
      It's time to reclaim this marvelous film.
      I plan to start an online petition for Columbia Pictures, as it's timely that they do a fully restored DVD release, and I also plan some informal local showings in the form of sing-and-dance-along events.
      The theme of this film, beneath the entertaining surface, is what really matters in life?! Also, in the midst of a world in which civilization is melting down, where do we find balance, happiness and peace?
      Within, of course!
      Shangri-La, the Valley of the Blue Moon is inspired by the Tibetan legends of the Kingdom of Shambhala hidden in a remote Himalayan valley. It is also what the great sage Jesus meant when he said, "The Kingdom of Heaven is Within you." It's Paradise on Earth.
      The only livable place left.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Reclaim YOUR Original Innocence!

The core myth of myths is the Garden Story. Of course it is far older than those versions referred to in the Abrahamic scriptures of three major world religions. In the older Babylonian-Sumerian versions, the woman (the Great Mother Goddess) lives alone in Paradise first and creates the first man as her companion using a mixture of mud and her own menstrual blood. What these stories really tell us at their core concerns our own deepest connection with Nature itself, and our emergence from an animal state of participation mystique or Oneness with All Things . . . emerging into the kind of separative, dualistic thinking mode we now experience. That's not all bad; it gives us the opp to return!
      The much later invention of "Original Sin" along with the reversal of the story placing Adam first and blaming Eve for evil has come to pervade many world religions with the idea that everyone is born sinful and the world is fallen. Now it's time to overturn such nonsense again and reclaim our (your!) original Innocence! Let's also reclaim that Serpent as a symbol of grounded wisdom, life-force and regenerative power, plus of the living phallus as a good thing to be celebrated.
      Along with the twisted idea that we are the crown of creation, at the top of a hierachical world that exists for our benefit, original Sin has probably caused more suffering int he world than any other weird superstition. Of course, it's only a story, yet as so many people have come to believe it (even unconsciously many of us who would consciously reject it still suffer poor self-esteem for this reason) it might as well be true--unless you are willing to work on yourself and get back to Point Zero.
      To accomplish this you must do as Socrates suggested: "Question authority and think for yourself."

      Reclaiming your Original Innocence does not mean a retreat to immaturity or irresponsibility. On the contrary, it is a giant step forward from "adulthood" (which after all means an organism that has stopped growing!) into cosmic consciousness, the Tarot Fool, the Zero Card in the Major Arcana. In fact this is also what the great sage Jesus (not to be confused with a religion found in his name) meant when he said that to enter the Kingdom you must be like a little child. More vividly in THE GOSPEL OF THOMAS the same teacher is asked "When will we enter the Kingdom?" His reply: "When you take off your clothing and dance on top of it like little children." Now that's my kind of religion!
      Adults in the current global civilization have mostly forgotten how to engage in genuine imaginative, magickal, childlike play. For most grown-up, "play" becomes a rather destructive overcompensation for a stressed out, overworked daily life. It's a release in the form of drinking too much, taking dangerous drugs, driving too fast and having unsafe sex. Not a set of really good ideas . . .
      Now think back. Very early before you were 6, you could bring anything to life, imagine anything was going on. You could actually fly, at least in your imagination. All it took to turn the world upside down was to lie on your back and look!
      In fact, from age 0-2 the Delta brainwaves associated with sleeping and unconsciousness predominate; then from 2-6, it's a lot of Theta, which means the Real Magick of imagination and reverie. Those are your "programmable years," in which the tone of your lifestyle is set. Then around 6 the Alpha waves of concentration set in and you are shipped off to school to be molded to fit into a pigeonhole. If those early imprints are not so hot, they can be re-imprinted by a good shaman.
      This is an important theme for me--I mean reclaiming Original Innocence. The Earth is Paradise, it's a Garden for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. Many of us know that the Old Earth paradigm is already dead, though the fearful, hysterical, sensational global media still broadcasts from there. Fortunately the Global Brain is now waking up . . .
      More and more of us are awakening to the New Earth, a far better place to live.
      The best way to get here is to reclaim your Original Innocence!

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Return To Aslan's Country

In the early summer of 2001 while helping to facilitate a workshop in upstate New York, I had a striking experience of either near-death or simply out-of-body travel, though neither of those subject fascinates me so much a living fully embodied does. (It's all too easy to nearly die or be OOB!) While practicing prolonged, deep abdominal breathing, in an ecstatic state, I flew through the classic Tunnel of Light. I arrived at a place I'd been familiar with since about age 7 when the book, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was read aloud to me in my Second Grade classroom.
      In my vision, I flew across that sweet water sea of white lilies and arrived at that farthest eastern shore where the Sun rises from. Only instead of the precise imagery of the book, I saw standing there a beautiful man who had passed away some years before. By his feet was the white cat Taliesin, who died only a few years before; on his shoulder perched our canary Uma, also recently deceased. I began to become emotionally overwhelmed; then mercifully the great lion Aslan appeared before me. As if to say "This is not your time," he puffed up his cheeks like the North Wind and blew me back into my body.
      I'm still not convinced there is an afterlife or reincarnation--with apologies to New Age orthodoxy--as my beliefs are a bit more radical. I'm sort of a scientific animist. I feel we're all part of a Universe that is alive, that in a sense is Life itself. Not only Mama Gaia, rather EVERYTHING IS ALIVE! Only forms arise and dissolve, and its that thing that I'm like a droplet in the ocean . . .

      My beliefs are not so important here. What matter is how grateful I am to Miss Amala Rose Wood, the remarkable teacher who read aloud to me the entire series The Chronicles of Narnia during my two years in her classrooms in Chieng Mai, Thailand. All these years later, I refuse to concede ownership of those wonderful stories to Xstians or any other religious breed. With all due respect I know that the author, C.S. Lewis had his own conversion experience, however he wrote these stories from the unconscious level of imagibative inspiration and they hold up perfectly well as pagan arcvhetypes.
      As you may be well aware, he wrote Voyage as a return to Narnia of two of the Pevensie children with a cousin of theirs, where they join young King Caspian on a mystical and adventurous journey aboard the Dawn Treader across unknown seas to the uttermost East: Aslan's Country.
      Despite my love for Narnia, which is partly responsible for the fact that I'm a world-builder today in my own imaginative fiction, somehow I've outgrown reading those particular books. They're beautifully written, exquisite English prose, in fact. However--again with all due respect intended--I'm liking the new film adaptations even better.
      The films actually streamline some slightly tedious aspects of the books and deal with the Pevensies as more realistic young people. I'm not sure C.S. Lewis understood real kids so well by the time he wrote the books. So I was thrilled when the DVD of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader arrived at my home the day of its release.
      Now I'm also excited that they've announced The Magician's Nephew as the next film of the series. This means that the fabulous Tilda Swinton should be reprising a more major role as the White Witch Jadis--and who could fail to look forward to such a treat?!