Sunday, March 5, 2017

JUST BY OPENING!

JUST BY OPENING

I was told to read something spiritual everyday
So I reached for Rumi but stopped-
A dog barked,
a crow squawked,
I stood and walked into the wild green world before me.

Why read poetry when you are
Surrounded by poetry?
Why read poetry when you can
Become a poem yourself
In an instant just by opening to the world around you.






Friday, February 24, 2017

THE UNENDING PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

                                       
                                         THE UNENDING PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

  I think it’s unfortunate that we here in the good ol U.S of A. have a holiday designated to remind us once a year to be grateful for all we have and are provided with. I think of the prior Native American cultures and their practice of thanking plants, animals, water, wind, etc. for nurturing and sustaining their lives and those of their families; every day of the year was Thanksgiving.  Their simple acknowledgement of the interconnections between themselves and Earth’s abundant resources providing for them resulted in the ritual expression of gratitude and prayer.

I think the practice of gratitude has far reaching effects on the lives of those who entertain it. I personally was raised with the “glass half empty” perspective and have spent a large part of my adult life letting go of the scarcity point of view and trading it for a “half full” point of view. The one results in a genuine and sustainable happiness, the other in discontent and restlessness. It initially surprised me to learn that gratitude precedes joy and not the other way around.


The pursuit of happiness promised us in the Constitution seems to have become a self fulfilling prophecy. Our culture is indeed addicted to a sense of scarcity and results in an  addiction to consuming more and more. The adage “looking for love in all the wrong places” can be substituted with our futile search for “happiness” in all the wrong places.   We are in fact, addicted and driven by marketing and societal brainwashing to continuously pursue happiness and briefly if ever, obtain it. Usually our happiness is superficial because it comes from a sort of temporary glow over our brand new, upgraded cell phone, laptop, car, shoes, etc. you fill in the blank. These purchases and accumulations don’t really get to the heart of our hearts resulting in the deeper joy and satisfaction we long for.

I have trouble with Christmas itself. The Scrooge is the icon for stingy self- centeredness. The Grinch another American “humbug” character. I wouldn’t be surprised if the origin of the Grinch was dreamt up by some marketing executive in a moment of inspiration. Let’s guilt the public into buying gifts for others in the name of generosity of spirit, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. If you really contemplate it, do you think Christ would be promoting a once a year, buying and giving spree  rather then a continuous generosity born of genuine affection rooted in a daily spirit of love and appreciation?

Are we so consumed by the modern frenzy and speed of life on an average day? Alvin  Toffler wrote “Future Shock” way back in the early sixties. Have we stopped to notice the effects on our own health and well being of others from our over stimulated, compulsive “doing” and manically over-achieving society?  The symptoms of depression and anxiety are seen in our ever growing dependence on pharmaceuticals to mask and manage these symptoms. 

How would life here be different for us all if we began to be satisfied with owning the same car for 8 or ten years? Buying a house just large enough for the size and needs of our families instead of some extravagant castle?  Working only 40 hours a week and leaving ourselves time and energy to spend with our families in activities that nurture our bodies and souls?

Is it time to wake up neighbors? Wake up perhaps and see that the solution to the dilemmas we face economically, environmentally, physically, psychologically and spiritually are driven by our unbalanced manic racing towards “more, better, faster”.  When is enough enough? How is your peace and serenity doing?

Another obvious and fatal result of our frenzied lifestyle in our alleged ”developed nations” is our life threatening addictions like drinking, smoking, lusting and over eating to name just a few. On the other end of our dis-ease we are greeted by debilitating and/or fatal afflictions such as heart attacks, cancer and the myriad forms of illness that all to some degree or another suffer from. 


We are the only animals on this planet that do harm to ourselves, that knowingly practice unhealthy behaviors. How bad do things have to get for us all before we are willing to collectively stop, and take a united and realistic assessment of how our behaviors, beliefs and habitual ways of thinking are driving us toward extinction?  Call me an alarmist or a curmudgeon like Scrooge and keep your head buried in the sand  but if we don’t awaken to our unmindful self defeating actions now, we will continue to pay the price until perhaps we are no longer around to pay at all.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

SADNESS

SADNESS

Comes in waves,
the sadness does.

We think there is no end to this
and there isn’t 
as long as your heart
is opened to all the world.

We are disconnected from our true selves
and from each other.

If you hide your grief
you hide your heart.

When you hide your heart
you imprison your joy.

Grieve for your losses,
Grieve for all our losses.

We are in this thing together
whether we allow ourselves the sensitivity
to feel it or not.

Monday, January 30, 2017

ICING ON THE CAKE

ICING ON THE CAKE

The soul works through the night
Posing possibilities to consciousness,
A dream readies the dreamer
For challenges to come,

Early morning stillness
Reveals the status of the man
To himself,
We are all awaiting the great arrival
Where the pieces of all journeys
Come together
Into one grand understanding,
We are hoping to breathe easy
Before our final ah ha!

Meanwhile, with all this heady poetry
Feigning depth and thoughtfulness
I have once again forgotten to thank God
For my life and all the attendant blessings,

My lust drives my thinking
And I wake up wanting more;
More of this or that
Or better,
And faster and then
Just a little more.


Not knowing how to slow or start
residing in this moment gratefully,
I stumble sideways,
wobbly, out of balance
tripping, crashing into and through
most events
Like some comic buffoon
Prat falling for laughs,
yet no one’s laughing,
especially not myself.

The performance ends,
there is no where to go and nothing more
 to grab onto,
All that I need I have right here,
Air to breathe is the first gift,
Everything after that,
Icing on the cake.


Thursday, December 8, 2016

IT'S NOW OR NEVER



IT'S NOW OR NEVER


Have any of you noticed lately that the frequency and intensity of natural disasters has been increasing steadily for the last decade and longer. If you add up the recent onslaught of deadly tornadoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes combined with man made crisis’ like the oil spills in the gulf and the nuclear plant failure following the tsunami in Japan to name a few recent disasters,  the evidence seems irrefutable. It also gives some credence to the idea that the earth itself has it’s own “balancing” system and when that system is threatened, it fights back for it’s own survival. And if that means getting rid of the species responsible, well-so be it.

There is a lot of scientific research and evidence that’s predicts, explains and cautions us, and there is also the intuitive, gut wrenching, perhaps mystical perspective that advocates the belief in the Gaia Principle which describes the earth as a whole living organism. Many scientists have been attempting to inform us that we need to heed the effects of our way of living, for years now but they have been ridiculed (alarmists doom and gloom) discredited and ignored  by administrations and their hired media, resulting in the majority of us ignoring the writing on the wall and carrying on the business of our lives as usual.  Since our natural tendency is to resist change and remain comfortable and complacent it doesn’t take much to convince or reassure us that everything is A-OK when it fact it is not.
  
 As individuals the many cancers and other diseases we suffer from are treatable, even curable if detected early enough. I think the same principle applies to the entire global ecosystem and all it’s intricate interconnections. And if this is the case then a slow and gradual reduction of air, ground and water pollution. Oil fuels dependency, token penalties and unenforced regulations of industries and the tons of toxic wastes they spew into the environment daily will be a case of “too little, too late”.  Goals like 20% reduction of energy reliance on oil by the year 2030 isn’t going to reverse the inertia of what appears to me to be an unacknowledged catastrophe of epic proportions no longer waiting just around the corner but smack in our faces, at least to those of us whose faces are no longer buried, heads in the sand. It is very possible that we are past the point of no return. 

The same sort of shortsighted self centered compulsion for more, better, newer, faster that led to the current global economic melt down is leading us to the end of the world as we know it. We can no longer live the A-More-I-Can Dream if we want to have a future worth dreaming. It is time, it is past time to sound the alarm. 


The world itself will renew itself; only humans have been able to impact nature intensely enough to change climates and pollute and over consume natural resources. With our extinction, systems will work to bring a return to homeostasis. Ironically, it is the so called “developed countries” that have wreaked havoc on the earth; it has taken great advances in technologies to do this much damage in such a short span of time. The past 100 years have changed the way we live in extreme ways only science fiction writers could imagine. 

The freedom guaranteed us by the constitution to the “pursuit of happiness” has literally manifested. We are lost in the “pursuit” and few of us have arrived at the intended target of happiness. The vast number of drugs we of the “developed” countries have to devour in order to simply cope with our pain, exhaustion, depression and great disillusionment attests to the fact that material wealth and external comforts do not bring us health, security and serenity. We are enslaved by the very luxuries that once obtained can no longer be lived without. We are captive to the artificial “needs” promulgated by ceaseless commercial marketing. Research has found measurements of personal contentment higher among people who are living remotely and in the harshest of climates than here in  Disneyland which we tout in yet another commercial as the “happiest place on earth”. If you’ve been to Main Street then you know the best part of the day is sitting down and resting your weary feet.

The rate of speed at which we are depleting or poisoning the few essential elements that sustain life for us all does not allow us the luxury of the slow, passive gestures we are making to fix the enormity of the real issues of the day. 

You may call me an alarmist, but I’m not the only one. I hope some day (soon!) you will join us, so the world can continue to go on.

“Imagine” that. Thank you John-





Wednesday, December 7, 2016

AMERICA'S DYSFUNCTION

               Greedy Republicans, Spineless Democrats and Annoying Tea Party Folks: 
                                      Can It Get Any More Dysfunctional? 


Interesting isn’t it? Unlike us mortal individuals whose credit limits are decreased when we are late or errant on our credit card payments, the government may simply raise their limits in response to defaulting on their own loan. We mere mortals, however, when we’ve lived beyond our means and the means to pay our debt back face collection agencies, bank foreclosures, liens on our salary and so on.  

In 2001 and 2003 during the Bush administration taxes cuts were made; keep in mind that this was at a time when we were already in one war and about to start a second one-very expensive wars. Does it make sense to cut government revenue when expenses are clearly about to increase.  In 2000 the national debt was 6 trillion dollars. By the end of the Bush years and 2 years into the wars and economic toilet bowl that Obama inherited, the debt rose to 13 trillion. If those tax cuts hadn’t been made, the initial 6 trillion would have been balanced. In other words, our debt wouldn’t have risen if our revenue wasn’t decreased. As recently as last December our representatives voted to renew the tax cuts even in light of our exploding debt. Who is it that’s driving this bus? 

So now instead of increasing revenue by raising taxes back to  previous levels on those who can painlessly afford it we choose to trim a trillion dollars from our debt by cutting jobs and unemploying even more Americans during the highest unemployment rate this country has seen since the Great Depression. More unemployment results in more foreclosures and the need for more unemployment checks going out to those whose jobs we just cut.  Are the drivers of this bus qualified to drive safely? Should we continue to trust them to take us where we want to go?




Further irony; government cuts in jobs and spending result in decreased tax revenues because less people are earning money. I don’t think I’m  exaggerating when I say that whoever is driving this bus must be drunk, stupid or insane because this bus ain’t goin no where fast. The bus has been wrecked and an insurance appraiser would judge it “totaled” ; take it to the scrap yard and build a new better bus, one preferably stupid-proof so anyone can drive it.

The really bad news? Nothing is going to change. The rich are going to remain financially secure (a while longer) while the rest of us common folk will struggle more. This trend is not new.

Quite a predicament we’ve gotten ourselves into and like an antagonistic and failing marriage, our politicians refuse to collaborate on solutions because they are too busy arguing over who is right and who is wrong so that they can convince the public to vote for them, thus insuring that they will stay employed for another couple years.

If our leaders need a little help and guidance I have a few suggestions we could start with that wouldn’t inflict any more damage on our already trashed educational system, social services and entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security, all of which we pay taxes into.

First and foremost I would advise that politicians reduce their salaries (good thing they’re not paid on results) and their ridiculously generous lifetime pensions and health programs (after just two years of service). 

Secondly, I would suggest that we stop worrying about setting up unsolicited democracies in oil rich countries and invest the cost of war into domestic research creating alternative, clean, renewable energy sources.  The Oil Age like the Ice Age is ended.  

Thirdly, I would raise the frigging taxes on the obscenely rich. Period. There is no justifiable reason not to. Underneath our guise of free market economy, we are beginning to resemble feudal Europe more and more. A few kingdoms and their royal families running the show and then the rest of us working our butts off and then, paying taxes to the royalty so that they can build themselves another newer bigger palace. 

Fourth, Campaign Reform.  Take the marketing out of this altogether. Establish times and venues for candidates to all offices to show up, get interviewed by unbiased journalists and/or college professors; we just want to hear where they stand on issues. Period. 

Republicans..Democrats...Tea Party...hmmm?   I remember reading once about an authentic tea party that happened back around 1776; yep-The Boston Tea Party and the beginning of an American  Revolution whose founding cry was “No taxation without representation!” Do you feel represented lately? I sure don’t.