#Read about Guest #Author D. Wallace Peach

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D. Wallace Peach’s writing is always a revelation, and she is a creative inspiration for me. I love what she has to say about writing and her life in this piece.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Thanks, Chris, for the opportunity to monkey around on your famous blog! I’ve seen your invites for several months and have said to myself “someday.” It appears someday has arrived.

D. Wallace PeachI’m one of those writers who rarely struggles with writer’s block. I can write 16 hours a day and never run dry of words …until someone asks me to write about myself. My mind goes blank, every articulate thought sucked through a black hole into another dimension. The urge to regurgitate my 3rd grade demographics starts sounding like a decent backup plan. What does a fantasy writer who lives entirely in her head have to say about her “real” life?

I didn’t start writing until I turned fifty… ancient compared to most writers I know. Am I envious of those enjoying an early start, regretful that it took me so long to find my calling? You betcha. If I could…

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We Are All Blind

Consciousness, Spirituality

This is a story of two Chinese men. One was blind, born that way due to a congenital defect, and the other had no arms. Since they have no other way to make a living, they decided travel around China growing trees, to both bring beauty into the universe, and to protect villages from floods. Also, to leave a living legacy to future generations. This was a collaborative partnership of the most extraordinary type. The one without arms could tell the blind one where to climb to locate the best saplings. The two individuals in this story illustrate a powerful metaphor: we complement each others’ abilities. We can make up for each others’ deficits. We are all broken in some way. And, it is in service to others that we are restored to wholeness.

This is our glorious task on this planet. This is what we are meant to do. We need to find out what we can do for others to restore the other to wholeness. We need to see where others are broken, and see where others are missing teeth and limbs and parts of their souls and what we can do to make them complete again. But, we are all blind and we are all missing parts of ourselves also. We need in so many ways to be restored to a glorious whole, and to restore others to this wholeness. So, we need to  recognize our self in the other. See that we are all the same Being in different disguises. We are here to help one another – to see God in the other. We will restore each other, and restore the planet. This is done by having mutually beneficial relationships with each other, which includes collaborating with others to bring beauty into the world. So cultivate beauty and joy and a wondrous sense of peace together with others. There’s  so much joy to be found through helping, particularly when we compensate for each others’ weaknesses and deficits. We are sometimes much less than the sum of our parts. That might sound disempowering, but it’s a good thing. I sometimes think that the universe set it up exactly that way. You might have a talent for this or that, and I have a talent in another area. We each have our own very specific talents. You have the gift of sight, I don’t have that, but I have two useful limbs. We are all blinded in some way. And, we are all disabled in some way. We are all damaged, seemingly beyond repair – in some way. In other areas, we are strong and transcendently able.

If you see that your brother or sister is without an arm, be that arm for that person. For most assuredly, there is a need or deficit in you, a place deep within longing to be whole, that that act of kindness will remedy. We all want to be whole. It is in the act of service to others that we are made whole again. When we recognize our self in the other, this leads to the next step in our collective evolution. And that is, we are here to give rise to the only thing that truly matters – the awakening of planetary consciousness from its long slumber. Someday, we will arrive at the Omega Point, which is the recognition that science, art, metaphysics, spirituality, and multifarious other disciplines are merely slightly different ways to see the ineffable reality, and that one day, they will unite in a glorious whole.

We are all part of that one consciousness. The Omega Point is what all prophets, poets, and mystics have alluded to for millennia, and humanity is well along on the road to that resplendent reality. This is the place where all of our accumulated knowledge, all of our combined efforts, is leading us. This is the place that is dimly glimpsed by each individual discipline, but will only be fully seen when they all become one, and when we finally see the transcendent dimension that lies beyond the obscuring veil of space and time. Then, we will be able to see God in all of her glory. But…the only way we are going to arrive here is, when we recognize our limitations, and enter into creative partnerships with those who have strengths that balance out our weaknesses. We do this by creating a community of individuals that excludes no one. And then, united as one, we become the divine beings we always were destined to be. We at last arrive, and see God. And…we become God. Our underlying divine nature is gloriously revealed at last.

No One But You

Consciousness, Human Observation, Spirituality

You need to be, as they say, supremely independent of the good opinion of others. So, do not care one iota what others think – just be yourself in your best and highest aspect. If you do this, you will be in a state of complete self-referral. I believe that if you truly do this, your actions will be for the highest good of everyone. Because if you start to have the slightest thought for what even one other person thinks, you will be sliding down the slipperiest of slopes, which will lead right down into a kind of hell where you become a mindless servant to the tyranny of public opinion. This is not what you really want, or need, to do. You need to be in this state of perfect and supreme independence from what all others would have you do. Do not worry about what your boss might think. If you listen to your intuitive promptings, they will always do what is best for yourself and everyone else on the Earth. They will even figure out what is best for your boss. No need to project yourself into his head and see what his thoughts about you might be. This is utterly unnecessary. You don’t want to go there. You will need a psychic haz-mat suit to wade through the industrial sledge of his mental processes. It could forever poison your soul. You know, when you get right down to it, maybe your employer does not have your best interests at heart. Maybe they utterly despise your guts, and want you to suffer the most joyless existence imaginable. You do not really know, do you?

Do you want to get all stressed out over someone might think who could be secretly subverting your happiness? You can only go deeply within, and engage in what the Buddhists would call “spontaneous right action.” You cannot go wrong at all if you engage in this process, which involves going really deep within yourself. So deep, you experience the oceanic expansiveness without limit that is your true self. You will then be blessedly free from making yourself completely and utterly insane from what others mentally project you to be. Do you really want to only be a thought form without substance in the brain of somebody else? You cannot make decisions solely from a logical level; sure, you can engage your mind in the first step of decision-making, if you would like. That might actually be helpful. But then, you need to give these thoughts up to the ether, and allow your heart, that wonderfully intuitive aspect of your being, that part of you that does not suffer from the life-consuming horrors of mental dysfunction, to have the final say. It really does know best. If you are in this rapturous state, your uniqueness will not only come out, but it will rhapsodize with a singular aliveness. You will experience an exhilarating form of freedom few get to taste on this planet, if you take this advice as far as you possibly can go with it. Too many individuals are zombie-like automatons to what others or society or what Donald Trump thinks of them. Go to that sacred cathedral within, and really follow the jubilant music of your intuition wherever it might lead you. Yours will be a sweet voice, creating joy for yourself and others as you trod a path that is yours alone.

Go so deep within yourself that you tune out the rest of the universe and listen to the celestial singing that is always here. We get so wrapped up in our life-sapping responsibilities that we lose our ability to hear these songs. But we can relearn this ability. And you must always remember never to follow the crowd. They are like pre-programmed lemmings that will lead you to the edge of a cliff, where you will leap to your death into a sea of despair. So, in the end, you must liberate yourself from the constricting chains of the life that others would have you live. Then, and only then, will you have gotten rid of the soul-crushing malignancy of all negative influences. Extricate yourself from all of these dark energies in any and all ways that you can possibly think of. List a thousand ways you can do this, and then add one hundred more. And lastly…as much as possible, free yourself from thought. I say, do not live exclusively from this place. There’s no aliveness here if that is all that you do. You do not need the tool that is your mind as much as you might think. Use it to plan out your day at work, and then said it aside. It will be there when you need it again. Have times where you forget your myriad worries and cares, and just be pure consciousness. Get out there on a winding road where you are free from the cacophony of thought, and those strident voices that would enslave you. You need to meander as far out in the wilderness as possible, and immerse yourself in silence – the one and only voice of God. It is the beneficent energy that only wants good things for yourself and everyone else. This is the only voice worth listening to.

The Intensity of her Gaze

Spirituality

Recently, there was a man from China who was suing a popular television host, because over the weeks and months and maybe even years that he was watching her program, he believed that the intensity of her gaze on him was causing irreversible “spiritual damage.” Imagine that. I would so love to be in the presence of a being whose gaze was so powerful it could cause “spiritual damage.” This got me to thinking – what would such a being actually be like? I imagine her to be an incredibly divine being. She would have to be an entity with eyes so fierce, they will shatter the outermost layers of your soul, and thereby utterly obliterate all that is false in you. From her eyes would be a seeing that emanates from the beating heart of loving omnipotence. One that was so intense, it would instantaneously dissolve your divine dissatisfaction, and render it the most fleeting of memories.  There might even be a hint of sadness there, born of the knowledge that all are not yet free of suffering. Yet, despite the fierceness in her eyes, there is also an infinite softness. I would definitely take the risk. I think the litigant was not sufficiently evolved to receive this power. It’s entirely his fault. Only lesser beings suffer the spiritual damage. He should have been warned that he was soon going to be in the presence of a transcendent being, so that he could have made ready his vehicle through rigorous and intense preparations.

There would have to be a period of  intense purification, where you got rid of all that was false within you. It would have been worth it, because if you survive the spiritual damage, you would receive energetic transmissions of incalculable importance. These transmissions would be of great knowing and power. This being, let’s call her the Goddess, is probably an incarnation of strange cosmic energies from beyond the edge of the galaxy. She is conventionally beautiful, but her inner beauty outshines that of her outer appearance. So, you move on to your first lesson: you find yourself crawling to  the edge of a great sprawling desert on an almost forgotten continent. There, you find yourself be a supplicant to a wizened mystic and you have to be absolutely willing to be his apprentice for a period of not less than 18 years.

You are going to find yourself staining your teeth ochre with a peculiar variety of betel nut, and ingest their mind-altering power. This  holy madman will initiate you into the esoteric mysteries of creation. These mysteries have been lost for untold eons, but recently unearthed by some construction workers building a condominium for a well known North American billionaire. Then, you  jet to Nepal to be instructed by a guru well respected in that part of the world and no stranger to great spiritual challenges. This woman has a gaze that is also quite intense, although not nearly to the same degree as the Goddess. She is an interim step on your ultimate journey to be consumed by a power beyond imagining. She will gradually work on your soul, emptying out all of the garbage and the dreck to get it ready for to be a receptacle for the transcendent energies that will present themselves at your final destination.

So, you travel quickly to the most remote part of India, where you encounter a dreamlike Bodhi tree. In this exceedingly strange territory, you will be expertly tutored by this sacred being that is rumored to exist in so many different dimensions of reality at once. This it is a concept almost incomprehensible to the mortal mind. The being is a direct descendant of the tree under which the Buddha sat and attained enlightenment.  It is a plant with ancient overreaching branches and  it seemingly wants to touch the sky, and to absorb the celestial radiance contained within it. It is also strangely luminous at night. This light is softly omniscient. This inner luminescence is rumored to  impart knowledge to initiates such as you, because it has seen so much suffering throughout its thousand year life span, and has learned so much from this suffering. It will now impart to you all of its collected wisdom. This will serve you well when you enter Her presence. The tree is your attentive guide as you travel through the ethereal landscapes. It projects an otherworldly light, filling you with a joy beyond reason. This joy takes the form of a boundless bliss. This is the only lesson she wants to teach you. But when you have boundless joy, what more do you need? Nothing else, really. This might be sufficient, but just in case let’s have a few more lessons.

Now, steep yourself in the arcane mysteries of creation here. Because besides the tree, there are other beings in this part of the universe willing to help you learn what you need to know. One of these beings is an iridescent tortoise deity. You become one with him as he teaches you that spiritual qualities are best simmered in a stew of divine slowness. Slow down now…way down. Slow down your heartbeat until the deity puts you in a kind of death. In this state, neither really dead nor really alive, you peer into the ethereal realms beyond the veil of materiality.  You die while still alive. You also die to the past.  There are others here as well. By now you have spent decades on getting ready.  Like a great spiritual warrior, you have put in your time, and finally, you are now in excellent spiritual shape.  You have to be a fearless spiritual warrior even to be in her presence but even then, you are taking a risk because you could be utterly annihilated. The gravest danger is that your flimsy personality construct would be utterly destroyed and you will return to the luminescent ocean that is pure consciousness. You have hear intimiations that she possesses an infinite compassion that belies her outer ferocity.

But one thing you know for sure: she is an incredibly holy being. The Goddess is even more beautiful than you could have possibly imagined. She is the cosmos come radiantly alive in its most deeply feminine aspect. She is making you drunk with ecstasy. It’s amazing how strongly you lust for her. She will kiss you rapaciously, and you fear your soul will explode into a million glittering shards. Or perhaps, you will be translated in the twinkling of an eye into something entirely new on the evolutionary scale. You just don’t know. You peer into her eyes.  And then you find yourself lovingly embrace her with a passion that would be erotic, if the word was not too vulgar for a being of her level of divinity. Are you ready? You wait for it. Wait for the destroying waves to utterly annihilate you. Alas, they do not come. The only reality for you are waves of pure love; pure consciousness from the powerful source of all creation. Your fears were for naught, because she does not really possess the ability to even slightly harm a fellow sentient being. It’s our weakness that is a product of human frailty that causes the harm. The damage is caused by our unwillingness to surrender to the mysterious power that gave rise to the universe. Because if we surrender, nothing is damaged and all is restored to its original splendor.

Finally, you find yourself home, and the karmic cycle has stopped. You have arrived back at the source of all energy.You can hop off the roller coaster now. Get off the ride. You have assimilated back into the Godhood. You now become one with the cosmos, and you no longer have to endure endless reincarnations.This is the trajectory we are all on. We need to be fierce warriors to embark on this arduous odyssey.  At times, it felt as though we would never make it. The litigant believed the being was evil. This was a gross misperception of her true nature. What he saw as evil was merely his own inability to withstand sacredness in its most visceral form, and the numinous intensity of her gaze.

20 Symptoms of Writeritis

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Wonderfully said. I agree with everything except the part about drinking copious amounts of coffee. I never tried the stuff…but that’s all in a blog post I wrote.

Myths of the Mirror

image from pinterest.com image from pinterest.com

As some of you know, a pervasive syndrome has troubled a segment of society for centuries. After years of research, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders finally classified these symptoms under the diagnosis: Writeritis. 

Writeritis is defined as a persistent, maladaptive pattern of writing that leads to clinically significant impairment or distress, as manifested by six (or more) of the following within a single month:

  1. A marked craving for increased amounts of writing, and longer periods of time to write.

  2. An unquenchable thirst for coffee.

  3. Repeated efforts to cut down or control word count are unsuccessful.

  4. Withdrawal occurs when writing is discontinued or suddenly reduced. Symptoms include shakiness, moodiness, and/or irritability.

  5. A tendency to rapidly relapse into extreme patterns of excessive rewriting – even after periods of abstinence or control.

  6. After writing, a compulsive urge to return and edit.

  7. An inability to initiate household chores until a plot hole is resolved.

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Sans Coffee

Spirituality

If I drank a cup of coffee today, it would be a momentous occasion…seeing as how nary a drop of this  cherished elixir has ever passed these lips of mine since I arrived on this earth some 54 years ago. Should I break down now, after decades of faithful abstinence, and deeply imbibe this seemingly universally adored beverage? No…I think I will go to my grave never having tasted the stuff. You can put that on my tombstone if you’d like…”Norm Tedford…the man who never drank a cup of coffee.” I rather enjoy the sound of that. You got to have have a lasting legacy in this transitory world of ours, and this might as well be mine. It just never really appealed to me. Just something about it. Now…don’t get me wrong. I love the smell of it brewing – its intoxicating aroma that is somehow both pungent and inviting. Still, you cannot tempt me to drink a cup now no matter what you do.  No…It’s been too many years. I would not even know where to start. It is much too late for me to embark on a career as a coffee connoisseur. I would walk into a Starbucks, and their dizzying array of options would so disorient me, that I would fall headlong onto their hard ochre floor and probably suffer a concussion. I would be completely overwhelmed if I tried to order a cup at this advanced age. Some may think that it is highly improbable that I never drank so much as a cup of this apparently exhilarating liquid. To this I say…boldly come forth with photographic evidence if you have it.

I never wanted to taste the stuff because it seemed like such an adult rite of passage. I thought I could forestall the inevitable advent of adulthood if I never succumbed. I wanted no part of the adult world, with its oppressive cares and worries…its attendant psychic distress and neuroses. The world of my childhood seemed too reminiscent of the world of the 1950s, where everyone drank coffee, lived in beautiful domiciles straight out of the pages of “Better Home and Gardens”, and suffered from a stultifying conformity. I did not want to be like everyone else and lose the qualities that made me unique. Lots of folks are nostalgic for this period in our recent history. Not I. I thought that if I ever touched the stuff, I would suddenly undergo a hideous and irrevocable transformation into an adult, and forever lose my childlike freedom. Part of me still retains this loathsome fear. I won’t ever give in to this sort of joyless existence, so do not tempt me with your caramel macchiatos and your cinnamon dolce lattes with their insanely robust flavor and off the charts mouthfeel.

Now, I see the numinous joy of reality; feel an ineffable presence in everything that I encounter. If I caved and had myself a cup, I fear my perceptions would darken. No longer would I be able to perceive the incandescent joy of a sunflower, dancing in a sultry August breeze. I would lose my ability to feel the all-embracing love of a beneficent universe. I will have none of it. So please get that brown poisonous substance out of my sight. It is, to my eyes, an exceedingly terrifying toxin. I know that it is a killer of dreams. A part of me believes that if I so much as let a drop of it travel down my esophagus, there will be no turning back. I will traverse a long, lonely highway; the end of which will be the grave. If not a literal one, a metaphorical one.

I have so utterly convinced myself of this that I am afraid by now that the horrifying delusion may be true. I would lose my childlike joy and wonder, along with everything that made me special. I know what that bloody toxin will do to me. Please take it away. Except…coffee really is not coffee. You see where I’m going with this, don’t you? It is merely a symbol. It could be anything, really; paying taxes or getting your first car or having to go to your first funeral. Spending tedious hours in the soul-crushing blandness of a cubicle. It is only emblematic of an adulthood that becomes overly serious and joyless. It does not have to be that way.

You can drink your coffee and still be childlike. Do not let your inner child be silenced by the myriad responsibilities of adulthood. There are so many things out there conspiring to snuff out the effervescent, innocent part of your nature. Refuse to succumb to these joy killers. When I was a child, I did not know that I could still partake in the solemn ceremonies of adulthood and not let the inner candle of my youthful wonder burn out. We should never lose our amazing capacity to get rapturous delight from the simplest of things. Stay intimately in touch with the dancing fire of your soul. Remember that the universe is playful. Feel it burning within you with an intense aliveness and do not surrender to the grinding forces of ennui and desperation. Drink your coffee and pay your bills. But, keep your inner child alive by surrendering to the rapturous joy of the universe.

Do not settle for a stultifying and joyless version of adulthood. Never lose sight of the transcendent beauty that lies all around you and within you. Reinvigorate yourself by peering into the tiny universes that pulsate within the shimmering spaces between the translucent dew drops on a rose petal. Gaze into the breathtaking clarity of an azure sky, and feel on a visceral level its utter vastness, and realize its endless spaciousness also exists within you. Walk reverently in a forest, and revel in the heart-aching majesty of a single tree. Allow it to pull you into a silent reverie as you see that both you and it are one.  See the grandeur and sacred architecture of a bird’s nest and fall in love with its indescribable symmetry. Be a mad monk drunk on divine love. And remember the lessons imparted to us by dreamers such as Albert Einstein and St. Francis, who never succumbed. Don’t get supercilious by becoming overly serious.

Bizarre Yelp Review

Restaurant Review, Tiki Culture

If you want to instantaneously whisk yourself away from the fierce brutality that is the Berkshire winter, and I know you do, then I suggest you gallop as fast as you can with whatever is your preferred mode of hooved transportation (or use a transporter beam if you are a denizen of some futuristic landscape) to that wondrous island gem – the Luau Hale. I have been going there since I was but a lad, so many moons, and much water under the bridge, ago. But that is fodder for a more introspective post It is so delightfully kitschy, if you are a lover of tiki culture (like I am.) As soon as you walk into the tropical twilight that is the ambiance of the eatery, everything becomes dreamlike. You feel the intoxicating presence of Pele – the fiery Polynesian goddess, who seductively lures you into her lair. Her presence insinuates itself into the innermost recesses of your psyche, and you are never the same after that. Your senses are subtly altered, and you are able to experience all time happening at once. Past, present, and future all merge into one.
Back then, it was called The “Huke Lau”, but since there was already an existing restaurant with that name in Chicopee, the owners were forced much against their will to change the name. I offered to go the other restaurant, and offer my services as a slave to do their every bidding in exchange for everlasting rights to the name. Alas, I could not longer remember the zombification ritual that I procured in Hait the day I turned eighteen. Regardless of what you choose to call it, it is a scintillating culinary delight of which I am very fond. I spent many a Christmas huddled over the sputtering flame that is the centerpiece of their amazing Pu-Pu platter. I would gaze into the hypnotic fire, and fall into a deep trance, dreaming of beautiful tropical isles where winter was but a distant memory. I was so utterly hypnotized by the flame, I am surprised I did not catch fire and blaze with the effulgent splendor of a million suns. Okay…I confess. I did catch fire. I found myself mysteriously transformed in a being with piercing, iridescent eyes. An ethereal being, who existed in many dimensions at once.  I also gained an ability to look into the dark soul of humanity, and was suddenly filled with such an overpowering ennui that seemingly was eternal.  I never thought that would happen as a result of satisfying my food lust. You see, as far back as I could remember, I obsessed over Chinese food and the tiki culture. In fact, one might say that I had a fetish for it. I steeped myself in all things Polynesian. The next day, after the flames subsided, I found that I did not really have this ability. I was suffering from severe hallucinations caused by a weird chemical in the accelerant used in the brisket on top of the platter.

Alas, I am now a vegetarian, so I can no longer overindulge in this gustatory extravagance. I am jealous of all you of the carnivorous persuasion. Well…not really. I became a vegetarian after I broke up with my lover. Her name was Meghan. She was the most ravenous carnivore I have ever encountered in 54 years on this planet. Meghan had a singular blood lust that could not be quenched. I was sickened by her need to sink her teeth into bloody flesh every couple of hours or so.  One day, I found out that rending asunder members of the animal kingdom was not enough. No…one day, she set her sights on me. She looked at me that day with a glance full of murderous intent. The day I walked out of that Third St. apartment was the best day of my life. You know – the one with the inflatable Santa Claus on the second floor that remains fully upright even on a sweltering July day. Once I walked out on her, I gave up eating meat and all that it signified. Still, I have the occasional nightmare where I see Meghan in the grips of her insatiable bloodlust.

The drinks at the Luau Hale are exceedingly potent – the cocktail artisans definitely do not water them down. I have had a tantalizing glimpse of these masters of the pour in dreams. There is an aura of unreality about them, as if they somehow inexplicably manifested from the kind of rarified ether you would spy in a Maxfield Parrish painting. I beg them to dilute their libations, but they refuse to allow anyone to escape their inebriating power.  The liquid intoxicants just serve to accentuate the dreamlike qualities of this windowless heaven. Their scorpion bowls are the stuff of legends. You only need two of them (which is the limit) to enter that heightened state of consciousness the locals lovingly call the “Huke-high.”

I highly recommend the General Tso’s tofu. The dish consists of deliciously crispy morsels of deep fried tofu, exquisitely marinated in a piquant spicy sauce. The delicately shaved vegetables placed gently on top are an inspired touch. The vegetable spring rolls are heavenly – crunchy, with a veritable explosion of tastiness that is enough to send me into paroxysms of rapturous ecstasy. And the Hawaiian Vegetable Fried rice is a perfect complement to the other two dishes – if you are a vegetarian, you should order the three of them together.  You could also get the vegetable Lo Mein, if you really want to overload your taste buds in the best way possible. If you want to embark on unparalleled dining adventure, I suggest you visit this exotic paradise. Just make sure that Meghan does not find you. Sometimes, I think I glimpse her in the dark shadows of my bedroom. Her presence is there. Waiting. Always waiting.

A Most Sinister Conspiracy

Marketing

I have noticed a most troubling phenomenon in these latter days. That is, stores reinventing themselves for a new age. Why do they have to do this? Increasingly, their layouts are becoming ever more counter-intuitive. I think they want to put you under some kind of spell. I panic whenever I go to Wal-Mart, although I shouldn’t go there seeing as how they are not exactly what you would call an enlightened business. And Price Chopper in Pittsfield…forget it. They have been undergoing renovations since the Paleozoic Era. When I walk into that place, it’s like I have fallen into some sort of bizarre dimension where the laws of physics we all know and love do not make sense any more. I went into Rite-Aid yesterday…I wanted to just buy some energy supplements. I thought I’d be in and out in a few minutes. I was disoriented beyond belief, and I was wandering the consumer wasteland that is that store for hours. Why did you geezers not warn me that they had adopted the Price Chopper model? Eventually, I am somewhat sure, we will get used to the dazzling new layouts. But it will take untold millennia and a rewiring of our neural pathways, no doubt. I do believe that this reordering of the old market paradigm is to somehow turn us into subservient and loyal purchasers of their wares. Ostensibly, the new configurations are to stay relevant in a changing world, but I think it is all a sinister plot to mesmerize and confound us. Akin to what the Vegas hucksters do when they ply you with drinks. The marketing universe is getting more and more efficient at separating us from our money. Their skill acquisition in this area is growing with an exponential rapidity. Our corporate overloads want us to turn our gaze from the dimension of the sacred, and continue to infect us with their own inimitable brand of spiritual malaise. We are now in uncharted waters, friends. I anxiously await the unveiling of whatever mind-boggling new technologies they think of next.

Writing is a Holy Act

Writing
“I write to discover what I know.” -Flannery O’Connor

It’s interesting, because the standard advice given to writers is “write what you know.” This takes that quote to an entirely different realm. The act of writing has always been a revelatory one, and always will; it bares all of the layers of your soul, and you will be astonished at the unexpected delights you find therein. The pen helps you to uncover certain truths about yourself. You mine the wealth of your unconsciousness to discover these rough-hewn diamonds, and then you ceaselessly polish them to bring out their inner light. In that way, the act of writing becomes self-remembrance, and thus it becomes a continual process of self-exploration. Writing is also a two-way street – it changes you, as much as you change it. It ever so lovingly plumbs your psychic depths.

You always uncover unexpected epiphanies about yourself, and there is no end to this process. They were always there, waiting to be unburied. Writing is also an exceedingly brave act. You have to brave enough to see what is inside you, and sometimes you don’t know something until the words are put to paper. Great writers know that the words do not belong to them…that they are bringing something from the realm that transcends space and time, which Jung called the “collective unconscious.” This term is all-too clinical sounding and a bit clichéd by now for my tastes. We almost need to reinvent language to describe this rapturous process wherein the writer is able to somehow become deliriously at one with the transcendent realm, and allow the raging river that is the universal consciousness to flow through him unabated. Only the most heroic amongst us have been brave enough to fully give themselves over to the tumultuous splendor of this force. This is how new realities and an infinitude of possibilities are birthed. Holy warriors, otherwise known as writers or artists, have had to consent to becoming willing vehicles for these transformative energies. These eternal forces are aching to be harnessed.

O’Connor’s quote resonates with me on a personal level as well. When I write, stuff comes out that has the ring of truth. I did not know that I know it, but I do now after I wrote it. I had a supposed talent for writing but for years, I did not enjoy it. I do now, but I am not attached to the fruits of my actions. It is a sacred practice to write. I feel as though in an egoless way, I am bringing more spiritual energy into the world. The only moment that really matters is the writing itself.  To be gloriously immersed in the process. If I were to burn the words after, writing would be just as valuable to me. Perhaps I should do that. It would be a written mandala to teach me the impermanence of myself, my words, and my world.

I could burn my work, and see the curling of the pages from the intense heat of the flame. Not unlike my body, when the spark of life leaves it and it is incinerated in the crematorium.  I would watch the effulgent sparks of my words ascend heavenward, dancing and sputtering in an ecstatic joy, and be gloriously unattached to the final product. My words would return to the source – the same realm to which I will one day return. By doing so, I emulate the Buddhists who practice the art of painstakingly creating beautiful patterns in the sand, and then gently giving them back to the formless with one holy breath. I have been thinking about that quote a whole lot today.

This Might Possibly Be The Nicest Thing Anybody Ever Said About Me*

Human Observation

You definitely have a unique perspective. One that is askew in the best possible way. You possess a singular wit, acerbic though it may be. That’s a good thing. I love how you have an innate knack for setting your laser sights on those perpetuating nonsense…in disingenuous and hypocritical ways. Like that person who had the audacity to disparage the woman who won the Supreme Court case, because she wore a head scarf in observance of her religion. A woman who just happened to be Muslim. The poster of the comment could not even see the cognitive dissonance in choosing a peace sign as her avatar! You saw right through that crap, and gently pointed it out to her. A perfect moment. I let out a half audible hurrah when I saw that, and could not stop chortling. Your deliciously wicked perspective does not allow you to suffer fools gladly, yet you are also deeply sensitive. And I have seen the limitless depths of your compassion. You are like some sort of psychic lighthouse cutting through the mind-deadening fog with that wonderful brain of yours. Anybody who still wants to perpetuate the dreck on Facebook should have to go through you first. You will give their delusional nonsense a quick death. Not to say that you do not tolerate divergent thinking. It’s just the hypocrisy and pandering to idiotic memes that won’t get by you. You are an irreverent, slightly demented John the Baptist, crying out in the intellectual wilderness that is the sorry state of the Internet these days, for people to wake up to the truth. You fearlessly peer into the dark soul of humanity and just waltz out on the other side, seemingly unscathed. You are a quasi-Buddhist, who has a inner flame that threatens to consume all that it false. In other words, and to employ slang the youngins might use…you rock.

*Not actually said about me. I said this about another person, and the title was her response.