The Reconnection

It’s been years since my heart opened up and I could connect to the plants.  In fact, the last time I wrote seriously was also the last time I could connect – and that was when the River Spirit Faeries were still involved in the sanctuary project at the building on Rozelle.  Each business circle we had as a group (and we met weekly for 1-2 years) I took copious notes (minutes) for the group.  In addition, I journaled almost compulsively, regularly wrote plant-spirit and herbal nutrition articles for the River Spirit newsletter, and the like.
At that time, I recall that I was very into the idea that herbs were more than condiments, they were both medicine and critical nutrition as well.  I subscribed (and to a certain extent still do) to the idea that the traditional herbal systems that promote the Five Flavors, the energetics (warm, cool, hot, cold), the Four (or Five) Elements, etc., really could be integrated into modern nutritional paradigms without compromising either philosophy too much.   Read the rest of this entry »

Orange is the color of the root chakra, natch!

Sitting here, reading Shirley MacLaine’s Out on a Limb, I see from behind what looks like a sexy man.  I think at first that it is Steven, but now I think “too tall, too thin” to be him.

It was him.  He’s very lean — lost a lot of bulk, I think.  I wanted to see if it was him, so I walked up and said hello.  I don’t have a fierce crush on him anymore, which is a very good thing.

Another intriguing man just walked in.  He was at least part Asian and very androgynous.  He wore tight orange flares and a white shirt and I think he had on eyeliner.  Very hot.  He was here with a buddy and two pretty girls and all spoke another language — perhaps Japanese.  His buddy has a cute smile and shaggy main of dark hair.

I wonder if the orange pants  are his most striking feature.

Orange is such a root chakra color!  I see him walk and think about fucking.  Even his buddy — dressed in jeans and a casual T-shirt — makes me want to fuck.  Oddly enough, I think they’re tourists.  The more I look at his face — I can’t see his pants now from where I’m sitting — the less attractive he becomes.  I guess it really was the pants.

3 Aug 00  Thurs ~3:30 pm

Even horoscopes can have punch

(This goes under the heading of excerpts from the works of other people that I resonated with strongly enough to copy down longhand upon reading them.)

from The Memphis Flyer Horoscopes, Aug 3-9, 2000:

Pisces Rick Fields, former editor of the magazine Yoga Journal, has impecable credentials as an intelligent seeker of enlightenment.  His book Chop Wood, Carry Water contains practical strategies for adopting spiritual principles to daily life, while his How The Swans Came To The Lake is a well-respected narrative of the history of Buddhism in America.  In light of the tranquil grace for which he is renowned, some people were shocked at the chapbook he penned after contracting lung cancer a few years ago.  Fuck You, Cancer was the title.  The adversary you now face, Pisces, is nowhere near as dire as Fields’, but I urge you to draw inspiration from both his Buddhist calm and his fierce warriors’ spirit as you carry on your fight.” (emphasis added)

Portland: Seven months of mist and gloom

Fields says she lived in Seattle, WA, Portland, OR, and NY.

Portland, OR

It rains (“mists, really”) for seven months of the year.  It is gloomy then, too.  But it goes from lush and tropical to semi-arid and doesn’t rain a drop — not a drop — for the other five months of the year.  She says the trees there are astonishing too.

3 August 00 Thurs. ~3:30 pm

Funny thing is, I had the chance to speak to Paulie in August of this year when he came to town to take care of some medical stuff.  He said that “seven months of mist and gloom” routine is essentially propaganda spread virally, with the intention of keeping the newcomers to a minimum.  He says it is beautiful and that the gloom is minimal and quite manageable, even for someone like Hi who is very effected by the weather and the lighting.

His view of reality essentially amounted to this: Oregon is much more progressive than Tennessee, and Portland, especially, is much, much more progressive than Memphis.  We should go that way as soon as convenient and not let the doomsayers sway us from our intended path.

14 Oct 10 Thursday morning at Elsewhere

Valley View, Santa Fe, and California Dreamin’

Talked to N.W.’s friend Lawrence last night.  He recommended that I check out Valley View, Colorado because it’s a “hippy heaven” and “dirt cheap” too.  He also suggests that I would really love Santa Fe, New Mexico.  He said for visual arts it’s as important as New York or Los Angeles, and it only has ~100,000 residents.  L. said that New Mexico is great because the desert is very forgiving and has a softness and beauty that’s uncanny — and safe as well.  It is unlike Arizona or Nevada where the desert is pretty hard and unforgiving.  If you fuck up in AZ, L. says, the consequences can be dire, whereas in NM, you can screw up without too much fear.  The landscape of New Mexico is more forgiving than AZ and NM, but it still has that incredible powers that desert landscapes so often have.

While in Santa Fe, L. suggests that I venture into the hills above to an incredible bath house called 1000 Ways (1000 Waves?).  L. said that it’s a place of many rooms and quiet spaces that are constructed in such a way that you never quite take in the full experience of it.  They also have coed, nude hot tubs.

He or someone said something as well about the power of places with hot springs.


2:32 pm

I told G. of my plan a few days ago and saw the lines of consternation form and then dissipate as I told her I was hoping to move to California with no job waiting for me there — just a really strong desire and an opportunity for growth.

I asked her advice about herb books for the area, and she told me what I had suspected already — Michael Moore is the man.  She suggests Herbs of the Pacific West, Herbs of the Mountain West, and one other.

She also mentioned San Francisco’s Chinatown as being a good place to study.  Local to Berkeley, there is also a herbalist, a protege of Michael Moore’s, that G. describes as totally brilliant.  His name, I think she said, is A.S. and G. describes him as a “real (or really?) radical urban herbalist” who specializes in junkies and HIV cases and who makes no bones about practicing medicine without a license.  He does this and is defiantly upfront about this.  G. also says that he knows physiology really, really well, and if you study with him or at his school you will have to go back to school seriously in order to make it through.  G. also gave me her email address and asked that I keep up.


Had my second rebirthing session last night, and again, it was powerful.  Our discussion about familiar relationship issues and birth events left me with a raft load of questions for Mom.

During our discussion, D. became perhaps the first person I’ve ever told anything close to the full truth about what happened between William S. and I.  I’ve slowly come to recognize our relationship as death affirming and William’s relationship to me as abusive and manipulative.  I don’t think I have ever told anyone else precisely that.  We began to explore the relationship between that abusive interaction and my more recent intimacy issues.

During my breathing session, there came a moment where I pulled the sheet over my head and began to breathe faster and more frantically.  Eventually, D. pulled the sheet down gently and asked what was going on.  (This was during a song called, “Deeper Peace.”)  When he pulled the sheet down, I was in a place where I felt ever so much like crying, and I told him so.

D. said, “It’s okay to cry — it’s okay to feel — to feel what you’re feeling.”

Then I started to cry, hard wracking sobs I couldn’t control.

D. asked me what was going on, and I said that I felt like hiding.

He asked why, and I said, “because I want to die,” which was what came to my lips unbidden.

D. asked why I wanted to die, and I choked out the words, in a voice so anguished and tiny he had to ask me to repeat them: “because I’m no good,” an admission he termed the “death urge.”  While I cried, the music continued in the background, the woman now singing something like, “you’re a joy and a miracle.”

Later, we talked about my long-running, deep-seated sadness that somehow I”deserve” to get AIDS and die because I’m gay — which in retrospect is utterly untrue and unnecessary — a true death urge.

According to D., death is a thought like any other.  If we weren’t “programmed” (socially) to expect death, we wouldn’t have to experience it, in D.’s estimation.  I brought in Dean’s conviction that “every unloving thought is toxic.”  D. contended that those who convince themselves that they will die at 54 “just like their parents did” will often find themselves doing just that, where as those who expect to live longer often do as well.

3 July 2000 Monday ~8:15 am


The Ringmaster’s Many Robes

22 May 2010 ~6:14 am

My last dream of the night took place in a formal, very corporate,  setting, but the “ringmaster” was a friendly, good looking guy who appeared to change clothes for each client or situation he encountered.  Symbolically, he wore many different hats throughout the day and was thus able to keep a thriving practice.

The first time I met him, he was bringing in clients in to show them his supplements and wares.  He was wearing a corporate uniform shirt and appeared to be a traveling salesman or a broker of some kind.

Not five minutes later, he was unwrapping a beautiful wooden didgeridoo, the playing of which he was able to demonstrate.  Now he was wearing shorts, a tie dye T-shirt, and these outrageously loud (probably Guatemalan) knit leg warmers that were various shades of bright yellow.

When I walked by his office again, it was empty, and he was next door in a large, open seating area.  This room was dark and atmospherically lit.  There were fine leather couches, potted ferns in gold-metal pots, and paintings on the wall.

Now he was standing by one wall with some prospective clients.  He was letting them try out a large (8′ + long, 3/4′ diameter) telescope.  The telescope was stained wood and very ornate.  It actually looked like one of the didgeridoos I saw earlier.  Even though the room had no skylights, there appeared to be some sort of telescope lens-sized translucent window high up on the wall.  The telescope was pointed at this, and through this window I imagined that his clients were now seeing the stars.

I remember when I walked by him, and his clients were looking at this plate on the wall through the telescope, I was slightly in awe of the whole process.  After all, his clients could clearly see something through the telescope even though there was no real window there.  Or perhaps he was simply good enough at weaving a web that his clients were able to enjoy the view because he convinced them that there was a view there to enjoy.

05/15/10 Friday evening is just alright

And I DON’T  mean that in the best of all possible ways.

Tonight, Chris and I felt too lackluster about dinner prospects to make a real decision, so we ended up at McDonald’s — an all-too-easy choice in these financially leaner times.  We each had a burger and fries and a soft drink — all impossibly large, because that’s what you do when you go to Mickey Dee’s.

Then we came home so that Chris could doze on the couch and I could veg in front of the computer.  What we really came home to do is an unknown quantity.  Neither he nor I had  a clear plan when we came home, we just knew it was too early to go to the birthday party we’d been invited to for one of my coworkers.  So anyway, Chris lays down in front of the TV and dozes off, while I perform routine maintenance on our PC so that hopefully it will again be something other than slower as hell.

While I am watching the computer do it’s thing, I mull over the evening’s options in my mind.  Go to the liquor store and buy a bottle for the party.  Or buy a bottle for A. (the birthday boy).  Or skip the liquor store, because it really doesn’t feel like much of a drinking night, and pick up a beer to be social.  Or pick up a beer and give it to Andrew for his birthday.  Or let Chris sleep, while I stare at the screen and engage in endless mental masturbation about the loose ends in my life right now.  Or I could obliterate my mind however temporarily (while  short circuiting the mental masturbatory sequences) with meaningless porn and some surreptitious JO.

Or I could do nothing, because it’s really starting to feel  like that kind of night.

So about 10:40, I finally decide that we may as well go to the party, if for no other reason than because Chris needs a night out — and come to think of it, so do I.

I am finding, as time goes on, my walls are coming down and I am feeling ever more social.  I now recognize that however blunt and ugly a point he makes of it, Chris is basically accurate in characterizing me as a terrible friend — not in the sense that I am openly hostile or dismissive but rather that I am dismissive and inattentive to the needs of others.  Of course, the less charitable way I could look at his approach is that he dotes on his friends and smothers them with his attention, and this makes it difficult for anyone to get to close to him.  I also feel this pressure — and equally, his disapproval of my asocial, slightly dismissive attitude towards being “social”.

So, anyway, as time passes, I am finding that more and more I actually crave the companionship I have avoided for most of my life.  In short, I want friends and have, in my own fumbling, stumbling way, been working to earn them.

I have a friend whose antisocial tendencies once made her seem glitchy.  I see how so many of my friends (casual though they may be) who also knew her regarded her as an “odd bird”.  She’s really cool, and a fascinating person, they all agree, but she’s so private about how she spends her time that I wonder if she let anyone in at all.  I fear that I might some day be regarded as that rarest of rare birds — the solitary traveler who seemingly needs no one but in the end, has only the slightest of impacts on the lives of those around them.  I’m weary of walling myself off, of maintaining a constant firewall, lest some unfortunate soul make it past my missile defense system and pierce my heart with their presence.

I also see the terrible burden A’s solitary habits put on him in the end.  He accomplished everything he could dream of until he had his heart broken by the girl he dropped out of college to follow to California.  Forever after, he seemed to put fitness and drinking and substance use ahead of most things.  He also kept to himself.  He was a kindred spirit.

As was poor W, a friend who ended up hanging himself in his own sling, which he had put up for sexual purposes.  W. also worshiped at the altar of fitness, having kicked heroin, only to replace it with biking and running (to the tune of 100’s of miles a week of each).  It’s odd to think that three of my most influential early Memphis friends were all loners who shrived to keep the world at bay — and the two who are deceased both died alone.

So getting back to this evening, we go to party, having stopped by the Tiger Mart on the way to pick up a big bottle of Stella Artois to share, and it is a brightly lit bare concrete porch on the front of a giant stone duplex near the corner of Poplar and North Willett in Midtown.  The whole time we are there it’s just people sitting, smoking cigarettes and drinking beer in the bright light.  The weed smokers retreat to the comparative dark privacy of the public sidewalk down by the street!

After an hour or less, we say our goodbyes and go on to the Smoking Caterpillar to meet M. and J. and check out the scene.  When we arrive there, five people are out front smoking cigarettes and talking and another ten to fifteen people are inside.  Only two guys are dancing and most of the women only join in sporadically and mostly with each other.

Though G. is the DJ, even his musical skill can’t resurrect the dead and I find myself dosing off in a chair by the side.  I spend most of my evening contemplating things I really shouldn’t — aspects of my life that I find most disappointing, for instance, or the ways in which I could have had a better life, if only I could find the forward momentum to escape my torpor and lethargy.  I also find myself considering how much of a dead-end “the Scene” seems to me right now, as a lifestyle, and how I REALLY hope that the Universe has something greater in store for me than this when I’m forty (which is in three short years, by the way).  I find myself feeling as though I’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere and lost myself down the rabbit hole, instead of taking as long as it takes away from the fray of the party to get my REAL life together so that I can live out the dreams I once cherished.

Instead, at thirty-seven I find myself bored to tears by a half-empty room and loud music, seriously questioning whether I know any longer what my dreams were, let alone where they are now.

After forty-five minutes or an hour of this torment, we drive home.  On the way, Chris comments that the evening could best be described as lame on all counts.

On this we both agree.

Journey Into Blackness

27 June 2000 tuesday ~7:55 pm

I began the journey with the vaguest of questions — a loosely phrased, “Show me what I need to know, take me where I need to go.”  As soon as the drumming began, I was in it full speed.  I saw myself in a dark metal stairway with lots of blown sand.  There was bright sunlight coming in around the door.

I opened the door and found myself at the edge of a deserted stone amphitheater-like place.  The sun was beating down upon my head, and I looked out on a wide, empty space.  There was a lot of dust and sand and not a tree to be seen.  I hesitated just a moment and then ran down the steps and half way across the dusty floor of the amphitheater to the center.

There was a giant snake there.  It was a desert rattler the size of an amusement park ride.  I leaped onto its back, and we were off. Read the rest of this entry »

“When did you stop looking up?” “The art of fence design,” and other tales

I had a thought: my journey — oddly timed — occurred here alone.  My post-journey collage contains the memorable image-mottoes, “When did you stop looking up?”  “The art of fence design,” “Color me fun!” (in big splashy letters), “Perfections of passion,” and “Let your imagination run wild!”

I’ve been especially influenced by that strange query, “When did you stop looking up?”

I’ve begun noticing at work the extent to which I refuse to make eye contact with anyone.  This is even more true at home or when ever I’m attracted to a guy.

In part, my long running depressive state is related to this fact.   I no longer look up because I feel low and scared.  Because I have been burned, I have been traumatized and fear engagement and commitment.

Work is a mask that I wear, and in its current incarnation, that mask is terse under stress, it barely restrains its anger, it is driven to produce.

Read the rest of this entry »

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