Saturday, December 22, 2007

This Blog is Closed for the Holidays

I'm heading to California tomorrow morning with Anyaa for the holidays and so she can meet my parents....I'll be back blogging after the New Year. Meantime, browse through the archives.

Happy Holidays!

Gary

The Story of Stuff

From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It'll teach you something, it'll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.

http://www.storyofs tuff.com/

Friday, December 21, 2007

Women in Art



Celebrating the light of the Divine Feminine at the Winter Solstice, when it's most needed. A You Tube film by Phillip Scott Johnson.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Body Painting in Seattle






















My freelance work is growing, partly because of a recent upswing in body painting jobs - For parties, special events, and commercial shoots. I'm also doing a lot of freelance illustration.

Saturday night I painted at a local party on Mercer Island. Above are some of the photos from that party.

...and below are some photos from other events as well as my body painting web page that contains a lot more. People love being painted and people love to watch others being painted. For many, it's a socially acceptable way to be "out there" without the lasting effects of a lot of other body art.








Integral Warriors Men's Group - The Challenge Deck Session

"It is time to evolve beyond the macho jerk ideal, all spine and no heart. It is time to evolve beyond the sensitive and caring wimp ideal, all heart and no spine. Heart and spine must be united in a single man, and then gone beyond in he fullest expression of love and consciousness possible, which requires a deep relaxation into the infinite openness of this present moment. And this takes a new kind of guts. This is the Way of the Superior Man." - David Deida.

This Tuesday, on what will be the last official meeting of the first Integral Warriors Men's Group, we'll be doing The Men's Challenge Deck: Practicing the Way of the Superior Man.

The Men's Challenge Deck is a deck of 88 cards to be used as a tool for men's personal and spiritual growth. Each card offers a challenge for a man to carry out - either alone or with others - that will help him clarify his deepest life purpose and live his fullest gifts in each moment.

The Challenge Deck takes "male bonding" a step further than eating and watching a game together.

What is a Men's Challenge Session? Is this a game?

The "sessions" are to help you live on the edge. And believe me, after reading through some of the cards, they can be challenging. Surprisingly enough, the low challenges can seem more challenging at times. We will be choosing from the low challenge cards.

What are the Rules?

1. Every man must commit to follow through on their challenges before the session begins. If everyone is not authentically committed, we will not begin the session. Instead, we'll address why the required commitment is not there.

2. The deck will be shuffled and the first man will be dealt a card. The man dealt the card should read it aloud to the group unless the card instructs otherwise. No other cards will be dealt until the first man has followed through on his challenge.

3. The man dealt the card does whatever the challenge demands of him. The others present should not interrupt or interfere unless the the challenge card allows for interaction. At any time, the man dealt the card may propose a modification to the challenge if he believes it better serves him and the group, or if a health challenge impacts the challenge. The group must consent.

4. Any consequences required by an unmet challenge, or an inauthentic one as judged by the group, should be determined by the group (Keep the discussion within 2 minutes).

5. When a man finishes with his card, place it in a discard pile separate from the rest of the deck.

6. After everyone has taken a turn, there will be a debriefing discussion so that experiences may be integrated and learning may be shared, an opportunity to build trust through open communication and support.

From Geoff Fitch's Amazon review:

The Challenge Deck is a great tool for growth. This is not about having more success at work or in you relationship as much as, like the Way of the Superior Man, it is about living your life as an expression of your deepest truth (although achieving that certainly might improve your work and relationships).

Every card gives you something to do, either right there in the moment or over a few days, that challenges you to live with more integrity, more openness, more aligned with your deepest purpose. These are not easy new age prescriptions-I knew the deck was powerful when, after looking at the cards, I got a twinge in my stomach and said, "oh, no!" (actually something amazon.com wouldn't print), realizing that the challenges would clearly push me and were things I wanted to do to grow.

Highly recommended! As a man, you can't avoid growing if you take on these challenges.

Friday, December 14, 2007

T-Shirt of the Week

Since my workshop "Big Love Integral: A Participatory Exploration into Conscious Romantic Relationship in an Integral Context" (phew!) starts up again next month, this seems like a good time to show off the T-Shirt!

Get one (the T-shirt and the workshop)!

Gary

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Stumbling INTO Happiness

"There's a book called Stumbling on Happiness by David Gilbert, about how our brains are wired to encourage us to make elaborate predictions about what's going to happen if we do this or that--and our predictions often are wrong. It's good to understand our limits. (And push them when we can, I suppose, as well.)"

So goes a comment from a member of SeatleIntegral on the group discussion list.
From Malcom Gladwell's review:
Stumbling on Happiness is a book about a very simple but powerful idea. What distinguishes us as human beings from other animals is our ability to predict the future--or rather, our interest in predicting the future. We spend a great deal of our waking life imagining what it would be like to be this way or that way, or to do this or that, or taste or buy or experience some state or feeling or thing. We do that for good reasons: it is what allows us to shape our
life. And it is by trying to exert some control over our futures that we attempt to be happy. But by any objective measure, we are really bad at that predictive function. We're terrible at knowing how we will feel a day or a month or year from now, and even worse at knowing what will and will not bring us that cherished happiness. Gilbert sets out to figure what that's so: why we are so terrible at something that would seem to be so extraordinarily important?
I wonder if any of us truly know what our limitations are? Or if we truly have them at all, except those that are consciously or unconsciously set from earlier patterns, family of origin issues, shadow, fear, etc.

When we talk about our brains being wired in certain ways, we're really talking about the upper right quadrant, the physical, what we can touch, what can be observed with the proper equipment, etc.

What happens we we free the upper left quadrant from fear, expectations, the past? The metaphysical, that which exists with, and without, the physical brain? That which we know exists, not because we can see it or touch it, but because we can feel it...we can experience it! That which goes beyond to the eternal, the everlasting, and the never ending? The part of "us" that is fully connected to all that is whether we realize it or not? Do any of us really know what our limits are?

What's possible with the full realization and activation of who we really are?

I think we do "stumble on happiness".. ..we stumble on it because we don't really believe we deserve it, that somehow, in our deepest places, we think we're really not worthy. I think we sometimes "stumble into happiness," as well: Times when, despite our stumbling immaturity, we still hit upon special moments and glimpses of perfection.

What if we could open our minds, releasing the stuff that holds us down, and train our minds to fully manifest all we are capable of? As a part of a perfect, limitless and abundant universe, are we not capable of that perfection, that realization, that limitlessness, and the utter and stunning beauty of freeing ourselves even further? What holds us back? What are we doing to free ourselves?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Integral Warriors: One Group Ending (?), Another Starting

The first Integral Warriors Mens Group officially comes to an end next week with the eighth and final scheduled meeting. I didn't even know there would be a group until they all showed up on the first night and committed to the series.

Based on David Deida's book "The Way of the Superior Man," all eight men have stayed with the group throughout the entire process. At what might be the last meeting in this format next week will decide how, and if, they want to proceed together. I'm betting most will, and that a new leader will emerge and take charge of the group. I also think I know who that leader will be.

I'll be restarting the process in january with a new group of men, and unlike the first group, this one is already half full with four weeks to go -- quite a difference from the first group. The first group was also a fascinating learning and growth experience for me: stepping more into my power and role as a teacher and facilitator, learning when to step in. and when to let things play out.

It was also fascinating to watch the men as they stepped more into their power through this process, often calling out each other in moments of inauthenticity or lack of presence with one another.

I believe the men would agree that the group process has helped each man, in his own way and as needed, step up into a deeper realization about what it means to be a conscious authentic man immersed in purpose and their deepest realization.

I can hear women all over breathing a sigh of relief and saying, "right on." My own Beloved welcomes this, saying, "I'm tired of being the man," and falls, relaxing into the Divine Feminine. Hoo-boy!

Tongue-in-cheek image of He-Man source

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Integral Warriors: Meeting 7, Never Change Your Mind Just To Please Your Woman

....Or anyone else, for that matter. Whether your partner, your parents, your kids, your boss...

"If a woman suggests something that changes a man's perspective, then he should make a decision based on that new perspective, but he should never betray his
own deepest knowledge and intuition in order to please his woman or "go along' with her. Both she and he will be weakened by such an action. They will grow to resent each other, and the crust of accumulated inauthenticity will burden their love, as well as their capacity for free action."

So opens Chapter 6 from David Deida's The Way of the Superior Man. At this weeks' meeting, we examined what it means to trust our own wisdom, and where we sometimes weaken and fail to stand up to our deepest truth to please others.

This often happens between a man and woman, but can also apply to other areas of your life. How do your actions and your trust, or lack of trust, of your own wisdom affect those around you? Are you someone who can be trusted? Do you make your decisions from your deepest realization or to please others?
Deida says an attitude of self-trust engenders others' trust in you. How's your self-trust doing, and how are you doing with your self trust? And finally, how do we build our self trust?
I've given up my power in the past, reclaimed it (and wound up in divorce, which was the right thing). The only time I was ever fired was because I refused to do something my boss wanted me to do that was clearly illegal.
My Beloved sometimes asks if I'm making a particular choice because of her, and as tempting as it is to say "yes" to please her, the truth is that my yes would ultimately undermine our relationship and her trust in my masculine. I'm delighted my choices benefit her, but make no mistake: that's not why I choose it.
I also deeply honor that my choices have been sparked by her through the light of intimacy, Realization, and Embodiment of what I call Big Love Integral, or conscious integral relationship.....but they are still very much my choices, and I accept complete responsibility for them, right or wrong.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

T-Shirt of the Week

All You Need is Love....from 2nd Tier!

Take the Beatles' song past green and on to the next level with this T, available in masculine and feminine styles and lots of colors.

The line below the 6o's style logo reads "and a little accountability," in "teal," of course!

Visit the iBoutique for this and other integrally informed apparel and products.

Integral Wariors: Never Change Your Mind Just to Please Your Woman

"If a woman suggests something that changes a man's perspective, then he shoulfd make a decision based on that new perspective, but he should never betray his own deepe3st knowledge and intuition in order to please his woman or "go along' with her. Both she and he will be weakened by such an action. They will grow to resent each other, and the crust of accumulated inauthenticity will burden their love, as well as their capacity for free action."

In our check-ins at Tuesday nights' Seattle Integral Warriors Men's Group, we'll be examining how we either trust our own wisdom, or , perhaps, where we sometimes weaken. This often happens between a man and woman, but can also apply to other areas of your life. How do your actions and your trust, or lack of trust, of your own wisdom affect those around you? Are you someone who can be trusted? Do you make your decisions from your deepest realization or to please others?

David Deida says an attitude of self-trust engenders others' trust in you. How's your self-trust doing, and how are you doing with your self trust?

And finally, how do we build our self trust?

I've been learning to go deeper around my own self trust. This is especially important around relationship, and even more critical if you're in relationship with a strong woman, because if you can't trust yourself, she'll eat you alive and never blink twice. She might be disappointed that you weren't the one, but she'll get over that. She may mourn not having met the one, but she won't mourn you.

And if you can't step up, what will you mourn? Your own inability to trust yourself? Not likely. If you can't step up, you're more likely to blame her (you can't step up, remember?) Your inauthenticity is the reason you can't act with clarity, and your being is out of step with with your core.

You must act from that core, and make your own decisions based on your deepest intuitive wisdom and knowledge....and if you're wrong, it was still your best shot, and whatever happens, right or wrong, you'll be developing a greater capacity for your future actions.

PS: I'll let you guess what the "W" stands for.....

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I've got an Attitude for Gratitude!


Click on the image to see a larger version......

T-Shirt of the Week

I'm heading for North Carolina on Thanksgiving Day to spend five days with my Beloved, Anyaa, and to walk our new property that we just bought. I probably won't be blogging until I get back next week.

In the meantime, here's this weeks' T-shirt of the Week from my integral apparel website, the iBoutique. With the AQAL T-Shirt, you're a walking billboard for changing the world. A sure-fire conversation starter, or great for a gift!

Also, check out the AQAL mousepad , coffee cup, and tote bag among other things! You'll also be supporting this blog. Happy Thanksgiving!








Living My Deepest Realization

Yesterday I wrote about a man's deepest realization with an adaptation from the book Intimate Communion by David Deida. Today I'm writing about what it means to me, personally, to live that deepest realization.

My sense is that most men simply have no idea what this means. Upon an initial examination, it's easy to confuse it with one's purpose, or mission, but it's actually much more simple than that: A man's deepest realization comes about simply by being totally present in the moment...and this moment...and this moment.....
Who are you when you connect to being fully present in each moment? What is your essence at that point when you let go of creating your story about yesterday, which no longer exists except as a memory, and tomorrow, which simply doesn't exist at all except as an expectation or a desire?
For me, it's not about being perfect at one thing - it's about being present at whatever I'm doing, and connecting to my source, whether I'm doing dishes, cleaning, being with my beloved, working at my purpose, or doing nothing at all. It's not about being enlightened, for to seek enlightenment would rob me of my freedom. When I'm present in the moment, it's as if the moment is luminous, and I am the witness to all that arises in that moment.
So how does a man do this? How do I do this? For me, it's based on my meditation practices of three years of sitting, and then having the realization that every moment is a meditation practice, an awareness of non-separation, a unity consciousness, and no longer feeling the need to sit, but to just be.
It doesn't mean that I'm not triggered, or that I don't plan for tomorrow, think about yesterday, hurt, cry, laugh. It means I do it all consciously, recognizing everything, and that I'm not tied to it. It's flexibility, it's flow, and it's freedom. And it's art....and it's love.
So stop reading this, take a deep breath, and relax into the the present moment....there is nothing else.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

How the Masculine Grows


Tonight, at our 6th meeting of the SeattleIntegral Integral Warriors Mens Group, we're going to be talking about Living our Deepest Realization. That realization is different at every stage, but for Stage 3 men, part of what it's about is being willing to die each day to the person you think you are, to hand the wave back to the ocean. Awakening is not a single event in time; it is a river endlessly flowing in this moment now. It is coming home to yourself as the prelude to all else.

Adapted from Intimate Communion By David Deida.

The essential Masculine style of search is that of the warrior, the hero, or the visionary. The Masculine force is one-pointed, directional, and guided by a vision of freedom. Masculine energy cuts through any obstacles that are in its path. Nothing deters the Masculine from its goal of freedom. However, not every man uses his Masculine energy to search for freedom in the same way.

The way a man searches for freedom depends on his particular needs, which typically change through his life in three stages.

First-stage needs are about gaining something, like food, money, sex, power, or fame. A first-stage man tends to form a Dependence Relationship with his woman.

Second-stage needs are about self-improvement, authenticity, being in touch with your inner wisdom, and creating a Garden of Eden on earth. A second-stage man is interested in forming a 50/50 Relationship with his woman.

Third-stage needs are about letting go of self-definition, relaxing your endless search for completion, feeling through the tension of this present moment, and surrendering your limits on openness, as each moment arises and dissolves in love. A third-stage man enjoys a relationship with his woman based on the practice of Intimate Communion.

The Masculine force looks different depending on which type of need is most important to a man. For instance, a first-stage man is searching for freedom by trying to get something. Since his search is an effort to gain something, he is offended when someone asserts that he doesn't have something, whether brains, bucks, or babes. The first-stage man is an acquisitional man. He sees freedom as something to get. He is a car mechanic dreaming of his own garage. He is a predator on wall street. He is a doctor with a Mercedes and a mistress. He is a man whose goal is somewhere outside of his body, outside of this moment, and he is going to get it. First-stage victory involves acquiring the sacred object--the cash, the car, the country--that is out there to be had. The first-stage man is a man of acquisition, of gain, and of enlarged self-image.

A second-stage man looks quite different from a first-stage man. The second-stage man is not out to conquer his enemies; he is out to conquer his own limitations. He is not looking to gain more of something; he is looking to improve who he is. He doesn't want more, he wants better. He seeks freedom by transforming himself and his world, not by overpowering and acquiring things and others.

The second-stage man battles his own demons and emerges victoriously whole, balanced, a hero of self-integration. If he is afraid of heights, he learns to sky-dive. If he is shy of intimacy, he uses therapy to help him grow beyond blocks he developed in childhood. He seeks to transform his self-understanding through the study of philosophy or esoteric spirituality. He wants to transform the outer world from a battleground into a Garden of Eden. Whereas the first-stage man tries to become a hero of acquisition, the second-stage man tries to be a hero of transformation.

The first-stage hero stands victorious atop his mound of wealth, slain enemies, and respectful subordinates. The second-stage hero stands victorious atop his mound of self-control, internal mastery, and impeccable action. He has won--he is completely his own master, authentic and whole, fully responsible for his own happiness. He is free to go where he wants, when he wants. He is free to love who he wants, perhaps a woman or two, or maybe just himself. The second-stage man is a free spirit, a Renaissance man of the new age, a man of inner evolution and outer adventure--an adventure not of gaining personal wealth, but of creating a more utopian way of life.

The second-stage man is also singularly deluded. At least the first-stage man is up front with his wants: He wants big bucks and big breasts. The second-stage man often hides his own emptiness, and his own needs, even from himself. He has practiced meditation for ten years, traveled all over Asia and India, is a certified Aikido master and psychotherapist, and, essentially, nothing fundamental has changed. He still feels unfinished.

Things are a little easier than they used to be, but still, he is not free. He is still locked in his own fears. He is still bound by the fear of death, the fear of separation, the fear of failure. Furthermore, he is older now, and he doesn't have the energy or determination he once had. He has created a comfortable place for himself in the world, and although he is embarrassed to admit it, he doesn't want to risk losing too much. But he has no choice. His evolving Masculine energy moves him to take a good look at his life and face the consequences of truth.

Suddenly, the second-stage man opens his eyes and sees his life as he has settled for it. He feels his own dullness, his own fear, his own mediocrity, and he begins to burn inside. His precious self, which he has worked so hard to master, feels like a clench. His life which once seemed so easy now seems like a tedious burden. His relationships and career weight him with false obligations. He is afraid to let go of it all, but the constant knot in his gut is becoming too much to bear.
It is a helpless situation. He is absolutely unsatisfied. The breakdown of hope and the recognition of futility has brought him to the edge, and he has no real choice: He releases into the abyss. He succumbs to a crisis. His self-sufficiency and self-worth fall to zero.

If he stays in place without adding consolation to his suffering, if he remains an open-hearted warrior even at zero, then a miracle will manifest. Because he knows he can depend on nothing, he has freed himself from all false support. Because he has outgrown the first-stage need to depend on something outside of himself, as well as the second-stage need to depend on something inside of himself, he is vulnerable to grace. His reduction to nothing has rendered him helpless, but not without help.

Without looking, without trying, a spontaneous force of life begins to become obvious. It is the same mysterious force which beats his heart, moves his thoughts, and illuminates his dreams at night.

Since he has felt the futility of letting his life be dictated by others as well as by his own endless thoughts, he is open to being lived by another force, the force of truth, the force which has always lived him and is living him now. Whatever he may call this force, it is the force of existence itself, the direct and unmediated flow and feeling of being.
Today's third stage man has fallen in love with the present moment and
the possibilities of living right now as a gift of love, as a work of art. They
live for now, and now, and now.

It is who he is, even when his friends and concepts fail him. It is the one who witnesses his dreams at night and his thoughts and actions during the day. It is the force of being or consciousness that is constant throughout all of his experiences. It is who he is, always, but it controls nothing.

In the crises of futility, he realizes that his inside world and his outside world are obviously beyond his control, and that death is inevitable. So he does the only thing he can do. He surrenders, sacrificing all experiences, inner and outer, into the one force that creates, sustains, and dissolves all of his experiences.

The third-stage man is rested in the fullness of this force. He is lived by this force, as this force. Thus, his actions are spontaneous truth. His home is the fullness of love or non-separation.
When the third-stage man forgets his home, and temporarily wanders in search, he always wakes up to the same moment: this living moment, now, spontaneously arising, luminous as the objects within it, and conscious as the witness of itself. He realizes that this living moment is always appearing to itself. This moment is neither dependent on him nor independent of him, but arises, spontaneously and consciously, inclusive of him.

His search is always dissolved in this intuition of non-separation, of pleasurable unity, of love. He stands as the free consciousness in which this moment arises. The fully mature third-stage man recognizes that his nature is freedom itself, always transcending, witnessing, and including that which arises.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Integral Warriors: The Importance of Living On Your Edge

"Freedom, power, fear, money, sex, enlightenment, death, wisdom, excellence, challenge, transcendence, purpose--living at your edge is the masculine form of spiritual practice. No man is truly happy unless he is living a life of facing his fears and transcending them in his quest to give the gift he was born to give." - David Deida
What does it take for a man to live a masculine life of integrity, authenticity, and depth? What does it mean to live at, or just beyond your edge?
Being at our edge is about embracing fear and uncertainty, about growing, and about getting out of our comfort zone because staying comfortable in one spot too long is really like dying. Yes, there are times when we should relax, times for reflection, and time to be alone to rediscover our mission or purpose, but then we have to climb back out of the safety of our cocoon and embrace life. A man is not fully satisfied unless he is on purpose in his life.

There are too many places that I live on my edge to talk about here, and it appears to be something I'm quite good at, but there's one place I'd like to share with you. It's about facilitating the men's group, "Integral Warriors." When I was putting the group together, and not sure it would happen, a co-worker asked, "what makes you qualified to lead a men's group?" I could have turned that into a self-limiting belief, but instead followed my heart, where I knew inside that this is part of my purpose. I wrote about it to Anyaa, my beloved, last night:
The Men's group was amazing last night! I spoke about my edge at the group, even speaking to the fact that group is my edge (who am I to lead such a group of amazing men?), but here I am stepping into it successfully, and each of them loves the group and shows up every 2 weeks to be in the space I've created......Then their gratitude came up around what I've done, and how even the men who belong to MKP and other groups consider this their favorite and most provocative group......what a blessing!!!!
It's all about living at your edge and the quickening of sacred awakening through doing so, being alive and on purpose.

Are are you living at, or slightly beyond, your edge? Why not? What's stopping you?

photo of Gary at the top of Mt. Si, in Washington

Saturday, November 10, 2007

More on Intimate Relationship as Transformation


Where Andrew Cohen seems take the position that Romantic Relationship is an illusory path toward enlightenment, Robert Augustus Masters takes an entirely different approach.

Masters' new book, Transformation Through Intimacy, seems to be coming from an entirely different perspective.

In the introduction, Masters writes about the Evolution of Intimate Relationship, and in chapter after chapter, unfolds a radical path to intimacy touching on Immature & Mature Monogamy, States and Stages in the Evolution of Relationship, reactivity, shadow, conflict, emotional illiteracy, working with jealousy, power struggles, delusions, shame, guilt, anger, sexuality - and then, bringing it all together, he then addresses commitment. the need for safety, trust, love and a deeper love, attracting our beloved, and finally, in the conclusion, Mature Monogamy.

His latest newsletter features a chapter called The Art of Listening. To quote:
Listening is all about being wholly attentive to our partner, and not just to what is being said! As we hear what isn’t being said, and respond to that without speaking, we deepen our resonance with our partner, becoming an open space for the fullest possible expression of what he or she is attempting to convey to us.

As we listen so fully and with such authentic interest that our own thoughts all but disappear, we can hear our intuition’s messages loud and clear, without any dilution of the attention which we are giving to our partner. The deeper that we take this — or the deeper that we allow it to take us — the richer and more obviously multidimensional the intersubjective (or “we”) space between us and our partner.
Masters, like me, believes that Intimacy as a Path, is possible and desirable, not an illusion. Of course, it is an illusion if you believe it's an illusion, because here, as in so many other places, what we think creates our reality. If you're a teacher, and your partner is your student, can you meet each other as equals? Masters goes on to say:
When we are really listening, we are not only receiving our partner’s words, pauses, somatic messages, emotional state, and corresponding energies, but are also providing them with a conducive space in which to express themselves, level upon level.

We then learn to listen not only to their interiority (their perceptions, feelings, thoughts, and so on) and to their exteriority (their body language, behavior, and so on), but also to the qualities of the intersubjective space between them and us — as well as to the familial, cultural, and planetary forces which may be influencing them. The point is not to split these up into neat categories — for they all coexist simultaneously and share considerable overlap — but to make sure that we are covering all the bases as best we can as we listen, ever letting our listening deepen.
and finally,
Listen. What do you hear? Now listen even more closely. Listen to the silence letting yourself feel its presence, both all around and inside you.

Listen. Silence just said something. Don’t lose it in the translation. Silence does speak.

Listen. Listening is undividedly attentive, dynamic receptivity, as respectful as it is empathetic.

Listen until there is no self-contained listener, no self-conscious center of hearing, but only listening. And don’t forget to listen while you are speaking; listening to our listener only deepens our connection. Listen. There’s so much being said to you, through you, by you, for you, as you, at this very moment...
Powerful transformational work through relationship! In my 6-part workshop series. "Big Love Integral: An Exploration into Conscious Romantic relationship in an Integral Context," I show people how to use relationship as a vehicle for transformation and later stage consciousness. And if they're not in relationship with a Beloved, I give them ways to call that kind of a relationship into their lives. They see it because I model it for them, and Anyaa does the same thing in her workshops.

I'd almost think that perhaps someone actually has to experience that kind of relationship to see how a Beloved can inspire later stage consciousness, except I see people in my workshops who get it clear enough to want to call it into their lives. I still stand by my belief that, sadly, around this issue, Andrew Cohen doesn't get it. Andrew: Get to a David Deida workshop.

Friday, November 09, 2007

T-Shirt of the Week: Got AQAL?

This weeks T-Shirt is all about "Change Your Mind, Change Your World," and asks if you're applying AQAL in your life....and if you've got this T-Shirt?

If not, why?
Get it here.

Andrew Cohen on Women, Men, and the Evolution of Culture

Andrew Cohen has so many good things to say, so many valid observations, and so much that the rest of us can learn from - and, he grates on so many people, including me. I love "What is Enlightenment," the magazine. I think it's really well done and most of the material presented is extremely valuable, and I totally credit Cohen with it's success. Well done. So what is it that I notice arises from my being when Cohen speaks or writes?

I think it's that ego. I think it's the Guru syndrome that he steps so willingly and so easily into. I think it's that he takes so much credit for things that are already emerging , with him, without him, around him, away from him, and in spite of him.

A perfect example was The Guru and the Pandit article published in WIE in Issue 37 a couple of months ago. I wrote about it on this blog when it first came out, and my Beloved, Anyaa, who has been doing Women's Work for 30 years, also wrote about it here, so I won't revisit that territory.

It's the new blog that's got me going now. In this blog, Andrew Cohen makes the claim that the biggest illusion "this side of the Milky way" is this:
What is that illusion? It is the ultimate sacred cow of our time and culture: the belief that through a romantic connection with “that special someone,” we will experience the deepest connection there is to life itself. I’m speaking about evolving beyond the conviction that spiritual connection and perfect contentment will be found in the romantic and sexual embrace.

This is a very tough message for most people to hear: that as overwhelming as the romantic promise so often feels, it’s just not what it appears to be! It’s what I call the “promise of perfection,” and what Buddhists would call a grand “illusion.” The promise of perfection is the illusion that a deep and profound spiritual happiness or fulfillment can be found in the electric polarity of gender attraction. Most of us will admit, in our more lucid moments, that this promise is rarely fulfilled, and even when it is, that it rarely lasts. But in spite of this, even as we get older, we seem reluctant to give up the belief that one day we will meet a person who will fulfill all our hopes and dreams.

Uh, excuse me? THAT's the biggest illusion? Not "failing to realize we're all ONE?" If the world could get over romantic relationship as the Path to Enlightenment, we'd solve the biggest illusion?

Beside the glaring misplacement of importance, one of the other problems is that Cohen is once again doing the typical male approach to enlightenment as ascension - up and out. In my opinion, not enough attention is paid by him to the expression of our physical bodies and our existence in the relative world as an expression of the Divine.

It seems to me, that while relationship as a Path to Enlightenment is a limited option - after all, not everyone is blessed to be in such a relationship, and, as a fairly new phenomenon historically, romantic relationship simply doesn't exist everywhere and in every culture - it still is, however a path. Not the only path, but a path...one of many available to some. He ends with:

Too often in spiritual circles, men or women only come together to glorify or
romanticize the fact of gender. What I’m pointing to is something altogether different. Interestingly, it is when our self-sense disidentifies with the arbitrary fact of difference—through the deep and profound relaxation of egoic tension and self-consciousness—that the potential for the egoless expression of gender emerges. When men and men, and women and women, are committed to coming together with their own gender beyond ego, the very notion and expression of gender itself can evolve. And it is only then that men and women will finally be able to meet each other on an entirely new ground, one that has never existed before.

In my view, it's not an either/or situation. For a lucky few who discover their Beloveds, it's definitely an both/and scenario. Just as we can be be spiritual beings manifesting in the relative world. That's one of the gifts of the Divine, and I gratefully accept it in my life as one of my paths. While I honor the gifts Andrew brings, I also consciously step back from those who say "I have the path."

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Stuart Davis on the Divine Feminine


Not only is Stuart an amazing musician/songwriter/performer, but here he writes eloquently about the Divine Feminine. This is integral and conscious relationship. Great stuff, Stuart!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Where Are We Headed?

People who know me, and not just through the Internet or my blog, pretty much describe me as outgoing, optimistic, and positive. I always believe things are going to work out, even if they seemingly aren't. Seemingly is the key word, and must be referred to throughout this blog, even the end results and conclusions.

This is a time in history when it feels somewhat difficult to be optimistic. I can't tell you how many people I've heard who are referring to "a shift" taking place...a turning of the ages, if you will, predicted for this time by sources long gone, including Nostradamus, the Mayans, and, yes, even the Bible. We no longer have to worry about predictions - we only have to open our eyes.

It's hard to be optimistic as we near the end of 2007 with all of the events and circumstances we now find ourselves facing. We face monumental problems unlike any humankind has ever experienced. For one, up until about 70 years ago, at no time in our history have we had the wherewith all to completely destroy ourselves, and even that scenario and possibility, despite the end of the Cold War, is still with us today. Ideologues, despots, religious fundamentalists, and madmen seem to control these fierce arsenals, and who knows what any of them might do as result of a perceived threat or to further their own means. We don't have took far to find them, either.

Wars might have broken out in spots, but most places were untouched by them at any given time and our survival as species was not threatened.

No longer.

We now have have Pakistan's leader, Musharraf, taking complete control of that country and it's nuclear arsenal. We have already seen the first resource war, the first Gulf War, where Saddam Hussein tried to take control of Kuwait's oil fields, and are seeing the second in the US occupation of Iraq. Make no mistake: Every war from here on out is a resource war, whether for oil or water.

California has it's own resource war ongoing on between the north and the south and the battle for the state's water is taking serious shape. Watch this one closely: it will be retold again and again across the globe over the next few years. LA has no water and rather than legislate, California's legislators are preparing two bills, one in favor of the south and one in favor of the north, to see which way the wind blows. Atlanta has a dwindling 4 month supply in it's aquifer and is ground zero in the epic drought that's tightening it's grip on the south. Use of middle America's Ogallala Aquifer, running from Nebraska to Texas, averages 25% above the rate of replacement - more bad news.

The Debt Crisis: Citibank just wrote down $11.5 billion in bad loans as a result of the sub-prime market. It wrote down another $6B just a month ago. Many are saying it's the first domino in a collapsing banking industry. That causes another serious problem:

The Stock Market: As a result of the Debt Crisis, the stock market crashes, losing approximately 25%, or more, of it's value. The dollar continues to fall.

As the dollar falls, foreign governments, particularly OPEC nations, switch to the EURO as the trading currency, further devaluing the dollar: Depression. Massive unemployment. Debt. Record bankruptcies.

Oil is going to reach $100 a barrel real soon. It hit $96 a barrel today. Up from $60 a barrel 4 months ago. Any predictions?

Global Warming. Coming down the highway like a giant big rig running on it's last gallon of diesel. More drought.

Population: 6+ Billion and growing.

I struggle for balance in the face of all the negativity thrust upon us as a result of increased awareness through being able to hold the "unholdable" perspective, and as a result, being more conscious than the average comatose individuals who have been intentionally lulled to sleep (the average people I know don't have a clue about what's going on or are in denial).

I look at these events with a belief that these are not random, meaningless events, but, rather, are occurring for the distinct purpose of waking us up, to stretch us into new territories of awareness. For me, that waking up is the profound realization that what we are now doing, as Americans, and as humanity, is simply not sustainable, and that there will be a shift, and things will be very different than they are now.

Monday, November 05, 2007

A Tribute to Matthew Kalman






Matthew Kalman, founder of the London Integral Circle and a co-founder of ken Wilber's Integral Institute, has just launched an amazing, comprehensive website called "Integral Strategies."

Mathew's London Integral Circle was one of the first, if not the first, organized integral salons in the world, and was the model for creating SeattleIntegral, the salon I helped co-found. LIC is one of the largest salons in the world, at over 250 members.

Integral Strategies, his latest contribution to the integral world, worth cannot be calculated and should not be overlooked. It is an awesome accomplishment, thorough, and of immeasurable value. For this to be pulled off by one person (I think) makes it even more remarkable.
It offers information like: Real world integral-related projects and strategies, on topics including climate change, AIDS and environmental communication (Do please send in further good ones you'd like to add!) http://www.integralstrategies.org/strategies.html.

(Here's another example of one integral project on the site: `An Architectural Practice as an Integral Organisation' by Vernon Collisand Anna Cowen:
It also boasts perhaps the most complete international listing of local Integral Salons and groups (add yours) http://www.integralstrategies.org/communities.html, reviews of 100's of the most important integral-related books – most of them recommended by Ken Wilber himself at http://www.integralstrategies.org/top_integral_books.html, a round-up of (mostly free) online tests and assessments around all the Quadrants – with descriptions of their relevance to personal growth and organisational development at http://www.integralstrategies.org/tests.html

Plus, there's a comprehensive round-up of integral blogs, links, online communities, etc., etc. He's asked that if you like what he's doing, to please add a hotlink to IntegralStrategies from our websites or blogs (this will enable it to appear in Google search results).

Matthew says the site has been a labor of love, and his love radiates for all to see through it.
Thanks, Matthew.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Enightenment Ain't Cheap: How Do We Support Our Partners' Transformation?

A little over a year ago, the most amazing woman I'd ever met came into my life. I'd always liked strong women, but she was clearly the strongest woman I'd ever seen: powerful, capable, courageous, loving, and with fully embodied feminine and masculine aspects. Today she is my Beloved, and we're on the way to building our life and future together.

I believe that the reason this woman came into my life and that I was able to step up to her and her power, is because a few years ago I decided I had to be the kind of man that a woman like this would be attracted to. I had to fully step into my own power, and that meant doing my own work, not just sitting by and letting life take me, but by me taking charge of my life and my own embodied masculine. When both of us do our own work, it helps us support each other in the directions that most serve our growth in love, relationship and happiness.

Your woman is going through some inevitable changes in her life. She chose you and she wants you to join her in this growth and she wants your support and your strength. It's the greatest gift you can give her.


I wrote this a few days ago at Anyaa's request. She's writing an article on how the masculine can support their partners as they go through the Shamanic Priestess Process she facilitates for women all over the world. She's asked men who have successfully supported their women through this transformative process to support other men who are now going through what they went through with a couple of written paragraphs she can share.

I have a T-Shirt on the i-Boutique that says "Enlightenment ain't cheap." It's a dual meaning: Yes, we pay a lot of money to attend workshops, etc., but we also pay with our relationships, our jobs, and our blood, sweat, and tears. Many men are frightened that their relationship with their woman is going to change as a result of this process, and it is, but I refer you back to my quote at the top.

One of the responses she got was from a man who objects to the duality of masculine and feminine approaches to conscious evolution, and I understand that once one has attained the ability to rest in the non-dual, that the masculine and feminine dissolve away into one-ness. People can even attain the non-dual in altered states (temporary) before they reach the stage (access at will).

But until we get past the states and into the stage structures, there is a natural hierarchy that must be met (don't confuse natural hierarchies with dominator hierarchies), and one of those is going through and healing our masculine and feminine selves. Women have had thousands of years of domination by the masculine that they generally have to work through before they're able to begin to step into their true power, and this work, at this level, cannot be taught by men, any more than a men's group can be led by a woman.

So to get to the later state-stage structures, especially the non-dual, it's critical that the masculine and feminine work be completed, or we bring the ego and shadow aspects of those qualities with us, to trick us, harass us, and fool us into thinking we've made it when we really haven't.

So for the men who fear the work their woman is doing, do your own work and step up to who she's becoming, or at least support her....because she's becoming....with or without you.

And for those who think we can get to enlightenment in a single, sudden gift of a leap without doing the work (and it does happen but rarely), for most of us, there are many. many paths to the non-dual, and denial of those different paths is just "enlightened" fundamentalism.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Secret of Being Happy



File this under "something I already knew but couldn't articulate." You can choose to be happy. It's a frame of mind, a choice, and maybe should even be looked at as your obligation: to yourself, your family, friends, and even the world. Here's the substantiating article and a video:

The Secret of How to Be Happy

Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert says that you ‘synthesize’ your happiness. That you have a ‘psychological immune system’ that helps you change your views about your world, in order to feel better about the world in which you find yourself.

Not only that, he also maintains that when we imagine what could make us happy, such as new clothes or winning the lottery our brains are invariably wrong in advising us that those things will make us happy. In fact, statistics show that paraplegics are just as happy as lottery winners one year after the event of either becoming injured, or winning the lottery!

We tend to think that getting things such as a job, a new car, or a trip around the world is what will make us happy. However, studies have shown that we make ourselves happy by simply imagining that we are happy. So getting what we want doesn’t actually have anything to do with being happy.

Why is this?

Your prefrontal cortex works as an experience simulator, which means you can imagine an experience in your head before you try it out in real life. This ability is essentially what brought humankind out of the trees and into shopping malls – it allows you to desire things and events, imagining they will make you feel a certain way. The problem is that your simulator works rather poorly. In reality, gaining or losing something turns out to have far less impact and duration than you expect them to have. After about three months, the event (or item) has virtually no impact on your happiness…

Here's a direct example of how the upper right quadrant (the physical brain) can affect the upper left quadrant (what goes on inside the brain. i.e., your thoughts), and how we can mentally alter the upper left interior to affect the upper right exterior, or physical. The article goes on to say:

So, your ability to create “synthetic” happiness is in fact your key to sustained happiness. Which, by the way, is very real, even though it is not “natural.” Synthetic happiness is a choice you make when you don’t get what you want, whereas natural happiness is what you feel when you do get what you want. However, you often don’t get exactly what you want.

Additionally, your belief that being able to change your mind will increase your happiness turns out to be completely false. Your ‘psychological immune system’ actually works best when you’re totally stuck, when there’s no turning back and making other choices, because that is when your mind can find a way to be happy with your reality.

This is vitally important, beyond the obvious fact that being happy feels better than being unhappy. In fact, there is little doubt about the powerful effects positive emotions can have on your physical health and well-being. At the same time, there is equally little doubt about the effects that negative emotions can have on you.

For me, happiness is being fully present in the moment and experiencing and appreciating whatever is happening right now.

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Integral Warriors: Embodying the New Masculine, Meeting 3

Our men's group, Integral Warriors, Tuesday meeting will be about Chapter 3, Live As If Your father Were Dead, from David Deida's book, The Way of the Superior Man.

We'll be centering our check-ins around this (unless someone has a pressing need for something else) and continue a larger conversation during the discussion portion of the meeting. I'll be asking what does "Live As If Your Father Were Dead" mean? Does it mean you'll now live your life differently? Why? How? Do an activity today and tomorrow that you've avoided because of your father's expectations. Prepare to talk about what that feels like and how it frees you.
These are questions for all men to ponder as we step up and stand in our power.
An excerpt from Blue Truth:
A Spiritual Guide to Life & Death and Love & Sex by David Deida
David Deida sheds light on the spiritual practice of openness and what that means in terms of relationships, self-realization, and our emotional life. Here is an excerpt.

"Right now, and in every moment, you are either closing or opening. You are
either stressfully waiting for something — more money, security, affection — or
you are living from your deep heart, opening as the entire moment, and giving
what you most deeply desire to give, without waiting.

"If you are waiting for anything in order to live and love without holding
back, then you suffer. Every moment is the most important moment of your life.
No future time is better than now to let down your guard and love.

"Everything you do right now ripples outward and affects everyone. Your
posture can shine your heart or transmit anxiety. Your breath can radiate love
or muddy the room in depression. Your glance can awaken joy. Your words can
inspire freedom. Your every act can open hearts and minds.

"Opening from heart to all, you live as a gift to all. In every moment,
you are either opening or closing. Right now, you are choosing to open and give
fully or you are waiting. How does your choice feel? . . .

image: http://www.nmazca.com/fractalism/

Saturday, October 27, 2007

State of the Planet, in Graphics

"Just because you're paranoid, it doesn't mean they aren't out to get you." - anon.

Globally human populations are growing, trade is increasing, and living standards are rising for many. But, according to the UN's latest Global Environment Outlook report, long-term problems including climate change, pollution, access to clean water, and the threat of mass extinctions are being met with "a remarkable lack of urgency".

An integral approach requires one to look from all perspectives.

from BBC News.
State of the planet, in graphics

Friday, October 26, 2007

How Women Will Save The World

It took humanity approximately 165,000 years to reach a billion people on this planet. Since that happened in the 1800's, it's only taken about 200 years for that billion to turn into almost seven billion, each billion being added exponentially faster. Not even accounting for climate change, or Global Warming, we're on a path that cannot be sustained.

There's a couple of generally accepted theories on how this will get fixed. One is that technology will save us, i.e., condoms and birth control, but a little research shows that ain't working. The other is to raise the standard of living of the Earth's population. The problem with that is that it would take four Earth's to raise the world's population up to the poverty level in the US. Even if that could be done, poverty level consciousness doesn't stop having babies.

No, it is only women, the Divine Feminine, that can possibly save us. The reason for that is that we know the only consistent element in population control is the empowerment of women. When women are educated and self-sufficient, birth rates go down in every culture and society.

Feminism may have it's down sides (doesn't everything?), but as the pendulum swings from the extreme back to the conscious evolution of the feminine, and women continue stepping into their power, we'll all be a lot better off.

Not good news for those desperately holding on to patriarchal power, but good news for the rest of us!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Deja Vu on 1984 - War is Peace & Peace is War

For years the Bush administration has been illegally wiretapping Americans' phone calls with the willing assistance of major telecom companies like Verizon and AT&T. Now the White House is putting enormous pressure on Congress to give phone companies retroactive immunity for all the laws they broke spying on innocent Americans.

Here's why: The pending lawsuits against these companies may be the only way we ever find out how far the Bush administration went in breaking the law. President Bush wants immunity for them to cover his own actions.

The problem is, some key Democrats are poised to help him do it. We need to speak out loudly against this move. I just signed a petition urging Congress to reject immunity for lawbreaking phone companies. Can you join me?


Thanks!

Play, Practice, Flow

Nice summation of a basic Integral Life Practice over at Flow. This attention to the type of life one leads is fundamental to living a fully integrated life. In the article, Michael suggests that "everything after one realizes kosmic-wholeness become PLAY."

I've occasionally glimpsed this in my own life when I'm not being overwhelmed by everything. I guess that's why it's called "practice."

Image from Digital Expressions

Monday, October 22, 2007

Enjoy Every Sandwich: An Account of a Personal Shamanic Journey Through Breathwork

This is the very personal and courageous story of one man's journey through a day long Shamanic Breathwork that recently took place here in Seattle with our Shamanic Breathwork Group, which meets approximately once a month. I offer it here with the author's permission with no comment, except for this powerful process, and the journeyer, who asked not to be identified, to speak for itself. - Gary

10-13-2007:
Today I attended a shamanic breathwork workshop at Gary Stamper’s house, facilitated by Jeff Burger. The first thing Jeff did as we were gathering for the workshop was to invite each of us to pick a tarot card from where he had them spread out in a circle. One card was directly in front of me, a corner pointing directly at me, so I picked it – The Knight of Wands. This was from the Crowley Tarot and the knight was on a horse rampant, facing left. His cloak spread out behind the horse to where it looked like flames under and behind the horse. In his left hand he was thrusting forward with a wand that was a burning firebrand.

Jeff had a way of explaining the Tarot that was so much more clear and intelligible than anything I’ve read and I wish I could remember everything he said about the Knight of Wands. What I do remember: The wands are creative, masculine, fire energy and the knight of wands is the manifestation of the mature masculine. He has come through the fire and is now able to take that creative fire energy out into the world and wield it for good – or something to that effect. This spoke to me of wisdom, skillful means and the ability to manifest my passion in the "real world" in a creative and meaningful way and I said, “Well that’s certainly where I’d like to be!”

The breathwork technique is pretty simply, deep, belly breathing at a slightly rapid rate that induces a bit of hyperventilation. I started out breathing deeply and felt my hands starting to tingle and sweat. At some point I was working at it and thought, “this is too much work, why is nothing happening?” At that thought I backed off and just went on breathing more normally. This did not produce any “results” so I started breathing deeply again thinking, “I’m not quitting, I’m not giving up on this.” I kept going but still nothing was happening and I began feeling a little disappointment. I remember thinking that if nothing happened I certainly would not be coming back for any more of these workshops. I backed off yet again and started breathing more normally, then gathered my resolve once more and began breathing the technique again.

As I kept up the breathing I started feeling really hungry, to the point of distraction, and had a vision of the pastrami on rye sandwich I’d brought for my lunch. I became completely preoccupied with this and found myself wishing this whole thing were done so that I could eat my sandwich. I felt frustration that I was preoccupied with eating lunch and then it struck me as really odd that I had come here for this experience and the only thing I wanted was to quit and go eat my pastrami on rye sandwich.

At that point my hands were getting numb and were cramping from the hyperventilation. This didn’t bother me as I knew what it was and I knew it would go away on its own. I had a sense that I was experiencing the torticollis in my hands rather than in my neck and I was able to kind of “play” with this feeling. I realized at that moment that my neck was not bothering me at all, it had transitioned to my hands, and I felt tickled by this, I chuckled just a bit. The sandwich was still in my mind however and I began to see a dark tunnel before my vision, the shamanic tunnel to the underworld, but there was this giant, luminous pastrami on rye sandwich hovering just inside the entrance to the tunnel. This again struck me as both odd, and frustrating. I knew without a doubt that I was on the very verge of slipping into the altered state of consciousness and launching into the shamanic journey I had come here fore, but I was still preoccupied with this damned pastrami on rye sandwich. And then something switched on in my mind and I realized I was “there.” I wasn’t distracted by the pastrami on rye, the pastrami on rye was the message – or more precisely, the symbol of the message, and I suddenly had this expansive sense of both the grand humor and comedic irony of life. I began to laugh. I laughed and laughed, a deep belly laugh. And that part of me in the back of my mind that stayed conscious realized that this was the trigger and I was now fully into the journey.

Then as I was laughing, still seeing this pastrami on rye sandwich hovering within the tunnel to the underworld, the words came to me; “Eat every sandwich,” and I instantly had this sense of both grief and admiration for Warren Zevon and all of those who, like him, had died a heroic death;* that, and by implication the loss of all loved ones, and shining stars; but also of the loss of life one experiences, and more precisely that I have experienced, when we go through life not “eating every sandwich,” not living life fully. And then I began to cry. I cried for a long time, cried deeply, and that kind of general, all inclusive grief turned to very specific grief for the loss of my Dad twenty years ago now, and I began crying even deeper. I remember feeling like I was reaching into the tunnel, which was still present, like I was trying to reach across the threshold and embrace my Dad. Pull him back. I kept half sobbing his name, but I was still self-conscious enough not to do so completely out loud (unfortunately)

There was a profound sense of the loss of my Dad and a feeling of, “I’m not ready for this.” I’m not ready for dad to be gone, I’m not ready for the responsibility, I’m not ready to be a man, I’m not ready to be a father, a husband, a (profession deleted), etc., etc. And there was a sense of having never fully lived up to all of these responsibilities because of my lack of ability to “Enjoy every sandwich” to be fully present and comfortable in my own skin at any given moment in time. And I cried for a long time, and even when the crying was done and I lay there relaxed and spent, I still dwelt in this space and kept these things in mind. This was a gift. I remembered what Mac Hall had told me in preparation for the Native American Church ceremony he had invited me too so many years ago, “At some point during the night the medicine [Peyote] will speak to you” – and he was right. Here I felt the same thing; The medicine had spoken to me, given me a gift. The gift was the message, certainly, but more profoundly, it was the experiencing of having, for the very first time in my life, reached down and touched that place of deep grief which I have known for long that I must open up, but have never known how to get there.

Hmmm, I wonder what would have transpired if I hadn’t stopped into the Safeway in the morning and bought that Pastrami on rye.

* I recalled the quote here as “Eat every sandwich”, but the actual quote was “Enjoy every sandwich.” This was Warren Zevon’s response when David Letterman asked him what advice he had for folks as he, Zevon, was facing immanent death from terminal cancer. “Enjoy every sandwich” was Zevon’s irreverent way of saying live life fully so that there will be no reason for regret at the end. Despite my “misquote” during the breathwork, it was the meaning of the quote that affected me regardless.

After not having visited a doctor in 20 years, Zevon was diagnosed with inoperable mesothelioma in 2002. Rather than wallow in self pity, Zevon boldly took responsibility for the hard “rock and roll” life he had lived; booze, drugs, smoking, etc., and accepted his impending death openly. Zevon chose to eschew treatment for the cancer so that he could record a final album with many of his friends; knowing all the while that the treatment may have extended his life, but would otherwise be incapacitating and would have negatively affected his ability to complete his final project. On September 7th, 2003, Warren Zevon died in his sleep shortly after laying down to take a nap. I had been a fan of Zevon’s work for many years and the manner in which he faced his death is a great inspiration to me and makes him, in my eyes, a giant among men – a true hero.

Reflection on (my) Conscious Relationship

Anyaa left again late last night, on a red-eye home. After spending almost 10 days (and nights) together in Seattle this month, she arrived in North Carolina this morning and was picked up at the Asheville airport by a friend and Anyaa's amazing Shamanic Girl Dog, Miss Lily, a Westie Terrier.

We'll have 23 days apart this time, when she comes back out to work for three days just before Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving Day, I fly to Asheville to spend five days with her at Isis Cove, a conscious community where Anyaa lives and works when she's not travelling.

This Thursday will mark our one year anniversary of meeting in person in this incredible and impossible long-distance relationship, which would not have been possible without her profession as a transpersonal~shamanic psychotherapist and her international work empowering women that takes her away from home, and to me at least once a month.

That we've found our soulmates and each other's Beloved is not in question.

I took this photograph of this amazing tree that lives just a few blocks from my house. Anyaa and I pass it on our walks on our way to a park bench that overlooks Puget Sound here in Seattle where we sit and discuss our dreams, our desires, our hopes, and our sacred offerings with the Universe. That Spirit responds is also not in question.

Back to the tree. The tree has one base. Both of the trees grow out of the same roots, one, and then individuate into what appears to be two trees, standing beside one another, differentiated but not separate. Much like Anyaa and I. We are one, even though we live our own individuated lives, we are not separate. As with all of us, we are all connected, made from the same stardust, part of a greater whole. This realization, this awareness, is one of the paths of sacred relationship, and one of the ways that relationship can serve a higher consciousness.

I pray you've found, or will find, your beloved.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Peak Oil and The End of Suburbia

video

Several months ago I began writing an article for one of the sign industry trade magazines about Peak Oil and what the impact would be on the industry that I've been a part of for the last 25 years. As a former sign company owner, general manager of the second largest sign company in Reno, an oft-published author for sign trade magazines, and as a consultant who specializes in turning around and managing sign companies, I am immanently qualified to write about the industry.

I started thinking about the article with the premise that paints, vinyls, digital printing, manufacturing, and almost everything that makes our industry possible, including energy, was going to be in short supply, and that sign company owners should make plans to switch to as many other technologies as possible to protect themselves, their businesses, and their employees.

As I began my research into Peak Oil for the article, I started discovering some disturbing things: That the problem was far more serious than I had imagined, and that scientific conclusions from the best paid, most widely-respected geologists, physicists, bankers, and investors in the world, many from varying political ideologies, all rational, professional, conservative individuals who are absolutely terrified by the phenomenon known as global "Peak Oil."

Realizing that what I had to write about to tell the truth about my conclusions would never be published in any of our trade magazines, I dropped my plans for the article.

In the U.S., our "peak oil" came in the '70's when we began importing more oil than we were exporting, and has been dropping steadily ever since. We simply did not have the continuing resources to meet out national thirst. Consequently, we started buying from other sources.

Globally, most experts are saying that worldwide "peak oil" has occurred, or will occur, between 2004 and 2008, and best estimates indicate it happened in 2005. That's when Worldwide demand will outpace worldwide production by a significant margin. We don't know for sure. What we do know for sure is that everyone, including the Saudis, are lying about their oil reserves (here, here, and here).

This is not a temporary problem. It will be permanent condition, and as I've written here recently, there's no alternative in sight. In a 1999 speech , while still CEO of Haliburton, Dick Cheney stated:

"By some estimates, there will be an average of two-percent annual growth in global oil demand over the years ahead, along with, conservatively, a three-percent natural decline in production from existing reserves.That means by 2010 we will need an additional 50 million barrels per day."


Cheney's assessment is supported by the estimates of numerous non-political, retired, and now disinterested scientists, many of whom believe global oil production will peak and go into terminal decline within the next five years. Many industry insiders think the decline rate will far higher than Cheney predicted in 1999. Andrew Gould, CEO of the giant oil services firm Schlumberger, for instance, recently explained:

"An accurate average decline rate is hard to estimate, but an overall figure of 8% is not an unreasonable assumption."


Last night, we watched the DVD The End of Surburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream. With brutal honesty and a touch of irony, The End of Suburbia explores the American Way of Life and its prospects as the planet approaches a critical era, as global demand for fossil fuels begins to outstrip supply. World Oil Peak and the inevitable decline of fossil fuels are upon us now, some scientists and policy makers argue in this documentary.

Carl Jung, one of the fathers of psychology, famously remarked that "people cannot stand too much reality," and this challenges everyone's assumptions about the kind of world we live in, and especially the kind of world into which events are propelling us, and it looks like we're in for a rough ride into uncharted territory.

What's integral got to do with this? Can you see others' perspectives? Can you suspend disbelief long enough to consider that this is a possibility and do some research on your own without dismissing it out of hand? Can you begin an integral approach in solving what can be solved and preparing for what cannot? What if your way of life depended on it? What if your very life, and those of your loved ones, depended on it?

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