Sunday, December 21, 2008
Studies of personality development often focus on traits such as extroversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism and openness to new experiences. In most people, these traits change more during young adulthood than any other period of life, including adolescence. Openness typically increases during a person’s 20s and goes into a gradual decline after that.
This pattern of personality development seems to hold true across cultures. Although some see that as evidence that genes determine our personality, many researchers theorize that personality traits change during young adulthood because this is a time of life when people assume new roles: finding a partner, starting a family and beginning a career.
Personality can continue to change somewhat in middle and old age, but openness to new experiences tends to decline gradually until about age 60. After that, some people become more open again, perhaps because their responsibilities for raising a family and earning a living have been lifted.
More from Scientific American
Saturday, November 15, 2008
I received the email below from CREDO (formerly Working Assets). While I support CREDO in many ways, I have to disagree with them on this issue, and explain even further down:
Sen. Joe Lieberman should not continue to serve as Homeland Security Chair
Next week, Senate Democrats will vote on whether Joe Lieberman should continue to chair the powerful Committee on Homeland Security.
Sen. Joe Lieberman supported the war in Iraq from the beginning, and he has continued to support it in the face of tremendous failure, in the face of evidence that we were misled into war, in the face of increased security threats resulting from that war, even in the face of troops from his home state of Connecticut respectfully asking him to take action to bring them home. Lieberman has used his chairmanship not to improve our homeland security, but to keep our nation mired in pointless, endless war.
Lieberman has also undermined our security on the domestic front by supporting the vast expansion of President Bush's powers to subvert the Constitution. As a strong proponent of FISA, Lieberman saw to it that his committee did absolutely nothing to stand in the way of Bush's schemes to spy on Americans - nor did he lift a finger to stop the many practices undertaken by Bush which approach - if not outright cross - the line between investigation and torture.
Committee chairmanships are positions of immense power. They should go to responsible leaders who will use those positions to serve the American people and protect the Constitution. Our government was designed as a system of checks and balances - but Lieberman's leadership of the Committee on Homeland Security has been unbalanced, to put it mildly.
We need a Homeland Security Chair who understands the real threats facing our nation and who will hold our government accountable for fighting those threats in a sensible, legal manner. Sign this petition today to tell your senator to do the right thing: vote to strip Senator Lieberman of his chairmanship.
Thanks for caring about this, but I think there's a better way to approach Lieberman.
Without a 60% majority in the Senate, Dems are not filibuster proof. Therefore, doesn't it make much more sense not to censure Lieberman, or pull his chairmanship, but, rather, use the threat of losing his chairmanship as a leverage to make sure he votes as needed to effect the change that must come? Lieberman has consistently shown that his primary concern is Lieberman. Why not use that egocentricism to effect the change we want to see in the world?
Let us not cut off our noses to spite our faces. There are much bigger issues here than getting revenge on Lieberman for his despicable actions.
We have a country and world to save.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
First. let's talk about what's going on, and then we'll talk about how that shifts us.
The current economic crisis has just begun, and is nowhere near the bottom. Consider derivatives: Derivatives are financial instruments, thanks to Greenspan, whose values depend on the value of other underlying financial instruments. The main types of derivatives are futures, forwards, options and swaps (Wikipedia). The problem here is that derivatives now total more than the sum total of the global economy! If their value depends on the value of other underlying financial instruments, and the market continues down, we're toast.
It will continue down, because "the level of consciousness that created the problem cannot solve it." The bloated, greedy system that has become the financial markets is no longer sustainable, and heading down the tubes, fast. The power elites who created this situation are largely going down with it. They have no idea what to do about it, except throw money at it. Yours and mine. These are people who believe they know what's best for you, and that the best citizens are ignorant citizens.
It should be obvious to all of you who have watched your 401K's shrink that this system doesn't work. Thank God Social Security wasn't dumped into the market as some wanted, not that it will make much difference in the long run. Nothing less than a total revamp of the financial system and structure could have saved it, but it's too late for even that, now. Welcome to the second Herbert Hoover era, created by neo-conservative ideology that even some on the right are now admitting doesn't work (McCain, 'tho not in so many words, certainly by action, even as he matters not as his virulent melanomas give him a one-in-three chance of living eight years, for the real power lies with Sarah Palin, the frankenstein-like creature born of Bush and Cheney).
There's going to be a lot of pain for a lot of people. Paradigms don't die easily, and the patriarchal paradigm that spawned the current crisis will be no exception. For the first time ever, the US military is deploying an active duty regular Army combat unit for full-time use inside the United States to deal with emergencies, including potential civil unrest (link).
What all this does is place people in a position where they are more or less forced to wake up. Cognitive Dissonance: an uncomfortable feeling or stress caused by holding two contradictory ideas simultaneously. The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a fundamental cognitive drive to reduce this dissonance by modifying an existing belief, or rejecting one of the contradictory ideas (link). By resolving the dissonance, new belief systems are adopted, usually a a higher level of consciousness than before, but not always (consider US regression after 911).
As the power elite self destructs, the opportunity for a new level of thinking arises. This will be the challenge. if it doesn't get too rough, where we're struggling for our very survival, and for some it will, indeed, be that struggle, then we may come out of the other side with new perspectives, a different world market financial structure that is based on the good of mankind as opposed to the profit of a few. Yes, a hope, but what will we have if not our hope and our determination not to repeat the mistakes of the past?
Meanwhile, my advice is to prepare as much as possible, at a minimum, a couple months of food and supplies, lay low, and surrender into the moment, knowing that our petty wants and needs will serve a larger consciousness. You are the change we have been waiting for, and I, for one, want as many of you as possible around on the other side.
I'm amazed that these issues are not being talked about in Integral Communities and on their websites. Our collective integral shadow surely revolves around our fear of being labeled postmodern by expressing political opinions. Too bad. Only integral consciousness can solve these problems...and Steve McIntosh's Global Governance is the only body that will have a chance of governing global markets.
PS: I make no apology for the picture of Reagan. He started it and we're all complicit in our apathy.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
So far, to their credit, Dems are saying 'No."
Can there be any doubt that the trickle down philosophy of economics absolutely does not work? An integral approach must include consideration of home buyers caught up in this unethical series of ponzi schemes, where values are artificially raised, profits taken, and screw everyone else. After all, if socialism is good enough for congress (see health care) and corporations, why not the average person who has been caught up in this?
We saw these ponzi schemes in John McCain's S&L scandal (remember the Keating 5?), the dot-com bubble bursting, and now the financial scandals, in schemes similar to how the mafia buys businesses, leverages them out taking all the profits and leaving them to fail. It's highly unlikely that those responsible for for the toxic growth and ultimate meltdown should be held accountable is probably not going to be addressed.
Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman of the Senate banking Committee, said "we may be only days away from a complete meltdown of the financial system" (Source: AP) just as the world's biggest financial institutions are being fed into wood chippers, all of a sudden people realize the information presented here and other "doom" sites has not been an exaggeration or some type of joke.
This is one of the reasons I moved to North Carolina earlier this year: to be in conscious community when the poop hit the fan (it has). We had hoped to get our house built before it all came down. We managed to get the construction loan done just before it hit the fan, and start breaking ground on Thursday.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Rochester, VT: Park Street Press ©2005
Review by Jill Jensen
If you have ever wondered about the nature of consciousness or how different ways of knowing lead to different realities, the new book from philosopher Christian de Quincey will reveal some surprises. Most of all, Radical Knowing: Understanding Consciousness through Relationship presents a novel approach to philosophy by focusing on the power of story. A brief summary might be: "It offers a new philosophy for life," or "It shows us why and how we are our relationships."
Anyone concerned about the current state of the world and what humans are capable of doing to each other and to the rest of nature will find value in reading de Quincey's newest book, the second in his "radical consciousness trilogy." (The first, Radical Nature: Rediscovering the Soul of Matter, makes the case that consciousness "goes all the way down," like the turtles in the story about what holds up the world. His final epic will posit a Radical Science to tackle the final frontier of consciousness itself.) Radical Knowing asks us to appreciate the interconnectedness of everything—fully realizing that the entire universe is an intricate web of consciousness and energy. If we can grasp that concept—and de Quincey masterfully gives us the information we need to do so—it should ultimately help us avoid further desecrating our world, burning it down, blowing it up, or polluting and poisoning it to the point of ecological collapse.
Dr. de Quincey has been one of the pioneers in the decades-long push to develop a true "science of consciousness." He makes a compelling case for the inability of materialist science, which focuses exclusively on measuring 'things,' to explain consciousness, which is not material, or a 'thing,' and is not measurable. In order to truly understand (to "feel") consciousness, we need to start from a different premise than the one used in contemporary science, the method that followed Descartes' splitting of mind from body. We need, instead, to "feel our thinking," as de Quincey puts it. And he ably offers the rational, philosophical, and—dare we say "scientific"—underpinnings for this 'new' approach. Would that all professors of philosophy were as articulate, readable, and full of interesting stories as de Quincey. In fact, he encourages both science and philosophy to make a place for the storyteller.
Radical Knowing proposes that the only way humans can apprehend anything is "in relationship." We can know ourselves or the world only when reflected in the consciousness of other sentient beings. Although most people in Western cultures have been conditioned to cultivate language and "intellectual intelligence," de Quincey reminds us that words are not the things they stand for—all the while eloquently using these symbolic devices to illuminate his ideas. His contention is that we must regain our capacity for knowing-through-direct-experience.
One of the more inspiring messages from this book is what de Quincey calls "the Four Gifts of Knowing." He takes us on a journey to explore the Scientist's Gift of the senses, which reveal the forms of physical reality; and then to the Philosopher's Gift of reason, which we use to analyze data gained through our senses. But these ways of knowing are not enough if we wish to explore the domain of consciousness. Next, he introduces us to the Shaman's Gift of feeling and altered states, which works by engaging and participating with the world around us. Finally, he takes us into the paradoxical realms of the Mystic's Gift of sacred silence, where direct experience allows us to transcend and integrate all the other ways of knowing.
In both Radical Knowing and Radical Nature, Christian de Quincey offers a thorough grounding in what might be called "Philosophy of Mind 101" or "Consciousness for Zombies:" in-depth explanations of the need to develop a new science of consciousness and more than enough reasons why we should care.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Sarah Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Hillary Clinton. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.
By Gloria Steinem
Here's the good news: Women have become so politically powerful that even the anti-feminist right wing -- the folks with a headlock on the Republican Party -- are trying to appease the gender gap with a first-ever female vice president. We owe this to women -- and to many men too -- who have picketed, gone on hunger strikes or confronted violence at the polls so women can vote. We owe it to Shirley Chisholm, who first took the "white-male-only" sign off the White House, and to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who hung in there through ridicule and misogyny to win 18 million votes.
But here is even better news: It won't work. This isn't the first time a boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him and opposes everything most other women want and need. Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It's about making life more fair for women everywhere. It's not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It's about baking a new pie.
Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton's candidacy stood for -- and that Barack Obama's still does. To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, "Somebody stole my shoes, so I'll amputate my legs."
This is not to beat up on Palin. I defend her right to be wrong, even on issues that matter most to me. I regret that people say she can't do the job because she has children in need of care, especially if they wouldn't say the same about a father. I get no pleasure from imagining her in the spotlight on national and foreign policy issues about which she has zero background, with one month to learn to compete with Sen. Joe Biden's 37 years' experience.
Palin has been honest about what she doesn't know. When asked last month about the vice presidency, she said, "I still can't answer that question until someone answers for me: What is it exactly that the VP does every day?" When asked about Iraq, she said, "I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq."
She was elected governor largely because the incumbent was unpopular, and she's won over Alaskans mostly by using unprecedented oil wealth to give a $1,200 rebate to every resident. Now she is being praised by McCain's campaign as a tax cutter, despite the fact that Alaska has no state income or sales tax. Perhaps McCain has opposed affirmative action for so long that he doesn't know it's about inviting more people to meet standards, not lowering them. Or perhaps McCain is following the Bush administration habit, as in the Justice Department, of putting a job candidate's views on "God, guns and gays" ahead of competence. The difference is that McCain is filling a job one 72-year-old heartbeat away from the presidency.
So let's be clear: The culprit is John McCain. He may have chosen Palin out of change-envy, or a belief that women can't tell the difference between form and content, but the main motive was to please right-wing ideologues; the same ones who nixed anyone who is now or ever has been a supporter of reproductive freedom. If that were not the case, McCain could have chosen a woman who knows what a vice president does and who has thought about Iraq; someone like Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison or Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine. McCain could have taken a baby step away from right-wing patriarchs who determine his actions, right down to opposing the Violence Against Women Act.
Palin's value to those patriarchs is clear: She opposes just about every issue that women support by a majority or plurality. She believes that creationism should be taught in public schools but disbelieves global warming; she opposes gun control but supports government control of women's wombs; she opposes stem cell research but approves "abstinence-only" programs, which increase unwanted births, sexually transmitted diseases and abortions; she tried to use taxpayers' millions for a state program to shoot wolves from the air but didn't spend enough money to fix a state school system with the lowest high-school graduation rate in the nation; she runs with a candidate who opposes the Fair Pay Act but supports $500 million in subsidies for a natural gas pipeline across Alaska; she supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, though even McCain has opted for the lesser evil of offshore drilling. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.
I don't doubt her sincerity. As a lifetime member of the National Rifle Assn., she doesn't just support killing animals from helicopters, she does it herself. She doesn't just talk about increasing the use of fossil fuels but puts a coal-burning power plant in her own small town. She doesn't just echo McCain's pledge to criminalize abortion by overturning Roe vs. Wade, she says that if one of her daughters were impregnated by rape or incest, she should bear the child. She not only opposes reproductive freedom as a human right but implies that it dictates abortion, without saying that it also protects the right to have a child.
So far, the major new McCain supporter that Palin has attracted is James Dobson of Focus on the Family. Of course, for Dobson, "women are merely waiting for their husbands to assume leadership," so he may be voting for Palin's husband.
Being a hope-a-holic, however, I can see two long-term bipartisan gains from this contest.
Republicans may learn they can't appeal to right-wing patriarchs and most women at the same time. A loss in November could cause the centrist majority of Republicans to take back their party, which was the first to support the Equal Rights Amendment and should be the last to want to invite government into the wombs of women.
And American women, who suffer more because of having two full-time jobs than from any other single injustice, finally have support on a national stage from male leaders who know that women can't be equal outside the home until men are equal in it. Barack Obama and Joe Biden are campaigning on their belief that men should be, can be and want to be at home for their children.
This could be huge.
Gloria Steinem is an author, feminist organizer and co-founder of the Women's Media Center. She supported Hillary Clinton and is now supporting Barack Obama.
Saturday, June 07, 2008
By Uber Index Editors
Nothing freaks us out over here at the Uber Index like news of the impending Water Wars. Of course we're not freaked out enough -- yet! -- to flee the doomed, water-thieving metropolis of Los Angeles, but stories like the one below about the impending conflict over water rights in southern Spain make us think about packing up and heading for damper pastures.
The problem here is a simple and stupid one: Humans don't seem to understand the concept of "limited resources" in any context. Is "stupid" too strong of a word? In a semi-desert region previously known for figs and date palms -- hearty plants that produce plenty of fruit without massive irrigation needs -- farmers are planting super-thirsty crops like lettuce, corn and strawberries. Which is bad enough. But Spain's aquifers are drying up and the area is being "Africanized" -- a term that surely strikes mortal fear into the hearts of resort developers for its racial implications more than it's ecological ones -- by people cheating their way into water for swimming pools and golf courses. It is for these markedly stupid reasons that up to a third of Spain may end up a desert. Read on for more of the dystopian details.
"In Spain, Water Is a New Battleground"
Source: New York Times
By Elisabeth Rosenthal
FORTUNA, Spain -- Lush fields of lettuce and hothouses of tomatoes line the roads. Verdant new developments of plush pastel vacation homes beckon buyers from Britain and Germany. Golf courses -- dozens of them, all recently built -- give way to the beach. At last, this hardscrabble corner of southeast Spain is thriving. There is only one problem with the picture of bounty: this province, Murcia, is running out of water. Swaths of southeast Spain are steadily turning into desert, a process spurred on by global warming and poorly planned development. Murcia, traditionally a poor farming region, has undergone a resort-building boom in recent years, even as many of its farmers have switched to more thirsty crops, encouraged by water transfer plans, which have become increasingly untenable. The combination has put new pressures on the land and its dwindling supply of water. This year, farmers are fighting developers over water rights. They are fighting one another over who gets to water their crops. And in a sign of their mounting desperation, they are buying and selling water like gold on a rapidly growing black market, mostly from illegal wells. Southern Spain has long been plagued by cyclical droughts, but the current crisis, scientists say, probably reflects a more permanent climate change brought on by global warming. And it is a harbinger of a new kind of conflict. The battles of yesterday were fought over land, they warn. Those of the present center on oil. But those of the future -- a future made hotter and drier by climate change in much of the world -- seem likely to focus on water, they say. "Water will be the environmental issue this year -- the problem is urgent and immediate," said Barbara Helferrich, a spokeswoman for the European Union's Environment Directorate. "If you already have water shortages in spring, you know it's going to be a really bad summer." Dozens of world leaders will be meeting at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization headquarters in Rome starting Tuesday to address a global food crisis caused in part by water shortages in Africa, Australia and here in southern Spain. Climate change means that creeping deserts may eventually drive 135 million people off their land, the United Nations estimates. Most of them are in the developing world. But Southern Europe is experiencing the problem now, its climate drying to the point that it is becoming more like Africa's, scientists say. For Murcia, the arrival of the water crisis has been accelerated by developers and farmers who have hewed to water-hungry ventures highly unsuited to a drier, warmer climate: crops like lettuce that need ample irrigation, resorts that promise a swimming pool in the yard, acres of freshly sodded golf courses that sop up millions of gallons a day. ... The hundreds of thousands of wells -- most of them illegal -- that have in the past provided a temporary reprieve from thirst have depleted underground water to the point of no return. Water from northern Spain that was once transferred here has also slowed to a trickle, as wetter northern provinces are drying up, too. ... "The model of Murcia is completely unsustainable," Mr. Gil said. "We consume two and a half times more water than the system can recover. So where do you get it? Import it from elsewhere? Dry up the aquifer? With climate change we're heading into a cul-de-sac. All the water we're using to water lettuce and golf courses will be needed just to drink." Facing a national crisis, Spain has become something of an unwitting laboratory, sponsoring a European conference on water issues this summer and announcing a national action plan this year to fight desertification. That plan includes a shift to more efficient methods of irrigation, as well as an extensive program of desalinization plants to provide the fresh water that nature does not. The Spanish Environment Ministry estimates that one-third of the county is at risk of turning into desert from a combination of climate change and poor land use. Still, national officials visibly stiffen when asked about the "Africanization" of Spain's climate -- a term now common among scientists. "We are in much better shape than Africa, but within the E.U. our situation is serious," said Antonio Serrano RodrÃguez, the secretary general for land and biodiversity at Spain's Environment Ministry. Still, Mr. Serrano and others acknowledge the broad outlines of the problem. "There will be places that can't be farmed any more, that were marginal and are now useless," Mr. Serrano said. "We have parts of the country that are close to the limit." While southern Spain has always been dry and plagued by cyclical droughts, the average surface temperature in Spain has risen 2.7 degrees compared with about 1.4 degrees globally since 1880, records show. Rainfall here is predicted to fall 20 percent from this year to 2020, and 40 percent by 2070, according to United Nations projections. ... While Mr. Almarcha has gradually moved toward less thirsty crops, the government's previous water transfer plans have moved many farmers in the opposite direction. The farmers have shifted to producing a wide range of water-hungry fruits and vegetables that had never been grown in the south. Murcia is traditionally known for figs and date palms. "You can't grow strawberries naturally in Huelva -- it's too hot," said Raquel MontÃ³n, a climate specialist at Greenpeace in Madrid, referring to the nearby strawberry capital of Spain. "In Sarragosa, which is a desert, we grow corn, the most water-thirsty crop. It's insane. The only thing that would be more insane is putting up casinos and golf courses." Which, of course, Murcia has. In 2001, a new land use law in Murcia made it far easier for residents to sell land for resort development. Though southern Spain has long had elaborate systems for managing its relatively scarce water, today everyone, it seems, has found ways to get around them. Grass on golf courses or surrounding villas is sometimes labeled a "crop," making owners eligible for water that would not be allocated to keep leisure space green. Foreign investors plant a few trees and call their vacation homes "farms" so they are eligible for irrigation water, Mr. PÃ©rez Gracia said. "Once a property owner's got a water allotment, he asks for a change of land use," he explained. "Then he's got his property and he's got his water. It's supposed to be for irrigation, but people use it for what they want. No one knows if it goes to a swimming pool." While he said his "heart goes out to the real farmers," he did not have the personnel to monitor how people use their allotments. With so much money to be made, officials set aside laws and policies that might encourage sustainable development, Mr. Gil, the journalist, said. At first, he was vilified in the community when he wrote articles critical of the developments. Recently, as people are discovering that the water is running out, the attitude is shifting. But even so, people and politicians tend to regard water as a limitless resource. "Politicians think in four-year blocks, so it's O.K. as long as it doesn't run out on their watch," said Ms. MontÃ³n of Greenpeace. "People think about it, but they don't really think about what happens tomorrow. They don't worry until they turn on the tap and nothing flows."
Read more in the New York Times.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
Now, it was announced in January, a civilization has been uncovered that would have appeared just as ancient to the people who built the pyramids as the pyramids seem to us.
Ancient Underwater City Found Off India: Discovery in Bay of Cambay Will Force Western Archaeologists to Rewrite History
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Anyaa and I were here through Tuesday as she facilitated the opening circle on Monday evening and an all-day Shamanic Breathwork (TM) for the 16 attendees. Others will facilitate the rest of the week.
Monday night's opening circle was pretty amazing. First we did a check in on why we were there and what our intentions were for the week. Most of the attendees were Sacred Sexual Healers, a concept that scares the crap out of most Americans, but given the nature of shadow around sex, especially in the US, extremely important work. The amount of sexual abuse, repression, birth trauma, guilt and shame are epidemic, and they affect every aspect of our lives.
Of course there are sexual healers who are frauds and seriously damaged and do harm, but the people who are attending this post conference event are authentic in helping others reclaim their sexuality, and sometimes, their lives. A lot of Sacred Sexual Healers come to this work because they've been damaged themselves, and helping to heal others has become a passion, as well as part of their healing process.
Anyaa became seriously involved in this movement because of her passion as a psychotherapist working with rape victims after getting her master's degree in the 1970's. She's been doing women's work ever since, helping women integrate the healthy masculine and reclaim their full power as women. She continues that work in her role as a Sacred Sexuality Educator.
Back to Monday Night: After checking in, we were introduced to Shawn Roop, a Tantra teacher from San Diego. Shawn did a presentation on Tantra that was amazing and completely unlike any I had ever seen (in my somewhat limited experience). Shawn is not merely a presenter and facilitator. He has extraordinary presence and ease, and is one of those rare individuals who provide a transmission to his audience. His talk and experiential demonstration of Tantra, especially as it applied to the Chakras as a diagnosis tool, has absolutely nothing to do with sex. In fact, he pointed out that Tantra is not about sex at all, but an all-encompassing ancient wisdom that includes sex, as it does all aspects of life. I do believe I've found one of my next teachers.
Shawn's website offers free Tantra talks and I highly recommend him.
Tuesday was breathwork day. Many of the participants had done different types of breathwork, but this was their first exposure to Shamanic Breathwork (TM). I've written here before about the Shamanic Breathwork (TM) Process and how I consider it to be a truly powerful integral process, so I won't go into that here.
Anyaa is a gifted breathwork facilitator of 20+ years and all of the 16 participants had powerful and evocative experiences. Breaking into partners, one person breathed in the morning while the co-journeyer held space, keeping the breather safe and looking after their needs, with the roles reversed for the afternoon. That night, after dinner we came back and Anyaa skillfully led us through the process that allows us to integrate our journey into our lives. This is truly life changing transformational work!
This is a wonderful group of people, some of whom have powerful visions of how they want to change the world, starting with themselves.
Anyaa and I got into bed very late Tuesday night, after she and the facilitators for the rest of the week downloaded all that was happening, and on two-and-half hours sleep, we crankily got in our rented convertible (a choice of cars we really loved in the Sedona sun) to drive to the Phoenix Sky Harbor to begin our journey back to North Carolina. Exhausted.
A great ten days. A wrap-up on the conference comes next.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
I plan on writing on the plane back to Asheville, telling about Monday's events, todays' breathwork, and a wrap up of the entire conference.
Meanwhile, blessings to all.
Monday, May 12, 2008
We arrived at Future Studios about 10:30am, where the morning sessions were taking place, in time to hear David Cates, another keynote speaker.
David Cates is now an elder in the sexual healing revolution. Thirty years ago he worked his way through college as one of the first male strippers in New York (five years before Chippendales hit the scene!). In the San Francisco underground, he was turned on to the sacred dimensions of sex, and shifted his private counseling practice to full-time daka work. He has shared his healing gifts with thousands of clients in the US, Europe and Australia, keeping his work fresh by constantly incorporating new bodymind modalities and leading-edge science into his profoundly intuitive understanding of the ancient temple arts. All the tricks boil down to this: Pay Close Attention, Be Fully Present, and Let Go!
A quote from David:
“The universe is fucking ALIVE! And ego is NOT the vehicle that can carry any of us to ecstasy. Aligning our multidimensional bodies with the present moment allows full penetration, bliss and conscious co-creation. At the oscillation rate of atoms – where Source pops through the quantum field into form – we are birthing our bodies 40 million times each second. Get in harmony with THAT!“We can’t muscle through or control it; we can only surrender…“Luckily, white tantra shows us how to relax into the tremulous vibration at the heart of matter. We don’t DO the Sacred Union; we ARE the Sacred Union. Realizing this at our core awakens us to the infinite, eternal,By itself, really good stuff. However, during his presentation, David also seemed to be saying stop all the practices, stop working on yourselves and just let go into surrender.
ongoing orgasm of life. Identity bursts into flames. Everything else falls away."
At later stages of development, this can happen. But at survival, tribal, power, mythological, achievement, and egalitarian stages of consciousness this could be a disaster. Again, the problem is that letting go gets interpreted at the level of consciousness of the particular individual.
Some one at amber/mythological (Wilber's model) is going to have a completely different experience than someone at Spiral Dynamics' (Don Beck's model) orange/achiever levels.
The better known names in developmental psychology, like Susanne Cook-Greuter, Bill Torbet, and Bob Kegan, know that most adults are not actually developmentally ready for most of the intervention work that is commonly offered in the helping professions....nor are they capable of having anything but peak (state) experiences of higher levels of consciousness.
So the question becomes, is telling people drop what they're doing and just let go good advice? It depends on an individual's level of development. David Cates can do it, and that's his truth, but he's been doing the prep work that he seems to be asking others to stop for thirty years.
In addition, what David is describing is the masculine path of emptiness, or eros. There's also the feminine path of embracing the world, coomunion or agape. And beyond that is the path of both/and: doing the work and releasing it to the universe. No attachment.
Later that day
We took the afternoon off to get out on the land of Sedona. We visited a vortex and stood for five minutes for all of the women of the world. What an incredibly beautiful place!
At 5:30 we attended the Tantric Circus: a group of about 6-7 performers who do live and multimedia performance art based on the tantric perspective. This was erotic, delicious, funny and beautiful. The Tantric Circus performs all over the west coast and if you get a chance, I highly recommend it.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
As Anyaa, my Beloved, so eloquently pointed out in her talk, Healing the Wounded Feminine, and referring to Wilber's state/stages model, people can get a taste of higher stages of consciousness through ecstatic, or altered, state experiences, and "spiritually bypass" (as she calls it) their present stage. They think they've moved to a higher level of consciousness, when all they are really doing is interpreting that glimpse of the next stage from their own level of consciousness.
What's worse is, if they haven't completed the personal work that needs to be done translatively, that is, horizontal development, the widest and healthiest perspective possible at a particular stage, they tend to disassociate from what they haven't completed, leaving unhealthy aspects of that stage in their psyches that will come back and kick their ass later. It's unavoidable. It becomes shadow.
It's not until one attains the widest and healthiest perspective at their present stage (translation), that they're ready to move into the next stage. This is transformation, or vertical development, where one transcends and includes the previous stage, being able to call on that stage's particular qualities as they are needed. If those qualities aren't healthy, pathologies will develop and a healer can wind up doing more harm than good.
Beside....it can make for really boring presentations.
Although Anyaa's presentation was about Healing the Wounded Feminine, both men and women have been coming up to her, some crying, some ecstatically happy to have these realizations pointed out to them. Many of them have said that they recognized themselves in her presentation and have committed to seeking out the personal work they need, many of the women with her. Some have called her presentation profound and deep. I agree.
I am so honored to love and to be loved by this woman.
For more on transformation and translation go here: The Nature of Translation: Stop and LiveIt's the third video down.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Today kicked off the actual conference, and it was much more powerful, significant, and conscious than my experience yesterday. After a welcome by Baba Dez, the conference organizer, the three keynote speakers each did a 45-minute presentation.
The first was a couple from Chicago, Dr. Elsbeth Meuth and Freddy Zental Weaver, who teach Tantra to couples to enhance relationships. They did a piece on the Showtime "Sexual Healing" special they were featured in last year that was excellent. They do great work.
My partner, Anyaa McAndrew, was the second keynote speaker. She spoke eloquently about Stages of Healing the Wounded Feminine. Anyaa's a psychotherapist who has been working with women's issues for thirty years. Today's presentation was part one, about identifying the shadow aspects of the feminine, describing the wound and it's archetypes in detail. Both men and women kept coming up to her all day, telling her how much her talk meant to them. Tomorrow she'll do part two, about the healing processes needed.
The third keynote speakers were Dr. Sasha & Janet Lessin, a polyamorous couple who were to speak on Adoring Aphrodite, but their talk seemed more personal about their own journeys, heavily laden with stories of sexual healing. Dr. Sasha seemed rushed and wound up (sacred sacraments?) but the message was good.
There other good workshops that afternoon, including teachers from Charles Muir's Tantric Source School in Hawaii on Sacred Spot Massage. Charles Muir is pretty much the acknowledged leader of the American tantra movement.
Great stuff, today, including a wonderful concert ....no new age fluff. All important work.
Friday, May 09, 2008
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
On Monday, Anyaa and flew to Sedona, Arizona, to attend what will be my first Daka/Dakini conference. What’s a Daka/Dakini conference? This one, consisting of 10 days with pre and post events, is one of the largest in the US, and will consist of about 185 sexual healers and practioners from around the world.
The conference is hosted by Anyaa’s long time friend, and sometimes teaching partner, Baba Dez, at the beautiful Sedona Temple, his home. Anyaa will be one of the major presenters and will be speaking on the Stages of Healing the Wounded Feminine, based on an article of the same name she wrote especially for this conference.
While here, I’ll be body painting for the attendees for donations. I brought a small compressor, my body paints, brushes, and my airbrush. Hopefully, we’ll have some photos, too.
Since I’ve never attended a conference quite like this, I’m not completely sure what to expect, in spite of reading the schedule of presenters, and being told some of what it will be like.
There are some things happening at the conference that I won’t be participating in. For instance, there’s Naked Yoga every morning, but Anyaa and I have our own practices that we’ll be adhering to. At one point in my life, I would probably have participated, but not today, even though I’m really in the best shape I’ve been in years. It’s not about that.
I’ll write some about it every day, including how I feel about it from an integral perspective. Given the number of sexually wounded people in this world, to a degree that I’ve only realized since my relationship with Anyaa began a year and a half ago, I expect there will be some really important work and learning going on, but I also expect some new-age fluff….and a lot of narcissism. No surprise….it happens in “integral” communities and gatherings, as well.
Monday, April 28, 2008
PS: at some point, I expect this to be removed by Salon.com, so I've saved a copy in my files
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Dear friends and family,
The federal government is sending each of us a $600 rebate. If we spend that money at Wal-Mart, the money will go to China .
If we spend it on gasoline it will go to the Arabs. If we purchase a computer it will go to India. If we purchase fruit and vegetables it will go to Mexico , Honduras , and Guatemala. If we purchase a good car it will go to Japan. If we purchase useless crap it will go to Taiwan and none of it will help the American economy.
The only way to keep that money here at home is to buy prostitutes, beer and cigarettes, since these are the only products still produced in the US . Or you can send it all to me and I will be sure to put it back into our economy.
Thank you for your help.
- Buy local produce and food stuffs from a farmer's market in your area. After all, all economies will soon be local (what's left?), might as well support them now so they'll be there when your really need them;
- Better still, rip up that worthless water guzzling lawn abomination and invest in a garden and start growing your own organic fruits and vegetables;
- Put a down payment on a tankless on-demand hot water heater, so that when energy prices climb out of your reach, you'll still have hot water;]
- If you don't already own one, buy a bike...maybe an American made motorized bike (okay, the engines aren't homegrown).....but how can you argue with 250 miles to the gallon?
- Consciously choose to spend your dollars locally and in the US. Search out and find websites like www.madeinusa.com/ - "There are 293 million people living in the United States. If each one would shift $20 a month in spending from foreign made products to American made products, that would create 5 million new jobs."
- Want to save your rebate? Stashing your cash in a locally owned bank is one more great way to keep money circulating in your local economy and to support your local businesses and community endeavors.
- In the new home Anyaa and I are building, we're going to put in greywater systems and composting toilets that turn human waste into an organic compost and usable soil,. Yeah, I know, but read about 'em, first...it's a crime to use drinking water to flush waste when people are dying because they don't have clean water.
My list took less than half an hour to develop. Perhaps you can turn me on to some of your ideas. Phew! I feel so much better!
Monday, April 21, 2008
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Knowing Anyaa was frustrated at not being able to find a life partner, her friends, Dennis and Judith – mostly Dennis, who apparently devised the ceremony – came up with an idea: They bought and assembled a barbeque grill for her, and created the “grilling ceremony.”
While visiting Anyaa at Isis Cove – they bought the lot directly behind Anyaa’s current property, and will be building next year right next door to our new property – Dennis set up the grill and instructed Anyaa to create a list of everything she wanted to bring forth in a man.
Inviting Brad and Star Wolf, the founders of Isis Cove, the five of them added and threw out qualities and items to Anyaa’s list, until she had just what she wanted, the ideal man to call in.
As the charcoals reached the ready point, they had Anyaa throw the list into the coal fire, sending the intentions on the list out to the universe, and then proceeded to cook the evening’s meal on it, including meat.
2700 miles away, my nose hit the air and thought, “what is that?” I’d like to think it was about the same time I wrote this blog, finally getting serious about finding my own Beloved.
Since meeting Dennis, he’s become my new best friend, and I love his wife, Judith, as well!
So now it’s my turn to pay it forward for another. So, next month, I’ll be doing a grilling ceremony for another single woman at Isis Cove, Sarah Jane, who is an extraordinary cook. She’s already started her list, and a bunch of us will gather at her house overlooking Isis Cove, add to her list, burn it on the new grill, and call her beloved in…..
I’ll be calling in the upper left quadrant for the sweetest, most thoughtful and compassionate man, the upper right quadrant for the strong physical attributes she’s looking for, the lower right for the systems to all be in place and in good working order to enable them to connect, and the lower left that will help them further develop the kind of community they’ll both want to be a part of.
We’ll be honoring a universe that wants us to happy and of service, and that thrives on life’s abundance.
Oh, by the way….we will be cooking meat……unless she wants a vegetarian.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Note: I'm often surprised, when I use the term, "non dual," that many people don't know what I'm talking about. Non dual simply means not apart from, not separate.I also understand that relationship, whether successful or not, tells us exactly where we are consciously and unconsciously in our lives, if we have the capacity to listen to what our inner voices tell us about ourselves. If you want to know the depth of your own actualization, it is in your relationships….especially romantic relationship, but certainly all relationships.
Wikipedia: Nondualism may be viewed as the understanding or belief that dualism or dichotomy are illusory phenomena. It is accessible as a belief, theory, condition, as part of a tradition, as a practice, or as the quality of union with reality, and is sometimes referred to as the ultimate understanding.
A fascinating read, Jenny Wade writes about people’s sometimes shattering experiences with non-dual realization during, or immediately after, sex. Sometimes characterized as the feeling of an overwhelming presence in the room, the “oneness” of everything, and even the presence of a “third.”
Some of the interesting things about these experiences are that they usually happen to only one partner, that the sex can sometimes just be casual – that is, not with a significant other – and that almost always, the person who has the experience, cannot find a way to tell the other person about their experience. Some who experienced the phenomena were religious, or spiritual, but just as many were not. There seems to be no rhyme or reason about whom this can happen to.
Fascinating, yes, and I felt jealousy for never having experienced this amazing phenomena.
Until last week.
Lying in bed after a particularly tender Sunday afternoon love making with my Beloved, I was suddenly overwhelmed with a presence all around us. This “presence,” or “feeling,” was that that of a third being, not separate, but rather a part of us, and yet not a part of us…the feeling was that of pure love…..as if we were enveloped in some sort of divine caress, loving us, and allowing me to not to just experience this, but to be the experience itself!
As it continued to caress us, surround us, and encompass us, I told Anyaa what was happening, and while she did not personally experience it, except through my description as to what was holding us, I began to weep out of pure joy and the realization that I was being offered the most amazing gift! Plus, I had the extra benefit of being able to share it with my partner as it was happening! While she had not experienced it, she understood what was happening and provided a completely safe container for me share my experience as it was unfolding.
It lasted, I guess, five or ten minutes, and then softly released us, leaving a lingering presence and awareness behind. It took, maybe, another fifteen minutes for me to regain my composure and come fully back into the physical room, and yet I still hold the awareness of the experience in my consciousness.
Why was this gift bestowed upon me? Is it because of the work I’ve been doing around conscious relationship? My own amazing relationship with an incredible and conscious woman? The Big Mind/Big Heart meditations I’ve been facilitating? All of it? None of it?
I may never know the answer to that, and I feel no need to search it out, or to understand it. I only know it happened, that I felt it, I experienced it, and I can relive it….and that’s enough.
Body Painting image by an unknown artist