Thursday, October 1, 2020


I began writing this piece before the first presidential debate on September 30, which I watched and sorry to say it turned out exactly as expected, although I was hoping for a surprise, something with substance. Trump was combative and primarily defensive, but I was disappointed that Biden allowed himself to be derailed by the emotional attacks. I won’t watch another one. There is nothing comparable in my memory.

The upcoming Presidential election is the strangest that I have experienced in the many elections that I have lived through. However, I do not think this situation came out of the blue, so to speak. Our United States has been less than united for some time. The turmoil in the country now may be more extreme but is not unexplainable.

For one thing our political ideology and our economic reality are at odds. We can hear, read, and see on YouTube that there is a secret cabal (it seems that fearful imaginations have created many versions) that runs the economy and controls the government. Whether or not there is a hidden cabal, someone is exploiting the people and they don’t know where this threat hides. This automatically generates suspicion and fear. This unknown exploiter takes the form of a dark god hidden behind a cloud of conspiracy theories. Certainly, it does not exist within the ideally transparent framework of democracy. There are many citizens that are disillusioned, frightened about the direction of the future and on the edge of a free-fall into poverty. Fear generates projected monsters of all kinds and our current political climate has these monsters popping up faster than we can remember their slogans.

 Just one example of invisible but immense power in the money world is Big Pharma. It bullies natural medicines into a corner because health insurance doesn’t cover natural medicines. The big pharmaceutical corporations operate in tandem with the health insurers. Our health, or more to the point, medicine itself is fixated on a technology and chemistry that needs our sickness to feed its great economic generator. Thus, many isolated malfunctions of the body are necessary in this system. We are living with little acknowledgment of the humanity or the wholeness of the individual patient. People don’t want to be machines whose lives are captive to impersonal corporations conveniently feeding on their suffering. Nor, do they want to be seduced into giving their power to those who promise to cure problems they didn’t know they had.

The unbridled competition that was supposed to make capitalism a self-correcting system because competition encourages invention and excellence has turned out to encourage deception and addiction even more. Furthermore, when growth becomes unhinged there is a race to a disastrous collision with reality. We are dependent on a planet with its own system of checks and balances that our economy wantonly ignores in the effort to make more, sell more, and encourage us to consume more. Mental health is more tenuous, crime rises while mood altering substance addictions continue to surge. Even crime and disease have become monetized as prisons and hospitals are now largely run by corporations.

People want to be represented as important to their government representatives and they have been left out of the know for a long time. Even a trapped mouse can be surprisingly fierce, and the people have been deceived with the big talk of empty promises, black suits, and white shirts. For many, Trump with his completely undignified street talk, disdain for rules, laws and even truth is the bad boy they wish they could be. He thumbs his nose at the system, declares bankruptcy, cheats on his taxes, and keeps on keeping on. He knows that lies told so often they numb the mind combined with the magic of getting away with anything he does gives him an aura of invincibility. Of course, that is exactly what he counts on. He has been flying by the seat of his pants and so far, it has worked. In short, he is a trickster.

He is an empty vessel with nothing tangible to give who changes shapes and colors like an octopus.  Like other dictators he speaks to the fears and resentments of people to get their support. Trump’s rough style lures his followers into believing he isn’t part of the system that is exploiting them and that he understands them. His Republican coalition in Washington know who he is but want to ride on his appeal to low income struggling people, farmers disenfranchised by corporations, and people whose jobs and investments are disappearing.  He takes attention away from the real culprits.

Trump’s people want to give hell to the leaders of a system that exploits them and keeps them futilely treading harder to stay above the deepening murky waters. This was the swamp that Trump promised to drain, but he doesn’t have the authority or ability to drain it and functionally deflects attention from the real culprits. His need for attention and admiration is a convenient distraction obscuring the real issues.   

The growing animosity between political parties is yet another time bomb. We have wandered a long way from a real democracy. When the political system and the economic system operate under opposite values.  The top down structure and confusing dissonance is deceiving. Corporations are not democratic. Employees are often almost slaves, with the difference they can quit, and they can be fired. Unless they are in one of the higher positions, they can’t afford to quit, and a real change requires either a leap of faith or just a fall off the edge.

Real democracy requires respect for people who are given equal value despite different backgrounds and different points of view. An attitude of respect and genuine interest in how to make our shared life work would be a good goal for respectful exchange. No one has the final truth. We are all in the school of life and of history. Defending one’s point of view as if one’s life depended on it has made real discourse and the possibility of seeing issues through someone else’s lens psychologically impossible. In Trump’s presidency winning an argument in any way conceivable is the only way. Unfortunately, this makes all the “losers” enemies. Thus, the divisive nature of Trump’s presidency. If one acts like everyone with a different point of view is an enemy, they will indeed become an enemy. It’s a self-fulfilling behavior.

We are becoming negative shadow images of each other. Opposites are not necessarily enemies; they are each other’s mirror. How did we create a Trump presidency? He was much happier as a reality TV performer. His supporters don’t seem to notice that he became the victim of a role he isn’t equipped for. He may be a user by background and habit but in this role, he is also being used. It may be that something has been unleashed with his presidency that will be uncontrollable by the very one’s who intended to use him as a cover and distraction.

I hope that Joe Biden wins the upcoming election, but I don’t think that will return us to peace and order and I don’t think that he can change the social tsunami heading our way. I fear that a number of recently uncaged monsters are now running away from it. They are bigger than Trump, and nobody will be able to put them back in their cages. This may be a necessary part of growing up as a nation going through an adolescent crisis, but I hope I’m wrong.



Saturday, August 29, 2020


I’ve been listening to pundits left and right (literally) as the presidential campaign boils into rising steam. I’ll admit that I’ve never taken so much interest in what is going on politically in the country before this presidential election year. If there is a positive to be gleaned from this current piece of history in the making, it is that it is capturing the attention of America and the rest of the world. What happens to America, happens to the world, in one way or another. We humans can unwittingly be seduced into the role of “useful idiot,” even though we do our best to be informed. But it’s hard to be informed when the news is trying to pull us in one direction or the other with carefully selected content. Real neutrality is virtually impossible for humans, although we would like to think that some news media are less compromised by support from one side or the other.

Among the complications to sorting reality from the weeds of propaganda choking our info garden, is the difficulty of sorting weeds from flowers. Some of the weeds look surprisingly good at the beginning. They sprout toward the sky, robust and green, put down deep sturdy roots and don’t reveal their true character until they fail to produce flowers or fruit. They may have a noxious odor, as well. By that time, it may require huge efforts to remove the weeds which are all amazingly prolific and manage to look healthy even in a drought year.

I am talking about political seduction. It talks magically infused words chosen to lure us into an altered state of unconsciousness and it always tells us what we want to hear. Wide awake consciousness would end the power game, and maybe, just maybe remove the gaming mentality. I won’t pretend that I’m indifferent about the current political game or supremely conscious. I am rooting over one team over the other, but I don’t for a minute think anyone has a complete solution to what ails Turtle Island (America) or the rest of the world.

I lean toward liberal although I’m beginning to hate all political tags.  I’m not a purist and have lately been feeling that something isn’t right (no pun intended) about placing myself in any political box with worn catchphrases that have drifted from their original meaning. This includes oversimplified phrases loved by the news feeds and political speech writers. We take most of these tags for granted without exploring if there is real meaning behind them.

What about balance? What if conservative interests and liberal concerns are not adversaries but terms describing two aspects of all organic processes. Two days ago, I noticed that I felt a bit ill when listening to one of the many political commentaries on YouTube. Then the light switch clicked on, and I realized that I didn’t want to be identified as a socialist, capitalist, liberal or conservative. In fact, I didn’t want to be identified by any catchphrase. I drew a deep breath and felt my stomach relax. Both Socialism and Capitalism are dangerous when defended against real life consequences. Abstract concepts erase humanity and block the blood flow to the brain. But here are some thoughts that have been swimming in my mind for some time.  

In the Declaration of Independence, we have the  backbone of America that politicians have been gnawing on since it was written.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

There have been dissenters from the beginning because it is somewhat incomplete in its interpretation of equal.

From Wikipedia:

The phrase "all men are created equal" has received criticism from elitists and traditional conservatives. For instance, Richard M. Weaver writing in one of the cornerstone works of traditional conservatism, Ideas Have Consequences (1948), paraphrased a 19th-century writer in writing that "no man was ever created free and no two men [were] ever created equal". He continues: "The comity of peoples in groups large or small rests not upon this chimerical notion of equality but upon fraternity, a concept which long antedates it in history because it goes immeasurably deeper in human sentiment. The ancient feeling of brotherhood carries obligations of which equality knows nothing. It calls for respect and protection, for brotherhood is status in family, and family is by nature hierarchical. (for family, one could substitute tribe.)

It is obvious that not all people are created equal in all ways. I’m sure our founding fathers recognized that some are tall, some short, some fat and some lean in addition to having different levels of intelligence, personal drive and moral fortitude. Our social and genetic qualities differ greatly. Women aren’t even mentioned but they were half the population and children had yet to achieve their rights within society. In many ways we must grow into equal rights. However, I believe that the founding fathers intended equality to be the right to be or become all that one has the inherent capacity to be or become. Alas, background, personal history, and education have much to do with the results. Equality in this sense, is an ideal to pursue. Power mongers attempt to keep those who are low on the social totem pole where they are and argue that they shouldn’t move from that position. Some infer that god put them there. Now and then, “god” flips the pole.

The hidden self-serving distortion of equality was largely unexpected when the Founding Father’s signed the Constitution. They were not thinking of their native next-door neighbors who preceded them by thousands of years and the many peoples who would eventually arrive on the eastern shores in ships from all the nations of Europe. They couldn’t have known about the western shores still hidden from their concept of America, nor the arrival of Asians. Certainly, they weren’t thinking of the African’s who were already here, as well as the ones who would soon arrive against their will.

We are not one people. The melting pot is a fiction. We are an exotic stew in the making. There are still various pods of culture that arrived with their own ideas of how to live the American dream while maintaining their original cultural identity. This is an aspect of inequality that has added great genius and depth to our stew pot as well as some flavors that have not blended well—perhaps because they haven’t had time as yet to blend their flavor.

Because our Declaration of Independence was written by Western European men with 18th Century ideas of the Enlightenment and the inspiration of the French Revolution, there is an inherent cultural favoritism written in. This involves too many facets of perception to be reduced to right or left. All men are created with equal rights to be all they can be and to evolve into more than they are now. I believe that evolution is continuous. In that sense, we are created equal.

Both Socialism and Capitalism sound well when the theories are presented in a one sided claim by their defenders and both can be dangerous when unchecked by the complexities of real life. Not surprisingly their apologists see the positive side and the negative side is discovered later by those living within their unchecked application.

Today I’m feeling angry that the politicians and their theorists want to put us all in pens of right, left, socialist or capitalist, fascist or any other political coral. While it isn’t easy to maintain balance on the thin, unfamiliar middle line, you don’t have to hate or be hated (well, that last is probably not true). I’ve been listening to intelligent speakers critical of socialism and I agree with much of what they say about it’s extremes that work better in theory than practice, but why would I want to accept the abstract extremes of any ideology. Rugged individualism, extreme independence, intolerance of those with different lifestyles and a hostile approach to anyone near the border of what one regards as one’s personal truth becomes extremely dangerous. It is as out of balance as its opposite of unachievable political correctness, no personal or social borders, and the rejection of all judgements and assertions.

I’m tired of dumping people in a right or left bin and ignoring the uncertainties, paradoxes and diversities of real life on this planet. There is no absolute right and wrong position in the real world (except sometimes in hindsight) and yet both the left and right attempt to box us into a world of absolutes. This has always troubled me. Because it makes theories and political slogans more important than people.

When I was in Junior High (Middle School now), the walk to school was a mile and a quarter and I played mental games to fill the time. One of my favorites was to argue in defense of an idea or situation halfway home and then spend the other half of the walk arguing against the same premise. It taught me a lot about how malleable the perception of truth can be.  

There are no absolute right systems or wrong systems in the human world, and yet both left and right attempt to see the world in black or white. Of course, no one identifies themselves or their fellow believers as black unless they have somehow turned the opposites inside out like black magicians.

Christianity has also become polarized within and polarized in the perception of the outside world and yet now and again, a teaching in the Bible comes through unblighted by numbing layers of dogma accrued in the last 2000 years. When it tells us, we are all born in sin, it is customarily misunderstood. To sin means to miss the mark like a marksman with a shaky hand.  Of course, we are all sinners to some extent since we do not have absolute aim on the target of right and wrong as mortal beings. We would have to see and understand all that has ever been and all that will be in the future to achieve absolute knowledge and wisdom. That is, we would have to be Masters of the Universe like God.

Murder, rape, and pillage are wrong, but they also take on subtle and abstract forms that are cunningly concealed. While the Ten Commandments are a simple outline of what one will not do if motivated by love and honor, they don’t cover the subtleties of love and honor. You only get that in the graduate course to wisdom. Our problems take us down the wrong lane whether right or left (dear God, I hate those generalizations) when we assume, we know it all and our interpretation is unassailable.

Like a wild horse being herded by a helicopter, I’ve decided to take a sharp turn back at the approach to those right or left pens that we are herded into the way those unfortunate horses are herded into pens by choppers in the sky. They don’t know they can’t outrun that horrible noisy machine following them from the sky, but the noise stops when they are penned in and can’t move anymore. A false safety. They will learn the truth when they catch their breath and try to escape. Like wild horses, we can naively find ourselves in a coral to be used for someone else’s agenda.

Why are wild horses such an archetypal symbol of freedom and evoke nostalgia of something wild and free that is lost? They were once our slaves and now live their lives without us and in a reversal of roles, humans feel wistful envy for these creatures who have escaped enslavement. Are we to be trapped or choose to follow our own inherent organization as tribal beings who value and help each other as relatives?  As the Lakota say, “they are all our relations”. It would be so comforting if politics wasn’t played like a ball game or war and people really sought the best for everyone.

We are only stable when we aren’t running from fear and desperation. America is an incredibly young country and still has a lot of adolescent hubris. Perhaps we have flown too close to the sun with our wax secured wings and are due for a crash to solid earth. I hope not yet. I’m not wise or strong enough to welcome any collapse of our seeming safety from the wars, revolutions, horrible dictators and famines older societies have experienced. Maybe there is a transformation into real stability and power on the other side of the test, but I’ll admit I’m not excited about the possibility of a great fall.

When I was a teenager, my entire world came apart and everything I had believed to be real or important appeared to disintegrate. My prayers bounced off the ceiling and hit me in the head. All my dreams and hopes were dashed, and no one wanted to help me. They only wanted to return me to where I had been, and where they still were, which for me no longer existed. For many years, I felt myself plunging down a bottomless black hole. However, I now see that I had to start over in an updated reality and the old one had to die first. It took many years, and now I know it is a lifelong process which I now appreciate in peace and gratitude.

Our country, and for that matter much of the world, is flying high with waxed wings and is losing altitude. One election can change the immediate situation for a time, but we are going to crash eventually because we are not in a realistic relationship with each other, and certainly we are pouring poison on our Mother Earth. Our current president is emotionally and spiritually empty and sucks power from the escapist desperation of many people for his own aggrandizement. The fall is coming. I don’t know if the election of a different president is enough to suspend the fall. I hope so, but I don’t think one presidential change can stop the progression of our immature fantasies of endless protection from our own immaturity as a society.

The Earth is trying to cleanse itself of our abuse and no one politician is going to fix it. There are increasingly powerful storms in some places and drought in other places. The sea waters are rising and many countries including ours, depend on port cities. Humans reflect the dissatisfaction in their desperate acts. Many people are not emotionally, mentally, or spiritually equipped to act with wisdom and decorum, and they will respond irrationally out of fear.  Money is a human invention and has been elevated above the planet and its inhabitants, including us. That is pure madness and no one person will cure the delusion. However, one person can exacerbate the speed and impact of our fall from the sky and increase the depth of the fall. If only we could look to a higher truth that like it or not, we are all related and will experience pan-systemic problems, even if some of us are billionaires, or plan to escape to Mars. Do they ever consider that Mars may be in a desert condition now because its former inhabitants did what we are doing now?  


Tuesday, July 21, 2020


This morning I stood in the cool morning air gazing at the weeping willow which I have been trying to save from drought this summer, then suddenly I was in another time and place like a double exposure. This experience is not new but I’m curious about the trigger. The location isn’t important. The place of this morning’s intrusion was my old home on Upper Ranchitos. There was no weeping willow at that location and in fact, everything, except the light and time of day was different. Nevertheless, I became for a few minutes the person I was 16 years ago.  I don’t want to be that person again. It was a difficult time, and that person was several steps back from the person I am now. Was this confrontation with the past a marker, reminder, or a connecter?

These flashes from the past are not just memories. In fact, they are fragments of life that I have no conscious reason to remember. They are totally mundane snapshots of a previous time, place, and state of mind. Time traveling is usually presented as a far more dramatic and life-changing event. And why that time and place now? A few days ago, I was suddenly in the backyard of my childhood home in Denver, in my late teens. What triggers these pieces of the past that are suddenly layered over the present?

These memories are quite different than the usual facts and pictures that the mind presents in a faded and remote manner like old photos. They are complete in every way except for the actual location of the time. It is as if the current location is experienced now by the person I was at a time in the past.

West View Last Night
The few weeks externally dominated by the Corona Virus have been more reflective than usual. Our life doesn’t change very much externally since we are retired. We go to the grocery store and the post office. When we have friends visiting, we go to one of the restaurants open to outside seating and as it is summer, we would sit outside anyway.  Most of the day I do chores and work at keeping my outdoor garden alive. It is a very dry summer, and while the clouds gather every afternoon, they tease, flirt, then

pass on.

When the social isolation began, I thought it would be a time when I could get things done around the house and artistically that I don’t normally have the time or will for. But it has been the opposite. Although I’m actually busy, I have neglected painting and writing. I haven’t done anything in the last month to make more room in the garage so that we could paint. I’ve been feeling a bit confused and guilty of losing focus. Then It occurred to me that instead of focus, I needed to allow thoughts and feelings to move and mix at random. The past experiences are aligning themselves outside my ego consciousness. There are changes coming that my higher self perceives, and the familiar habits are out of date.

Yes, I could have been writing or painting, or maybe clearing out the garage, but my internal slave driver has been placed in lockdown, and it isn’t just me. The world beyond my own little world must also be undergoing preparation for some major changes. During this Pandemic there are the obvious changes; businesses that will not be able to reopen, changes in relationships as jobs move home and children can’t go to school, shopping habits are changing, the list could go on and on, above all the loss of lives and lifestyles, disrupted plans for the future and all the things we took for granted a few months ago. Life will never be as it would have been if the pandemic had never existed. 

Things change, our lives move toward an end whether we like it or not. But endings are also preparation for beginnings. It’s what we do with the potential beginning that matters, although the ability to recognize a beginning isn’t guaranteed. Transcending the small self is the key to graduating from constant repetition and that often requires an experience that knocks us off the rails. Perhaps that is what the virus is doing on multiple levels. 

I look back at my “failures.”  So many goals ended in futile struggles, heartbreaking disappointment, defeat, and self-doubt. Nothing seemed to work except the boring things I did between attempts to “follow my bliss”, to use Joseph Campbell’s words. However, judgments are usually based on our perception rather than reality. Or, more accurately; there are qualities of meaning that lay hidden beneath our obvious pursuits. The higher self sometimes has a completely different outlook than the little ego struggling against the demands of the tough teacher called life. The longer I’m on this planet and this third level (3D) school, the more amazed I am by how little I know of the hidden agendas of being on this spaceship called Earth. 

The long list of things I’ve struggled passionately with great dedication to accomplish but failed at for one reason or another, sometimes because of bad timing, running out of funds, some crisis or another, etc. were in fact not failures. I often fell into despair, believed I must be cursed, and eventually picked myself up and started again only to walk into another wall by my own judgment.  But those failures and heartbreaks have borne fruit although not as I intended. The higher self has its own agenda. It was grooming and instructing for qualities and a way of being that I could not possibly understand during the times of failure and frustration. The true value and meaning were hidden in plain sight by desires and expectations blinded me to a different kind of value. I didn’t have “eyes to see or ears to hear” Proverbs 20:12, an old Bible verse that has meaning at many depths. What I couldn’t know in my younger years was the concealed multi-dimensional education behind my pursuits. I explored horsemanship, music, dance, art, psychology, history, anthropology, comparative religion to name a few, and now I see that nothing was in vain or a failure, and all were related in a way that I couldn’t see back then, even though I never became an adept or gained a degree in any of those pursuits.

Those selves that rise out of the past and overlay the present are never far away. They need to catch up and find their current place in an ever-changing identity.

I used to feel inferior to the artists, writers, creative scholars, and performers that I admired. Now they please and stimulate me but I have no need to envy them or grieve because I missed my chance. I am grateful for the beauty, insight, and stimulus they instill but recognize that I have more than enough to do in following the path I’ve been given. all that I need is being revealed step by step and outward success is of optional importance on this earth journey. 

 Each endeavor is infused with many layers of depth. Judging the success or failure of an endeavor depends upon the quality of outcome, and the wisdom of the one who is judging. Value and thus success does change with perception and experience. Streaming from the source will connect one with open eyes to the multi-faceted world (hidden in plain sight) of beauty, light, and power. That was always the true goal however shrouded under social judgments and ego desires. Whether we are main arteries or tiny capillaries of many sizes and locations throughout the cosmic body we occupy, preparing to carry the golden fluid of experience throughout the world, we are all connected.

nature and experience dictate. I notice myself one day off balance another with aches and pains and then a day when I feel like my thirty-year-old self.  Even our cat, Shadow is surprising us with new behaviors. She has discovered the hunter in herself this past week. Although I have mixed feelings about it, I can’t deny a major evolution in her personality. This week she caught three young rabbits, a mouse, and this morning a lizard. She is very self-pleased and carries herself like a tiger, with self-confidence oozing in every stride and through her gaze. I used to call her a woosy cat. Now in her seventh year, she becomes a hunter and brings her catches into the house as her contribution. 

Unfortunately, I have a lizard and a mouse running wild somewhere in the house but thankfully managed to catch one of the rabbits before it was fatally damaged and sent it on its way outside. I suppose this is her housecat response to the unknown future. Or, perhaps she senses the need to be more proactive. We each respond to the incoming changes as we can.