Sunday, July 26, 2015

What Will the Modern Faerie Tale Be?

The original Grimm's fairy tales were Grim indeed and highly criticized for their far too adult nature. Snow White was raped by the seven dwarfs. Sleeping beauty was penetrated by the prince and gave birth in her sleep, then she was deceived and tortured by the Prince's real wife.

In the original novel, "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame," which I read when I was in high school, Esmarelda is hanged. Her love interest is already betrothed to another woman and he ends up marrying someone else. Again, the beautiful Ingenue is doomed.

In Hans Christian Anderson's "A Little Mermaid," the mermaid loses. The prince marries someone else and because she refuses to kill him, as the sea witch demands in exchange for her life, the Little Mermaid dissolves into the air.

None of these heroine's live happily ever after. The lesson to young women seemed to be that life is harsh. Love hurts and you don't always get the man you love. Many of Grimm's fairy tales showed the cruelty of men and wolves and how girls who journey outside the comfort of their homes have nothing but hardship ahead of them.

The 20th century ushered in a new age where these fairy tales were softened in order to relieve children from nightmares and inspire them to a gentler type of magic where the lines between good and evil became clearer. The Princes all became charming and nice. It was the age of being a gentleman and young girls would dream of how prince charming would  rescue them from a world of cruelty.

Yet, what gets me about this era is how the heroines still needed a man to save them from their miserable situations and this ushered in a generation of women who, though they wouldn't always accept abuse as the way of the world, they did have a new version of romance. These girls were led to believe that they couldn't be happy until they found that perfect man. That  man would be a prince, already well to do and perfect in every other way. She will be looking for this ideal in a man, expecting him to sweep her off her feet and save her from whatever kind of life she wanted to walk away from. Snow white, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella were helpless without their prince but he would eventually reward them for being kind, submissive and gentle. As long as they didn't ruffle anyone else's feathers, they would be rewarded by a man who would rescue them because they were "nice."

One of the last great renditions of a fairie tale from this era was Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" which was released in 1991, near the end of the millennium. This movie shows us one of the best renditions of Stockholm syndrome I've ever seen. Bell's father is kidnapped by a beast but she offers him to take her instead. Although the beast can be cruel, she sees his softer side and falls in love with him. As sweet as this movie was, one can't help thinking, is Disney saying that its romantic to fall in love with one's kidnapper?

I look at the 20th century as a time when women were expected to be submissive and unable to solve their own problems without waiting for a man to come along. To me Cinderella is the epitome of this ideal. You have a woman who is treated unfairly and abused by her step mother and sisters. She is too "nice" to stand up for herself but is luckily enough to have a fairy Godmother save her so she can find a Prince to marry her. Why can't Cinderella just leave and find a job? Why doesn't she just stand up for herself? Instead, she does what an adult friend once advised me to never do when I was a teenager. She went from the frying pan into the fire. She used a man to get her out of her situation.
The fairy tales of the 20th century seemed to say that women will always be slaves to their situations and nothing without a man in their life.

This helplessness doesn't become apparent until someone from a different generation takes a note of it. Just as people living in today's culture are shocked and offended by the original violent fairy tales of the Brother's Grimm, children of today's generation are starting to find the fairy tales of the 20th century a bit strange. At a time when the bad ass woman is getting all the glory, the classic princesses are losing their appeal.

A while back, I rented the movie, "A Princess Bride," a brilliant classic fairy tale full of sword fights, great dialogue and love. While my son did love the movie, he was frustrated with the princess. "Why is she so weak?" he asked. "Why doesn't she help the man fight that giant rat? Why is she incapable of using that stick?"
This is coming from a boy who's mother studies martial arts and who's role model was Sarah Conner from "The Terminator Saga."

Thank God! I say. We must raise our children with self empowering ideals. Just as men are raised with classic virtues of knighthood, shouldn't women start learning to be strong and be the change they wish to see in the world? Aren't women just as capable as men of changing their circumstance and being heroes? What happens to a woman who depends on a man for everything? What if the man can't do it all? What if the Prince turns out to be a troll? What if he dies? What if her relationships aren't based on real love and respect, but on dependency and desperation? Are we to teach out daughters that their only option is to dwell in darkness until their prince saves them? Are we to live in a society where populations of women are unable to contribute but sit idly by? The ingenues of today's fairy tales are helping to slay the dragons. They have drive, spunk and courage. They don't wait for things to change. They look for solutions. I like to think that today's woman doesn't get her self confidence from feeling "pretty" but from being a total bad ass.

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Dragon

I'm sharing this because there's been a lot of talk about dragons online. There have also been a lot of comparisons between dragons and princesses, princes and knights. I often have a hard time relating to these comparisons because I never saw myself as a princess, prince or knight. I always saw myself as a dragon. I was born in the Chinese sign of the fire dragon and in the east, that is a very lucky and healthy omen. Dragons are not something to be feared, but something to be admired. The following is taken from my spirit animal log which I've been keeping in private. I shared some of my spiritual animal journeys in an earlier post, around the time when I started journeying again. I added some extra thoughts and meditations to the comment section but decided to keep a personal log on my own after that. That blog can be found here:


What people connect with spiritually is personal to them so I hope everyone can respect my own spiritual revelations whether they can relate to them or not.



I went into another trance. I felt myself becoming younger and for a moment, I tried to find an older version of me, someone with experience. For a moment, the younger and older me were holding hands but it ended up being the younger me again, as if this is who I am deep inside and who I’d always be but the two still talked to each other as we journeyed downward. I am always reminded in these meditations, that it is the youngest me who is wisest and closest to the source of truth.

When we reached the bottom, there was something there, like a giant, nearly hatched egg, all feathers and ooze. It was breathing and alive but still somewhat dormant. I stepped on it as it took up the entire ground of the tree I had descended. When it woke, it grew into something enormous and I knew I had found my fire dragon. I embraced it as it rose to the sky and brought me wherever I asked, into space and many dimensions.

I asked about a friend who needed guidance and it said that she was a powerful feeler, perhaps an empath like me and she could let her painful emotions destroy her from the inside or she could make the choice to tap into their power and be an outward force in the world.

During our journey, I saw the eagle, raven and wolf but they only played cameo roles. The dragon made it clear that they are me and I am them and that it was everything. I was riding the dragon at first, then it swallowed me and my other spirit animals. Then I realized that I simply was the dragon.

The dragon seemed to say that once I understood that we are all one and once I felt comfortable seeing the universe and all dimensions as all encompassing, then nothing can harm me. All my choices will be correct and I will be all powerful and knowing because I will be free of doubt. I could feel the dragon's mythical and unstoppable power while I embodied its spirit.

Since then I’ve been more accepting of my place in the universe and I’ve learned to trust it more. I’m starting to understand what surrendering to God means. I’m realizing that everything that happens, happens for a reason and I must learn from my experiences and live them out, rather than finding ways to control or change everything (like my dreams of the future) just to test my power.

Suddenly, this Willam Cowper poem comes to mind:

1     God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.
2    Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sov’reign will.
3     Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.
    Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
    His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flow’r.

    Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.


All the illustrations on this blog are just sketches I did for fun.



Saturday, June 13, 2015

On Writing, Courage and Solitude

While visiting relatives in Michigan, I'm happy to learn that there is a serene pond right outside of the complex. Writing by this pond would be my daily ritual if I lived here. Its so still and peaceful at this time. The lake is clear and reflective with only some green algae spotting the view. The ducks play and seem to go about their own business with a particular ease, though one territorial geese hissed at me as I walked by it and its family. There's a little island in the middle of the pond which helps create the feeling of solitude.This could be Walden and I could be Henry David Thoeau. I love that his idea of living life deeply and sucking the marrow out of life is to go to the forest and be by oneself.



To write is a great and brave endeavor. Do not underestimate the courage it takes to sit in solitude and speak the truth, creating universes as a God would, or fight for what one believes in with the mighty use of a pen. The pen and the keyboard can create great cultural shifts and social awareness as did Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin"; predict the future as Jules Verne has done with his science fiction; open the eyes of a generation as Steven Hawking has done with his, "A Brief History of Time"; or overthrow governments as Thomas Paine did with his pamphlet, "Common Sense."

At a time in history where everyone is connected to the web and needs constant attention, it takes courage to find the solitude it takes to create--not to just say, "I will create--" but to actually create something original, something worthy of all the karmic experiences we as individuals have accumulated. It takes courage to have a voice, whether its an inspiring spiritual work, a universe creating peace of fiction, a social commentary or a work of taboo exploration that society would rather we censor. We are speaking our truth and what is alive within us.

It takes courage to read as well. To read something all the way through takes depth and reflection. You have to dive deep and experience someone else's point of view. Its not just a passing glance or an acknowledgement. Its an adventure, and it starts here, with me sitting alone but not feeling lonely. To write, one must be okay with that and even seek it out. And once we do learn to still our  minds and appreciate the little things we never noticed before, all the power of the creative self starts pouring through, a mighty gift to the world.

"The root of the word courage is cor - the Latin word for heart.In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant 'To speak one's mind by telling all one's heart.' Over time, this definition has changed and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strengtha nd level of commitment requjired for us to actually speak honestly and opely abotu who we are and about our experiences--good and bad. S[eaking from our hearts is what I think of as 'ordinary courage'" --Brene Brown



Sunday, May 31, 2015

Ghosts, Mediums, Murder, Desire and more FREE STUFF!!!!!

I just want to let everyone know about some free fiction I have published that is available to everyone.

The most recent story is a paranormal romance which is appropriate for general audiences.
SHE TALKS TO GHOSTS is about a young lady who communicates with ghosts better than she communicates with people. One day she is drawn to a beautiful spirit who happens to be undead. But why can't this spirit stay within the confines of its own body, like the other living humans? Why does it seem to be missing a piece? Gina is determined to understand this spirit, who turns out to be more important than she expected.

Follow Gina into a tale of love and loss as she revives memories, heals hearts and helps to balance the elements.

You can read this story for free by clicking HERE
or by copying and pasting this address to your browser window
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/545337

The other story is adult content and is for adults only.

THE CONFESSIONAL is about a priest who's most punctual and sinfully lustful confessor stops coming. When this happens, he's convinced that she was murdered by her sadistic lover. Determined to solve the mystery, his journey into the secret life of this enigmatic woman leads to a tangled web of sex, violence and dark secrets about him and the woman he has always loved.

You can read this story for free by clicking HERE
Or by copying and pasting this address to your browser window:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/473162

If you liked these stories, feel free to purchase my novels on paperback or ebook.
ENLIGHTENED ONES reveals the tangled web of secrets and personal stories of the members of a powerful, brainwashing cult.
Betrayal is not an option


To sample or purchase this book on Smashwords, click HERE
Or by copying and pasting this address to your browser window:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/310996
To sample or purchase this book on Amazon, click HERE
or by copying and pasting this address to your browser window
http://www.amazon.com/Enlightened-Ones-Lacey-Reah/dp/1300483644/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1433125536&sr=8-1&keywords=lacey+reah

My other novel is an erotica that is only available for adult audiences.
FIREFLIES is about a calculating, career-driven woman whose perfect world is shattered when she is seduced and transformed by a vampire-like creature called a nymphomite. Linda becomes a beast, feeding off the energy of orgasmic ally-charged blood. Convinced that her humanity has faded away, Linda adapts to her new instincts of hunger and sex. She hunts woman, primarily for their longer and more frequent orgasms, and becomes a master of prolonging and intensifying their pleasure. But she never expected to find a woman like Jesse, and Linda's decision to spare her life instead of feed off her leads to a shocking turn of events that will make Linda question her beast-like identity and the humanity she thought she had lost.

To sample or purchase this book on Smashwords, click HERE
Or by copying and pasting this address to your browser window:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/71952
To sample or purchase this book on Amazon, click HERE
Or by copying and pasting this address to your browser window:
http://www.amazon.com/Fireflies-Lacey-Reah/dp/145028163X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1433124869&sr=8-2&keywords=lacey+reah

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Happiness?

Without getting too personal, I’ll just say that I’ve had more changes of fortune this year than I’ve bargained for. I’d like to thank all my friends for their patience and support. Now that the s*%@$ has hit the fan, I’m surprised to find myself actually happy. I’ve been poor before, but still happy with nothing left to lose. I didn’t know I was happy at the time. It’s funny how we don’t realize how much we’ve taken for granted until we look back. Why make those mistakes again? I’ve lost so much on a throw of a dice and a turn of fate. There’s no point in looking back on investments that no longer matter anymore. The past will never come back. It’s like an unrequited love. There’s no point in obsessing over it. It doesn’t care about you.

            I noticed something about us silly humans. When we have time, freedom, and nothing to lose; instead of enjoying our freedom, we worry about having nothing. When we have something to lose, we worry about losing it or how we can get more of it. When we are in a relationship, we complain about how stifling it is. When we are single, instead of enjoying our freedom, we pine over not being in a relationship. We force our kids to grow up and once that happens, we regret they ever did. When on a vacation, we dread going back to work. When we are at work, we wish we were on vacation. All the time we are regretting our past or worried about our future. We fight to keep our status, our jobs and our power. We forget that these things don’t really matter. We even forsake those we love and let the other stuff ruin our moods.

            When your spouse loses his/her job, instead of worrying and nagging him about getting a new one, tell him that you will smother him with as much love as you can while you have him. She’ll get a job eventually and when she does, you’ll be sad that she’ll no longer have time for you. Spend time with your kids when that big deal or your clients cancel. They’ll stop being bad just to get your attention. Take some time to meditate, smell the flowers, watch the sunset and remember what Mary Anne Radmacher said, “that no day is wasted in which a single moment is spent on love”


Friday, May 1, 2015

Eternal Recurrence



The greatest weight.-- 



What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: 



"This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence - even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!"

Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus?


Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: "You are a God and never have I heard anything more divine.” 

If this thought gained possession of you, it would change you as you are or perhaps crush you...

 Or how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal?

from Nietzsche's The Gay Science, s.341, Walter Kaufmann transl.



The illustration is from 

DOUG McCUNE 



One of the things I love about Nietzsche is his unpretentiousness. He criticizes our view of the world quite harshly but he does it with depth, candor and an acceptance of his own eccentricities and the eccentricities of the human race.
In short, he's honest and invites us to not just rationalize life, as many philosophies do, but to look deeper, to understand that our motives aren't always pure but that they are human.

Thought experiments like this remind me that we can't rationalize everything. Some things are best understood with a question or a story. More than anything, he invites us to love life and to live for the present.

So, what would you do if this happened to you?
Would you curse the demon or thank it?
If you had to live life all over again and couldn't change anything, you couldn't rely on the promise of an afterlife. You can't even rely on reincarnation or the hope of coming back as something better.
No, this concept forces us to shift our perspective. There is no future, only an eternal now. Time is not linear but cyclical.
If the only thing you could change was your attitude, how would you choose to look at your life?
Would you choose to be stoic and cold?
Would you watch everything as one watches a movie, with the detachment of a Zen monk or would you passionately throw yourself into every moment and relive the joy and pain?
Would you love the spider and moonlight more?
Would you suck the marrow out of this repetitive cycle?
Would you appreciate or pay attention more?
Would you be more relaxed?
Would you be constantly laughing, delighting at this eternal joke?
When its over, will you torment yourself with the thought of having to go through it all again?
Will you sigh in boredom, "oh boy, here we go again."
Or will you enthusiastically scream, "what a ride! Let's do it again!"
I know my answer, as I'm pretty sure this isn't my first time around, and I'm pretty sure I know Nietzsche's.
What's yours?

Monday, March 23, 2015

There is a Man

There is a man who waits for me
Beyond the shadow of the door.
I do not know why he's there.
I do not know what he's meant for.
I try to crawl towards his spirit.
I try to scream and ask him why.
But he just stands in perfect stature 
And only looks me in the eye

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Art is What Makes Life Worth Living

“Art is what makes life worth living,” my kung fu master said, looking straight into my eyes. He knew my story. As I approached the end of my thirties I felt a real need to test myself and pursued full contact competitive fighting. I worked with an MMA coach and learned the sport which incorporated wrestling, Brazilian jujitsu, muay thai and boxing but things didn’t quite work out and in the end, I started hating it. I had to quit. You can’t hate something you love. You just can’t let that happen to yourself.

So it hit me hard when I decided to go back to kung fu (the art of my youth) with the less lofty goal of finding the love and fun in it again, only to hear my kung fu master tell me that I focused too much on competition and not enough on the art.
“Fighting destroys us,” he said, “and you know this from your writing and painting--Art is what makes life worth living.”

Earlier in the week, an online friend of mine shared with me a psychology article that broke down the process of creativity to help artists deal with the extreme emotions they go through. Just a few days before, a friend told me about an artist who committed suicide. “Art is madness,” he said. I never saw it that way.

I snuffed the clinical article that tried to generalize the complex emotions of human beings and I questioned my friend’s assertion that art is madness, something that the article also implied. I think about all the times in my life that art has saved me from madness. Aren’t we all a little mad, and if we didn’t have a creative outlet, what would happen to us?

Art isn’t madness. Art is what makes life worth living. Can you imagine a world without music, dance, crafts, abstraction, movies, festivals, imagination or art? How would we cope? How would we learn? What would motivate or inspire us? How would we court our lovers? How would we teach our children? What would comfort us when we feel lonely?



I once had a friend tell me that she resolved to only read books that would help her with her work. I said, “But that’s no fun.” The greatest lessons I ever learned, I learned from reading fiction or stories. All great leaders, teachers, scientists and more saw whatever they did, not as a work but as art. The greatest movers and thinkers in history were also well rounded artists. It seems to me that denying creativity is denying the very process in which our brain works. We disconnect from everything that makes us who we are.

Art isn’t madness. Art is meditation.  We take the emotions and chaos and turn it into beauty and form. We make sense of the things that we can’t make sense of any other way and this takes discipline. A musician doesn’t just know how to play an instrument. He/she has to practice many hours in peace. One has to get lost in ones discipline in order to express oneself in a way that creates beauty. Without this discipline, everything would be madness.

I think art is often confused with ambition. Ambition is what ruins artists, this desire to be the best in a subjective world. Something happens when marketing a book or becoming world champion becomes more important than the joy and tranquility of just doing what we have always loved doing. And at some point, we artists go through a little crisis. We realize that we’ve lost sight of what it was all about and we have to find ourselves again. At some point, it becomes all about making it to the top and we lose a bit of our souls. Art isn’t madness, ambition is. The thing I learned from competitive fighting is you can’t be successful unless you’re disciplined in your art and you’re passionate about what you do. That’s what keeps us doing what we do, regardless of the trials and tribulations, the rejections and the failures. If it’s just work, we wouldn’t do it. We do it because we love it, because it’s what makes life worth living. Success is just a side effect, not of hard work but of playing hard out of passion and joy for what we do.



A few years ago, I knew a very talented musician who played a killer upright bass. He was hired to play bass for a rock band and he invited me to some kind of retreat in upstate New York for the weekend. I had no idea what it was about but I decided to go. He explained to me that this group of musicians were past their prime. They eventually got jobs as lawyers or what not, but they realized that they still loved playing for their friends. In fact, they decided that it wasn’t worth playing for anyone else. So they pitched in and bought a house in the woods together and that’s where we were headed. There were a bunch of people hanging out in the house and we all brought sleeping bags. We just chilled out during the day and someone bought some pottery to paint. It was drizzling outside but I couldn’t stand to be cooped up so I played volleyball in the rain with my friend.

I made many new friends, all friendly and outgoing people. There was a woman who was exceptionally hypnotic. I remember a butterfly landing right on her finger, inviting her friend to take pictures. She had a fire to her that was instantly noticeable. People referred to her as "the voice" and I didn’t understand why until much later. She explained the life they used to live, touring from town to town playing rock and roll. She said that they were loved everywhere they went but it was a tougher crowd in the big cities where good ole’ rock and roll was overshadowed by other types of music. We asked if it was too much, being on the road all the time. She said that she was built for it but eventually, other members of the band settled down. I thought she looked very young. An acting coach once told me that singers and actors always look young, even though they drink and smoke and party all night. It’s because they breathe so deep.

That night, I found out why I was really there. One of the band members brewed some mushroom tea. We drank and had some barbecue from the large fire pit and everyone ushered me into the big red barn outside. They turned the barn into a stage and they played for their biggest fans, their friends. They were good, real good and the woman had a unique voice, a mix of Janis Joplin and Axl Rose. It was good ole rock and roll and it made me move and scream and whoop. Why had I never heard of them? It takes a lot to be the best in the world,and sometimes you have to be willing to deal with a lot of politics, but there’s talent everywhere. Some people just decide that they’d rather just play for their friends.




A nurse once wrote an article about people’s dying words in a hospital. The top regret she heard from men was that they wished they never worked too much. In the end of the life, what really matters, how hard you worked or how well you played for your friends and family?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

PERSPECTIVE: Life, The Universe and Everything


On New year’s day, we went to the Griffith Park Observatory, a great way to put the new year and the universe as we know it into perspective. I remember when they closed it down for five years of renovations after being open since 1935. Supposedly, Griffith J. Griffith saw the work they were doing with the giant telescopes and thought, “If all mankind could look through that telescope, it would change the world.” He started a fund that opened the observatory to the public for free.

During the renovations, they dug underneath the building and added a lower floor. On the walls is a giant picture of a small slice of the universe, taken from the observatory’s super telescope. It only covers the amount that your finger would cover if you held it up a foot in front of your eyes.

To help illustrate this, here is a picture of Einstein doing it.



Here is a picture of the sky map from the balcony. It consists of about a million galaxies, hundreds of thousands of stars and about a thousand quasars. Imagine how many fingers it would take to cover what we see with our eyes from earth and how many more galaxies, stars and quasars that would cover. 
Sorry, my camera is crappy



Here is one a little closer up.



            Isn’t it funny how realizing how terribly insignificant we are in relation to the universe can make us better people? It must be true. The place was packed on New Year ’s Day. They even had to close the streets off for a while. Finding a new year’s resolution seems comical when you know that the lifetime of man is barely a millisecond compared to the life of our galaxy.



How does realizing how terribly insignificant we are change the world?

For fifteen hundred years, western man believed that all heavenly objects revolved around the earth, a pretty egotistical perspective. But could they help it? It’s not like we could take our eyes and throw it up into space to use a different perspective. There is also something fairly comforting about being the center of the universe, but is it really? Copernicus was shunned for asserting that the earth actually revolved around the sun and Galileo was almost killed in the inquisition for daring to agree with him hundreds of years later, and this was after he invented the telescope. This begs the question, why were people so threatened when someone questioned their beliefs, even to the point of torturing those who disagreed with a scientific theory?

When it became common knowledge that the earth actually revolved around the sun, we became a little less significant, no longer the center of the whole universe, and when we learned that we are just on a small planet in one galaxy among billions of other galaxies full of their own suns and planets expanding through space matter, we became even less significant.

Since we don’t have the technology to travel through these many galaxies, all we know about space is mostly through mathematics and with all the new computer devices we have for calculations, we are challenging long standing theories more and more, but in the end one has to ask oneself, what do we really know?


While the ancient Greeks debated about the earth and the sun the Vedic preists of India recorded these words:

“None can know from where creation has arisen, and whether he has or has not produced it. He who surveys it in the highest heavens, He alone knows-or perhaps does not know." (Rig Veda 10. 129)

The Puranic Hindus seem to have had more perspective than the Greeks. This is taken from Wikipedia but I ordered myself a copy of the Padma Purana so I can site this for myself one day:
The puranic view asserts that the universe is created, destroyed, and re-created in an eternally repetitive series of cycles. In Hindu cosmology, a universe endures for about 4,320,000,000 years (one day of Brahma, the creator or kalpa) and is then destroyed by fire or water elements. At this point, Brahma rests for one night, just as long as the day. This process, named pralaya (literally especial dissolution in Sanskrit, commonly translated as Cataclysm), repeats for 100 Brahma years (311 Trillion, 40 Billion Human Years) that represents Brahma's lifespan. Brahma is regarded as a manifestation of Brahman as the creator.
Only some Puranas describe a universe that is cyclical or oscillating and infinite in time. The universe is described as a cosmic egg that cycles between expansion and total collapse. It expanded from a concentrated form — a point called a Bindu. The universe, as a living entity, is bound to the perpetual cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.
The Hindus were saying that time is an illusion, thousands of years before Einstein’s theory of relativity:
Space and time are considered to be maya (illusion). What looks like 100 years in the cosmos of Brahma could be thousands of years in other worlds, millions of years in some other worlds and 311 trillion and 40 billion years for our solar system and earth.

If the ancient Indians believed we were so insignificant that even this age of man is nothing more than a microscopic speck of ages within ages of universes that will be destroyed and renewed, expanded and contracted, how does this help us with our own suffering?

Perhaps it helped that they believed in many universes and in atoms that split off and passed within and through us. They mention parallel universes and different probabilities where you may be a queen in one life and a beggar in another. One of the layers of the universes is called “false ego.”

There is something about realizing that we are not the center of the universe but that we are a part of it. We are all made of star dust. The same laws that govern the cosmos govern us but the most important thing is to know that we could be wrong at any moment. My life has been a search for truth and nothing satisfies me more than having my whole perception shattered. Only then do I feel like I’m learning something. It’s very different from others who get angry when they realize that everything they believed turned out to be false. I worship those who prove me wrong, but others would have them burned at the stake.

I guess, that’s false ego, the idea that everything you know is correct. Of course, not everyone in ancient Greece was ruled by their need to be the center of the universe.
A friend of Greek philosopher, Socrates asked the oracle of Delphi, "Is anyone wiser than Socrates?" The answer was: "No human is wiser."

Socrates went around looking for someone wiser than he. How could he be the wisest man when he knew that he knew nothing? All he came across were a bunch of intellects who thought they knew everything. He came to the conclusion that he must be wiser than they because he, at least, knew that he knew nothing.



How the ancient Hindus knew so much about modern cosmology is beyond me but they also had this belief that ego is the great enemy of knowledge. Although they had ideas about how their universe was created, they still admitted that they could be wrong. In their spiritual practice or yoga, they made it a point to destroy all self perception that they were the center of the universe so they could see things as they truly were. Poetry was considered the highest way of communicating. Unlike today’s scientists, they used Gods and archetypes, symbols and metaphors but that is the great gift of the human mind. We can think in the abstract and use symbols to portray and communicate that which is too big for the ego to grasp.

Even Buddha wasn’t known to have found “enlightenment” until he finally gave up on finding enlightenment.

He also said, 
“In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.” 
Imagine how much less hate and war there would be in the world if we all understood this illusion.

As insignificant as I am, there is something life affirming about knowing that I’m not the center of everything. Maybe I’m not right about the petty little arguments of life. Maybe I can lighten up a bit, forgive people more, keep seeing the universe through the eyes of a child. Maybe I can stop acting old and jaded, like someone who has seen it all. Maybe I haven’t seen it all. Maybe I should take up a new subject, dance in the rain more and never stop searching for a truth I will never find because I always know that I know nothing. In other words, I should never stop living life to its fullest. 


And maybe I should keep writing poetry and start liking math more and just appreciate how these arts can take me outside of myself and help me transcend time and space. And with all that, all I have left to say is Happy New Year!

I leave you with a quote from the wise existential poet, EE Cumings:
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

Monday, December 22, 2014

My Shamanic Journey Log (Spirit Animals) P.S. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

It's the Winter Solstice, a time to look back on our lives and set our intentions for the future. It's also a new moon, another great time to sent intentions. I really debated whether or not to post this log publicly because its VERY personal. I'm sure there are things here that only I will understand but I thought, what the heck. I've always had a deep reverence and love for the nature and Shamanism has always given me a spiritual connection to this part of me. The following are some notes I took based on some recent shamanic journeys I had. The first one goes back, almost twenty years. The last one goes as far back as last Sunday.

            I went running in the back trails and couldn’t help noticing the ravens again, speaking so loudly in their eloquent caws and clicks. One flew so low, I fell in love with the graceful way it glided and its gorgeous shimmery plumage, blacker than night. I watched how they met and flew, dance and mated. One would let out five caws and I’d here another answer back with five caws. Then seven caws, then four, then four, then seven, almost like the syllables of a poem. Even the clicks and trills had a symphonic rhythm.

            The ravens have appeared to me so much in the past few weeks, I decided to go on a shamanic journey and see if they were trying to tell me something.
            The first time I went on a journey to find my spiritual animal totem, I was about twenty years old. My friends and I journeyed through the Malibu national forest protected land until we found a sand cave that we visited when we wanted to connect with nature. The cave was never the same each time we saw it. It was made of sand and was full of carvings. It had a hole on top and many ashes in the middle where people had bon fires. You could tell by the types of carvings on the inside of the cave, that it attracted all kinds. My friend always sealed the hiking trail with some kind of “magic” spell so no one would bother us. Strangely enough, no one ever did. On the night of the shamanic journey, my other friend brought his own hand made drums. The beating of those drums would lead me deep into my subconscious and out into the unknown.

            He beat the drum during the meditation and I found myself going into some opening in the ground where I saw many animals. Before the journey, I thought that maybe the tiger would be my spirit animal. I really enjoyed the tiger style when I studied kung fu and some of my friends called me “tigress” but I was open to anything. I passed many animals, giraffes, dear, squirrels, even a lioness that felt very maternal but who told me I wasn’t ready for her yet. I kept asking each one of them if they were my spirit animal. When I saw the eagle, I didn’t have a chance to ask it anything because it grabbed me by its claws and swooped me up into the sky before I had a chance. I was told that I could ask my spirit animal anything I wished to know but first I relished in its flight and watched the figures beneath me grow smaller and smaller. I saw the lights of the city and its many hills and valleys. The view was amazing and humbling.

I decided to ask the eagle what would happen if I fall. Suddenly, it let me go and I sped to the ground. When I hit the grassy bottom hard, I laughed and thought, “that’s all?” Then the eagle picked me up again. “How far can we go?” I asked. I think the beat of the drum had changed rhythm somewhere in the background and my whole psyche was on the brink of something. The eagle took me up, past the sky and clouds, I found myself in outer space, surrounded by darkness and stars. The eagle just kept going, took me all the way up to the sun which blazed in its enormity and indescribable light. Then, the eagle left me there and went away. Strangely enough, I was not afraid. I was awestruck but fearless, floating there in the middle of the cosmos, experiencing the magnificence of the universe and my minute place within it.

This was the gift of wisdom the eagle brought me. This was the power that gave me the courage to journey by myself to the other side of the country, pay may way through school through odd jobs and pursue my dreams. The eagle can see the big picture and that ability to step outside myself and above any pettiness that might cause me to lose my way. It helped me survive the ghetto without ever losing site of what I wanted. But sometimes, the eagle can be a bit of a hermit and hold itself to a much higher standard.

***

Fifteen years later, a mother with a family to raise, I wanted to reconnect with my animal totems. I knew there was more to me than the eagle and I was curious as to what spirit could help me in my circumstances. My friend, who led me through the first shamanic journey years before was also married with his own family. We no longer had the freedom to journey into the woods late at night on a whim, but he still offered his spiritual services in the guise of a CD with shamanic drums recorded on them. I played the drums and found myself diving deep into the ocean.

It was the whale who drew me there and we swam together, side by side. She felt so warm and compassionate, unlike the strong, intellectual eagle whose plane was everything in the air and above. That whale took me into a dark voyage deep into the reaches of my subconscious, a place so deeply personal I can barely describe it. I’m sure I wrote about it and maybe that journal entry is buried somewhere in a box with my other writings. I must say, the realm of the ocean was scarier than the realm above the earth but with the whale by my side I was not afraid of what I had to face deep within myself.
I did manage to write two books under the guidance of the whale, so dark and sensual, yet, so maternal and warm.

***

Five years later, I’m seeing ravens everywhere and I know I have to learn what they are trying to tell me. I do a search on youtube for spiritual animal drumming. I only have a bit of time, being a working mom. I find the perfect video, a woman with a drum and she leads me through it while I sit in a cross legged position in front of the screen.

I remember it as if it were yesterday, because I just did it yesterday. Lol. First I went into the underworld and found myself entombed in the plane of the spirits and of nature. In my first shamanic journey, I approached each animal cautiously, politely asking them if they were my spirit animal. This time, I reconnected with each of them as if they were long lost friends. I rolled in the long grass and scurried with the bugs. I ran on hands and feet with the dear and rolled with the playful coyotes. I waved “hi” to the whale as it swam past me in the ocean. I knew they were all part of me in some form or another and after all these years, I have become comfortable with this.

It’s the wolf that catches my attention, its eyes burning with a ferocity I relate with and it walks by my side, promising me that it will protect me no matter what. I was always the cautious type keeping my space and analyzing things keenly before approaching. This mentality has kept me alive, especially when I was young starving artist living in the ghetto.

Then the raven finds me, cawing and chattering as it does in real life. What is it trying to tell me? We walk through the realms, past the animals and I’m aware that I’m not in the air on in the water. I’m on the ground, being protected by the wolf and the raven is telling me that there is some way of living in between the worlds without having to constantly split off my personality. Maybe she’s also telling me that I need to learn to communicate better as being either deep in the ocean or high above everyone has cut me off from the rest of mankind. This is probably the hardest thing for me to do, live between the realms and something about the raven is teaching me that there are realms between realms that we can’t even see, ways of shifting through atoms and jumping between universes. The wolf is telling me that this is a dangerous endeavor because I can no longer hide in my subconscious or escape into the stars, observing mankind from the outside. Yet, I’ll be okay because the wolf will never let anything happen to me.

I know the raven is a messenger between the dead and the living and there have been some strange deaths lately. I do remember getting a reading done when I was young and the raven came up as my spirit animal. I think its teaching me to find the intuition I had as a child, something I learned to suppress because I feared its power. I know the raven has always been here, even as a child. I wish the journey could have been longer but it was a timed journey and I found myself coming back to reality as we know it. I’ll definitely be exploring more of what the raven is trying to teach me. Lord knows they’re everywhere. The moment I step outside, there is always one in site.

***

When I told my son about this, he looked up the youtube video and wanted to try it so we went back to the underworld. I saw the raven and the wolf again. The raven was trying to tell me something. It liked to talk in its own language and I think it was saying “look look. There’s something important you’re not seeing.” When it flew it didn’t pick me up. I flew behind it, knowing my own way of taking flight. I flew into the sky and realized I didn’t need the raven. I flew into the minds of some of my friends.

***

Yesterday I went to the trail where I do the sprints, surprised that the ravens didn’t greet me as soon as I entered the trail. As I ran, I could feel the spirit of the wolf near me. I thought that it would be funny if I suddenly saw a wolf though there aren’t any wolves in these parts. Strangely enough, a lone wolf appeared. It stood about fifty yards away. I gazed at it, admiring its beauty. At some point our eyes met and it turned away. I started wondering if this wolf really did come out of the woodwork. We get coyotes around here, but I don’t think we get wolves. A bunch of other dogs started to show up with their owners and I continued with my workout. The dogs started to play with each other and I saw a woman standing alone with her dog on a leash. Was that the wolf I saw?

I asked her what kind of dog it was and she told me it was a Czechoslovakian wolf dog. When I remarked of its beauty, she told me that it had problems. “Like what?” I asked. She told me it liked to be alone and didn’t like other dogs and people. Yet, as the other dogs played and I stood there in front of it, the dog seemed perfectly calm. I never heard it utter a sound.

When I got home, I decided to do another shamanic journey, still a bit disappointed that I didn’t spend enough time with the wolf. I found a drumming meditation that didn’t involve a guided voice and put myself in another trance.

This time, as I journeyed into the underworld, I feel myself growing younger. I open a door in the middle of the woods and see it is a child’s hand that is opening it. I can’t be more than five years old now. When I go down, I find myself in a dark place, a cave of sorts, similar to the real cave where I did my first journey. I see the raven and the wolf, but first I walk by a sleeping tiger. In another corner, there is a dark beast, so dark and large, I can’t describe it specifically. I recognize it from a journey I went on many years ago. This was once the beast that (according to an old meditation) represented my fears and anger. I fed this beast and tamed it a long time ago. It sat there, murmuring in a deep growling noise. I walked up to it and it opened up, so I stepped inside. I went inside the beast.

Only the raven went with me. It didn’t pick me up as the eagle had. It merely stayed by my side as I flew and floated inside the large cosmos that made up the innards of the beast. It insisted that I could do all the flying myself. Unlike the eagle, it didn’t show me the view from up high or take me into the atmosphere of space. It started showing me the realms between the worlds, the different dimensions and astral planes. I saw myself as a child seeing myself as an adult and saw myself as a child seeing my adult self visit my adolescent self to tell me about my future husband and even to warn me about hurting him and I asked the raven which future self is this? The raven said that it was never a real future self, but only the future self my child self interpreted to be a future self back when I could see the future. But the child could only see things from her very inexperienced perspective. Still, I entered this journey as that child, the only one who could still parallel universe travel and I asked the raven about other astral realms and it started to take me to a blue part of the sky. I think we entered a square to get there. I wish I can remember or describe what was there but I can’t. The raven flew me through times, through perspectives, through between worlds and as the drum started calling me back, I found myself flying back from the beast which I viewed with much greater respect and affection. I was back in the cave, trying to ask the raven one more question before I had to go back. I asked it why the tiger was sleeping and as I approached it to wake it up, it stirred and for the first time. I was hesitant, wondering if it was ready to wake up and wondering what it represented. But the drums called me back to this world and I had somewhere to go anyway.

Looking back on the last journey, I feel a lot more at ease with a power I always feared in a strange way. It became clear to me, more than ever, that there is nothing to fear. There are only things we don’t understand, but once we understand them, there is no more to fear. It’s out in the light. We fear powerful predators such as tigers but once we understand their place in the order of the world, that fear turns to love and admiration. We fear the parts of ourselves that are capable of anything because we are attached to the insecurity of fear. At least, that’s how I see it. There are ways of looking at things that can give us perspective. When I was young, I stepped outside and saw the world from great heights. Then I went into the oceans and into my own soul. Then, I decided to look in between and see how it’s all somehow connected. I have to remind myself that I’ll always have this ability to stand back and see the big picture. I’ll always have the ability to go deep within. There will be times in my life where I might be confused about my place, times between phases where I might not know what I want. I have to remember my ability to meditate and go on journeys and I’m pretty sure that when that regal, powerful tiger wakes, she’ll be unstoppable.


"We meet ourselves time and time again in a thousand disguises on the path of life." --Carl Jung