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

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Demons, Angels, Karma and More Complicated Crap

I just heard the song “Demons” by Imagine Dragons on the radio for the millionth time and I had to ask myself, why am not sick of this song yet? The answer is perfectly obvious. Everyone loves this song because everyone has demons.

I have a feeling I’m going to get a bit dark and deep here today, a bit insane like I do in my novels and stories because it is my intention to state exactly what those demons are, but stick with me. I promise there’s a light side to all this. At least, I think there is. Everyone says they have demons, that they fight with them, wrestle with them or have to figure out a way to manage them but no one will say what they are. They wouldn't dare. I’m going to try to name them.

There’s a funny meme that goes something like, “I don’t just mess up once. I mess up at least five times just to make sure.” A friend of mine saw this and said that he usually gets it the first time he makes a mistake which is a great trait to have. I honestly said, “yeah, me too except this one thing.”
He replied, honestly as well, “actually, I have some things like that and they can be pretty devastating.”

Thus the demon hides in some karmic flaw, that one thing we just can’t fix. Everyone knows we have this flaw that we can’t change it, yet it can be “pretty devastating.” It’s that lesson God or nature keeps throwing at you and because you never learn it, you have to keep reliving it. It’s not a punishment per se. You burned your hand countless of times, but you keep putting your hand in the flame because you just can’t help it. You like fire. Over time you hate yourself and some people resent you for being this way. How many times do we have to tell you to stop putting your damn hand in the fire? But there it is.

That’s just one kind of demon. There are also those horrible childhood memories of abandonment or abuse. There are those past lovers or friends who jilted you or betrayed your trust. Are these demons? I gave it some thought and I guess maybe they can be demons. More than that, our fear and insecurity that stems from such situations are demons. Our fears and insecurities are probably our greatest demons of all, which is why we keep putting our hand in the fire. Maybe we’re just afraid not to because the fire is all we know.

Demons love fear and insecurities. Why else do we overly possess and protect our kids and lovers to the point of pain? Why else do people cheat and keep lovers, little safety nets on the side? Why else do people hang on to addictions as their own escape from a realty that is too frightful to face? Anger is just a reaction to fear. We fight and get aggressive because we sense danger, thus making stupid decisions. Fear and insecurity is like an open invitation for our demons to arrive. Demons really dig that stuff.

I thought a bit about what demons might look like. I figure, they could be really scary because they’re our worst fears, the kind we just can’t overcome. So they might be like a dark blob that cover us and we can’t see clearly because we are bathing in fear and stormy emotions.

But then I thought that maybe demons look the opposite. They are like the most beautiful things ever, like a trillion dollars or a ton of ice cream that we just can’t get enough of, until we realize that we had too much and we just want to puke. They are so beautiful that we can’t turn away. Reality seems so boring or they are the addictions we cling to so we can escape a reality that is much scarier.

There are the shadow demons, the shadow of our parents, ancestors or culture. These demons demand that you live up to the shadows of your elders or live down the infamy of their sins. Will you continue the cycle of violence that your family has created? Will you live up to your father’s expectations? Will you make up for the disappointments they had in themselves? Are you really as useless as they all make you feel you are? Why couldn't you make that soccer goal? The shadow demons pressure us to be someone we’re not and make us desperate to find out who is in there, beyond the shadow.

Then there are those invisible demons, the ones we never knew were there, until we do something totally stupid, hurt someone we love, act out in violence, risk something we know is really important or burn our bridges just so we could satisfy our ego. Then we wonder, what the hell was I thinking? Where did that come from?

There are so many things that demons can be but one thing is for sure, we struggle with them and they haunt us. We’re not always a hundred percent sure what they are but we know they’re there.

So what’s the light side to this? Well, I figure we’re all in this together. We just have to remember that. We have to accept the fact that we all have demons. We can’t judge each other by them. Sure, some people have more demons than others but we are all fighting our own battles and when we look at each other, we should accept that.

No one is one hundred percent innocent and we shouldn't expect ourselves to be, nor should we expect that from others. We can encourage each other to keep trying to be better but if you look at everyone with eyes that are trying to measure them up for morality, that’s your demon. Give me someone who puts on a mask of moral purity and I see someone who has the darkest demons to hide. Look at Bill Cosby and what is happening to him now. No one is innocent, not even the king of family values and wholesome comedy.

You can’t fight demons with demons. You can’t end demonic possession with anger or judgment or fear. Demons just feed off of that stuff. They love wars and insecurities and fights and anger. It just makes them bigger and more powerful.

From what I've gleaned in life and I've seen more than I let on, the only thing that tames a demon is forgiveness. The only angels I've ever seen are those who accept people, for who they are, give them a big hug and say, “I forgive you. It’s okay. We can work through this.”

I’m not saying that you have to let demonically possessed people walk all over you. If you have to keep your distance for your own safety, do so. But forgive them. Don’t burden them or yourself with more anger and more demons. Forgiveness is that higher ground that people are always talking about. I’ve had to forgive some horrible things in my life, things I can’t mention and it really was the only way out, the only escape from something that will suck you dry and keep you mired in one place for the rest of your life if you don’t move on. You have to forgive yourself too, because demons love nothing more than someone writhing in their own disgust and self hatred. Sometimes we have to just admit that we’re insecure, broken or afraid and so is everyone else. We’re in this together.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Nature and Silence

            I was doing hill sprints at hiking trail I just discovered, when I had to stop and take notice of a raven that sat in a tree. It just sat there and I wondered if it was looking at me. I noticed it because of the sound it made, a guttural knocking sound;  five beats in a unique rhythm. I wondered if it could pass as Morse code. For a moment, I wondered what it was trying to say.

            They say that ravens are intelligent birds with a complex spoken language. Funny how when you notice one thing, it leads right up to another. Who was it talking too? I noticed there was another raven making figure eights under the shade of some pine trees. In the background was a consistent rhythmic cawing. Suddenly, it seemed I was aware of this symphony of Ravens. I saw a few more flying back and forth in succession.

            I would never have noticed this had I not stopped to listen. I felt, for a moment, as if I could feel all the life in that area. The trees and leaves seemed to glow with a clear, white aura and I was at peace with the sensation. I even let go of my questioning. Were the ravens trying to tell me something? What were they saying to each other? But as soon as I let go of assigning meaning to the scenario, I felt like I was finally allowing the music of nature to fill me. I was present.

            I had recently canceled some social networking accounts and my brain was recovering from the constant clutter and conversations that had plagued it during the marketing of my book. Something told me it was time to let go of that phase and move on. I wonder if I would have noticed this if I didn't take the time silence the voices in my head.

            Now I’m free to be me again, to create and explore for the sheer joy of it. Time to pick up the pen and write a new book. Time to remember who I am and do what I always loved doing.

          Its fall. Time to shed what is unnecessary and embrace what’s left, the things that matter most.  I think it’s important to do that every once in a while, step back and ask myself if the path has brought me to a place of happiness.

Sometimes I find that I’m not where I wanted to be, or maybe I wished for something and realized that it wasn't right. Sometimes I have to reassess and ask myself if the risks were worth the reward. Am I willing to sacrifice time and privacy for fame? Am I willing to take time away from the kids to find success? What do I really want? Who am I? Am I still having fun? You can’t figure that out listening to what everyone else has to say. You have to shut it all off.

            Sometimes you just have to unplug and remember how things felt before being constantly hooked up to the matrix. Do we really have to be in the loop all the time? Silence has the answer because the questions no longer matter. They cease to exist. No more conceptualizing. Sometimes it’s nice to just let things be and know everything will turn out okay. And once we come to that final conclusion, that we can just let it be, then we've finally accepted ourselves. I remember who I am now. 

P.S. After writing about this in my journal, I did a search for raven spirit animals and here's what I got:

If Raven comes to you:

If Raven has come visiting you it can mean any number of things. Most powerful of all is the synchronicity that Raven assures you is pending. He is a master of bending and folding time and space so that you are exactly in the right moment at the right time. As a messenger you are reminded that those around you are reflecting back at you the things you most have to learn about yourself.
Know that when Raven appears that magic is imminent. Raven is about rebirth, recovery, renewal  recycling and certainly reflection and healing. He signifies moving through transitions smoothly by casting light into the darkness.

Raven as Your Totem

If Raven is your Totem animal you are very playful and creative. You have no fear of the dark, or the underworld and understand that there is a divine balance between the light and the dark. You find comfort in solitude and enjoy your own company. Raven seeks stillness and quiet, and prefer it to the constant onslaught of chatter and noise in our daily lives. You are wise and often are used as a messenger for others.  The spirit world uses you as a bridge to the physical world to bring forth its messages.

Raven in Your Dreams;

When Raven comes flying in your dreams he is letting you know that a change of consciousness is imminent. This omen signals you to watch for the clues and that new heights are possible. When Raven is still and silent looking at you he is invoking magic. Raven’s loudly raucous calling at you he is insistent that you take heed – you are missing something important or have forgotten a lesson learned. A Raven flying loops and upside down playfully is telling you to fasten your seat belt because everything has gone into hyper drive. Absolute magic is afoot.
Occasionally Raven can signify an impending death. This is usually signaled by feeding on carrion or preening of its feathers to show rebirth.
This was copied from :

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Lamenting the hundreds of stories I never published

I sat with my feet in the pool, trying to cool down my ankles and calves after an intense interval workout. I tried to relax, reading a compilation of fantasy and short stories. One of the stories reminded me of something I was going to write a long time ago. I dreamed it up and even wrote down an outline for it. Then I remembered another story I started writing but never finished many years ago. I even had a journal full of nothing but story ideas that was lost at a Barnes and Noble coffee shop fifteen years ago. It pisses me off when I see a movie released based on one of the ideas in that journal. So many stories that I never wrote, and my great regret will be dying having never told them in a way that only I can. These stories are in my mind, as real as a dream that you can’t wake up from but no one has heard them.

When I was a little girl, I’d come up with a story and start writing. I’d just write to write and oftentimes, my teachers couldn’t wait to see what I’d come up with. I’d turn a mundane writing assignment into an out of the box fantasy with monsters, parallel universe travel, curses and dreams that come to life.
In the seventh grade, it all ended. I had a teacher who saw no merit in fantasy and horror and she put down everything I wrote. I tried to appease her by writing something with a well thought out, realistic theme but none of my themes were good enough for her. After all, I was just thirteen years old. What could I teach her old, jaded soul?
No one knew what she wanted. A classmate complained that she didn’t know what to write. I asked her, “What do you like to read?”
“Mysteries,” she said.
“So write a mystery.”
“She won’t let me. Mysteries don’t have meaning.”
I just gave her a look of helplessness. What else could I do? I trusted my teachers and saw them as a great authority. I didn’t realize yet that one person’s opinion doesn’t have to mean so much. For every one person who doesn’t like mysteries or horror novels, there are thousands of raving fans.

When I look back, I keep seeing the seventh grade as the time when writer’s block became chronic. Never before that time did I have to question my inspirational ideas. I simply wrote whatever I wanted. I can’t blame my teacher. I allowed her to do this to me. If she hadn’t done it, someone else would have stepped in and played the critic.
We think we need to learn the rules of the game and we want to gain more knowledge as we grow up. We try to be the person the experts tell us we should be, but at some point, we end up looking for that child deep down inside who wasn’t afraid to create something. We want to be that playful sprite that took joy in her craft, before it was her duty to fulfill a role and follow the rules of convention.

“Fireflies” was a sordid piece, my attempt at screwing all people who wanted me to write something scholarly and civil. I’m amazed at how easily it sold. Then I published “Enlightened Ones” because it was a story that meant something to me, something I had to sweat blood to write.
But there’s still the day job and the responsibilities at home and I can’t live in a world of fiction all the time. And maybe that is also my fault. I wanted to have a career outside of writing to fall back on and most of the time, that career has taken first priority. After all, one must provide for one’s own

When reading the biography of Walt Disney, I’m amazed at how much debt he was willing to go into just to make his dreams into a reality. Through the depression and WWII, his studio struggled, yet he still went all out and spared no expense to be the first cartoonist to use music, the first cartoonist to make his cartoons talk, the first cartoonist to make his animations move fluidly, the first man to make a movie with surround sound, the first man to make an animated feature film and so much more. Disney owed money for two decades or more but he never succumbed to mediocrity, even though cheap cartoons were more economical. Due to the changing times, many great classics like Fantasia, Bambi and Sleeping Beauty turned out to be commercial failures. Yet, no animated creation could match those films for another forty or fifty years.
Walt Disney followed his passions no matter how many people around him told him to cut back. We all need someone like Disney, someone who seems to be a dreamer but in reality, it’s our insecurities and our slavish choice to put boundaries on ourselves that isn’t real.
Just the other day a friend of mine said, “And as I'm sure you realize, taking everybody else's advice isn't the way to greatness.” He’s so right. Why do we live, trying to be someone else’s vision of what we should be? People create formats and roles for life, for writing, for art. It’s the great pioneers who shatter these formulas, break down those boundaries and shock us with something greater than anything they could ever imagine.

“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable it is nor how it compares with any other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You don’t even have to believe in yourself and your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you.” –Martha Graham, dancer and choreographer

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Random Rambling, total diarrhea of my keyboard on war, humans and the earth

I haven't had the time to write much and tonight, I just have too. It's like diarrhea of the mind. I can't sleep without puking something out on paper. It's mostly due to the fact that I watched the news.
Rapes being covered up. Wars being fought over religion, people getting caught in drive by shootings and others killing their own family members. Why, who knows?

Just a while ago it occurred to me that much of my conditioned beliefs may be due to the fact that it’s what the people who conquered my people believed. Makes it sound different doesn't it? Why do you believe in the Bible? Because it’s what the people who conquered our people told us to believe... and so many cultures were destroyed due to uprisings. I have a soft spot for indigenous cultures, for Shamans who knew which plants could heal anything, and we killed their culture, allowing their secrets to die with them. 
Here in Los Angeles, I have neighbors who are Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Buddhist and Pagan. If we can live in harmony, why can't the people fighting in the Middle East? 
Why do we have this need to always separate and dominate, divide and conquer?
Why can't we see the beauty in each other? Why can't we learn from one another? Why can't we find similarities? Why do we insist on hate? Why do we resist forgiveness? Why do we kill each other, rape each other, orphan our children, separate families and enslave each other all in the name of honor or God?

I remember when the oil spill happened. My son came to me and said, "Turtle’s are dying."  I said, "Humans are dying.  Everything dies."
"No," he said, "Turtles are dying out because of the oil spill"
I said, "That's sad.  Where did you learn about this?"
He said, "I heard it on the news and I wanted to cry because I love turtles."
You see, turtles are his favorite animal.  I told him it made me sad too and truly, it does.  
I can be the most stoic person in the world.  I once heard a bullet whiz by my head while walking home in a gang neighborhood.  I went home and went straight to bed.  My next door neighbor's bedroom got shot up and I slept right through it but tell me about the turtle's dying out and the oceans being polluted and our lonely soldiers still out their fighting battles they may never have bargained for and I get all teary eyed.  Things do make me sad, whether I show it or not.  Sometimes I have to be the strong one so I won't show a thing.  Sometimes there is too much work to be done to show emotion but it doesn't mean I don't feel anything.

I hear people say all the time that it won't matter in the future.  In the future, we will leave what is left of the earth and populate outer space.  In the future, we may not have any choice.  We will make synthetic food and simulate gravity so our bones won't atrophy.  
But I wonder, if all other life is dead, where on earth are we going to get the resources to make all of these synthetic foods and vitamins?  Maybe I shouldn't say where on earth.  Either way, we'll be alright.  We'll seek out new lives and new civilizations, away from the oceans and the trees and the billions of different life forms that once shared our home.  Either way, if this happens, I'll sure miss the earth.
People quote Jurassic Park all the time. They tell me that the earth will be fine. Don't worry about the earth. It's the people who will die out. And who cares about the people, right? After all we've done, why are we worth saving? 
I find this to be a lame excuse not to be responsible for our environment. I love the earth. I love the trees, grass, mountains and beaches. I love the streams and lakes, the animals, the life that lives and breathes around me.
In my own lifetime, I've seen my lovely earth polluted, destroyed, blown up, cut down, etc. 
I've seen animals disappear from existence. How many paradises have I seen paved down to put up a parking lot? It breaks my heart. It’s not just about saving the earth for humans. It's about saving something I love. As long as I'm here, I want the earth to be okay. I want to take care of it. It's part of me. Without the living, breathing sky, earth and water. Without the birds, insects, fish, whales, everything, I feel desolate and utterly alone.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

What is True Beauty?

What is true beauty? I always thought of it as an illusion. When I was a teenager I figured out the pretty thing. I learned what society deemed was attractive. I dieted, exercised, got thin. Then I learned the subtle magic of makeup. I learned to paint my face as an artist paints his canvas. I learned what glamour truly was. It was glimmer, sparkles, a flattering dress, a wink, a slight tilt of the head, just the right pose and smile. It was a magic. It wasn’t necessarily the magic of beauty but the magic of being able to manipulate something into seeming beautiful and use that illusion to one’s advantage. I always think back to that time as the time I blossomed, the time when the awkward nerd became pretty. But it wasn’t that at all. I just figured out the game of beauty and how it worked. I still wore sun glasses and pajamas too school when I felt like it, but if I wanted to look smoking hot, I could pull it off. Anyone can.

According to Celtic folklore, faeries are magical creatures that live in the woods. They have all kinds of magical abilities called faery glamour. But what they are best at is creating illusions, playing tricks on humans, and tempting them into a world of intoxication where time has no influence. When anyone mentions faery glamour, I think of human glamour. I think air brushing, photo shopping, plastic surgery, hair dressing, fashion and everything else that makes an ordinary person look extra ordinary.
Women work very hard trying to look like fashion models, until one day they realize that no one looks like a fashion model. Not even fashion models look like fashion models. That point is well made in this video:

And this one:

This need for beauty is puzzling to me. Marketing experts, advertising experts and even motivational experts espouse the power of glamour. Make something look pretty and people follow. It doesn't matter what you’re selling, but the down side is this horrible sense of insecurity that comes with being targeted with beauty. You start to want something that doesn’t exist and when you realize it was never real, it leaves you feeling empty. When the glimmer and lights fade away, you’re left with the drab and boring truth. It was all an illusion.

There’s a great car commercial where a smoking hot girl starts off a drag race and it takes you through the ride of your life. You want to be in that car. You think if you buy that car, you’ll get to win that race and get the girl. So you buy the car and you are so ecstatic. But after a while, you realize that you spent all that money on a vehicle that will take you from place to place. That’s it. Drag races are illegal. You’ll get a speeding ticket or risk the reality check of a car accident if you speed,  and just because you have that car, it’s not an automatic ticket to getting the girl. Now what? The faery dust has worn off. Time to move on to the next big thing. After a while all that beautiful stuff society told you to buy becomes like a prison in itself and you end up like that guy in the book and movie "Fight Club"

I always thought it was one big lie and even felt a bit cynical and bitter towards the masses for falling for it. Many years back, it inspired me to write this verse:

There’s a world of people
Who laugh in darkness,
In peeping walls
Of empty starkness,
Then beauty comes
And flashes its strength
Over the masses
And blinds them forever
To truth,
To decay,
And dies as fast
As it comes their way.

As I grow wiser in my years, I have learned to see past the smoke and mirrors. I ask myself, what is real beauty? I start to find myself a bit repulsed by the glamour, the lights, the pretty words, the pictures that are used to make me feel something, buy something or like something.

As I grow older, my children age, my friends and family go through poverty, illness, ups and downs and I’m starting to realize that if I can still see the beauty in all of these things, then maybe I won’t feel empty and disappointed by the glamour people try to escape into. True beauty, I think, is truth. It’s gratitude. It’s looking at something that hasn’t been photoshopped and loving it anyway. It’s feeling that sense of pride in what is imperfect. It’s compassion. It’s meaning. It’s realizing that nothing is permanent and appreciating all the little moments.

There is an old Native American story about a Chief who is dying. He summons his three greatest warriors and tells them that the one who can bring back the most beautiful object will become the new Chief.
The first warrior sees the brightest and most beautiful flower. He brings it back to the chief but once he arrives, the flower is withered.
The second warrior sees a shimmering rock at the bottom of a stream which catches his eye. He brings it back to the chief but once it arrives, the shimmer is gone because the stone is no longer in the water.
The third warrior sees a magnificent sunset over the mountains. He goes back to the chief shaking his head. He tells the chief that he did see the most beautiful thing in the world but he couldn’t bring it back. The sunset could not be moved, nor could it be frozen in time.
The chief tells the man that he learned the most important lesson of all. You can’t bottle true beauty and expect it to last forever. Because he understood this truth, the third warrior was chosen to be the Chief.

So love all the little things whether or not they are perfect, then everything will look beautiful.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Ode to Nature

I had the morning off, so instead of looking at a computer screen while eating breakfast, I put on some meditation music, gazed out my window and skimmed through a book of haikus.

I had an old nostalgic feeling of what it was like to be young and so amazed by the world, of walking over a bridge and getting lost in the sparkles of the water, of delighting in the way a grasshopper wrung its hands or the way a leaf gently floated to the grass. I miss the long nature walks I used to take, only to stop in my tracks to write a poem.

These days, I spend a lot of time in front of my computer, networking with people I used to see in person. I’m fascinated by a picture or link on the internet and I laugh at funny jokes people post. Have I traded some of my silent time for this? Have I stopped writing poetry and gazing at sunsets so I can boggle my mind with gifs and jpgs and other such things? Have I forsaken long talks, while sitting on the curb for short banters with people online who could leave at any time? It does change a lot. No more long goodbyes. Just stop typing.

I have to remind myself of the joy that stillness brings me. I have to remember what it’s like to be in the moment and just appreciate what’s right in front of me. A slant of light in my study space, the way dust floats in the air, the way my dog licks its paws. These are the little things that bring peace, joy and contentment. I have to remember that I don’t have to be moving and striving all the time. I can stop and rest and revel in what I have now.

If I get envious when I look at a child playing in the meadow or an old man just sitting there, smiling at the sun, I know it’s time to stop and smell the roses. Love, art, music, peace and reverie can only happen in the now. There is not time like the present. There’s nothing more beautiful than what’s right in front of you.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Why it Sucks to be Psychic

            Another T.V. show came about a psychic little girl. Why is the government always going after psychic people? Does the government really care about that? I’d like to know if there are really government agencies that specialize in capturing or genetically creating psychic individuals for the sake of national security. Seems to me there are more important things to worry about, like unemployment and the war on terror. Yet, in all these stories, the poor psychic people just want to be left alone. Damn you government. Just leave the poor psychics alone!

In my opinion, the government could give a crap about psychic people. If you’re psychic, that’s your problem. Lately, I was thinking that there are a lot of good reasons to not want to be psychic.

Reason 1: The government will be after you. Who wants to spend a lifetime running from the Feds?

Reason 2: You can hear people thinking. People spend all this energy blocking out the wrong kind of people and filtering out songs, commercials, or remarks that they don’t want to hear. But psychics can hear all the little thoughts that most people are supposed to keep to themselves. All the little snide remarks that were not meant for your ears are out in the open. I guess if you have been hearing that kind of unfiltered material all your life, you learn to accept it. Still, no one can pretend to be someone else around you and you learn quickly that everyone lies. Also, if someone has an annoying song in their head, you’re screwed.

Reason 3: You can see the future. This sucks more than it seems. Just think of all the Greek tragedies that involve man vs. destiny. “Oedipus Rex” is one of them. A man spends all his life doing everything he can to avoid a prophesy from taking place. In the end, he learns that everything he did to avoid his future, only caused it to happen after all. Knowing the future has all kind of weird implications. There was a Greek prophet named Cassandra whose curse was that no one would ever believe her. No matter what she did, she could not change the future. People don’t believe psychics and if they did, they rarely have the ability to stop bad things from happening. You either have to accept the future or become a basket case trying to change it. By the way, I can see the future and if you want to know what happens, read this past post:

Reason 4: Romance is dead. It’s very hard to fall in love the way they do in the movies when you can hear people thoughts and you can see the future. There is a vampire novel where a mortal girl falls in love with a vampire because he’s the only one whose thoughts she couldn’t read. But, in a world where no vampires exist, just psychic people, you’re stuck knowing every plan your lover has in store for you. It kind of ruins the surprise. I can see how a psychic person would turn off their power if they could, just so they could experience something they didn’t see coming. The feeling of exhilaration from something new or unexpected is impossible to get if you’re psychic.

Reason 5: You feel other people’s pain. Being a strong empath is the hardest thing. You feel other people’s pain. The good thing is you feel their joy too. But most people hide their pain behind smiling eyes and every empath knows that pain is more prevalent than we want to believe. An empath learns to live with pain like it’s some sort of congenital or chronic disease. They carry the weight of the world on their shoulders.

In conclusion, psychic people have enough problems of their own. I hope the government will leave them alone. You can’t force people to be weapons of mass destruction. People are people and psychic people are people too. Of course there are a lot of benefits to being psychic like winning the lottery but that’s cheating. You can make other people do things by controlling their minds, but that is unethical because it interferes with their free will. Good guys aren’t allowed to use their psychic power. It’s only great if you’re an evil villain.  So, in the end, it sucks to be a psychic good guy.  ;)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

My First Heartbreak

I found this old poetry book I wrote when I was in high school. I never published it, but I was amazed at how good some of the poems were and how bad the others were. I couldn't help noticing how hard I took my first heartbreak. It made for some great poetry. I must warn you that I was never an apple pie teenager. I saw some dark things at a young age. I'm probably more of a rosy cheeked, easy go lucky person now than I was as a kid.

Broken Heart

Now all my fears are clouded by the pain,
And day by day I wonder through the years,
Pondering wirling riddles all in vain.
Oh, could I ever ever love again!
When once my life was happiness and bliss,
Now nothing can undo this heavy strife.
His tender kiss and soothing words I miss
And long the warming comfort of his lips.
Through empty streets of doleful thoughts I roam
With heavy tears I drown my nightly sheets.
I fill the hollow streets with woeful moan
And wonder if I'll ever find a home.
I plod with grief and anguish through the rain,
as stormy winds blow through the winter leaves.
What happy thought could overtake the shame.
How could I ever ever love again?
--Lacey Reah


Now wearied by distress my loved ones bring,
Yet knowing what distress I bring them too,
I'll ask them not for one more joyful thing,
And seek a world that's cold but plainly true.
I'll occupy myself in study's might
And substitute my friends with greedy goals,
without the pain of a true lover's fright,
who knows not when to rage or when to hold.
I'll turn from love of love to love of feat,
And lust for only what myself achieve,
To never know what strangers I may meet,
Lest they may touch my soul where it can bleed.
For if I ever look back on my youth,
On smiles, on tears, sweet friendships there will be.
In them was too much depth and too much truth,
And too much love, though not deserved by me.

So its becoming obvious that one of my main influences was Shakespeare, but its plainly obvious in the poem below, how often I read Poe.

I Fear No More The Coming of the Night

I fear no more the coming of the night,
Nor dread in shadows what may lie,
And all that once would fill me with affright,
Like mysteries that clung unknown,
Now draw me in with all their dark delight
Until to me their shown.

I fear no more the creatures that may peep,
From their bleak abodes of blackness,
That once would vex and ward me from my sleep,
With their lingering tales of yore.
I follow them into their caverns deep,
Until they be no more.

I fear no more what glaring eyes of hate,
May lurk behind a suave facade,
Or ghastly things that rage and curse my fate,
With their fiendish spell charms of old.
I quell their plagues before all is too late,
Their spells through darkness told.

Now, when I find a place that holds no light,
Surrounded by impending gloom,
I retreat not but seek out all its might,
To find when greeted by the sun,
The break of day is but the close of night,
When all the seeking's done.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Is World Peace Possible?

            When I was a little girl, my parents worked so I spent my summers with friends. I used to hang out with a family of three siblings. They often had their cousins and other friends come over. I was the quiet and watchful one. I often watched the dynamic of their bickering and disagreements. I remember coming over one day, only to find that the entire group had ganged up on one kid. They immediately asked me to join their side but I stood there and shrugged. They went on to belittle the little boy and ostracize him. I had seen this happen a lot on the playground. If the ostracized child was smart, he’d recruit his friends and start an all out battle. If not, he would just get bullied. I couldn't help noticing how easy it was to recruit kids to one side. Children, I found, wanted to belong to a group. It gave them something to be proud of and fight for. Yet, it seemed, I was always an outside observer. Even when coerced to join a side, I never felt like I was part of it. I always felt sorry for both sides and if it was just one kid being picked on, I always felt sorry for him and often defended him.

Already, I could see the writer being born in me. I had this uncanny aversion to be like everyone else and just be a part of a group. I chose to observe and I often I didn't like what I saw. Humanity, it seemed to me, had no hope. It was just the powerful or the manipulative choosing sides and doing what they could to put down the other. There were no anti bullying campaigns when I was growing up. We were taught that this was just the way of life. No one talked about it. It just was.

I saw that there was a difference between playground play, just fighting for fun or playing rugby or bull rush in the field and the true fight for power. It happened when one person insulted the other, often in an innocent way. But for some reason, the other person takes it bad and turns against that person. They get friends to back them up and form alliances. This is what malicious gossiping is all about. A fist need not be thrown. A person can be defeated by ruining their reputation; turning their friends against them and making them feel completely defenseless and alone.

The person who is ostracized may not have done anything intentional to receive this treatment. Maybe they simply had the wrong skin color, or had a different view point of religion. Either way, I see it happening everywhere. I see it happening on the internet. Groups are formed by people of like minds but if someone sees things a bit differently, they are ostracized and told to leave. They say the internet is supposed to bring the world together but I have only see more groups being formed, more communities of like minded people keeping those who have other beliefs out. And of course I see it happening in wars, in riots, in protests, in fights, gangs and all forms of violence. To this very day, I still see it happening and it still bothers me. As we speak, there are people getting blown up, prisoners of war being tortured, fights and riots breaking out, etc. The world has never known peace. There has always been war, and people like me who sadly observe these things have always existed. Writers, philosophers and peace activists have been around since the dawn of history. Many exist today, spreading the word through peaceful protest, religion, charity or social reform, yet there has been no end to war.

Some say religion is to blame. They say that when we form strong beliefs about God or right or wrong, it makes us feel morally obligated to fight those who don’t believe the same things. So we form sides and wars break out. I question this assertion but I must say that I have seen issues with beliefs. Almost all religions have a taboo, something that you are not supposed to touch or talk about. Often, what is sacred in one religion is taboo in another. You have one religion that sees pork as a delicacy and another who is against touching or eating it. They both see each other as gross, backwards or insane. While civil rights is seen as status quo in the laws that govern nations such as the United States, other countries are still mired in segregation. There are certain classes of people you aren’t even supposed to touch. How can the world get along when we all have such differing viewpoints?

Still, I don’t think religion is the problem. I have seen atheists also form sides for one reason or another. I’ve known people who don’t believe in God who have strong agendas to get believers to stop believing and they have also formed their own groups of people who feel the same way. China is an atheist government who does not believe in religion, yet they are suppressing the Tibetans. So the religious and anti religious will continue to bicker. It seems to me, that it is still something deeply rooted in human nature. Beliefs go beyond religion. Sometimes, it’s just how we were raised that form our beliefs and when we grow up and find out that other people were raised differently, we’re total shock. I remember my college roommates fighting over whether to plug up the sink or not. They just couldn't believe that the other person would think differently. Again, I just sat there wondering why people fight over things so petty.

In my observations, I have found that having an agenda makes people proud. It gives us meaning to push some kind of idea on to another person. People form identities around what they do and who they are. Pride makes them feel powerful. If they study yoga, they consider themselves yogis. If they study cross fit, they are hard core athletes. If they have an advanced education, they are intellectuals. If they are religious, they are people of God. If they are creative, they are artists. People love to be something and advertising campaigns feed on this psychological need by creating cult followings out of product names. Of course, those of us on the outside shrug our shoulders and just say, “They drank the coolaid.” Maybe pride is the real culprit.

In truth, cults are everywhere and they can be harmless or harmful. Most religions say that humans are special, that we are the greatest creation of God. Yet, many religions also preach humility. Buddhism even tells us to renounce all identity. Yet, if we do that, we could hardly call ourselves Buddhists. Of course this brings on more taboos. In some religions you are not even allowed to mention the name of God or even try to fathom what he/she wants. In others, you should pray to his/her very name. No wonder we bicker.

Some religious people are very peaceful. They say that god just wants love and peace. Yet, many religious texts such as The Bible, The Koran and the Bhagvad Gita show that war has always existed and that God often creates war for his own reasons. We are not to try to understand what those reasons are. It disturbs us, yes, but we have to trust that this is God’s way. There is a part in the Bhagvad Gita that says, “If the slayer thinks he slays or the slain thinks he is slain, he knows not the truth.” In this text and in many others, God goes on to say that war and destruction is part of the ongoing cycle of life and worlds, countries, communities and lives will be destroyed. But in a way, we are already dead because everyone dies. Some of the greatest ancient religious texts are epics of war. In many religions, one who fights and dies in the name of God is doing him the greatest service. The polytheistic Gods of old often fought wars among themselves for power. How could we expect humans to be any better?

This is what I’ve gleaned from reading so many religious texts, in my mission to understand my confusion about war and violence. The only thing I’ve learned from God is that we can only change what we can and accept what we can’t. In a passage in the Bible, Jesus was asked when the kingdom of heaven will come. He answered that we shouldn’t think of it as a time and place. He said that the kingdom of heaven is within us. The Buddha also said that the heaven we seek is in our own hearts.

Science itself shows us that worlds are created and destroyed in the span of millenniums. Even the sun will die and so will we. When we look at it all from this scope, does it matter that we are constantly loving each other yet destroying each other at the same time? Is this just the way of nature?

I won’t be the first to say that war, hatred, and violence disturbs me and makes me question the universe in the deepest of ways. I can’t say I have any answers for the questions I have for God, science or philosophy. All I can say is that as an artist, I can choose to accept life for what it is. I can choose to draw, write and record it. I can revel in its beauty and see depth in its ugliness. In a way, art is a type of religion where we can be sad, happy, angry and distraught but still have some kind of out. We are all just peons, surviving a life of impermanence. I may not see world peace in my lifetime but I can choose to find peace within myself.