Browsing Tag

Death

People

On Barlow

Throughout the course of any one person’s life there are sure to be a few key people that show up as agents of transformation. People who help to define the myriad of essential moments that shape your journey into one that has direction, purpose and meaning. I have my parents Timothy and Barbara, a couple of romantic relationships, many close friends and my teachers that I’ve known personally as well as in the astral. Within that mix, nestled deep in the roots of my formative years, resides John Perry Barlow. I say this with the utmost conviction and gratitude. I’d be a different person than I am today had I never crossed paths with Barlow.

Barlow entered my life 30 years ago when I was 14 years old. I was just a gangly confused teenager trying to find my way in the world. During the span of these 30 years there were phases in my relationship with Barlow where we’d be in each other’s orbit frequently and fondly, possibly sharing a laugh at a trademark “Barlow Frenzy.” Alternatively, many years could also pass, sometimes awkwardly, that would eventually come to an end in the form of a loving reunion. It must be said that certain elements of my time with Barlow could contain their fair share of complex tensions having to do with the very strong personalities of both my family and his being. That’s not to say any of it had a lasting effect. They were gracefully balanced out with countless intimate moments of dancing in each other’s consciousness that could only be achieved by Barlow’s brilliance at understanding complex eco-systems and then knowing how to rebuild them.

Nostalgically, I recall many moments where my Deadhead-ness would take over and I’d barrage him with my curiosity about the inner workings of the Grateful Dead. That was hard to shake with me. Remember, I met Barlow when I was a 14-year-old fan and a kid, so the context of our friendship evolved over time. For the first 10 years he was more of a “god-uncle”, as he put it, intent on exposing me to the wonders of the world through his unique lens. He knew that my household was kind of “different” and that I could use an extra set of adult eyes helping me out to make sure I didn’t go further astray. Growing up, I was so blessed to have some of the greatest guest stars one could ever imagine, but it wasn’t always easy for me to connect with them. The stage was so large, and I tried so hard to be smart and liked, that I often fumbled because I was also in the midst of screeching through the baffling process of growing up. Barlow made it easy, he made any bullshit go away. He was always so comforting, funny and gracious with the way he could make me feel safe and included. He’d come into my room and crouch down next to me as we geeked out on Mac IIci games or to dial up to The Well to unearth the possibilities of what was to come. Cowboy boots always on of course.

I didn’t spend as much time with Barlow over the years as many did nor did I spend the least. I’m no authority on his life and legacy, however, due to the memorable intensity of the time I did spend with him things tended to morph from mundane moments to thrilling events that left stamps on my consciousness for life. Everything he did was full on.

Perhaps, the most special quality of his was the way he could set the stage for glorious potential. When you were with Barlow you got the feeling that THIS night could be the greatest night of your life. Anything could happen. His thirst for stirring the pot with forward thinking ideas, for bringing people together, for seducing women and all while weaving the mischief of the Grateful Dead ethos into the mixture made for the perfect conditions for an atmosphere of magic. Only someone with his brand of unmistakable ego and intellect could be a ring leader of this magnitude.

At first, and this is true, my folks and I used to laugh uncontrollably at Barlow’s relentless ego and need to speak in the third person. Before email was a regular thing, we’d get “BarlowGrams” in the mail. My dad would be like “who does this guy think he is? Who the fuck cares what he’s doing?” The thing is, our acerbic tongues and judgement eventually went out the window because his sincerity and authenticity could not be denied. We’d came around. Even grouchy ol’ Timmy saw Barlow was doing amazing stuff, gathered fantastic people for parties and was actually worth following in his branded email updates. His finger was many levels above being “on the pulse”, he was creating a new pulse. Barlow was a social media brand 15 years before any of us were trying to do the same thing. Fact.

Also, like my dad, Barlow’s ability to reinvent himself was the stuff of legends. If you plot the logic of a Wyoming cattle rancher Dead lyricist changing professions mid-stream to that of an Internet freedom fighter philosopher, you’ll get lost and confused. It was a brilliant transformation that defied convention.

For me though, I was a Deadhead first and foremost, that was my main lifeline to him. In my eyes his place in the world was part of that formula. When the Mondo 2000 era was booming and the EFF was forming, Barlow’s voice as a freedom fighter on the plains of cybernetic consciousness was visionary and a sight to behold. But it never moved me in the same way because I was much more interested in learning about how “Throwing Stones” came to life. That’s just who I am I guess. I am thrilled that his desire to be remembered as an Information Age visionary is what’s leading the headlines in public obits. Look Barlow, you did it! I think the NY Times didn’t even mention the Dead in depth for 3 paragraphs.

He was a maverick until the end.

Death has no mercy. That much is true. Barlow’s slow burn into formlessness was rough. In the last couple of years, it pained me to see him to be honest. Still, it was reflective of way he lived – full on, hard, gritty, vulnerable and always up for adventure. For a cowboy from Wyoming, Barlow was one of the most sensitive guys I’d ever come across. From an early age he was an example to me of how a man could show emotion with pride. His death encapsulated those notes as well. He lived and died on the edge with a hunger to seize every moment and to make them into epic tales of ragged glory. Many of his greatest songs he wrote with Weir illustrate that part of him.

The Weir/Barlow cannon makes up many of the most cherished Dead songs in my opinion. At any given show I was just as happy to hear “Let it Grow” as I was “Scarlet Begonias” – I was full on with Bobby and not solely a Jerry freak. Barlow’s contribution to the Dead zeitgeist, while not as prolific as Hunter’s, was an essential part of the fabric. He helped to paint the tapestry of one of Rock n Roll’s most important legacies.

All this aside, this post isn’t about praising his accomplishments. Many will do that better than I will. Not to mention the fact that his accomplishments are obvious and speak for themselves.

This is about family. Barlow was a core part of the Leary family and many of its dimensions. His presence during the last 9 years of Timothy’s life was not subtle. He formed a friendship with Timothy the best anyone really could. Anyone who saw the two of them together remembers fondly their battles of oratory and quiet battle to see who could own the room. That being true, I have to say now that he made a mistake by getting in too deep when Timothy and my mother Barbara were headed for splitsville. His penchant for the spotlight and unquenchable attraction to powerful women helped create a set of circumstances that I wish didn’t happen. They come complete with gossip and intrigue that in the end left some scars. All the details aren’t important but it’s a tough sting when someone crosses the line with your own mother and claims to have had a relationship with her that simply was not true. That was always looming in the back of my head even decades after, it was hard to shake. The crowning bit of poetic irony is that Barlow being the way he is, made it so that I somehow could look passed it and just keep on dancing. Hard to explain I guess. As times goes on, I find many of the great long-term friendships in one’s life can also get complex and that’s just fine. It makes them rich and special.

My intention of bringing this up is not to add scars to his legacy, the point is that he was family and things got that intimate. With family comes many nuances, ins and outs and various sets of baggage. It’s how any family operates. He played hard and wasn’t afraid to go all in. That I admire. And for that I love him.

He also gave me what I felt was too harsh a dose of tough love during a time when I was in my addiction and faulted by making some poor choices (to say the least.) I felt that doing it publicly wasn’t the right move considering his way of life and penchant for hard living wasn’t always the best example to follow. Still, he meant well and always wanted me to shine. Additionally, I have to admit that his knack for not being subtle may have actually benefited me in this case. Essentially, his contradictions were part of his charm. I mean, how could you love a sometimes Mormon Republican Bohemian Grove member Grateful Dead lyric writing acid head? You just could. Because he was the only one of that kind.

He had so much to offer the world and many people as well, I’m lucky that I got even a shred of it. I can’t think of a smarter, more generous and more worldlier profound person that I’ve ever known. The world is a sadder place without him.

Like I said earlier, magic with him was always possible and even frequent. My top 3 memories of Barlow infused magic are as follows:

1.) Pink Floyd 1994 – this story could be an entire book. The last night he spent with his beloved Cynthia Horner happened to be at our house in 1994 the same weekend that Pink Floyd was playing at the Rose Bowl. Gilmour was a friend, so that weekend of shows saw our house turned into a launchpad for the shows, dozens of people gathered up there before the trek to Pasadena. Barlow and Cynthia too – they exchanged beams of love, possibly took something and then transported with all of us at the Floyd show. From what we all understood they had an amazing night and sealed their bond. Tragically, the very next day Cynthia passed away on an airplane in her sleep only hours after Barlow took her to LAX. It goes without saying that he was never the same and the un-calculable grief that came as a result was his work for the remainder of his life. While sad, the profound connection with his loss fused with magic of Pink Floyd all while using our house as the playing ground is something I’ll never forget. For years after that, every time I saw him I could not escape the image of that weekend.

2.) Brent Mydlands death – I was only 16 but Barlow called our house the day Brent died of an overdose in 1990. Or maybe Timmy called him after I explained why Barlow’s relationship with Brent was special. I’m not sure. After talking to my dad for a while I was handed the phone to give my condolences. I wasn’t sure why, what could I possibly say? I had gone to over 40-50 shows in the previous two years and because of that and my age it was very hard to put it all into context and to come from my heart. I did my best and we stayed on the phone for probably 15 minutes, which I thought was a lot back then. With effortless grace the lessons, wisdom and perspective that I got from talking to Barlow that day left a deep canyon of love in my soul. It was one of the earliest confrontations with death that I experienced. There I was talking to a guy about his friend and song writing partner who just died. He blew my mind and also set the stage for many more encounters with death that I’d walk through over the years. This was new territory for me not to mention a deeply sad and surreal example. Footnote – The Grateful Dead were essentially never the same after that. They rebounded a little with Hornsby but that 87-90 peak was the last of its magnitude.

3.) ACLU Benefit – I believe the year was 1997. It wasn’t long after Timmy had checked out and I use that as context because many of the Leary.com team was still hanging out together and we were Barlow’s guests that evening. In addition, Bob Weir and Rob Wasserman were the musical guests to compliment the honoring of Barlow by the ACLU. The event was at the Century Plaza Hotel in LA and Barlow thought it would be a grand idea to make the entire evening into a post Leary-drome memorial gathering fused with a classic BarlowFrenzy that was to take place in his hotel room. It wasn’t quite the case in terms of size but after the event and a classic mini-set by Bob and Rob, Weir joined myself and some of the other Leary-folk in a psychedelic dance around the cosmos. It was so special for me personally because Jerry hadn’t been gone long and Bobby was still marinating in the haze and was quite candid in talking about it. The combination of that and the psychedelic exploration was a night to remember. Classic Barlow magic.

There are so so many more. But that feels about right.

Shine on John. I’ll miss you. Thank you for everything. Thank you for being a pain in the ass. For challenging me. For teaching me. For making me laugh. For countless Dead tickets. And for not being successful at hooking up with my mother. Having you as a step dad would have been too much. See you on the other side.

 

It's All Happening Podcast

IAH – Episode 108 – Megan Devine

The nature of grief and how it can turn your life upside down is one of the most charged and misunderstood subjects in Western culture. Grief, especially around death, has no rule book which is why most people encounter it unprepared when something tragic happens. Episode #108 of the podcast features Megan Devine the author of “It’s Ok That You’re Not Ok – Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture that Doesn’t Understand.” Her expressive thoughtfulness and razor sharp opinions on the topic will leave you curious, softer and more accepting of how pain can and should work in ones life. Our conversation could have gone on for two hours – there are so many corners to explore. She is a fantastic soul. Enjoy.

INTRO RANT – Ram Dass “A Letter to Rachel”

This episode is sponsored by Belle Sante Beauty

Megan Devine is a psychotherapist, writer, grief advocate, & communication expert dedicated to helping you live through things you never thought you’d face. I’m proud to have created an online community and resource that helps people survive some of the hardest experiences of their lives. Through my book, podcasts, and online courses, I help people learn the skills they need to love themselves – and each other – better.

www.refugeingrief.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's All Happening Podcast

IAH – Episode 80 – Adrienne Airhart

In so many ways todays comedians are really the philosophers of the day. The medium allows these great minds to tackle tricky, touchy and controversial subjects in a way that can’t be done without humor to offset peoples preconceived notions or the dreaded political correctness. Adrienne Airhart is no exception to this art – she came by the kitchen table to talk about her life as a comedian, how psychedelics are influencing her work and how a difficult and traumatic early life led to a breakthrough in becoming an incredibly strong woman. I really enjoyed getting into her mind and thought waves, I hope you do too!

Intro Rant: Death. Yes, death.

Adrienne Airhart is a comedian, writer and “cannabis professional.” My degree is in linguistics, with an emphasis on the history of the English language. By night I am a stand up comedian, a presence which bleeds into much of my creative writing, as humor is the tie that brings compassion and education into interesting text. My favorite topics involve cannabis and general “woke-ness”, ranging from environmental issues, cultural divides, psychedelics, and learning how to survive a scary political climate.

@craydrienne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's All Happening Podcast

IAH – Episode 79 – Kelly MacLean

Kelly MacLean joins IAH this week on a thoughtfully inspiring and comedically enlightened episode of the podcast. Kelly is not only an observant and socially biting comedian but she also grew up a Buddhist and maintains a pretty serious practice well into her adult life. Through the premature death of her brother she learned to put life, the spirit world and all it’s amazement into perspective like few can ever do in life. We talked about death, bardos, comedy and a lot more in this hour. Enjoy the show!

Intro Rant: going within and the rise of consumer spending

Kelly MacLean is an American stand up comic, podcaster, writer and actress. She is an alumnus of The Groundlings in Los Angeles and winner of Jimmy Kimmel Live’s ‘Funniest College Kid in America’ contest.

@thekellymaclean

Her podcast: The Tao Of Comedy 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's All Happening Podcast

IAH – Episode 27 – Mirabai Starr

Mirabai is the author of the new book “Caravan of No Despair – A memoir of Loss And Transformation”. She stops by IAH to talk about her new book, the power of attachment, the lessons that come from loss and finding beauty even in the darkest times.

Mirabai Starr writes, speaks and leads retreats on the inter-spiritual teachings of the mystics.

Known for her revolutionary translations of John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, and Julian of Norwich, Mirabai renders mystical masterpieces accessible, beautiful, and relevant to a contemporary circle of seekers. Her commentaries on the interconnected wisdom of all traditions are lyrical and evocative.

Mirabai builds bridges not only between religious traditions, but also between contemplative life and compassionate service, between cultivating an inner relationship with the Beloved and expressing that intimacy in community, between the transformational power of loss and longing for the sacred.

http://mirabaistarr.com

@MirabaiStarr

Mirabai-LF4-sq-b-300

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Music

On David Bowie

Moving past the spiritual normality around death and dying, I needed to take some space within words to reflect on what David Bowie meant to me, my family and our culture. It’s been three days since he took off for his home planet, leaving us all startled. I wanted to wait this long to post because I felt some space was needed to take a long close look that wasn’t too caught up in the emotion of the moment.

On January 8th, Bowies 69th birthday, Bowie released his 25th album entitled Blackstar. Three days later he died. If you go back and read the lyrics to the track “Lazarus” you can clearly see this was very intentional. He was saying goodbye.

12552605_10153815810116678_3307370061881451180_n

Who the fuck does that? That level of genius, bravery, wit, sarcasm and poetic beauty can’t even be understood just yet. Maybe it won’t go down as his best album musically (or maybe it might?) but it may go down as one of the most important statements ever made in rock and roll. To be able to face death and make your work about it while it’s happening in nearly real time is really the essence of being alive and honoring this incarnation. Running straight into the god damn mountain with reckless joyful abandon. I can’t think of another rock and roll star who has made their death also an artistic statement.

Art is life and death. Life and death is art. Maybe Bowie’s dabbling into the Buddhist trip exposed him to the bardo states of consciousness that allowed him to embrace the circular nature of all living things. Seems like that.

To even use the phrase “rock and roll” doesn’t even fit with David Bowie. Unlike, many of his peers Bowie transcended genre, cultures, classes and labels. Yes, he had a certain sound that remained un-mistakably “Bowie”, but in end it’s clear that music was just his medium for a much bigger expression. Not a classic rocker, not an art rocker, he was just an artist who used sound to weave together tapestries of fashion, rock, jazz, funk, sex, politics and multi media. Watch “Ziggy Stardust, the film, read the lyrics to “Young Americans”, listen to “Low” and then watch the video for “Lazarus’” – this is a 40 plus year career with some of the most elegant and consistent art making the world has ever known. This is Picasso or Edison.

On a historical level it’s the physical end of a very specific time in our history. The fact that there isn’t a David Bowie in physical form to contribute to the world around us is an ending of sorts. Rock, as we currently have it defined, is now dead. Knowing Bowie was always out there lurking in the shadows and ready to leap forward with a big statement has been a constant presence in the history of modern electric music. Yes, Dylan is left. So are members of the Dead, McCartney, Brian Eno, David Byrne, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen. Even with these giants around, it still feels like there’s a void left in the present sense. Bowie was doing stuff that no one else was even considering. His constant desire to push forward into new territory was sometimes challenging but always worth checking out.

“If you’re ever sad, just remember the world is 4.543 billion years old and you somehow managed to exist at the same time as David Bowie.”

And most importantly on a personal level, this digs so deep and here’s why. David Bowie was my mom’s favorite musical artist. She raised me on his music. Not just the hits but all of it. Deep tracks too. As far back as I can remember every single Bowie album was there on vinyl. All the big amazing covers, the crackles of the needle hitting the record were the sound of my childhood. Pink Floyd, Talking Heads were also in there. Billy Holiday too. But it was Bowie that was the real centerpiece of everything she loved. So much so in fact, that she even styled her own look after him in the early 80s. She’d put out on display the covers of Aladdin Sane and ChangesOne (the greatest hits album) as sort of a mirror to her current style. As I came of age and I started to understand what this music was about it quickly became a part of my childlike zeitgeist of wonder and worship. When my parents went out at night I would play Ziggy Stardust loudly and dance around alone in the living room pretending that I too could be Ziggy. The first song that I learned to play on the guitar was “Space Oddity”. This was the fabric of the Learydrome when my mom was still the Queen.

Bowie’s death feels like a part of her died too. This may sound dramatic, but it’s true. It’s just an association that I can’t quite pin down, but feels so raw and potent to me. I’ve made peace with death many times in my life and am at peace with this one too. However, the magnitude will mark my life so far as “Before Bowie” and “After Bowie.”

They broke the mold after you David. In fact, you may have made the mold to begin with. Shine on.

It's All Happening Podcast

IAH – Episode 11 – David Silver

Zach and Elijah get into contemplating the silent freeways of life with David Silver. David is truly one of the great minds and souls of this or any other incarnation.

David is the co-host of the excellent MindRolling Podcast. His standard bio is as follows but I assure you it only scratches the surface.

David Silver started his innovative media career in the late sixties hosting WGBH-TV’s “What’s Happening Mr. Silver?” David’s 1979 Warner Brothers feature “No Nukes” helped start the whole trend of music/activism feature documentaries.

He also wrote the Billboard #1 MGM film, “The Compleat Beatles” the biopic movie of choice about history’s most famous band. David has worked with Bruce Springsteen, Bob Marley, Ringo Starr, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Roger Waters and many others. He has created dozens of CD’s and movies, including pairing Allen Ginsberg with Paul McCartney, and producing the film biography of Timothy Leary. In 2009, David was the consultant to Ang Lee, the Academy Award-winning director, on his Universal/Focus Features release, “Taking Woodstock.” Since 2006, he has also been writing, directing and consulting with Ram Dass’s Love Serve Remember Foundation and, in 2012, directed the “Cultivating Loving Awareness” documentary.

Screen-Shot-2015-10-08-at-10.46.38-AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Uncategorized

What I’ve Learned

This post is dedicated to the memories of Tony Scott, Tom Davis, Jan Sharp, Nelson Lyon, Jeb Abrams and Geoffrey Gordon. All of these beautiful souls left this mortal coil within the last six weeks.

“What’s the difference between loss and change? Attachment.” – Ram Dass

It’s a Tuesdday morning and I just returned from Bhakti Fest in Joshua Tree, CA. After four days of immersive practice I can’t say that I’m any more equipped to write about death than I was a week ago however, I do feel a renewed sense of clarity that comes from loss. This post isn’t really about death anyway. Plenty of people have written on that topic. It’s more about how profound and sudden change can rock you into a new understanding of some of life’s basic principles.

Specifically regarding death though…the mysteries of our physical nature are elusive, frustrating and profound. I think that because we take form in these bodies at this time we really seek to understand why that is. So when it all suddenly ceases to exist we equally try to understand why that is. Right now I feel that it is the “not knowing” how it all works is where the ultimate peace lies. I’ve grown comfortable with the notion that our physical incarnations are so fragile and so precious. Every moment is a gift and as beings taking form right now we must understand that everything is impermanent.

Over the course of the last 6 weeks I’ve experienced radical shifts in my consciousness as it relates to the time I’ve been given on this planet. It’s helped me to understand why I will miss the people who have died, why things like suicide are terribly tragic and why it’s important to fill your time with things that you love.

In Joshua Tree these past 4 days I had to take a look at my practice and what is working and what isn’t. My “practice” is primarily based in methods that seem at face value to be rather structured and formal. For instance, yoga asana has a set of physical sequences that most people do the same way or kirtan has a set of mantras that are sung the same way. However, when one personalizes these practices to let them take on their own form within your own consciousness doorways open that are yours alone. The constant repetition of the names gets so far out that different activations and realizations are available at different times depending on what is you are going through or chanting for. Personalizing ones spiritual practice really helps to make the method malleable thus making the journey constantly rewarding.

All os this loss and funky transitional life structure change all took the form of loss. After an intense four days of practice that included kirtan, discourse, friendship, a little yoga and satsang I feel like I’m come to an awareness of some life qualities that are very important.

The Big Picture

This has been said to me in a variety of ways over the years but it’s becoming very clear in a crystalized and visual way. When we encounter events like sudden and unexplainable deaths or terrible heartbreak it’s important to remember that we are not equipped to understand the bigger picture that makes up all the moving parts of the universe. We are barely equipped to understand ourselves. It’s also become clear that spiritual practice, of any kind, reveals to us glimmers of what the bigger picture is. Perhaps practice can reveal a little shard of universal truth. So when someone decides to loose their will to live we can take refuge in the acceptance that the not understanding is perfectly ok. There’s no reason to understand everything at all times. The mind will constantly go back and forth with the thoughts of “why me” or “this hurts” or “how could she” etc etc. And yes it does help to gain knowledge that can settle the heart but ultimately it’s up to us alone to walk through pain and to move on.

Our minds make up such strong stories that we perceive as our reality. This is in part true – certainly we can be responsible for shaping our living conditions. As Sharon Gannon says “want to change your life? change your thoughts.” Even so with that knowledge there is still a pervading underlying reality that makes up the universe that has nothing to do with us. I don’t believe that the universe and all it’s splendor is a dream that’s going on between our ears, I believe we are one small part of a countless collective that makes it all work together. How the rest of it works I only have slight glimpses into, universal truths that work for me.

Reach Out

If there’s someone in your life who you love or miss but have lost touch with do yourself the favor and reach out and say hello. I’ve always been bad at this because I get shy and reclusive. It’s a very worthwhile thing to do because there may be limited time for you to see them on the physical plane. They might literally jump off a bridge tomorrow. Honestly, I have some sadness in that I didn’t try harder to reach out to Tony in recent years. I have this thought that he would really have loved to see my ’73 Chevy Nova SS and would have been so proud that I bought it with my own money via hard work. I’m sad I didn’t get to share that moment with him.

This can also take on the form of combatting loneliness. I can’t imagine why someone who has so much would take their own life but I suspect it’s because they feel very alone in this world. For myself, I know that I’d be nothing or nowhere without my friends. Yes, there has been a degree of self actualization that has made my life whole but my direct lifeline to my friends and teachers has kept me afloat when I couldn’t find the strength. Don’t be lonely. My shyness has caused me a lot of grief and I’m doing everything I can to keep good association in my life through reaching out.

Do What You Love

We’ve all heard this from a million spiritual teachers in a million different forms. My favorite take on this is from Steve Jobs:

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

I’ve seen more people, including myself, wallow away in a rut because they “think” that they have so much to loose if they give up a traditional route or do things out of convenience or comfort. The rationale mind will tell you that you have so many excuses for not following your heart. Society fills us with fear of scarcity – that not having enough will someday become a reality when in fact all of our needs are already met. I for one don’t want to be that guy who wakes up when they are 75 wishing I had done something that I only dreamed of. That’s enough motivation to not postpone joy, ever.

I got so freaked out a couple weeks ago that a large portion of my life has gone by so very quickly. An old group of my friends gathered at my house three days before Tony Scott checked out and it started this unraveling process of being somewhat frightened that so much time has gone by. And then the Tony thing happened and it really drove home the notion that if I’m not doing what I love then what’s the point? Granted we all have to show and up and do the dirty work from time to time but if we can fill our time here with as much joyous activity to occupy ourselves then we stand a better chance of leading a life full of fulfillment.

Take risks. Everything great comes from great risk or vulnerability. Going for that big career jump that we thought was beyond us or asking that girl out that made us so nervous. We have nothing to loose. That’s my mantra for the day.

Don’t Care What Other People Think

I have work to do here. Far too often my decisions are dictated by the results of what it is people think of me or want from me. One of my main character defects is paranoia and people pleasing. It’s a lousy combination. I want everyone to be happy and then I get so freaked out if I’ve let them down or haven’t made them happy. At the end of the day we’re really all doing the best we can. Even when we make mistakes it’s important to let them go and just be right with yourself and with God.

Spiritual communities can also be perilous in this regard – because they are so tight knit the “gossip” becomes such a huge part of the fabric. Distancing yourself front this pattern takes work and lots of awareness. The moment you start doing stuff to please someone in the community and/or your ego the intention gets lost.

All of this makes it seem like I have some idea that I know what I’m talking about. Trust me, I don’t. During Krishna Das’s Saturday night set at Bhakti Fest he went on some rap about karma and interrupted himself by saying “as if any of us know what the fuck we’re talking about.” So true. These are just thoughts that came to me during a very difficult month and I thought I’d share them.

For the first time in my life I really have no idea what’s next and it’s so completely wonderful. Be good humans.