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“You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

If they mock you when you prioritize what you care about, if they resent your best efforts, if they suck out your joy and fart out contempt until you’re suffocating, it ain’t love, or at least, if ain’t well.

If the self-medication has built a wall, if touch is a forgotten language, if the messages are drowned in the inner monologue pretending to be a dialogue, stop and recalibrate. If respect is foreign but sarcasm is familiar, if the house is loud but nobody talks, if electronics dominate the senses, it’s wrong. If you only hear your name through gritted teeth, it stops feeling like the name of a real person. It’s not what you wanted and not what you should have.

Sorry, I know it’s lousy and it feels normal and you feel crazy when you wonder if it should be different.  We’ve all been trained up wrong. Maybe our folks didn’t understand love enough to teach it or maybe they set the bar too high for anyone else to reach. Either way, it’s a wound and a forest grows from it.

It’s hard to accept that some people just don’t know how to dish out or take in the real thing. It’s even harder to accept that we may be used to taking someone’s worst and thinking it’s what we deserve. But this is the truth.

This applies in relationship, friendship, workplace, family, and across society. It’s generational, it’s epigenetic, it’s largely automatic. And that’s no excuse. Sometimes you’re the only one who sees it, and you’re “crazy” for that. You know what though? You probably aren’t.

People who talk to mugshot posters at the Post Office are crazy. People who go to Wal-mart in nothing but a bumper sticker and a smile to purchase gin and pizza rolls and glitter at 2 AM are crazy. People who expect sweeping positive change from presidential elections are crazy. You though, are just alive and human. Your pain is real, and for what it’s worth, if this strikes a cord, I am sorry and I see you.

Maybe you’re gaslit by an expert. Maybe you’re unconsciously abused by a blind heart. Maybe you’re just putting up with it to see how strong you are out of some ridiculous desire to be righteous even if it’s torture. The specifics don’t change the problem, which is that you are hoping for someone else to fulfill you, which, spoiler alert, DOESN’T HAPPEN.

No. It doesn’t. The brochure was a lie.

Take care of yourself. Walk away when the time is right, if you know it’s what needs to happen. Stay and fight, if you can fight with grace and honor and not just to see blood. Stand up for yourself, one way or another. Don’t give in to hate. Don’t give up on love. Start inside, and see what your garden can really grow once you understand that you’re your own sun. 

Best or luck to us all, in that regard.



Cheat code 27c:

Be what you are. Don’t bother trying to be everything. It will never be enough to satisfy the hungry ghosts. People will tell you they want you to be yourself, but work toward exhibiting authenticity and you’ll soon see how serious that is. Be honest, be fallible, be vulnerable, and you will discover that they mostly want you to match their expectations, good or bad. It’s not a productive game to play, and the time to play is finite.

There’s little gain in trying to be what another person thinks they want you to be, especially if it changes daily and silently. “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Don’t feed the demon that drives the drama. Let them judge you, even hate you, if that’s what they’re into. The smart ones will catch themselves and make amends. Some people won’t get out of the mode until the grave, if that is enough to stop ‘em.

Most of us are addicted to suffering. Lost people stuck on their own hallucinations who would rather suffer than take the risk of actually hearing you out because it might change reality. Most are projecting when they are rejecting. Don’t let what happens in other skulls bring you down. Do you, for you. Do your will with harm to none and you’ve won, regardless of what others may tell you. 

Play on. Ahimsa or bust. It’s the end of the world. Be cool. Be kind. Or be by yourself.




“Busy” signals



When it comes to communication the situation is counterintuitive.

The higher the tech, the lower the quality. That’s easy math. Write it out. You know it’s true.

We have these little portals in our pockets. We fetishize them as they erode us. Communication used to be a challenge of space and time. Now it’s too present, almost too immediate to be useful, and that part is our fault. We’ve gained portability, which we take for granted. We’ve gained instant access, which we don’t employ. We can call anyone anywhere any time, but do we? Do we even try? And when they call us, we pretend no one is calling when their names are on the screens. They know we’re pretending. Nobody is fooled by this theater of cruelty. Why are we cooperating with the draining of all heart’s blood from all human interaction?

We’ve got the answer to every question, but we don’t care anymore. We stopped asking the ones that matter anyway. Our memories are slipping away. We forgot all the phone numbers and we’ll soon forget the reality of the people connected to them.

But they go on! That stupid little red dot on your phone goes away as you’re on to the next on to the next on to the next until you are hollowed out enough to stop feeling. But they go on. They feel, and breathe, and love, and hurt.

We’ve lost empathy. We’ve lost tact. We’ve lost warmth. We’ve lost urgency. We’ve lost the simple pleasures of saying “good morning” and asking “how are you?” We’ve lost the soul-fertilizer of actually meaning those things. We’ve gained “viral content” and lost the healing power of storytelling. The list could go on for an indulgent amount of time and space but you’re already losing interest so let me make it bite-sized.

We lost a lot of what put the color into our lives and the blood into our experience. We stopped living our own stories and started being almost completely vicarious. We were so lucky to exist and be alive and aware and human and we stand to lose it all, forever.

We made a very big mistake. We have to go back. Our souls are almost given over to the artificial. We’re speeding up the end of being human. Think about it. And make the call you’re avoiding.


Let Your Heart Be Light


It’s Christmas, and I want you to be present. 



You know what they say about assumptions.

You and me and most people we are likely to meet have long standing habits of assuming the worst in situations as a form of preemptive protection from harm. There are a few things wrong with this.

  1. It doesn’t actually protect us.

The mind is an incredible storyteller, and once given a few variables it can create an entire believable world based on an imagined scenario that feels real. This waking dream has tangible effects. Our bodies respond the same to fictional stress as they do to true threats. When we allow ourselves to perseverate and expect these worst case scenarios, the wear and tear of this stress response goes on without resolution because what we anticipate never actually arrives. Our bodies are dutifully keeping us ready for it for the long haul, but we’re finite and we eventually get drained. In the end, the harm we expect comes from our own delusions. What a tacky twist ending!

  1. We are usually lousy at predicting what’s going to happen.

Go back and watch every movie from your childhood that took place in an imagined future. Count the flying cars. Now count the smartphones. See what I mean? Apple and Google have pretty much all the money in the world, but they didn’t edit iPhones and Androids out of Back the Future. We just didn’t anticipate that these little glowing rectangles would take over the world.

In the same way, we tend to imagine that things will either go unrealistically good or unrealistically bad, depending on our own self image. Everyone has or is that friend who lives in denial of their limits or skills. We either project the ideal of perfection regardless of performance (all politics and most rap music) or guaranteed defeat in spite of talent (that A-student who is always sure they’re about to be expelled).

We can’t really be trusted to predict anything. We’re just relatively smart animals navigating a complex chaos that we made mostly by screwing around with a preciously self-balancing world. We’re going to come back into balance eventually too, we’re just taking a long detour because we saw a few shiny things in a ditch.

  1. Assumption of harm leads directly to blame.

We buy in on our ridiculous internal ghost-stories and treat other people as if they actually already did something we just think they might do. This is normalized and glossed over but it causes an incredible amount of avoidable friction. What’s more, this friction is profitable for certain industries who have massive influence in media, so outrage is an industry now. If we aren’t careful, those glowing rectangles will control us as easily as sirens and school bells already do.

  1. Assumption is reversible.

What if (and stay with me here because it’s gonna get uncommonly sane for a moment) we accept that we’re prone to assumption as part of the eons-old overclocked security system we know as ego or interior narration? What if we can’t get rid of assumption, but can use it another way? It’s not impossible to make use of this dirty old trick. All we have to do is switch the polarity.

  1. Try it now.

Imagine you’re in a mad scientist’s laboratory in a massive winding castle. Huge sparks flash between huge metal rods, ozone fills the air, and the sound is loud enough to make your arm hair shake. You look around and see a body twitching erratically on a slab. You are afraid to lift the sheet, but you know it’s your face under there. Those rods are trying to catch lightning and bring you back from this zombified state. But you’ll have to do one more thing first.

There’s a massive switch on the wall. It will take both arms, both legs, and all the power of your trunk to flip it, but you’ve got to do it or you’re going to croak on that slab. The storm outside has broken the windows and each step you take is against frigid wind, but you make it. You can finally read the inscriptions on the switch as you take hold of the massive handle.

Really see this. All of it. Notice that the switch is stuck pointing downward, toward a panel that reads “DEFAULT (And in tiny print: limitations, fears, avoidant behavior).” It is clamped in place by rusty spring steel, slightly corroded from all the voltage and current over the years. There’s another panel, on the top end of the switch. This one is almost blank, but in the center, there’s a tiny bold question mark. An arc of electricity reflects off it as you look at it, and you know what you need to do.

Imagine yourself getting into a wide, staggered stance, letting determination build as you dig in your heels. Grab that handle. Ignore the sparks, and don’t let go even if they arc across your hands. Ready? Call on your power, and PULL. Again, and again, as you wedge it free from years of inactivity. You hear a pop so loud it crosses your eyes for a moment, and then you notice: silence, and darkness.

The power’s disconnected. Circumstances are in limbo. The handle is still in your hands. Now switch your grip, and PUSH. Push until you hear that new sound, that fresh little bell-tone as the switch locks into the realm of new possibility. Take a breath, and take a look around.

The arcs have calmed into a steady blue humming glow. You glance at the slab, and the body is breathing. Walk over now, and loosen those straps. As you do, the greyed, relaxing face turns to meet yours as color returns to its cheeks. The eyes, once clenched as tight as that switch, gently and carefully open. They’re yours.

You’ve never looked into your own eyes before. Mirrors freaked you out. This time, you look deeply. A shock of understanding shivers through you. The  other you, the one who’s taken all your years of suppressed pain, smiles at you. It struggles to speak, and then smiles again. “You didn’t know. I forgive you,” it whispers gently as it reaches for your hand.

You follow, not knowing what to expect. The first few steps are awkward as the other you finds its gait but you see it straighten and strengthen. It glows faintly in the blue light. “Here.” Its hand reaches for a candleholder mounted on the wall. It motions for you to help it, and together your hands turn the candleholder, which you have just realized was a hidden switch.

You hear the deep scraping sounds of moving stone. The wall is becoming a door, and in the cracks you see the brightest light of your life. You stand shocked, but your other self takes your hand again and pulls gently for you to come. As you step into the light, your mirror self fades into you, and together, you walk into the unknown, restored and reborn, with all the wisdom given by the pain of the past without any of its weight to hold you back.


What If?

What if this entire media mesmerism circus exists because the human mind is the most powerful and immediate means of reality construction? What if all this sudden onset worldwide hyperactive attention deficit disorder is by design? What if the divide and conquer dog and pony show is there specifically to steal not our electrochemical energy but our creative energy?

What if the world we’re in is someone else’s ideal situation, at our expense, discussed and disguised as an inescapable mess? 

What if they made it all up? 

What if we let go of the rat race?

What if we just stop cooperating?

What if the world has more to do with your mind than you thought? Wouldn’t it be worth it to find out? 



Discovered someday too distant for any of us to imagine in dunes of radioactive dust by curious interplanetary explorers on what once was Earth, a single stone monument broke the endless sands and piles of tangled synthetic artifacts. The monolith’s sun-bleached surface was scribed with a simple message in dozens of languages. From what could be pieced together out of faint subaspace echoes of electromagnetic communication and odd bits of print (mostly on yellowed drink containers), the visitors’ portable devices were able to get the gist of the inscription. 

“You had to be there.”


Stop Buying In

Capitalism is so entrenched that we honestly believe it’s a means of expressing love, which predates money and requires nothing but itself. Unconditional love is reserved for the gods and new mothers. We forgot that we can all do it.

We aren’t encouraged to remember.

In our collective fatigue under what amounts to elective mental slavery we are too spent to see past the trap into the world we left behind for false security. We have lost touch with the human connection to the point where we offer each other symbols of our affections instead of ourselves.

We sell our real time to chase semi-real money (a symbol itself)  to buy these hollow placeholders. Eventually, only the symbol is there and the meaning is lost. The symbols fade into the background and we forget them.

The yearning for the love they’re meant to represent haunts us, but we stop knowing what it is or how to satiate it.

We are lost, desperate, and frenetic beneath a veneer of false connection so convincing that we have sworn allegiance to it and have forgotten it was a charade.

But enough lamentation. What do we do?

Stop giving presents. Start giving presence. Allow yourself to see and feel your wounds and do what you must to heal them. You owe it to yourself and everyone you care about to let yourself out of the prison of habit.

In time and with work your capacity for real love will return and become natural again. This time it will be inexhaustible because it comes from you and you won’t need the hollow-gram or the people you’ve given authority to, who dole out conditional approval in exchange for your compliance.

Because you’re becoming a producer instead of a consumer, you’ll be able to give of yourself without giving yourself away. Your love will be renewable and free in every sense. As intended.

That’s the true gift. Try it this season. Try it this moment. If you need help, get help. You deserve it and the people who really love you won’t see you as less than a champion for fighting to empower yourself.

Never stop trying.