Build empathy with those in relative darkness. Do by choice what others must out of necessity. Sleep in your car. Eat what has been discarded. Go hungry. Go dirty. Go sick. Wear the same clothes for days. Deprive yourself of human contact until your spirit cracks. Sit in hospital waiting rooms. Stand in a long line once in a while when you don’t even have to. Wait in the heat, or the cold.

Understand the invisible, the millions of others we pretend aren’t there or are just background noise and obstacles when what we’re doing is what matters. Get to know the unknown. Let yourself die from constant privilege, just long and often enough to understand those who do not have a choice a little bit.

On the flip side: be the candle in the darkened room. Smile at the person you pass on the road with the dead eyes because it’ll be your turn sometime. Be the first person today  if not ever to truly listen to someone who is “crazy.” Find the opposite of someone’s despair and bring them to it with a surprise. Find out directly what people’s pain is really like, rather than assuming you can tell.

Abandon the idea that you know it all. Nobody does, or can. Try on beliefs like thrift store jackets until you find the warm one, especially if you hate how it looks. Maybe there’s treasure in the pockets. Flip through books, not just holy books, and look for clues. Put your music on shuffle and remember the thrill of discovery. See if it seems to read your mind.

Tear yourself down. Build yourself up. If you don’t define yourself, circumstance will. Let it all happen. You can’t stop most of it anyway. The power is in how you greet the chaos and the blessings and the horror and the wonder. Let the universe of infinite possibilities exist within and without, and in so doing, give yourself permission to grow beyond the box you came in. 

I can’t say for sure, but it’s probably the point. Oh, and one last thing:

Give yourself the love you need, for no one else is guaranteed.

Field Report 23

I am in week 3 of a clinical internship that is taking place in the Senior Behavioral Health Unit of a hospital in the next town. It is unique opportunity which is proving to be as much a treasure as it is an initiation.

I now know in my true heart rather than just in my abstract mind that patients presenting with mental illness are truly dynamic beings who move in and out of different emotional, mental, and behavioral states and display many facets of themselves at many times.

People I have known, myself included, who have experienced both acute and chronic manifestations of anxiety, depression, and other mental illness conditions are too often classified by their symptoms and rarely seen as the beings of potential and diversity that they are. With people we know, we often become adjusted to working around these states of being rather than with them. With strangers, we may never get past our initial one-dimensional perceptions of their lives based on what we see in their behavior. In the client and practitioner relationship, we can explore these dynamics and facilitate the client's own discovery of context and solutions.

Working directly with this population makes it impossible to stay locked in the limited view of them I described above.  When I learned the history of this discipline and its roots in mental health, I was excited and hoped to see it work with this population more directly in my career. To begin to do it so soon is a true privilege. In my brief time here so far I have seen people go, in days, from being bed-bound by despair to offering kindness to their peers. I've seen them go back into the world with new hope and new purpose. I've seen connections to family rebuilt and dormant talents remembered, even shared bravely. What I've learned is that all it takes to begin to help a client transform into a more functional mode of being is a small store of patience, a seed of hope, a small offering of time and effort, and the willingness to give true audience.

Miracles are possible in this setting, I can tell you that. Maybe they’re possible in every human life.

Bingo Gas Station Motel Cheeseburger and You’ll Be Gary Indiana

I am breaking my posting fast to remind you gently that time is fleeting and life is so much more than shapes on screens. We are in various degrees and flavors of a sick trance. We have been conditioned over generations to behave contrary to human nature.

We are in crazy times, and fear is king, quite by design. Don’t let it move your lips or your fingers. Don’t be a slave, a host, a robot. Acting from a place of love, of self and of others, is the only sane choice in any situation, virtual or otherwise. 

We get overwhelmed by our lives, especially now in this constant state of fight-or-flight. We like to pretend we are the pawns of an indifferent fate or the chosen ones put here to show the “right” way to those we judge as ignorant. It feels good to push the pain onto someone else, for a split second, but every sound echoes.

Remember who you were as a child, before you let the world take it from you. You are still in there, and the love you need and cry out for can come from your very own heart, but you have to leave the game that drains your power. You want to be a chosen one? Choose yourself.

We are part of an incredible world, but not one of us is above it all. We are one species, on one planet, in one galaxy of a teeming astonishing universe full of splendor we can barely comprehend. Our senses give us only slivers of reality, which we then shrink and distort through calcified habitual thinking and slides of our childhood traumas. We all have so much to learn, and to un-learn.

We live in terror of death and afterlife, yet we avoid running our precious lives authentically, and Heaven and Hell are made here and now, by us, the children of God, with our choices, words, and deeds. The Word is what makes us what we are. How foolish we are when we use it to hurt. We all stand guilty, and we can all be redeemed with the will to change.

I left the daily use of Facebook because it’s shiny and sugary and tacky and nasty. I goof around on the others while there’s still a sense of play. The sales pitch for social media in general is connection, but the reality is too much pretense and too much mudslinging. I don’t blame anybody for getting or staying hooked because it’s designed to hijack our neurotransmitters and emotional wiring, but I’m gonna ask you to consider if it takes more than you get from it.

Criticism hurts the wielder as much as the recipient and does nothing to improve the world. The “others” are not yours to fix. Compulsion to control is a toxic dead end. We are only in dominion over ourselves. No one changes until they’re ready. No one understands the depths of another well enough to pass accurate judgment. We throw darts to distract ourselves from our own self-crucifixion and pretend no blood flows at the other end, even as the streets run with it.

We are the puppets of our pendulums, haunted with a thousand ghosts, until we turn to witness them and remember that these shadows and parasitic thought forms are not who we are. We are so afraid to see ourselves in the light of truth, and so committed to our characters. We build the illusions and armor up over a lifetime, a hundred miles thick yet as fragile as a cobweb. So long as we live under this spell we are soldiers, slaves, cattle, batteries, but never quite human.

We are made to be individuals and to revel in the novelty we can bring each other, not divide until no two can share a room without a war. Don’t let the machinery transform you. Resist the call of the hive. You, and me, and everyone would do well to heed the ancient warning:


The Greeks carved it in stone for a reason. Life is a gift, a gift that is wasted on competition and comparison. The meaning of life? It’s no mystery. The meaning of life is to find out who we really are. And once known, and once accepted, and one loved, how could we indulge in such pointless cruelty?

I leave you with that question, and one suggestion: reduce your psychic footprint in the anti-social media. It is a graveyard of the spirit, and the people who built it are literally trying to control your mind. They have patents and prototypes. They’re getting it done, and they are not stopping.

I love you, stranger or ally. Please love yourself enough to leave the shadowplay behind. Somewhere inside each of us are wounds we hide, wounds that threaten to leak poison and bind our hearts with scar tissue if we ignore them and our reactive behaviors. Abandon the verbal hologram and stop participating in all the emotional violence that has been normalized. As the old song goes, “don’t help them to bury the light.”

Remember the world where we actually spoke from the heart, with truth and love. It’s still there, but if you can’t find it, build it.

That’s it.

“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?