Category: Uncategorized (page 2 of 2)

The Sparrow, The Crumb, and a Certain Wednesday After

We really needed eggs, biscuits, and coffee.

It was a start on a morning that was, finally, chilly enough to feel right for November. Neither my friend Felicity nor I looked at our phones much. Nor did we say much. That is the hallmark of a great friendship- you can be quiet together, explosively sneeze without embarrassment, disagree here and there, and not give two shakes of a stick how we “look.” I’m lucky that I have several close friends like her. It was Wednesday, and we said “fuck.” A lot.

The food was good- great even. Yet it wasn’t… elevating. The sky was a penetratingly blue azure- yet I couldn’t marvel. The music was melodic enough, but I wasn’t there. I wondered if this was what it felt like coming out of a coma, or if there was a glitch in the system that the Harvard kids say is the computer simulation we call life. Perhaps I got off at the wrong multiverse. Something just wasn’t right with the world I knew a day ago. It wasn’t a jump to the left or a step to the right*, but something had warped. For true.

Reports were already coming in after the unpopular election of the least qualified and most demagogic person ever selected President. Muslims intimidated. Women and African Americans stalked, children afraid to go to school. Swastikas in graffiti. A former President once spoke of “Morning in America,” as an inspirational invitation to unite- here we were, about 11am- despite all appearances, it was Midnight. On the sunlit streets marched lynch mobs disguised as everyday people, and the violent rampages on the town square of yore took place in the palms of hands aglow, feverish thumbs on keypads. Nooses and pitchforks are all around us, next to us in the grocery store, so discreet, neat, 2.0.

“The bomb in the baby carriage was wired to the radio…” **

I don’t want to talk about politics, or what we must “do.” I don’t want to rehash the vitriol that has already attacked our emotional immune system, toxins that are going to be long to clear. I hold space for everyone protesting, for Standing Rock, for Black Lives, for immigrants, for everyone who’s been identity assaulted, for gender violence, for it all, for it all, for it all, over and over again. We know this- we are coated in it like tar, and live in fear of the feathers plucked from the peace doves to be thrown on us as we await our inevitable day of confrontation. I just can’t.

I want to talk about a little sparrow.

We ate, perhaps sloppily, and coffee did the best it could to rouse my synaptic gaps where nary a thunderhead of productive thought could manifest. Something caught Felicity’s attention. Hopping along the enclosed porch of the breakfast place was a little sparrow, who’d just found a morsel of dropped biscuit. Suddenly, joy. Out came Felicity’s camera- the colors, the lighting- and the joy- were all perfectly in frame. I dropped a bit of biscuit. Over scuttled the seemingly chipper sparrow. One crumb fell through the floorboard

, and the bird’s head was cocked quizzically- as if to say “that didn’t go right, did it?” I dropped another, and up the beak it went.

It’s as if all that tar melted right off, and that blue sky and the music- all of it- regained the beauty it’s always ever had. That sparrow did not sit in judgment of those crumbs- or our appearance. As far as we know, that day was neither a good nor bad day for the sparrow- it was just “day.” If shots were fired, the sparrow flies away- it does not tell us who was right or wrong. It flies, and comes back. It does not know why we shoot each other. It does not know what makes us cry, it just sees us pass above and below, doing the people things. The sparrow does the sparrow things. There are things to eat, nests, eggs, songs, death, nestlings. There may be so much more to it. Yet that’s as far as we can see. Not forgetting crumbs.

How can I be more like the sparrow?

If only my brain could shrink to pea-size, which I’m certain it is on its way to doing. Of course, if only I had wings. But truly- if only I could live outside of time, names, and beyond emotion. If I could live without the eternal hall of mirrors that is the concept of control. If I… the litany of wishes between the self and the bird. In its graceful sparrow-ing, what peace, what a lesson of serendipity as we stepped back out into the bright morning that was sharply traced in angles of what I am told to believe are truths, yet within the soul I resoundingly proclaim allegiance to are the circles and arcs of maybes, mysteries, and who-knows-whats.

It’s as close as I can get to being the bird brain I dream of. I wrote later that day of claiming the right to be angry, yet acting from a place of justice. Sparrows, and their ilk, from my observation only ever appear to get mildly perturbed- and that’s an interpretation through human lensing. The anger thing didn’t go down well, because this is Asheville, and hashtag All You Need Is Love. While I generally agree, it’s another frequency of on the3 open dial of being. It’s humans that call this a higher vibration. The sparrow wasn’t sporting an “I voted” sticker, nor clinging to a chakra-cleaning shamanically sourced love crystal, it was in the only moment it could possibly know- as far as I know. I love our capacity to complexify, as it continually facets the ever-infinite diamond of perception. Yet the other side of complexity is simplicity. Just being. Sometimes a sparrow scouting for breakfast precipitation is nothing more than that. Is the same applicable to our propensity to make crazy out of bales of sane? Jumping Jehosephat yes. I wanted the sparrow to mean something- to me- and “poof!” it did. I got what I needed, and the meal- certainly the company- were balms in a weary land.

We most certainly are stronger when we love. We are also acknowledging the reality of our animal-hood when we are angry, or are afraid. It’s all okay. If I’m to sit in judgment before a sparrow, I’m most certainly, okay, and you are too. The worst and the best of us all are okay, especially if we drop just a tiny crumb. Isn’t that something we’re all looking for? Just waiting for a tiny crumb to fall from the sky, feed us, give a moment and our lives some purposefulness? Then we can skitter off to the next place, complete our cycle.

Do what we need to do. If it were that easy… I know. I’ve been poured into a human mold and my role is to do the human things and feel the human way. Whenever possible, in my own way, my role is to transcend those bounds and offer comfort and selfless support to those who are in any way immobilized. That’s the hat I was born with, and while the haberdasher has many styles to choose from, I know this is the hat that I’ll die with. I accept it. It’s not an easy look- I make do with what I got. While we all move through this process, feel what we need to feel, let’s test our bounds and see what life’s like outside the bounds. Maybe we’ll find unexpected breadcrumbs falling from the least likely of tables. Or it could just be like many of the mountains around me this Saturday that the world will be on fire. Let peace find a perch in not knowing yet.

Fly where you must, and find grace in small moments. It’s still there. So are you.

* “Time Warp,” from “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” w/m (c) 1975 Richard O’Brien
** “Boy in the Bubble” from “Graceland,” w/m (c) 1986 Paul Simon

Better Angels

Our better angels don’t operate- as it always has been- on the timespan we’re used to. We talk about the “long arc of history.” We’re in it. We just have no reasonable understanding of where that takes us now. People ask: “What do we do now?” Do what you need to do for today. Walk. Cry. Write. Yell. Feel this. Or not. Think about moving abroad. Or dig your heels deeper in and get ready. There are no rights ways

, no wrongs… yet there are no wrongs greater than the ones we in our heart of hearts stand against as injustices. Find your sore spot. Lean into it. Think of everyone else who is more sore today, more wounded today, more disenfranchised today. There is a foundation to build from. Will we know what it will be right away? Probably not. But the better angels begin by being good to one another- even in our thrashing pain and anger. Both can occupy the same space- both came from the one same point of origin that creeps ever back up on us.

You woke up breathing- that’s a start and a very rare, tenuous thing in a Universe as huge as ours.

No Standard Miracles Here



Psoriaasi tiedotus

, Rehoboth Beach DE

There is space between each grain of sand that holds me up…
Each lapping midnight wave unlike any other a cohesion of subatomic history
The peach light of the moon is a trick of the trade in swoon
And this breath I’m taking, divined air of salt and murk, a plentiful oratory.
Ordinary isn’t a word, there are no standard miracles here,
This, the thin veil of skin and blood that is the birthplace of ancestors unnamed
Ten minutes of return to my childhood beach dissuades the I;
Experiences collectively forming my perception, the Universe’s imagination untamed.
We are flickers of light, the darkness in between, and all that jazz…
The reflection kneeling, summoning the sea to wash over the hands, becomes placidly small
Pronouns dissolve into the accepting tide- me, we, you, all returned
Even as lungs heave the time to go, the child within kicks sand, in the dark of the ocean all becomes all.


Stop The World

636031542435573841-DSC-8549Amid fireworks, they shot a black man down my street last night-

Nobody knows the trouble between the first heartbeat of wrong

And the last breath as he was knocked on his feet in plain sight

Of kids in the projects playground, seen enough of this, first person shooter,

Bang bang you’re dead motherfucker was once a game now an angry song.

This brutal world stops for a moment to remember, till the next headline

Throttles us into indignation but the ivory towers know we’re content

To feed on scraps of justice thrown from on high, the sorrow sidelined

Distractions of Caesars and Brutuses reenacting ad nauseam the takedown

As we spin seemingly helplessly

, lowered shades too dark to grasp the portent.

A night later, the percussive eve of Independence Day explodes over this part of town

The bombs bursting in air proving through the night that turned backs were still there

The projects locked down tight, and as boots scrape asphalt eyes cast awkwardly down

Nobody knows the trouble of living on the edge of knives and bullets from a comfortable distance

Yet when faced with a mirror, our fist is thrust to stop the world, only to see ourselves in the raining shards of our town.



QFC (A Very Short Story)

(Inspired by the Write Or Else Literary Bootcamp Group of 7)

“What’s all this about stem cell therapy?” she shouted from the sidecar of the 1962 499cc Velocette Venom motorcycle I suddenly found myself driving, my teeth clenching a cigarillo, the smoke blowing across my face just as the veil of fog that was my memory fell away. What in the flying fuck is this about I thought to myself? Another thought retorted, you know damn well what this is about, shut up and drive.

“Stem cell therapy was the worst possible choice they could’ve made for you. It’s bullshit,” I found myself yelling over the motor’s incessant growl. “Where we’re going will reverse the damage, then reset your bios to an earlier timewave.” Jesus, the night before I knew I had whiskey straight no chaser, not on the rocks, and it was the good stuff. I didn’t expect to lose my grip and slide this far away from the relatively comfortable me in my little bunker. I think I’m going to swear off soul hopping until they get the technology down.

“How much younger do I get to be this time, Duke? How much are they paying you for me? I’m not a goddamn guinea pig, if you didn’t notice. I went from 44 to 85 in six years. Technodyne and your competitor don’t know shit about subatomic medicine.” No. What did “I” do to this lady? Her raspy voice emerges from a frame garishly and gaudily wrapped in kerchiefs and scarves to conceal everything that seems to be wrong. I can barely see her eyes, but I’ve gotta keep my eyes on the road. This me never rode cycles- ancient tech. I must be way in the Outskirts. “Duke” seems to have everything under control, all I can do is sit back and watch, until the hop ends.

“Ma’am, this is a public service, quality fucking control. Your only job is not to worry and keep covered, sunlight and cameras. My job is over in about two miles, and the shirts in the lab will restore you. Maybe for free. Good for us. Good for you.” The rest of the drive was quiet, until the roanorm-grabowski-corvair-motorcycle-sidecardway led to an underground entrance. Gunners asked Duke if anyone else was on the road- no, just them for the last 50 miles. A hum prevailed over all other sound. The shirts helped the old lady out of the sidecar, eager to rush her to the collider lab.

“Do I get a goddamn cigarette first? They give ‘em to all the sad shits that get the firing squad.” A tech tried to reassure her, perhaps patronizingly; “Mrs. Mezvinski, we can’t allow contaminants here.” She began to undrape herself, and with a laugh said “You let him in here… seriously Duke, thank you. This is my last best chance.” Duke tipped his hat, as her elderly unstable face surfaced in the orange glow of the lights. “I” recoiled as I heard Duke think ‘It’s what you get for too many bio-mods.’ Indeed

, her rapidly aging face seemed to be falling apart, and her third eye only stared blankly ahead- dead. Her sixth fingers were curled in paralysis. She was her own guinea pig.

“You’re done here, Duke. Your deposit will appear within 24 hours. We’ll signal you if this reversal goes well, then we’ll expect at least to re-mod three retrievals a week per our deal.” Duke spat the long extinguished cigarillo at the feet of the head honcho.

“Stop making them then. Get that deposit through in 12.” Duke wheeled his Velocette back out toward the sunlight. “And another thing- you get those vaccines ready yet? Some jerk’s hopped my soul for the past few hours, I hear his nervous little thoughts. At least, filter out the dudes. Organic females only need apply.” He squealed out as the engine roared. He thought loudly, ‘YOU HEAR THAT, HOPPER?!’

I snapped out of it- back in the bunker. I grabbed my keyboard and entered the code to cancel my soul hopping subscription. It is unfair, I thought, that the hopped person can’t say no. Such is the way of our time. I flexed my fingers, and the sixth one was only just a little tight, all my mods are guaranteed anyway.

Going out for a whiskey on the rocks.


Life Matters

[Crossposted from the blog of the program which I’m honored to direct,]

Many people avoid the news because it’s become such a repetitious carnival of the same old, same old. Some politician said this crazy thing, a celebrity was photographed in some scandalous way, and then there’s the things we don’t like to see; terrorism, gun violence, diseases spreading. Even worse, we’re inundated with a THIS versus THAT way of viewing situations. Just like looking at a coin, you can only see the heads side- you have to turn it, alter perspective, to see the tails side. Then, you might just notice the edge separating the two- the “third” way. Part of what we do is train our Members and ourselves to focus on the edge, the gray between the white and black, getting comfortable with the “maybe?” between the yes and no. What a service the media would do for the world if it offered just the slightest bit of looking for the “other” between the THIS and THAT!

We’re endured heart breaking arguments about certain lives mattering less than others, and seen pitiful examples of some lives obviously mattering more (wealthy celebrities with great lawyers walking away from crimes download (5)that would make felons out of everyday people

prednisolon 5mg kaufen ohne rezept

, etc). However, there’s been shifts. Among them, the media is finally pushing through celebrity schmutz and the poo-litical mudslinging to shine a light on this genuine epidemic, in the truest sense of the word. Whether you like him or not our President has put evidenced based treatment of Opioid Addiction at the forefront of his agenda for his final year in office. You can say “too little, too late,” but the fact is this initiative is going to save lives. Any life that can be saved matters.

All of the men in our sober living program have lost friends or family to this disease. It’s personal for me too: I’ve lost two cousins to overdoses, a stepmother to alcoholism, and other family members where substance abuse contributed to their decline- not to mention the many friends who are gone forever because of lethally addicting chemicals. The “War on Drugs” really was a war on people, and solved nothing. We know that now. We know that because of hard science, not the blustery opinions of Congresscritters or expert-shaped Bobbleheads who get airtime to spout words without supporting data. People using the scientific method, from clinicians on the front lines to researchers behind the scenes have dedicated their lives to finding truly effective methods to break the cycle of addiction, and these are emerging. We must unite behind these, putting aside the insistence that we only see one way. People living with addiction for too long, living without hope and social investment, know of three outcomes of one-sided thinking: “jails, institutions, and death.”

One of our mottoes here is “Recovery is a necessary social movement to reclaim the value of life.” This isn’t just meant to be a catchy slogan, it’s a call to action. The only way we can create a change in this polarized environment is to be the “other,” to replace the “versus” with insistent and authentic recitation of verses for the creation of justice where it hasn’t yet grown. Our people need justice- in this case, access to affordable and effective evidence based treatment of addiction- not jail, which merely isolates the disease and allows it to fester. There is a hugely disproportionate number of African-Americans who are sent to jail for non-violent, drug related crimes than Caucasians- fact. Same goes with poor people of any ethnic background. Once FIREBIRD has fully established itself as a stable and sustainable company, my next project will be to reach out to the needs of these underserved populations, including the LGBTQ community, where there are few to no viable aftercare choices after treatment.

I ask you, whoever you are, to support the President’s bi-partisan initiative to make the drastic changes in the Opioid Addiction field needed to begin to not just lower the death rate, but to change the dialogue about substance abuse. Let’s start talking about why addiction manifests so we can have a broader range of preventative and intervention options in place- not just institutionally, but in our way of thinking and understanding. Let’s recognize addicts- such a stained word- as people just like anyone else who have a curable disease, not as people who we automatically don’t trust. At FIREBIRD, we begin with trust. We hold fast to the ethic that each human being is entitled to be treated with the utmost dignity and respect, equal to and above the full potential of the dignity and respect that’s repaired in the recovery process. We think of this as a small part of the paradigm shift that a new way of approaching addiction requires. As they say, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. We are very much prepared to be a loud voice in addiction advocacy and also to be a good listener as new data comes forward as to best practices.

We recently got our first batch of T-Shirts with words adapted from Gandhi’s ethos for social change. They say “I am the the change I’ve been wanting to see in the world.” That’s what this shift is about; to be unabashedly honest and authentic perspective shifters in a world so intent on only seeing- and believing- the coin has one side. As Staff, Members, and Families, being that change means that we’re willing to flip the coin, reveal the other side, and most importantly, the edge.



Weep For Brussels, Wail for the World

Today, Brussels and the world are reeling in the news of yet another bloody spasm of hate-blinded ideologies trying to make a point.  The pictures are painful to look at. For some us, those places are familiar, our heartstrings are yanked, and as with France and Great Britain we in the United States feel a very strong sense of solidarity and compassion in the wake of these barbarous attacks. Yet there is an even sadder footnote: every day, around the world, the bloody spasm of hate-blinded ideologies tears new wounds into innocent flesh, and what will make the news are the numbers dead, if that. Much goes on without our awareness- selective media, selective attention, selective tolerance to reality. Surrounding every continent, there are grave humanitarian crises which daily claim scores of lives, some days hundreds.

Brussels joins the sad chorus of 2016’s wake up calls with Mogadishu

, Eel-Adde, and Baidoa, Somalia; Panathkot, India; Camp Speicher , Baghdad, Ramadi, Mosul, and Muqdadiya, Iraq; Zleiten, Libya; Istanbul, Diyarbakır, and Ankara, Turkey; Quetta, Peshawar and Charsada, Pakistan; Koupaye,  Bodo, and Meme, Cameroon;  Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; Deir ez-Zor, Aleppo, Homs, Damascus, and Sayyidah Zaynab, Syria; Jalalabad and Kabul, Afghanistan; Dalori, Dikwa, Yashari, and Maiduguri Nigeria; Ntombi, Democratic Republic of Congo; Aden, Yemen; Grand-Bassam, Ivory Coast; Arish, Egypt.


Morning Medicine

Right outside home this morning was a beautiful redtail hawk. Not flying away, just there and present. With its keen eyesight and deep wisdom, there’s knowledge there of what’s prey, threat, what’s neither, and what’s just part of the world of a hawk. I think when we stop, breathe, keep our eyes open and survey everything we know, as humans there’s really so little actual threat. When humans threaten other humans, the only real threat is when one takes the bait and falls for the trap

Kondylooma tiedotus

, the head trip, the kill or be killed of it all. I believe though we spend a lot of time in threat-preparedness mode versus survey and see what’s just a part of the world of being a human. It makes being a human so much easier.

Wouldn’t mind the wings, though.


I’ve had the dream of a men’s recovery program based on brotherhood, transparency, long-term trust, and accountability realized. That experience has come to a crossroads organizationally, and with one dream realized, another comes; to truly transform the ethos of sober living and offer more. With goodwill all around, I am embarking anew with the expressed support of more people than I can name, for which I’m beyond blessed and grateful. I am overjoyed to know that so many are already energetically supportive- now is the time where any and all actions will result in transforming lives.

“We” need your help. I am not doing this for myself- I am doing this for one of the most volatile and at-risk for premature death populations in the industrialized world. That’s why I’m putting all of this forward: our challenge

, the solution, the benefits, and how you can immediately help.

In memory of all who have been harmed and died in global conflicts

Confronting War, Violence and Hate with Love and CompassionIn memory of all who have been harmed and died in global conflicts and for our human family, We share this vision of creating peace in these times of anguish. Let us be love and compassion

, a link to interfaith understanding, and may we move together in harmony to reclaim the heart of humanity. Let our spiritual paths intertwine, our action join us in a global compassion effort, and let us lead our lives together toward a better world. Video © 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions

Posted by Parliament of the World’s Religions on Monday, 16 November 2015

Newer posts