Egyptian Grace

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Self-knowledge is a reductive process. Discovery of what one is not allows one to sit more loosely in the essential emptiness of what is. Like the distillation of essential oils, the vehicle of the plant matter is removed to reveal the essential life within. For the moment, my life distillation process has brought me to the place of Egyptian Grace.

In the midst of great change, it became clear that working in the context of the Perfumerie was no longer right activity. Notions once held about all and everything were revealed at their source to be ill founded, leaving me in a state of thorough bewilderment. It turns out bewilderment is not so bad. It has been a truer medium for real transformation than asserted self-definition.

I delight in creating things people enjoy, find helpful – love. To have presence of creative consciousness means more to me than you can possibly know. Finding this out took some absence of doing, and again, the presence of bewilderment. Then one day I made something – a new cream – that I shared and others liked. A lot, in fact. It was based on a recipe known as Egyptian Magic. The original recipe calls for bee made nutritional components – honey, beeswax, propolis, royal jelly, and bee pollen brought together into an anhydrous cream with olive oil. I modified this and added more nutritive fixed oils such as jojoba, argan, rose hips, pomegranate, and coconut with great results.

As I considered what to call this formulation, Egyptian Grace presented itself. With this came an unfolding vision of the next manifestation of my work with essential oils. Egyptian themed essential oil perfumes formulated along with a few creams and unguents.

I am not alone in the experience of looking forward to the ritual of using my creams. Yes, wonderful skin healing, de-wrinkling, radiant things happen to the skin. But more than that, there is a particular atmosphere, an experience of rightness that goes beyond skin care. And this is my interest over and above any cosmetic result. The aim is not to anoint the dream, but the essential reality behind the dream.

The ancient Egyptians are considered by many to be the true founders of aromatherapy. Hieroglyphs on the walls of temples document hundreds of recipes, many of them variations on Kyphi, a formulation that was used for healing and ritual. (Kyphi will be among the Egyptian Grace offerings) Formulations on papyrus were found at Edfu, where there was a perfume making lab, used by high priests and alchemists for ritual and healing. Magic and healing went together – rightfully so. The ancient Egyptians put a lot of attention on the sense of smell. They knew of the vibratory effects of essential oils, and their ability to raise atmosphere.  Essential oils activate the pineal gland, thus accessing one’s connection to the divine and the ability to transform negative energies.

The ancient Egyptians lived with strong awareness of death as part of the life cycle. They were given perspective that enabled them to see negative energies produced and perpetuated through past trauma could block them from moving forward in their afterlife voyage. They used essential oils as agents for clearing negative energies, as well as elevating their state of being to be in resonant identification with deities.

Those who formulated these precious aromatics necessarily led disciplined lives. It was not only a question of producing an aromatic, but creating an energetic tool for identification with the divine. Cleanliness as next to godliness was quite literal. The work was consuming for not only did precious and costly ingredients have to be collected, but precise knowledge of how they were to be brought together with exact timing was necessary. Some of these formulations could take as long as a full year to prepare.

Egyptian Grace reflects a way of life. A way of life that moves upstream. Realizing consensus reality as a movement away from origin, the aim here is back into the sun – not the one you tan by. These products are produced in this context. The distillation process of self-knowledge has led to greater emphasis of energetic reality. Removal of the dross yields energy that with skill and training is experienced as an increase of attention and greater awareness. This applied to the creation of helpful tools such as aromatic formulations that align with what the ancients knew about energetic reality will produce effects that no commercial perfume or cosmetic can possibly duplicate.

Following is a list of the products thus far. It is developing gradually as I obtain the raw materials needed to perfect formulations I list below as being up on the board.  Help is needed to launch this in earnest and I would love to hear from you if you are interested in investing in some way.  I will eventually crowdfund once things are in place, such as packaging, and a good video.

  1. Bee Grace – An anhydrous (no water) cream made of highly nutritive fixed oils combined with all the wonderful things bees give us. It is exceptionally healing, soothing, moisturizing, with antibacterial and detoxifying properties.
  2. Essential Grace Cream – A rich moisturizing cream that blends highly nutritive fixed oils (e.g. Rose hips, argan, apricot kernel) with pure essential oils, floral waters and aloe butter. The moisturizing activity in this cream differs from Bee Grace in that floral waters are delivered into the skin, while in Bee Grace, the honey acts as a humectant, attracting moisture from the atmosphere. All of the nutrients are deeply delivered into the skin with the help of fractionated coconut oil. The essential oils include Sandalwood, which has scientifically been shown to activate skin cell healing and regeneration, Somalian Frankincense, Turkish Rose, Geranium, and Jasmine. The healing atmosphere produced is palpable – in fact one client suggested that it can be rubbed over the heart as a means of protection during difficult transactions or while traveling.
  3. Essential Wet Cream – A moisturizing toner with nutritive oils that have been married to essential oils and floral waters. The fine mist can be sprayed on before applying Bee Grace or used alone.
  4. Oasis Wet Cream – A balancing and healing agent with floral waters, nutritive oils, vegetable glycerin, and essential oils chosen for their ability to correct any imbalances of the skin. It is a great night time application that is light but effective.

The following products are formulations up on the board:

Nu Regenerative Cream – A hydrous formulation that will incorporate the bee nutrition,  nutritive oils including Tamanu, Baobab, Marula, and Rose Hips, essential oils of Sandalwood, Rose, and Frankincense, and targeted bio-actives such as a stabilized form of Vitamin C.

There will be 6 essential oil perfume formulations offered to start – Kyphi, Pharaoh, Queen, Blue Lotus, Water Lily, and Ra-Re Sol, a formula with Somalian Frankincense and Myrrh. Eventually formulations will be made specifically for massage and anointing. I will also continue to offer custom blended perfumes but with open emphasis on producing agents of transformation and transcendence. It is high time Grace comes out of the consensus closet.

 

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Some Notes on Effacement

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The glory of an impeccable moment alone is sacrificed here for the sake of beauty shared. This photograph represents a moment when the course of my life on this day brought me to a silence that was not the silence of a dog eating a carcass, or lack of words. A silence of what is. A silence of being breathed.

Never mind the perfection of this moment in the symphony of the day, which was more Stravinsky than Bach. My head was lifted by the Breather to witness this. A purring cat named Spot I was busy petting had nudged me out of the story line enough to allow. I was astonished at the beauty. It was a love letter. They are all around me, those ambassadors from absence imploring me to leave for home. Sometimes as a bird song, or taking on the form of an absurdity, objects that seem to defy gravity, or sounds with no sensible origin. Sometimes it is much more direct. This seemed like one such private moment.

Often I can’t bear the beauty alone. I have to share it even when I suspect it is not the right thing to do. I am guilty of casting pearls before swine. And being swine before pearls.  Yet right/wrong thinking is useless. I have seen that the only possible way through is in self effacement – and I write this in that spirit. Understand that the beauty of this photograph is tainted, it reflects a cast shadow – my own.

Self-effacement has traditionally been thought of as a means to transcend the body and its habits into the realm of spirit. It is a terrible thing to witness, when conditions are ripe for it, how one has been eating clay when light and water and real substance is so constantly offered. How one has interpreted kindness as maleficence and maleficence as kindness because of the sickness embraced as part of the illusion of time and bodies and stories, all of which are meant to wash us clear to absence. Hello, I must be going.

But the fact that some traditions have a history of torture chambers in the name of their particular brand of self-effacement as they interpret it from a source they may be far away from gives it a bad name. Effacement can be thought of in birthing terms. The cervix becomes effaced, thinning in preparation for the baby’s exit. The new moment of creation from absence to presence comes into being using me, you, and your unspecified pet as a vehicle. The thinner the medium the better. In this way even the proverbial bear shitting in the woods can be sacred.

How does self-effacement work practically in the birthing perspective? It often takes on the form of silence. I will give voice to yet another silent moment here, now that it has sufficiently passed to offer an example.

I was talking to someone that I’d just paid a debt off to. The conversation was off the topic of the debt, talking about my Flamenco classes and the upgrade I needed to make in music for them. I said that first I had to pay off my auto repairs. It was said lightly, as a note of what I wanted to do for my class. In a particular tone of voice that spoke more than the words he said, “Like everyone else.” These three words felt loaded with his personal suffering.

This person had gone on two vacations over the course of two or three months, to his time share rental, smiled through a newly crowned tooth, eats meals of meat in a house he owns on an almost daily basis, had just funded two parties and purchased a major luxury appliance. By contrast, I make many meals of canned organic beans I buy for 99 cents at the Grocery Outlet. Plantains I get two for a dollar. Eating is often painful because a tooth I have that anchors a bridge is rotten, has been for years and needs to be extracted, but I can’t afford it. So I use oil pulls to handle the toxicity quite successfully. Vacation is a foreign word. I traveled to the Bay area a couple of years ago when I was graciously given the opportunity to study Flamenco with a great dancer. My parties consist of buying a piece of fish from the health food store when I get some extra cash, and if I am house/cat sitting, sharing a bit of it with my friend Spot.

I am given the grace of many things. Presently I am in a beautiful environment as you can see from the photograph. The things I do to earn money are to my aesthetic. I have two nice rooms to live and work in. My friends help out enormously because despite my simple life, and my constant efforts, ends don’t quite meet.

But in that moment I felt such a – vibe – coming through those few words, I have to admit. A vibe of consumerism which carries with it the potential for a particular kind of self pity. With all this man has, still he had to use the moment to express what he did. I assume responsibility for feeling what I did. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was in that moment to simply dismiss it and move on to a better topic. Once alone, I processed the exchange. There is a feeling of unfairness that must be overcome in order to be true to myself. I had to self-efface to a place beyond this feeling. Because my life is as it is. I have done so much excavation work and followed disciplines in an effort to change the story line – until I realized that changing the story line was not the thing to do.

With some effort I was able to see that I don’t need or want the same things. A shift has happened to me that shows me I don’t want what I once thought I wanted. My heart is in love, but I don’t have a name for what it is in love with. It makes my life, that is, the story line, quite miserable often. When I seek satisfactions it is like I am dead and trying to live in a body that I can no longer claim as my own. Even things that I once considered refined have been exposed as coarse. Whatever the beloved gives me, that is what I can have. And trying to explain the subtleties of this – and its all subtleties, is next to impossible.

My friend is a good guy and leads a different life. The reductive life does not speak the same language as that of consumerism. Judgmental thinking is futile and just in this little event we can see how difficult it is to conceive of what it would take to know world peace. I look to self-effacement as a possible way through. And silence was the way in that moment. It could be that another moment of self-effacement would demand my speech. One of the lessons I am repeatedly given from different angles is that I am not my preferences. This means that even though I may prefer to speak or not speak, that preference does not necessarily indicate alignment with the truth of what is at any given moment.

So much of our conditioning is geared towards consumption and accumulation. And being the alpha of the situation. What we really want in our hearts is not consumable. It has more to do with diminishing returns. Well, that seems to be the case if you are what Rumi called a Lover, and I don’t have a better word for it. But it is this kind of  accumulating conditioning that creates rules and systems one applies toward getting something wanted, even reward in Heaven. The thing about Lovers is that they are considered alive to the degree they can die.

Effacement is a thinning out process, it allows birth by getting out of its way. Birth and death bear a definite relationship, don’t you agree? The veil between worlds is thinned then parted for entry or exit and unless you are made of stone, this can be felt. One can create conditions that might be more or less helpful to the process of effacement, but the minute we move into a right/wrong thing a shadow is cast. This is the stuff out of which war, spiritual torture chambers, and the shopping mall is made.

I know of someone who accumulates all kinds of food processing appliances upon embarking on a new project of weight loss. They lose money to gain things to help them lose weight that they gain stressing over the money they lose. But this person will not sacrifice their own story, will not do the self-effacing work – that is, will not open up to reveal a new self by getting to the fundamental issue behind the consumption and control. I see this because I have been guilty of consumerism of clothes and decorations all designed to keep me from looking at what I have despised about myself. We are conditioned to reach for more over the true solution of choosing less.

The diminishing process has the constancy of change. That’s why rules and systems are useless, for the most part. Another small example – I caught myself while driving in a thought loop of worry over my finances. No surprise here. I then sought to remedy this by reciting a gratitude list. A thing that has worked for me in the past. To this the Beloved responded with mockery and disdain. I took the cue and saw how I was using gratitude as a trick to obtain a state that I felt was righteous. The habit had presented itself to seek the right way of thinking to get at “the Secret” of manifestation of things – money, comfort, security. I forgot to be. It is not about fixing the story. Its about authenticity in being, apart from story line and conditions.

The effacement of a Lover has a language and that language is communicated through mirrors. I see my own shadow in the witnessing of others. In self-effacement one’s mirror gets polished. And in this polishing, one learns the language of mirrors.

I don’t say as much as I used to. Still, its often too much. It is rare for me to not feel as though I am in a foreign country where I don’t know the language very well. I used to be quite articulate, and now I mostly feel like a walking avalanche. I have a lot of learning to do about the language of mirrors – and silence. But sometimes its just too beautiful to bear alone. And sometimes in my own kind of greed I have to capture a moment and share it, perhaps avoiding an intimacy of stillness and silence that I can’t bear yet. This was such a moment.This too shall pass.

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The Persistence of Flowers (Notes on Awakening)

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Showing this work in progress is no simple matter. All manner of consideration looms up at me and yet underlying, there is a simplicity that I want to cultivate and grow before I no longer have this body. The simplicity of a child who likes something and wants to share it. But truth be known, this enters the realm of the complex because for me there never was a simple time.

As an infant, throughout my childhood and adolescence, I underwent experimentation that one might associate with Nazism. Strange but, if memory serves, true – those who were responsible for overseeing the kind of experimentation and unimaginable abuse experienced were Nazi scientists who continued their experiments after WWII right here, in Amerika. As far as I’m concerned this country has never been the land of the free.

True freedom is a state of being that is sourced within, not without. It certainly helps to have the right conditions for the cultivation of freedom, and what this country purports to be would seem to fit the bill. But if you look at what we collectively have done with our “freedom” it raises questions. We are enslaved to habits of living that perpetuate hypnosis – from football to Good Morning America. Society has unconsciously trained us how to feel, what to wear, how to heal (drugs and retail therapy), what to want, what to eat, how to react, what to do – ideas of right living that support mass consumerism and the resulting imbalances that have made for the turbulence we now face. We have been taught that the pursuit of happiness means going after more things of hypnosis, a hypnosis that by its very nature is designed to enslave us miserably.

It is now, in the wake of long held back memory, memory that was blacked out intentionally under the effects of drugs, hypnosis, shock and threat training, and as a means of survival, that simplicity becomes a genuine possibility for me. That said, let me make something clear. While memory awakened reveals a thoroughly destroyed childhood and an apparent absence of human compassion, it simultaneously exposes an equally profound presence of “something” benevolent that held me throughout. Whatever this agency of benevolence, it remains present with me now, in my awakening. And it demands of me activity of freedom, presenting in full blown three and sometimes four dimensional simulation the absurdity of what I have come to accept as real about myself and my world out of sleep. Whatever this agency is, it is not without humor. In fact humor is a hallmark. Brilliant sight gags and puns with psychic guns mercilessly destroy any internal drama bubbles formed around the secret I didn’t know I was keeping.

The story of what happened is not the point. I speak it to free it. And hopefully to awaken you just a little bit. It ain’t no big thang. Certainly not in the eyes of those agents of benevolence of which I speak. Soft, pink, and fluffy does not describe this kind of – love – for lack of a better word – that will do everything in its vast capability to see to it that I do not get attached to any form of its expression. Or my own expression, for that matter.

But I digress. For the moment, being and speaking as a work in progress is the thing I am exploring. A work in progress is in one sense, without fixed identity. And what is it to be free but to be selfless? Not bound to or by identity. The benevolent force needs the absence of identity in order to have the space to come through. It is BIG, too big for identity. At least to my experience. My history creates quite a compelling story, and even speaks to the strength of spirit – a great human interest piece. But it limits me to an identity that bears the weight of that history. The idea, from what my benevolent friends seem to be communicating, is to let go completely of anything that binds me to identity and yet maintain an ability to function. You gotta see what you are holding onto first. Simple, not easy. I confess I never knew how much I secretly thought enlightenment was like a plush toy until awakening got this vacuously real.

Tomorrow, if there is such a thing, I may look at this series of moments spent here processing words and wonder how I might have come to think this was a good idea. It will be obvious I have let go completely when I no longer need to even mention the past. I’m not there – here – yet. Nevertheless, I do have something I want to share. Simply, delightedly.

This art work in progress is called “The Persistence of Flowers”. I have surprises planned for this piece, though experience, particularly creative experience, never seems to go as planned. Nevertheless, it is intended to reflect the persistence of something essential through the demolition of form. I dedicate this work to all invisible agents of benevolence everywhere.

Peace and Love. Make that a Grande. Hold the fluff.

 

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Alighting

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I have been waiting to land at some place of completion that would give me the language to speak what needs to be spoken. The wait has become foolish, a trick of the old paradigm mind, which is being sloughed off. Right/wrong, reward/punishment based thinking doesn’t serve me. My mind wants so much to alight somewhere. For the moment, to awaken means to no longer alight anywhere. And at the same time, to stand my ground consciously, with intention. To live in perpetual uncertainty punctuated by moments of repose beyond what is certain or uncertain. This makes it difficult to write, because to write is to alight. And yet it is possible to write a light.

I am now in a world where I am given a picture of how my mind works, the overlay revealed in full length mirror reflection from several angles at once 24/7. For the first year or so of this ‘training’, I learned to read a language that uses impression and coincidence in a way that engages the attention differently from how it is normally engaged. Decades of inner work within the context of an esoteric school prepared me for this new form of training. To remove what disables one from self-knowledge is hard work. it took a master enlighten-er to give a distinct and practical meaning to the concept “self remembrance”. By his shamanic hand – and I mean this quite literally in a way I will someday share – I was moved to remember something deeply forgotten.

From the time of early childhood up until my twenties I was experimented upon in such ways that the memory was completely blacked out. Horrible things were done to me with the intention of probing into a wide (extreme) range of human experience and psychology. That this happened to me has been verified by a trusted friend who also happens to be a former NSA member. My stepfather was my handler, he worked for Army Intelligence and it was through him that both my mom and I were enlisted into this very special “service”. As my NSA friend said, things were done to me that no human being should do to another human being. He chose his words carefully, as he is adept at using awakening language in a way that is both cryptic and revealing. I have come to see that language as we tend to use it supports and perpetuates the dream.

My research has taken me into the realm of MK Ultra – the CIA project on mind control, and there is much material out there, including declassified documents, that addresses the nature of the experimentation. There are many reports – as I have been told, there are literally thousands of us experimented upon, involving major hospitals, schools, universities,and government buildings. My research has also taken me, by necessity, into the realm of the alien question. In and through all of this I have begun to piece together a background story. It is not my intention to educate you on any of this. I do recommend you inform yourself.

Well informed and applied spiritual practice prepared me for the integration of awakened memory. The rage and fear that I always felt beneath the surface now was given a raison d’etre, or so it would seem. Initially I was enraged at the US government, military, and its lack of disclosure. Angry at the poverty and ignorance that fostered the choices leading to the experimentation. MK Ultra, surveillance, implants, Wiki leaks, the Illuminati. I can look on my Facebook page and find more to corroborate the corruption that I have felt on a very intimate basis. My friend just cited a Harper’s magazine article on drug legalization in which John Erlichman, Nixon’s domestic policy advisor, said flat out that the Nixon administration had two enemies – “the blacks” and the anti war far left. By heavily criminalizing drugs, then using the media to associate marijuana with hippies and heroin with “the blacks”, they sought to disrupt any power these communities may have. This is how it works, evidently. And there is likely an equally calculated reason this article came out. Standing Rock? There is a deeper secret here, I will bet. The now obvious lack of disclosure about such projects as MK Ultra has been replaced by Wiki leaks and in a whole other realm that to my eye deeply connects all of this, the secret space program.

In a very real way, my past is of little consequence except insofar as it impedes the genuine experience of the present. My recent training has (often ruthlessly) brought to light habits of mind and identification that serve to perpetuate the sleep of conditioned response.. This in a way that has been unprecedented in my many years of spiritual work. Self pity is not allowed. I am forced to see what the past did to condition me, and special conditions are given to help in the change of trauma based habits. This is necessary, for to remember is to lose at a rapid rate many traits that had been in place for the purpose of hiding my secret from myself. Much like what will have to happen to the world at large if it is to undergo real change.

There is a lot in place simply because the world cannot face its own awakening. We as a race, the human race – you and I – must see our own predilection towards destruction of others and self. Our consciousness, in its state of identification with overlay stories tends to fulfill the impulses of territorial conquest and maintaining status quo over loving kindness toward the greater good and real change. You have to want to know yourself well to be exposed to the awakening conditions that will show you how deep this stuff goes, and just what you are doing to stay asleep.

To my view we are slowly being primed and tested through the media for a disclosure that is inevitable. I see some film and television productions considered to be fantastic entertainment might in fact be based on real events, and audience reaction is being monitored. While awareness of the issues has become a mandate for intelligent being, awareness of our awareness is even more critical. It is very difficult for me to believe that what is presented as news, even alternative news, isn’t some form of controlling contrivance, or a smokescreen that is hiding what is really going down. But I can’t settle on that difficulty of belief. A place beyond belief is called for. We are given the story of freedom of information via alternative channels, but like all phenomena, it is nonetheless illusory. And being socked into the story, any story, whether it is alternative news or your own treasure, without equal or greater attention of presence, effectively renders you asleep.

I don’t consider myself a conspiracy theorist, rather, an awakening human being with a burgeoning intelligence that has been given the advantage of compelling conditions for honing my critical faculty. I have much to say, extraordinary stories to tell. but all I will offer at this moment is a wisdom steeped in uncertainty.There is a big question mark where there used to be an exclamation point or period.

A methodically constant conflict of data that is of a distinct nature is part of my training experience. One result is question marks that resolve straight into the heart.  Buddha, Jesus, and all those beautiful major dudes look a lot different to me. From where did this information come? I really don’t know anything but a story.  How can I know that Buddha even existed? I can be shown artifacts galore, but there remains a question. And it doesn’t matter whether or not he existed. Some of what is present in the teachings of these great masters resonates in the heart unconditionally. This heart intelligence serves as a moment’s reference, refuge, sanctuary. The moment is the only real estate anyone ever has to claim.

If you have ever had all you buffers blasted off at once by shock, you may have witnessed, as I did, that the one watching was not sophisticated enough to come up with a reaction like rage. It simply was there, stunned into a state of simple, pure being. And as any major dude with half a heart surely will tell us, any minor world that breaks apart falls together again. After the shock and window opening moment of pure essential living, the reaction of fear and rage falls into place, or catatonia sets in.

We consider the horror that many people are facing with outrage that seems righteous. But consider the possibility that this kind of reaction, unchecked, contributes to the reality that produced the problem to begin with. That is what I have been shown through my own experience, anyway. Rage must be dealt with , not denied, but there are ways of dealing with it that feed awakening rather than perpetuating the nightmare. Namely, look deeper inside, check out your mind. Breathe into your moment. Use the energy to know yourself deeper than your temporary identification.

Do you know how you think, the patterns of your thought, how they came about? Do you know the hooks that capture your attention? Do you know how you make a story so real that it moves you to secrete the chemicals responsible for the sensations you feel? Even as you simply gaze at digital images on a flat screen? Can you smell your own adrenaline? Can you be sure that you were not triggered into having the reaction you had intentionally? That your rage or sadness or whatever feeling you can identify as a reaction isn’t displaced away from its genuine source within? Knowledge of self is power. Unconsciously being manipulated takes away the power that all your media information gives you.

I’ve been brought to an activism of consciousness, the 24/7 call of duty to awaken. It has meant the sacrifice of many cherished beliefs, identities, activities, of friends, family relations, and even spirituality as I once knew it. I have been blessed by the presence of angels who have supported this process. Awakening is by and large reductive as one is demolishing the overlay that impedes authentic being. One of my angels helped me to see what’s happening as construction of a valve that channels from the hugeness of all possibility to the microcosm of my particular facet of the great diamond. This over the destructive view that all the demolishing of matrix can foster. I am called to see things that pour tear salt into gaping wounds. But in so doing, I make real my freedom and power of choice toward authenticity. To make choices of genuine inner freedom can only serve the greater whole. The take away for now is to resist the urge to alight on belief and conclusion. Fly inwards toward the source of light.

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Flamenco Dojo, Movement Mojo

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My study of Flamenco dance has been vitally instrumental to a profound process of healing. There is indication that it is in my DNA – my paternal grandfather and grandmother, who played Flamenco guitar, came from Andalusia. I never met them, for my mother never married my biological father. Who she did marry, and the extreme circumstances of my arising in the Washington, D.C. area formed the basis of what needed to be healed – trauma so extensive it was blacked out of memory until a few years ago. I mention Washington, D.C. quite intentionally. My story will be told once I have found the right language, for it is timely and ultimately a testament to the strength of spirit over corruption. But I will say that the ugly underbelly we see that has become commonplace news relative to what takes place behind closed doors in our Nation’s capital has been rampant for decades. And it ultimately ain’t no big thing, in the light of soul.

The recovery of memory under benevolent conditions that have enabled deep healing has meant for me the loss of many traits that held my secret in place. Personality traits built upon trauma have been shed as a result of remembrance. Throughout this awakening, the grounding and enlivening force of Flamenco.

I have spent most of my adult life in artistic pursuit, but in pursuit of art as it applied to the spiritual. I had many mystical experiences due to the open state that was one result of extreme circumstances intentionally imposed upon me. Eventually freed of the oppressive circumstances, I was educated on the use of different art forms as perceptual tools for the exploration of consciousness and as a doorway into spiritual realms.

Awakening is a complex matter, and very simple at the same time. It is bound to be a process that is unique to each individual. It is a reductive process in that one is removing that which is overlaid on top of what is our most natural state of pure being. That state is neither awake nor asleep, it just is. Awakening is really a relative term. But overlay also has its relative reality, or seems to, and how it comes about will be unique to each individual life. Correspondingly, the removal of matrix from the diamond of pure being will necessarily be equally unique.

Because of the extreme way in which overlay was created in my situation and the remembrance that has exposed it as such, I have been given an interesting vantage point for seeing the nature of the ego’s composition. From my perspective it is comprised largely of conditioned responses as learned through experience within family and other human tribe social structures. Trauma plays a big role. It forms as if an anomaly, a mass of energy that one adopts adaptive behavior around. Triggers and filters formed will help to amass more energy around that anomaly. A reality structure is thus created. This stuff is embedded into our muscles, affecting how we carry ourselves, how we walk, how we view the world.

To give an example of what I mean, after several years of unraveling memory and gradually strengthening in the process one day I woke up from a dream indicating a new layer was about to be uncovered, and I could hardly move from the pain located in my groin which had no physical basis, such as an injury. The pain lasted a couple of weeks until finally I was guided to see that the gripping sensation was my own rage. With full acknowledgment and acceptance of that buried rage, my memory awakened to a very specific category of brutal events. And with remembrance, the pain went away.

In learning new movement we will encounter postural habits that are not only physical but have corresponding thought/feeling. These habits have formed through repetition, unconsciously. To learn new movement, especially movement that bypasses the range we normally are limited to in our lives within social structure, is an opportunity for awakening.

I have learned that what we do, our activity, in and of itself does not matter so much as the consciousness behind that activity. And because Flamenco is such a demanding, complex, and endless art form, particularly for those of us not born into the culture, I have found it to be an excellent tool for expansion of consciousness. To learn is a lifetime dedication. But there are elements of it – such as the development of listening attention through deep repetitive listening of rhythm, for example – that can yield healing results within a relatively short period of practice.

To choose to practice counter rhythm with the metronome of a turn signal at a stop light instead of letting my thoughts of tardiness get the better of me has resulted in better living. Taking thought/feelings of oppression into the dance studio and applying myself to practice of footwork instead of falling into patterned thought that feeds negative states has helped in my ongoing awakening.

As I said, awakening is a tricky process. We are trained through media and our social conditioning to glorify negative states and unconscious behavior patterns such as the disease of consumerism. We are unaware of how we think and to become aware of our own thinking processes and the underlying beliefs we have unconsciously adopted about the nature of reality is a very difficult thing. We need help, and like Flamenco, you really gotta want it. Meditative, mindful practices certainly help. And by working with the body we can both see our unconscious patterning and begin to make changes. The body can often prove to be easier to work with than the mind.

Posture leads to mood – this is something I witnessed in some of my theater training. I’ve learned some esoteric movements, called unlocking postures, designed to key us to deeper levels of concentration and corresponding consciousness. There are other practices that I will be introducing in the upcoming workshop that can help us bypass our usual learned and conditioned postures with their corresponding thoughts and emotional patterning. It is my intention to provide a safe space for the exploration of this work with movement and rhythm and a forum through which one can gain practical data that can be applied to one’s life, to awakening, to healing. If you are local, I hope you can join me in Flamenco Dojo, Movement Mojo. Experience has taught me a lot about how movement and rhythm can be used to benefit our lives in ways that will surprise and delight. And delight’s a good thing to pass along, don’t you think?

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No Thoughts on Work and Soul Food

No thoughts on the work 014

The Great Work is not social work. It is not artistic creation, much to the chagrin of my artistic self. It is not what I once thought it was. In fact it’s not anything I can think. Anything I can think of to speak is but a box that will be destroyed. However, I can say that at this stage of my experience, the Work has much to do with resistance. And resistance takes on the form of coincidence control, which is, from what I’ve been told by an expert I trust, always benevolent. ALWAYS BENEVOLENT. The demolition of boxes – which include all and everything that a self can point to in its individuation, is a given. Resistance training of the soul is extraordinarily unromantic, unsentimental, and as cold and ruthless as the ocean or outer space. Tough, but blow your mind awesome.

Compassion in the form of caring for those in need may become an expression for Work. This I don’t know for a fact, but I surmise from what demolition and resulting exposure has shown thus far which is, there is no one Way. Artistic expression in the form of what some systems call “Objective Art” may also serve as a medium through which the Work is expressed. But in both categories of activities, there is a trap of perceiving the moment’s means as an end in and of itself.  Not to mention the trap of sentimentality, which has a sneaky way of presenting itself as righteous among those who claim to love the Work. But watch what happens when you call out sentimentality, or devotion, which can be a close cousin to it. Watch what happens when you actually take on the resisting tinge of the Work. How quickly the beatific smile of the devoted social “worker” or “work” artist turns into a killer’s glare. And I am painfully aware that I am looking at a mirror reflecting the state of my consciousness at any given micro moment. You can’t win for losing.

I do not love the Work. In speaking about the Great Work, it is like I’m telling a fairy tale – because like anything else that can be told, it is a story. But it’s a bit of a horror story, really, without a happy or unhappy ending, as there is no time to speak of. I use the term because it is the one used to point to what is actually pointless – you can’t point to it ‘cause when you do – chop, chop goes that tree, and voila, nothing is there. That is if you are actually working at resistance training for soul growth. Not pointing to a museum enshrining the time, place, and people of a different era. Then you got a big ole sequoia that takes a lot of chopping.

But I digress. A thing easily done when you realize you are talking to yourself again and you want to avoid the issue. Let me get back to what I wanted to say to whoever or whatever happens to be within earshot. I have said a lot of “no” here because experience of resistance training is very much about no, but one finds that it takes a lot of no to make the right kind of yes. A monumentally subtle yes. Sentimentality tends to have a lot of obvious yes to it from the get go. Yes, I love you. Yes, you are wonderful. Yes, you have every right to feel hurt over your experience. That kind of thing. So does artistic expression in the ordinary sense. Yes, that is beautiful. Yes, you can really dance. Yes, how amazing that you made that. And so on. But it seems that these yeses don’t make soul.

There was a time when I spoke in terms of being a Lover – in the Rumi/Sufi sense. My book, “Journey to the Heart of the Maker” reflects this perspective. Like nostalgia, mystical experience ain’t what it used to be. I don’t know if I’m much of a Lover anymore, but Rumi, a great Lover, sure has a way of saying things just right. He says that the soul is like a porcupine – it gets strong when you hit it with a stick.

And it seems some of the richest food given for soul to grow – the fine pastries – are a form of resistance. They taste like poop to me still. But I am grateful for the feast that is given to me daily, nightly, 24/7. The feeding has been accelerated. Exalted conversations, accomplishments and other such happinesses have been replaced by a new kind of culinary language altogether. A coincidence controlled language of hummingbirds hovering, circling, going east and west, coming toward me or away, peeking in the window not bothering to eat – every direction and action speaking volumes of mirror reflection. Bird sounds, house creaks, deer (particularly distinguished ambassadors), “chance”encounters with passersby dressed up as daily bread. And the very special idiom of longing for a Friend that will never be seen. This too will be chopped.

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Farruquito – Moving in the Fullness of the Moment

Just the fact that I was able to attend this workshop was a small course in miracles. Well, not that small. Fear almost stopped me from going right up until the last minute. Thankfully I got over it.

Ronnie McKee was a brand new person in my life, a Flamenco student who had just been studying intensely in Spain for five years. A strong woman, she can readily take command of a situation and it was no surprise to learn of her previous elite business associations. I was both intrigued and daunted by her presence in my class considering she had studied with some very astute Flamencos.

She was best friends with the late great La Faraona, Farruquito’s beloved aunt and thus is friendly with the family. When she told me she was going to attend a four day workshop in San Francisco with Farruquito, I sighed my customary mental sigh of longing as it was so far out of my financial reach I could not even take her urging me to go seriously. But then she made me an outstanding offer I could not refuse – she offered to pay my way in exchange for private lessons. I will always be grateful for the gift of this opportunity, which to my view was nothing short of miraculous.

As one would expect, the material Juan had to share was juicy. We worked in the Tangos, Bulerias and Solea palos. His approach to Bulerias stuck in my mind – think in sixes, and know that a remáte can happen at any point in the compás. He was not keen on numbers and urged us to fall out of the habit of thinking choreographically in those terms, as numbers are for accounting. As artists, we want to use a different aspect of our being, apart from the reality of our day to day structure.

At the same time, he spoke often of finding the dance expression as it naturally comes through you. He urged us to learn the various parts of the choreography with our whole bodies rather than isolating the upper body work from the feet.

At one point he watched as we struggled with something and turned up his attention on our struggle. What he saw was a group of students fall into nervous embarrassment and he stopped, taking the opportunity to deliver a very important impression. Respect and an open state of receptivity are appropriate and useful to learning, even essential – but never shame or embarrassment. Never be ashamed of the body as it learns. He emphasized that he does not put his attention upon students to illicit shame or embarrassment, but to see how the body can better facilitate the movement.

He went on to say that though he has been performing throughout his life he still can get nervous prior to going onstage – such as at a recent big show in Spain where out in the packed audience were top notch Flamencos. However when he gets on stage his mind is as it must be, not on himself and his nervousness, but expanded to include all the elements contributing to the present moment on stage. He moves in present moment. We all were quite moved by his speech.

Flamenco is not just about the dance and music, it is about presence in one’s life. Everything present in the performance space will affect the dance. If his hair is down it is one thing, when worn pulled back it will be another kind of dance. He demonstrated with his shirt how he would use it if unbuttoned as opposed to buttoned. He obviously is a person with a lot of attention that has been developed through his craft. That attention combined with his years of experience infused the space in such a way that it felt as though these impressions were being burned in deep.

I imagine it was much like this when his grandfather taught him as a young child. Juan would refer to his grandfather as el Maestro and his respect and love were clearly evident. He spoke of how el Maestro was capable of performing fast and fancy footwork, but he noticed that it would be that single perfectly placed full forced gorpé (striking the floor with the flat foot), done with presence, that would receive the olé.

Something happened during those four days of study with him that continues to unfold. While other choreographic concerns have had to be prioritized over practice and study of what was given during the workshop, nevertheless his influence remains present in my work. He gave me the gift of potential – I walked away from his classes more alive in my potential. This surprised me. I danced those three hours nightly with a hairline fractured big toe, on four or less hours of sleep. I was among young experienced dancers with capabilities that were way beyond my own, and there were other factors present that I found daunting. But through this the power of my potential remained. According to Juan if you can feel, as he pinched his own arm to demonstrate, you can dance. It seems he created a magnificent space for this to be realized.

This experience is now conjured up in memory when life feels like one big demolition derby which is often, I must say. It helps me to feel grateful. I am grateful for the dance. I am grateful for gratitude. Gracias, Juan.

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