I was not able to find land that fit my plans and close escrow by the end of 1999. I did find land to lease and have moved the Browsers' Bookmobile there. The land includes a small cabin, so I have moved an additional 1,500 books that I had in storage there to compliment the 1000 already in the bookmobile. During my advance, I hope to be adding covers and book jacket reviews of all the books we have currently listed on the web site (menstuff.org) and plan to upload a progress report, to appear here, on a weekly basis.
The cabin sits among giant redwoods (see the Lenny icon - I shaved my head and am sitting in the core of one of them) with a year-round stream going through the property. I have made arrangements for fresh produce every-other week without human contact. After working since 1982 to end men's isolation, I guess it's time to go into total isolation to see what I need to learn from this work. I am looking forward to this journey of solitude. Until next time.
01.04.00 (362 days till 01.01.01)
Well, it's Tuesday, not a full week yet, but so much for original schedules. I've decided to report on Tuesday because that's the big day - the only day of the week where there are things that need to be done. So I decided to put everything on the same day. You see, my personal shopper comes today to drop-off fresh fruit and vegetables and other things I left on last week's list. We never see each other. She just leaves things in a refrigerator on the site, takes next weeks list, and disappears. Tonight the trash needs to be put out for an early morning pickup tomorrow. So, I decided to add to that list uploading the web site. As my "schedule" used to go, that's not bad. Now, I've got the rest of the week off. What I've already learned from this is that schedules suck. They take away from living in the moment. And, every time I think that there's something that "needs" to be done versus something I want to do right now, I remind myself that "schedules suck" and do what I want to do or what I was doing already. Not having a schedule means that there isn't such a thing as a distraction - any awareness is being in the moment. Distractions become reminders to be in the moment, go with the flow, recognize everything that happens around me, DON'T focus, shut down, numb out to all this world has to offer. Having a schedule, routine, plan, goal keeps me from being in the moment - keeps me doing things as I used to do them, or when I thought they needed to be done. Being totally open to what's happening now is this weeks lesson. Try it. You might like it. Excuse me...........I'm back now. Hot tea was calling. Then I decided to heat up an English muffin and get some O.J. Then, I was reminded of a Digital Underground song called Doowutchylike. So, I found it and played it and copied off these lines. "Kill the serious mood, let yourself go and do what you like. Talk how you like. Feel what you like. Eat what you like. Scratch where you like. Go where you like, kid."
01.11.00 (355 days till 01.01.01)
I admit. I have a routine. I wanted a way, without a calendar, to tell when it was time to upload my progress report. (I committed to my daughter that it would do it once a week.) So, I'm using a kinara candle holder (used during Kwanzaa) with seven candles - a different color each day. Green starts my week representing growth balance, music and beauty. It's the day my personal shopper comes, every two weeks, and brings me flowers. Day 2 is orange for emotions, energy, peace of mind, and creativity to find new perspectives, freedom and new starts. Day 3 is the first of three relational colors - for it is red, for male - strength, physical health, vitality, energy, passion, and fiery energy. The fourth day, the middle and highest candle is purple, an equal combination of red (male) and blue (female - which is the 5th day.) The 4th day represents an integration of subconscious and conscious minds, intuition, and enhancement of spirituality. On the 5th day I work with blue, female energy, the throat chakra and communication, healing,, meditation, expansion, harmony and truth which leads directly into the 6th day with violet, the color of the crown chakra and spiritual growth, self-realization, knowledge, sobriety, humility, truth, and the emotions of sorrow, grief and mourning. This will become a day of fasting. And on the 7th day, yellow, for clear thinking, studying, learning, knowledge, happiness, and cheerfulness.
So, what is this leading up to? At the conclusion of the first week, my mind started traveling. Like how many seconds are in a week, then a year, etc. Now, maybe I've got too much time on my hands, but I was fascinated to figure out the answer to this question. "How many weeks are there in a year?" "52!", you might think. Well, to borrow a line from a Hertz commercial, not exactly. There are 52.122857 weeks in a year regular year and 52.285714 this year (Leap Year). That's an extra 86,400 seconds more than 52 weeks. In fact, for the average person who expected to only have 52 weeks a year, that works out to an extra 95 days in their lifetime. Imagine what you could do with an extra, free, 95 days. Did anyone ever tell you that our calendar didn't have an exact number of weeks in it or did I miss that day in class? I accepted what "they" said. I assumed (and you know how to spell assume - it makes an ass out of u and me) "they" knew what "they" were talking about. How many other assumption have I made about life, reality, the way it is, the way I really am, at my core? It makes me wonder if The Matrix might not be true. It's time to go to the bathroom.
One final, somewhat connected, thought. I read recently that our amount of leisure time has gone down by 37% in the last 10 years and that we are actually working an extra day. It seems like I've got my seven days pretty full, and I'm not doing anything. If only there was an 8th day to rest. If god had had to work an extra day to create the world as we know know it, he would have rested on the 8th day and then we would have only 45.625 weeks a year. I wonder if it's a coincidence that god rested on the seventh day because s/he knew we would develop a calendar using seven days in a week and 52 weeks in a year. If so, it shows that s/he wasn't into perfectionism having to make things come out equal. That should be a good example for the rest of us. I'm bored with thinking. I'm going to go sit in the rain and rest now....Too cold. I'll just sit for now.
01.18.00 (348 days till 01.01.01)
My how time flies when you don't have anything you have to do. That's all I have to say, for now.
01.25.00 (341 days till 01.01.01)
MS - Yeah, that's what I am doing right now. Thinking about MS (not multiple sclerosis but the Matrix Syndrome). And I think it's more deeply imbedded in all of us that we think. It all started a few days ago. I've been going through my e-mails I received before 01.01.00, trying to clear some of my past away and let go. (In my two main accounts, I have gotten it down to 3829 incoming. That's only 12 a day from now until the end of the year. Yuck.) Anyway, one of them stands out. I cleared it off my computer as just another dumb m/ass email, so I don't even know who it came from. Probably someone who went to Berkeley in the 60s and was thinking "Cool man. I'll pass this on to everyone I can remember." It really made my think how stuck we all are, somewhere. You see, it was pointing out that we spent somewhere around $100,000,000 in our space program to develop a writing instrument that would work in space. It applauded the Russians for coming up with a pencil. Well, in thinking about it, I think the $100,000,000 was worth it. First, if I were an astronaut, I'd not only be pleased to have a writing instrument that wrote dark enough to be copied, that didn't break leaving pieces and dust of lead floating around the spacecraft, and didn't have me going for my pencil sharpener all the time. And, what to do with the shavings. "Throw them out, dude," the author of this unthinking piece might say. Not if I'm an astronaut. Before it blew up in 1986, the space shuttle Challenger was hit by a flake of paint measuring 0.2 millimeters, which damaged a window during one of its mission. A 0.5 millimeter metal chip could puncture a space suit and kill an astronaut walking in space. A particle as small as ten millimeters could damage and possibly even destroy an orbiting space vehicle. Thousands of objects floating in space are being tracked from earth, only five percent are satellites. So, I don't think so. What does this have to do with MS. The MS I'm talking about is the Matrix Syndrome. The idea that the media, corporations, even activist organizations are telling the truth. And, if you haven't guessed by now, one of MY pet peeves is the start of the millennium, 01.01.01. Lots of people I know understand why the millennium hasn't started yet, but if everybody says we're in the new millennium, who cares about facts. MS strikes again. How much do you take for granted. Did Columbus discover America. Yes, but not anywhere in North America. The closest he got was the Caribbean and South American and the America whose "discovery" we celebrate is actually a tiny island near San Salvador, which was already inhabited anyway. He died thinking he had reached India. And we got MS again. How about the first president of the United States. George Washington may have slept around a lot, but he was the first president under the Constitution of 1789. However, the U.S. was a sovereign nation 13 years before that and the first legislative body elected John Hanson the first president. There were seven other president after Hanson and before Washington. MS. Then there was Mrs. O'Leary's cow. It didn't kick over a lantern to start the Great Chicago Fire of October 8, 1871. The reporter who broke the story, Michael Aherns, later admitted he made the whole thing up to boost his paper's circulation. Chicago is famous for that. As I understand, the famous "Bra Burning" that focalized the women's movement was actually something the Chicago Tribune staged, probably to boost circulation.
One that gets me is "If women ran the country, it would be different." In what way? Do we have wars because men are in power? Or is it power, regardless of the sex? Women have run many countries and taken them to war. Margaret Thatcher, Golda Meir and Indira Gandhi, to name some recent ones. How about Cleopatra? Since women weren't allowed to rule in her day, she was forced to marry two of her brothers (in succession) to provide a male figurehead. But she wasn't much of a big sister anyway. She went to war against one brother and had another executed. Then how about Isabella who created a country called Spain. She threatened her brother Enrique, who was king at the time, with war. When he died, she promptly had herself declared Queen of Castille but Enrigue's daughter put up a ferocious fight. After years of civil war, Isabella finally gained the crown. The story goes on, but it is said that when Isabella's troops went to battle, she was usually right alongside, decked out in armor, mounted on her horse, and urging the soldiers on. Of course, while she wasn't the leader of the country, another women went to war to liberate France, something countless male soldiers, infantrymen and kings had found impossible. Joan of Arc. The sagas of Scandinavia's greatest Viking's are filled with the stories of women who loved a good adventure as much as their male counterparts. And the Red Maiden, Old Red, was the leader of the most brutal attacks on Ireland during the tenth century. There's Lakshmi Bai the Rani of Jhansi who emerged as one of India's greatest warriors and is now revered as one of the most valiant military leaders of the famous Great Rebellion. Under the brutal laws of warfare that governed the plains during the 1880s, no warriors were more feared and respected than the Apaches. Lozen was one of the bravest Apache warriors, and she was one of two messengers sent by Geronimo to negotiate his final surrender. But fighting women were not exclusive to the Apaches. The Cherokees legendary Ehyophsta, Yellow Haired Woman fought fearlessly against the Shoshonis. In the 1600s, the Eastern-coast Wampanoag tribe boasted of the fearless Wetamoo, Squaw Sachem, who led her people in may battles against the British colonialists. There were "Lady" pirates. Two in particular were two of the toughest pirates to ever sail the seas Anne Bonny (the daughter of a prominent attorney) and Mary Read. In Japan, there were eight different women emperors before 770 AD Samurais set the standard for the noble warrior class. To make the grade as a samurai, you had to be strong, disciplined and fearless, but you didn't have to be a man. Itagaki around 1200 AD lead her outnumbered troops (3 to 1) into her last battle, riding gallantly into the battle without a hint of surrender. She died like a true samurai warrior, with her sword drawn and her honor intact. And Japan had its share of famous female swordswomen, Itagaki, Hatsu-jo, Miyagino and Tora Gozen, to name a few, avengers whose paths you just didn't want to cross. The only female emperor to ever rule China, Wu Zhao, was the kind of woman you also didn't cross. Having made empress by her thirty-first birthday, if anyone got in her way, she simply orchestrated one of her famous "disappearances" which covered pretty much everyone from household help to family members. Finally, in 660, her husband was struck with polio and in moment, Wu Zhao put herself into the imperial chair and went head to head with Korea. Ordering an invasion by sea, she soon annexed the place to China. There was Myra Belle Shirley, who earned renown as a thief and rustler in Texas and Oklahoma in the late 1800s. And she didn't balk at an occasional murder. Or Calamity Jane, a savvy gambler and an ace with a rifle who was all woman and would shoot the hat off any man who said otherwise. Or, in Mexico, where women fought along side the men, Among the Mexican revolutionaries, the fighting Soldaderas were everywhere - battling at the front lines, making speeches from the podiums, and writing the manifestos that would lead to a new future. Dolores Jimenez y Muro, was named a brigadier general by Zapata and was one of the key contributors to the framework of the new constitution in 1917. She still had a price on hear head when she was nearly seventy years old. During World War II, the squadrons of Soviet female pilots turned out to be some of the most heroic and skilled fighters in the country's arsenal. Lily Litvak was the most legendary and was famous for her dogfighting skills. Every German fighter pilot wanted to be the one to kill her. In her final battle, it took eight German planes to take down the greatest lady pilot ever. Or two women pilots that took on forty-two German fighter planes on a bombing mission. The dogfight that ensued has become Russian military legend. Even the U.S. reluctantly had woman pilots during World War II. The fearless flying WASPS (Women Airforce Service Pilots), 1074 to be exact. And, though women demonstrated the same endurance as men, learned just as quickly, had similar safety records, completed the same rigorous training as male pilots, and devoted years of their lives to the WASP program, the US government refused to grant them military status Did you know any of this? It not, it just may be the Matrix Syndrome. Part of this is to say that man can be violent. So can women. Man can be warriors. So can women. Women can raise children. So can men. Women feel. So do men (and to ask them "What are you feeling" is not allowing them to feel, but requiring them to think.) What I want to see, in my lifetime, is that men have the same opportunities in this country that women have. And women have the same opportunities that men have. And to stop creating and supporting an educational system that separates them. Allow women to fight for their country, if they want to. Allow men to adopt children, if they want to. Allow women to compete in sports without setting up obstacles (the NCCA requires a smaller basketball for women than men - which almost guarantees women who have always used the smaller basketball won't be able to compete against men). "The Flea" was a runback specialist for the Kansas City Chiefs and had many runbacks for touchdowns. He weighed 156 pounds. Allow men to wear skirts, if they want to. (I dare you to make fun of a Scot or Greek or Turk or Hawaiian about his skirt to his face.) Allow my grand daughter to win the superbowl, if she can and wants to, or be a stay at home mom, if she wants to, or be a combat fighter pilot if she can and she wants to, or complete in the Master from only one tee, if she can and she wants to, or to be a world class ice skater wearing pants if she can and she wants to or do whatever her skills allow her do without any exclusionary rules. Let's open things up. Everybody gets the same rules. Let the games/life begin.
Well, enough. The information about women warriors came from a fascinating book to share with your daughter, no matter what her age. It was written by women and edited by Pam Nelson called Cool Women. Click here and Buy This Book! if you'd like to get your own copy.
How much that you hear out there do you take for granted as being true because "they said so". Years ago I saw a bumper sticker that read "Question Authority." Of course. And, I added, "And Question Those Who Question Authority." Who says anyone knows the truth, or tells the truth. This isn't about passing on stupid emails that you haven't verified, but you could consider that. What this is about is thinking for yourself, finding your owns truths, questioning everyone, including yourself. "Why do I keep doing that?" And stop doing it, or believing it, and passing whatever "it" is on. Otherwise, it's the MS, business as usual, full steam ahead. Staying numb. That was fun. Bye for now.
02.01.00 (334 days till 01.01.01) Ethnic Equality Month
"I had a dream." And though today is the start of Ethnic Equality Month, that's not what this dream is about. I know I must dream, but I seldom remember them. This one was very vivid. You see, in real life, I'm letting my hair grow just the way it wants to. Head, nose, ears, you name it. No trimming, No back combing. No adjustments. In the dream, I'm in a suit, a corporate executive or owner of a large advertising agency. Ready to make a presentation to a major client. I'm in the bathroom, the Ally McBeel type. One of the women executives is also in there. I'm checking myself in the mirror. My hair is askance. I leave it. She takes a bunch of hair "that is out of place" like it was told when it was born, "This is your place and don't move" and moves it in alignment with the hair around it. In an instant, I move it back where it was and said "I liked it there." That "there" was where it chose to be in that moment. She nodded in agreement. I had a "men's" pillow hat and put it near the back of my head like a yamica then forward so the rim was just above my eyebrows. I leave it there saying "I like that." She nodded in agreement. As I went off to make my presentation I woke up. And came here to write. What it says, to me, is to look at how much time in my life I have spent altering my appearance to fit "the norm" (no one ever said normal was healthy), or "the image" of an advertising exec, which is what I spent 35 years of my life doing. And I got to wondering what it will be like at the year of this now when I may or may not choose to reenter the "real " world, just as I am. Do you think anyone will comment about my hair, or looks, or "style". If they don't comment, they will surly have some thoughts going on, some judgments, some stereotyping being done. That's my bet. And, why? Because I let my body do what is natural? I feel sorry for the women who feel the need (and we men don't help much) to spend so much time each day putting on their mask. Hiding their natural beauty. The glow from skin that doesn't have powder on it. The gleam of natural eyes not made up for a stage performance. I'm watching the birds this morning. Each type, and there are a lot, have their own natural beauty. They do what we would call "preening" but that's only to keep the feathers healthy and clean. They are eating, and talking, and flying around, not in front of a mirror "making" themselves "look" pretty. I read of men having chin tucks, and liposuction and doing make-up and getting manicures. To look like something they are not. Are we so stuck on appearance now that being genuine is so far from our memory that we may not be able bring it back? Yes, society dictates a lot of things. But, who do you think makes up society? Men in San Francisco business virtually must wear a suit, a very conservative suit, a shirt (no pink shirts around anymore, and it looked so good with a charcoal gray suit), and throat chakra choker, hangman's noose, neck tie. Yet other corporations, just down the street in Santa Clara, have a different image to uphold, abet more relaxed, except on days the investment bankers so up. Now, there's nothing wrong with make up for a costume party, or special occasion when everyone is purposefully being something they aren't. Or for street performance, or guerilla theater, etc. But everyday. Get real. I know it will take some time. Women stopping supporting the make-up companies, which are mostly run by women. Men stopping their attraction to the mask of beauty rather than the natural glow of an unmade up face. I just had this flash of a speaking engagement I had years ago at the University of Lyon in France. Many of the men wore eyeliner. Some a little rouge above the eyes. Gay? No? Appearance enhancement. I'm just chuckling to think of this homophobic culture as it continues down the road of "appearance is everything" when the corporate executive men will start wearing makeup. It may not be that far off. After all, corporate straight men love to get made up for the Mummer's Day parade in Philadelphia. Or Carnival in New Orleans. Or the pseudo Rose Parade (I forget the name) in Pasadena. Or the international politicians visiting the Bohemian Club's annual retreat in the hills of Forestville, California. Welcome aboard, boys. Live out your fantasy. That's one thing. If you notice the picture of men at the front of each month under "Calendar" this is probably what all of our male ancestors did. Adorn our bodies with paint and feathers and jewelry. I remember when the ear cuff became popular for women and some men in the US. I remember thinking, how strange. That was men's jewelry for Native Americans, not women's jewelry. So, dressing up for fantasy, it's fun. But every day? Maybe if we could accept ourselves the way we are, in our natural state, we could accept women in theirs, and both of us could get off the act and be real. And maybe, just maybe, we could know what real intimacy is without having to stay alert and remember what I'm trying to hide or cover-up. Get real! I hope I can!
The office - not set to look this way. This is the way it looks and you ought to see the living room. Maybe I'll take a picture of that for another time. Anyway, the news is that this web site has been selected by Britannia as one of the best on the web and received 4 stars at brittanica.com under "Men". We are extremely proud because, in looking through all the sites we could find on women and men's issues, we were the only one with 4 stars. Is that ego talking? Anyway, one of the areas we have been remiss on in our travels if getting older books scanned and getting all books that Amazon.com carries tagged with a "Buy this Book". As a non-profit, we also derive income from any magazine tagged "Subscribe now" and may soon have an agreement reached with a large bookseller of Out-of-Print (OOP) books. Every little bit helps to hopeful get the bookmobile back on the road again. We don't sell much here. No Visa cards, or flowers (except we do connect you to some sites on Valentine's Day if you forgot and wanted to remember, but we don't derive any income from those). Otherwise, what we do sell needs to directly relates to "positive change in male roles and relationships." While sales of pertinent books and magazines and a few items in our merchandise section plus private donations and money out of our own pocket are our only sources of income, we still prefer to save you the interruption and distraction that come from flashing and scrolling banners all over the place. That what we look for. Get the information we want and go on to other things. This is different from MS Magazine's position of refusing advertising because advertisers dictate editorial. I was in the newspaper and then advertising agency business for 35 years and believe that is nonsense. If MS really wanted to be honest about it, rather than riding a high horse, they could accept advertising and refuse editorial requests like most reputable organizations like the Washington Post, for example, and see if the advertisers pull out. The only time that really comes into play is when you have some special interest group that pressures advertisers to pull their advertising out of shows because of their content. Advertisers, which I have continued to boycotted who pulled out of the "Ellen" episode didn't stop the network from airing it and while Ellen is no longer with us, that move spawned a huge shift in many shows that now have an openly gay or lesbian as a prominent player in the show. Advertiser's may dictate editorial, but only if you allow or encourage it. Anyway, off the soapbox. I hope you enjoy visiting a site that let's you concentrate on finding what you came here for. It works for us. We hope it works for you, too.
02.08.00 (327 days till 01.01.01)
It just amazes me how fast a week goes by. I've got at least 327 days to go and I feel like I'm already running out of time. One thing I've been noticing is missing/not missing some of my favorite television shows, Ally, Nakita, West Wing, Who's Line Is It Anyway. It will be interesting how I will react when I have access to them again. What I am finding without them available is that I don't really worry what day it is. You see, being on the road, I would have to plan to be somewhere where I could get access if I wanted to see them. And, what I found is that I would often go through all those gyrations only to find that the network had a rerun, or they switched nights this week, or I was in a market that had cable that ran it 2 or 3 hours earlier or there was a special replacing it. So I'd gone through all of that shifting for nothing. It was frustrating, because, without the drive to see those programs, I have a lot less stress. And, I'm really enjoying a lot less stress. Especially, those stresses that I created to make life even more stressful. Do I miss the entertainment of those shows. Yes. Would I go back to the old way of somewhat planning my life around them, I sure hope not. But I've got a bit more time to get out of the tv habit. Oh, also, I remember having the tv on as background noise. And, thinking back, how often something on tv would distract me from what I was doing. While I still have my music on in the background much of the time, sometimes it is a distracter, especially when a great piece of "movin'" music plays, but my mind's attention isn't draw, just my body. And, I can live with that. And, time will tell.
02.15.00 (320 days till 01.01.01)
I'm listening to a CD called Tribal Journey. There's a quote on the jewel box by NU-Q: "Rules are the things created by people for their own security. We area creators not followers." That's it. Thanks for checking.
02.22.00 (313 days till 01.01.01)
It rained almost all day today, sometimes just sprinkles, sometimes torrents. There's a year-around creek that goes through the property which I watch rise and fall. It was interesting to be here and not know if I'm in danger, if anyone a block away is in danger, much less other cities, states, etc. I know I would be concerned for people in those areas of the country that might be flooding, but there is a peace in being ignorant to anyone else's plight but my own. It's kind of nice since I'm not worrying about the creek (it's gone from about 50 feet across to over 100 feet across in the last couple of days) and I'm not worrying about anyone's else's creek because I don't know to worry. I like not getting caught up in the incessant news flashes, storm warnings, milking water on the highway for all it's worth. There's a simple peace, like going to a remote place for vacation and not getting any news or at least in a language I can understand. Like the monk in Baraka doing his walking meditation in down town Tokyo and yet being surrounded by his own inner peace. One of the absolute joys of being here is not having access to any news. I haven't read newspapers for years, but now and then I would catch a headline from a news box. Or overhear someone relaying what they'd heard or read. I never really realized how nice it is - "no news is good news." I like that!
This is Eating Disorders Awareness Week. With that in mind, I looked that the Food Guide Pyramid, from the U. S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It "officially" reminds us to eat a variety of foods for good nutrition. In its seven food groups, it suggests, starting with fats & sweets at the top, to use them sparingly. Next, the milk group should have 2-3 servings, then meat with 2-3 servings, the vegetable group with 3-5 servings, the fruit group 2-4 servings, and the bread & cereal group 6-11 servings. Number of servings a day? A week? If it is a week, and you eat 3 meals a day, that's 21 meals. The high of each category adds up to 26 servings. If I eat a meal of one serving of one food group, and that's it, that's "good nutrition?" A side-bar. In ayurvedic medicine, it is suggested to have some candy before every meal (including breakfast) which starts the digestive system. For those who know my affection for Gummy Bears, they'll be sad to note that I haven't had a single Gummy Bear since January 1, nor an Arizona Tea nor Snapple nor Rocky Road ice cream. And, while I've still got several bags of Dove's chocolates and M&M's I used on the road in the RV, I haven't opened them. And, I'm happy. In fact, the only liquids I consume are soy milk and room temperature water (I'm up to about 50 ounces a day.) I have reverted to childhood, in some ways, since every-now-and-then I make some Jell-O or Kraft's Macaroni & Cheese (with spinach), Pop-tarts and I even have a left-over can of Spaghettio's that our group left behind at Burning Man. The rest I purchased the end of December on my first and only visit to Costco - $743 worth. I even put tapioca on my shopping list for next time. Oh well. They say men come into this world in diapers, and if we live long enough, we end up in diapers. Oh well.
02.29.00 Leap Year - I'm hiding out - hee hee. (306 days till 01.01.01)
I was out in the early morning mist today. Sun was shining and the droplets were like heavy ferry dust, sparkling as they floated downward. I actually took my sandals off and splashed around in several puddles, got mud between my toes, but cleaned up before I went in the house. I was a good little boy. It reminded me of what one of the kids said in a great little book I quote often in the Daily Thoughts Really Important Stuff My Kids Have Taught Me. "If splashing in puddles means you have to wear wet shoes for the rest of the day, sometimes it's worth it." Where did those times go? Where did you put them? Those days are still there just waiting for you to let go of control, of "acting your age" and allow yourself to experience them. And, if you have kids, they'd probably love to have a puddle splashing contest with you. Just remember, you're feet are a lot bigger so give them a chance.
03.07.00 (299 days till 01.01.01)
Tomorrow is an interesting day for me. I'll turn 60. So, what's the big deal? When I turned 50, I threw myself a big party celebrating the completion of the first quarter of my life I had a time-capsual and filled it full of the things people brought. (I still plan to open it at my mid-life party in 2040.) Why did I get hooked on a big bash every five years. What was so special about turning 55, except I moved into a new demographic group. Why not 53 or 59? If I learn anything special when I hit the big 6 - 0, I'll let you know. All I know is that the first 60 years have been pretty phenomenal. I wonder what to expect from the next 60? Seeing what has happened since I was born, things have happened that probably weren't in anyone's wildest fantasy in 1940. What a different year that was from today. The Germans built Auschwitz in 1940, paraded through Paris and captured Denmark and Norway. The forty hour work week took effect (seems like it's back to 60 hours a week, for many people.) The FCC develops television rules and the U.S. debt reached a whooping $43 billion. Unheard of - in those days. Blueberry Hill hit the charts and James Stewart won Best Actor for The Philadelphia Story. Wilbur Shaw ran a 114 mph to win the Indy 500 and right next door in the Windy City, the Chicago Bears were the winners. The Boston Marathon was won in 2 hours, 28 minutes and 28 seconds, and Joe Lewis KO's four heavyweight contenders. The average income was $1,725 - a year - but a new car only cost $850 (almost half of it), and gas was only 11 cents a gallon. A new house cost $3925 but that's when the Dow Jones average was 134. Our life expectancy was just under 63 years and I don't think we men have gained much more than 10 years on that. The Internet wouldn't get funded for another 30 years, and cellphones, you're kidding me. I only wish. Our earth had a lot more rain forests, back then. But that was the year that saw the first McDonald's hamburger, and we all know what's happened since. The fact that there was a hole in the ozone layer hadn't been considered but that was before air-conditioners (that we can't live without now) and we didn't have those pictures from outer space. But, we shrug it off thinking that somebody else will figure out how to patch it up before long. The four prop commercial airplane was still a dream, and "Go to the Moon!?" . "Don't be foolish, Gordon. Just color within the lines." Martin Luther King, Jr. hadn't had his dream yet, and we're still a long way from it. But (negates everything that comes before it) Father Sky still protects us from the sun and gives us rain to nourish Mother Earth. The river's still go where they want to, most of the time, and the ocean still laps the shore. There are still a billion stars in the evening sky, if you look hard enough Go ahead and say it - "Star Light, Star Bright, the first star I see tonight..." and make a wish. I'll make my wish tomorrow, but I can't tell or it won't come true. Sweet dreams!
03.14.00 (292 days till 01.01.01)
Well, I'm coming out of isolation today, ending my solitude, silence and lack of human contact. It lasted almost 2 1/2 months. And I end it with a feeling of lack of completion. Alas, I broke a molar last week and could wait it out, but knowing the possibility of a root canal does not excite me. So, I'm heading back to Marin for some dental work and while I'm at it I'm going to have the old VW tune-up. I put 3,000 miles on it the last six weeks of 1999 and didn't have time to get it in for its 3000 mile check. My intent is to run errands, pay city business taxes, get the new Enigma CD - it was supposed to be out in January and when the car's ready, head back to my spot in the wilderness, hopefully, this time, until I am ready from a spiritual sense. I hope to avoid newspaper headlines, or hearing any of the good or bad news that's floating around, keeping input from the outside world to a minimum. I just hope the car makes it on this journey, that everything goes smoothly, that this will be the only visit I'll need this year to the dentist or doctors, and I can get back to the business of doing nothing. Wish me well. Until next week - Breathe.
03/21/00 (285 days till 01.01.01)
This is going to be a 168 hour regression to my 20 hours in "the real world" last Tuesday. My biggest concern in this world is that the river doesn't overflow and the electricity doesn't go out - it runs everything, even the propane stove and pellet stove. But, I broke a molar and had to go to the dentist. I figured, well, I'm having to break my silence, I might as well make the best out of it, so I scheduled an appointment at Kaiser to get a mole checked, took my car in for a tune-up, (I had driven over 3,000 miles during the last 6 weeks of 1999 and couldn't schedule it in.) And do some errands. As my list grew, it was obvious I wasn't going to get it all done. Sort of like life, eh? What was really interesting was how many places had closed, had products out of stock, etc. It was a day of some things happening, many not. I guess I had put in a day what most people put in a week or more and the situations were just amplified. Here was my day. I left "home" at 4 am to miss traffic - not. I dropped off a load of cardboard at Marin Recycling. I dropped off one of the RV batteries (4 months old and not holding a charge.) Dropped off my floor mats at Tap Plastics to have some plastic sheets made to keep the moisture out - the floor pan is rotting and I don't have the $600 or time to replace it right now. I drop off the car, pick up a rental. Next the dentist. The filling is replaced. I rinse, a big chunk of filling falls out, the assistant said it's just part of the old filling, and I head for Kaiser and park in the compact area. All goes well. My two major concerns aren't malignant and the Doctor freezes them. I go out to the car, see an 8" scrape, 1/2" wide on the bumper that I know wasn't there before. That will cost me. Probably someone that doesn't understand that a 740 Beamer isn't a compact, much less a Buick. I head for Santa Rosa where I thought I had gotten some 5x7 one-hour reprints done at Longs. They came out very grainy and I wanted to get them replace. Well, it turns out, I had the film developed there but the prints done an hour back South in Marin. While there, I decided to get a dental mirror. I swear that that was the new filling that fell out. It was. On the way down, I stop by Ed's RV in Petaluma to get some stuff to seal up my windows. They are gone and it's now an Ammco Transmission. I head for Costco. That's right, I joined on December 30 to make one last mammoth purchase of bulk food ($750 worth). I wanted to get my card. Turns out, I still hadn't received what I needed in the mail, so I'm out of luck, there. Head for Good Guys in Corte Madera to get a sub woofer for my computer. They don't sell computer equipment anymore. I remember that Enigma was due out with a new CD in January, so stop by my favorite place, a mail order place called Backroads. They are a bit more than Tower, but a "friend", knowing how much I love Tower and their music, told me that they had been sold to Wherehouse, and I never have been able to find anything at a Wherehouse, so I stop by. I got the new Enigma and $375 other of "my kind of music" and I'm back on the road. Low and behold, Tower is still functioning (her joke, knowing how I love my music), I stop in, got the Enigma single, and some more CDs of course. Stopped by Grand Auto to get some more bumgie cords, they've been sold to Kragon and don't have any stock. Go to the Kragon a block away, they are out of stock also. Stop at Yardbirds to get some pipe insulation to put on my solar panels so they don't ripe my new RV cover - the cover will be great for the dust storms at Burning Man. Head back to the Dentist, the whole reason I took this journey in the first place, and got another filling. Pick up my car, return the rental and go through the insurance forms, stop by to check on the battery. They forgot to check it but give me a new one and said we'd settle it next year, if I owe anything. Get my new floor panels. Stop by Office Depot to load up, go to Comp USA and get a fantastic Yamaha sound system with subwoffer for my laptop, plus a new Ergonomic Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse. (At first they couldn't find one (the computer said they had five.) Three guys spent at least 20 minutes searching the back and front of the store and finally found one. (I like them much better than chaotic Fry's.) Pick up a load of wash-n-fold laundry I had dropped off in the morning rush. Miss the deposit at the bank. Hit the post office to pick-up mail and forget to weight and mail some items. Missed San Anselmo City Hall but left my business tax payments in the slot. Stopped by the right Longs to have the reprints redone. There machine is down - "You can have them back tomorrow." Right. Stop by my house to leave a few things, pick up a few things. Its dark now. Hard to see the roof to check for the leaks that are happening. Stop in at Border's to get a pile of new men's magazines for the web site, figure I'm better get something to eat - I forgot. Have a great, quick dinner at a Thai place in San Rafael. Fill up the car - boy have prices gone up since December. Head back north - I wanna go home. Stop by an all-night grocery to pick up a few extra items and 20 hours from when I left, I returned - it's quiet now, except for the frogs heralding my return. I'm up until 3 am checking my mail, can't slow down. Going over my list to see, of the many things I didn't get completed, did I get all of the "important" ones. See that I got about 2/3s of the list done. Want to slow down. Slowing down. Ahh. Back to "my normal". Hit the sack. I don't see how you guys do it. I don't see how I did it for all those years. Guess I didn't know any better.
03/28/00 (278 days till 01.01.01)
Since I have a lot of time on my hands, I've been watching what my hands do. It started early on by checking out my face and head almost every morning. When I started this retreat, it didn't have any hair on it, except for my eye brows. So, it was a head that I hadn't ever seen so completely before. Side views, front and back views, really seeing all the details. Things I never noticed when I was shaving or clipping nose hairs. I was so focused. So, the other day I caught my hands rolling up some paper to stuff around the kindling. I didn't have to consciously tell them what to do, and I don't ever remember being taught. They just worked together, perfect timing, to get the job done. Later I was counting sheets of paper to put into the printer. I like to know when I'm about to run out of ink because the printer just keeps going even if it runs out in the middle of a job. So I'm counting and I start watching my thumb do it's thing. It moves to the right, then the left, then back again as I count. Where did it learn all these things. I've known for a long time that my finger can find my nostril on the first try with my eyes closed. It's like eating ice cream without a mirror (it's more difficult with a mirror, try it some time). My hand knows just where to hold it, my mouth knows it's position and my tongue has it down, even when it starts to melt faster in the warm sun. Isn't it amazing that all these parts of my body know automatically what to do without me standing over them giving them directions. Isn't it amazing that it's taken me over 60 years to notice the little things that make my life work. Hope it doesn't take you that long.
04/04/00 (271 days till 01.01.01)
I don't know if it was celebrated in your area, but I think today was International Let The Fluff Fly Day. Wow. Did you notice? And if you did, did you stop and notice? When the wind was up, it was like a mini blizzard. Then the wind would die down, and they just hung in the air, flowing gracefully wherever the little bit of breeze would take them. Go West, young man, was the general direction. What amazing ways nature has of spreading itself around. That reminds me - nature has a much more "humane" way of spreading gossip, too. Have you noticed. I've never liked gossip before. I've always thought it unfair to the people who are hearing the gossip about someone else, and to the people being talked out. But, I experienced gossip in a different way a few nights ago that I liked. You see, I went for a walk. It was rather late, or early, I haven't known what time it was for the last three months. Anyway, the frogs were talking up a storm. When I close enough to hear what they were saying, they all got quiet. I couldn't hear a whisper. I went on about my business and one of them started, and they all began again. That's why I know it was gossip. They didn't want me to hear what they were saying for fear that I might understand. I sure would like to know, thought. I'm sure it wasn't toad. The voices were much too deep and guttural to be toad. I wonder if toad's have a language all their own or if there is a basic phonetic pattern between them. Does anyone speak frog? Are there any tapes available? I wonder if they know how lucky they are to have learned a complete language without any tapes or homework, not to mention paragraphing. I've always wondered if they made English so complicated so they'd have something to fill our class schedule with every semester until we graduated from college. I always thought fawnics (the real phonetic way to spell phonics) was a better way to go. Now, if we just spell the words correctly, it would be so much easier. "I cut a sleyece of apul with a nife." That's a little closer to ribit (the way the frogs spell it.) So, frogs, talk all you want about me. I can't understand you anyway, but I sure love to listen in.
04/11/00 (264 days till 01.01.01)
Well, the last few days have been a harsh reminder of the "real" world. Little piles of paper all over the floor, separated by expense - tolls, gasoline, air travel, all those business expenses those of us who have been self-employed have to keep, if we want to make any money at all. 1998 was a tough year. I came out in the hole. This year looks a bit better, for me and the IRS. Nevertheless, just going through the process is a rude awakening. Someone else said it, but it seems to fit. When it's all over, depending on how it works out, I either feel like a martyr or a crook. This year I'm feeling like a martyr.
04/18/00 (257 days till 01.01.01)
I have declared today as PTTD Awareness Day . Not PTSD, but PTTD (Post Traumatic Tax Day). From this day forward, it will always be celebrated on the day after taxes are due. Click on the green "Awareness Day" and you'll find a greeting card from Bluemountain that you might want to send to your tax person. A bit of a thank-you for taking on much of our stress for us. It's free and it's a great site to book mark. I often spend time checking out their cards for the sheer enjoyment of it all. And, I even send one now and then.
It has been drizzling around here for several days but yesterday, things started to dry out. I propped up my fiber doormat, that appropriately reads "Go Away", so it could dry out a little. And beneath it, life began to scurry. A bunch of worms seemed to know which direction shade and cool was. When one got within a quarter inch of another, it repelled away sensing I don't know what. There were Rollie-Pollies and other little bugs that didn't like the sun light or the heat from the sun. A tiny spider looked like it was doing chaotic meditation. And a beetle, with long legs and an reddish/orange and black body that had come from the world of the sun, strolled across the dampened plane, unfazed by the turmoil I had created. Later in the day, near the same place, I watched about a six inch penis (you know how we men are with depth perception) with its little legs racing a mile a minute (to it) across the bricks. It was headed for some decomposing dung that some animal from the Welcome Wagon leaves periodically at my door. It's little eyes going two different directions at once. Having finally reached the dung, this banana slug spent a good 20 minutes doing what ever it was doing - investigating, chowing down, I don't know. I've seen them around decomposing leaves and around the decomposing redwoods. Speaking of peckers, do you know that chickens, who I thought would eat just about anything, love Dorito's but snub Ruffles. They'll end up finishing them, but it seems more like disgruntled children who have been shamed into cleaning their plate. And the yard is filled with miniature white daises, not more than a half inch across. If I get up before the Robins do, it seems they spend the night wrapped up in their own pedals, which are sort of a ruby color. Then the rooster crows to tell the sun to get up, and the sun, yawning as it crests the mountain ridge, says hello in the wind, it seems to be some secret kind of signal and the daisies open, facing the sun and wave hello back. I just finished boiling some eggs. They didn't seem to be very happy about it as the played hot potato with the bottom of the sauce pan. Or was it some kind of primitive message they were tapping out to their buddies in the frig. "w-a-t-c-h--o-u-t--f-o-r--t-h-i-s--g-u-y." Or maybe it was some kind of drumming that they were dancing to and I just didn't get their beat. As I was waiting for them to finish, I opened a can of whole cashews. Can you tell the males from the females? Like in life, there aren't as many of them, but they are there. Check them out next time, and you'll see. They aren't bashful at all. In fact, they seem to be rather proud to be male. Of course, the females totally ignore them in all their splendor but you know what? If you put their organs together and have their feet touching, they'll show you their heart. It's amazing that, when I slow down and watch and listen, I find out all kinds of things that I never learned in kindergarten.
04/25/00 (250 days til 01.01.01)
I noticed something that I hadn't noticed before. I love HiLiters. I have all different colors. I particularly like a brand called Stabilo "Swing" because they have all the neon colors plus their pens are very colorful. I'll use several different colors during when I'm working on something. I don't have to have the same color throughout a book or even on the same page. I don't ever remember wanting a green one and not getting it, for an orange one. But what I did notice that's different is that I pick the pen by its top color and haven't paid attention to what color cap I put back on. I always get the right color, regardless of the color of the cap. I like that. And, it adds even more colorful variety to my space. I went through and counted. I have 2 blue, 2 pink, 3 yellow, 2 orange and 4 green. Out of the 13, only one yellow had the same color cap. Apparently my intuition is really serving me in the quest to let go of unimportant things. And getting the "correct" color cap on the "correct" HiLiter is a great start. Oh, and I saw a new bug under my "Go Away" mat that I don't remember ever seeing in my life. It's like an armored worm about an inch long with legs - I think 8 main ones in front. The body is gray and seems to move like a snake. It's head is a glassy red ball. There were actually two of them, the other slightly smaller. And, a few days ago, a couple of those small black birds with the yellow eyes that nest in the tress around MacArthur Park in San Francisco and dive at people as they walked by. I always thought they just squawked. But I've been watching them. They squawk at times, but they'll also stand in one place on a branch for 3 or 4 minutes and sometimes chirp. And then, they'll take a big inhale, flutter their chest feathers and gurgle. I figure that one is probably the male's mating dance. Well, two of them had a major confrontation outside my window the other day. They were face to face, attached at the feet, and flying around. They wouldn't let go of each other. They ended up on the ground - rested a few moments, still attached, and started in again. They finally separated and flew away. I don't know if I just experienced foot to foot combat to some great sex. Or both. You know that you can't be intimate with someone if you're repressing your anger towards them. Once the anger is released, it opens up the possibility for intimacy. Maybe that's what they were doing. Working out their frustrations with each other for that moment of intimacy.
05/02/00 (243 days til 01.01.01)
I hope your Beltane/Mid-Spring/May Day/Walpurgis was wonderful. Mine was. In fact, it was so wonderful that I just noticed that I haven't noticed much lately. I seem to be letting things float through without recording them in my minds data bank. Either that, or I have a 1K memory in a main frame world. I must be in nirvana.
05/09/00 (235 days til 01.01.01)
Well, I'm in your world again. This time writing from Kansas City, Missouri where the "family" has gathered to see how best to help the last of our elders (at 91) in assisted care. Having to put on a watch and go by Greenich Mean Time, dealing with traffic, air schedules, and individual schedules, has been nonstop and doesn't seem to be slowing down. I'm anxious for this to come to completion and returning to my song birds. Hopefully that will happen by my next progress report.
05/16/00 (229 days til 01.01.01)
A number of circumstances lead to my return from Kansas City today by rental car. I started my drive in the early afternoon on Mother's Day. As I stopped along the way, I picked up the Sunday paper. I became curious how these papers covered Mother's Day and plan to find a way to get the same newspapers on Father's Day to see if there is a different perspective. As I remember from reading the San Francisco Chronicle over the years, Mother's Day received positive reflections and stories and Father's Day usually brought out the "Dead Beat Dads" or Domestic Violence stories. It will be interesting to see if this is just a bias I have created from the work I do here, or if it is the way the culture actually treats women and men differently. (See Mother's Day if you would like to be part of this.) The major thing I remember about the trip is having great weather all the way. When I reached Donner Pass in California at 1:20pm it was 34 degrees with wet snow. It drizzled all the way to Sacramento. It was sure good to be home!
05/23/00 (222 days til 01.01.01) Taking a forced break from this progress report. Having to send the computer in for debugging. Will come back on line as soon as I get it back.
05/30/00 (215 days til 01.01.01) I'm baaaccccckkk! That wasn't so bad.
I have a request. Thursday is the start of a month-long program here at Menstuff. In celebration of International Men's Month (June), we will be discussing a different men's issue everyday at "Today" and in the free newsletter, if you are a subscriber. My request is to let every man you care about know about this happening. Together, we may just be able to change the world.
What's been coming up for me lately is a message, "Buy your own land." While it's only been 5 months, I really feel suited for this solitary lifestyle. As in Hindu philosophy, all human beings ideally mature into hermits. And I think, after all these years, I'm finally maturing. I'm not ready to come back into the "real world" of chaos: noise and conversation and news and relationship. However, I am toying with the idea of making periodic adventures out to check potential land opportunities so that when the new millennium arrives on 01.01.01, I will be able to move directly from here to there and continue my quest. My sense, if there is a call for them, is that I would continue doing the Healing the Father Wound® workshops a few times a year. I like redwoods, streams, nature, and the ocean, if I could afford it, with a small cabin somewhere along the pacific coast with water and phone (probably a land line until cellular or satellite is capable of uploading this website.) Hopefully, I could do solar power. If you come across anything like this, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
06/06/00 (208 days til 01.01.01)
Years ago, a lot of yuppie bars changed their Happy Hour to something like an Attitude Adjustment Hour. And, while it is a little early for Thanksgiving with a capital "T", why not have a Gratitude Adjustment right now. Being in this space, doing what I'm doing, I have a lot of gratitude. And, it has brought to mind, over these last five months, a lot of people that I'm grateful who are in my life - either directly, or who have made an impact on my life without even knowing me. A lot of the new age books say that one of the healthiest things we can do, both spiritually and physically, is take time out to count blessings and say "thanks" for the good things in life and to the good people in life. And, by paying attention to what we have already and what's going right helps alleviate stress, anxiety and depression and restores a sense of balance and perspective. So, I've gathered some thoughts if you might be at a loss as to how to show gratitude.
Wow. I think that's the first "list" I'm made since I'm been here, except maybe a grocery list. Am I regressing?
06/13/00 (201 days til 01.01.01)
Well, what do you know. We have our own week. And, this is it. It's National Hermit Week. It always starts on the 13th of June and goes for 8 days - one day is needed just to recover from all of the relaxation. However, many have extended to a month or a year or a lifetime. This is what they say. "This week take an adventure in solitude. Discover yourself by journeying within or going off-the-grid. Celebrate the contributions of others who indulged their need to hermit. Whether you seek inner peace, spiritual release or a moment's peace this week is for you." $5 gets you an information packet and mailings. "Don't be a loaner alone." The Hermit Project, 11800 Paddock Dr., #208-1, Midlothian, VI 23113. As you know, with a couple of exceptions, I haven't had any human contact since 01.01.00. I live alone and no one comes to visit It's my choice. So, why do I still make my bed every time I get up from a nights sleep or a short nap? What's that all about? Nobody but me is going to see it. What am I afraid of? Is someone going to spank me for not making my bed? Not anymore. But, I'm still reacting to that early childhood training. I just went over and messed up my bed. Give it a chance to air out and see what it brings up. What is it about "chores". I learned those, too. Keep your room clean so it doesn't look lived in. I love visiting my cousins. They all have kids. They also all have houses that looked lived in. Where I can relax. Like anyone could go into the living room and put their feet up and feel right at home - except those people who need everything "in it's place." Having spent over 5 months in my own space, what I've learned is that the place for everything I have is exactly where it is in this moment. If I choose to move it, that will be it's new place. It makes me think that all these "chores" were created by mothers and grandmothers, who had the job of taking care of the house. So, they filled that time with chores. And, we're left with the residual - so many unnecessary things that keep us from living. I think it was the old "What would the neighbors think" bit so things had to be perfect all the time. A number of the women I have dated in my life kept a pretty straight apartment or home when they knew I was coming over. But, with a number of them, if I showed up unexpectedly, the place was "a mess", according to the "everything in its place" theory. What did I come to understand? That we've been trained to do a lot of unnecessary things in our lives and a lot of chores are part of that. And, when, in a relationship, we don't play out the old script and just live, it may cause arguments. There's major research that's gone on for years about who does what percentage of the chores. Has anyone ever done research to determine if any of the chores were needed in the first place? I'll never forget a visit to an old girl friends house with a new girl friend. She had married and moved into rural California. I hadn't seen her in several years. We arrived at their house and they hadn't gotten back from a Sunday afternoon ball game. I looked in the sliding glass door and on the large, polished dining room table was a vase of flowers. With some droppings on the table. I mentioned to my friend, watch. The first thing she will do when they get home, is clean off the dining room table. Well, they arrived with arms full of gear. And, low and behold, she put the stuff down, picked up the vase, swept away the droppings and return it to its proper position. "What would the neighbors think" is heard racing through her mind. My friend and I looked at each other. "What did I tell you." Chores. Well, what a perfect week to let go of the chores. Do the absolutely necessary ones like change the diapers. Change the cat litter. Put food away that will spoil. But the daily or weekly dusting, vacuuming, picking up everything the minute it hits the floor or the couch. Lighten up a little. Try "living" in your Living Room. Be "family" in your family room. Talk about stress reducers. What if you didn't have a long list of chores and began living with your mate or your children or your self. Give it a shot. You might just like it. But, what would the neighbors think? You might find they like it too You might start a whole new trend of living instead of doing so much. And, if they can't deal with it, maybe you don't need to deal with them. Happy Hermits Week! I'll pick up my breakfast dishes when I'm good and ready, thank-you. Closing thought: "Needing community may just be an act of desperation when one is afraid to know themselves."
06/20/00 (194 days til 01.01.01)
I passed a milestone in my life last Saturday. I finished reading a book. And a novel, at that. It took a portion of five days. Thank goodness the book I picked was one that kept my interest. You see, while I have a library around me of probably over 3,000 books (all the books that are on this website), I seldom read and then only a section of a book that I might be writing something about. The last book I read was a few years after my divorce in 1973. Your Erroneous Zones followed by First Person Singular. And those were self-help books. I remember reading The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming back then sometime but before that I would have to go back to high school when I trudged through The Last of the Mohicans before I knew what Clift Notes were. I'm somewhat sorry I started reading again because I miss my time with Sayuri and her life. You see, the book that held my interest was The Memoirs of a Geisha and I found it totally mesmerizing. I just now got it. I was eight when I stopped reading and memorizing. I was in a fundamentalist summer church school in Kansas City and I had to memorize a given section of the bible and recite it in front of the congregation at the end of summer school. I would get my choice of a coloring book or something else that I don't remember. I was the only one to fail, and, I didn't get my coloring book. Not only did I feel shame in front of all of these people, I received a savier punishment from my stepmother when we got home. You see, she was the organist for the church and this reflected badly on her. Ever since, long reading has bored me. I'm a slow reader (yes I took a speed reading course but couldn't remember anything unless a question prompted a reminder.), maybe 15 pages an hour and my eyes get tired rather quickly. I really don't believe that any of this is physiological. And, until this past week, I hadn't read much since 1948. This time was somewhat different. I didn't read any faster and my eyes still got tired, but I didn't have to memorize and recite anything, either. Do I get my coloring book this time? I'll take that as a "YES!" -- You won't believe what I just found at Amazon.com. The Adult Coloring Book. I'll let you know about my experience with it next week.
Before I leave you this evening, I sat for some time last week watching the Monarch butterflies. I'd watch them for hours if they'd let me. I might have interpreted their actions as shy but I chose to see them as just very adventurous. Did you know that the caterpillar feeds exclusively on milk weed and here I cut them out of the yard as soon as I see them. That's what protects them from birds by the poisons they acquire from milkweed. Anyway, as I was watching all the Monarch, I started seeing Lady Bugs (Lady Beetles, officially, or, to be PC shouldn't they be renamed Womon Beetles - whatever) flying East. There were a lot of them. They didn't seem to stop to rest. They seemed like they were very much on purpose. Probably a big sale at the nearby shopping center. Nature. How wonderful!
06/27/00 (187 days til 01.01.01)
Just a few more midnights and we will be at the exact mid-point in the year. 12 midnight going into July 1 is mid-point when183 days have been completed and there are 183 to go until the new millennium begins. I started the countdown to the new millennium a year ago July 1. Have you been procrastinating making the changes you wanted to make so that you could start off the new millennium as the person you want to be. Or, maybe you're already there. Just a reminder. Only six months left in this millenium so finish it up with a bang.
Guess what. I got in the mail yesterday? The Adult Coloring Book. Not only is the content for adults (no coloring Claribell), but the size is adult, too. (22" x 17".) It really gives you alot of options, so I pulled out my unused Ultimate Bucket of 200 Crayola crayons. Just picking out the colors has been something. I have been feeling intimidated by it thinking others would do a much better job at this. But then, who cares. I'm going to have fun now that I've finally gotten my coloring book. It only took 52 years but it was definitely worth the wait. I don't think they had these kinds of books around back in the "old days". The left hand block above is the left-side of the picture in black and white. The right hand block is the other side that I have finished. If you can make it out, you'll get an idea of what the whole picture looks like. See about getting your own copy. I would consider posting a gallery of adult coloring book art, if anyone is interested. This is the het version. There's also a gay version. Both coloring books are under $10 plus regular shipping. It says 1-2 weeks shipping but I got mine in 3 days. Think about it.
07/04/00 (180 days til 01.01.01) - Happy Independence Day! How's your independence coming? Are you independent or in-dependence? After a few weeks or months, most baby animals are ready for independence. Humans spend nearly a quarter of their lives just ready. If we're lucky, our families help us to grow straight, so we can stand alone. Growing up means learning to make decisions that are right for us, in tune with the larger design of our life as it is woven into the pattern. We'll may want other people for companionship, love and cooperative work, but by the time we're ready to choose how we want to live we should be able to stand by ourselves. Even when our families aren't able to give us the best start in life, we have the power to remake choices, rechoose activities and companions that will grow along with us. Our human parents may be precious loved ones or they may be strangers; the aim of our search for self-knowledge is the power to parent ourselves. We need steady nurturing all our lives, and no onther person can supply it. I've enjoyed walking on this journey with you thus far. This is "Over the Hump" week on this part of my journey. July 1 was the start of the last half of the year and the end of the century. So, here's to even greater independence for us all.
07/11/00 (173 days 'til 01.01.01) - The mornings have been a little chilly lately so I thought, instead of cooking a big meal in the late afternoon and heating up the house even more when it's already hot, why not heat it in the morning by cooking "dinner". Why not Chicken Fettucini with Alfredo sauce and Broccoli? Or steam veggies and rice. How about broccoli, cashews and shredded colby cheese? Linguini and clams? Even polish sausage, sauerkraut and OJ? Well, that's some of the breakfasts I've had in the last couple of weeks. For lunch, a big salad and dinner has been cereal with fresh fruit and soy milk. Makes sense to me. Large breakfast when I need warmth and energy to start the day. Tapering off to a small dinner so I don't have to sleep off as much. What did you have for breakfast this morning? Why?
07/18/00 (166 days 'til 01.01.01) - Thinking once again about The Matrix Syndrome that most of us go through life in, (and if you haven't seen the movie, rent or buy the video and see it) wouldn't it be amazing if Tony Robbins was right? That "human beings were invented by water as a device for transporting itself from one place to another." What an interesting thought. I asked my stream but it only looked at me and went on about its business, lapping up the shoreline.
07/25/00 (159 days 'til 01.01.01) - I've been watching the deer, a mother, older sister and younger sister practice avoidance and escape techniques. It looks like play, but it looks like serious play, too. It's marvelous watching them communicate without phones and faxes and e-mails. Just communicate. I remember a talk by Aquata, a shaman from Togo, West Africa. He marveled at our need for a phone to communicate with people 100 miles away. They just communicate. It's sad, to me, that we've lost so much of our inherent abilities. One that I haven't lost and have been noticing more and more is that I can't sneeze with my eyes open. I'm afraid the strain too hard to keep them open because, for whatever reason, they were meant to automatically close. I keep getting in touch with more and more ways I have overridden my inherent reactions for socially acceptable ones. And, I'm looking daily for the pathways to journey back, unlearning the cultural entrapments as I go, to become natural again. I trust that it's not too late, because each step taken feels like one step closer to who I was meant to be before the church and schools and peers put their stamp on me. As I journey, I loose a previous concern for what others will think of me when I emerge from isolation. It reminds me of an article I wrote for Quest magazine, probably 15+ years ago called "I Wish I Knew Now What I Knew Then." As I let go of what "I Know" and open to what "I Knew" as a child, way before kindergarten, everything becomes so much easier. So much less effort. I'm looking forward to the birthing once again of the real Gordon Clay.
08/1/00 (152 days 'til 01.01.01) When I order 1/2 a sandwich, what do they do with the other half? And, if there isn't another half, then they've sold me a small sandwich, not half of one. Why, if you order a bowl of soup and I get a cup of soup with my sandwich, do you get yours first. Does it take longer to prepare a cup of soup than a whole bowl? Just some of the things I worry about in my busy days out here. (Has he gone crazy yet?)
08/8/00 (145 days 'til 01.01.01) - Death - it comes so quickly and usually without advance notice. When it comes, you can't schedule in one more visit with your loved ones, or a last trip to the redwoods, or that cruise you always wanted to take. It's over, done, kaputs. Think about that the next time you put off something you really want to do or say. This hit home this last weekend when a cousin's 17 year old daughter fell from a second story balcony, broke her neck and died. Just like that. We could get angry about guard rails. Or issue big warnings to our kids about safety. Or lots of other things. We could also remember to live life in the moment. Have fun. Don't put things off. And, most of all, people you love, tell them so and tell them often.
08/15/00 (138 days 'til 01.01.01) - Ever wonder what you would do if you didn't have anything to do? Wonder about that one for a while. You might even make a list - a wish list. Then, start finding ways to implement the entire list, a little bit at a time.
08/22/00 (131 days 'til 01.01.01) - Not much to say today except that I'm still here, still alive, and working at not thinking. How am I doing?
08/29/00 (124 days 'til 01.01.01) - It's time to breathe!
09/5/00 (117 days 'til 01.01.01) - It's taken me 60 years to find this out, like many other men in history. That I live alone, by choice, and really like the company. So much so that I am going to come out over the next few weeks in search of land that I can buy and move to with the hope that when this portion of my journey comes to completion January 14, 2001 that I can move from here to my own land and continue this quest. I'll let you know how it goes, providing I can get access to the internet the next few Tuesdays. Adios
09/12/00 (110 days 'til 01.01.01) - Well, I have access to the internet because I haven't left yet. Just those delays in dealing with intuition and what my body and spirit want to do versus what my mind wants to do. However, it's time now. Everyone seems to be in agreement. And I'll be heading off on my trek very shortly (that means about as soon as I'm packed). Will check in hopefully next Tuesday.
09/29/00 (93 days 'til 01.01.01) - I'm back. This is the first time I have been able to report in a couple of weeks. During my search for land - boy have things gotten expensive while I've been on my advance - land, gas, etc. - I had the opportunity to watch some of the Olympics. And while I was generally impressed with the performance, grace and attitude most of our athletes, I was disgusted by one of our swimmers and wished she hadn't been allowed to swim for our country. It reminded me of the "Ugly American" with a touch of the WWF (World Wrestling Federation) thrown in and brought back memories of our Hockey team, made up primarily of National Hockey League players, who acted like little children throwing tantrums when they trashed their sleeping quarters because they didn't win. I loved the Black Hawks when I lived in Chicago - Was it the Billy Goat downtown for the after game parties? But I haven't watched hockey since that Olympics and have no intention of doing so. I digress. As I watched the swim meet, one of our swimmers was preparing for the race. She was out of the pool and took a mouth full of water and expelled it in the lane of the better swimmer, as if to say, "I can't out swim you so I'm going to act like a child and try to distract you to a level that maybe I can win. Guess who I was pulling for. Not the Ugly American. I was further embarrased by the announcer spending so much time talking about her and her actions in a positive way, "If there is anyone who can get into the head of another competitor it's _________." Thank goodness she didn't win the heat. She did scowl at the winner and cross through her lane to go to another lane. A poor looser, and still a looser. I hope our coaches had the integrity to remove her from any relay and if not, I hope whom ever swam against her in her lap gained time on her.
I don't know whether she took a medal but I sure hope not. I don't even know her name but I sure remember her face. I hope I never see it on a box of Wheaties or advertising any product, especially to girls and women. She is definitely not someone I want my daughter or grand daughter, or anyone, really, to look up to. Especially other countries. She doesn't represent me. And I hope people from other countries realize that she doesn't represent most Americans. And she sure doesn't present a picture of an Olympian and how to win the Olympics. Winning the Olympics should be by athletic skill, not trash talk. It seems some people think the other way around. Let them go to the WWF.
10/3/00 (89 days 'til 01.01.01) - I'm not feeling very centered right now. Agitated is more like it. Have spend the last few days doing some major updates on the web site, lots of book reviews, new features like Web Site of the Week and a new weekly feature by Doc Love, from a radio program down in LA. After all this work, I've been having trouble getting access to the web, from either of my accounts, and haven't been able to solve the problem. Obviously, by the time you see this, I will have at least had access long enough to upload the information. Hopefully that will happen soon and I can get back into my body. Why did I ever leave it in the first place. Old habits, I guess. Have I learned nothing?
10/10/00 (89 days 'til 01.01.01) Let's talk about sex. Or, better yet, let's talk about abstinence. The last nine months in seclusion has come with abstinence, which is understandable. This isn't the first time in my life, thought, that I have chosen celibacy for an extended period of time. I find a real joy, and a definite benefit from the experience. I find my creative juices are at their height after about six months in. Whether divine choice or coincidence, however, it was three years ago to this day that I was last sexual with someone. Now, for many, that's no record. But it is for me. Not that I'm looking to establish a record. Coincidentally, the last three years have also been very creative years. Try it some time. You might really like it.
10/17/00 (75 days 'til 01.01.01) - I had an interesting experience this past weekend. In understood through the web, that the Women's Professional Pro Football league was going to acctually happen and it was kicking off its season with four games on Saturday. I checking with CNN, TV Guide, and ESPN to see if there was going to be anything televised on it. I couldn't find anything so I decided to turn on the television. This is the first time, mind-you, that it has been on since 11:59pm December 31, before the ball dropped. two-days later, I put the remote down. I got hooked. Much of Saturday spent searching for the game and getting caught up on bears, or sharks or something else that was going on. Thank goodness I was able to escape local and world news, the elections, any world crisis, all the stuff that wraps up people and takes their leisure time away from them. But, even without the news, it was non-stop. It finally ended well after midnight when Nikita had finished her work on USA. Now, I didn't watch the local sports news, because that would have given me the other news that I didn't want. Monday came, and I received a reply from Melanie at ESPN.com, the 'Leader in sports', as they claim. She wrote saying "We appreciate your interest, but that is currently not a feature on ESPN.com." I withstood the pressure of turning the set back on until Monday night, tuning in the football game with the hopes of hearing some comment. Nothing. Four games with teams from eight cities (Austin, Dayton Beach, Denver, Houston, Miami, Minneapolis, New England, New York (has two teams), and Syracuse with Oklahoma City and Tampa having their first game in Week 2. Even the league's own web site only reported on the Daytona Beach/Miami game with a hyperlink to the Denver Post for as story story of the Minneapolis/Colorado game. I hope there are others out there who are willing to write or call their local newspapers, television stations and networks to say they want to hear reports on WOmen's Pro Football. I wonder how many city editor's and local sports directors outside these majors will respond with, "Huh?" Right now menstuff and www.womensprofootball.com are about the only two I could find to provide much coverage at all. While the league has set it up so that the women use a smaller football than the men, (like what they did with the WNBA), making it even that more difficult for a potential star to break into the NFL, hopefully it catches on like it has in Australia. I want my grand-daughter to at least have the option to play football, if she wants to, and not be stuck with field hockey or home ec as her main options. Well, it's time to go now. I've got to check out Dark Angel.
10/24/00 (68 days 'til 01.01.01) - Well, it's that time of the week. And, about all I've got to say is "Hi!" "Bye."
11/7/00 (54 days 'til 01.01.01) - Election Day. If you have been following this column, you noticed that there wasn't one last Tuesday and there wasn't much the week before. I originally began this as a way to let my daughter know I was okay. Sort of like being on a vision quest in a hostile environment. By a pre-agreed to schedule, at sun-up or sun-down, or mid-day, some agreed to time, I was to go to a specific spot each day and turn over a rock so that those who brought me here would know I was okay. So, I'm turning over the rock.
Just as many animals, and some people, are beginning to prepare to hybernate over the winter, I am preparing to re-enter your world. Last Sunday, I called my daughter and we talked. Today I will drive over 75 miles to vote.
Now, mind you, I don't plan to stay in your world long. Do what I have to do and return. What I have learned in the last 10+ months is that I like it here. I like the lifestyle of the hermit. It suits me. And, I like some of your world, particularly friends. I don't miss traffic, road rage, rudeness, cell phones, newspapers, radio or most television, except I have broken down, or been strong enough to say there are some good things on television and it's okay to turn it on now and then. Besides PBS and the Discovery Channel, Boston Public, Ally McBeal, Whose Line Is It Anyway, and The West Wing are four of the best. And, yes, a little football.
There may be more to this communication when I return, today, but I'm going to vote. I hope those of you living in the US will vote today also. This may end up a world you don't want to live in if you don't vote. And, face it, many of you have chosen to live and work in the middle of a world, the environment, personal freedoms, etc. that are drastically affected by who controls the Supreme Court and who controls Congress. It's important to insure, for seven generations, those personal and environmental freedoms. It is important to vote for the one who has a ligitimate chance, a totally realistic chance to take over the White House for the next 4+ years. Not a dream, not a hope, not a distant third, but a real chance. So, do whatever it takes to make your vote count!
11/14/00 (47 days 'til 01.01.01) - How do you deal with it. Seven days since the election and still no president. Sure glad I missed the last week of what must have been a lot of babble over and over and over again. I spent part of the last two mornings watching 8 to 15 ravens (Yes, ravens, not crows) share apples in the way they share. Ruffled features greeting those trying to sneak a bite out of turn. Then, they all took off at once. Seems they saw a deer and her doe show interest in the apples. But it was only fleeting. She sniffed it, the doe never paid any attention, and they strolled on. I've seen her stand on her hind legs taking them off the tree. Guess this had no challenge to it. Sounds a lot like human choices - going after something that's difficult or impossible to get and ignoring what's handy and right in front of us. Oh well. We'll see what happens this next week.
11/21/00 (40 days 'til 01.01.01) - Can you say "Electile Dysfunction"? Haven't heard that we have elected a President yet, so am assuming you are enjoying watching the way our media system works, milking this story for everything they can, giving you teasers every half hour to sell their 5, 6, and 11 pm news shows. And then finding out some other very small tidbits that their news team has dough up. More minutia to add to the already high dung pile. Many hours of radio and television time, thousands of pages of newspaper and magazine coverage that, if edited by a good journalist, probably wouldn't amount to 20 pages on actual content - the Reader's Digest version. You might consider taking this opportunity to take a break from radio news (put a music tape in), television news promos and news (keep the mute button handy), and newspaper (train your eyes not look at the newspaper rack, not see the headlines). I can tell you, from years of doing this most successfully, except a few times like Princess Dia's death, it is possible. It sure gives my mind a lot of extra freedom. So, just remember "electile dysfunction" and save yourself hours of primarily irrelevant thought. If you spent that time volunteering for a charity, thinking of how to better the world and then taking action, we'd all be a lot better off. So, have a Happy Thanksgiving, give thanks that we live in a country where, for the most part, you don't get shot for expressing and living the way you choose, and are free, also, not to waste time listening and reading about things that don't directly impact your life or something that you can't directly impact. And, for those who want something a little different this Thursday, consider having a traditional Thanksgiving pizza. This concept was created a number of years ago by a good friend of mine where we all got together, brought the ingredients we really like on a pizza, had half a pizza to decorate and then sit down for a great afternoon of football and pizza. That's what I'm going to have in a couple of days. My traditional Thanksgiving pizza with anchovies. See you next week.
11/28/00 (33 days 'til 01.01.01) - I've decided to join my daughter, son-in-law and grand daughter for the Holidays. I'm going to combine the journey to Oregon with a search for affordable land. If I haven't communicated it here before now, this lifestyle really fits me. The quiet serenity, away from most person-made sounds and domestic wild-life, has been quite rejuvenating for me. Admittedly, I have spent a considerable amount of time continuing to develop this web site, and I feel in total alignment in doing that. I feel even more committed to men's work in this way. I also plan to present Healing the Father Wound for women only and men only in June, 2001 I'm still enjoying the news black-out and rather relish not knowing if we have a new President and who he might be. I hope to keep it that way as long as possible.
12/5/00 (26 days 'til 01.01.01) - I've been watching two does and a fawn grazing on grass and munching leaves. They come by usually twice a day now. During the summer it was more like once every several days. I never see a buck. Haven't all year. They must stay up in the more mountainous areas. At my home in San Anselmo, I would often come home and find two bucks under my deck. I would really have to crouch to get under there. I don't know how they did it with their racks. Such alert animals, always checking me out but seldom running if I'm not within 30 yards of them. I'm going to watch some more.
12/12/00 (19 days 'til 01.01.01) - Well, this ground hog is beginning to surface and see sun light. Another tooth problem forced me into the world of chaos. And, amazing as it may seem, no one talked about the election. So, while I get a sense we don't have a President yet, it has finally become old news. Now, the television stations haven't figured that out yet. They are still promoting, incessentally, the latest "new information from Florida" which means there's really nothing much to say but they might sucker you in to tuning in to find out - that they really haven't gotten any real news. So glad that isn't part of my daily routine or even weekly routine. All the wasted energy, dollars, and time people have spent to know little more than they knew November 7. Politics as usual. So, at any rate, I made it back relatively unscathed to a rackus welcoming home party of the silence of natyre. And, we partied well into the waning moon's light. Party on.
01.01.01 - (Monday, First Day, Third Millennium, 365,243 days left until the next millenium )
First of all, I didn't realize until yesterday morning that I hadn't sent a message the last two weeks. Makes sense. The reason I began these messages was to be a communication for my daughter that everything is okay. Seeing as I decided to go to Oregon for the holidays and visit the family, I guess my mind eliminated that concern
I have a friend who had journaled daily since her teens. On her 40th birthday, she threw a party for herself, and to prepare for a ritual, she asked her friends to write something about her -- didn't matter whether it was positive or negative -- and bring it to the party. During the party, she started a fire where each person would take what they had written, without sharing it with anyone, and drop it into the fire. With that act, she asked that they also let go of their thoughts of who she was and who she was to them so that she could go forward, free of these constraints. Some did it easily. Some had great difficulty and probably still haven't let go. Then, she took all of her journals and added each one of them to the fire.
She still journals daily. However, she has added another ritual to her life. When she has completed her journaling for the day, she tears it out and either gives it to a friend if it has particular relevance to them, or burns it. Sounds like the ideal way to be in the present, immediately letting go of the past.
The image for myself is to ask those who have done my work and look to me for guidance to leave them with this image. I'm walking through a world of 10 foot tall grass. Every now and then, I cross someone's path. I don't follow it, even for a moment, because I'm not lost. I continue creating my path. I check behind me now and then. If someone is following in my path, I suggest that they would learn much more if they create their own path in life. I go on, hoping the jungle will reclaim the space left by my foot steps, by my presence. Some may zip zag across life. Some may retreat back their own path into the past, afraid to go forward into the unknown. And, some may be walking a parallel path for a while. Only those looking down would be able to see the path the others have chosen. I don't look to the stars for guidance since, to me, that is making a personal interpretation of outside influences and that, in a way, would be looking behind for answers that had worked, perhaps, in similar situations. However, by using that information for this situation, would not honor the difference between the past and now. I look within for the answer and take the next step forward. I am complete for now. Goodbye. And have a safe and original journey of your own!
© 2001, Gordon Clay
Snail Mail: P.O. Box 12, Brookings, OR 97415-0001