Tuesday, January 29, 2008


"...'Cause I’m a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride, and I’m wanted…wanted, dead or alive…I’ve seen a million faces, and I’ve rocked them all."
In a famous monster ballad from the eighties, Bon Jovi declares rock n’roll triumph. In a moment of time, he was the king of a legion of fans.
But it’s the slightly high pitch voice of a little boy who’s singing today, the old song brought to his attention by music-oriented video games. He’s open enough to sing in front of his older brother and thankfully the judges of American Idol aren’t there to comment on the vocals; but I was…and it was horrible.
To be able to put every ounce of attention, emotion, and effort into every note of a song creates MUSIC. I saw a little boy slouched on the couch, holding the microphone up on his stomach, reading the lyrics off the TV screen, and that’s how it sounded.
He sounded dead, flat, and uninspired. It was as much effort as he might spend kicking off his muddy boots.
As my beautiful friend says, "anything worth doing, is worth doing right." This goes for singing karaoke, washing dishes, brushing your teeth or a thousand other activities. To do anything well, one must put in effort.
The result will probably not be perfection, but it will be a thousand times better than with none. Glasses will be clearer, teeth will be cleaner and notes will have a better chance of being hit. Intention is good, it’s a first step, the boy wanted to sing; but intention needs to be followed by effort, it’s what carries intent into a state of action.
Heart-full action can be felt, it has a quality that is alive, vibrating and full of energy.

Monday, January 28, 2008

White Sage

I watch my hand move as it reaches for a sprig of sage. Tenderly, with permission, it plucks a silver leaf, soft as velvet and pleasantly pungent.
Rubbing the softness between my fingers, the aroma gets stronger,...
like an earthy woman left in the sun to dance and sweat;
like the scent of a delicious man after ferocious love making,
his wild pheromones and wet hair only adding to his smell.
The plant knows no conformity.
It talks, but I am almost too deaf to hear-
its language is formed not by words, but by colors, movements and energy my brain can’t recognize.
It’s beyond the rational, beyond books of botany or healing.
It is the scent that draws me, that brings me to my knees each morning while I bury my face among silver ranches.
No, it does not speak English, but it communicates.
Perhaps if I quiet myself, if I become still and open to subtleties, something inside will understand.
Before I can hear, before I can understand, I have to learn how to hear without words, how to listen without my intellect.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


There is a beautiful collaboration in progress.
It shifts from hour to day, from spring to winter. An extreme work in progress, the challenge of the garden is divided among many forces, hands and critters.
As with all group work, we move and create as one being. The garden is our body, our manifestation. The sun works simultaneously with the vegetation, the rain collaborates with the flowers and earth . Many plump worms till the soil, creating open spaces for roots to dive. Visiting birds spread seeds with their partners, the bees. A jasmine curtain along the western fence perfumes the air and fills our senses with delight. Human hands structure the plots of earth, giving shape and maintaining a sense of order, while cats visit for the psychedelic foliage, planted for their benefit. Singing birds come to eat and bathe, casting their melodies freely.
In an obvious way, the garden is one thing, one unit. But it is also a huge cosmic collection- a manifestation of many, many elements- human, animal, and energetic.
No specific piece could work and function to its fullest potential without the effects and efforts of the other parts.
Every group is made of elements-working together to create a living and vibrating whole.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


My little cold hands snip the overgrown jasmine branches. Purple-gloved fingers, covered in the fine sediment of earth, pat into place freshly planted succulents.
The sun has not yet lifted itself above the house and thousands of petals hold droplets of moisture like sweet offerings to the gods.
Each morning we leave our gifts as well, a small gesture that sparks the sacred.
Quiet rituals speak to the greater elements, and I remember my place.
We invite them in. This is a space for them, for the unseen, for the small, for the waves and wind.

We have created this for you.
Subtly colored and resonating.
Magnetic fields and solar blips. Treasured like a ruby secret, the energy of the garden spirals upward, leaving streaks of green and white.
Alien structures sit among mountains and valleys.
Sage perfumes the air while the singsong of small birds provide the acoustics.
This is for you.
We maintain it as a gift for forces that can only be felt with an open heart.
The beautiful space is our invitation- where there may be war and love, rest or play.
This effort is for you.

Friday, January 18, 2008

In The Garden

The garden is beautiful, full of orange nasturtiums, pungent sage and unforgiving cactus. It is a garden of complexity, with pathways and mountains ranges. It is possible to scale Mount Kilimanjaro and the Pyrenees in a day. It is a resting spot for birds and a love den for cats. Soldiers are constantly on guard, magicians line the walls and the four elements are worshipped.
The caretakers work when the weather permits, although the garden is never far from thought even in the rain. It is a sacred space in constant need of tending. Weeds are constantly sprouting, apples from neighboring trees need to be picked, and fallen men need straightening. It is a work in progress. At the height of summer, when all the weeds are plucked and the birdbaths are sparkling, everything seems finished. And then, five days later, the weeds come back. The bird food needed replenishing. What is completed one day must be done once again. It is a working garden, and the work is never finished.
Just as soon as one clover patch is plucked, a dandelion sprouts inches away. It is not something to fight, it simply is. The ways of nature continue to progress, unencumbered by human desires. The human machine moves with the same logic. Despite all hopes of peace or rest, the machine is in constant need of tending. Left on its own, invasive species will flourish, well defined pathways will crumble and flowers will be strangled by persistent weeds.
Human habits are as persistent as weeds. As soon as one appears to be under control, another deeper habit comes to the surface. And when that one is contained, another rises. It is nothing to rage at, it’s simply the nature of the machine. In need of constant attention, from minute to minute, it cannot be left alone. It is the work. Continuous, morphing and ever sprouting.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


The world requires lies.
In our complex web of human societies, taboos, and customs, many children are raised tactful and gracious. Whether it’s complimenting the cook despite a foul meal or sparing your best friend’s feelings, we learn to tap dance around the truth. We learn to tell half lies or distortions on fact.
These are the honesf skills of high priced lawyers. They are the careful manipulation of statement, the delicate construction of jargon. For most humans, this is an essential skill for navigating the labyrinth.
Sometimes it is necessary to lie, but, they must be conscious lies.
You must KNOW you are lying.
Without consciousness, we lie to ourselves, we easily begin to believe our own stories and our twisted version of what happened. The machine will debate and rationalize the emotions, thoughts and any situation til we come up with a plan that serves its own self interest.
In this game, it is ideal to understand and see the machine’s intentions and motives- these will attempt to shape our words and actions. They come quickly, mostly out of habit. Sometimes the initial impulse to lie is hidden 12 steps back.
The machine will convince itself there is no harm in its desires or actions, and perhaps there is not; but watch for the habit. Are we lying with all our conscious attention, or are we just lying to ourselves?