I have written both music, and advice columns that covered a wide variety of topics, such as: relationships, communication, lifestyle, business, and life (coaching)
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photo: Masaru Emoto, "Love"
Love offers a uniquely different experience for different people, and what I mean by that is that different people both characterize and experience love differently: in the way that we apply or practice love, functionally; inasmuch as there are, genuinely, different ways of illustrating love. I think a lot of people take that for granted, at least in the context of love being an emotion, which, I mean, it isn’t—hence the reason we are more apt to take our relationship with love for granted.
I believe that love is one of the biggest casualties of a nature that is desperate to expose the substance of everything.
I think there is a certain sense of wonder and excitement in exploration and observation, but the wonder is succumb to revelation; discourse leads to possibility, but when our motive lies only in resolution we tend to lose something within ourselves, and after a time the means becomes meaningless, and eventually almost entirely nonexistent. People were not meant to know, we were meant to explore and to wonder and to reflect.
Love is like water, and we are fish. Love is in-explainable and, often, unbelievable but do fish believe in water?
The oversimplification of love as it presents itself in our day-to-day lives confounds me, I mean, love, in-and-of-itself, is not something that we feel for someone, love isn’t even a relatable “feeling,” (but for linguistic purposes I’ll continue to use the verb; to feel). Love is something we ‘feel’ with someone; imagine, for a moment, that love, in the context that we all respectively effort to feel love, was, earnestly, the fibers or particles or molecules or God‘s’ or totems or beliefs that are the connection of all things, and that, in our humanity, we are more capable of experiencing Love when we are willing and conscientious enough to be completely vulnerable and, in our humanity, the atonement of-, or willingness, or passion to reveal ourselves to another person avows a sense of amenability which opens us up to feel this connection between all things, maybe even expanding our relationship with God—however your notion of God may present itself.
Perhaps this is the reason why many of us feel like there is a distinct difference between saying I love you and I am in love with you; to be within love, conjointly with a person that you want to or are completely vulnerable with.
...but we tend to omit that from our relationships these days, the vulnerability part. We, instead, settle in our odyssey to experience love, amusingly enough by abbreviating our sense of wonder, taking love for granted, and taking life for granted, and just, kind of, checking off bullet points as if our relationship with ourselves and our one opportunity for life was a checklist that we were meant simply to complete.
It has been an interesting go of things, for me, in relationships but also witnessing how people “revere” love, only, as some sense of mysticism, like everybody wants to believe in it but deep down inside they just know that love is only an idea.
What is love, though?
Right? Ask yourself what love is, to you? Is your understanding of-, or experience with-, love relatable? Is it universal?
I mean, we have created a tangible understanding of how we can all mutually relate to love in a way that is simplistic and ornaments well in movies, cool. But why is it that we feel that in order for something to be genuine we have to be able to recreate it analytically? Frankly, that concept is horseshit, inasmuch as most of our man made systems are fundamentally horseshit.
Love is not a feeling, and love is not an emotion; love both is, and allows us to recognize the immediate and unseeable relationship that exists between all things, and we experience it, almost exclusively, when we allow ourselves to share, and to be vulnerable within our lives.
Love is like water, and we are fish. Love is in-explainable and, often, unbelievable but do fish believe in water?
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You know that phrase people use when they’re trying to create distance between themselves their beliefs and organized religion; it’s pretty common, they’ll use it because they want to establish that there is a sense of the mystical in the world but they just cannot quite rationalize adopting certain parables that are represented in the Bible, the Qur’an, and/or the Torah, this phrase seems to allow the keynoter the disconnect they might feel they need in their lives, however, I would suggest that not only is there a fine line between-, but there is really no intellectual account for one being “spiritual, though not religious.”
Granted, I have, in the past, used that phrase, even recently, in order to try to best express my belief system but only because it, unfortunately, does provide context for a person, depending on their understanding and background. Nevertheless, I wish there were an equally swift and more relevant way to reveal that particular sentiment; seeing that I don’t necessarily see a difference between being spiritual and being religious, except to distance ourselves from personal stigmas that stalk our dogmatic antipathy.
Why don’t I think there’s a difference?
Well, I think there are a number of reasons. One simple, yet not especially profound reason is that if we are quote/unquote religious we are also spiritual; religion does not define how we believe it—kind of, only (in an anthropologically customary way)—defines what we believe, which is to say that spiritual people might still practice a specific religion (save the “appeal to _____” argument; argumentum ad populum). I think the most practical point is that being religious and spiritual are more similar than they are different, so using one belief system to explain ‘our’ belief system is only impartial if it was so simple as to define an individuals beliefs as either religious or spiritual.
I spent a great deal of time at Sunset Coffee in Sandy, Utah, a conurbation of Salt Lake City, and on occasion I would sit with Neil, Sunset’s founder/owner, after hours and we would talk about creed and spirituality and religion, about his religious upbringing and my religious upbringing, as well as other ideas and systems.
I remember one interaction in particular, and one that I’ll continue to elicit for years to come, and long after it reformed my purview.
Do you know those interactions that provide a moment of insight that are, kind of, an Aha! moment for you, but no one else seemed to have acknowledged how profound it may have been? Well, this interaction offered something significant for me, and seemingly nobody else.
Neil was non-denominational at this point in his life, although he wasn’t raised that way, there was a very particular core set of understandings and beliefs that he was fostered; I, on the other hand, was not raised with a specific set of dogma. My dad was raised Southern Baptist and has spent the majority of his life Agnostic, my mother was raised Catholic—she spent twelve years in Catholic School—she loosely practices a religion called Eckankar, when I was younger, however, she was actively practicing. She gave my sister and I the option to go with her to service or, the alternative, which was to stay home and cultivate some sense of spiritual awakening in whatever recourse: reading about religion, meditating, praying, etc., my sister, at the time, was attending Baptist youth classes with her friends, so she was covered, I, however, spent most of my time playing basketball; so I would, on occasion, join my mom at service, and on occasion I would read, eventually I got to the point where I started visiting other churches: I’d go to Catholic mass with a friend of mine or an LDS service with another friend or the Methodist services or I’d discuss doctrine with Witnesses of Jehovah, and read about Buddhism, Hinduism, Shinto, Islam, Paganism, Ásatrú, Yorùbá, and others. The study of theology became, kind of, a hobby.
One of the first things I discovered was how similar these religions/philosophies actually were, they were far more similar than they were not, and somehow people started to focus too much on the differences. It really annoyed me. And I developed stigmas towards religions whose followers were more focused on the differences than the similarities, and no that is not all religions, it tends to really only be the three major religions. I stopped listening to people try to argue why their religion was better when what we should have been talking about was our own spiritual development and awakening, regardless of the different parables and stories and avenues and itineraries that might exist in their doctrine.
In this particular conversation with Neil almost ten years ago I mentioned that “I don’t necessarily believe that God is the creator, but rather the act of creation.” And Neil nodded, and said “Yeah.” So, somewhat confused, I said “What do you mean?” and he said, “I share those beliefs.” I looked at him and said, “But...you’re Christian.” and he nodded, and said “That’s right.”
All at once, though it only lasted a fraction of a second, I was thinking:
What is happening right now?
Suddenly, it was all so simple.
We have all become so consumed by the assumptions that we make about religion based on the stereotypes and our stigmas or triggers that we’ve forgotten how deeply personal being spiritual is, and that our relationship with God develops through our experiences, and whether we accept the core dogmatic beliefs of a particular denomination or religion over another really has little to do with our spiritual development and how we actually relate to God.
Our relationship with God is matured by our relationship with ourselves and our surroundings; while the stigmas that we foster are based on a misunderstanding of an idea that isn’t even our own, and therefore we cannot truly understand or relate to it.
It is just as arbitrary and biased to blindly shame a person for their beliefs as it is for them to shame you, for yours, because they are, regardless of your conditioned viewpoint, the same.
The difference remains entirely in the same existential dilemma that we all collectively see the exact same shade of green when looking at a particular image, how we do know, really?
We don’t necessarily have the tools to negotiate our understanding of your shade of green vs. my own, so we just, kind of, accept it.
Different religions have established a set of parables and stories that allow us to pass the experiences of others down so that we might be able to share in those experiences, in a way that is most relatable to us and our own experiences. Aside from establishing belief systems that are relatable that also provides us with a different axiom, and the tools necessary to apply that perspective to what will forever be my shade of green, making it much for difficult for us all to share in a relatable experience by helping to create numerous shades of God.
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I love how so much of art today is criticized for not being art, “That’s not art.” I was walking around the Guggenheim several years ago, while I was living in New York, and while I was there an artist had set up a table and a couple of chairs and she was inviting anyone who wanted to sit with her in silence to join her, it was fascinating and people stood there for hours watching the artist and a stranger challenge whatever social assertion of discomfort might exist between a pair of strangers; psychologically it wouldn’t play itself out exactly as Ulay (the artist) intended simply because she is a well known performance artist and the exercise took place on the ground floor of the Guggenheim, nevertheless the idea of artistic expression is an interesting one.
Still, I could hear the silent murmurs of hundreds of thousands of people disputing the act as a form of art. The definition of art is pretty ambiguous, so however we are conditioned to enjoy art is almost completely subjective.
Culturally, even, there are certain rules of artistic form, such as what is acceptable and what is not: in Islamic culture it’s disrespectful to create a likeness of a living creature, and especially that of the prophet Muhammad. In Oriental cultures drawing or painting as a form of personal expression is opposed, because the culture is rooted on the idea that social or collective performance is far more important than individual accomplishment.
...as a result, a collective definition of art in those, and other cultures is far more definitive, however there are still people, individuals, within those cultures, that choose to practice art as a form of personal expression, inasmuch as we do in the secular Western society.
Cultures and societies and people clearly have different understandings of what art is, or should be, and yet I still have a hard time understanding how a person comes to such a capricious, and arbitrary notion that, “that’s not art.”
From a subject perspective there’s plenty of art that I think is just God-awful, I mean it is really, really bad; I don’t think I feel that way about the whole of any particular style or medium, but among the different styles and mediums I have seen pieces that I cannot understand, I don’t like it, I don’t know how anyone else might possibly like it, still no matter how awful something might be I could never see myself challenging the expression as anything less than art.
There is a lot of art out there that I feel is a fabricated expression of feeling or emotion or thought, when I feel as if the creator may have been more involved with how a person might receive it than they were the expression of-, and that annoys me, but I’ll concede that even that is art, it may take a more roundabout means to effort a psychological motive, it’s still a form of some kind of expression.
There are certain aspects of the artistic that some people, kind of, hollow in order to impose an agenda or a sort of developmental neglect, such as parts of dance. I find most dance to be beautiful and often sensual, but some soccer moms can muggy that with their own context of sexuality. That does annoy me, even though I do agree that we grow up, in the West, with a specific false image of women and sexuality, and it can be difficult for some people to look at something and not actually see it, but rather what they were indirectly taught to see; and I do think that does bleed over into other mediums and styles of art, and not just sexually but an innumerous standards and scopes.
We let this idea of what we think art is supposed to be misdirect us into misunderstanding and agitation, this best and most common example is when people complain about Actors having a political voice, “stick to acting and leave the opinions to...” I don’t know who, exactly: everybody else? Granted people who have a stage and voice that’s louder than others simply because of an art, I can understand the general frustration, but certain people don’t have a problem with Donald Trumps voice, and he was granted one simply for being rich.
Frankly, if you lack conviction enough to be worried about whether Angelina Jolie is going to sway your perspective than you have bigger problems than Angelina Jolie. So, I don’t know, it just seems most likely that the argument there isn’t with the platform as much as it is with the subject as it is with the motive, but now I’m veering a bit.
I don’t know, this column was kind of forced, I didn’t know what to write about today, and although I am passionate about the topic and artistically, I know my tone doesn’t exactly reflect that. My mind is elsewhere. Perhaps I’ll come back to this at some other date.
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Photo from USA Today.com
Of course we are, that's a stupid question.
It amazes me how few people seem concerned with what we are putting in our bodies; the effort that we’re willing to trade for our adopted truths is astounding. We confidently accept what someone else tells us to believe and then we’ll argue that point passionately and resolutely without even the slightest understanding of it’s lineage, it’s overwhelmingly amazing to me, it has quite literally left me shrewdly paralyzed to argue almost any point with conviction: we are resoundingly shortsighted.
Did you know that they put Mercury in vaccines?
I imagine pretty much all of us do.
Did you know that Mercury was toxic?
I imagine pretty much all of us do.
And that the W. H. O. has Mercury listed as one of the top ten chemicals of major public health concern and, “even in small amounts, is likely to cause serious health problems.” Now, I’m not going to go on and on about vaccines, it’s none of my business if you want to poison your children, but regardless of the typical rhetoric surrounding the topic, I mean, it cannot be healthy injecting Mercury into an organic life form, especially one so small and developmental. I think, if we’re going to be making any arguments, we should be demanding that the people-that-be find a suitable less toxic base for our vaccines. The general idea of vaccines is probably a good one, however there’s gotta be a better means.
The vast majority of farms where our foods are grown and raised use pesticides and neonicotinoids to ward off insects and other annoying pests…
...isn’t that funny!?
We spray and soak our food in toxins because we don’t want to be annoyed by pests…
97% of all of our produce has toxic residue but at least it doesn’t have ladybugs. We're all worried about calories and fats but because ‘agrochemical’ and ‘agricultural biotechnology’ companies such as Monsanto pour some of their profits into creating their own studies about how their “agrochemical” products are “unlikely” harmful to humans we're convinced that monoculture, GMO’s, and the declining bee population are perfectly acceptable to an increasingly toxic and wasteful subspecies of the grandeur that used to be the human race.
Did you know that something can be both fresh and completely sodden with toxic chemicals that will almost certainly lead you to a slow and agonizing death?
My high school education was sponsored by Monsanto...fortunately I found a discarded pamphlet at a dentist office betwixt informational(s) on Jehovah’s Witness’s and chem-trails about the health benefits of non-GMO’s and organic farming.
Did you know that eating organic doesn’t have to be uber expensive?
This month, September, happens to be Organic Month, and I know unless Google's cute little graphics don't help illustrate that for us most have no idea, to help raise awareness about the benefits of eating organic because, I suppose, that it may be reasonable to assume that people really don't have a clue what the difference is between organic and Non-GMO and everything else. I'm not sure why people don't steal fifteen minutes from their lives to Google it and figure it out; I do often forget that because we’ve been ingesting and inhaling poisons for so long that our blood is already, like, what, 30% toxic, right, so it probably doesn’t really matter anymore, anyway.
To be Google, haha, to be Google, no, I mean to be Organic means farmers cannot use man-made fertilizers, pesticides; growth regulators and livestock feed additives when farming. Most Organic farmers don't practice monoculture, which means to produce the same crops repeatedly on a single field, this practice is bad for the soil and the food and our stomachs and our hearts and our heads and our ability to form complete sentences and to spell and not ask stupid questions and to maintain a reasonable conversation with another human being throughout the better part of our lives.
GMO's are genetically modified 'organisms,' food that has been intentionally, and genetically altered. This creates combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and virus genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods. Yes, technically it's unclear if this is "bad" for us, but really only if we need someone else to tell us that genetically modifying our food, and just in case that point is not being made: our FOOD, the collective substance of particles that sustains or life force and allows us to live happy and healthy lives, is quote/unquote BAD.
My favorite part about all these studies and statistics and diets and food allergies and alternatives is that everybody already knows all of this, and yet McDonald’s and other fast food parking lots have lines around the corner for the drive-thru at all hours of the day, which, geezus, can we not even get out of the car for our mystery bagged pseudo rations? Are we all really willing to trade our health and the health of our families for convenience? It’s so easy to ignore those problems when “Game of Thrones” is on, but what are we going to do when the spin-offs aren’t nearly as good!? When we actually have to pay attention to how bad these problems are?
Did you know that we already produce more than enough food to feed the entire planet?
Sure, most of it’s crap, but there are people going hungry all over the world, even in our neighborhoods.
We’re going to run out of water. It’s true. I know your Congressmen has assured you otherwise, but…
he and/or she is lying.
I know, it’s shocking. I was shocked when I found out. I nearly fell off my pedestal. It’s slippery down there with the day old McDonald’s flimflam that used to appear edible (they use a lot of salt). Fortunately most of the McDonald’s execs claim to eat at McDonald’s...and that’s not exactly a, um, “sustainable business platform.”
A lot of people claim to understand why we are so incredibly indifferent to our own existence, but those people spent way too much money and an unfathomable amount of time of academic reconditioning to admit that they really don’t have slightest clue, nobody knows. We’re all clueless as to why we behave the way that we do.
We just do it. Without a thought or a care in the world…
I wonder what would happen if we started to be conscious about some of the things that we did? I am genuinely curious about how different things might be if we started taking some individual accountability.
I know of a place that has 100% Organic Produce, all of the time. Everything you find in the Produce Department is Organic, and I know that during Farmers Market season the sales tend to dip a little in the Produce Department. I also know that the percentage of Organic Produce at the Farmers Market is not 100%, not even close.
Why are Farmers Markets associated, almost immediately, to our toxic little brains, as healthy? It’s all marketing and advertising, we’re too good at it for our own good. We can make ourselves believe anything.
I did have Taco Bell a couple weeks ago. It was a bit of an experiment, I thought to myself, “let’s just see what happens.”
If only I could have that day back.
The things that I would do! "I would just live, like it meant something."
On a slightly unrelated point: I realized, just earlier today, that Kevin Kline is the voice of Mr. Calvin Fischoeder on Bob’s Burgers! I was sitting on my couch, and I was thinking about it, I could feel it slowly expanding inside of me, and I just blurted it out loud as it came to me, “That’s Kevin fucking Kline!” There was no one with me to share the moment with, except my cats, they didn't care. They're still mad at me cause they can't has cheezburger.