So, I feel better now.

Yay, shooting!


Yesterday was a good day. One of the things I still get worked up about in my professional life is good firearms training, and yesterday was pretty awesome. We had a new moving target set-up, so for the first time in my career I got to shoot at a moving target.

I know, huh?

It’s embarrassing, really. It should be pretty much standard issue training, right? I mean, folks tend to move around a good bit when they are shooting and getting shot at, and the tactical and practical considerations are really magnified when you add dynamic movement into the mix. One way we work this is to shoot at each other with marking rounds, little paint-filled pellets we shoot at each other- this is dynamic, shoot-on-the-move work, but you’re not really shooting your duty gun and real live ammo. Or we’ll shoot airsoft pellets at each other, too. Also good.

But it’s nice to shoot your actual gun with your actual ammunition at an actual moving target. And we did a metric shit-ton of that yesterday.

One thing I’ve seen change so much in my years of instructing is the targets and the drills we shoot. I think when I started there were the old bull’s eye marksmanship targets, and there were silhouette targets, and there were some photo-realistic targets- mostly for hostage-taker scenarios, you know, a man with a gun held to a woman’s head, and we practice shooting his head and not hers.

What I’m seeing more and more of is really small targets- instead of shooting into a big hunk of a “man-sized” target we’re shooting little bitty squares and circles, like dimes and postage stamps, or 3×5 cards. Much smaller stuff. And we’re adding in all kinds of confusing shit like numbers and colors and stuff that you have to problem solve on before you shoot, or actually while you’re shooting. And more time-pressure stuff, so you’re fighting the clock.

All of this to force us to think and study and move and be under pressure while we’re hitting exactly what we’re aiming at as fast as we can and not missing and not shooting stuff we’re not supposed to shoot and now do it while everyone is running around with their hair on fire.

Okay, then.


So that was my day yesterday, and it was fine.


I’m retiring soon, so this was one of my very last range days. I’m a little bit sad about it. I’ve devoted most of my adult life to the pursuit of skill at arms, and it’s the one thing I think I can say without qualification that I’m good at. I’ve got the ten thousand hours of hard-wired training in. The handgun is my violin, my dance, my artwork. I’ve got more hours in on that one skill than I do in any other.

And I’ll be walking away from it in a couple of months.

I know that for the rest of my life, if I ever needed to, I could pick up a gun and take care of bidness. Not at my highest level, but well enough to still seriously fuck up somebody’s game plan.


I’ll miss it.


I’m happy, though, that from now on I’ll be putting all of that effort into building a more compassionate and wise person. Better living through buddhism, if you will.

Seems a good trade to me.


In other news, my wife is back, my kid has moved out with her babies, and life is good. Lots of hard work in the weeks to come, but I think we’ll get it done. I think this thing’s really gonna happen.


Namaste and big, big love to all of you!


no peace like a river in my soul

Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence


Struggling with myself here. Deeply unhappy, mired in unskillful behaviors, intent on being yet more unskillful. Lost and determined to get more so, willful in my unhappiness.

Listless in my practice. Longing for immersion and the sunlight of clarity, yet with my hands clapped over my eyes, moaning and crying to drown out the song of beauty being constantly sung by the world.

No one to blame but myself and stubbornly looking outward as the source of my unhappiness. Knowing better and doing it wrong anyway.


And watching myself do this. Somehow still feeling space around it. Somehow perfect wisdom and clarity surround my confusion even if they cannot penetrate it just yet. Acting confused, but not truly confused. I’m not buying my own bullshit, even if I can’t quite stop trying to sell it.


I think I’m behaving childishly because I feel childish. I can’t bear to face my responsibilities and I want my mommy and daddy to come in and fix them, fix things that I’ve broken, put them together again and let me climb up into their laps and have them stroke my head and hold me, rock me like a baby, soothe my jangled soul. Writing this just now makes me almost weep for wanting it, not having realized it before.

I see my grandkids doing the same thing at times, the older boy wanting to be the baby- and wanting to hit the baby for replacing him- maybe I’m just too sensitive to the dynamics, to the emotional storms of those around me and I’m picking up on that. My daughter is lost and bewildered so I am lost and bewildered. She’s adrift so I’m adrift. My wife is off somewhere so I’m off somewhere.

Kaleb needs his diaper changed and so do I.


The one constant is that the dharma swirls around and interpenetrates all of this all the time. I’m always reading, studying, and contemplating and trying to integrate through practice and especially in post-meditation trying to observe, observe, observe- to let go, to abandon the narrative, to put down my view of things and simply be open to the things themselves. But it’s a recursive, fractal, repetitive spinning loop. Awareness penetrates confusion to reveal a deeper confusion that awareness then dives into. There’s clarity and then another wave swamps me and leaves me gasping. Tumbling. Incoherent. Light, darkness, light, darkness. lightdarklightdarklightdark.

all one.


And trying to accept this in myself. Accept it and do the right thing anyway. Despite my protestations. Okay, things are fucked up. I’m fucked up and making things worse and feeling self-pity and still. Let’s go forward anyway. Let’s not keep making it worse and worse on top of bad. Let’s just let this be bad enough for us and move on.

I don’t know.

I can see where I want to be- it’s right over there, just on the other side of the glass. I’ve been there, I know that place!

See what I mean? I keep thinking it’s somewhere else! Ha.

I slay myself.


This is why I practice. This is what practice is for. Even when I don’t feel it. Especially then. Especially then.




May all beings find happiness and the cause of happiness.

May they be free from suffering and the cause of suffering.

May they abide in great equanimity, free from attachment and aversion to those near and far.



Regard All Dharmas as Dreams

The vast majority of seekers I meet are making several key errors. Waiting for something to happen, rather than seeing what is already here. Visiting other people who they believe ‘have the understanding’, rather than looking into their own being to see what it is. Being fascinated by emotional and psychological drama of themselves and others, rather than being sincerely interested in what is present and free of the personality. Mistaking spiritual concepts for actual non-conceptual recognition of what is being pointed to. Giving the separate self or individual reference point most of the emphasis or reality, in spite of whatever else has been recognized. Examine your experience to see if any of these faulty views are still flying under the radar. If so, you can see them and discard them.

John Wheeler

I saw this quote this morning on Wonder, Silence, Gratitude and it was exactly what I needed to be reminded of this morning. I’ve been struggling with the contents of my mind, the flaring up of negative emotions- despite knowing and understanding that they are only displays of mind- I’ve been caught up in them, been caught up in my continually unfolding narrative of what it is to be me- rather than being open to what really is, moment to moment.

This awareness requires no self to observe- the self is superfluous to the present moment and to the vast wildness and limitless luminosity of the way things are and always are. Since the self is so painful to experience, so fraught with anxiety, sadness, grief, disappointment, longing, hiding, fear, greed- in a word, dissatisfaction with what is in all its myriad forms- why not let go of it?

I’m always looking for a corner to hide in, a way out, a secret moment or a secret place where I’m safe, where the rules don’t apply to me. This must be rooted out. Or turned away from. It’s like we’re being asked to give up our security blanket and to step, at long last, into the real world. I do it, but then I go back to my blanket, back to my messy, stinky nest of ego. At this stage, as a beginner, I have to keep doing this, over and over, until I gain some stability and understanding of living in the light, living without reference point, living in the luminous, limitless present.

Anyway, more narrative about me.





Relative Bodhichitta and mixed actions


This is Lobsang Phuntsok. I read about him on NPR this morning. He’s a former Buddhist monk who’s running an orphanage in India near the Tibetan border. He has 85 children in the orphanage, and he travels widely from village to village looking for orphans and children whose families cannot support them. He provides a loving home, food, education, rigorous structure, and spiritual instruction for the children.

I was really struck by his nickname, given to him by the villagers. He is known as the man who says no.

The man who says no.

It’s because the need is so great. For each child he is able to take in there are dozens that are left behind. He’s doing all of this hard work, he’s really making a difference and yet even in that small area it’s not enough.

He is the man who says no.

When I read the story, I immediately went to his website and donated some money. What I really wanted to do was to sell my house and buy a ticket and fly out there and start working. But I am a coward. Okay, maybe that’s too strong a statement – I do have obligations of my own, as do we all. But, you know. It’s still kind of chickenshit. Small beans.

The thing that’s remarkable to me about what I did is that I did it at all. That’s new to me. That kind of action is due to my exposure to the teachings, and to my own very small and limited Bodhichiita. The teachings tell us that there are two types of Bodhichiita: conventional or relative, and ultimate Bodhichitta. All of this activity, running an orphanage, donating to a charitable cause, helping those in need – all fall under the heading of relative or conventional Bodhichiita. There is duality in this view: a subject, an object, and an interaction between the two separate entities. In ultimate Bodhichitta  there’s no duality: there’s no object, there’s no subject, there’s no action between the two entities. There’s only emptiness and form.

So the action that I took by donating some money is both relative, and mixed. I gave out of a sense of wanting to help, wanting to do anything I could for those children and to support the man who was supporting them. But I only gave a very little bit, and I felt good about it – it wasn’t a purely altruistic act. It was mixed with ego clinging. And there’s another thing, too: I think I’m obviously motivated to give because this guy was a monk. He looks like someone I relate to as spiritual. There’s an aspect of grasping, of clinging to my egoic ideas about myself as a “spiritual” person.

The thing is that this is totally fine – it’s much better to take an action that is somewhat mixed in motivation than to wait until you are already perfectly purely motivated before taking any action. All of these small acts have a benefit. They have a relative benefit in the conventional world because a little bit of money given to someone who is very poor can be helpful. But they also have a benefit for the mind.

And what I’m finding is that on this path I am more able take these baby steps towards becoming a better person. If I get no farther than this on the path, at least I’ve got here.


My wife is off in the wilderness teaching a soap making class to a bunch of off the grid herbalist curanderas. I couldn’t be more proud of her, but I miss her terribly.


Time to make a big ass batch of kimchi.


Namaste, curanderas! Don’t put no works on me!



If you wrote this book please email me!

If you know who wrote this book and are in contact with her, please email me!

Unless you intend your silence, in which case I salute you!

It’s just that I miss you and have been thinking about you. The last I knew you were in Paris.







I’ve been sort of wondering if the quality of understandability is an aspect of reality. It seems a little bit strange to me that pretty much anything we turn our attention to rewards us with an ever more intricate and fine-grained knowledge of what it is and how it functions. I think I used to just think we were smart, you know? Like, we figure shit out, that’s what we do, that’s what brains do. Process information, process data, look for patterns, and come to some provisional conclusions about stuff out there. But lately it’s been seeming to me that the shoe is on the other foot- everything is waiting to tell us its story. It’s just waiting for us to shine the spotlight of our attention in its direction, and once the spotlight hits, things start tap-dancing like mad for us.

Or maybe that’s overstating things- of course our brains are part of it, too. It is a dance. It’s just not that things are kind of dead and static from their end and we approach and we use our big giant brains and figure out everything from our end.

And it is a dance because there are intelligences animating both sides of the equation.

That’s what I think. And, no, I don’t mean that tables and minerals are intelligent. For that matter, I don’t mean that we are intelligent, either. Just that there seem to be an awful lot of areas that succumb to our curiosity, sooner or later, and there are awfully few areas where we just don’t get anything back at all. And I think most of those exist mainly because we don’t yet know how to look or where to look or even that we should be looking. How do we look to find out what happened before the big bang? How do we look at what exists outside of space-time?

We’re trapped, somewhat, by the scale of our lives, the scale of our bodies, the speed of light, the duration of the universe, etc. But going back to the dance thing, going back to the idea of there kind of being intelligence on both sides of the equation- if you put the human neural network on one side and the large scale complexity of the known universe on the other, they both look like the same thing, pretty much, if you mapped them out and then corrected for scale.

The inside looks like the outside. The big looks like the little. The left looks like the right. The past looks like the future. The future looks like the past.

And of course, the Buddhists will say that this is just a side effect of the nature of how things are because, well, everything is mind. That’s why everything looks kind of the same. That’s why it all responds to attention. That’s why it has this infinite fractal scale, why it’s referential and enfolded and recursive and emergent and phantasmagorical. It’s all made out of the same stuff.

It’s all the blanket. The blanket truth, as revealed by Bernard Jaffe to Albert Markovski.



But, you know, so what?

I don’t know. I think about shit like this- I don’t know if it does any good to do it, I just can’t help myself. I’m like a dog with a bone- there’s a bone, I’m gonna chew it. But there is something, there is something here that ties in with what I’m doing, this spiritual thing I’m embarked on.


If I’m going to awaken to how things are, then this kind of knowledge is important, right? It’s an aspect of reality, isn’t it?

Or isn’t it?

One the one hand, there’s a woo-woo aspect to Tibetan Buddhism- there’s emptiness, there’s no self, there’s non-duality, there’s pure lands and Buddha fields, rainbow bodies, prayers, chants, magic shows, buried treasure, mind reading- really, there’s no end to the woo-woo shit that goes on. In the real deal, in the very core of Tibetan Buddhist teachings- not the wingnut branch of the in-bred cousins. The shit is actually a very core aspect of the teachings, of the path and the skillful means and all of it.

On the other hand, there’s this entirely basic, entirely pragmatic aspect, too. You know, sit still. Sit up straight. Stop harming, stop killing, calm down, do good. Understand your feelings, gain control of your body, speech, and mind, and try not to be a dick.


I guess to me what it is is that I like to run on both tracks. I like the woo-woo shit, the emptiness, the joyful bliss, the nature of mind, the prayers, the visualizations, the experience of non-duality in my bones, in my own mindstream- the closeness of the teachers, the devotion, the weird shit that goes on when you start doing this stuff- the constant flexing and bending and prying open of the mind, the constant questioning of experience- is it this way? is it that way? really? really?

And I like the other track, too. The sitting practice. The quietness. The not thinking. The intention to be kind, to do good, to not be a dick. The real world application of bodhichitta to the best of my currently limited ability. The universe is empty, but this diaper needs changing. The diaper is empty, yes, but it’s also full of poo.

Now looking inside. Now looking outside. Now seeing emptiness, now seeing form. Now relative, now absolute. Now you, now me. Now here, now missing. Now lost, now found.

And mind doing all of it, everywhere, all the time.

See Jesus in that toast man?

He’s in there.




Samsara is to see faults in others




I don’t know why but my mind is ablaze today with Tilopa’s quotes. That one above, “Samsara is to see faults in others” is a beautifully condensed teaching, and one that is very reliable. It’s easy to keep in your mind and it acts as a beautiful reminder when you begin to be caught up in an emotional reaction to something someone has done to you.

For me, anger is one of the most powerful and destructive emotions that still has a strong grip on me. Of course, I have all the others in full measure, but anger is so reliable in causing harm to myself and others- it’s really good at doing damage, and it still can sometimes trick me into believing that it is justified. That I am justified in releasing my anger onto someone else- usually someone close to me, usually someone that I love and care for deeply. I think I’m being treated badly, and I feel hurt and angry, and so I think it’s okay for me to lash out, to spill this venom onto them so that they will stop causing me harm.

It used to be that I thought this way with total conviction, with absolute certainty- and this is a very harmful way to proceed. I became expert at this approach and used it to harm my loved ones deeply and repeatedly. Thanks to the teachings and to some practice, I have shifted my approach quite a bit. I know now that anger is very harmful to myself and others, and, more importantly, I understand that anger arises out of ignorance, out of wrong view, and that it is something to alert me to the fact that I’m in error. If I’m mad at you, it’s because I’ve misunderstood something about reality. This makes it easier to let go of the anger, to let go, importantly, of the sense that I’m justified in feeling angry, that there’s a really good reason outside of me for feeling this emotion.

Of course, sometimes I ignore this warning and plunge ahead anyway, and do the damage. Only afterwards do I realize that I was totally wrong. It doesn’t mean that I was totally wrong about the facts, not that, really, but that I was totally wrong about assigning blame and virtue to any of the roles. And that’s what Tilopa is getting at when he says that Samsara is to see faults in others. As long as I look to you as the source of my suffering and discomfort, I’m never going to do the work that’s really necessary to stop my suffering. I need to tend to the state of my own mind, my own ego clinging, my own confusion and error, because until I learn to see correctly I’ll have no idea what’s really occurring in the present moment. I’ll still be caught up in the confusion and distortions caused by my way of seeing things outside of me as somehow containing the source of my suffering.

This is really good news. After all, it’s not so easy to change someone else. They may not think they need to change, and they may not share your enthusiasm for that change. They may not be as motivated to change themselves as you are for them to change. This approach is unlikely to be successful.

But there can be some possibility to change yourself. This is more likely to have a good outcome. After all, you are the one suffering, you are the one experiencing the negative results of your thoughts and actions, and you are the one who really wants to change.

It really can work.


Here’s another one from Tilopa, one of his most well known. It’s called Tilopa’s six words of advice, a teaching he gave his primary student, Naropa.

“Let go of what has passed.
Let go of what may come.
Let go of what is happening now.
Don’t try to figure anything out.
Don’t try to make anything happen.
Relax, right now, and rest.”


I’d like to apologize to my wife, to my mother, to my daughter, to everyone in my family who has suffered as a result of my anger. I know that I have harmed you, have frightened you, have seared and damaged you with my rage. Know that I understand that you were never to blame for this, that the fault is mine alone. Through my ignorance and confusion, I believed that you were the enemy and I lashed out at you.

Please accept my apology and heartfelt regrets.

I pledge to not harm you with my anger again.

To you army of strangers who have been on the receiving end of my anger and rage, I am truly sorry and I vow to refrain from harming you with my anger from this moment on.


One of the nice side effects of looking within for the source of suffering is that there is the possibility of witnessing a change in the outer world. For me, the world used to be populated almost entirely with assholes and idiots- rare indeed was the human soul I considered worthy of my love and affection.

Now that I take the view that anything that causes suffering to arise comes from inside me, comes from my mind, and that this is true for everyone else as well, the world seems populated by people who are worthy of my love and affection, people who are suffering as I suffer, who are confused as I am confused, and who seek happiness as I seek happiness.

And in this way I begin to leave samsara behind.


Namaste, you beautiful people!


because of reasons

Girl on bridge with Bunnyman


I read Hony and it makes a door into my heart, then swings that door wide open. Everyone comes in and makes themselves at home, which is all I really want. I watch the video of Samuel DuBose getting shot in the face for trying to drive away from a stupid traffic stop and what do you say about that? And then this morning I hear about Sean Bolton, a Memphis police officer and Iraq war vet getting murdered on a simple traffic stop by a guy on parole for bank robbery, and I wonder if Bolton hesitated a second, you know? Instead of getting it on. I don’t know, I doubt it, but the thought crossed my mind. I don’t want to get dead because I am worried about the media shit-storm if I shoot someone who’s trying to ice me. Not that that’s going to happen, right? No, it won’t happen because I’m a nice police.

Uh huh.

I hear about that dentist going all the way to Africa to murder a perfectly good lion with a bow and arrow and botching the job and having to shoot it dead after following a blood trail for 40 hours and I’m just kind of astounded. Then the circus that blows up over that. We can get so mad that way, when it’s easy to call the shot. I mean, I think the guy’s a dick, too. But we’re so offended.

Like we’re the good guys.

Shit, we’d eat him alive on the intertubes and make his kids watch it. To make our point.

I watched that little video on the NYT about Cops Vs. Copwatch and that made me uncomfortable, too. Yeah they are taking it to the streets, taking it to the man, but then you see them drinking and getting high and mocking and instigating and poking at the cops and it doesn’t seem so clean. It’s mixed up. The good is mixed, and the bad is mixed, and the people doing it all are mixed, too. The cops are dicks. The copwatch guys are dicks. The cops are doing something important. So are the copwatch guys. You watch me, and I’ll watch you. You do something wrong, I’ll point it out to the world, and you do the same for me.

That’s a kind of support, I guess.

There was a quote in that segment that really struck me, and it was this voice over as the camera was panning the street in front of some buildings and the guy was saying how they don’t need cops, how they can protect their own children, they can make their own neighborhoods safe…and I thought, yeah, that’s something there. Maybe if that was going on there wouldn’t need to be cops. Imagine we all just walked around with our cellphones recording everything all the time. Everyone. Everyone has a body cam and a lapel mike and a little UAV circling overhead recording everything. Then when there’s a crime, you just upload the video, the internet figures out who the criminal is, and then we all go about destroying their lives.

Full time blood sport reality tv.

We become big brother so big brother doesn’t have to even show up to work anymore.

In a little while, we’ll all be on our best behavior.


I guess I always have this small approach. A big set of blinders. I try to do what I can with what’s right in front of me, but I’m not showing up at any protests or marches. I’m not signing your petition. I am as uncomfortable with your aggression as I am with the folks you are mad at. It all makes me sick.


I guess we think it takes courage to confront the bad in people and to try to force them into changing. I guess it does.

I think about my old boxer, Cash, and how he’d get all worked up and I’d have to just hold him down, just restrain him in my arms until he kind of reset. Then I could let him go and he’d be fine.

I just want to hold everyone down for a minute, you know?

“Stop it.”

“Take a deep breath already.”

“Now, put away the stick, tell your little brother you’re sorry, and play nice. You can have ice cream later if you’re good.”

Of course, I don’t get to do that to other people.

But I can do it to myself.

And I do.


Look, I’m sorry the world is so fucked up. I’m sorry we keep killing the babies and the toddlers and the nine-year-olds and your mommies and your daddies. We are fucked up. We’re just trying to make things right, or make them bearable , or make them safe, or make them correct, or make them in our image, or to eradicate all those who engage in wrong thinking.

I know it looks messy, but trust me, it’s for the best.


So, I will engage by trying to love everyone. Everyone. Without exception. Without changing them or asking anything of them at all. I will wish them all to be happy and safe and kind and good and I will pledge myself to do what I can where I am and not worry about the outcome.

I don’t know what the fuck else to do.




The Shipwright’s Dream


Do you ever receive dreams that seem to be either transmissions from a source external to you, or dreams that seem intended for a different recipient?

I do, all the time.

I have what I consider “my” dreams- dreams where the landscape is familiar, the characters are recurring or recognizable from my “waking” life, the issues are “my” issues, or the craziness and play and disjointedness are all familiar, repetitive, reflexive patterns easily identified as arising out of my own territory of mental constructs.

The airplane crash dream.

The Japanese Hotel elevator dream.

The cop dreams.

The Coast Guard dreams.

The Farm dreams.

The Grandparent dreams.

On and on they go.

But sometimes I get a dream that is just totally unfamiliar to me. I’m a five year old girl in an all girls school and I’m worried about my pet cat who needs surgery to remove the rabbit ears growing out of its head. I’m an old lady standing in a grocery store and I can’t read any of the labels on the food and I’ve forgotten to put on my shoes and when I rummage in my purse for my money the purse is jammed full of shoes that I keep pushing out of the way. I have no money.

And really, where the juice is in dreamtime is in the emotions. It really doesn’t matter what’s objectively happening, it’s what these things make you feel that carries the information. At least in my dreamtime. And the emotions are what’s so strange to me- it doesn’t feel like me in the dreams. It feels like being a little girl. It feels like being an old woman. It feels like being a guy from Lithuania who is trying to get a taxi out of the city but left his wallet in his uncle’s apartment and doesn’t have the key and the uncle has just left for Klaipeda to ship out on a freighter.

I always feel a little bit perturbed by these dreams, while I’m having them, I think. Maybe the perturbation arises after the dream. But it feels invasive. It feels like either I’m on the wrong channel or the wrong channel is being broadcast into my head. And that seems doubly strange to me. Like, if the dreams are a product of my own subconscious but they’re just odd, they’re just unusual- then where does this feeling of alienation or intrusion come from? Am I dreaming these intrusive dreams so they will give rise to this feeling of alienation? Or could they really come from somewhere “outside” of me?

I’ll bet you know what I think.

Yep. I think they really do come from someone else, something else, somewhere else. It’s easy for me to think this because I imagine that everything is kind of empty and permeable and that there’s very little difference between waking life and dream life. What I don’t know is if there’s any meaning to it, or if it’s just random ‘signal leakage’ of some sort.

I think I sound pretty much like anyone who has intrusive thoughts right now. Not that I would admit to having intrusive thoughts. Except inasmuch as dreams are thoughts, and sometimes I have dreams that I don’t identify as “mine.”

Maybe there’s a neurological deficit behind this phenomenon. Do you smell that? Burning feathers?

No, me neither.


In the meantime, the path has got me all loosened up around suffering. I still experience it, but I don’t really mind. I keep laughing all the time about what my mind is doing. I don’t take it personally.

I think in some way my relationship to the path has shifted. It’s come inside now, it’s not something “out there” at all. It’s not external to me in any way. It’s totally rubbed in to me, totally permeated my mind. I’m infused. I’m soaking in it.

This is a good thing.

I feel in some sense that I’ve been immunized. I still get sick, but I get a more manageable illness. Perhaps as I continue I will become more and more robust.

I think that is possible.


I want to live outside. Sleep under the stars. Get wild again.

Stop wearing pants.


Namaste, dreamers!


Seeing the openness in chaos

The Quiet of Dissolution with Schoolgirl


Things are a bit unhinged.


I want things to be a certain way for me to be comfortable. There’s nothing wrong with this. I like things to be orderly in my home. I like it to be neat as a pin, and I like it to be restful and beautiful.

There is now only the distant memory of when this place used to be like that. And I don’t mean that just for the past few weeks since The Wild Woman’s return with the grandkids and all of that chaos. It’s much deeper and longer-standing than that. That’s just the most recent layer. But for the last three years I’ve let the house fall down around our ears and the garden grow up wild around the house. Chaos has established a strong foothold and now I’m too listless and bored to take things in hand and chase it back out to the street. We’ve got one foot out the door as it were, and the weight and inertia of all that needs doing just makes me want to light the whole mess on fire and head for the hills.

Everywhere I look I see an ever-growing laundry list of chores to do, things to repaint, repair, rebuild. And when I do muster the energy to clean the stove or the counters or the bathroom or the floors, in ten minutes the baby destroyers of clean have undone my work with glee.

I’m curiously dead to it inside. I’m profoundly uncomfortable, but I’ve grown used to the chaos and I’m doing nothing to stop it now. Entropy increases.

Still, within this kind of physical and psychic discomfort with my nest and unhappiness with myself for letting it get into this kind of shape, I feel real joy in the midst of it all. I can let go of that discomfort when I see my grandkids laughing, playing with toy dinosaurs in the wild weeds and dirt, and I’m sanguine about spills and messes and broken shit when everything is a mess already anyway. And I know it’s all temporary. I have a huge amount of work in front of me that is going to start very soon, and a few months from now the house will be sold and we’ll be in our new portable, go anywhere nest, and we’ll be alone together again.

Peace will reign. Beauty and balance will be restored.

And meanwhile, let the shit-storm rage! I’m not able to control what’s happening, so I’m letting it roll, and trying to let it roll off of me. Sitting helps. Beer helps, too. But not as much as sitting. Sometimes it’s all I can do, though, so I do that. What the fuck.

I took old girl out to the woods this weekend, and it was lovely, dark, and deep. We tried to go to Big Sur, but it was just Big Disneyland from San Simeon to Carmel. We saw the thousands of cars parked along every beach access point and campground and pull-out and tourist trap and we looked at each other and said, “Fuck it!” and kept driving. We ended up having a beautiful lunch (beautiful, not delicious, but hey.) at the café at Nepenthe, then we drove hell and back out through this army base, Fort Hunter Ligget, and into the Los Padres National Forest and kind of hit Big Sur from the backside, from the east. We found a mostly empty campsite in the middle of nowhere and we spent the night outside talking and listening and comparing our north nodes- both correctly and not-so-correctly as it turns out- but we had a hell of a nice time. Hiked around some, sat by a beautiful creek and watched California newts free-fall through the water in slow motion, listened to the gurgling water, and reveled in the companionable silence and the taste of days to come.


This parenting gig is non-harmonious for us, too. How much can we do, how much should we do, how much more can we stand? No easy answers. Just doing it, again and again, like getting into the same bathwater for twenty-five years in a row.

Still, what I’m getting at here is this looseness, this easy-goingness that has arisen in me. Shit’s all difficult, but at the same time it’s just shit happening. And in the middle of the storm there’s a cup of coffee, there’s a Star Trek re-run on Netflix, there’s a tickle-fest with the boys, there’s a shared glance, a held hand, a meal that’s not too bad and you get to sit through almost all the way. There’s peace to be found in there, wedged in the spinning, thrashing gears. You can’t reach in and grab it or you’ll get your goddamned arm ripped off, so you just watch as it briefly rises up out of the chaos and then descends again, and you breathe it in and then you breathe it out, release it, and let the chaos do its beautiful work on you and all the world.

I’m letting go of the steering wheel. You might think we’re going to crash, but we’re going to crash anyway.

I’m gonna stick my head out the window like the nervous little poodle I am and watch the mayhem unfold as it will.


What are your plans?


Love, goddamn it. All love, all the time, and fuck the rest of it in the ear.





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