ST: DTI – Shield of the Gods – Compassionate love

How to convey how mystified and misty eyed I am at words on a page creating characters and experiences who nourish and move my heart?

What a wonder, fiction. What a wonder, words. We are able to create imaginary experiences that create and activate real emotions. Plato saw this as a problem, wanting to banish all the poets from society for its safety. Meanwhile, I spend my Sunday afternoon relishing in one of my favorite ST authors’ creations.

The Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations – Shield of the Gods eBook came out last week. I’ve been reading it a little per day, trying to savor it, and it came to a climax today. I had been wanting something more creative, some temporal gimmick, some plot twisting hook or nuanced intricacy of landmarks from the ST canon tied together in some clever way (as Bennett is wont to do, see Watching The ClockForgotten History, or even The Collectors). But, as with another beloved of mine in this moment, sometimes what you expect simply disappears and goes silent.

Luckily, in this case, something better arose. It’s almost a passing-the-torch novel, as Ranjea and Teresa Garcia (the two junior agents who came to partner up in the first novel) are showcased perhaps more than Lucsly and Dulmur (who basically ARE the DTI as established in original canon). But then (SPOILER ALERT) Ranjea gets abducted and sent to the past, and chooses, in perfect alignment with the depths of compassion in his character, to stay there in order to help love, rehabilitate, and heal the deep emotional wounds of the villain. Leave it to Star Trek well-written to give an illustration of  compassionate healing for one’s antagonist rather than elimination (discounting, for the moment, the extremely simplistic action-film trope format that doesn’t do anything like this with General Chang, the Duras sisters, the Borg Queen, Ru’afo, Shinzon, Nero, and Krall…with the notable cryogenic re-freeze of Khan).

I wept as Ranjea spoke his goodbye message to Teresa. The book, I realized, doesn’t need a gimmick of plot…it’s theme and the characters, in a testament to those pillars of fiction that will stand for many centuries to come regardless of vicissitudes of genre and setting, are strong enough on their own. Brilliant enough. Beautiful enough.

Even though I predicted this ending – Ranjea sacrificing himself for love of another, in a very unique and long-suffering way – about two pages before it happened, it was the kind of thing that makes me want to do the same.

To listen, hold space, and step back rather than condemning when someone dishonors their word and leaves me with a violated expectation. To love them through their wounds and not stop when their blind action from those wounds hurts me.

After all, no pain is mine but that which I can heal. Or redeem in creative combination with art and the quest to empower others.

Recipe for bliss #80: Allow the gifts that are uniquely yours to arise in and redeem your experience, and then give them. 

obsession

So two days ago, it was Avicii – You Make Me (Avicii by Avicii). Both the video AND the song. I discovered it on my way to work. Something about it hit me both emotionally and aesthetically. I wept at the guy struggling with the very Hank Moody-like unending series of women and his desire for the right one, who we find has been there in his apartment (in the ether) the whole time. I’ve listened to it probably three dozen times (it helps that it’s less than three minutes long, fun to drive to, and easy to dance to). This is intense obsession. Like hitting the same pleasure button over and over.

I’m like this. I’ll find a song or a type of thing and it’ll just catch and hold me for a while.

Then there’s spaced obsession. I’ve created a podcast around Star Trek for the same reason, fittingly called Clever Orbits. I just can’t seem to stop, for at least a while. I think if I spent every second of every day on it, I could, but it wouldn’t be the same. So I watch maybe an episode a day, and then spend thirty minutes per week talking about it with some brothers I love.

What’s your obsession?

Recipe for bliss #79: Find what you love, and orbit it incessantly. 

On Empowerment I: Distinguishing Disempowerment

What do you do to empower yourself? – I’m writing a short series on this topic, because it’s so FUNDAMENTAL to personal growth, development, accomplishment, and fulfillment.

So – first of all, empowerment comes from distinguishing where you’re disempowered. Empowerment is relative to disempowerment, and they both show up at the same time. If you’re out of integrity, you acknowledge it. If you’re out of communication, you recognize it. If you’re feeling bad, you notice it.

The contrast is the most important first step. Wherever you’ve lost something that you value, are missing something that makes a real difference but which isn’t there, you can begin to go to work on it. Which is the empowerment part…but let’s make sure to REALLY get this part of it, first.

Disempowerment is noticing that something isn’t going the way you want something only you can really distinguish, and which only you can take as far as it can be taken. Maybe you’re fine with the scratch on the left back panel of your car (which I am), or maybe you’re at peace with the dirty floor in your kitchen (which I am, but just for now), or maybe you notice that there’s guilt and shame in the pit of your stomach that you’ve been resisting noticing or dealing with for the past two days (I found myself in that space on Tuesday, when I reached out to one of my coaches).

Disempowerment gets distinguished when you realize there’s something wrong with your emotional comportment because you just threw a chair through the back window of the home of someone you love. Disempowerment gets distinguished when you realize YOU MADE UP that that other person’s view of your choices and current situation is something you should judge yourself for. Disempowerment is when you notice that you’re feeling stressed or upset because you’re worried about not finishing that complex work task fast enough.

At least, that’s how I do it.

So you’re noticing that you’re disempowered. What’s next?

More to come soon…

Desire / craving and the self-work

One is a motivator, the other stops you. Two different occurrings of the same experience.

I had both in the past week.

I’ve been doing the cobra breath first thing every morning, and then as needed throughout the day (usually several times after waking, especially if I find I’m craving the feminine)…to move my sexual energy. To transmute it from something that society assumes must turn into ejaculation or orgasm…into a living fountain of energy in my body. The turn on of seeing a beautiful woman and wanting to fuck her…becomes motion towards action in my business and life.

The other was a block. I craved connection to one person in particular, and when their communication didn’t arrive when I expected it, I reacted with sadness and a whole WORLD got triggered within me. It was bizarre. I could tell that there was something off, something pulling me out of flow and into an amygdala hijack, an identity whirlwind.

But I couldn’t quite distinguish it, couldn’t see the water, being the fish in the fishbowl of it. This is also the danger of having so many tools in your toolkit to feel good now – you have the ability to speedily bypass and energize without addressing what’s there, underlying your pain and suffering.

It took half the day until I got into communication with a committed listener who asked me to allow what was there to be there. And it wasn’t some dark codependent trigger. It was just sadness because I missed this person and wanted to hear from them…craving. I was simply attached to their communication showing up at a certain time. Anticipating via expectation, fomenting disappointment from moment one Which is a more comprehensive issue and not so epic as one might make it out to be.

However, my monkey mind had made it mean so much by that point that even my attempt to share what was there for me was only more fodder for the game of self-torturous story-spinning and…

I spent ten minutes on the floor, to heal a cyst in my eye with a hot compress and to relax. I started to do the HeartMath breathing for the first time since early morning…

Wish I’d thought of that much sooner! I let go finally.

 

Her text crept in, as if nothing had happened. Which, really, nothing had.

“I am Nothing,” Nuit says, and all our wandering and striving is but our puffing for reunion with divinity.

Funnily enough, the craving to hear what the audio message actually said is something I can hold and be with the same way I’m with the raw chocolate that’s been waiting in my fridge for almost a week….it will happen, and I will LOVE it when it does, and maybe it doesn’t actually ever need to happen.

The frame message is so exquisite and delicious (more so than the strawberries I’m eating) that I savor it strongly…”I want to be in communication with you.”

And perhaps…if I had just chosen the view of savoring by saving more intentionally, none of this would have occurred.

Recipe for bliss # 44: Desire wisely. Crave not at all. 

three polarities within the creative spectra

So, a creative type – an artist, a writer, a philosopher, even a coach building a brand – must be somewhat narcissistic, in order to be so inward-facing relative to their interests, their artwork, their inner expression…that it gets thoroughly developed, interesting, and thus unique enough to be worth sharing. They’re constantly combing through and harvesting from their experience so that they can have something to share. This is the first side of the polarity.

However, the more esoteric, the more unique, the harder it is for this expression to resonate with everyone…or, eventually, anyone other than the author – “shave it into a work without spectators, one which exists only for oneself, just for that shortest little moment of life,” to quote the interview where Foucault compared suicide itself to an artwork, reducing the first polarity to its absurd conclusion, in having an individual create a product only fully appreciated by themselves.

When we look at the artworld theories of Dickie and Danto, I think we have the closest that philosophers have come to defining “art” – and both necessitate the presence of some audience, some viewership.  As you are to this.

So another side of this polarity is the need for communicability, relate-ability…to use the common language, to find something that can be translated or capture the attention of anyone…

So narcissism versus relate-ability. One polarity.

It’s a concern I have here: I want to share and connect and not alienate or turn anyone away or dissuade them through referencing something they might know nothing about and don’t understand…and yet I also have this very VERY esoteric and eclectic cadre of interests and points of salience. Even worse (or so it might occur) I love the aphoristic and poetic and ephemeral and arcane modes of expression of the so-called “Continental Philosophers” like Derrida or Foucault or Nietzsche or Deleuze…why make reality a science or a grid when you can make it an art and a game? Maybe you’ll get drawn in by my sheer weirdness of it all. Or maybe you’ll catch me on a more relatable day, decide Fox Mulder is interesting, and start digging into these X-Files yourself.

===

The second polarity: in the creation of art, one must engage with some amount of real or imagined content for the mind to react to, rebound off of, transmute or translate into some medium. Some experience that evokes emotion (a painting like Munch’s The Scream seems to relate to a moment witnessed or experienced by its author), some cultural myth (compare Wonder Woman), some memory (today’s four poems were about one specific person and my experiences with them)…but there must be a balance between the consumption and the creation of content. If you’re constantly consuming, then you’re never creating. That was how I was with Star Trek for most of the last year. I started consuming with Enterprise, went through The Original Series and The Animated Series and The Next Generation (my first time doing this in-universe long-term chronological run-through)…and thanks to this mix of…Richard Futrell (a best friend from long ago, who I like to refer to in my journals as Я), who had both the idea for a Star Trek podcast…and the thought that “one should always be generating content from media consumption, rather than just mindlessly taking it in”…as well as the MentorCoach program getting me present to how great a thing freeconferencecall.com is…I was led to start harvesting again.

So I find that I am beckoned to generate content based on what I’m exploring. This was also recommended by my brilliant coach, Dave Burns. However, I’ve produced SO much content in the past week or so – and I find myself stopping the TNG episode VERY often to jot down notes – that it seems like there’s an imbalance of me interpreting and art-izing my experience rather than just having it.

Ah! That’s yet another phenomenological polarity, that too — to just be in your experience, or to examine it. The Zen monk in kensho…versus Socrates in all his thoughtful glory. I think the former is probably best – total absorption, presence, and lack of internal monologue and chatter…however, clearly (from ALL of the above), I have great love for the latter also.

 

I propose, then, art exists as a multi-dimensional function somewhere in-between these polarities. Like on the RGB chart.

Related image

 

I could do this, and LOVE it, all day. I’ve definitely re-tuned to a specific channel in consciousness that draws me forward in and of itself, for the pure pleasure of itself. Something’s being born here, something wonderful.

Recipe for bliss # Samekh: Create art. Share it. 

(This is exemplified by the above. Philosophy, when done right, imho, can evoke the experience of beauty and wonder at the same time as unhinging you.)

force of energy, fire of motion

Twelve hours of delicious connection, sharing, and exploration followed by three of cuddling and unconsciousness. A blur of time sharing tea at Cherrywood Coffee, eating dinner at Counter Culture, wandering and driving around the city discovering new nooks, crannies, sights, sounds…as a carefully-crafted playlist plays, as a mix of reminiscence and presents suffuse the air, we are lost and free in joy and depth of intimacy as layers and tales unveil themselves in words elegant and prolific.

Thick sexual tension borne distinctly of that effortless, easy intimacy –  that hangs in the air between you. Distance and boundaries. A hunger that grows so strongly that coming within a foot of the other’s person’s field is a paralysis of joy…and where a simple goodnight hug becomes a thrilling orgasm in itself.

“This one night I want to…talk as if this night would last forever…” (L’Immoraliste 110)

A (personal) recipe for bliss # 555: Z.

Tobu (gratia Justyn)

It was the happiest accident you could imagine: Tobu, by the grace of Justyn.

To explain, I must start with one of my best friends, Justyn (yes, that’s spelled right). He’s a fellow entrepreneur who I really respect and admire for his intellect, his knowledge, his determination, his compassion, his willingness to drive us around Austin in the middle of any day or night – because he takes the richest pleasure in the act of driving itself (his business is one of logistics and transportation, no surprise)…but, perhaps most, for his taste in music. It’s not mine, but it’s so close to mine that it’s almost indistinguishable from mine…almost 80% of what he shares on those drives around is absolutely perfect. Years ago, after our Self-Expression and Leadership Program Monday evening classes, I would jump into the shotgun seat of his Lexus SUV and he would drive and play music and we would laugh hysterically and talk and connect…we’d lose track of the hours and I’d let go of everything I was concerned for or worried about and all the significance of it all (significance from the Landmark usage, meaning a heavy or weighty meaningfulness, a meaningfulness that makes you feel bad)…would dissolve like a fog lifting in the light of the sun.

Justyn therapy, you might call it.

Fast forward…It is a Sunday morning (maybe a month or two ago). I’ve just started to settle in at the new job and the fact of not having to work 12 hour shifts five and six days a week still rings like music across the minutes and hours of my weekends…I actually have weekends for the first time after three of the most difficult months in my life!

As he is wont to do, in the week before, Justyn sent me a text with a YouTube link to some music he found and thought I would love. I had heard the song on repeat several times in the few days previous, and switched it on again.

Then YouTube has this Autoplay thing. With YouTube Red, it’s glorious because there’s no commercials and the YTR algorithm chooses pretty well, most of the time.

So by pure accident, I let it play after the one song he’d sent. More music came on that I’d never heard, but this time, it was as if Justyn was choosing every song. I moved my table and started to let the music move my body until I was sweaty and dazed with action…

I danced in my living room for an hour. The one song I loved most (“Hope,” which I literally have to fast from so I don’t just listen to it all day every day) was by this Latvian music producer named Toms Burkovskis, who goes by Tobu.

He suddenly became omnipresent for me, musically. I had to pace myself not to play every single song of his each day. Putting some mixes on of him in the background as I do my work throughout the day at CAS has been such a blessed gift and redemption of certain challenging or empty moments through the beautiful interface of this music with my brain.

And this morning, when I got misty-eyed with gratitude at how much beauty, joy, uplifting energy, and pleasure can come from one source, I knew I had to write.

Tobu is one of those bands that makes life worth living, who my encounter with is a natural consequence of who I am, who I’ll never get over. To quote Rama from The Matrix Revolutions, “Karma’s a word. Like ‘love,’ A way of saying ‘what I am here to do.’ I do not resent my karma – I’m grateful for it. Grateful for my wonderful wife, for my beautiful daughter. They are gifts. And so I do what I must do to honor them.” Tobu is my karma. Embracing and pressing that lever of listening until I can’t…is the choice and creation of myself in the world.

Tobu is a gift. And I’m hear to honor him.

http://tobumusic.com/

Recipe for bliss #7: Listen here https://youtu.be/Ic4m-XesBh4. Thrill and/or dance as appropriate. 

Presence and future yourself

Tempus hic: My life has been an adventure, lately. And, like Michel of L’Immoraliste, it’s an artwork all my own, aligned with my “duty to be happy.” Who knew happiness could look like this, though?

I used to practice this thing I invented called a Locus nunc (Latin for “place now”), which was where I looked around me and took the pen to my journal to get present to and vividly describe just my physical surroundings with an eye towards a mix of marvel and appreciation. And now I’m creating a tempus hic, “a time here,” where I get present to the canvas of my life in broad strokes, with just the same eye towards the same mix of marvel and appreciation…

From the discovery of a mysteriously boundless energy born of only a very brief bout of sleep (1.5-hours exactly) two nights ago, in the midst of an ongoing opus to maximally optimize my sleep, and more, to maximize the rest I get therefrom…

to receiving the exquisite power and beauty of three highly-trained coaches from different modalities choosing to focus their attention on me, like beams of laser light helping Michelangelo hew himself from the stone…

to allowing myself to feel how working 10-11 hours a day during the week – the 7-4 shifts at CAS, then thrilling in Apokalupsis for however many hours (nearly 3.5 tonight) in the evening – has had me living at my edge without even realizing it…

all of it engages me in what Kevin Trudeau calls “happiness” – “the progressive realization of a worthwhile ideal” – as much as it builds towards my life of freedom aflame, my ten-hour workweek, a future I taste here in the present…

A future where I’ll keep thrilling in the present, in some new wrinkle in the fold of the rich tapestry of the colors at sunset – it was the graceful jagged edge of red, this evening – or the manifold corpus of Star Trek – yesterday, it was seeing Lwaxana Troi on The Next Generation (“Half a Life”), no longer frenetic or offensive, finally fulfilled in finding a formidable man who she could finally offer her love and desire and hunger to fully…

If you have a full and rich grasp on the present, you don’t really need a future. All desire takes us out of here and now, where everything we think we want will eventually be located anyway…but to sacrifice the present for the sake of any future is criminal. So the recipe is: step one, be present first

However, to quote Scott Hahn: “God loves you just the way you are…and He loves you too much to let you stay that way.” Meaning something in the future, something pulling us forward, helps to maximally fulfill the goal-directed machines we are. If we’re not being given by a possibility in the future, the momentum of our identity will return us to some past-based pattern that misaligns us from the present.  So step two: create a future in the present, one that you can enjoy now.

Create for yourself a future worth living into, worth acting towards, and find the joy of building something…within the freedom and emptiness of a space where nothing actually must be built. The future as a variety OF the present, another present that hasn’t happened yet, but can be made present now just as bountifully as the present present can be. The present and the future are two blisses, the two wings of the great eagle from Apokalypse Chapter 12…

Meditation grants us this access: it gives you both the opportunity to get fully present to the beauty and joy HERE and NOW…and also the chance to clear away the dense thicket of haphazard thoughts and fog of scattered focus that keep you from being passionately pulled forward into a future you powerfully create.

 

Recipe for bliss #9:

Presence yourself. Then future yourself. Fractionate between the two in the same way that you can shift your attention from the sweetness of the raw avocado honey…to the slightly bitter taste of the chard it’s glazed upon.