Reading

vcxa8286Reading is another one of the four things, along with writing, thinking, and dreaming, I have done for myself most of my life. I have always found books to be easier to be with than people. A book can engage me the way few people can. People generally want to be right whereas a book openly presents itself for the readers’ enjoyment and engagement. Where thinking is having a conversation with myself, reading allows me to have a conversation with the author and/or the characters of the book without the egos of in person encounters.

A book is a conversation I choose and not one I am placed into because of social situations. If I don’t like a book I am reading, I can set it aside for another time or maybe for good. There is no proper social edict involved. Reading opens me to new experiences, new places, new thoughts, and ideas. It expands my world and offers me different views of how to see this life of which I am a part. Reading expands me in a way only matched by my dreams and thoughts.

Alchemy Of Love

B4CDCBA5-54B7-429E-AFCF-4B6DB5AA682D“You write a lot about ‘Love’,” a friend recently commented.

“I do,” was my response.

“Why?”

“I write about love because it is what I am, what I am learning, and what I want to understand more of before I leave this world.”

And then, in the style of Almitra, the High Priest of Orphalese, she said… “Tell me what you know about love…”

Love is being truly alive. Living your life wide open without really knowing what that looks like. Having no concept, image, or preconceived notion in your mind.

Love is saying, “Yes” to being fully alive in who you are each and every moment of your existence. It is everything you are — your sorrow, your joy, your life, and your death. It is the sacredness of your being. Love is your true nature, that which you are. Love is the core of everything you do. Love is the expression of your own beauty. Your god essence.

Love is not the picture Hollywood paints it to be. That is the image of romantic love, which is only a minute aspect of love. Romantic love gets too hung up on the other who is merely a vehicle through which you can express your love, not what love is.

“What is ‘Romantic Love?'”

Romantic love is the seeking of love, your true self, through another person rather than finding it within yourself. It occurs because we see parts of who we are in the other and make the attempt to love ourselves by loving the other person. We use the expression “falling in love” because the other becomes the object of our love rather than the vehicle of our love.

“Can you extrapolate on this?”

In the photograph above, a fire burned an image into the tree. In this image, I see the goddess juggling the fire between her hands. The fire leaves one hand and enters into the other. This is a picture of how I believe romantic love is meant to be. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, our love gets trapped in the other person and we become dependent upon the other to return our love to us. For reasons of ego or lack of understanding, the return often does not occur. We feel unloved. When we love another person, our love ideally flows through that person back into us and we never therefore feel unloved. The other becomes the vehicle for our love not the container. Our needs and the needs of the other are fulfilled simply by being who we are.

“Where do I find love?” She asked.

Love is not something that is “out there.” It is in you always. You don’t find it in the way you find a quarter laying on the sidewalk. You discover love by remembering those times in your life when you felt connected to everything alive. When there existed no discord or tension of opposites in your being. Love needs you for its existence. You welcome the love you are into your consciousness just as the tree welcomes the flame which will consume it. Love consumes you so all you are is love. You know that but you just forgot.

“Once I rediscover the love I am, what do I do with it?”

Your whole being becomes an expression of the love you are. You burn with a flame which is visible to everyone you meet. You become the beacon you are here to be. You leave pieces of yourself behind wherever you go. You give yourself away and seek nothing in return. “For love is sufficient unto love…”

What’s In A Name?

vcxa8286A friend recently sent me a list of The 100 Most Beautifully Unusual First Names. I was not surprise to see my given name listed. There have always been those who complimented my name when introduced, but I have never felt comfortable with  my given name. It never felt like my name. The first indication of my utter uneasiness with this name was as a child. Because of a speech impediment, I was unable to pronounce my own name. People outside of my immediate family could not understand me when I said my name or anything else. My schoolmates laugh and teased me when I talked.

After having my tongue clipped, a barbaric treatment for what in those days was referred to as a lazy tongue, years of after school speech lessons that my mother worked a second job to afford, and many trips to hearing specialists, I was by the seventh grade comfortable with telling strangers my name. I could finally say my name. However, many asked, “Is that with a ‘d’ or a ‘t'”? Sometimes I still forget to lift my lazy tongue.

As my mother told me the story, I was given the name by an old maid, a term for an unmarried woman in those days, who lived in Prospect Village where I lived until the age of four. She asked my mother if she could name her second born if I were a boy, as my brother was already named after our father? I know. I too hear the echoes of Rumpelstiltskin, but she only wanted to name me.

The woman had one true love who was killed in World War I before he could return home to be her husband. My mother said she had forgotten all about it until the day I was born and the neighbor showed up at the hospital to reminded mom of her promise. So I was given my name after her dead fiancé. A man I never met or knew. I was named to keep alive someone’s memory. Most of us are named after someone else, and not for ourselves.

The name never clicked with me so eight years ago on December 31st, 2011, following a revealing dream, I changed my name. I wanted my name to reflected who I am today, to carry me through my remaining years, and my given name was too encased in the past to carry me forward. One can outgrow a name in the same way he/she outgrows a pair of shoes, but to change one’s name is not as carefree as buying a new pair of footwear.

In the past, I admired those individuals like Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali), Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka), and others who changed their given names to reflect where they were going more than where they had been. It may have appeared to the world that these name changes were simply an outward, surface change but I can assure you without a doubt the change came from their soul’s core, as mine did.

As recently as a few months ago, J.K. Rowling adopted the male pseudonym of Robert Galbraith to allow her to more easily write in a different genre. This is a common practice with writers. Her name change was a business decision and not permanent. Changing one’s name is a courageous step for whatever reason it is adopted. I know this because of the various reactions I received when I announced my own name change.

Most of my friends easily adopted to the transformation, but a few had difficulty with my decision. They could not understand the why, and continue to use my given name. I have not corrected them in the past because I myself was still in the transition period. I remember how long it took me to refer to the examples above by their chosen names, but now it feels important that I notify everyone again by what name I wish to be addressed.

We don’t have the option to name ourselves when we come into the world but we do have a say concerning the name with which we go back into the world. Most of us will carry the same name for our entire physical existence as a tie to a family or tradition, and some of us for whatever reason will chose not to keep our given names. We make new entries into the Akashic Records and the government’s extensive data base. We receive mail and tax forms with an aka (also known as) following our chosen name. We have friends who cannot see we are no longer the person they once knew, and for that reason they choose to hold on to the past.

To visualize the power of a name think of Louise Ciccone. Okay, you got that? Does that name have any given power in your mind? Now think of Madonna…such is the power of a name.

Change of the past and the familiar is difficult for many, but this I know is true. In the end,

nothing is truly mine except my name. I only borrowed this dust.

My name is Tao. I am everything and I am nothing.

Rollo Del Tomebamba IX

One of the activities I engage in everyday when possible is a walk along the Tomebamba River near my home in Cuenca, Ecuador. During this walking meditation my mind wonders along with that of the river. I love the sound of water. When the river is high, it blocks out the sounds of the city and my mind transcends to other worlds while my feet remain firmly in contact with the cobblestoned path. This path for a little while becomes a Yellow Brick Road into my own thoughts and life.

d6ad4d51-30a4-4ae6-a93a-f2c61125a3f6A Dialogue With Anger

Me: Whew! That one caught me totally off guard.

Anger: What make you have to be on guard for me?

Me: You are always a disruption to my status quo.

Anger: A disruption. A disruption you say? I am a part of you, an equal part of your emotional being as happiness or love. You just suppress me and let them run freely.

Me: I do not suppress you. The tension of opposites exists and, I am always surprised when you take the lead.

Anger: Surprised?

Me: Yes, because I create my happiness as much as possible, and love happens when it does. But you Anger. You are triggered.

Anger: Ummmm….

Me: And you multiply that trigger to include each and every time you appeared in my life so that what is in front of me is not the issue. It never is when you appear. My anger begets the anger of another and you entwine us in your frustration, disappointment, failure to be enough, hopelessness and sorrow.

Anger: So you think you know me now. That would be a mistake.

Me: No Anger. I do not know you. I do know that you are triggered and that is your Achilles heel. Just as with my epilepsy I learn each day what situations, odors, lights might initiate a seizure, as I live my life I learn each day what triggers might awaken you. It has taken much of my life, unfortunately.

Anger: You must know all that anger management bullshit is just emotional redirection.

Me: Yes I do. You want acknowledgement as an equal in my emotional warehouse.

Anger: Now you’re talking…

Me: Okay. You got it. See you around Anger.

Anger: Wait a minute. Your are not getting rid of me that easily. I will be back you know. Next time with more fire and brimstone.

Me: I know, but with one fewer triggers.

 

545A7706-13B7-458D-89D5-26A870A29C3E.jpeg

Cuenca Street Art

Random thoughts while I walk to The Roll of the Tomebamba. 

They Just Don’t Understand Me

B4C0A454-579E-47EC-B306-E76CD25BDF24I am an Aries in Western astrology. A triple fire sign with sun in Aries, moon in Leo, and rising sign in Sagittarius. There is very little earth and no water in my chart, mostly fire and air. Therefore there are no conficting elements.

In Chinese astrology, I am the Rat. A creature who enjoys being on the outside looking in, as the outside acords me a clearer view into the inner workings of a particular situation or problem.

On the Meyers-Briggs Personality chart I am an INFP, roughly three percent of the population at large. I am introverted, quiet and reserved, intuitive, feeling, and perceptive. I prefer being alone or interacting with a select group of close friends to large groups. I rely upon intuition, and I am generally focused on the big picture more than the minor details. I am meticulous about the things and people I care about.

My choices in life are made based upon my personal feelings more than what might be called objective information, and although I was a philosophy major in college, my decisions are based on personal values and experiences more so than logic.

In tarot, I am the Fool, the card without a number or in some decks the zero card. I am a soul in search of experience.

So in summary, I am an Aries Rat INFP Zero Fool. Does not sound too great does it and yet these interpretations summarize to some extent my personality, who I am only by definition using these tools.

The closest I have ever come to a tribal identity were the two years I lived at Esalen. There was a connection with the people with whom I worked and lived that I had not previously encountered nor have I experienced since. And yet I left Esalen because I felt my individual identity suffered there.

I have no national identity. I no longer identify with America as my homeland because of its racist policies and practices toward Black Americans and other minority groups around the world. I no longer have a family identity and although I am Black, I no longer have an identity based upon race as I did during my rebellious years in college. The only identity I still process is my identity as an individual. This quality denies all the tools used to establish personality traits which by their very nature are general at best.

I do not know that I will ever be understood. My extroverted friends throw surprise parties for me when I would rather spend the day in silent retreat. They want to surround me with people when I would rather be alone. They try to make me like themselves rather than accepting the stark reality that I am different. They are energized by groups while I find groups draining of my energy because they require too much attention. They find it diffcult to accept the fact I love my solitude because they are unable to spend time alone. They require almost constant entertainment. They want to fix or change me when I require neither fixing or changing. I have accepted the truth that as an Aries Rat INFP Zero Fool, I may never be understood by my fellow humans except for those who share similar traits, and that to me is perfectly okay.

I Am Selfish

B4C0A454-579E-47EC-B306-E76CD25BDF24I am selfish. I stand alone from the crowd and guard that aloneness and love for solitude with my very existence. I do this to preserve me, myself. Without it, a different me comes into being. A being that placates to the wishes and desires of others before my own. I know this other person as well as I know myself because he existed as a strong part of who I was for a long time. Like me, he is a good person too. Unlike me, he gives his precious time upon this earth freely to others. He does what they want him to do rather than doing what I want to do. 

People generally like him more than me because he goes along with the crowd. I on the other hand am only appreciated by a few, but those few are dear to me. Those, who like myself, thrive in their individual solitude. O’ we have friends but generally prefer our own company to that of others. These are the individuals I chose to share time with and can do so without a feeling of sacrifice. They understand my need for solitude. Others think of me as aloof and I am, but by choice, not circumstance.

When I let my guard down around the mote of my solitude and join the crowd in some undesired adventure, not always, but usually I end up resenting that decision. Resentment is a rather strong word because it is founded in the past and I cannot reclaim lost time. Time is only present, but if I am going to waste my time, I want to waste it doing something I want to do. Then it is not wasted time at all. It is creative time. When I sit at a window starring at the world, I am using this time creatively. There is always something going on inside this head on mine. For me, it is just as active an activity as going shopping at the local mall or on line is for the crowd.

Creative people use time differently than most, and our creativeness is best served by solitude. At least this is how it works for me. There are socially creative people who thrive in the center of the crowd and move along with it at the crowd’s pace. Those of us who love our solitude move along at our own pace. Time is a gift to be appreciated and not a commodity to be exhausted.

So there I am in a nutshell. I am selfish with my time because I so love my solitude, and I protect this gift for my creative existence in the same manner a mother of any species protects her young as best I can.

Entelechy

vcxa8286entelechy |en?tel?k?|noun ( pl. -chies) Philosophy – the realization of potential.• the supposed vital principle that guides the development and functioning of an organism or other system or organization.• Philosophy – the soul. ORIGIN late Middle English : via late Latin from Greek entelekheia (used by Aristotle), from en- ‘within’ + telos ‘end, perfection’ + ekhein ‘be in a certain state.’ —Blackburn, Simon. The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy. Walton Street, Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1994.

It is inside of you, like the butterfly is inside of the caterpillar. He then used a word that I heard for the first time, a word that became essential to my later work…A great word, a Greek word, entelechy. It means the dynamic purpose that is coded in you. It is the entelechy of this acorn on the ground to be an oak tree. It is the entelechy of the caterpillar to undergo metamorphosis and become a butterfly. So what is the butterfly, the entelechy of…? — Jean Houston

I first came across the word ‘entelechy’ while reading the above passage in Jean Houston’s enlightening autobiography, A Mythic Life during the mid-nineties. Being the lover of words I am, I sought out its root and origin.

As best as I could determine, entelechy is akin to the soul of an organism. It is the energy which drives one to fulfill his purpose in life. It is not growth of an organism, a child becoming an adult. That is a life process. Entelechy, is more connected with the spiritual process. It is the soul’s energy, the hidden key to all that is contained within and to all the possibilities without.

In addition to being the coded drive of a single organism, entelechy is the flow of consciousness between organisms. Have you ever stood overlooking water and watched as a flock of shore birds performed as one single unit. Flying, turning, twisting, reflecting the sunlight, diving and landing as a single bird. There is a force greater than trust allowing the movement to occur in perfect symmetry without crashing into one another. This is entelechy extended beyond the single organism into a group consciousness. Entelechy is the core of the morphogenetic field existing between all of life.