Indelible Stains

Things that make indelible marks. Stains that will never wash away. Living is replete with them. We may sometimes feel we are the sum of our stains.

Baby firsts – first steps, first toy, first words, first taste of a raw lemon – these are not the “firsts” that we remember. The ones that we do recall are the ones that stay with us, that shape our decisions and attractions as well as our repulsions.

Traumas and pleasures. Little things that become big things. The scent of a perfect heirloom rose. The sharp bite of a bee sting. The taste of a perfect slice of melon on a hot day. The metallic tang of garden hose water, first warm and then cool from deep in the ground, a kind of coolness that somehow smells like raw earth. The feel of wind in your hair as you take a big hill on your bike for the first time. The rush of adrenaline when you steal a candy from the store. The shock when you experience physical violence for the first time.

Watching an animal die, claws extended in agony, eyes wide with terror, face in a rictus of pain, a pain that must be too terrible for you to understand or imagine. Forever dispelling the lie that animals do not feel, do not know. Being present at the death bed of a friend, or a parent. The first time you learn as a female child that the only metric for your worth the world you live within allows is your ability to be a wife and mother, that you have no other meaning, no other reason to exist. What it means to be worthless in a paradigm that sees you as a consumer, that all the things that you feel and want have no meaning, and must all be poured out on the ground in service to unseen controllers and their middlemen.

The stain of the first time you discover the frequency and depth of human deception. The stain of when you understand the reasons for it, and observe the bloom of cynicism in your own mind, like a drop of blood dispersing in water. How it creates its own particular stain, and the forever taste it leaves in your mouth. The stain of folly when idealism and hope overwhelm that cynicism and breach the wall of your pragmatism, only to be rebuilt more carefully. The day you installed barbed wire on that fence. The way that you learn, or don’t learn, that failure is not the end of the world or your life. The stains and scars of battles that give you new skills, and the immense wisdom they evidence. The stain of realizing that not all people gain wisdom with their scars.

The stain of your first love. Your second. The stain of realizing you could fall in love again, but it isn’t the same. The stain of heartbreak. Of learning how to uncolor the world from shades of her or him. Of learning how to breathe again.

Your first few indelible marks are like tattoos, black outlines writ clear and deep and etched to the bone. They bound the spaces that will be filled slowly, over time, with colors shaped from ideas and trials, errors and successes, bad choices and good choices. You will learn that choice is illusory, but that it is not “illusion” in the sense that you think you understand that word to mean. If you are lucky you will learn this. If you are open and listening and pay attention to the things that the world teaches you about itself and yourself. If you have a mind with the capacity to learn these things. A lot of people are not this kind of lucky. But this is not important. The path is what matters.

What is stain and what is tattoo depends on you, but not always on the conscious you. There are always going to be differences in experience based on who and what we are. This is inevitable, call it karma or accident or lottery. Or perhaps see it as something More. The important bit is learning how to move through the world with the grace of a dancer and the wisdom of those who have figured out so much of this. A listening ear for those who speak quietly about a Vision that exists outside of what is accepted and propagandized. The earlier in life we figure this out, the greater of our energy is put to more productive ends. We sometimes call this “maturity”. The subtle stain of figuring out who has maturity and who does not.

The subtle stain discovered when you realize how few people in the world can see beyond the horizon of their own immediacy. And that the worst among these end up in positions of power, since sociopathy is the easiest path to undeserved gain and sociopathy is not natural but a mutation inherent or learned. The stain of fear toward those who claim ownership of wealth thirty times what they could possibly spend in one lifetime. The stain of rage when your mind begins to grasp the level of suffering in the world because of the egregious hoarding gleefully engaged in by a few.

The stain of political awareness. And the stain of going deeper with it, or losing it altogether.

The stain of war. The stain of life stolen. The stain of what war really means.

The indelible marks of others will fill your world the longer you walk within it. You learn when you need companionship and when you need distraction. But only if you are engaging Awareness. Some never even learn this, only learn how to isolate in rank terror of the pain of their beliefs about themselves. They feel they will disintegrate in face of the needs of others, but have no strength for them or for themselves. The dark paradigm we currently inhabit has become one long and incessant demand for sacrifice. They never learned to connect, to belong, or to Become. They never learned that when you are part of the whole, the weight of responsibility shifts to something far larger than you. And you become more than only yourself, without disappearing into a hegemony where the individual must be sacrificed for the glory of the paradigm, the construct, the idea. Subsumed in the idea, and the ideal, we disappear. The construct cannot exist if the creators are visible and valuable. (Pro tip: the Man at the Top of the Heap is not its creator – the thousands and millions making up the heap are the real creators.) But when what we create is a larger body to which we all belong, to which we are all participant, then all are gifted with Becoming More.

The most indelible mark is the first one we discover before our minds comprehend it as discovery. We are one, yet many, yet more. We are Becoming. Hold on to it.


Love and Entanglement in the Dark Paradigm

Life flies past us at the speed of light. It flies so quickly that the majority of living is lost, reduced to fragments that our brains store as something we call memory. Memories are tied to emotions – the stronger the emotion, the deeper the grooves are cut, the more vivid the memory. Even without knowing the science, or comprehending neurology, this lesson is learned and remembered subconsciously – avoid pain, but when it is unavoidable, remember it. Those who spend a lifetime only learning this introduction to the larger lesson never grow beyond a life bound within walls defined by reaction and fear.

Even when we learn, and even when we open our awareness to what lies beyond those walls, we may slip back into them, driving the gates closed with ferocity, the loud slamming shut falling on ears deafened by survival’s primacy. But after the crisis, or crises, can we find that openness again? And what does it mean?

If someone has closed doors once opened, and finds themselves behind high walls, there is always a reason. If life has treated one so cruelly that walls are the only means left to survive, that person deserves compassion and respect because what they need is healing. The tendency of those outside the walls is to take this to the opposite extreme of fear, avoidance, mistrust and abandonment of the one who has retreated. As one who has had to retreat behind walls more than once in my life, I can tell you that such actions ensure healing can never occur. For it is only love and compassion that can draw the wounded from behind their walls.

But what is love? Humans have spent thousands of years trying to understand it and our modern era has perhaps failed more miserably than any other in its quest. Our scientists are fond of reducing love to biochemical responses and mating urges. How pathetic and sad, even tragic, this is. Anyone who has experienced a true heart-opening moment of connection, of flow between and with another person, understands that love is not some random biological response to visual stimuli. These are realms of lust and desire and they have their purpose, but they are no pinnacle.

Love is something wholly different. It draws our world to us and into us. It opens a gate to receive. It opens our minds to possibility and horizons we never imagined. Love of the world is what inspires us to create, to muse, to learn, to grow, to know. Love is what drives us, and what brings us back to our center. Love is what gives us the capacity to struggle when we have traveled far past hope. Love is what sends us forth into the world and brings us home. Love is what sets one foot in front of another when there is no strength left.

Biological drives are mindless and objectifying. They are the appetite without thought, lust without need, digestion without taste, consumption without enjoyment. If we are nothing but biological drives, there is no need for our type of existence. We could easily have remained nothing more than single cells that consume, reproduce and die within minutes of our birth. In such an existence, the pure replication model of DNA would have been remarkably successful and could have simply stopped there. Specialization is simply unnecessary. Life would have stopped evolving beyond such an existence were it not for the awakening of awareness and the awakening of love. There would have been no need.

In quantum mechanics, entanglement is when identical actions occur between two distant bodies. (I’m not going to venture further into the topic so please, scientist types, don’t start jumping on my head because I’m trying to make a point.) Entanglement is the outward evidence of a deeper principle that is otherwise invisible. It is the expression of something more powerful than biology, because it is what lies behind and beyond. Entanglement is a dime-store word for something so remarkable and exquisite that we truly don’t have a word to encompass the reality of it. Except perhaps for that tricky, elusive concept called Love.

I’ve had notable moments throughout my life where I occupied a state of Flow so profound, every instance within it was peppered with Shining Experiences. Every action I took flowed out of me as though I and my environment were completely undifferentiated – as though we were made of the same stuff (we are/were) and my Mind was only another synapse in a larger Mind. It was as though everything I did fell into place before I did it, no matter how mundane or ordinary or insignificant. Everything became significant, because all things, within, without, were made of Light.

What words to use? How does one encompass the ineffable in a society where the ineffable is mocked and derided by so many who achieved only the first step of this journey, scorned the rest, and demanded that we as a people cease all further exploration? I grapple with concepts and words to describe and shape those things because they lie beyond a horizon that we, as a species, only rarely visit. Most of our moderns never visit or contemplate it. Like the ancient fire bringers, the women who pioneered our transition from animal to thinking, walking being, I have spent some measure of my life trying to kindle a flame here or there, to bring light to a crevice or shape a lump of clay into a familiar shape. It is the essence of Art. It is the highest Art. It is where we not only live and breathe, but where the adventure we crave lies. Artists have always been explorers. And those of small, fearful minds have always punished, and sometimes killed, explorers, innovators and fire bringers. What better way to extinguish innovation than to ensure only a tiny percentage of the people have access to resources, while the majority decay in poverty? We measure wealth in bank numbers when true wealth lies in the creativity of Flow and Entanglement and Love.

The greatest realizations can occur in the slightest variations – a new angle for a brush, a different writing environment, a new sensory challenge, a different tensile strength on a stringed instrument. I’ve often advised someone who felt stuck to make a radical change to their immediate environment… Do something at a 90-degree angle to your routine. Climb to the top of a building and look down at your world from a new viewpoint. Run your entire day backwards. Watch the shifts in variations. Listen to yourself. Feel your gut. What would you do with your life if there were no restrictions? The answers themselves are not particularly significant to the larger picture, because the answer can almost always be boiled down to a life of expanding joy and love. The point of the question is what happens inside yourself when you peel away barriers that only exist in your mind, and watching what arises.

Some of you reading this may think that the writer has gone all soft and New Age-y. This kind of thinking defines those who learned how to exist based on cellular fear and reaction, and stopped there. Such minds aren’t particularly open nor inventive, and have fallen into a groove of routine that can only be relieved by escalating levels of hedonism. Consumption for its own sake rules this state, and be it temporary (see “walls” above) or semi-permanent, it is not living. It is existing. It is the single cell driven only to make a copy of itself, yearning only to recognize its own features in its offspring before turning all its attention back to consumption.

Stop and think for a moment about the passion of Jill Bolte or Neil DeGrasse Tyson, to name two persons who are popular among TED Talk viewers, and tell me again that innovative thought and discovery isn’t born from Love.

Entanglement is connection. Connection is what gives us purpose. Purpose is what gives those inhabiting a dark paradigm in a world whose true nature is other than what it appears a reason to be here. The truly creative, inventive, innovative people are the ones who are the most connected to the world around them. They move through the world like liquid fire, like water that cannot be diverted or stopped. Even when they retreat to walls for healing or solace, they re-emerge with bodies of ocean and spirits of fire and are more a force to be reckoned with than any man we imagine to be powerful. How telling, and sorrowful, that our society deems the ability to deny life, to do violence or perpetrate destruction as power and sees a creative mind that can envision an entirely New World as weak!

Entanglement exists on many levels and many locales and many times. It is Universal in every sense of the Word. Entanglement has no boundaries and no limitation. Entanglement occurs with or without our awareness. Entanglement does not rule because it has no use for ruling. Entanglement is the sense between two separate beings that they are needed, appreciated, indispensable, significant, loved. When we allow biological urge to be paramount, and usurp the role of love in this greater landscape, we ensure that our disconnection from the whole cannot be repaired. It’s true that some are chronically disconnected and this is tragic. The clinically sociopathic cannot find entanglement, for example the tragic absence of creativity bears this out. America’s descent into a sociopathic society and its utter lack of innovation proof the rule, along with a cultural dearth of true innovation or creativity, with a penchant for regurgitated Hollywood plots.

Love is Entanglement, and Entanglement is Love. To love is to choose to entangle ourselves, to allow Self to engage Other not in a momentary way, but a permanent bond that never wholly dissipates. It is the action of Love that sets sail on a journey from which we return changed. It is the essence of change, of growth, of an endless beginning that expands the Now into the eternal.

It is the change that we fear, but which we must embrace. It is the unknown Home that calls us, a horizon that beckons, a larger light in a dark world. It is the only reason we are here – to encompass and grow, not in deed or accomplishment or status, but in Love. The more connected we become, the larger the Self. Connection, immersion…these do not diminish us. As a hyper-empath I can assure you, unequivocally, that the more connected one becomes, and the more one participates in this collective, the larger the Self grows. Such connection does not diminish – it expands the Self beyond comprehension. This is the ultimate reality of our experience – that we can so Love our world and each other that we become Something New. It lies there, just over the horizon.


“A Golden Grove” is, of course, a poetic device. It is the special, late afternoon glow that photographers chase. It’s the warm, sweet, powdery smell of olive blossoms, with their promise of golden, flavorful oil, so central to cuisines of the Mediterranean. A Golden Grove might call to mind pictures of Japanese parks that in Autumn are a sea of golden Gingko leaves. It can be the field of golden flowers captured between the legs of oak, maple and poplar trees, nestled in the mountains I love like a second skin.

For me, this is a place that my musings can find home. And in that it will be many things – poetry, fiction, non-fiction, photography, politics, hopes and dreams.