Wednesday, March 16, 2011


The uproarious and shakey start to my short trip settles into a long layover in the Chicago airport. As snow melted locally and radioactive fears rise internationally, the three day jaunt has crept up like a surreal dream completely out of context from daily life.

So I was up late so late last night packing, organizing and remembering clothes not seen since summertime with one eye glued to videos of the disasters unfolding in Japan. Thinking maybe I should not sleep at all at two AM, setting the alarm for four, I slept right through it anyway, awakening in panic a half hour after my plane had flown directly overhead.

Not even turning on the light, I grabbed the bags, stuffed in peripherals and dashed for the car, leaving things behind. I went back for my dop kit and saw my camera, but left my phone charger inadvertently on the table by the bed. At the airport, I ran for the shuttle and discovered later the camera fell out along the way.

Fortunately, I could be rerouted still today and reunited with my camera in time to be the last one on the plane. All the way to Chicago (instead of Washington, DC) I chastised myself. Making the only flight scheduled in two years should be easily done, but always rising to the exception, I sure enough missed it. Doing better in the big picture, my bank account is at least not empty, but a $75 charge to reschedule impacts my confidence to rent a car.

From today, I can quickly look to the failures across my whole life and plummet into despair. It is especially frustrating to arrive late and relatively penniless compared to my first ex-wife who is there with the support of her next husband.

The purpose of the trip is to celebrate the opening performance of my daughter’s leading role in Shakespeare’s “As You Like It”, playing Rosalind, the strongest and wisest woman I know in all of literature. Grown up on the other side of the country from me, my daughter has become one of the strongest women I know.

I missed most of the major events in her life after her sixth year. On another three night dash across the continent for her high school graduation, I slept so little and was so traumatized by the effort to leave my home and other family, I spent most of the time in such a blubbery mess, even she last week—the daughter who forgives me all—even she agreed I was pretty pathetic.

Having changed my life, I am thrilled to make her the priority for the next few days. The past cannot be rewritten, but the future likes open before us. Choices are in every moment to move forward or repeat patterns of footsteps we have made before. I could have been better prepared and ensured a good night’s sleep. I could have bounded up at the sound of the alarm. Always I can do better.

Still, I made the reservation, have a little more money in the bank and continued onto the airport even after missing the plane and sit now in the lounge in Chicago. A thousand people with thousands of stories surround me, talking together, phones up to their ears, fingers on their laptops. We all move towards our destinations tragic or triumphant with determination.

Overhead, the latest images from Japan remind us that life is precious and fragile. Tears of anxiety and relief look the same to us who do not need to know the language to understand that we are all just a moment away from such disasters. Even as we love, cherish and need our families so much (and never enough), it is comforting to be reminded that these very strangers surrounding me could instantly become family if that moment should actually occur.

Please share with your friends

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


For two days, I have resided in a body that is dizzy, uncentered and disassociated. Sleep has come late and vanished early. I move through my morning barely able to bring my energy into focus or even keep my eyes open, but cannot allow myself to succumb to a simple nap.

Like moving knee-deep through quicksand, every effort seems slow and arduous, my heart so heavy I feel no beat. Worst, my perception is through such a fog and my eyes are unable to focus even on the words I scribble. Between every phrase, my head has fallen sideways and I slip into an unconscious suspension that is not sleep, nor even restful and certainly not peaceful.

Still, I plow through the veil to scribble word after word, persevering. Supposed to be making insurance calls, I hear my father’s voice despairing, his disappointment raging because I am pursuing creativity instead of dollars.

Looking up from the short story, I link on Facebook to a site of spiritual essays about a new world coming. No coincidence could have chosen this exact moment for my eyes to fall upon this encouraging message, the delivery of these exact words I needed to help me feel better about my choices. No sooner do I read them, then the fog lifts, light shines on me even in the shadows of my little apartment. I can so much better live my day.

The essay describes a state of vibrational being which pulses between two worlds, one of light, love and peace and another earth of self-interest, fear and insecurity. Like atoms shifting, we each choose in every moment to remain fixed to what we think is solid or let go and transcend, not only transforming ourselves, but all together creating a metamorphosis so huge, like the birth of a butterfly, a new world is created. This, I believe, is what the predictions of 2012 are all about: the end of the world as we know it.

While I stew and stumble around my frustration with a lack of money, I fail to see the abundance of beauty and love in my life and the veil hangs heavy over my thoughts. When I focus on the urge of my heart to be creative with my energy, or trust the simple moment just to BE, I am alight with love, exhilarated, and that light shines forth on others, supporting their own efforts to open their hearts.

When we embrace the passion that gives us breath, we are true to ourselves and living boldly. Whether in love or fear, it is the ones living boldly who make a difference. The world reflects that energy.

Today, we are witnessing long-held dictatorships disintegrating as the masses rise up and speak out, claim in resounding voices their right to live. The internet links individuals around the world into a collective song, uniting through open communication voices that cannot be silenced.

None of this is new.

In my own life, as a little boy I remember so vividly a spring afternoon I lay for more than an hour absolutely still, gazing upwards at a sky so brilliantly blue my eyes teared over, a profound moment of stillness and content with just Being.

The dawning of the Age of Aquarius in the Sixties was a time of such hope amidst despair, a revolution of body and soul, the feminine liberation, music transcendent and sexuality brought open. We danced on the platform of love, even as war against Communism raged. Assassinations could not slow the energy which grew dormant only as we focused on producing and raising the next generation, the ones coming into strength today.

Twenty years later, Communism collapsed peacefully just as we had predicted, symbolized by the Berlin Wall. Already another twenty years have passed and a new cycle of upheaval runs rampant among the remaining countries controlled by those driven by a lust for power and greed.

Curiously, where I once was so avidly an emotional witness, I barely read the headlines. I feel so clearly in my body, and the essay and a follow-up conversation confirm for me, that turning inwards to be aware of my own energy is what creates the vitality and productivity of my own distinct universe. If I am weak and full of doubt, the world treats me so and little is accomplished in the day. When my heart is pure, my mind focused with intention and my actions are with integrity, life is illuminated, full of purpose.

As a result of my personal work in the Mankind Project, I developed a statement of mission: I create a world of growth, prosperity and tolerance by loving action and celebration. It is my challenge and my honor to do the best I can to live this mission within every cell of my being in each and every moment of my day, radiating my energy outward.

In those moments when I am able, a short story is finished and another essay is written. How sweetly shines the light, even on this grey day.

Please share with your friends