Saturday, October 10, 2009

Don't Panic

Here's the "new" thing I'm learning: you just cannot get what you want by pushing against what you don't want. I should probably put that in quotation marks because it's probably a verbatim Esther Hicks-ism.

I think Mother Teresa said it near-perfectly:

"I was once asked why I don't participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there."

Every new lesson seems like 'everything' when you're starting to grasp it (or feel like you are). And this is no exception. This is everything.

Every challenge, every goal, every crisis, every annoyance, every joy-- whatever is wanted or unwanted-- the desired outcome will never turn up while I'm proclaiming my grievances.

It feels so necessary I tell you how I was done wrong and by whom. It feels essential I "solve" the problem by addressing it "head on." I mean, I'm not going to stick my head in the sand. Or am I?

I've had a number of people in my life with some difficult behaviors showing up with their difficult behaviors. How I brought that in is anyone's guess. Maybe I complained or worried about money or relationship or health-- it's usually one of those-- and the vibrational match of the crappy behavior patterns heard the clarion call I sent out. But regardless, because that quickly becomes and upstream blame game anyway, here is this unwanted thing-- these people showing up, all different people who don't even know each other, but all of them behave in these maddening and inconsistent manners. All very like each other.

It's as though they called each other up and said "Let's get him. While all do it simultaneously." Very victim of me, I know.

And I would moan and complain and push against one and wouldn't you know it, another's maddening behavior would seem to flare up. I'd scream about how I can't believe that and two of 'em would show up.

Then it started affecting my income. Then it started affecting my relationships. And I railed against those situations.

It starts to take on this Job-like quality (in my indulgent estimation), my woes. Someone probably should have let Job know "the worse it gets, the worse it gets." And when it does, it's more important than ever to look for the thought that feels best.

But I'm not Job. And it's not that bad. And the people doing the maddening things are not that out there. And it's momentary anyway. This too really shall pass. The money will come. The rifts are not that deep and will heal. And I'm turning my boat in the stream. Things are fine.

But it is so much clearer to me than ever that I have this, like, tick-- like I need to rail against something I don't want. It's a reflex. It's what you do. You paddle hard. God forbid you drop those oars. God forbid. Don't put your head in the sand, remember.

Call it what you will, I do need to turn toward what feels better. I gain nothing, practically or otherwise, by detailing my grievances at length. I gain feeling better by talking about what I like. I gain relief by focusing on what is working and what I appreciate. And in those feeling-places, I actually do attract more of the things I want. They're not pinched off and just have an easier time finding their way in.

That's all it is. In sage words of Douglas Adams, "Don't panic." And, really, while you're at it, don't quibble about it, talk about it... don't even write a blog about it. (That was for me).

Talk about what feels better. "Whatever is pure, whatever is lovely..."

Not to get needlessly biblical, but it's the same idea. Along with the 'Doesn't God take great care of the flowers, how much more will God take care of you' bit.

Don't panic. Relax. Focus on what feels like relief and joy and bliss and ease. Don't give your attention to what diminishes those things.

I know I keep relearning the same thing again and again, but it feels a bit more to the point each time.

This may be helping no one but myself, but that has its merits. (I'm learning to be selfish).

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Monkey Brain Tsunami

When the shit hits the fan, some of this spiritual crap doesn't always seem to cut the mustard. But I'm thinking that maybe the tougher times might be exactly the time it does.

Non-judgment is something that I've been knocking my head into most of my life and it seems to me to be a primary theme of many belief systems, ostensibly anyway. And in some teachings, it's also described as non-resistance, or to simplify-- just freaking relaxing.

What if one of the big so-called secrets of life really is that simple? Just let go. That's it. Let go. Just freaking relax.

Could it really be that basic? And to boot, it's not even saying let's worry about the "Let God" part of the commonly voiced equation, however you define that. If you let go, the other part happens anway. Or so it seems...

Perhaps. I'm still mid-observation on that.

But as I continue my peculiar observations, I keep finding that the wisdom that is most worth embodying, is often the simplest. But this is not to be confused with the fact that the simplest things are often the hardest. And I think the phrase "JUST let go" could do without the "JUST." It ain't a "JUST" do something situation. Not with our monkey brains.

Taking the seat of the observer within myself, as in meditation, the arising and passing of all the crazy mind-stuff can be seen. In meditation, you bring your attention to a one-pointed focus on the breath moving in and moving out. Nothing else. Inevitably, the constantly spinning mind reveals itself.

I meditate watching the breath without thinking-- just noting: IN... OUT... IN... OUT... and then the spinning mind-stuff comes up. IN... "I'm hungry... Ooh, that itches, scratch that..." OUT... IN... "Did I pay the electric? Oh yeah-- note 'planning'... back to the breath..." OUT... IN.... OUT... "You know, she never even returned my call... oh yeah, noting the anger arising, back to the breath..." IN... OUT... And on and on. The spinning mind.

I recently heard a secondhand story of a monk who refers to that spinning mind as our "monkey brain." I love that. The evolutionary lingering of all these needless fight-or-flight kneejerk mind impulses that are ultimately about survival stuff that our minds do is just funny. And frustrating. But only because I'm resisting it and not relaxing (love those catch 22s).

Craving, aversion, craving, aversion... thousands of these mind moments, on a minute by minute, even second by second basis. Almost totally unseen. And we also unconsciously react.

Doctors talk about "stress" in this broad way and how it causes bad shit to happen. What if we dismantled the stress function? I'm not saying losing our inner-guidance system or our ability to know when we're moving toward or away from love and who we truly are.

But what if we got still and peaceful enough inwardly that the shit could hit the fan and we wouldn't be rocked. Or even knocked. What if the rejection came, the illness showed up, the let-down happened... what if the biggest tsunamis hit... and rather than panic, we noted it. Just like in mediation. Taking the seat of the observer and saying "Ah, tsumani. Back to the breath." Not as a means of evasion or denial. Just as a means of staying calm and not panicking. Like, in my life.

And not making everything so personal really helps me in a very personal way.

I have an insane headache right now. And it's interesting to take a migraine and watch the panic come up and the resistance. And sometimes all I can do is go "Ah, panic. Resistance. Fear." But noting the situation is a step toward freedom. Because in that moment, it's not "MY panic" and it's not "I" am afraid. It's just the motion of the tide. "Ah, here's this sensation." And I gently move into it and see what it's made of. In the case of this headache, it's made of pulsing, dense sensations with sort of a rounded quality.

When you look at what something really is, and you pause from the busy schedule of "OH MY GOD OH MY GOD THE TSUNAMI..." it just allows more space and freedom. And I think maybe that's what we're built for. Freedom.

I'll finish writing this minor tome and totally forget all of it and get totally lost and start panicking about five things that will just have my guts for lunch. But then I'll just have one moment mid-panic of "Ah, observing panic." And that's all it takes sometimes. To have another moment of perspective. Which is another step toward freedom. And within that space, I can start to get better at it.

Some places I stay very blocked. Some places I feel like I need to. As I mentioned previously, any yoga teacher I've ever had who was worth their salt will tell you-- you do the pose to your own degree. Diving too deeply into a stretch your body isn't ready to do will only tear and damage things.

And I know this is getting long. But sometimes I have to work my around a subject to get to the center of it. (Thanks for making it this far.)

I think the reason we're designed for freedom and space is because we're built to love. And when the chattering "monkey brain" mind starts to quiet down a little, that space that is freed is heart space. Which is who we really are.

When the resistance, in whatever form it's currently taking, falls away in a given moment, I think it's like removing stones from the dam and what floods in is love. And it feels like freedom because love is what we are.

And when you consider that we're literally made of light, made of stars, all basically made of the same stuff, it's cool to think about how we basically ARE each other.

There's so much mystery in the universe. And when you take the time to turn and look inward, there's a chance to see everything. The universe we're in seems to be inside us.

There have been a number of different studies that successfully showed when a mass of people would meditate together in an urban area, crime would decrease significantly among other notable positive effects. And I like to think that maybe, since we're all made of the same stuff, that just by helping myself in this way-- taking the time to get still, cutting myself a break-- and doing the sometimes surprisingly hard work of letting go, just maybe... it helps everyone a little.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Big Bag of Hollywood Bullshit

This is me climbing the emotional scale... from powerlessness into rage. If you're up there in bliss, you may not want to join me down here. On the other hand, it might give you a giggle...

There are good freaks and then there are celebrity freaks who drive Hummers (or think they're God's gift for 'lowering' themselves to drive a Prius). In L.A., we have vast quanitities of both, but especially the latter.

Having just come in from another grueling day of Hollywood nonsense, I'd like to offer the following rant to the latter group and their big bag of bullshit which they offer not only to L.A., but to the world. Simple pointers to take to heart:

1. If you are walking or moving in a direction, look in that direction.
2. Driving a BMW, Lexus, Mercedes, RR, Bentley or some variety of SUV does not entitle you to more of the road, to honk at other cars when they're making turns or parking or give you greater ownership of public places.
3. Being a celebrity simply means in five minutes, the public will loathe you. In ten, they'll have forgotten you. If I'm staring at you, it's so you'll move out of the way, nothing more. Get over yourself.
4. Use your "inside voice" when you're talking on your cell phone in public (and put the damn thing on vibrate).
5. Higher box office or greater sales of a media product does not endow you with artistic integrity, personal validity or entitle you to my table at Real Food Daily. I'm a little indie musician, but I still love my vegetarian food too. Kindly wait your turn like the rest of us.
6. Spirituality is not something you can purchase at the Bodhi Tree or the yoga accessories shop.
7. Sunglasses inside makes you look like the drug addict you probably are, not mysterious. Get yourself to your overpaid Promises retreat (aka "rehab") and get on with it.
8. The waitress you just ripped a new one for not bringing your fucking miso soup fast enough is the next Julia Roberts. And she'll remember you. Try to be nice.
9. Aggression does not equal strength. Shouting does not make you heard. Arrogance does not give you importance. Rein it in.
10. You are one person among billions on a relatively small planet. One. Other people exist.

Aaaah. Feeling better already.

Let It Happen

Something really came together for me very recently. I'm navigating an intricate maze. Let me start by piecing together some of the great teachings I have taken to heart in various forms, but haven't begun to understand how to marry to each other within myself. Until now.

Jesus: "Love God, love your neighbor.... The kingdom of Heaven is within."

Mother Teresa: (The people she served are:) "Simply Jesus in his distressing diguise."

Abraham-Hicks: "You are here to serve yourself. You are selfishly oriented and that is a good thing. It's not your work to make anything happen. It's your work to dream it and let it happen."

Dalai Lama: "There are wise selfish people and foolish selfish people. Foolish selfish people act only for themselves thinking they're advancing their cause. In contrast, wise selfish people understand that serving others first is in their own spiritual best interest."

Ram Dass: "Being conscious is cutting through your own melodrama and being right here. Exist in no mind, be empty, here now, and trust that as a situation arises, out of you will come what is necessary to deal with that situation including the use of your intellect when appropriate."

Joseph Campbell: "The best way to help others is by perfecting yourself.... Follow your bliss."

Stephen Levine: "Let the mind sink into the heart."

Joseph Campbell often talked about the importance of digging one well and digging it deeply. Through my own exploration and intuition, I've come to really believe and trust this way of approaching life. It's not about "choosing a religion." It's a principle. You can apply it to anything.

Take sex and monogamy as an example. For me, I feel that a mate who I know I can dig that well deeply with, with whom the connection far surpasses the exterior but translates to something that will create that expanding, profound bond that can remain real until your ass is down to your knees and they're still the most beautiful thing you've ever laid eyes on-- pouring all your sexual energy and intimacy into one "well"-- is what creates something truly rich. Rather than, as Joseph points out, hundreds of shallow mud puddles that add nothing to your life and leave you lacking in a profound manner. The ability to deepen gratitude, to be blown away by the essence of another being, on a daily basis. Until it grows and grows and grows and the energetic mark you leave on the planet literally adds to the possibility of what love can be.

I believe this principle applies to everything in life that really matters, that you do for the long haul.

So for the thousandth time, I am rediscovering a signpost on my path pointing me back "home." My path, the well I'm digging, is definitely centered around mindfulness/vipassana meditation. As Joseph Campbell also shows us, a truth is a truth. If I describe it to you as a Buddhist or a Christian or an Agnostic, if it's really truth, it doesn't matter. Mythology and perspective- places to stand and view these truths from- are both important and still incidental. And the key truth I'm relearning yet again is that whatever is happening... to let it happen.

It sounds so simple. And it is. But not necessarily easy.

This is such a big lesson I keep returning to as I wander away, like my mind wandering off from the breath. I think I first really got this in reading Stephen Levine's seminal meditation book, A Gradual Awakening, almost ten years ago now. This is the book I never have in my possession because I always give it away (except thanks to my dear friend Erin, who gave ME a copy as a gift so I would keep it, I now own it).

Letting it happen is terrifying. Sometimes it's easy. Mostly, it's just hard to remember. Most of us aren't ready for nirvana this lifetime (myself very included in that, though I'm sure it's lovely) and usually, we're all id. There's an itch, I scratch it. I want something, I reach for it. Someone says something insulting to me, I react negatively. "I" have "my" pain. "I" have "my" desire. "I" have "my" aversion. Etc. ad nauseam.

And it's such a strangely freeing moment when you ACTUALLY take the seat of the observer and watch it all unfold and everything you observe that comes, you greet with "Okay." Or "Hmm, this too." There's no trying to change it. Just seeing whatever is and allowing. In meditation, you lock onto some area of one-pointed focus, for me (and in many meditation teachings), the nasal breath. "In, out. In, out. In, out." But in meditation, the truth is more something like "In, out. In-- hey, why haven't they called me back yet? Oh God, did I do something wrong? In, out. In, out-- will they like me? In-- Jesus, the laundry. Got to do that fucking laundry. Out. In-- you know what? I'm freaking hungry... In..." And so on. And it's often this little tennis match, consciousness bouncing into mind and out of mind and being able to instead observe it thinking rather than being the thinker. And finally, as the meditation deepens, being able to even stay with one thing for a while because the mind gives up a little. And a little more... BUT that's not what I'm talking about.

In "taking the meditation off the cushion" and into everyday life, being present, letting it happen is trickier. I can be incredibly reactive. If I manage to gain enough perspective to see that, finding a way to gain further perspective and ALLOW my reaction, my negativity, whatever you want to call it, that's where it gets interesting.

The Dalai Lama's quote and Ram Dass' quote, and Eastern teachings in general (which continue to be amazingly helpful to me, as does my Buddhist-based meditation practice), tend to lead people to this place where taking the seat of the observer means while you observe and allow WHATEVER is happening, what you are actually doing is "trying" to eradicate something unwanted, not allow whatever comes up. I've done this. A lot. "I will meditate to become more peaceful (and thereby get rid of these icky feelings.)" In an oversimplified nutshell.

And it SEEMS like that is antithetical to allowing. So here comes the thing that was a bigger "Ah-ha" for me... IN THAT MOMENT where I saw myself meditation with a non-allowing goal of eradication... I allow that too. It's just saying the same thing: Let it happen. That does not mean "Let it happen until you see yourself not letting it happen and then choke it and judge yourself for it." OR if you do that- - and you see it- - THEN in that moment, as absurd as it might seem, I say "Okay: judging and punishing myself. Okay. Interesting. Back to the breath."

The funny thing is that often, the moment I see my "bad" stuff-- thought-patterns/behavior/neuroses/judgments/masochistic-tendencies/fill-in-the-blank-
with-your-self-torture-of-choice... at the moment I see that... WHICH IS SUCH A BEAUTIFUL MOMENT OF DEEP CLARITY that I can see that... I often tend to snap OUT of that deep clarity and BACK into the blindness of the id and into another form of judgment. Judging judgment. Feeling bad about feeling bad.

And I think of Abraham(-Hicks), and the non-physical faeries of the universe that must have such a chuckle. Because sometimes, in that moment when I've peeled back more of these layers to see what's there, all resulting in that I finally relax and allow and cut myself a break and just be happy because of ACTUALLY letting go and not trying to be happy. Happiness is, I believe, our natural state and what naturally arises when we simply step back and allow everything.

The seven quotes above have hung me up because I thought I saw contradiction between these perspectives. But to go back to Jospeph Campbell, what's true is true, regardless of the mythological origin from which we receive it. And again, it could all just be simpler if I could "allow" the contradiction and know that what feels true in my heart (despite the neurotic over-thinking voices in my head), always is. The heart has a way knowing deeply. The mind likes to jump into the fray and protect us and keep us alive, that's its job. But letting "the mind sink into the heart," is ultimately a much more satisfying, fulfilling journey. And there's my hang-up. Wanting... anything. Satisfaction. Desire.

So here's where Abraham, the Dalai Lama, Stephen Levine-- all of them-- meet. My big, big, big "Ah-ha" for the week that I want to articulate now while it's fresh inside me. The "desire" comes up, is born of the ego, the id, that thing we're crawling out of to observe. Without that perspective, it rules us. And it hurts. But even there within that hurt is the desire again. The ego-derived thing. The desire to become free, the desire that led me to meditation in the first place. And that's the big ah-ha. TO ALLOW THAT TOO. There's no place where the "Let it happen" principle stops. The ego/self-desire comes up to do something, and even if I am managing to maintain one foot in the perspective of "observer," I do that thing "I" WANT to do. And I allow that too.

I go further than that though. I JUDGE my action as GOOD. I APPRECIATE my action. I (ego/self-I) go as far as to CHOOSE a joyful response. And ALLOW that choice. And that joy is easily accessed BECAUSE I'm in that place of allowing. And in the allowing, my natural state of joy and happiness is already radiating. And sometimes it's radiating out even through some of the more painful stuff I might be feeling at the same time, and I'm allowing that painful stuff too. No resistance. I may even slip into a negative judgment about the pain I'm feeling alongside that joy and the lighter experience. And I see it. And I let it happen. I allow it. I say to it "Okay." "There's pain. Back to the (proverbial or actual) breath. Back to the moment. The WHOLE moment."

And I may not be "watching the breath" every moment of my life or "observing sensations in the body." But I'm more awake. And I like that. And I do feel a sense of momentum and slight goal-orientedness about becoming "more awake," and moving more consciously toward joy because it feels good and I fucking like it. I love it actually. I'm creating freedom and I love it. And that is desire. And that is self/identity/ego-born. And that is perfect. I allow it. And because I allow it, it grows.

That's another interesting effect. When you allow pain and negativity, you don't fight them, you seem them and you just let them run their course without getting too involved-- to the best of your ability from wherever you happen to be at the moment, in the light of awareness the pain begins to dissolve. Because in the light of awareness and allowing, we move back toward who we more fully are- - souls with feet- - souls that were born out of and made of "God"- - joy/compassion/peace/strength/gentleness... love. When you mindfully allow pain, it dissolves. It becomes merely vibration. And when you allow joy and desire born from energies true to our nature like creation, compassion, etc... it multiplies itself.

And instead of this inner-conflict I've fostered about thinking of these things as contradictory, not in SPITE of Ram Dass or Eastern thought, do I come full circle to the teachings of Abraham and "The Secret" and "the law of attraction," but I come to it with an incredible strength and joy BECAUSE of the tools of allowing I've fostered and grown from the rich soil of those amazing teachers from the East. And I'm so grateful. So grateful.

The universe is magical. This realizing itself all came about because a whole series of synchronistic things were sparked in me during a conversation with someone truly amazing who I met last Thursday under dense purple clouds and a cheshire cat moon. To whom I can only offer my deepest gratitude for being an unwitting teacher for me at a pivotal moment. Much like the parallel pivotal moments we unknowingly shared in 1998 at a Tori Amos concert before we met.

The universe is a mystical, vast place with so much mystery and contrast and magic, it could never be fully deciphered. Thank "God" for giving my overactive soul and mind enough to chew on.

Big love...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Eating My Enlightenment

I'm very excited that my otherwise typically "black thumb" has managed to produce these thriving new-- and very green I'll have you know-- Goji berry sprouts. They're two Sundays old which I remember because I planted them during my ritualistic viewing of "True Blood." Appropo of nothing other than confessing a guilty pleasure.

The reason goji berries and superfoods are noteworthy for our purposes is that here in the "Stumbling Free" blog, I'm attempting to broadcast my law of attraction experiment to find the best-feeling thoughts and, well, the best feeling... feelings... I can find. And see what good, if any, is truly manifested in my life. It is "effort," but it is primarily thought and emotional "effort" as opposed to action effort-- and it is the effort to relax. To effort... less. And raw superfoods do seem to be one of the many ways that help my cells sing and feel good. Which helps me find that feeling of relief and letting go.

There is definitely some work involved though, and I haven't always been totally aligned in the past with wanting do all that work. Sometimes it's a bit more of pulling myself up by the proverbial bootstraps than it is drinking unicorn kisses and holding hands and skipping. Sometimes it's less about feeling happy about what I'm doing in the moment while I'm doing the work. And I want to explore that more as this little experiment unfolds-- why sometimes it DOES seem like in certain situations, doing the thing that doesn't quite feel like "turning toward the best feeling thought" and "moving downstream," but rather paddling a little and doing something that doesn't feel so great in the moment, ultimately DOES feel better in the long run. As was in this case when I first started "making" myself create the superfood habit. This forceful "making myself" element seems to go against the idea of doing only what feels inspired and joyful. But in short, I think it's just a bit of digging into some of my negative attachments and habits and tearing out something slightly diseased.

In this case, eating convenient but also processed unhealthy foods (yes, friends and neighbors, vegan food CAN be QUITE unhealthy), in reality, genuinely doesn't feel aligned or "downstream" with my inner-being. But these food habits are such longtime habits with which I've learned to have a sort of emotional-guidance-system... numbness, so much so that the call of Source on this topic which has been ignored for so long, initially because parents or friends or other people told me it was healthy so I ignored what my inner-being told me, that I don't even know I'm doing anything out of alignment. I can't feel it. I've trained myself to ignore the feeling because other people told me to.

And now as I become more sensitive and listen to my emotional guidance a little more closely, and I do finally recognize that I want to move more downstream on a given topic-- like food or health-- I am one of those people who sometimes gets a little graceless and brash with myself. I sometimes don't "turn in the stream" toward what feels good incrementally as much as yank myself around, trying to tear out the old pattern all at once.

To put it in terms my yoga teachers have often used, you never slam your body all the way into the splits the first time you stretch. You'll tear something. But that is my proclivity sometimes.

But with the superfoods, however it's happened, I have found a way to have these be a part of my life and have gotten into a good rhythm with it. Now it's part of what I do and who I am. Literally-- the superfoods are what my body is made of which is just such a cool idea. I just love that.

As far as growing the goji berries, I have zero idea what I'm doing, but it seems to be working so far. Cathy Silvers (remember Jenny Piccolo from "Happy Days"? Same person) has a company that sells these raw dehydrated Himalayan Goji berries that I buy at Erewhon here in Los Angeles. I like these or David Wolfe's Sunfood brand best of all the ones I've tried. I find them to be softer and fresher. And in keeping with the law of attraction theme of this blog and listening to my emotional guidance system, they just "feel" better to me. No disrespect to any of the other great companies out there.

Anyway, I split open a bunch of the goji berries, simply exposing the seeds while still in the berry, put them in some of the "organic" (not sure what that means when you're talking a bag of dirt, but Whole Foods makes everything sound so shi-shi foo-foo good, so I went for it) soil in a couple pots and trays and have made sure the soil stayed moist, watering every one to two days. And miraculously, so far, they're actually growing.

The reason I'm growing fresh goji berries is that my "mornings" (I work graveyard, so morning comes in the p.m.) always start with a superfood shake. And some small portion of a high protein meal. And I'm telling you, this one thing alone has made a pretty dramatic difference in my mood and energy. I've been doing this for over a year now in various forms as I've experimented with it-- and much of what I do now is actually what I have learned from my boyfriend Jeremy who has self-educated himself on this stuff in incredible detail through various teachers, primarily David Wolfe.

And over the past year, I've found myself in difficult times, depressed, low on money, low on energy, low in inspiration... and then I drink my superfood shake. And I don't mean to sound like a snake oil salesman, but honestly, it's like I DRINK my way to positivity. It doesn't happen the first time you have the superfoods (though you might feel something), but as I spent days and weeks and months giving my body all these superfoods, I began to really look forward to it. It was like someone turned on the lights inside my cells and it just... made me lighter. Made me light up. Inside.

Sometimes, especially when a really heavy state confronts us, in the form of relationship trouble or money trouble or health trouble especially, it seems nearly impossible to find a thought that feels better. When I find myself in the grip of really hating where I am, or even just deeply dreading what horrifying situation MAY arise, the fear and anger and powerlessness and the myriad heavy states that arise feel like they're the only reality that is and that ever will be. An author I love, Stephen Levine, talks about how heavy states seem to scream that they are the ultimate and only truth. When in actuality, it is just what the present moment is carrying in with it like the tide. It will go back out again. But we don't believe that when it's happening. Which is why meditation is so crucial for me, but more on that later.

My long-winded point is that making this commitment to myself to enjoy these superfoods everyday is no longer a chore. It's something I look forward to. And if I miss it, I feel the difference. It is has made my skin clearer, it has given me more even and balanced energy levels, it has made me look and feel younger, it seems to have reversed a host of little health difficulties that had the potential to become bad conditions including a pre-diabetic condition to which I am genealogically predisposed among many others.

I put a whole bunch of amazing things in my morning shake and I do vary it, but I thought I would share what I use. I'd be curious to hear if anyone else reading this does something similar, has recommendations or stories and what your experience has been overall.

My one sort of disclaimer is that I have somewhat mixed feelings about raw cacao and there is mixed information out there. However, I believe so strongly in the law of attraction, and there is so much that is good about cacao, that I do ultimately believe that if you feel aligned with having massive amounts of cacao daily and really believe it's good for you, it probably will be good for you. I'm not aligned with having it all the time. It's a medicinal plant ultimately just as much or more than it is a superfood, but I'm going to let other folks battle that one out. Cacao's great. I just do my utmost to eat intuitively and I'm on the fence with cacao. Or as Abraham is always quoting at the art of allowing seminars "If it's not a hell yes, it's a hell no." I'm not exactly sure what a "Hell sometimes" means. Split vibration.

One sort of disclaimer with all of this is that it really does make an enormous difference to have the digestive system working right. It just makes it easier for the body to receive all these wonderful nutrients. I know people get funny about a little bowel talk, but I'll simply mention a couple things that have worked for me. Psyllium husk is great-- I get mine at Trader Joe's ("Secret of the Psyllium"). And Dr. Schulze's bowel cleanse program is very effective. His style of teaching can be more than a little off-putting, but his stuff works. And you DO need both the Intestinal formula #1 AND #2. He also has a newer product called "Bowel Shots" which I've used somewhat extensively already and one shot WILL clean you out. Dr. Schulze's site is and no, I don't get any money for writing this. It's just something that's worked for me.

Anyway, I wanted to share my shake concoction. Again, I'd love to hear other folks' experiences and I am happy to answer any questions to the best of my ability (or I'll enlist Jeremy's help to answer if I don't know) or simply point you to better teachers like David Wolfe.

Jeremy calls his concoction his Badass Cacao Shake. And I sort of like that. So I'm going to steal it....

Badass Superfood Shake (as concocted by Jeremy and I)
*Note: I am in no way associated with any of the companies or brands I'm mentioning and don't get anything from the companies for talking about what I use. I just genuinely love the stuff.*

- Navitas brand Goji powder (I strongly prefer the raw powder to the actual berries for the shake, believe it or not, because in the big picture, although you don't get the fat from the berries, you get about a pound worth of the nutrients in one tablespoon and we're adding good fat with some other oils and such), 1 tablespoon (I get this at Erewhon, this is Navitas' website:
- Navitas brand Acai powder 1 tablespoon (In L.A., I get mine at Erewhon Market)
- Either Navitas brand powdered Yacon or brand (david wolfe's website - Yacon syurp - 1 tablespoon (Navitas or
- Sun Warrior Brand Activated Barley - 1 tablespoon (
- Sun Warrior Brand Raw/Vegan Rice Protein (choose your flavor) - 1 scoop (about 2 tblspns) (
- (again, follow your own guidance on this) Ultimate brand cacao powder - 1-2 tablespoons depending on your taste and budget
- Noniland Noni (
- Ultimate brand Maca - 1-2 tablespoons, same as cacao
- Ultimate brand Himalayan Pink Salt - 1/4 teaspoon
- Navitas Brand Pomegranate Powder - 1 tblspn
- Ultimate brand cacao butter/oil - 1 tablespoon
- Coconut oil/butter - 1 tablespoon
- Dr. Schulze's Superfood - 2 tablespoons (
- Ocean's Alive Phytoplankton - 1 dropperful
- Y.S. Brand Bee Pollen/Propolis/Royal Jelly
- Ultimate Brand Chlorella/Spirulina - 20 "tablets"
- Really Raw Brand Honey - 1-2 tablespoons depending on taste
- Navitas Brand Raw Stevia - 1 tblspn
- Organic Blueberries (I get frozen ones at Trader Joe's) - 1/4 cup
- Navitas Brand Palm Sugar (raw "sugar" from coconuts- so good) - 1-2 tablespoons
- Brand of your choosing, I like Zico or straight from the young coconut (as with all of this obviously) 8-16 ounces coconut water

So, as funny as it is to say aloud, that is literally my recipe for a little piece of enlightenment. Just one of many ways to help the body feel better and thereby help everything feel better.

The law of attraction is a spiritual law for physical beings in a physical universe. And the bottom line of all this prattle is that this superfood stuff really make it easier for me to think a better feeling thought. In fact, sometimes I can skip right past the thought and go straight to the feeling good.

Finally, I know this is a little frenetic and all over the place. And I'm aware of the law of attraction "lingo." I think it's plain enough, but I've been a student of Abraham a long time now so it may be more opaque than I realize. For anyone who's lost and cares to understand, you can visit for more information.

And I'll leave you here with a video that encapsulates a lot of what I've referenced.

May it ease your ascent.

Be well.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Mr. Orris's Wild Ride

It's almost bedtime at 6:32 a.m. here in my Hollywood hovel where I've secured my survival since 1999. Hard to believe it's been over 10 years in this noise-hole, all while working mostly for major record labels and bitchy women (who had to try 10 times harder than their male counterparts to gain position and were thus worse for the wear)-- mostly at the same time.

These overworked and undervalued women do not include the demanding likes of Mariah and J-Lo and similar cohorts, for whom I spent the better parts of 1994 and 1999 respectively, making sure they had their coca-cola in the old fashioned bottles, seeing to it that everything in their dressing room was pink (or white), making sure they had three-foot candy canes in June in order to be "artistically inspired" to overdub the word "holy" on their Christmas album, getting label presidents Jordan or Jeff on the phone for her "right fucking now!!!" and being made to sit in on calls which outlined in gloriously gory detail why a certain artist's marketing budget cap (in the entire history of Sony Music to that point in time) didn't apply due to being the biggest-bigwig's playmate and as such, he thereby essentially mandated the debut album debut at #1 to the detriment of better artists on the label...

And the odious Hollywood like.

When I moved into this Hollywood apartment a decade ago, this place was an upgrade from my former shoebox "bachelor" on Crescent Heights and Fountain where I lived for a couple years prior to that, an apartment through which the rain literally poured in over the doorway making a short river diagonally from corner of the tiny unit to the other during the torrential rain season called El Niño.

This morning as I sit in the cool darkness, it's comfortable and quiet with my hard-earned portable AC blowing, the cable TV paused, the air purifiers spinning, the curtains drawn. This is my haven, such as it is. I've survived a cheating boyfriend here, gained and lost 80 pounds (and am re-losing the 40 I put back on again... I call it my Oprah syndrome), written countless songs and pieces of music, signed a music publishing deal and gotten my first TV and film song placements, done my 10-day-vow-of-silence meditation courses, became vegan for seven years (and then traded it back in for fish and eggs), starved through countless raw-food and juice detoxes, buried a beloved pet of 10 years and fallen in love again... all while living in this one-bedroom off of Franklin Avenue. The ghosts here are all mine.

Well, unless you consider that Jim Morrison, Tori Amos, Jeff Buckley and Janis Joplin all lived within a block of this apartment at some point in their lives. And as cool as the bragging rights of this block are, it's also a dark, brooding, and with the exception of Tori, deceased bunch. But still cool, all the same. Especially to me, since I'm a musician who started playing piano at age four.

My folks paid for lessons but took them away at five years old due to "lack of diligence" in my practicing regimen. At seven, I begged the lessons back and they never were able to silence me again after that.

My father, a "Christian businessman" and ordained minister changed jobs frequently throughout my childhood. He was Pat Robertson's right-hand man for a spell while I was in college. And he was the president of various Christian publishing houses most of the other times. He was actually instrumental in co-founding the Christian Coalition and was often found in the deepest inner-circle of the Christian Right, holding court and even sometimes sharing top-level clearance confidences with everyone from top U.S. Generals to world leaders.

Imagine my folks' utter delight in discovering their son was more metaphysically curious than Christian and more, well, queer than not.

When I was 12, my staunchly religious family was run off the beautiful San Bernardino mountains that had been our home for eight years by the good Christian folk of Twin Peaks and Lake Arrowhead, specifically those of the Twin Peaks Community Church and Calvary Chapel. It had apparently been decided through a mountainwide game of "telephone" (as far as I could tell) that my over-zealously Jesus-loving folks were... (drumroll please)...

Occult leaders who ritually sacrificed children in the woods. That was the Salem-ish crux of the brouhaha.

My best friend's mother, a woman named Marjorie, reportedly claimed that after my mother had been in her home she began seeing "creatures that looked like Gremlins" around her. It was, after all, the hit blockbuster of the moment. That evil, brainwashing Hollywood machine hard at work on the sharp minds of the small-town genius.

And that depraved nonsense is what took us to Chicago, which is a city I still love very much. Man, I miss Chicago. The people, the seasons (well, mostly), the air...

But don't feel too sorry for my crazy family. Remember, I'm all about the law of attraction here. And they create their own reality too.

Shortly after moving to Los Angeles in 1997, I was in a car accident in which I shattered my femur, lost something like 20% of my body weight in blood (I didn't even know you could do that), sustained a concussion and all kinds of physical fun. And my folks' immediate response was to send an ex-gay minister to my hospital bedside to inform me that "God" had put me in this situation to "get my attention" because apparently God wasn't pleased with my "lifestyle" (before my mother did come to L.A., Bible in hand, to look after me). I remember thinking it was a shame that he was now married to an ex-gay lesbian... he was cute. And I remember that through the pain and morphine-haze, I woke up at one point during one of his sermons about my evil-doing just long enough to tell this guy to "pull the log from his own eye." And then I passed back out.

From where I'm sitting, my folks are probably the most masterful people I've ever seen (seen in person, anyway) at exacting judgment upon anyone and everyone not in identical agreement with them. My mother would sometimes lean over to whisper secret nuggets of wisdom like "Catholics are going to hell too, you know. They pray to MARY."

So from my perspective, seeing what I've seen now in so many places in my life about how the law of attraction really works, my observation about my folks and the mountain witch hunt is that these (somewhat crazed, frankly) super-judgmental folks of mine attracted the crazed super-judgmental folks of Twin Peaks to pass crazy judgment on them. The energy of judgment is what you're eminating constantly, and so now that's what you've become a lightning rod for... that's my theory anyway. Judgmental as it may be.

And don't get me wrong. I don't think I've arrived. By any means.

In fact, I'm starting to see more and more clearly I never will. And I'm seeing what a great thing that really is. I'm actually just now starting to really get how I might enjoy the road to never arriving.

Everything in this universe is in constant motion. We're no different. And I can be at odds with it or I can flow with the current. But either way, that river's moving.

In any given moment I have a choice. There's feeling good and feeling bad. And maybe it really is that simple. And if I can just stop in any given moment and become present and recognize what's going on inside me, that's all the wisdom I may ever need to know which direction to move next.

That wisdom may lead me to joy and health and connection and freedom and exuberance and bliss in more forms than I can conceive of. And on the flipside, my previous decades of programming may kick in-- decades that have taught me to struggle and beat the drum of what I don't want because I'm so afraid of it that I actually forget that beating that drum is like sending what I don't want an invitational homing signal straight to my door and that actually, I have the power to do something very different and far more rewarding if I will just snap out of it and remember to put my attention on what feels better not worse.

Hence, this blog. Where I will publicly air my stumbling, fumbling efforts to gently (or maybe not so gently sometimes) turn toward what feels better. And see where it leads me-- in health and relationship and money and freedom. And this starts right here and now, in a moment when I truly have so much to feel good about.

There are specific things that I want. And I'll use this blog as not only documentation of my "route," but also as a public record of the experiment. It is my excuse to remember to find thoughts that feel better.

As I use "trying to think a better-feeling thought" to reap the things I hope for and also to see what surprises manifest that are a "vibrational match" to what I'm putting out there, which is always fun too, maybe someone out there is doing the same thing. And maybe in some weird way, we're co-creating.

This morning, I am so grateful. All the crazy contrast of my life leading up to where I am now have somehow led me to a place of gratitude. They've pretty much forced me to learn to let go and soften on any number of topics.

So here I am right now... in my cool, comfortable apartment. I'm safe. And I'll sleep in a comfortable bed. I have the incredible luxury of getting to learn and grow and understand more deeply. I have the amazing luxury of being able to sit down and type out my thoughts on a computer, putting them into the electronic ether and maybe even connecting with a kindred spirit or two somewhere along the way.

I have amazing people and love in my life and I feel loved and well.

And having written out all the insane milestones and speed bumps along the way was actually kind of fun. And bizarre... to see all that strung together in one rambling article. It's a little out-of-body, but kind of in the best way. Maybe I'm just masochistic.

Whatever got me here, I have so much to feel good about.

And I wish the same for you.

Be well.

Learning to Breathe Amongst the Ghosts

This is to document my ascent. I no longer have any question that "what you think and feel and what manifests is always a match" as Esther Hicks has it. It could be that my upbringing prepared me for superstition and I'm a sucker. Maybe. But if I were crazy, I probably wouldn't know it. So I'm going to do my best with I've got while keeping an open mind and heart.

I want document my often clumsy, stumbling path toward freedom. If only to record the twists and turns of my particular route. Toward joy, toward peace, toward exuberance, toward connection, toward happiness and again, freedom. All of which I believe to be our true nature.

As with anything, "there are two points of vibrational relativity-- where you are and where you want to be." I've learned that a lot of what is my "past" is actually something I carry around in my present until it is diffused by the light of awareness. I'm still untying a good bit of it, but mostly, none of it carries the weight it once did. So as you hear some of the sometimes shocking and often absurd details, don't panic. Mostly, these are old news. They're just good backstory for all the crazy that's sure to follow in the days and months to come. So here we go...