News Flash!!! The Next Book

Looks more and more like a new book will be published in the coming months. We'll need a new title. The current one "Son of Life on Cloud Eight" is a draft idea and not necessarily the best one. Stay tuned.

In the meanwhile, if you haven't read "Life on Cloud Eight", you can order one now. Just go to www.edryterband.com and click on the link "Books". If you do order, get as many copies as you like and ALL the proceeds will go to Doctors Without borders or Planned Parenthood. You get to choose.


July Update - Some New Reflections on Our Politics

Below is a quote from Hannah Arendt. She was a keen observer of the tyrants of the 20th century. Their rise to power was fueled by the lies they told and the anger and hatred those lies gave birth to. They told lies about Jews and non aryans in Germany, supposed communists in Italy and Spain, non communists in Russia, all of whom were enemies who they declared threatened their dreams for their countries. Their lies led to epic disasters for the world, but especially for Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia, the countries the tyrant felt they owned. They did have accomplices, like Goebbles. But most of all they had their lies and they spread those lies relentlessly. We may not be headed for such epic disasters now, but the diet of lies we are being fed and the current accomplices of the liar in chief, is the seed bed for nothing good. Hannah Arendt captures the grave risks of such lying:

 “If everybody lies to you, the consequence is not that you believe the lies, but rather that nobody believes anything any longer...And a people that no longer can believe anything cannot make up its mind. It is deprived not only of its capacity to act but also of its capacity to think and to judge. And with such a people you can do what you please.”

What Donald Trump is up to, is not just to forward a racist, xenophobic, angry agenda, but to use the lies that underly that agenda to erase the value of the truth. And then, …”with such a people you can do what you please.”

February 2019 Update about our politics

(Just posted on Facebook): There are glimmers of light in our political scene. 

 Paul Manafort is going to jail.  Michael Cohen is going to jail.  Roger Stone is indicted, and will be tried for lying to Congress. The Senate has, in a bipartisan way, rebuked the President on his foreign policy initiatives, e.g. removing troops from Syria. You can argue with their position, but at least they had one of their own. The intelligence community has testified before Congress that the President’s foreign policy perspectives, his view of climate science are all very much at odds with the facts. The House has produced its first major legislation, announcing its top priority, and it is a good choice, no matter what your politics are. It’s called HR1. Look it up.  Its about assuring voting rights to more people, making voting more easy, undoing gerrymandering, requiring full financial disclosures of anybody running for President or Vice President. 

 Yes, there’s still too much that’s troubling going on.  There is still Narcissus, the finger puppet for Vladimir Putin, in the White House, who wants a wall when a better choice for a top priority would be better roads and schools; more vigilance against Russia, more respect for climate science.  And there are still the weasels in Congress, who wont stand up to him, because they fear for their jobs more than they care about their country.  

My wishes for the future? Weasels learn, narcissists do not. The weasels can see their own future imperiled if they continue to follow the President in his chaotic, self serving agenda. A start at least would be:

·      They should pass all or parts of HR1

·      The Senate should create a veto-proof majority to 

deny the President his wall 

increase sanctions on Russia

Notice I haven’t said anything yet about impeachment. I’m for it, but don’t think the Senate is ready to try and convict him. And then, what would we have, Mike Pence?

 What are your thoughts on a starter set of ideas for a hopefully invigorated Congress?  

The Looks of Love A Poem that was just accepted for publication

The Looks of Love                            

In the beginning was our fresh erotic clamor.  Phosphoric flashes exploded through our doubts                                                                                                  blinded and consumed us.                                                                                                                        In the mornings we awoke longing once again, hungry                                                                            for the danger and the wonder in each other’s flesh.                                                                                        

Then we turned to fateful choices  giving up our blood and juices into babies aliens who conquered spaces we once called our own. We reveled in their laughter and their triumphs. The years have helped us blur the endless tending   to their cries and smells and disappointments.

Now our evening mirror shows this older couple         who have kept on all these years worn smooth like stones in flowing rivers  rounded from the flow of countless days. We touch each other still  although less frequent, more distracted.

We’ve traveled all these places fitfully and sometimes self immersed  but kept on showing up because we said we would. We plan, we laugh, we fight and then repair  worry to each other, to ourselves choose to still believe there will be ways to love ahead.

 

Ideas that Matter: #2 Being Afraid (of the right things)

The President has said that IF there is a blue wave in November, we should be afraid of the violence it will unleash.  He's also said that we should be afraid of immigrants poring over the border who will murder and rape and steal and take advantage of our laws to vote illegally and drive illegally and take jobs that belong to real Americans. Look at the picture of the woman who was killed by an illegal. What does that tell you? That we should be afraid of illegals. 

But look at the whole picture, the picture from across the whole country, not just one incident. That picture tells you where the real dangers are. Illegals break laws LESS then others;  Illegals are less dangerous than real Americans.   Real Americans; people who look like you and I; they are far more likely to be violent, have more guns they use in fits of rage or fearful impulse.

It is a scarier world out there, and fear can be a useful guide to make ourselves safer in that world, if it is aimed in the right directions. We should be afraid of losing social security and our health care insurance or paying even more for them; be afraid of our wages continuing to stagnate; be afraid of rotting roads, trains and airports, underfunded schools; be afraid of unchecked climate change and the heat, and storms, floods, dirty air and water it can lead to.  

Most of all, we need to be afraid of people who don't tell the truth about themselves or the way things are; who know better and deny these dangers.  They try to point us toward scapegoats and away from solutions that would hurt their selfish interests. Yes, it will cost more money to do something useful with the real fears we should be having; to get good things done.  

Some of it will need to come from rich people who don't pay as much as they should in taxes. Some of it will need to come from spending less on foolish things like Space Forces. Some of it will need to come from the rest of us giving more in taxes. That is not socialism, another fear mongering, baseless scream.  That is how we actually will pay for the things we really want.

Being afraid of the right things and doing something constructive about them is enlightened self interest.  We should think more and learn more about where the real dangers lie and be moved by a desire for a better future based on a willingness to contribute to it.

The book is doing well; time for the next phase. Any ideas?

Feedback from readers has been very encouraging. Although, I'd guess that people who don't like it are reluctant to say so. In any case, over $3000 has been raised so far from book sales that people have chosen to donate to Doctors without Borders and to Planned Parenthood.  

And now that I'm retired from RHR International (a truly outstanding place to work), I'll have more time to figure out how to further share the current book and write the next one.  Life on Cloud 8 2.0?  If you have ideas about how this book might be more widely shared, let me know.

Happy end of summer.

Ed

The Book will be here very soon

Hi to everyone on this Memorial Day,

I've posted this message also on my Facebook page, but want to reach as many people as possible.

My book, Life on Cloud 8, is coming out in the next few weeks.  I'm really pleased, of course, but will be even more so if lots of people let me know they want to give it a try and buy a copy.  I'll sign and send it to you personally, all for only $15.00 (+$2.00 for postage). I know that sounds brash of me, but i’m arranging it so that proceeds will go to Doctors Without Borders and/or Planned Parenthood. You choose. 

Of course you can buy it from Amazon, where it will be listed, but that will leave far less for me to donate.  

I’m working on a way to process orders and payments so I can quickly mail copies of the book to you. Stay tuned, and I'll let you know when it's available. Of course, advance orders are welcome (you can even order for your friends).

Ed

 

 

 

 

Ideas That Matter: Idea #1 Voting Matters More Than Protests and Especially More Than Party

There are ideas that matter and others that matter way less. Yesterday's protests, even the ones that say they are defending the second amendment are statements coming from all of us. They will matter more when they turn into votes. Those votes will say who we really want to represent us. And that will maybe change things, even at the federal level. 

My side of the debate? I was struck by how right the kids were, how articulate they were and how media savvy they are. That last feature, i hope will give them influence that other protests have not mustered. That influence will be important in hopefully mobilizing current voters to vote and these new ones to vote in record numbers.

My view of the path ahead? It's really not about defending the second amendment. That amendment, like it or not, guarantees people the right to bear arms. It does NOT say that right is unlimited, just as the first amendment does NOT guarantee unlimited speech. When speech incites violence, it is not protected. When guns make deadly violence against other people, the second amendment gun ownership should not be protected. 

So, no bump stocks, no assault weapons, more background checks, higher age limits and longer waiting periods are simply to protect us against unrestricted gun ownership. Many people agree; these thoughts are coherent, defensible and will matter more when they reach others and then we turn them into votes.

Catching up

Its been quite a while since the last post.  Lots has happened, mostly good for me and my folks, not so good for the world.

The world:

Earthquakes in Mexico, ethnic cleansing in Myanmar; three awful hurricanes; slaughter in Las Vegas. The earthquakes and hurricanes couldn't be prevented but so much more could be done, to help the survivors and manage the future with climate science not a debatable issue. The ethnic cleansing and slaughter in Las Vegas can be prevented but politics keeps winning over people. 

Personally:

  • Submitted a manuscript for a book of poems entitled "Life on Cloud 8".  Catchy title, no? Hopefully it will be published.  Planning on sharing all proceeds with a worthy charity, like the Red Cross, Planned Parenthood.  Other ideas welcome.
  • Two lovely vacations; the first to Alaska which is in the process of melting, but there's still a lot left to see and wonder at.  The second to Barcelona and the Catalonia region of Spain, which is in the process of exploding over section issues.  A pic from each below
La Sagrada Familia Barcelona

La Sagrada Familia Barcelona

The Hubbard Glacier

The Hubbard Glacier

Three Illuminated Manuscripts

       For those Who Believe in Mindfulness

 

  For those Who Believe in a Higher Power

   

For Those Who Believe Only In Themselves

Focus on the media and congress Part 2

There's enough evidence that the new president is doing things that should cause concern. My own concern is deepened as he continues to lie, brag and attack those who disagree. However much we are worried and for whatever reasons, ringing our hands is not enough.

Call people in congress, they own the purse strings; they can insist on the maturity the President should show and limit him if he doesn't show it. When you call, have a list (preferably short) of the things you want them to pay attention to.  And tell them you'll be watching.

My own list:

Be a saner voice about immigration, from Mexico and elsewhere. Don't fund the building of a wall. It sends a terrible message to Mexico and beyond. 

Do fund an infrastructure bill, but not one that enables crony contractors. It will create jobs and the roads, bridges, etc. that we need

Stay in the Paris Climate Agreement.  We cant afford to back away from the gathering perils of climate change. If you don't agree with that, you're pandering to fools who endanger us all.

Do fund Planned Parenthood and lift the gag order abroad. The best abortion prevention has been provided by Planned Parenthood and there is no viable option for underserved women here or abroad re. cancer screenings, and a host of other health matters. 

 

 

Focus on the Media & Congress: Tell Them We Are Here.

We have a dangerous President. Enough people feel and think that. So, like it or not, individuals must be more engaged in our country's business than ever before. We have to speak up with patience, compassion for others and with persistence; in our communities, in protest demonstrations.

But, most important, it is the media and the Congress who can bring attention to the issues and limits to his actions.  Our time and energy should be focused on them, engaging with them, learning from them, learning about them and persistently trying to influence them. They can and should make a difference.

Our time and energy should not be diluted into endless rumination about how awful it might be, with a President who boasts and lies with breathtaking abandon, who enables thoughtless anger like the hateful choruses of "lock her up", even at his own inauguration. Enough of commenting on his excesses.  It is time for acting to change things.  Not him, he is hopeless, but his agenda.

The media should counter his claims that they are biased, speak up even more with evidence based journalism. We should read and watch them, not just our favorite outlets, comment on them, to the media themselves and to others in our community.  We should let them know we are here, insist that they be informative and unbiased, whoever are their corporate sponsors.

The congress must have enough people of sound and open mind to reconsider who they have as their President. We should be calling them, trying to get them to limit the power he has. They should know for certain that we are watching, expect them to do the right things on climate change, voting rights, women's rights, any issues we care about. They need to know we are here.

 

The Demagogue in the White House

Demagogue: a popular leader, a leader of a mob, or rabble-rouser, in a democracy who gains popularity by exploiting prejudice and ignorance among people, whipping up the passions of the crowd.

This message is especially for people who hold different views than mine about the election of Donald Trump. It is an expression of deep concern that he is a bad choice. I am not a sore loser. Other people became the president that I did not vote for, and I welcomed them with the hope that they would do well by our country. This is not the case with Donald Trump. In fact, he is every day more clearly showing that he is unhinged and will be a problem for the well being of this country, possibly the world. Anyone who thinks that my deep concern is about being a sore loser is not willing to really look at him.  By ignoring him, they become part of the problem.

I have been around senior leaders, CEOs all of my professional life. I do know what good looks like. He's clearly not even close to being fit for the office.

·      He is far too self centered, has no interest in the country or in anybody but himself.

·      He doesn’t learn anything new, even though he very much needs to.

·      He sneers at people who disagree with him, does not debate with them.

·      He has little or no integrity; creates fake news and then accuses others of doing so. He lies or    covers up his many conflicting interests, including especially his interest in Russia.

·      He is too secretive. We see no tax returns we see no blind trust that would protect the office of the presidency from conflicts of interest and self dealing.

·      He doesn’t know how to create and lead effective teams, selects people for his cabinet who are grossly unqualified. Think of Ben Carson, Mike Flynn, Rick Perry. These are people who clearly do not know how to lead (or really care about) what they have suddenly inherited.

Some have told me to wait and see if Trump changes, if he grows up into the office. We now clearly know that he won't. His recent ranting about Nazi like behavior in the intelligence community, disavowal of the need to put his assets in a blind trust, are just two of the clear indicators that he is not going to change. What you’ve seen is what you will get, once he is in office. And he is not going to change; he is immature, ego-centric, petty-angry at slights at a level that indicates he is unhinged. And that makes him a danger, nothing less.

It is time to stop belittling anyone who opposes him. Instead, it is time for all of us to take action, but that begs the question what action will be effective. Individuals will need to express their concerns, call (don’t write to people in Congress). The media and Congress should be taking the lead. The media need to not back down no matter what is said about them. 

Congress is perhaps an even more important vehicle for change. As I said above: We see no tax returns, we see no blind trust that would protect the office of the presidency from conflicts of interest and self dealing. How can congress let that happen?  The people in the Senate no less those in the house need to stand up and be counted as caring more about country than their party. It is OK to take a fresh look at Obama Care. It is OK to take a fresh look at how to address immigration, climate change, or build our infrastructure. It is not OK to allow a demagogue to run our country who has no coherent views on any of these matters.

This is clearly not as bad a situation as it was in Berlin in 1933 when another demagogue and the Nazis took over. There are no people who are wearing brown shirts but there are evidently people (see internet trolls) who have in mind great malice towards Others who disagree or who are Mexican or Muslim.  People back in 1933, including Jewish Germans, somehow hoped that they should wait-and-see, maybe things will get better. But it is worth noting that people today are denying the data that sits right in front of them.

This situation has our country in a perilous position. It is the first time in my long life that I truly have become worried about who will be president. And I have seen a lot of presidents who I clearly thought were not the best choice.  Tough luck, but that's a democracy. Donald Trump is not only not the best choice, he is a very bad and dangerous choice. And it is time for all of us, but especially the media and Congress who have the most leverage to speak their mind and put limits on him. 

Improv poems

Our family created some improv poems on Christmas eve.  A "prompt" was suggested, and we had 5 minutes to come up with something. Turned out to be better than caroling. Here a few of the pieces that emerged for me.  The prompt/titles are in bold.

                                           The first wish you can remember

 I was a little boy and I wanted to be my mother’s hero.

A spring day. 

She’s standing on the porch

in front of our apartment house

with her spring coat on. 

There she was in her coat

with her hair up

looking out at the apartment courtyard.

I saw her there

when I came out of our apartment. 

I had put on the belt with my cap pistol

in the holster strapped to my leg

and drew out the pistol. 

Then I walked out onto the porch

and put my arm around the bottom of her dress. 

I couldn’t reach higher.

I was there to make sure she was safe. 

She felt me and looked down at me and smiled.

 

 Reflect

Once upon, once upon a mirror I look into

but cannot get beyond.

I see just my front

I cannot get behind no matter what I do. 

I want to stop this world

to crash the surface of the mirror. 

My thoughts can’t get around the surface. 

I am trapped in not seeing beyond, around, inside. 

Its just the apparent

the surfaces of things. 

I’m just a reflection of what I see

never more.

There is meaning there beyond this surface

but I am trapped with me

as I see me now

and fool myself into contentment

I try to not find mirrors

because what will be there

is only what is easy to see

what I have agreed to go on with.

 

Power play

Who plays with power? 

No one admits they do

but don’t we all love it

wouldn’t we all love to do it nakedly

not be sly about it

just have our way and have everyone love it.

Do it because I said so

and nobody feels bad about it; they say

Wow.  Yeah. You the man

so glad you had that better idea.

Feels so good to have you do that.

Takes less time than thinking it through myself. 

And it don’t matter if it’s a sandbox game or a country. 

You got the power

and everyone loves you for it. 

What could be better than that

except maybe to lie down in the summer shade

with a little bowl of cool watermelon balls and a tall glass of ice water.

  

Come all ye faithful

What if all the faithful came

not like in being here

but like in having an orgasm, at the same time?

They’d be in the temple or the church or mosque

and all of them

would suddenly be seized with the desire to blast off. 

Rub a dub dub all the faithful in a tub. 

Not prayin, but playin

with their privates

and as they got closer to the magic moment

they’d all be getting there at the same time,

they’d start breathin as one

and getting more deep breathin

and then they all’d let er rip

all at the same time. 

They wouldn’t wipe it up afterwards

no shame

just a hearty amen and a good ol smile.

And there would be peace.

 

 

 

Instead of politics or a new year's resolution

The piece below is to be published in the upcoming edition of US 1 Worksheets.  Its a good poetry journal that has poems which are not hard to figure out.  It comes out once a year.  Look it up, maybe you'll want to subscribe.  My best wishes (fingers crossed) for a new year with some more compassion and joy in it.

Ed

 

The Troubadour                           

 

I watch you strumming down my street

inside my leafy suburb.

 

You are not from here

a grizzled troubadour

 

ponytail, scrubby, rutted skin

signs of life lived poorly elsewhere.

 

You sing about your journey

even as I pass you on my street.

 

Underneath my notice

comes in the leisure of your drawl

 

Lend a hand my friend…

Help me to my next horizon

 

I keep heading for a next appointment

wonder where you’re going.

 

Next morning there’s your music

languid looping through my leafy suburb head

 

worming deep inside

I feel the soft and sing song way

 

you stroll and plead

like someone born to be seductive.

Some facts and a point of view about our President Elect

I read a Trump protester’s sign that said “We are better than this”.  We should be and can be but we are not better than this. We and our system got him elected, the media, the people that are attracted to a strongman, the missteps of Hillary which were in the public eye so long, the sexism and racism that are really the unfinished business of America, the anachronism of the Electoral College.

 I was reminded of a meditation on equanimity. I’m aware that as I say these words, many will go away, thinking this is some pointy head sharing his airy fairy bullshit.  But, back to that meditation: “Things are just as they are.  Things are impermanent.  Joy and sorrow arise and pass away.”  Maybe it’s a Buddhist version of “This too shall pass”. But the important thing is the first statement:  Things are just as they are.

For example:

Fact: Donald Trump is now our President Elect. Fact: he lied, slandered and bullied all along the way to get there.  Fact:  Lots of people liked his message. Many candidates before him have done these things, but he did only these things; he was mean, and lots of people liked it. And too many people who didn’t see the peril in his emergence didn’t vote.  One more state in the blue column and he would be giving the concession speech.

In running, and especially in winning, he gives permission to racist, sexist, angry voices who want minorities and women to go back to their former places, who want to believe that Obama (an African American) is ruining America and who long for simple solutions to complex problems like getting steady jobs, pay inequality, immigration and climate change.

He also is promising to allow greed to once again have a voice in the leadership (if you can call it that); voices of people like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and the legislation they want to enact like tax cuts for the wealthy, tossing out all of Obamacare, Dodd-Frank and reopening coal fired plants, maybe even tossing out millions of Mexicans who are IMMIGRANTS, like most of us or our ancestors were.

Mind you, I am not going to be personally the loser in this new world, not in a material way, at least in the short term. In fact, between tax cuts and investment returns, it may be better for me and my family than what is going on now.  That’s what most economists are saying. But, I don’t need a tax cut, and if I get one, I wont spend more than I’m spending now.  Trickle down, doesn’t work. That’s another fact.

There could be lots more facts, but I’ll end with one more. Washington, as its operating, does not work.  Too many people who don’t know how to govern are too easily re-elected to gerrymandered districts. The result is gridlock. So, many folks feel like their government doesn’t care about them and they want to change things. I don’t blame them. I agree. I just wish they wanted a better, more qualified person to promote those changes. It’s too bad Mike Bloomberg didn’t run, or any conservative with a real set of good ideas about what to change and how to get it done. But, as they say “Things are the way they are”.  And I’m going to figure out a way to peacefully but relentlessly, make them impermanent. 

About Passion in Politics

Like many people lately, I’ve been watching a lot of TV, reading a lot and thinking a lot about the upcoming election. There are so many voices already making public their opinions about the candidates, their spouses (Bill and Melania), the state of the country, the current president (and his wife), rigged elections, the state of our democracy, the bias of the media. No sense joining in the tide with my own opinions. 

But there is one thing, maybe not so exciting, in these shrill times, but critical to our well being.  There always has to be feeling and fact in politics.  It’s hard not to be passionate about things that matter; and its not useful to leave passions out.  But there has to be some balance, and we seem out of balance.  If it’s just passion, then, what Roger Cohen of the Times said, is worth a lot of our attention.  I quote him:

“Rage is also a form of dishonesty because it precludes the reflection that leads to truth.”

So, I ask, what is the truth, the whole case, all the relevant data to support the rage based claims I have read or heard. These are all important claims; if they can be tested by facts, we should act on them or dump them.  But facts matter.

“Obama has ruined the country”

“Hillary’s heart is filled with hate”

“We need to build the wall”

“The election is rigged”

I could go on, but you get the point.  Prove it or drop it.  If you insist on it, keep it to yourself. I'd welcome other claims that have been made which you think and feel should have more facts offered.


 

Another Favorite Work of Art

An illuminated manuscript, a picture of a thinker from the 9th century.  From the Morgan Library in New York.  Wish there were more thinkers today...

Summary Block
This is example content. Double-click here and select a page to feature its content. Learn more

Three things I learned about choosing a president

Fit for the job counts the most.

In 1980 I voted for Ronal Reagan. I thought Jimmy Carter a good person but too much of a loner or a micromanager to connect well with Congress or fully utilize the wisdom of his cabinet.  I did not like all that Reagan did, but he knew how to get things done, and in balance got some good things done and along the way fully utilized his cabinet and connected to congress, at least in his first term. Hillary Clinton is not as likable or trustworthy as people want her to be, but she IS experienced in foreign affairs, how congress works and does take advice from others.  Donald Trump is also hardly likable or clearly not trustworthy, but he is oblivious to foreign affairs, how congress works and does not take advice from others. On top of that he is thin skinned and impulsive, hardly what i want in someone who has the nuclear codes. 

Third party candidates create risks of unintended and bad consequences 

In 2000 many people voted for Ralph Nader as a statement of their desire to shake things up in Washington. As a result we got George W. Bush, who was not prepared to be president instead of Al Gore. Bush did not lead as much as he was led by others and by his own adolescent impulses (e.g. to be the "decider"). As a result, in his presidency we also got the biggest financial crisis since the great depression, with untold hardships for millions and the biggest foreign policy disaster in our history, with too many lives lost or injured by Americans and Iraqis and a chaos widening in Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen.  President Gore would not have been without his challenges, but they would not have been at this scale. He had been a Vice President and  a Senator. George W. Bush and Ralph Nader were not. Making statements about my beliefs, like in the Green or Libertarian parties today, should come second to being a responsible citizen; not allowing the wrong person to get into the oval office.

The President does not act alone

Congress counts. The charge has been that Hilary Clinton would bring about more of the same. President Obama did not get much done. We need change and Donald Trump would change things. But, and this is a big But, any president can only do so much. Congress for the last eight years has been devoted more to getting rid of the President than to governing the whole country.   Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader of the Senate, declared that his top priority was "making Obama a one term president".  What happened to his role in seeking better legislation through compromise? There have been areas where the majority of Americans have wanted compromise and did not get it: on infrastructure spending, sensible gun laws, to name two big things that would create lots of jobs and a lot more safety in our streets. But, Citizens United, gerrymandered districts and voter suppression laws have made sure that moneyed interests get their chosen people into congress and once there, those people find it easy to stay.  All they have to do is pay back the people who bought them. They don't give a damn about governing, they just want to stay in office. 

 

Meditation

Lots more people are hearing about meditation. Its come into the mainstream. Many who haven't tried it, if they think of it's possible benefits, think about reducing the stress of a busy life, or reducing anxiety about the future.  Others think, about it in ways that politely dismiss it - it's okay but not for me, i don't need it. As one person, an artist, no less, said to me - "oh, you mean crystal gazing?" "My painting is really a meditation." A big rationale for not trying it out is that, as several people have said "I just can't sit still that long."

But, some do cross the bridge, try it out.  I have and it is hard to sit still, but useful to look at what i do when i'm trying.  The poem below i wrote to try and replicate the experience of those first few months. 

Meditation Virgin

Medication’s solid

chunks of it to swallow

follow through my mouth down into my belly

its tendrils radiate

warm my sense of grace or gratitude or plain relief

a short cut to a glad-that’s-over.

 

Meditation’s not so tangible

a subtle alien

invited into the incessant streaming

plugged into my heartbeats.

No pill to pop.

No tendrils radiate.

 

Just sit and float inside my skin

close my eyes, be still.

Feel my breathing in and out my nose

while I watch it, count to ten

and then again and then again

for heaven’s sake…

 

I’m urged keep at it and deeper you will go

without knowing what that deeper is

Just keep at it.

Try to not get lost in thought

come back gently when you do.

So I do, because I do

 

until a first time when I sense a subtle shift

a soft implosion

my heartbeat slows

my body sinks

I try to hold that feeling.

It floats away like smoke

sidelined by an update of regrets or fears.

 

Faith is hard.

I’m used to payoffs.

So many times I sit inside my skin

and none shows up

until there came that noiseless moment

I was walking with the moon

passing overhead without a comment

and I just let it in

kept walking, following the moon 

and the body turned into that noiseless moment

the moon and I and nowhere else

and there was peace

while I kept walking.