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Sustainable Bliss

a paradigm shift

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Sustainable Bliss
S t o r i e s , G l e a n i n g s , a n d Po e m s
by

Pesach Dahvid Stadlin

OLAM
HAZEH
Cincinnati Jerusalem Philadelphia

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Published by Olam HaZeh Publishing Co.


2016/5776

Printed in Jerusalem, Israel


Copyright 2016 by PESACH DAHVID STADLIN


Cover artwork by Yoram Raanan,
Copyright 2016 YoramRaanan.com
Photography by Pesach Stadlin and friends
Illustrations by Rachel KatzPassow and Joy Payton
amsa by lilmoongoddess

Book design by Aharon Nissan Varady,


http://dimus.parrhesia.press
ISBN-978-1-329-75750-9

www.PesachStadlin.com
info@pesachstadlin.com

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Dedication.
This book is dedicated to the great conversation of clarifying reality... To
the great f iguring out of the great whats going on. To the revelation of
Truth and light in this beautiful broken world.
This book is dedicated to the great designs which are rooted in the great
knowings. To the human tribe living in harmony with themselves and the
others. Out of all the inf inite possibilities which are available to us in each
moment, there is only one singular path which will unfold.
I dedicate this book to the path unfolding,
to you,
and to my Mom,
Miriyam Bat Malcha vYitzchak Halevi.

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Contents.
Introduction.
An Individuated Soul in a Flesh Colored Spacesuit

Mighty Wind: A (We're All) Children's Story

12
16

Stories.
Rainbow Country 22
Central America

29

In the Cave of Light

45

Movin On Up

47

New Paradigm

56

Gringo and the Guate


I Just Swatted a Fly
Standing Still
Passing Ships
Papas
Managua
Since I Left Your Driveway

High as a Kite

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29
32
34
34
37
38
40

49

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Is Real

61

The Other Side

93

The Flute and I


62
I Saw War Today
66
Cataclysmic Wind
68
Tsfat Diaries: We came in at night
69
Bag of Songs 71
Broken Glass 72
Wisdom From a Clone
73
Light in the Dark
74
Katushas and Free Time
74
Sulhita 77
Hug Around Jerusalem
80
Just a Glimpse
82
Equal and Opposite
82
Orange Straps and Blue Dcor
84
My Truth and Your Truth, Sitting by the Fire
85
Flotillas and Facets of Truth
86
Crazy Mountain
88
Looking for G?d
89
Bus Ride
90
Touch N Go
92
Pilots of the Inter-Outer States
92
Bangkok, Thailand
The Monk
Radical Truth
Whos Ganda?
Day of the Show

93
94
96
98
102

Senegal

105

Showtime
Kenyas Burning

Human Era

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102
105
107

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Gleanings.
Change Happens in One Moment
Unhogtying Your Dreams
Sustainable Bliss
Closeness
Semipermeable Auric Membrane
Presence
Sit Spot
Jah is One
Allowing Abundance
Trick for Peacemaking
Love Pain
Surrender
Love Warrior
Self-Lovin
Nothing Just Dies
You Should
Say What You Mean
How Do You Do?
Master of the Center
The Medicine is in the Moment
Seven Spheres
Obstacles
Missin the Train
Why We Do Anything
Best Friend Truths
Empty Vessels
Whats Your Deal?
Apology to Women from all Men

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111
113
114
115
117
119
120
122
128
133
135
137
138
139
140
141
142
143
145
148
150
152
153
154
156
159
160
161

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The Great Should


LOMO
The Meaning of Life

162
165
166

Poems.
Shades of View
Invitation
If
If We Choose To
Medicine Wheel
Invitation 2
You Are
Lost in the Dark
Path Divided
Truth Craves Nothing
Masters of the Human Race
A Mime Stood at the Gallows
Around the Candle
Inspiration
I Do Declare
Scruffy Man with a Face Like Mine
Smile and Breathe
Forces of Shadow
Your Regular Place (Space)
You Say
Hitchhiking Song

Go Further.

Acknowledgements
Not About the Author

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171
175
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178
179
181
182
184
185
186
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190
191
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196
198
200
202
205
207

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When
we amplify our
voices and send them
out into the ther, we never
can know for certain where they
will flow. I pray that this book and
these words are used for good, for
the enhancement of life and creation and illumination, for the
Unification and Healing of
this beautiful, broken
world.

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Introduction.

We are Here.
The few, the proud, the alive!
We give thanks.
Welcome to this book.
Welcome to the most recent moment of your life.
This very moment is on the cutting edge of whats happening
and all that has ever happened!
Let this book remind us of how precious each moment is.
Let it remind us that we are the master co-designers
of our precious lives.
This book is a thanksgiving.
This book is an offering of findings
from my experiments with truth in the forum of life.
The nature of real goodness is that
when it is discovered, it wishes to be shared. Thanks G!d.

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This book is filled with holy secrets, the kind of secrets that want
to live and be shared with everyone. Please take ideas that you find in
this book and go further with them. Books have been major allies to me
along my path and this is my way of adding to the written conversations.
The book is divided into three sections: Medicine stories, Poems and
Perennial Truths. Feel free, and feel free to flip around in this book and
turn to random pages.
Secret N o.1: the Stories in this book are not fully real.
If you have something amazing to do, go do it right now. If you
have any sort of love mischief to partake in, put this book down and
go do it. Because this book isnt fully real. Well, the book is, but the
stories inside are not fully real. They really happened. The old wooden
sailboat, the redwood tree-sit, the Miracle-making magical tortoise-oflove motorhome dubbed Mira, the missiles, the war, the white-haired
monk on the top of the mountain in Thailand.

And stories are so holy and such important medicine in this world.
They illuminate doors of possibility. But nothing trumps actually living
your own story. So if you need to go write a love note, tell someone the
truth, connect with a tree, or balance the universe on your nose, go do
that first. When you think youve run out of holy love missions, come
back to this book.

AN INDIVIDUATED SOUL
IN A FLESH COLORED SPACESUIT
I have found that most great truths come in pairs. They are often
called opposites or paradox. I call them best friend truths. These seemingly opposing ideas usually work really well when balanced together.
If you are only connected to one of the two best friend truths, there is
usually suffering. It is likely that the suffering we experience from being
out of balance is there to propel us into a balanced alignment.

For example: One of the great best friend truths is that we are all
interconnected in a great oneness and at the same time we are each
individuated. We are colors of the rainbow and we are the light. The
Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life.

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Introduction 13
So here I am. An individuated soul in a flesh colored spacesuit,
clinging to a wet molten life-pulsating mud heap thats hurling through
time and space, getting hip to whats going on. Getting hip. Hippies.
The spiritual path. Paying attention to how reality functions. Playing.
Experimenting. Noticing. Im taking notes, and on a good day Im
walking and talking with that knowledge.
Once upon a time, across a mighty ocean, over a giant mountain
and through the darkest forest, there was an epic unacclaimed race.
Millions took part in the mighty swim. I was there. I swam for dear life,
upstream against the raging acidic currents. All died except for one. Me
(and you).
At the end of the race, there was a great unification celebration
and a light that I cannot describe. After that, I was in a dark place.
Surrounded by warm salty water. All sound and light trickled and
bubbled to me in a filtered slow motion organic blur. Though I was
completely taken care of, I felt alone. I reached out my hand-fin and
felt an other.
My parents conceived my Identical twin brother Yoni and Me in
communist Soviet Russia at the height of the Cold War. They were
Americans smuggling in Jewish paraphernalia to refuseniks, Jews who
had applied for exit visas and were rejected, not allowed to leave the
country and not allowed to practice their ancient wisdom tradition of
Judaism.
When I was seven my Dad got a Winnebago motorhome. It had
an overhang bed that stuck out above and in front of the driver. It had
a bubble window. Id sit up there alone for hours and watch the dotted
lines flash by. I havent been the same since.

After fourteen years of schooling I knew that I had much to learn


and even more to unlearn. The first thing my genetic replica Yoni and I
did with our freshly acquired deinstitutionalized freedom was to pick up
Mira (the Miracle-making magical tortoise-of-love motorhome). She
was colored like a 1970s Burger King and her entire engine regularly
needed replacement. We made up a custom that when the engine would
break and we were on the side of the road, before we would open the
hood to diagnose, we would pull out the instruments and play some
happy tunes.
Driving figure-eights around America in Mira, filled with gypsies,
hippies, punks, and shamans, everyday was a dance with the unknown.
People would often say, Hey man, you should read some Kerouac, you

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know, On the Road And I would say, But I am on the road. I am


actually doing it. My bus has characters on it with names like Zuzu,
Scout, Stubert Q Public, Moses, and Mae-Song. And just yesterday
we learned firsthand that angels usually just look like regular everyday
people. Why would I stop actually doing it, living it, to read about
someone else doing it?

Its good to hear stories. Every intact culture, recent or ancient, has
some form of storytelling. But sometimes when we tell stories through
mediums like the TV, the experience of the viewer is so deep and
convincing that we feel in the body like we have actually experienced
whatever happened in the story. The subconscious mind gets duped and
be-lives/feels it actually was just chasing a dragon or saving a life or
going on an adventure, while in this reality we were just sitting, motionless, staring into a light-emitting box.
Objectively, right this moment, you are holding rectangular pieces
of dehydrated tree-pulp with black markings on it up to your rhythmically scanning eyeballs, which are sending signals and thoughts and
liquids into your entire body!
You are now translating this word.
Now this word.
Word.
Hungry and Satiated. Best friend truths. I pray that as you read these
stories, you dont live through them and that you dont feel completely
satiated when you close this book. I pray that you are left thirsty and
craving for that which your unique soul desires. And at the same time
(or slightly staggered) I hope that you feel a shtickle satiated. Hungry
and Satiated. Happily connected to the blessing of what is now, and a
yearning for beyond. That is a very healthy posture.
You, the reader, are in an epic story right this second. Youve
never not been. Youve never been separate from an amazing, unique,
fluke-of-a-possibility, 1 divided by infinity, winner of the amazing
race story that is your life. You, the main character in your story, have
decided to stop everything else you were doing and could be doing, and
you picked up this book. I am grateful for the opportunity to spend even
a moment in this holy space betwixt your ears.

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Introduction 15

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MIGHTY WIND

A (Were All) Childrens Story


There once was a village of creatures who lived atop the highest
of mountains where the mightiest of winds always blew. This mighty
wind would carry with it all types of food and precious gifts, and when
a creature was in need all he had to do was reach out his hand into the
air stream and pluck that which he desired. The villagers lived very well
and were quite content, until one day one of the creatures spoke out,
saying, This wind is truly mighty and a blessing, but I fear that one day
it will decide to stop blowing and we will surely all perish.

That very same day, that very same creature constructed a net to
capture and collect that which blew freely in the sky. He was quite
pleased with himself and began to acquire abundance.

The next morning there was a knock at the door. A worried neighbor came to express that for the first time in her life, when she reached
to the wind for food, it was barren.
Just as I told you, exclaimed the collecting creature! There will
be a time when this mighty wind will be unkind. You must construct a
taller and more sophisticated net if you wish to survive.

So the neighbor did just that, and in a matter of weeks the entire
village was covered with giant nets that reached to the sky and cast a
mighty shadow.
The nets did as nets do, and the food and precious gifts were in
abundance for some. Oftentimes the nets captured more than could be
collected. Food would rot in the giant nets and broken gifts would pile
up in fly infested mounds.

Some creatures grew large while others grew sick. Hungry creatures from neighboring villages soon began to move in. Life became
complicated and people grew unhappy. The netless would congregate
beneath the giant nets and glean what would fall. Those with giant nets
would spend all of their time improving their nets, and though they had
abundance, they too were not content.

Time went on. Generations passed and the wind kept blowing.
This way of the nets became the norm. The village grew big and dirty,
and the creatures lived this way without questioning for many years,

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Introduction 17

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until one day one did. This young creature, the owner of a medium
sized net, had been sung songs and told stories by his grandmothers of
a simpler time when there were no nets and people lived in harmony
with creation.

He took down his net and tied it around his belly. As the mighty
wind blew, it filled the net like a sail and lifted him high into the air.
At first, he looked down and was afraid he would fall. Then he looked
up and saw a giant net that almost touched the clouds! He was headed
straight for it and he was afraid. For a moment he wished he was back
on the ground. Then he closed his eyes and remembered the songs and
stories that his grandmother told. He believed in the mighty wind, and
he believed he would be ok. Just then, the mighty wind gusted and blew
him high above the nets, far above the village. He was happy and flying.
Food and precious gifts were always within an arms reach.
The village people all gathered around to look at the boy who was
dancing in the wind and eating in abundance. They pointed and shouted
up to the boy and asked him: How do you fly?
Just take down your nets and surrender to the wind! he responded.
But not one of the villagers did as he said.

Some thought he was a Godly angel and some thought he was crazy,
but no one saw him as a simple boy whom they could emulate.

Eventually, he flew away. From the clouds he spotted a village that


was filled with colors. As he got closer he heard singing. When he
landed he was greeted with huge smiles. He had landed in a Rainbow
village that was far enough from the shadow of the nets that the wind
still carried a trickle of food and precious gifts. Rainbow villagers would
sail up high to harvest and then come back down with precious gifts to
share.
At night, the Rainbow villagers would often sneak into the net
cities and repair broken gifts and secretly leave them at the feet of the
needy.
One night, the boy who could fly climbed to the top of a very tall
net. He sang songs with the mighty wind while the city was asleep.

As he looked out from the top of the net, he could see the tremendous pressure of the wind pushing against the clogged nets. He could
hear the moan of the bending nets about to break and the song of the
mighty wind gathering strength. He howled with the mighty wind and
placed a precious gift at the bottom of the net.

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Introduction 19

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This story, this very story, is one of those gifts, from the Rainbow
village of creatures to you. The mighty wind is real. The nets are real.
You are... There are many ways this story can unfold, but there is only
one ending, which will be mighty and windy. And this ending will be
just the beginning.

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Stories 21

Stories.

Experiments with Truth.

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RAINBOW COUNTRY
I am at the World Rainbow Gathering Peace Festival in the backhills of Costa Rica. People here smell of campfire and fresh, clean, river
water mixed with patchouli and morning breath. Cheeks are sun-kissed
and glow with a light that comes from eating fresh produce and staying
up all night by a fire. There is no one leader, no one religion, no money
requirement. There are peace warriors here from over fifty-five different
countries. We sit in multilingual circles and chant songs of peace and
celebrate life. We honor the diversity of the tribes within the human
family. We attempt to live in conscious harmony with each other and
with creation. Strangers here are treated as brother and sister. It is not
perfect utopia, but at least it is trying to be.
We are camped out in a rainforest in little villages. To get here I
took a bus to the middle of nowhere and then hitchhiked on the backs
of open air pick-up trucks deeper into the unknown and then a mountain hike by foot. These gatherings happen in the United States each
July and get over twenty thousand people. There is a village/campsite
for the Buddhists, one for the Christians, one for the Yogis, one for the
Jews, one for people who like to sleep in hammocks up in trees called
Ewok Village, one called Montana Mud where theres always coffee
brewing. Kiddie Village where kids bliss out and make music and experiment with life, one called Lovin Oven where they make ovens out
of mud and bake all day and night and and and...Everyone does their
own thing, carries their own unique medicine in a way that leaves room
for others to do the same.
Lennon had us imagine...Imagine there is no religion, no countries...
Its nice to imagine, and there is a sacred aspect of us that is beyond
beyond all labels, logos, borders, or skin tones. At the same time, there
exists distinction, flavors, contrast, and variance in this world. They are
both true. Best friend truths. When embraced, these distinctions are the
secret that brings beauty to the rainbow and to this world. The purple
shines with its full purpleness (Hebrew Am Segulah) and in the same
moment celebrates and revels in the indigo beside her.

The world is asking us to know who we are. To come with our


medicine, to share our unique gifts, to come with our deepest color and

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Stories 23
at the same time to know that we are all light.
At the campfire, Rabbi Moishe Gellar, the holy Rainbow Rabbi of
Jerusalem Camp (may he be blessed with an abundance of everything
good!), says like this:
(We are here) to really be like the Shamans of all of the tribes of
the world who are able to channel down the unified vision of the
One and the Only One.
Before any separation.

Because what are we trying to do?

We are trying to get back to the garden.

Were trying to get to that place where we know the world, we


know G-d, the way Adam and Eve knew before...they ate.
That is where we're trying to get to...

This place (the Rainbow Gathering), unknowingly and knowingly is a reflection of that hunger that Creator placed deep
inside us to get back to that place.
Things get put in balance here.

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In a world of extreme sadness there needs to be a place of extreme joy.
And in a world of extreme abuse there needs to be a place of
extreme healing.
One good act balances out a whole lot of evil acts.
You never know...

I am awakening...The fierce sun-heat meanders its way down through


the canopy and flickering puzzle pieces of light kiss my cheek. It is morning and it is a special day, a holy day. Today is our Prayer for World
Peace day. As I roll out of my hammock and my bare feet reconnect with
the soft jungle floor, I look around to see my community in complete
silence. Everyone is spending the morning in silent, prayerful meditation to prepare for the big ceremony. Of course the silence is never
fully silent. I can hear giggles and chatter and often my reoccurring
meditation on this special morning is on accepting and incorporating
the imperfections, the noise...

It is Rainbow noon; the sun sits in the middle of the sky. Everyone
is signaling that it is time. Thousands of us converge along foot paths to
the main meadow in our finest clothes and with our finest open hearts.
We hold hands and make the biggest circle your mind can imagine.
Sometimes over twenty thousand people circling! I can barely see the
people on the other side of the circle, though Im connected to them.
Mountains surround and hold this meadow. Out of the silence emerges
a sound. With a prayer for peace on Earth we exhale an ancient prayer
sound of Aum or Shalom or... Thousands of us are focusing and harmonizing on the same prayer with the same sound at the same time,
and time quickly evaporates. I cannot explain with words what happens
during this prayer, nor can I attest to how long it lasts. The part of me
that dwells inside of the vessel that is my body often goes joy-riding
outside of my body during this ceremony.
The children from Kiddie Village are gathered on the side of a
mountain. They are decorated with bright colors and face paint. They
come running down the mountainside singing a song of peace. Were
a circle, made of children. Were a family, singing our song. There aint
nothin that can stop us. Rainbow Lovin is much too strong. They shatter the sacred prayer circle with their innocence. Trumpets and ram's
horns are sounded. Instantaneously hundreds of drums are pounded.

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Stories 25
The Aum transforms into coyote howls and yelps from the depths of our
being. The drums pick up a rhythm and a great dance is danced.

The day after a ceremony is a sacred day to me. Its the day where
things resettle. Its the moment of silence just after your favorite song. It
is Shivasanah at the end of your Yoga practice. Issru Chag, in Hebrew. I
decided to go down to the river at the bottom of the steep jungle valley
to sit with the monkeys, toucans, and birds of paradise to reflect. The
path was steep and slippery. I said out loud, Someone should really
build stairs here, as I kept walking. An elder happened to be walking in
the other direction at the same moment. Without looking me in the eye
and without deviating from his path and with no hint of condescension
he muttered to me, with an ethnic raspy voice, through a long white
beard and mustache, When you are shown work to do, it is first and
foremost your responsibility to do it, and he kept walking. I stopped,
pondered for a while, and then spent the rest of the day building stairs
to the river for myself and my community.

The next day, lying in my hammock with the flaps pulled up and
wrapped around me like a cocoon, I awoke to the pitter-patter sound
of someone walking through my campsite. I figured it was one of my
friends, so I popped my head out to share a smile and say hello. When
I did, I found someone who I had never seen before. He looked to be
around 15 and his clean Adidas shirt and his high-top shoes led me to
believe that he was a local and that this was his first time at a Rainbow.
The whole idea of a Rainbow is inclusivity. We celebrate the diversity of
the tribes. Each color celebrated. Yet there rarely are urbanized Adidaswearing teens at the gatherings. One day...
As I popped out my head, the boy was very startled and jumped
back several feet. It seemed he had thought he was alone. I was still half
in a dream state and I said, Hey man, whats up? Through a nervous
and jittery voice he said, Ohhh, well I was just looking for some water
for my campSee, I got this empty jug and I need to fill it.
I said, Sorry brother, I dont got none.

He walked away sketchily and he met up with his friend who had
also been walking alone. When I put my head back down in my hammock, I reflected on how shady that interaction was. I felt that maybe
the boy was a thief, but I didnt know what to do or what to think about
it. What if he was just lost and wandering at his first gathering. It would
have been so hurtful to insinuate or even think that he had malicious
intentions. The Sages teach to see the good in all people. When we focus

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on the good in a person or a situation, we grow that part of them. Were


also told to always judge our fellows favorably. So I popped my head out
again to look at the boys and to give them my silent blessing.

When I looked out of my hammock this second time I saw the two
boys walking through someone elses empty campsite. I noticed how
their eyes hungrily fixated on objects that lay strewn about the campsite.
And at that moment I knew I was involved. I was so tired. Id basically
just gone to bed after a whole night of drumming and dancing, but I
knew that if those boys stole something, it could ruin someones day.
And because I had seen them with my eyes, I was involved. My karma
was tied up and tangled with theirs. If I did nothing and someone got
robbed, it would be as if I stole someones car keys.
I rolled out of the hammock and headed into the forest in the direction I had last seen them. When I caught up to them they were surprised
to see me. Instead of putting out words and energies against them, I
decided to get close to them. I decided to play the fool.
Holy brothers! Im so sorry I sent you off with no water! I dont
have any, but I know right where there is some great water. Come, Ill
show you where it is and even help you carry it.
They looked at each other, and chuckled at my navet.

Were cool man. We actually got some water and drank it since
we last seen you.

I knew they were lying because there was no water between where
we were and my campsite. I still hadnt seen them steal anything or
actually do anything wrong. There were two of them and one of me. In
my head I decided that I needed support. I needed an elder. In order
for me to go and fetch an elder, Id need them to stay put.
Hey brothers, would you like to get elevated? I said.
Yeah, sure! they replied.

With that, we three sat down on a log in the middle of the forest
and made small talk while I fed them broccoli. They partook and partook and I kept feeding them until they could take no more. They could
barely move or speak. With each breath old synaptic attachments to old
stories evaporated. We laughed together.

I told them I had to leave, we said goodbye, and I danced up the


mountain and quickly found two elders from a camp called Warriors
of Light. As we three walked down to the place where I had left the

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Stories 27
boys, I described the story to the elders as I just did to you. When we
got to the log, the boys were gone. We three decided to split up, and if
one found them he would make three calls of the raven and we would
reconvene.

The Rainbow Gathering is a tribal community. Naturally there


are disputes that arise and sometimes decisions have to be made and
consequences allowed to happen. If there is ever a quarrel that demands
the attention of community, a shantasinah is called (coming from the
Sanskrit word shanti, which means peace and harmony). When a member of the community yells shantasinah, the listener is to turn around,
yell shantasinah, and then move quickly to make a circle around the
dispute.
I walked around for a bit trying to pick up the boys trail, but I
didnt find them. As I started to get back into my hammock I had a
nice check-in with myself. I told myself that I had done my best. I
followed my intuition and even though the suspicious boys were never
confronted, I did my best and I felt that my karma was clear.

I spend a lot of time in the forest. I practice moving fluidly through


the trees and I do exercises that sharpen and heighten awareness. For
example, I might sit and stare at a point across the forest and blow wide
open my peripheral vision so that I can simultaneously see birds and
bugs flying way out on the left side of my visual field, trees swaying, and
maybe even a fox walking by all the way on the right, all at the same time.
Well call this type of vision owl eyes. At the same time, while my eyes
are open and my vision is wide, I will open my ears to the multitudes of
subtle sounds. While holding all of this visual and auditory information,
Ill open my nose to olfactory hues. This is the best way I have found to
really be here now. Come back to the senses. As we cultivate greater
awareness and clarity and connectivity to the outside world, so too do
we see more of the multifaceted, subtle world going on inside of us (for
more on this see the chapter Sit Spot in the Gleanings section).
I had one foot in my hammock, when through the trees I heard the
softest of softest sounds. Had my mind been blabbering even the slightest, I surely wouldnt have picked it up. It was the call of shantasinah! It
came on the wind from far away. It was so subtle that I doubted it for a
moment, but then I remembered that Id just been tracking two possible
thieves for the last two hours and it was quite possibly related. I put on
my shoes as I planned on moving quickly through the trees. I love running down mountains. I love being a little bit out of control, unable to

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stop. I use Kerouacs running-down-the-mountain-mantra of I cannot


fall off the mountain, and its worked well so far.

I glided and snaked down the side of the mountain like water. After
a few minutes I got to a valley where there was a dirt road and some
Rainbow hippies sitting around a fire singing. I asked them if theyd
heard a shantasinah call. They said no. But through the forest, in the
edge of my periphery, I barely saw a person running through the trees at
a speed that most hippies dont ever like to move at. I was in top physical form as it was July and I had just come out of a season of farming.
I yelled shantasinah and plotted an interception course through the
woods and started running up the side of the valley at full speed. As I
got closer, I recognized the two boys and about fifty feet behind was a
herd of fifteen angry Rainbow hippies chasing. I ran alongside the boys
for a while. They were terrified and ripped out of their minds as they
ran. It occurred to me that I could have lovingly tackled one of them,
but I didnt want to hurt them by accident. I yelled, STOP! and they
stopped.
They said, We didnt do anything! Why are they chasing us!?

I said, Stop running and well find out. All were going to do for
now is talk about it.

The posse of Rainbows arrived several seconds later. One of them


had clenched fists. Hed seen one of the boys going through his tent and
he was missing some things.
We sat. It took two hours to get everyone to sit. We sat. We made a
talking stick. It circled. Everyone spoke. Not everyone was listening, so
we took all of the men out of the circle and left the two boys with five
Rainbow sisters. The boys almost immediately broke down crying. After
four more hours of circling, the boys were escorted to an elder, and I
curled up in my hammock and fell into a deep sleep.
This story was compiled from several different gatherings.

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CENTRAL AMERICA
Backpacking Journal

Gringo and the Guate

For the last week Ive been practicing a self-prescribed slowness


meditation exercise. My regular pace in life is quite slow. Ive taken it
to the next level. I never have to meet up with anyone, or be anywhere
at anytime. I walk everywhere, on dirt footpaths, in this mindful little
meditation town called San Marco de Atitlan, step by step. I climb cliffs
by the lake like a cat in slow motion. No schedule, nowhere else to be,
no time, only time, no distractions, divine interactions, no excuses. I
swing on the swing and have nowhere else to be. I have a second-story
bungalow with my own porch tucked behind palm trees and fruit trees,
by the enchanted Guatemalan lake that is surrounded by sheer cliffs and
volcanoes.
I keep crossing paths with many old friends from around the world,
without planning.
They say its a small world. Looks pretty huge to me! To say, its a
small world, at amazing serendipitous synchronistic moments is blasphemous! What if the several administering angels who had worked
countless hours of overtime, and who did huge stacks of paperwork
to make these chance meetings happen, were over-listening as we
DEamaze ourselves in amazing moments? Its a huge world after all,
and thats not even taking into consideration the size of the universe or
the vastness of time. Lets stay amazed, people!
Ive been writing endlessly and I think within the next year I will
have a book! Ive been writing so much that my normal thinking voice
has transformed to my writing voice. Once when I was a painter, when I
would see a beautiful sunset or gaze at a magnificent tree, the first thing
my advanced monkey brain would do was figure out how Id mix the
colors on a palette.
Everything is as its supposed to be and there will be a new reality
after this reality.
At least thats what this world keeps telling me.
Even down here, amidst this rampant disparity,
between the haves and the nots.
The Gringos and the Guates.

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Truth is, were all given different gifts. Gifts that know no price
tag. Gifts that hold the key to overcoming the struggles that were each
given. We spend so much time distracted, colluded, with third-eye polluted. No mas.

Yesterday a Catholic Mayan woman, who was sure I was related to


Jesus (hair was down, flowing cloths, ridiculously slow walking pace), sat
down beside me in a cafe and asked me if I be-lived in the after-inferno
(Hell). I said no. She said, what about evil? I told her that I knew nothing. Then I told her that I saw in this world forces of light and forces of
darkness. I described, in broken Spanish, forces of darkness as any forces
that distract or detach us from experiencing sublime oneness. And that
force is going to look different for different people. If you can see the
oneness in the TV and in the rampant slathers of concrete, so be it. But
if you are distracted...if the rubber soles on your feet are doubling as
rubber soles on your soul, its in all of our best interest, for the sake of
closeness and unification, to discard them at once. She laughed at me,
and I laughed, and we drank more caf while watching boats come in.

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I Just Swatted a Fly

I just swatted a fly. Im sitting alone up on a porch, nuzzled behind


palm branches and fruit trees beside the enchanted lake in Guatemala.
I just had a high council meeting with the joint chiefs of staff and got
my notebook out to write and I swatted a fly. I thought it was a bee. I
thought it would just fly away.

After the back of my hand it smacked into a wall, careened into a


chair, and crash-landed on the yellow table in front of me. Its the only
thing on the table besides a half-smoked cigarette. The fly is dying in
front of me. I must have broken its wing. He is on his back twitching.
He was flying so close to my arm and he is big, the size of a bee, and
I thought he might sting me. He is moving slower. Hes reaching out
his arms, looking for something to hold on to, and finds nothing. There
is merengue in the distant background, and if I didnt know better I
might think he was dancing. He is not. He is dying. I wonder what he is
thinking. If he is nervous. If he has regret. Hes wiggling. Hes wiggling
toward the edge of the table. He is at the edge of the table and staring
me straight in the face.
Why? he mutters.

I thought you were gonna sting me, man! I said to the dying fly.
So you killed me?

I didnt mean to kill you, I thought youd just shoo away. Im


sorry, man. I truly am. Hey, can I ask you something?
OK.

Well, whats it like?


Whats what like?

Ya know, being almost dead?

Well, I hadnt really thought about it until now. It was really just
something that was happening to me. But, I guess Id say that being
almost dead is a totally new set of feelings unlike any other. It would
be like me attempting to explain what salt tasted like to someone who
had never tasted it. Besides, feelings dont really translate well into
words. Feelings themselves are expressions, translations of our souls
experience of a situation. They then get filtered through our monkey
minds in an attempt to understand them through thought. Then in a
distant fourth step the thoughts get translated and transmitted into

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words. Then lastly absorbed into the receiving minds thoughts. Its really a whole big mess and tons of information gets lost and rearranged
along each step.
Well, how about something that you learned?

Well, I do remember one particular thought I had. While I was


reaching out my arms looking for something to hold on to, I saw a
struggling maggot sitting on a branch. I used to think I was above him
and I pitied his plight. Now, lying on my back, so close to what looks
like the end, it occurred to me that the maggot with all of his problems - is so blessed just to be alive, alive and struggling. My one regret
is that I wish I would have had this appreciation while I had my time,
my time to be alive, my time to struggle and my time to celebrate.
Well hey, hold on one sec little buddy. I said.

Let me flip you over onto your feet. Maybe this isnt the end!
So I did just that.

I flipped him over gently with the soft pink eraser on the end of
my pencil.
He bent his legs up and down a few times.
Legs work! the bug exclaimed.

Then he tried to flap his wings. A pang of pain jolted to his wincing face as his left wing dangled limp.
My wings busted, but I believe I will live to see another day!

Just then, a blue-green bird with an orange beak appeared on the


table, popped the bug in her mouth, tilted her head back, and swallowed.
Bug disappeared, then reappeared as blue-green bird flaps her wings
and flies away leaving the yellow table empty, besides the half-smoked
cigarette.
So, the truth is, the bug didnt come to the edge of the table and
talk to me. I made that whole part up. Here is what really happened. I
swatted the bug and he landed on the table. I just watched him for a
while until he stopped moving. So I got up, and there was a beautiful
gray feather on the wooden porch floor, directly between me and the
bug. I walked over the feather, up to the table, and saw that it wasnt a
bee but a beetle. Recently trained in CPR and First Aid, I checked for
vital signs and received none. I flipped him onto his belly, hovered my
hands over his body, and tried a Jesus trick. No dice.

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In Haddasah Hospital, next to once-Prime Minister Ariel Sharons


catatonic comatose body, sits a greasy shwarma wrap from his favorite
stand. The thinking is that the smell will entice awakefulness.

I poured a capful of purified gringo water next to the beetles mouth


and got back to writing. I was getting deep into my writing (some fantasy about a talking bug) when all the sudden some neurons that live on
the edge of my retina started flaring about some commotion in my periphery. It was the beetle! He was barely moving. I grabbed crumbs from
my Clif bar and placed them by his faintly breathing mouth. Some time
later, in a triumphant, unacclaimed resurrection, the beetle buzzed off,
then onto my shoulder for a moment, where we discussed many things.

Standing Still

Im standing still. I will not move until an urge arises in me


that must be acted upon. I am on the porch of my hostel in Antigua,
Guatemala. It is morning. I play the blues on my six-string when two
Swiss German girls appear on my porch. They are screaming the blues
in Swiss German. A crowd has gathered below my porch. Smiles all
around. After several hours of jamming I come downstairs. A young
Canadian woman invites me to lunch. She tells me that she is on her way
to an orphanage on the other side of Guatemala, called Casa Guatemala,
which is run by international volunteers. Four hours later I am on a bus
with a new friend to a new place. My entire life indelibly rerouted.

Passing Ships

I moved into the Casa Guatemala electricity-less orphanage volunteer house at night and had to set up my bed by candlelight. When
I went to pick up my mosquito net/animal shield there was a thick,
hairy spider the size of my palm sitting on it. It was the type of spider
that looked like an animal rather than an insect. I squished it. As I was
tucking in the corners of my bed, I found staring me in the face a brown
scorpion. He was frozen. So was I. I squinted my eyes and drew first,
reaching for my flip-flop. He scampered. I pinned him down on the
mattress, but he wasnt squishing. I reached down to grab my other flipflop and the scorpion got away. I looked everywhere in that tiny room
for over an hour. Nothing. I couldnt sleep in the bed knowing there was
a little dude in it, so I set up my hammock and fell asleep. When I woke
up there was a giant stallions head four inches away from mine, through

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a ratty screen window, breathing heavily. Welcome home!

Then came the kiddies. Its inherent, intrinsic in all children the
desire to love and be loved and be held and to touch and to feel safe.
Its in all of us big people too, but we are better at not getting it. These
kids wear it on their sleeves. Everywhere I walk theres one of them
holding each of my fingers, craving connection. Ive been spending a
lot of time with the Verones pequenos, the little dudes. Yesterday we
commandeered an inflatable boat and fourteen of us paddled forty-five
minutes to a dock in the neighboring roadless river town of Las Bresas
on the Rio Dulce. 86 degrees, blue skies, sunshine daydreams, no time,
only time, the light breeze was at our back both ways. We pretended to
be pirates. We sang like pirates. I taught them to Yarrr at passing ships,
and when we got to the empty dock we swam for hours and had soda
and cookies. I passed out fishing hooks and strings and the kids were so
excited to be fishing in an exotic new place. The fish were in fact bigger
in Las Bresas and we caught and ate many.
On the ride back to the orphanage I got caught in a quandary. We
were paddling and singing, a bunch of happy wet boys, and a motor boat
pulled beside us and asked if we needed a tow. Naturally we Yarred! at

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them and threatened to board their vessel. We definitely did not need
a tow, as the journey itself was pure bliss. But part of me wanted to
allow the man in the boat the good feeling of getting to help a boat full
of orphans (even though we didnt really need help). Maybe it would
have made his day. He would have felt lifted like a hero. I told him no
thanks, we were fine. I found out two days later that the man on the boat
had terminal cancer and doctors gave him only a few more months. Im
thinking of erring on the side of sharing bliss and expanding goodness
whenever possible. Its wise to assume that all people are in dire need
of any form of elevation/love connection. Living, loving, and learning.

Papas

This might be the funniest, saddest thing that ever happened to


me. I stayed at the orphanage for nine months and was in charge of the
three-year-olds for some time. For the first seven months I had never
seen a single child get adopted.

One of our girls was a precious three-year-old named Manuela.


She was pure love. She had a hole on the top of her palate and could

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not speak. When another child at the orphanage would have a visitor,
maybe an uncle or aunt, Manuela would always follow them around and
pretend that they were her parents. She always yearned to be held (like
all of us) but there were rarely enough arms with time.

One day we got word from the capital that Manuela actually had a
father and he was coming to pick her up in two days! We cried and celebrated and started planning her send-off. The meeting was almost over
when a friend spoke up and said, Someone needs to go tell Manuela
that A) She has a father, and B) Hes coming to pick her up in two days.
All eyes fell on me. The group thought I should be the one to tell her,
as I usually tucked her into bed at night and she really liked getting lost
in my beard. I initially protested. I had never told anyone something so
important in my life and I had just barely learned Spanish (from the
three-year-olds!).
I remember sitting in the playroom just watching her. I knew that
I had words in my head that, once released, would forever change her
everything. You know when you have something so huge that you just
have to tell your someone? But how to start the conversation?
I sat her on my lap. We smiled at each other. My heart was racing.

I said in Spanish, Manuela, you know how Rudolpho has a


mother who sometimes comes to visit him?
Yes, she nodded.

Well guess what, you have a dad! Your very own dad, and in two
days your dad is coming to pick you up and take you out of here. And
your dad is going to love you good and hold you at night and feed you
and and and...I went on and on. Her jaw was completely dropped, and
her eyes protruded.
Padre in Spanish means father.
PaPA is short for dad.

Only thing was that instead of saying paPA, I said papas.


Papas means potato.

I had just told Manuela that she had her very own potato, and her
potato was going to love her and care for her and this potato was coming in two days to take her away and hold her and tuck her in at night
and and and...I was always making up fantasy with her, so I guess she
believed me...Luckily, there was a Spaniard sitting behind me to correct
my words.

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Two days later Papa arrived. All the children were out playing in the
river. I stood next to him on the bank of the river and pointed out to him
his daughter. He cried and eventually they left together.
I, too, left soon after.

I feel like the Little Prince must have felt, always getting shifted
around and shown different worlds. Jerusalem, New York, Guatemala,
all in four days. Customs, manners, traditions, black hats, skyscrapers,
open markets, orange Fanta, traffic lights, golden glow, Times Square,
Temple Mount, Mayan moon, mango trees, and sugar cane. Taxi cabs
with fast lanes, Holland Tunnel, rice and beans, different rhythms, different speeds, and trees and birds and bees, some say thank you some
say please, hammock beds and candlelight, soccer football Friday nights.
Isms, schisms, political dismay. Gringo for a day. Here for a day. Welcome
home for a day. Traveler for a day. Freak for a day. Up a tree for a day.
In a war for a day. In a boat for a day. On the road for a day. On a stage
for a day. In love for a day. In light for a day. Lost for a day. Im a child
for a day. Im yours for a day. Then Im gone for a day. This old way,
this old way. Its the way that I know living, and it keeps on sending me
spinning to places and faces and crazy intersections on unmarked roads
with cryptic billboards that say things likeAlways move toward and
never run away. Never straight, but always forward.

Managua

In Managua, Nicaragua its a hard decision whether to take my


money with me to dinner and risk getting mugged or leave it in the
hotel room and risk getting robbed. This capitol city is dark and grim
to me, and built on a volcano next to one of the most polluted lakes in
the hemisphere. Next to the lake sits a giant garbage dump thats always
burning and blowing billows of black poison into the air. People live in
the dump and jump on as garbage trucks roll in, searching and fighting
over the scraps. There is a nice part of town adorned with a pair of
golden arches, where sad mariachis with dirty sportcoats that are too big
will sing you a song for a buck. Five years ago they built their first mall,
and it is said that villagers came from hundreds of miles away to ride the
escalator for free. Up and down, up and down. Every decade or three a
hurricane slaps her in the face or an earthquake drops her to her knees.
The old downtown burnt down so they left it abandoned and built next
door. This town feels lawless, like no one is watching. Like the Wild
West minus the glamor of the gold rush.

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So I write this prayer:
Creator, please bring clean water.
Jah, bring peace to the land.
With guidance and protection
The flower is birthed from the sand.
Babylon, transform from your cocoon.
Now is the time
for its never too soon.

Awake in this world. Ive nibbled on the tree of knowledge and I


have tasted fruits from the tree of life. Sometimes it tastes like Heaven
and sometimes it makes me sick. This reality can be excruciating if you
stare at it too long with the same foggy glasses on. I hold deep suffering
and I experience radical pleasure. I am awakening in this world.

Since I Left Your Driveway

Letter written to my holy elder brother Jamie after leading a service


learning trip to Honduras with the American Jewish World Service.
Since I left your driveway...

Anywhere Fun Russ got my sail so reefed before that early morning flight, I could barely stand at the check-in. My eyes were the
kind of heavy that eyes get from being on the road a while, seeing
so much, and staying up all night. We didnt say goodbye to each
other. Russ and I have our own little game like that. No hug. No
ceremony. Just a see you soon and a smirk. We only see each other
on big adventures. Alaska, Israel, Costa Rica, Mt. Sinai at 3 a.m.
on a camel head spun, safety meeting on the side of an ancient
endangered redwood clipped onto a 160 foot long rope. Anywhere
fun. So I walk up to the counter and put my tattered passport on
the counter, the passport that got dropped in the Jordan River and
that my Patchouli oil spilled all over in my pack, and the check-in/
check-out lady says, One round trip ticket from Cleveland to
Taayhjuuuhhhh? I looked up at her. How do you say that, sir?
she said with a clenched brow and a smile. I looked up out of my
daze and let my cheeks be light and said, Teh-Guh-Si-Gul-Pah,
Tegucigalpa. Its the capitol of Honduras. And I began to blab

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about where I thought I thought I was going. And she said wow
and wished me luck, and it was really only then that I gave any
real thought to where I thought I was going. I knew it had good
ingredients for a special time, but I had spent no time planning
or plotting or even imagining. I think people call that getting
excited. So, are you getting excited for your trip? I always hear
people say. Im trippin right now, lady, I say to myself, and so are
you.
Sometimes its hard going through security with a beard and hair
and dark skin, and some people think I look like Osama. Jesus or
Osama. Never in between. Never, Hey man, did anyone ever tell
you, you look just like that actor? Just Jesus or Osama. So I carry
in one hand my wooden flute and in my other my guitar, the one
that has no case, with stickers on it of rainbows and snails and
smiley faces from Mollie-Jo, and the security people know that Im
a hippie and not a terrorist. Hippies love to love and hippies love
world peace and hippies dont do things like car bombs or Jihads.

I slept so hard that flight. I stayed in first gear as I switched


planes and then fell back asleep. Woke up for the final approach.
The captain got on to give his preparatory shpiel about landing.
It reminded me of when I was a kid and Mom would pull up to a
red light in that maroon station wagon and turn around and look
at us and say, Boys, its put-on-shoes and get-ready-to-go time.
Top-notch behavior, I want top notch behavior, boys. And words
would come into my head, I mean I heard them, but the signals
always seemed to fade somewhere along the synaptic highways,
rarely actually making it to my muscles. I tried consciously to do
the same with the captains words, to give them no space in my
thoughts. But then he began to deviate from the script and my
synapses picked up the beat. Ummm, I just want to let you know,
so you wont be alarmed when you look out the window, we will be
flying very close to the tops of mountains and the tops of trees, but
this is totally normal and OK, and then just before we land were
going to have to make a real quick 90-degree sharp turn and, you
know, some people have gotten a little scared (reassuring chuckle)
but this is totally normal. Oh, and one more thing. When we land
were going to have to really hit the brakes, so we dont go past the
runway (chuckle), so dont be alarmed.
If you google Worlds Shortest International Runway,

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Tegucigulpas Tecontin International Airport pops right on up. I
was told that some pilots refuse to fly there. Wikipedia will tell
you that This airport has received much criticism for being one
of the most dangerous in the world due to its proximity to the
mountains and will further go on to tell you about how it was
bombed a few decades earlier by El Salvador in what is known
as the Soccer War, a six-day war that erupted after the second
North American qualifying round of the 1970 FIFA World Cup
match between Honduras and El Salvador. The game was a door-die divisional tie breaker and tensions where already boiling
between the neighbors. El Salvador won the game, riots began, and
the war started the next morning. No one won that game. Im fairly
certain that everyone could have been doing something better with
their time. Two Thousand died and one hundred thousand humans
displaced. Actually, there was one guy who made out all right:
A General in Honduras who made up fake battalions that only
existed on paper, and he pocketed all the money allocated to his
imaginary troops, which put quite a drain on the military.
The war slogan that became popular in Honduras during the 100hour self-inflicted, self-depreciating, self-destroying, self-abusing
session was No pasarn y no pasaron No pasarn! They will not
pass and they did not pass! and I wonder if the slogan was birthed
in reference to border defense or the soccer match.
Boys

Anyways, it felt really good to land. The sun was seething hot,
scorching the runway, and the air outside looked still and the
sky deep blue, hot blue. The sky had evaporated any thought of
a cloud. And as the captain slammed the brakes, (I pictured him
freaking out) I looked out my window and watched the palm trees
and the parked green fighter jets pass me by. I gave the captain
a hi-five before walking down the stairway onto the tarmac. Got
a new stamp for the old stamp collection and then found a short
man named Jesus holding a sign with my name on it. I got in his
red pick-up that needed to be hotwired each time it was turned on,
and we rode out into the countryside to meet the group of college
students that Im leading on a three week service learning trip.
A few days ago I carried cinder blocks down a dirt road at the
community center we were working on, watched a chicken get
slaughtered, Israeli-danced the Hora with barefoot Hondurans,

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taught villagers how to flick a frisbee, and capped the days off with
campfire sing-alongs. Our group was also heavily involved in a
Honduran skirmish known as the Amoeba Wars.

Now, Im standing in Yonis apartment in the Big City. Lights


are off to save electricity. Weatherman says it feels like a hundred
outside. There was a FRICKEN TORNADO IN BROOKLYN
yesterday! Hope its not too late. And I have not been in a space,
place, alone, in months. Honduras, Cleveland, Chicago, Arkansas,
Israel in the last two months I think. I really dont even keep track.
And I always forget where Ive been when, and when Ive been
where, and who Ive been where and all that jazz. Just a bunch of
rolling moments. And we try to make them good. So Im standing
in Yonis apartment. I duped in from Honduras last night at twothirty in the morning. Paraded out of the airport. Said goodbye to
the group. Cab driver told me about the flood and the twister, and
as I drove away from the Developing World into the Developed
I scratched my beard. The fancy man from the US Agency for
International Development in the Embassy in Tegucigulpa, just
that same morning before the flight, with his power-points and
his swivel chair, told me with his arms folded and through his
smug grin about how, In the 3rd world, culture gets in the way
of development. He proclaimed, Corruption is the misallocation
of public resources for personal gain. We have corruption, too, in
the USA. The difference is, we have a fair legal system that holds
people accountable. My friend said, What about how corporations and their money dictate public policy through overt bribes
called campaign finance? Without batting an eye big brother
reassured us: Well no ones perfect.
Are we developed? Are we done? Sure hope not. Do we even want
to be developed? Personally? Or is it healthier to stay in a state
of constant development. The Dead Sea is dead because its water
does not move. It does not flow into anything. It does not give and
therefore no thing can live in her.

As I walked into JFK with all of its grandeur and girth and noise
and hustle and magazines and smoke and clothes stitched in maquilas by my friends and beans carried on the backs of my friends
for two dollars a day and just so much stuff, stuff everywhere, every
direction I look, everything touched and changed, then slathered
in a petroleum-based veneer of sterility. Makes me wonder. Is this

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really what theyre developing toward? If the developing world
actually developed like US, whose backs would it be upon?

Back to the story, and where you come in and actually inspired me
to write all of this. Last night, 2:30 a.m., I snuck into brothers
apartment and got the hide-a-key and was going to jump in bed
and surprise them. As I started to turn the key, I heard Viv say,
Babe, Babe, I think someones at the door. They were both
running around the apartment like their parents were out of town.
I joined them and we danced around the kitchen like happy, innocent children and told stories. I am still in Brothers apartment
dancing. The stereos blasting. And the phone just rang. I remembered that scene you love in Cannonball Run (I think) where the
guy is smoking dope and dancing the twist to some fifties surfer
music and his moms trying to reach him but he cant hear the
phone ringing. I started to laugh, and I thought Id write you a
letter.

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IN THE CAVE OF LIGHT


New York, New York: Winter

Im swinging on vines these days in a concrete jungle, where ancient monoliths tower to the sky nearly overtaking the sun and millions
of strange uniquely divine creatures bustle about in and out of endless
underground catacombs always coming and going coming and going...I
frolic where the sky is scraped and the night never sleeps. The air here
so cold and crisp and shell suck the warmth out of any exposed surfaces
she can, to gain balance and equilibrium, of course. So the creatures
bundle as best they can, though often they must leave their breathing
tubes open and therefore exposed. The skin around the breathing hole
turns pink from the reinforcements, red energy and heat transports reassigned to the turbulent front lines. Sniffle.
I hear that in this jungle there lives a golden man who is often
found manipulating strange stringed wooden boxes, emitting delicious
vibrations that penetrate souls and holes on the sides of strange creatures heads...
In this jungle I have a clone who always points me in the good
directions.
The clone is radiant and in love with the world, along with a Chilean
woman who knows how to talk to judges.

I went outside today and found a pink-nosed creature wrapped


tight in a clamor of noise and money. He was cold, old, and lost. I wont
be duped by the people who seem so cold. They are really cold...and
everyone wants to feel warm and held. Everyone loves love. I told tales
of a jungle back east where monkeys swim the backstroke in a land made
of milk and honey.
Then the clone and I harmonize. One became two, then one again...
reminds me of something bigger.

And in a cave of light, in the upper left side, I find respite...At least
for tonight.
Soon the Chilean will arise to go convince the judges, and the clone
will go to do as he does, and I sit and try for a moment, to remember
what exactly I wish to recall.

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MOVIN ON UP
On my 19th rotation around the beneficent sun ball I found myself
deep in the Redwood Forest of Northern California, alone. It was the
first place where I realized I am never alone.
I was walking in the forest, not on the forest but in it, through the
living skin of the 2000-year-old trees. It happened in a moment.

The entire world can change in a moment...I remember the smell,


the crisp air, the soft forest floor under my naked feet. I walked slowly
with a quiet mind.
Something turned on. Some part of me awoke. I felt the trees watching me and acknowledging me. My first response was that maybe I was
intruding. This was their home. These trees had been tending the piece
of land I was walking on for over 2000 years! What if they didnt want
me coming through their home? Surely they must have known how my
relatives have massacred the preponderance of their siblings. I stopped.
I tilted my knobby head ball skyward. I asked for permission to proceed.
I felt them smile toward me with unconditional love. I cried. I walked.

It was the first time I had actually seen and heard trees. Through
the quiet I was able to remove the green veil, cross the green line, and
see plants as moving, living, breathing, eating, breeding, intelligent,
struggling, unique, dancing aspects of creation like you and me...
I remember feeling small and huge at the same time, humbled as
this new awareness came into me, and I realized that I was surrounded
by 2000-year-old ancient living sky-swaying elders.

It is good to have a spiritual awakening through life experience and


then find out later that your own ancient, ancestral religious tradition
espouses that awareness.
For example, I later found out that:

The first time Moses connected to the Spirit that moves through
All things, he was alone in the wilderness connecting through a bush.
And...

Abraham sees the breath of life that was, will be, and is in this moment moving through all things (i.e., Yud Hey and Vav Hey, a.k.a. Great

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Spirit, a.k.a. G?d) in the oak trees of Mamre (Genesis, Vayera verse 1).
Abraham sees G?d in and through trees. Only after this awakening is
he able to merge with his wife Sarah in a way that will create new life.
Ive spent the last four months sharing my heartsong with hundreds
of children at the Teva Learning Alliance. Ive taken them into the forest, many for the first time, and attempted to cultivate an appreciation
and awareness of the wonders of nature. I guided countless pairs of eyes
to look at trees with love and appreciation and recognition of each trees
individuality. Id take my groups, circle around a tree, and simply breathe
with the tree.
I also teach my kiddies (and myself ) to strive fiercely to live life in
a way where our actions match our beliefs. First step is figuring out our
beliefs, not so easy. Reb Shlomo says to believe something is to know
something with your heart.

I believe in the power of the ancient trees. People are cutting them
down today. Only three percent of the old-growth redwood is left. I
believe that this world will be better off if these remaining trees were al-

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lowed to remain living. They do not have ID numbers and they cant exactly speak our language, but I still feel like they have rights. They were
here first. We are creations younger sibling. Imagine if all the plants
and animals on this planet had a conference to discuss the humans...to
discuss you...what would they say? What do you say?

We humans were given awesome power and dominion, it appears,


over this land. With that power comes the responsibility to guard and
protect, (Lovda U leshomrah, Genesis chapter 2, verse 15) this precious
gift.
So Im heading up,
For the trees,
For the yous and the mes,
And the future yous and mes,
that are yet to be...

High as a Kite

I am sitting in a redwood tree, miles in the sky, suspended in air.


If you held this tree horizontally, it would be as long/tall as a football
field is wide (300+ feet tall! Dig that.) When the wind blows hard, the
tarps start to flutter and Liebertall, as the tree Im living with is named,
steps onto the dance floor with all the other giants as they gently sway
their tops back and forth. I double-check my rope and carabiner, but
ultimately must surrender to the tree, the ropes, and whichever other
forces are holding me up. I give thanks.

I live on ropes. I sleep on ropes. As I write this now, I am sitting


on top of a giant, horizontal dream-catcher-web woven between two
horizontal branches. Its built for two to three people, though we often
cram five. On top of the web we place tarps and sleeping bags. There
is a web at 85 feet and one at 160 feet and a crows nest at 220 feet.
Ive been up here for three days straight now. The scariest part is that
sometimes hours go by when Ill get into an amazing conversation or be
making some music and completely forget that I am floating on a web
above where the birds fly. Living in a tree becomes normal. With time
to think, my mind ponders, What is normal? Is seeing an airplane fly
by normal? A few generations ago it was a rare phenomenon. Is having
the internet in my hand at all times and places normal? Is it Natural? A
child comes into this world and is shown a certain reality and that is his
or her normal. Normal is changing faster than ever before. What will
be tomorrows normal? Where are we going? Is there a plan? Wouldnt

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a plan be a good idea? And what is natural? Is an atomic bomb natural?


Is human nature natural? Natural is anything that nature permits to
happen says Buckminster Fuller. Apparently it is currently part of our
human nature to do things like war and genocide. When we speak of
fixing the world we are speaking about changing and updating human
nature. From up here in the trees it looks like we are due for a paradigm
shift with a brilliant design strategy towards a beautiful new normal. Up
and down the ladder we go.
Last night we had a Chanukah party up here and Tarzan ( Yoni) and
Inchworm (Casey) stayed tied into their harnesses, suspended on the
200-foot-long main line, for hours and hours as we lit the candles and
made sweet music harmony with the universe. Floating.
We all have code names up here. They are top secret. Im not sure
how I got mine, but I woke up one morning and the community knew
me as Pankiki, which I believe means pancake in Japanese. I do enjoy
pancakes, especially on Sunday mornings.

Rewind...A few days ago we pulled up to the edge of the ancient


forest in our silver Sebring convertible that we rented in LA. Yoni, Casey,

Walking into the forest at night with (from left to right) Yoni, Uncle Russle, Casey Baruch, Pankiki Skywalker

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Shira, Uncle Russ, and I drove up the Pacific Coast Highway with the
rooftop down even though it was very cold. We entered the ancient forest in Northern California under cover of night with backpacks loaded
with gear, ropes, harnesses, food, books, and art supplies. We hunkered
down like donkeys with gallons of water clipped to our sides and hiked
deep into the steep, wet mountainside. From one perspective we were
illegally trespassing in this disputed area. It depends on who you think
the judge is.
All the trees around here are tagged to get chopped. The loggers
will not cut them down if there are humans living in them, for fear of
lawsuits.

The loggers strongly desire to cut down the trees so they can have
more money. Often our insatiable desires for more stuff, more wood,
more money, more more more, stems from our distorted yearning to
connect with the infinite, which can never be satiated with the finite
physical. It just dont work.
They hire a tree climbing goon to try and get the tree-sitters out
of the trees. His name is Climber Eric. He climbs quickly. He has big

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spikes on his shoes. With his knife he cuts through the dream-catchers
and destroys tree sits. He tries to get sitters out of trees, but it is difficult
to lower someone out of a tree who does not wish to descend, especially
when they are monkeys.
I know of three main tactics to avoid Climber Eric when he is
ascending. One technique is to climb up to the very top (the tippywippy) of the redwood, where there is room for only one person and the
tree is dangerously thin. Two: go out onto the middle of a zip-line that
stretches between two trees and hang out. Three: hug your arms around
a tree branch and handcuff yourself.

There is an art to taking. Native American wisdom says: Imagine


you are hunting deer for food. You see a whole herd of deer. Which one
or ones do you go for? As many as you can? The oldest or the youngest?
Western taking culture would tell you to go for the biggest, strongest
alpha-male with his huge rack of antlers (or kill all of them). But then
what am I doing? I am destroying the protector and the leader. This will
make it much harder for the herd to survive. Although counterintuitive,
we are to go after the limping deer with the broken ankle, because when
winter comes in a few months, this deer will most likely not survive
anyway.

When these loggers log they raze entire sections of the forest, which
turns that land into a desert. This practice is known as clear-cutting.
Massive habitat loss and massive soil erosion into the rivers at the bottoms of the valleys. And they are eradicating the oldest, tallest, wisest
organisms on our planet!
I like wood. My guitar and flute are made of wood. Many great
things come from wood. But cmon people! Clear-cutting is not the way
to take wood...and yes, my name is Pankiki Skywalker and I speak for
the trees.

We sat at the base of Liebertall with our guides Shag, Sunflower,


and Sparrow for hours and discussed the tree-sitting movement, its history, how its based in nonviolence, and how to tie some really important
knots.
After a safety meeting, one by one by one we inch-wormed our way
up the main rope with a harness and a fancy knot called a prusik. At first
my hands had nothing but the rope to hold onto. The lowest branches
on Liebertall dont come out of her trunk until 80 feet up. Floating like
a spider on a mile-long string that connects me to the ground and keeps

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me flying.

Our forest village is called Fern Gully. At one point in Fern Gully
there were twenty-two tree sits connected to each other by ropes. You
could zip-line from tree to tree to tree for half a mile without touching
the ground. There is a 160-foot-long traverse between the trees named
Her Majesty and Sundance. If you lean down in the middle of that
zip-line, you can harvest huckleberries from an elevated garden, which
grows out of buckets that are tied to the top of a smaller tree named
Leaner.

The heroine of this story is a holy mama named Julia Butterfly Hill,
who lived up in her tree Luna for over two years without touching the
ground. She and her team advocated for the redwoods that whole time
(and still), until finally the owners of the land caved in and agreed to
protect that whole grove of redwoods.
Pooping. We have five-gallon buckets with lids that hang on ropes
twenty feet below the tree sit. When you have to poo, you lower yourself
with ropes, poo in the floating bucket, cover your poo with leaves and
then seal the bucket. Standard bathroom toilets in the U.S. are basically
buckets with a hole at the bottom that are filled with perfectly good
drinking water. For me, much stranger then pooin in a compost bucket
is pooin in drinking water, then having your poo magically disappear
and travel through your walls and through miles of underground highways, to then get heavily processed out of the once pristine drinking
water. Thats just me.

I know you probably want me to be done talking about poo. See,


were so used to not ever having to deal with or ever look at our own sht
that most people cant even comfortably talk about it. We like to push
the magic button as our sht gets whirled up and disappears to a magical
fantasy place called away.
Everyone poos. Darth Vader pooed. So did the Emperor. All queens
poo. George Bush poos and so does Michael Jordan. I poo and so do you.
Up in Liebertall, every three or four days an angel-friend will walk
by. She makes bird calls from the forest floor. We call back. We lower
down our buckets of unassimilated sun and earth particles. The angel
takes the buckets and goes for a hike and buries the nutrient-rich compost into the earth. When I pull the rope up again, I find a bag attached
with my favorite foods and books and everything good.
Showers happen when the great faucet in the sky turns on, or with

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a cup of water out on a limb.

Once, when it was really quiet, I put my hand on the tree and
whispered, We will protect you. To which the tree replied, And whos
watching over the humans? Whos watching Adam and Eve? I hope
shes got an ace up her sleeve.
And now Im in a forest.

G!d save the trees (and the humans).

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NEW PARADIGM

In short, humanity has already achieved, technically, the total success


all Utopians ever dreamed of; our problems now are entirely due
to wrong thinking. We are in the tragic-comic pred icament of two
crazed men dying of thirst, f ighting over a teaspoon of water in the
middle of a rainstorm. We cannot see the rainstorm because we are
hypnot ized by emergency-reflexes f ixated on the teaspoon.
~ R. Buckminster Fuller, Critical Path (1981)

If the success of the world depended on you, What would you say?
What would you do?

Have you ever thought to yourself, We as a human family could


be doing a lot better. We could be feeding all of each other and not be
investing rampantly in destructive habits and and and...?
Dont you think its about time...for a new...paradigm?

Hey you. You, reading these words right now. Hi! It is such a holy
blessing to be consciously connecting with you. Here we are. Its always
everywhere, here and now. We couldnt NOT be in the here and now if
we tried. I wrote this book for us. For now. I am open to the possibility
that maybe I lived my whole huge little life so far to learn something to
put in this book to share with YOU! Its awesome to connect with you.
The author kindly requests that you stop reading this book for a
few minutes, or an eternity, and fantasize about what a healthy, balanced, holy world would look like, smell like, feel like...

In your fantasy, what are people spending their holy and precious
life/time doing? What are you doing? How are people treating each
other in your fantasy? What face are you wearing? What systems are
in place in the world, in your town, in your home, in your self, in your
wildest unshackled dreams?
This is the world that is coming, or in Hebrew, Olam Ha-bah.

Recently I traveled the United States coast to coast on an upside-

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down, used-vegetable-oil-powered, Jewish, educational school bus
teaching environmental thrive-ability.

The Torah (over three thousand years ago) and the Talmud (two
thousand years old) has pollution laws pertaining to air, water, noise, and
smell. She also has a law of not wasting anything of use or value, called
Bal Tashchit. I like to tell my young Heebish students that if a teacher
does not allow the student to use the second side of their paper, they can
claim it is their Jewish religious right not to waste.
As carriers of an ancient, intact, earth-based wisdom tradition, in
a world rampant with cultural extinctions, we think it is important to
know who we are. This way we are able to share our medicine with
ourselves and the other tribes.

The Teva Learning Alliance mobilized us to travel the country and


unify the Jewish voice and response to anthropogenic global climate
disruption.

Its not good for farmers and humans when weather patterns and
natural disasters so frequently have so many ests at the end of them.
Snowiest winter, warmest winter, wettest summer, hottest July, biggest
Hurricane, etc. (NYC 2009-2012)
Two school buses, with the second one flipped upside-down and
seamlessly welded to the top of the bottom bus, wheels facing the sky. It
was a topsy-turvy mobile paradigm-shifter.

So many of our current systems are upside-down. Our current energy habits have us burning down and smogging out our home/earth to
make energy, as the basement is flooding. Meanwhile, in just one hour,
enough sunlight hits the earth to fuel one hundred percent of our energy
needs for a whole year! Hmmmmm...

In the U.S., over 50 percent of our federal discretionary tax money


goes toward military spending, while only thin slivers of the pie go toward health, education, and other fun, life-enhancing things. Hurumph...
and and and...

Back aboard the bus...

Instead of burning ancient liquefied fossils (fossil fuels...yup), we go


to restaurants and collect their used cooking oil from the waste stream.

We warm and filter the oil on the bus through a centrifuge and
pump it straight into our diesel engine. And it works! The bus went
from NY to California and back on peoples trash...like the Delorean

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from Back To The Future. Apparently the future is just a bunch of nows.
King David said three thousand years ago that The stone that the
builder refused (double entendre, refuse: noun), will be the head cornerstone. When we can design holy systems where our outputs match
our inputs like a forest does, that will be the main fixing (the head
cornerstone).
The bus has a worm composting bin, bike-powered electricity generator, gray-water system, solar panel, and at one time had a mobile
garden on the roof !

The captain and one of the primary designers of the bus is known
as Captain Red Beard, a.k.a. the Heilegah Dubinsker Rebbeh. He was
once asked by a student about the buss unconventional design. He relayed that: We were looking into different designers for inspiration on
how to design our home/bus. We were thinking maybe Ralph Lauren?
Or maybe Louis Vuitton? Then we heard about this awesome designer
who designed the entire universe. Some call this designer G?d, Creator,

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Mother Nature, Great Spirit or... One of the most noteworthy aspects
about the creators design is that there is no waste at all. Every output
in her system matches some input. Everything is used and reused again
and again. If you see a design and the design outputs something that
is unused, like a highly radioactive, isotopic spent nuclear rod, you can
know for sure that humans designed it and not G!d directly.

The art of extracting design principles from nature and implementing them in our lives, gardens, kitchens, relationships, etc. is called
permaculture. Creation has been around and thriving for much longer
than we humans. We are creations youngest sibling. Science and religion agree on this. It is in our best interest to learn from our elders.
Biomimicry is G!dmimicry.
Here are a few universally applicable permaculture design principles
derived from the Creator-created natural world:
Multiple functions Every aspect of creation serves many functions. A tree does not just make apples. It is shelter for animals,
makes O2, filters the air, makes beautiful fragrant flowers, feeds
animals, creates shade, is fun for climbing, blocks the wind, holds
warmth, holds soil, and and and...
Redundancy The natural world has many back-up systems in
place. If your system needs water, you dont want to only get your
water from a pipe, because if your pipe breaks or goes dry, you
have no water and your system collapses. A robust design would
have a rain catchment system, a well, a pond, a water pipe, and
and and...If there is a disturbance in this system and the well runs
dry, you still have access to water and the system still works.
Functional interconnectedness This world is the world wide
web. Things depend on each other and that is a good thing.
Problem is the solution When a certain tree-eating beetle starts
breeding prolifically in a forest, the birds have a feast.
Design to thrive Everyones talking about sustainability. Are we
here to just sustain life? Me thinks not. We are here to thrive! Do
you know how many seeds one spinach plant makes? I dont, but
its on the order of hundreds and thousands. Lets start designing
our systems and our lives for maximum thrivability and abundance
for all. We can do whatever we want. The parents are out of town
and weve got the keys.

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Yallah!

I dont teach much anymore about recycling and turning off light
switches. I dont want a kid vigilantly turning off light switches because
some charismatic, bearded, guitar-toting guy at his school told him to. I
want him to start doing his own thinking. If he is doing his own thinking, he will inevitably ask, How does electricity work? Where does
my electricity come from? And he will find out that our current energy
systems cause massive environmental damage to our very fragile spaceship earth. And then hell turn off the switch, but it will be different.

With his questioning mind s/he might even find out that sometimes mainstream culture is not his friend. It often tries to trick him
and deceive him and numb his brain so that he will stop asking essential
questions like, What is my purpose here with this life on this earth? Is
it antithetical to my holy human nature to stay seated for 7+ hours a day
at a desk while teachers talk at me and then expect me to regurgitate
what they said? Did slaves really dump poisons on this food that Im
about to eat and feed to my children?
A closed mind is a wonderful thing to lose.

The dis-ease that you feel and experience from mainstream culture
is a gift. Imagine if you were completely content living in a cesspool. If
somehow you had duped and distracted your decision-making mind into
thinking that wallowing in human excrement was good and normal. The
more nauseous you got, the louder you turned up the TV, opiating the
mind into a distracted submission. Your impulse of THIS STINKS!
is the very thing that will propel you out of the cesspool and into a
magnificent garden, with beautiful clothes and clean water.
Over five percent of our power consumption in the USA is used to
power things that are turned off. We spend billions of resource dollars
and dump immeasurable toxins into our life support systems (air, water,
earth), energizing those little red standby lights, which tell us that our
appliances are off. This gives me great hope. If an idea as dumb and
destructive as the standby light can make it mainstream, imagine all the
good ideas that could flourish!
Dont you think its time?

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IS REAL
No two places have the same energy. San Francisco feels nothing
like Philadelphia, which feels nothing like Beijing, which has a very
different vibe than Paris. There is no place in the world like Jerusalem.
Her flavor is extremely unique and extremely potent. People have been
tapping into and craving her powerful vibration for thousands of years.
She is the Chakra point along the largest land meridian on this mud
heap, where Asia, Europe, and Africa - over half of the world - connect.
Many call her the City of Fire, as she propels and pushes and
intensifies those who dwell with/in her. Like anything powerful, her
energetic fuel can be used for good or for bad, for life-enhancement
and unification or for destruction and separation. Thank Jah, the nature
of light and dark are NOT equal and opposite. If I cup my hands together and inside of my cupped hands is pure darkness and I walk into
a room filled with light and open my hands, the room does not fill with
darkness. Put one candle in a pitch black room... Light and Love are
our natural states. Darkness and misery take so much energy, so much
resistance. Darkness is defined as absence of light or illumination. Its
not even a thing on its own, only defined by what it is not.
The Torah says that the ripples and the karma of Love choices
reach thousands of generations, yet the karma of missing the mark only
goes down three or four generations (Exodus 34:7). WOO HOO!
There is no light in the world like the light of Jerusalem.

Many of the writing selections that follow were written during


times of struggle and conflict while living in Israel. One might think
that they are typical of daily life in Israel and this is not true. One
might think that I am attempting to describe the totality of the conflicts
with all of its angles and nuances, and this is also not true. Writing my
stories, lessons and perceptions was important medicine for me during
those times of conflict.

I want to put out another disclaimer. In some of the stories from


here till the end of the stories section there are some descriptions of
realities I have witnessed and experienced that might be bitter to swallow. I describe a firsthand encounter with war. The Author will not be
offended if you wish not to ingest bitter medicine and not read the rest
of these stories.

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The Flute and I

I was living in a volunteer house in JahruShalom called Livnot


U Lhibanot. There was a woman living there at the time who I barely
knew. Her name was Nechama, but at the time I didnt even know her
name. Her hair was Baltic blonde and her shoulders broad and strong.
She was Russian and brilliant, and had a sweet but firm smile. She
walked down the stairs into the common room where I was sitting and
said, Pesach, I have something for you to borrow. My eyes clenched
with bewilderment and curiosity as she pulled out from behind her back
a long, slender, mysterious satchel.

The satchel was colorful yet faded with experience, as this bag and
its contents had surely tasted many corners of the earth. It looked like
there was a magic wand inside, and in fact there was. She opened the
bag and delicately pulled out the most magnificent flute Id ever seen.
Hand-carved Native American cedar wood flute with a Zia sun symbol
honoring the four directions etched near the wind hole. It smelled like
a forest does just before it rains. It and I quivered with pangs of potentiality for what we might do together. Nechama silently held out the
unsheathed flute in her open palms and gestured for me to receive.
I placed my palms together to show gratitude and told Nechama
that the flute was too precious for me to borrow. I told her I could
not take it. I thought to myself, Who does this? Who lends out their
most precious objects to someone they barely know? When most people
give something away, its usually because they dont like it or want it
anymore. This flute is most definitely still in its prime.
Nechamas hands did not move, though her lips and cheeks lightened and lifted like a crimson beachfront sunrise into a smile.
Pesach, she said, the flute wishes to take a turn with you.

I separated my hands from prayer pose and opened them to receive.

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No one ever showed me how to play. Give a child a toy and he


instinctively knows how to play with it. Curiosity and exploration are
our birthrights. We grow older and voices shout grow up! They often
are actually asking us to stop growingBe done figuring out who you
are (G?d forbid)Know what you are good at and what you are bad at...
Decide what you like and what you hate...This is the fall from Eden. Go
into any preschool and ask, Who here is an artist? and every child will
raise her hand. Who heres a dancer? All hands up. Singers?...After
sixteen years of mainstream institutionalized education, go to a college
class and ask the same questions and watch as the few awkward artists
lift their ostracized hands.

Grow up. Taken more literally, Grow, Up, take to flight, grow
higher and higher, is actually a potent and yummy blessing and reminder.
Still to this day my brain does not know the name of a single note
on the flute. My fingers know what the sounds feel like and which
shapes and patterns to make.
me.

From the moment the flute touched my lips, it knew how to play

I had to go shopping that day, as it was Friday, so I decided to take


the flute with me. I figured I would only be borrowing the flute for a
few days, so each moment with her was precious. I walked down Jaffa
Street in Jerusalem playing the flute in a bubble. The noise and the cars
and the walls and the wars melted into melodies. People in cafs stopped
eating as I walked by. They melted with me.

When I arrived at the open-air market of Machaneh Yehudah, everyone was in a flurry hurry to get their food quickly. Shabbat was rapidly approaching at sixty minutes an hour. When the world around me
moves frantic, I tend to slow down. I stood by the entrance of the market,
next to a soldier, and played every Shabbat heart song I could muster.
I went for a flute walk through the market playing ancient melodies
of yearning. Tickling the wind with decorated breath, I slowly, slowly
walked through the scurry of noise and beautiful people. When people
hear the flute, they stop. Parents bring over their children. Shopkeepers
temporarily stopped screaming the prices of strawberries and invited me
in. Eventually I got invited to someones house for Shabbat dinner, so I
didnt even have to go shopping at all. That is the way of the flute.
After a few days, I went looking for Nechama to give her the flute
back. The people at the volunteer house told me that she had left but
would return.

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I played that flute at the central bus station, on rooftops, everywhere
I went, thinking each day it might be my last with the flute.

One day she just walked through the door. It had been two weeks. I
was so grateful. I was on my knees with the flute held out in my hands.
From the deepest place in my heart, with tears in my eyes, I said, Thank
you so much for asking me to borrow this flute. From everything we
do, by every micro-decision we make, the world is indelibly a different place. Your decision to lend me this flute made huge ripples. I met
hundreds of new friends. Thousands of peoples moments got redirected
by the sounds vibrating from this flute. Thank you! and I held the flute
out for her to take it.
Her hands did not move. The corners of her lips reached for the sky
like sunflower sprouts shooting though soft, ancient soil.
Pesach, she said, this flute has a secret. What I did not tell you
was that this flute was made by a very special medicine man. He only
makes a few of these flutes a year. It is his belief that redemption and
world fixing will come about when there are enough sacred flutes in
the world. Some wait for Messiah. Some try to live like Messiah. This
medicine man makes medicine flutes.

My eyes doubled in size and the lever on my mouth hinge released


as the gate swung open.
Theres more, she explained. The medicine man is also a master
Reiki hand healer. He blesses people and objects by sending energy
through his hands, as priests in the Bible used to do. As this particular
flute was being crafted, it was being charged with a particular blessing. The blessing was that this flute should be played as medicine for
masses of people. Some instruments are used for personal medicine,
this flute was willed to be played out to the public. As soon as you
got it, Pesach, you walked outside and played it for masses of people.
Therefore it is to stay with you. It seems as though you are each fulfilling one anothers energetic destinies.
And furthermore, you are going to need it she finished.

At the time, I did not understand that last thing she said to me.
Two weeks later I found myself volunteering in a hospital in the north
of Israel in a war zone during the Lebanon war with my flute in hand.
Often the only thing that would bring comfort and solace to the blownup, pain-ridden, writhing patients was the melodic medicine dance
emanating as wind from the cedar prayer flute.

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I Saw War Today

I saw war today.

Letter home, August 2006

I felt the ground tremble.

Last night I couldnt sleep because of the noise of explosions.

I am helping to lead a three-week hike and explore trip for a


group of thirty 25-year-olds on a program called Livnot U Lhibanot
(to build and be built). We were staying at our campus up north
in Tsfat.
A beautiful cobblestone sleepy town where Kabalah took root.

Its the place I always go to to get away from the noise of the cities.
Its a place where I go to get rerouted back onto my path.

Its a place where people are walking the streets with sacred questions on the tips of their tongues and minds.
Its where I go to make/be peace.

From our balcony we could see a mountain on fire.


Cobra and Apache Helicopters flying overhead.

Every few minutes, a deep, rumbling Boooooooo(m)...

And somehow, this world and we are perfectly broken and perfectly
whole.
We decided early this morning to move our group out of Tsfat,
even though there had not been a terrorist attack or missile attack
in Tsfat in over twenty five years. We set sail seeking refuge amidst
the golden walls of Jerusalem. An hour after we left, the first missiles exploded in Tsfat. An absorption center for new immigrants,
where I volunteer sometimes, got hit. One died. Many wounded.
Fear of death. Dancing on an edge. Shrieks of the impending missiles and then the crash of the impact. Scampering families to the
bomb shelters. Praying.

On our way to Jerusalem, our hike and explore spiritual adventure


group stopped near Tiberias to have a check-in. The rest stop
on the Jordan river, where the bus driver haphazardly stopped,
happened to be at the place where they say JC was baptized (only
in Israel!). We were passing around a talking stick and having a
sharing circle when we learned that Haifa had been hit with longer

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range missiles and therefore we were still within missile range.
So we packed up and headed on further, to Jerusalem, as refugees,
leaving someplace because of war. To leave a town I love. To drive
away from a blue sky charred with black smoke. To be driving in
one direction while gunships headed in the other.

Some of us Jews are ashamed to be called the chosen people. Some


think its haughty or arrogant. Some say that the chosen people
means that we are chosen to point out and reveal the chosen-ness
of other nations, tribes, and people. Can you show me one type of
flower or tree that does not have at least one characteristic that
only it has? Chosen. The truth is, one of the main things weve
been chosen for is to have it rough. Historically, it is rarely easy
for us Jews and as soon as it starts getting easy, thats when it
gets rough again. The Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, Babylonians,
Assyrians, Crusaders, the Spanish, the N-zis and now Hamas and
Hezbollah, with their armies, have all come after us and unsuccessfully sought to genocidally destroy us. Chosen. When the incarnation of pure disgusting unfettered maniacal hatred (N-zis) emerged
its rancid head in this world, they chose the Jews as their main
target. It is mildly flattering to be antithetical to them...but...
Maybe its to keep us sensitive. Maybe to keep us tough. Maybe its
a scenario set up to test our faith. Who knows?
Last week I sat with my chevre (friends) in a Bar-Kochvah underground dugout cave, where the Jews hid out from the Romans
seventeen hundred years ago. Tonight my friend and his wife and
four kids are sleeping in a dugout bomb shelter tunnel under their
house.
Im safe now.

War is no longer only something I know of from the TV.


War sucks.

Its the ultimate party-pooper.

I hope I never have to smell it again.

The whole entire world is a very narrow bridge.


I am not afraid.
I love Y all,
Pesach

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Cataclysmic Wind

Letter home, Jerusalem, July 24th, 2006

A cataclysmic wind is blowing in from the north these days, and


its leaving my soul unsettled. It goes deeper than the news. With
each passing report I feel a strange connection to my ancestors who
had to survive against the Romans, the Babylonians, the Crusaders,
the Inquisitioners, the N-zis (to name a few), who all worked so
vigilantly to destroy the Jewish people.
Today, as I write, my old neighbors in Tsfat are getting explosive
missiles that burst into searing shards of shrapnel dropped on their
houses from people who dont want them to exist. Most of them
have been living underground now for several weeks with their
families, and there is work to be done.
Cars with goods and supplies need to be driven up north. Food
needs to be made and delivered. Dilapidated bomb shelters (now
homes) need fixing. The elderly need tending and touching. The
kids have to sing. Hospitals need energy work. Love needs to grab
the steering wheel and take us all somewhere better.

So Im heading back up north, into the tempest, ten miles from the
line, back to the smoky little town I once ran from like a refugee.
I go with my guitar and Native American flute as my weapons of
choice. And when the sirens ring, Ill run for cover.

The organization that is running the relief efforts in Tsfat is


Livnot U Lhibanot (livnot.com.org), the same nonprofit organization that Ive been working with for the last two months, helping
to run spiritual adventure trips. The campus, whose space is usually
home to rampant singing and heart/mind expanding conversations,
has been turned into a civilian command center. There are even a
few officers on campus to assist.
Im OK. Just doing what I feel needs to be done. And if not me,
who?
Ill be as safe as I can up there, you have my word.

Please try not to worry, just send me up as much of the positive


energy you can muster.
I leave tonight.
Love you,

Jeremy/Pesach (my birth Hebrew name)

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We Came In at Night ( Tsfat Diaries)

Driving into Tsfat was intense. We came in at night. I was driving with a carload of stuff and people. It occurred to me as I was
driving that to most people in the world my actions were insane,
driving into CNN breaking-news northern Israel. I wasnt afraid,
but rather respectful of the gravity of the situation.
A temporary cease-fire began an hour after I arrived.
I didnt do it.

These cobblestone streets usually filled with wide-eyed tourists and


meandering mystics have become barren.
Ive learned more than Ive ever wanted to know about Katushas
and how to take cover. My bedroom has a mini-shelter in it and is
less than half a frisbee throw to the main shelter.
We all come in pieces.

Shalom, Shanti, Paz, Vrede, Paix, Maluhia, Peace, Heiwa, Salam,


Pyoung-hwa, Pokoj, Mir, Santipab, Fred, one day...
Me

Tsfat Diaries 2
letter home

The whole time Ive been here Ive constantly been on guard. My
senses acute to subtle sounds and vibrations, like the letter b in
the word subtle. This morning, over coffee with a reporter from
National Geographic, the missile attacks began again in Tsfat and
the sirens have been moaning all morning, a few times an hour. We
stand silently for a few minutes and listen to where they land. We
dont thank G?d when we dont hear one land, because it probably
landed somewhere.
As I was just writing this journal entry I had to stop and run
to the shelter...One sounded like it landed very close. Lots of the
other volunteers are out delivering food and fixing things.

Another five just landed, and for the second time I had to stop
writing to take shelter.

Im being safe and staying near shelter. Some people are getting
lazy and are not taking cover every time the sirens go off. I prom-

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ised you all Id do all I can to stay safe, and I am.
War sucks.
Love,
Me

Tsfat Diaries 3

Im writing from the hospital in Tsfat. Im blowing bubbles, playing


guitar and flute for doctors kids, wounded soldiers and blown up
civilians.
Thankfully its been quietish. The hospital got hit a few days ago,
shattering four stories of glass, so theyre doing repairs today.

I went to my friends backyard last night and sat by a Katusha


crater. It was hit in the first wave, and my friends five-year-old was
playing in the yard fifteen seconds before it landed.
I sat last night on the porch with my coworker as he gave his
blessing of protection to his son who called to tell him he was
turning off his cell phone, as he was on his way over the line with
the Golani Brigade.

Im being safe and preparing myself for when this quasi cease-fire
ceases. Today Im in a fortified building all day, and my bedroom at
Livnot is attached to the shelter.
Love you all
P.S.

There is an observable ancient disease called Jew hatred. You


may be suffering from it without knowing it. If you have double
standards, if your weights and measures are unique for Israel, if you
only speak out, protest and divest against the nation of Israel but
not against Syrian death machines, Egyptian home demolitions,
Saudi sexism, ISIS slavery, Sudanese massacres, Chinese occupation of Tibet etc...you might be suffering from this disease. The
N-zis, the Inquisitioners, the Cossack, the Romans, the ancient
Egyptians, Hamas all suffered from this disease. This is not a good
list to be on. Check yourself.

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Tsfat Diaries 4

I finally got good sleep last night.

Last night started a commemoration day where we remember the


destruction of Jerusalem a couple thousand years ago. Its a day
where we sit intentionally with the brokenness of the world. Its
called Tisha bAv.

It was eerie reading about it last night, out on the Livnot balcony...
reading about the emptiness on the streets and all the destruction
with the soundtrack of explosions in the background and Mt.
Meron beside me on fire.
But I got sleep.

Today were all fasting, no food and no water for twenty-five hours,
so it should be a little more trying.
Im heading to the hospital soon to hang out with some of the
soldiers who were injured in the same battle that my friend Mike
was killed in.
Lots of Love,
Me

Bag of Songs

I have a bag of songs. Each hospital room calls for a uniquely


crafted, handmade, hand-delivered, personalized, cocktail-concoction,
song medley of healing. Some need happy. Some need to be eased into
happy. Some need to release sadness. Some need sleep.
A friend and I walked into a room where a lone soldier lay stretched
out on the bed. Pain, suffering, and exhaustion laced his battered eyes.
We barely spoke to him. My friend began to strum. I began to flout...
gently. He began to drift...gently...and after twenty minutes his eyes
gave up and he fell asleep. We tiptoed into the hallway, like parents who
just put their baby to bed, to find his mother, father, and four sisters
with tears dripping down their faces.
You dont know what you just did, the mother said through her
tears.

Our son watched three of his friends die in Lebanon two days ago.
He then killed those who killed his friends, and in the battle he got
shrapnel in his leg. Hed seen things that humans werent meant to see.

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Hed done things that humans werent meant to do. This is the first time
he has slept in over two days.

I once heard from a Muslim Grand Mufti in Morocco, at a meeting


of world religious leaders, that we need to change the narrative from the
art of war to the art of peace, from the just war to the just peace, from
the holy war to the Holy Peace. So may it be.

Broken Glass

Friday morning we had intelligence that there was going to be


heavy fire in the afternoon. Around 2 oclock there still had not been
any strikes, a little odd as they normally start around 8 a.m. There were
two packaged meals left that needed to be delivered before Shabbat, and
we needed to pick up some supplies. So I put on my shoes and hit the
road in the August midday sun. Unfortunately there was a typo on the
address sheet, and my friend Shira and I were wandering around the
ancient ghost town for over an hour. Still no rockets.
The whole time Im walking Im looking for good places to take
cover in case the sirens started screaming. We meet a crazy cab driver
who claims he knows where the house is (though we found out later
that the address did not actually exist). So we hop in the cab and head
on our way.

When the siren sounds and youre out on the streets, an immediate jolt of adrenaline surges in your heart and an animalistic scamper
mode kicks in. You drop whatever you are doing and scurry. The siren
sounded and I was stuck in a cab. I told Cabi I wanted out. He said
he knew a good place to go around the corner and I should believe in
G!d. Around the corner was a giant, wide-open parking lot, one of the
worst places to be during a missile strike. Shrapnel pierces right through
car metal; Ive seen it. His plan was to just park the car and wait. Five
seconds had passed since the siren sounded. Ten seconds till landing.
Car still rolling. I yelled at Cabi, tossed him ten shekel, and told him I
wanted out and opened the door of the moving car. He slowed down.
We jumped out. Sirens screaming. Open naked parking lot. Found a
trash dumpster vestibule made of concrete. Pushed out dumpster and
curled into a ball. Head between legs, hands on head. Nothing to do
but pray and wish for time to fast forward or somehow rewind. This
was the first time I actually heard the Katusha cutting through the air.
FFFWWWWWOOOOOOOSHHHHHHH! as it flew overhead...

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Boom!

But not just an exploding boom, a boom with broken glass and
shattering concrete.

I didnt go to see where it landed. Still had meal to deliver. When


we finally made it to the old womans house, the sirens sounded again.
She was extremely old and could not move. She began to shake and cry.
She looked like my grandma Rose. She was sitting on the couch by the
exposed window, shaking, crying. We sat with her as the rockets landed.
Theres a nice Jewish idea that bad things are less likely to happen to
you while youre doing a good deed, and besides, Grandma had to eat.

Wisdom From a Clone

Letter from twin brother Yoni

As you sit on the stage of war, and the masters of war do what they
do, and metal flies so fast that no one can see it and it goes into
people...realize that you and all of you who stand witness are there
now with a cause and think about your effect. This experience of
life and living sometimes places us in the most awkward, backward,
hard and painful classrooms...sometimes...but for some reason,
realizing that you are there to learn something, to take something
away, to learn and share a message, for some reason, this can bring
something to chew on.
The earth is trembling over there from the bombs and bullets, the
earth is literally shaking...and we cant sit still anymore. This war
is about Israel and Lebanon and others, and its also about you.
Let war teach you peace let war teach you peace let war teach
you peace, so that you know it, know it. Let this insanity blossom a
bloom of clarity. The bullets fly so fast that we cant even see them,
but we can see them...each one...what is its intention, what is its
impact, its truth. Countries shouldnt fight and hate, and neither
should we. When human to human to human knows this lesson
that you are hopefully fortifying, when it is whispered, told, and
then shouted and then known from person to person to person,
then well stop fighting with each other and war will become a
myth.

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Light in the Dark

Ten miles from flying metal shard ball bearing harpoon metal
slingshots.
Ten miles south from red rivers where the children are fighting and
the whole world is watching.

Ten miles south of the nightmans watch while he waits and watches
with adrenalined eyes and senses honed with radical acuteness.

Ten miles south in the city of blue where theres silver rain that
chases you, so we live in the ground because thats all you can do, while
the August sun penetrates every sweaty crevice of your soul, drips and
rolls down my cheek chasing eye drops.
Ten miles south a father blessing a child before he has to turn off
his cell phone and cross the line.
Ten miles south the hidden need food, sick the drugs, light and
hugs, touch and music.
Ten miles south I build and Im built and sometimes I feel like Im
walking on stilts.

Ten miles south on a mystical hill, I flout and I strum and I work
and I chill.

Ten miles south in the city of air, I play a game of truth and dare,
while buildings wail and sirens blare, so that the hair on your back stands
tall, because when youre walking on stilts you must take care not to fall.
Ten miles south, just a click past the line, a light in the dark, a
flicker, a spark, reality contrasted both subtle and stark. No conclusions
found here, just a place to start. We cast aside fear and live from the
heart.

Katushas and Free Time

One of the volunteers here was born in Russia. Her name there
was Catherine. The nickname for Catherine in Russia is Katusha. First
thing in the morning, every morning, she runs up to me and gives me
a hug. You can only get hit by a Katusha once, she says. And youve
already been hit!
In my free time Ive been sitting on the porch, aiming flute music
up north. I often get interrupted by the sirens, so Ive made up a tune to
go along with its drone that I play once in the shelter.

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I also started a city-wide aromatherapy campaign here in Tsfat.
When people ask what to bring up besides the basics, I tell them incense...Nag Champa specifically. I have seven boxes. I light em and
leave em all over town. The smell is soothing and unexpected.

I always disliked waking up to an alarm. For the second day in


a row Ive woken up to sirens and missile attacks. No snooze button.
Big explosions. I can hear Lebanon exploding. My heart is broken and
woken to the mighty fall of man. With a prayer that We will grow to
share in this infinite abundance and that the mighty people of the earth
tribe will rise in harmony with itself and creation.
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall man
learn war anymore. Mission statement, core dream, ancient prophetic vision of the Jew tribe.
Im gonna lay down my sword and shield, down by the riverside,
down by the riverside, down by the riverside...
I aint gonna study war no more...

Have the armies planting organic farms down by the riverside,


planting tomatoes, garlic and chives, down by the riverside...

Have the armies planting organic farms, with no more pesticides,


down by the riverside.
I aint gonna study war no more...

Park all our F-16s down by the riverside, down by the riverside...
No more cluster laser-guided bombs, blowing up peoples moms, down
by the riverside...
No more Ak...47s, Katushas and Kasams, hand-grenades and
roadside bombs, Katushas and Kasams...down by the riverside...
Turn nukes into energy, FAR from the riverside, far from the
riverside...
Lay down hatred and bigotry, down by the riverside, no one needs
to run and hide, down by the riverside...

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The marines building rain-catchment systems, down by the
riverside, down by the riverside...
No more multi-trillion dollar wars or exploitations of the poor, down
by the riverside...
No more multi-trillion dollar wars, we got better things in store,
down by the riverside...
The air force making green technology, living symbiotically, like a
happy family, living symbiotically...
Im gonna lay down my prejudice, down by the riverside, down by
the riverside...
No more stories in my mind, that put some ahead and some behind,
down by the riverside...

Parallel park my stealthy bombers, down by the riverside, down by


the riverside...
No more casualties of war, not for now nor for evermore, down by the
riverside...
No more systems of oppression, justice-for-all means everyone,
not for some but for everyone, down by the riverside...
Imagine the navy keepin the water clean, down by the riverside,
no child left behind, down by the riverside...

Put down our inequalities and mass-destructive tendencies, down by


the riverside...
We can simply compost our old broken ways...thats what the
good book says, thats what the good book says...

All you with rights and arms to bear, will recycle your swords into
plowshares, thats what the good book says...

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Thats what we can do
Thats what we can choose
They say it takes two wings to fly
Across this great divide
All G!ds children love to drink
Clean water that dont stink
All G!ds children love to dance
If only given the chance
Thats what we can do
Thats what we can choose
I aint gonna study war no more
Aint going through that crooked door
No more, no more...
They say the lion shall lay with the lamb
And that thats the masters plans...
Down by the riverside...
Amen! Im in!

Sulhita

I sat at a gathering in the Negev desert in Israel called the Sulhita


gathering. One hundred and fifty Israeli and Palestinian teenagers gathered together for five days in the desert to make and celebrate peace. No
finger-pointing. No blame game. Just some good old-fashioned peacemaking. Sometimes we sit around and wait for politicians to tell us
when we can and cant have peace. A better idea is to just do it ourselves.
And we did. For five days. (With good ideas its good to do them as
soon as possible and have them last a long long time. No holding back.)
Palestinians from Gaza sang Sabbath songs with Jewish Israelis, and
Jewish Israelis sang at Muslim ceremonies. At night we sat around the
campfire and listened to each others stories.
One story really stuck out to me. It was told to us by a pair of
peacemakers who came from a group of Israelis and Palestinians who
had each lost dear family members from all the fighting. The Israelis
had lost family members from bus bombings and shootings and the

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Palestinians lost family members from Israeli army activity. Yet they sat
side by side and spoke of their yearnings for peace and reconciliation.
Heroes.
Ahmed grew up in Jenin. The only Israelis Ahmed had ever met
wore green camo, held M16 guns, and sometimes drove tanks. This, to
him, was what a Jew was. He said that he grew up hating Jews and during
the Intifada he was in the front lines throwing stones and who knows
what else. Hed been in and out of jail several times. One day there was
an early curfew in town to keep people off the streets. Ahmeds thirteenyear-old brother went for a walk to his grandmothers house just down
the street. He heard shooting and started to run. Before he could make it
to the door a rubber bullet made it to his chest. The bullet went through
his little body and literally broke his little heart. He died. Ahmed said
that day was the last day he saw his mother smile. Fueled with more
rage, he hit the streets again looking for bigger stones to throw.

A few years later, Ahmed needed a job and had looked everywhere
in town but couldnt find one. His friends told him that there were good
jobs on the other side of the line, in Israel. At first he was appalled at the
idea of working in Israel for Jews, but eventually he had no other choice.
So he got a construction job in a Jewish town working for a Jewish boss
named Dudik. Dudik was the first Jew he ever met who wasnt wearing
green. He was very bitter about the whole situation.
One day Dudik stopped and asked him why his face was always
so sad and bitter. They sat down under an olive tree and Ahmed told
the story of his brothers death and about his mothers grief. As he told
the story, Dudik began to weep and say how sorry he was that this had
happened to his brother! Ahmed didnt really know what to do or what
to think. Hed never met or seen a Jew expressing compassion and this
behavior did not jive at all with the image he had in his head of his
enemy, the other hed been fighting against and trying to destroy.

Two weeks later, a Palestinian man walked onto the 18 bus in


downtown Jerusalem and detonated an explosives belt around his waist.
The blast was so strong that the top of the bus pealed back like the
lid of a sardine can. Seventeen Israelis were instantly killed and many
more injured. After work that day, Ahmed returned to his mothers
house. When he came in he found her on the ground crying beside the
television set as the news was coming through. He said, Mom, why
are you crying? Dont you know those were Jews who were killed, not
Palestinians? The mom looked up and said through her tears to him,

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Im crying because of all the Mothers who are right now going through
what I once went through.

Something began to change in Ahmeds heart and in his mind.


He no longer could say that he hated Jews because hed met one, just
one, that he really liked. His mother showed him that pain and suffering transcended nationality and religion. And he had to reconcile
this new information with his actions. He realized that throwing stones
and plotting destruction were just perpetuating the struggling and the
suffering. Eventually he found the Bereaved Families group of Israelis
and Palestinians, and now he tours around Israeli towns and Palestinian
communities side by side with Israelis and shares his story and yearning
for peace.
These people who lost their relatives have every excuse to live in
hatred. Yet they choose love and reconciliation. If they can do it, we have
no excuse.

It only takes a few small moments or interactions to radically transform a person and reality. Each moment is sacred and has awesome
potential for growth. In this life, with this body and with these eyes, we
can barely see the ripples we are constantly sending out. We know so
little about what effect we have on each other. The Dudik had no idea
what he was really doing and neither did the Momma...they were just
being, being genuine and coming from a place of compassion. When we
come from that place of compassion, especially for the other, we emit
beautiful waves of healing.

A rabbi in Jerusalem named Gedalia once painted me a beautiful


picture of the big after-party. He noted that many people who have had
near-death experiences get a taste of the other side, and often report
seeing their life flash before their eyes. Rabbi Gedalia says it is true.
The first thing that happens when your soul transitions out of your body
is that you get to watch a movie, but it is no ordinary flick. Its the movie
of your whole entire life in super hi-definition 8d, where not only can
you see what you did, but you can see all of the ripples that your actions
set out into the world. You see the butterfly effects. Each smile you sent
out gets traced and tracked, and each time you sent out dark energy, you
see where it went and how many people were affected. The question
for us is: What sound will we make at the end of watching our movie?
WOW! or Oh SHT! Heaven or Hell.

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Hug Around Jerusalem

Project of the Jerusalem Peacemakers,


of which I am currently a representative.

A couple thousand humans ( Jews, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists,


Hippies, Religious, Atheists, you name it) gathered at different gates
around the ancient walled city and gave her a long overdue, good ol
fashioned hug. I have observed that most humans are starving for a
proper hug. Some cities too. We held hands and chanted words of peace
and comfort to the old city, the epicenter to so many peoples spiritual
practice, and we tried to imagine what real peace would actually look
like. It was totally positive.
Most pro-tests quickly deteriorate into anti-tests, where people
rage against and point fingers. This was a gathering of vision, of dreams,
of how we want it to be. We hugged the walls in silence and then in
song and then a drum-circle dance-jam-session boogie broke out by
the (predominately Arab) Damascus gate. Yes folks, its true, it might
not have made the cover of the New York Times or CNN, but Jews and
Arabs danced together in celebration, in public, for the whole world to
see. It felt great.
Sometimes the situation out here can make one feel paralyzed and
helpless. I heard people been waging holy wars. Dont you have to have
an intact holy/living-in-a-really-good-way country first? Where is a
holy nation that is living in such a holy way? Costa Rica maybe? And
more importantly, who is vigorously working on making the holy peace?
Where are the huge armies of peace? For making wars the politicians
employ huge departments of government, the most advanced technologies, endless meetings, endless money, uniforms, etc.
When are we opening the department of Peace and Happiness?
When do we get uniforms? When are we getting the band together?

We often leave the mess for the politicians to try and fix over coffee
with negotiations that thus far have proved fruitless. The hug felt empowering and uplifting, and the celebration lasted all night. No borders
were shifted and no grandiose documents were signed, but something
changed a bit. Perspectives were shifted. One cant help but look at the
other with a new pair of eyes after one has danced with him and prayed
with him. Im not sure how, and its not something I can prove, but Im
pretty sure that a big part of the healing that must take place out here
will be with music and dance and people dreaming together over late
night cups of tea.

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All the big religions proclaim G?d is one, Jah is one, Great Spirit is
everywhere and everything. Were all interconnected. If only we actually
believed this. Imagine you are cutting a cucumber and you slip and cut
your left hand. Left hand would never pick up a knife and strike back at
ol righty ( Jerusalem Talmud, Nedarim, ch. 9). It is clear to us that these
two are interconnected and part of a greater oneness. By celebrating we
connect. When we connect we can greater see oneness. The clearer we
can see the oneness, the greater becomes our impulse to live harmoniously, and that, and the hokey pokey, is what its all about.

Reb Menachem Fromam, z"l, and Haj Ibrahim of the Mount of Olives. Jerusalem Peace Makers.

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Just a Glimpse

Ive spent the last little while at a renegade farm in the mountains
near Jerusalem, where Samson once lived, helping a friend turn a tract of
dry land into a luscious blooming field of herbs and yummy food. I have
a donkey. His name is Kunta. He is an angry donkey. I learned to tame,
saddle, and ride Kunta from a snake-catching, exotic-parrot-breading,
peyote shaman named Lester. Technically the donkey belongs to this
man, but the donkey stays with us next to the late-1800s British train
car that were based out of. No electric, no running water, no problems.
Two days ago I was making tea by the fire and a herd of one hundred
and seventy goats passed by. I spent the day with them and their herdswomen. The goats listen better than Kunta. Yesterday I worked in the
field, processed freshly picked herbs and discussed radical politics with
a Brahman guru groundskeeper who works the night shift at an Arabian
horse stable whos from Goa, India, with a dreadlocked beard thats
white at the roots and almost reaches his stomach, and who was once an
heir to an aristocratic throne. Later, I jammed in a hut atop a mountain,
where rebel Jews once hid out in dugout caves to hide from the Romans,
with a semi-famous musician who gets play on the radio. Then hopped
a ride to Jerusalem to play a gig at a bar till the wee hours.
No details in this story have been exaggerated. Some of the names may
have been altered to protect individual identities.

Equal and Opposite

Everyday I find a ten-pronged fork in the road. Each prong a different reality with infinite ramifications. Ive never been in such a little
space-place with such seemingly beautiful prongs. I say seemingly because one never knows where an unpursued prong might lead, though on
the surface it might shimmer.
Israel.

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, so they say.

This land known for chaos and turmoil is filled with so much joy
and beauty.

The news never shows you rampant Rainbow parades down the
catacombs of Jerusalem at 3 a.m. Or the gathering I just came from
where rabbis and imams sat, sang, and smiled together.

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Last week, I pursued a prong of preparing for a HUGE music/spirit
festival on the beach called Boombamelah. Sunshine, daydreams, palm
trees, white sand dunes, outrageous art, Rainbow family, circles, blue
sky in my eye, Mediterranean bliss. Sometimes at night I could hear the
bombs from Gaza, as I was camped about ten miles from the border.
Once in a while, just over the view of my campfire, on the horizon, the
night sky would light up green for a quick second.
Im not sure if its equal, the good and the bad, the pain and the
pleasure, but I do know that I dwell in a microcosmic land of extremes.
We are all microcosms of the macrocosm.

Everything that happens in Israel seems magnified, both the good


and the bad. This tiny little country is the physical and spiritual epicenter of several of the worlds major religions. She seems to crank religions
out. Many of the foundational principles of justice and legal structure
which we use today emerged from this fertile desert land the size of
New Jersey. Instant messaging and drip irrigation also came from her.
The notion of world peace was incubated on her prophetic soil.
If one were to write a report card of the state of the world today,
the tensions between radical Muslims and the western world would be
at the top of that list. Those tensions play out in and around little old
Israel more than anyplace else.
Shes powerful and potent. People are drawn to her and always have
been.

Israel is a celebrity. She has been for a long time. When a celebrity
goes to a bar and gets drunk the whole world hears about it. When Bob
Smith does the exact same thing, no one hears about it.
Many feel her power right when they get off the plane. And like
anything powerful, it can be used for good or for bad. Fire can save your
life, keep you warm, cook your food, bring you light. That same force can
easily burn and destroy.

Any doing you do in Israel is like being on a triple-word-score in


Scrabble. All doings get amplified. Thats why its such a great place
for healers and musicians to frolic. If you are going to drop the words
Universal Love on the scrabble board, you might as well drop it on the
triple word score. The bliss that exists in Israel is unlike any other flavor
of bliss in the world. Its deep and rowdy, ancient and urgent.

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Orange Straps and Blue Dcor
Gaza pull-out, 2005

Hitchin through the West Bank


No more water in the tank
Golden city at the end of the road
Watching everything unfold
Big thumb big smile
Ive been standing here for quite a while
Sun-soaked Judean hills
Future does as she wills
Gun patrol with an orange light
Armored truck pulls out of sight
Yellow plates hop a ride
White tags suicide
Step outside check the news
Nothing but them shades of blues
88 in Egypt dead
Now the Sinais turning red
Orange straps and blue dcor
Caught up in a color war
Pull out and disengage
Gazas dancing on the stage
Turn the corner turn the page
Acts of courage or acts of rage
One love one heart
She wont let go she wont depart
Got big dreams of the world to come
Pouring water on the sun
She hops a ride to paradise
You fooled her once youll fool her twice,
Hey mister whats the time?
Out of sight out of mind
Hey mister whats the word?
This tangled mess is quite absurd
Hey mister whats the news?
Its all a game of pick and choose
Hey mister whats the deal?
Another day in Israel

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The great dreams are the foundation of the world...
The crudeness of conventional life, wholly immersed in its materialistic
aspect, removes from the world the light of the dream...
The world is in convulsion with pains engendered by the destructive
toxins of reality, devoid of the brightness of the dream...
The free dream, which is in revolt against reality and its limitations, is
truly the most substantive truth of existence.
~ HaRav Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook zl,

first Chief Rabbi of Israelastine, Orot HaKodesh 1:226.

My Truth and Your Truth Sitting by the Fire


2009 Gaza-Israel War

I have friends on both sides of the fence. Some are holding guns,
some are in basements hiding, and Im left praying and trying to figure
out the lessons of war as quickly and thoroughly as possible. Usually
when Hashem/Great Spirit/Life gives us obstacles, the sooner we figure
out the lesson, the sooner the obstacle composts, revealing a path to
beauty.
One of the main tests that this war poses is, can we hold multiple
truths at the same time? Are we big enough, are we equipped to suffer
with the Gazan children while at the same time feeling with the mothers in Sderot? On both sides of this conflict we are guilty of taking tiny
pieces of truth and holding them so close to our faces that we can see
nothing else. We point and we scream, THIS IS TRUE! THIS IS MY
TRUTH! And often we are right, it is the truth, but only a fraction of
the whole truth.
I think were big enough to hold more. To see more.

This war is begging us to hold more. And maybe if we learn to


hold each others stories, while at the same time holding our own, this
predicament will evaporate like the mist in the morning, revealing a
most lovely path.

We must hold onto our vision of what in the end we want.


When we pray for peace for Israel, we know that this also means peace
for her neighbors. On the Jewish holiday of Passover, we dip out wine
(symbolizing removal of joy) from our cups because the Egyptians, our
oppressors and murderers/baby killers, had to suffer.

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Compassion for the other is the most challenging kind, but it is


also the most potent and maybe the medicine of the moment.
So I pray...

I pray to the G?d who splits seas and makes frogs rain from the
sky, the one who let the light burn for eight days instead of one,
and the one who reversed Hamans deadly decree...
I pray for Bnai Yisrael/the children of Israel, that one day soon
there will be a generation that doesnt know of enemies sworn to
her destruction.

I pray for the children of Gaza that the source of compassion, who
makes miracles, will make a shelter of peace for all the innocent
ones.

I pray for Hamas, that the poison of hatred and fear that so often
steers their hearts and hands be composted quickly.

Flotillas and Facets of Truth

My little brother arrived in Israel on the day that the Gaza-bound


flotilla was intercepted. It was also his birthday.
Below is a copy of a letter I wrote him about dancing with conflict.
Sorry its a mess out there with politics and flotillas.

This letter is a window into and out of me. These are just my
perspectives, and of course you can feel free to do whatever you
wish with them.

People will try and get you to take sides. People often react to
political messes and conflicts like sporting games. They have a
team and stick with em no matter what!

When we blindly take sides, we lose. Often people take sides and
hate the other. When we do this we perpetuate the very thing we
thought we were against! Suffering! It just lives in different forms
and different directions.
Hatred is an energy that lives like a parasite inside of people. It
wants to live! Hatred will tell its host just what it thinks the host
needs to hear in order for the host to keep it around. Thats why
people hold their hatred so tightly. Try and take it away from
someone and they will kick and scream to justify its existence.

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When we take sides, we take little fragments of truth and hold
them up to our faces so close that we are unable to see any other
truths. We are equipped to hold so much more, brother.

People on that boat were killed with sharp metal bullets. It hurt.
They suffered. They had families. We can feel that truth.
No blaming here. No finger-pointing. Just feel the truth.

Israeli soldiers were jumped, stun grenaded, badly beaten, thrown


over decks, and feared for their lives. We can feel that truth also.

Many innocent Gazans live miserable lives. Its OK to let that in.

Hamas, the popularly elected government of Gaza, has on the top


of their publicly posted mission statement the destruction of the
state of Israel and the Jewish people (which includes you and me)
and the complete occupation of Israel. Genocide. Dont be afraid
to tap into that.

Israel does not feel safe allowing unchecked cargo into Hamas-run
Gaza.
And and and...It goes on and on...

Often people think that their primary role in hearing of a conflict


is to jump to judgment and then (possibly and rarely) action. They
skip connecting. The faceted information they hold on to only lives
in their heads, and thus all solutions and actions are tainted and
inept.
When we allow ourselves to feel and connect with more and more
sides and angles of truth, the gates of our hearts open. We are no
longer interested in blaming. Rather, an open, connected heart
guides the hands and the mouth to work and pray tirelessly, comprehensively, for the sake of simple holistic peace for all sides.
And this is the Side of Sides! because it has no sides.

Looking backward and blaming gets replaced with deeply-rooted,


forward-looking searching and yearning for holistic solutions.

People will call you a crazy dreamer for taking such a side. What a
compliment! This world is STARVING for crazy dreams!
People will lure you and tempt you with their little facets of truth.
See them for what they are.
Especially in crazy times, we must hold tight to what we know is
right and good, even if no one else is doing it.

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If war and conflict are to serve any purpose (which they must
because they exist) let it be to deepen our resolve and yearning for
peace.
This letter and these perspectives are just facets of Truth.
Love you Dude,
Brother

Crazy Mountain
Jerusalem

Last night I played rainbow songs and backup guitar at a house


party with reggae artist Pato Baton and friends at a gathering of the
Jerusalem Peacemakers with Christians, Jews, Israelis and Palestinians.
We sat, drank tea, looked each other in the eyes, and played music as
one. Were no longer waiting or counting on Condoleezza Rices to make
peace for us, so we must do it ourselves. We danced. No one spoke of
politics, as that would have been a lowering, a dissension of our soaring
spirits. It felt like healing and fixing and tasted like hope. There must
always be a vision of how we want things to be that is constantly tugging
us forward and for a moment the answers seemed so clear to me.
On the same night, at the same time, about thirty minutes away
from our celebration, an acquaintance of mine and a close friend of
many friends of mine named Erez was walking alone through a forest
talking to God (as was his practice every night, called hitbodedut) and
three Palestinian teenagers ambushed him and brutally stabbed him to
death. Erez died last night. He was a righteous dude who played guitar
and just got back from India. He left a wife and three kids. His memory
is a blessing.

Im still dreaming and searching, and Im walking up the biggest,


tallest, craziest mountain. Its completely pitch-black and I cant even
see my hand in front of my face. Every once in a while a lightning bolt
flashes and everything is illuminated. The path becomes clear. Then,
just as I can see, the lights go off and Im left climbing, with a memory
of the way. I pray that memory she wont fail me and that someone, anyone, will please turn the lights back on. Because its so easy down here
to get lost and confused and distracted. But I remember, I remember
that superpower we created that night, those majestic lights. We basked

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in the Divine Oneness that flows through All existence. We speak of it
in different tongues and with different names, but it is there. It is here.
This is the one world superpower, and it can bring about change more
radical than any atomic bomb, more extreme than trillions of green dollars. For when we are able to look at humanity with pairs of eyes that
truly see this oneness in all, the great healing occurs.

Looking for G?d

Excuse me sir, do you know where God is?

Can you show me where the Spirit that moves through


Everything isnt?

I climbed to the top of Mt. Sinai looking for G?d and found
him everywhere. No burning bushes or deep, trembling voices. Just a
Technicolor sunrise to remind me of the passage of time.
A steady wind to keep me moving.

An ancient, barren mountain range to show me persistence.


G?d was here indeed. So was I.

Theres a coffee shop near the top of this sacred pilgrimage mountain where the coffee is black as night, hot as hell, sweeter than sin and
the view remains unchallenged, reminding me to embrace the all, the
stone, the wind, the heat, the magnificence and even the rampant coffee
shops.
Resist your temptation to lie
By speaking of separation from God,
Otherwise,
We might have to medicate you.
In the ocean
A lot goes on beneath your eyes.
Listen,
They have clinics there too
For the insane
Who persist in saying things like:

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I am independent from the sea,
God is not always around
Gently pressing against
My body.

~ "We Might Have To Medicate You" by Daniel Ladinsky from The Gift: Poems by
Haf iz, the Great Suf i Master (Penguin Compass, 1999).

Bus Ride

Monday, Nov. 14th

En route to Rainbow Israel in a bulletproof bus.


Hearing stories of shootings and explosions.
Driving along walls of separation.

Driving beside walls of protection.

Driving through tunnels under friendly-hostile towns.


The women beside me explains that we must pray
and hopefully G?d will listen.

G?d knows when each strand of hair moves on your body


He can make an RPG misfire.

As Im writing this, the bus just stopped and the engine turned off.
There was a shooting down the road.

Some Jews get out of the bus to pray.

One passenger, a soldier, grabs his M-16 and two clips and walks
down the road.
Armored trucks are everywhere.

I am in what some call the West Bank, Biblically, ancestrally


and currently also named Judea and Samaria, which actually lies on the
eastern-most part of Israel.
This country is messy and everyone has a different solution. One
grabs his bible while the other clutches his gun while I head to the
Israeli Rainbow gathering.

America is waging war right now in two huge bloody battlefields in

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Iraq and Afghanistan that are much bloodier than the situations here.
Yet in America you can barely tell you are at war. People are far from
that truth. I find the veil of truth is much thinner here in Israel. Here,
the truth is much more in your face. Sometimes it smells delicious and
sometimes it smells nasty, but it Is-real.

Ive heard, It is said in the Buddhist Mythology, that the Buddha


in his hundred thousand Maha-Kalpas of Lifetimes, trying to figure out
what it meant to be a compassionate and awake being on this earth, did
everything that everyone else had done, except for one thing. When he
took a vow a hundred Maha-Kalpas ago to try to awaken, the one thing
that he didnt do was he didnt lie to himself about what was happening.
And if we can give voice and words to the truth of our experience and
what we see on this land and what we see in this world, that will be our
salvation (Poetics of Peace).
The military roadblock was just lifted and our bulletproof bus is the
first one to pass where the shooting just took place. As we roll down the
road, I think of the infinite could-have would-haves and did-haves that
create each moment. A butterfly farts in Norway and theres a typhoon
in Japan. And what about the traffic lights? Does G?d himself control
these fate-determining mass-synchronization machines?

As the bus comes to a stop at reservoir road near the town of seven
wells, we disembark and begin our journey on foot through the night,
following rock piles into the Rainbow peace gathering. Under the cover
of the full moon I remark to my brother Yoni, It is quite possible this
day has not yet climaxed. And it hadnt...

Touch N Go

Sitting back, strumming a song, in aisle 26. Everyone has already


disembarked the plane. Ive still got laces of Heaven interwoven in my
fabric, and my pockets are stuffed with wild Jerusalem sage. I try to take
her with me wherever I go, even here and now, in this touch and go.

I slide my tattered passport, the one that got washed in the Jordan,
to a lady who teaches customs at the airport. She reaches out her hand
and slides it through the glass window, bringing my travel-logged stamp
collection to her nose. Eyes closed. She takes a long, slow drag as shes
smelling where Ive been.
A knowing smile comes to her face as shes transported from her
cubist space.

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She stares me dead-eyed in the face...
and then lets me go...

Though Id love to stay a while longer in this particular flow.


Im here today but its a touch and go.

Pilots of the Inter-OuterStates

Jerusalem in my rearview mirror and in my sights. Im driving down


south through the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Rainbow gathering
in Arkansas. Old friend down the road calling, calling me back, welcome home. The road, cheap coffee, cheap sunglasses, and gospel tunes.
Endless slathers of concrete pass me by, mile markers in the corner of
my eye. I feel at home on this open road beneath an endless sky. Truckstop sits like an ancient fortified shelter town, with gaping monoliths,
along some historic trade route. We the pilots of the inter-outer-state
sit in greasy diners and grant our terrain-battered eyeballs a moment of
breath. Welcome home.

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THE OTHER SIDE

God was charitable toward His world by not endowing all talents in
one place, nor with one person, nor with one nation, nor with one country,
nor with one generation, nor with one world. But the talents are diffused.
The necessity of seeking perfection...causes us to seek an exalted unity...
The disposition towards universality always f ills the hearts of the
ref ined spirits of the human race. They therefore feel as though they are
choking if they should be conf ined within the sphere of their own nation
solely.

~ HaRav Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook zl, first Chief Rabbi in Israel after
2000 years of exile. (English translation by Ben Zion Bokser).

Bangkok, Thailand
June 12, 2008

Eighteen hours skimming on air currents. I flew over the North


Pole (yup) and felt the ice cracking...watched Kite Runner over Kabul
and Gandhi over India.
And now Im on the other side of the proverbial bowling ball.

Fun thought: You and me, our heads are probably pointing in opposite directions right now, but both being pulled in the same inward
direction. When you drop something, it moves closer to me. If we started
digging...
Whats up?

As I got off the airplane and everything and everybody looked different and my body was twenty-five percent longer than everyone elses
and there wasnt a single face I knew, I thunk to myself, I made it as far
away from the place I was born while stickin to the mud heap...And
with a mighty grin shmackered to my face I thought This still kinda
feels like home.

Maybe this planet is a giant, heaving, living organism after all (to
be sung to Its a Small World). And were part of it. You know they
say that over three pounds of the human body is made up of foreign
bacteria and organisms, of which we could not live without. So, too, we
are part of this massive beast who feeds off the sun and slurps from the

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oceans and whose breath is wind. I just got relocated, like a hemoglobin
cell moving along arteries and veins, streets and rivers, to the other side
of the mighty organism.

Maybe Mother Earth isnt just a great big ship that were sailing
on...Youre a stitch in the sail and Im a peg on the floorboard.
Bangkok is growing on me, sometimes like a fungus. Shes filthy
and beautiful and grimy and then every few blocks there is a shrine
or a massive temple with intricate detail and serene vibrations. People
here are definitely more chilled out than most. Meditation is culturally
embraced. There are statues everywhere of a healthy, fleshy man who sits
in perfect stillness, contentment, and oneness with the world. This sends
out massive amounts of shanti (peaceful) societal waves. I think about
how this juxtaposes the waves that get triggered from the pictures and
statues in other developing countries Ive seen, of an emaciated white
Jewish rabbi pegged up to a roman torture/death device. Definitely different vibes...
My eyes and heart are open. My group of college students comes
tomorrow.

The Monk

The monk was old. One of his eyes was completely glazed white,
and when he spoke I could see the blood pressure building and bulging
in his jugular vein as it pushed out of his wrinkly old-man neck. He was
ancient and wrapped in thick saffron robes. He sat with a straight back
and perfect posture for over an hour in the Asian heat. I had to climb a
great staircase to meet him. He was standing on the top of the staircase,
next to a big golden temple that looked like it had been dripped out of
sand. He was sweeping when I arrived. Most people bow to the ground
three times when they meet a monk. I did not, as I thought of all my
ancestors who became martyrs for refusing to bow to this or that. I
respectfully put my hands together near my heart and greeted him that
way.
It was a little funny talking to the monk. You see, he was actually
from Burma, and he spoke the Mon language (Mon people have been
heavily persecuted by Burmese) so I had not one, but TWO translators!
One from Mon to Thai and then Thai to English (and vice versa)! It
took five minutes of telephone to say Hi and you could imagine how
much gets morphed in translation. Actually Hi in Thai is Kin Kow

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Mai, which literally translates to have you had rice yet today?

Yeah...the monk...the monk strives to sit in the middle, not getting


pulled and tugged in either direction. No pain, no pleasure. He sits alone
in a seasonless world void of tears or laughter. When asked about our
role here, our purpose, he basically said that we are here to get out of
here. At least that is how I heard it...He kept talking about this great
place you could get to once you had done all your work in this world,

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where everyone listened to some band called Nirvana? Sounded pretty


cool...Not so much about fixing this broken world...more of a model
for how to completely check out of it. Like, if I feel nothing and let
everything go and Im attached to nobody and nothing and I nullify all
my impulses and desires which make me human...then Im out...and Im
done...and I dont have to come back no mo.

It sounds like a good fallback plan to me. First, though, Plan A...
Try try try to stay in the light, to mend what can be fixed, to raise the
sparks in ourselves and others, to celebrate and seek out awe-full experiences, to bask and roll around in our joys, and to give breath and love
to our struggles. To connect as deeply and sincerely as possible with our
sources and ultimately our source. Thatd be my plan A. But it takes
courage to come out from the middle. If Newton is right, every time
you swing one way, theres a tug in the other. Im not convinced. I think
non-attachment is a wonderful tool. I keep it strapped tight on my belt,
and when things dont go my way or when my guitar gets run over by
accident by a pick-up truck (true story), then maybe I pull it out and I
am not so attached and destroyed because I know its just a thing and it
served a great purpose and it has moved on. Or maybe I cry because I
loved it. Anyways, Im glad the monk exists. Hes a totem, holding down
that energetic force that I sometimes feel drawn to call.

Radical Truth

Viakadi, Thailand, on the Burma border,


leading an AJWS service-learning trip, June 22, 2008

We sat in sweatshops with Burmese migrants who cross the border


daily on a footbridge as the Thai guard looks the other way. The people
who make our clothes live like slaves and I can no longer look the other
way. Im not afraid to see truth. Being holy to me means being connected
to what is. Many religious people call themselves an observant this or an
observant that, yet they dont make time to truly observe, to see what is,
to notice where things come from and where things go. I have observed
many people who call themselves observant not noticing the song of the
birds? I wish we would put truth on labels instead of hype and inflated,
distorted chumetz. Ingredients are nice, but what Im starving for is
truth cost. I wish you could look at a pair of shoes in the store and
see how the cow was treated. Was he ever allowed to walk? How was
he killed? How much forest land had to be clear-cut to raise the cow?
How much poison was dumped onto the earth to grow the cotton for

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the laces? How much liquefied-dinosaur-bone-sequestered-carbon from
ancient fossils (i.e. fuel) did you release into my fragile air-pocket of an
atmosphere to bring me your product? Did you mutate the genetic code
of this plant Im about to put into my mouth hole and turn into me? Tell
me please! Then let me choose. I wish we could really have truth eyes
on as we look at one and other. Truth eyes that are so strong that even
if you looked at me and I was wearing a mask of distortion, you will see
and feed my essential me, my essential truth. With this way of seeing
(which is analogous to Matzah) we can heal each other.
Across the sad, muddy, border-town road was a brothel. We arranged
a meeting between our twenty college students and the sex-workers. The
inside of the brothel felt like an old western saloon minus any hint or
allusion of glamor. It had an open-air common room and a second-story
exposed hallway. We all stood in a circle and played icebreakers and
laughed for a while. We sat around a large table and asked each other
questions. The mood shifted. A fifteen-year-old child tells me a fable
about how she lays on her back and takes off her pants because she
needs to make money. A cyclone recently washed her home away, and
she was trick sold into slavery, thinking shed be a slave making shoes in
a factory. She now has no more time in the day. No more time to play.
She rolls the dice for a bowl of rice and maybe a little extra to send
to her starving parents. Each morning she lights a stick of incense by
Buddhas perfect feet in the hopes that HIV wont show.
You know, she says, Once I leave here, Im gone.

The air was humid with monsoon and thick with the musk of sex.
I saw you as a beautiful child.

People are talking, asking you questions.

My eyes fill with the sea as my thinking mind surrenders.

I was there. You were sitting next to me telling me details of tribulation.

Inside I was gone. I was busy. Begging. Writing up petitions and


sliding them under G?ds front door, slathering them on his windows
and stuffing his mailbox.

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Whos Ganda?
Pre-trip

There is a voice in me, a small voice, that likes to pretend to know


things about the future. He likes to think he knows where he is going
and what will happen. Ive spent the last several years gently hogtying
this voice and sitting him on a couch where he can watch my life, with
all of its unforeseen serendipity, unfold. These days, my hand is mostly
off the rudder and my sail is flying high, catching gusts of divine wind
that seem to be sending me to Uganda. Who knew? Small voice wants to
add that he thinks we are going to spend time with lots of funny animals
and African Abayudaya Jews before meeting up with an AJWS service
learning group that I will be leading.
Tuaonana! (Peace out in Swahili)

Day One...Uganda

I was burned out from exhaustion, buried in the hail,


Poisoned in the bushes an blown out on the trail,
Hunted like a crocodile, ravaged in the corn.
Come in, she said, Ill give you shelter from the storm.
Suddenly I turned around and she was standin there,
With silver bracelets on her wrists and flowers in her hair.
She walked up to me so gracefully and took my crown of thorns.
Come in, she said, Ill give you shelter from the storm.
~Bob Dylan, Shelter from the Storm (1974)

First day in Uganda...Landed in Entebbe, rolled up to the central


bus station in Kampala, the capitol...

Stood around for a while and stared at a map...There were buses


going in every direction to different cities and different countries and I
had to pick...
Rwanda in the south. Warring Congo in west. Genociding Sudan
and the LRA in the north. Today Kenya is in an (un)civil(ized)-war in
the east.
Hmmm...

I picked a bus that said Fort Portal.


I liked the name....
It feels nice to say.

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Fort Portal

And I like portals...

Love making little forts...

And it was in the direction of the Rwenzori Mountains, the tallest


in Africa...This region is also allegedly the densest, most monkey-full
place on the planet (though I doubt the researchers have been to Brother
Yonis apartment on the upper-left-side, or to Nachlaot, Jerusalem).

I got my ticket and parked myself on a torn vinyl seat by a scratched


window on the bus. I quickly became mesmerized with all the movies
and characters I could see through the glass. We sat in the non-airconditioned, equatorial-midday heat waiting for the bus to depart for
FIVE HOURS! Didnt move...for five hours.
Not one person on the bus complained.

Luckily I did not have to pee once the whole time because all the
water in me was dripping out in rivers of sweat. I barely moved. It was
an incredible sensation, and powerful meditation.
In hour two of the sit I reminded myself that this bus station was
just as much Uganda as any other place in Uganda. My goal was to
experience myself and Uganda, so I was, in that moment, doing what I
came for.
I had arrived, though the bus hadnt budged.

That thought dance-morphed into brother Yonis snorkeling meditation that we learned snorkeling off Ras Abu Galum in the Red Sea of
the Sinai desert. We stop swimming and float limp on top of the water.
Wide gaze through the plastic goggles. Breathe slow through a lifesupporting air tube that allows me to drink vital essence from the other
side...Wed both become water...When we stop moving, stop swimming,
worlds reveal themselves to us (see the Sabbath day of rest for more
on this). Colors and creatures I did not know existed start showing up.
Once we stop moving. The silt in the water settles and if Im lucky, I
can see more.
On the bus, I became water.

Hour four I spent pondering the nature of frustration and my lack


thereof. I reminded myself that if I ever wanted to try getting angry or
frustrated at something, there were far greater sources to choose from,
like the hiding invisible children in the north of Uganda, or the uninterrupted genocide next door in Darfur, or the killings in Kenya, etc.

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Just then the engine fired...pitch-black tar-cloud smoke-plume farted from the tailpipe. Tires rolling, air circulating...we are on our way.
Big city grows small and the countryside quickly unraveling trees and
land shapes that are new to these eyes.
The quiet traveler watches.

We pulled into Fort Portal at night. I had been straight traveling


for thirty-eight hours since I left my brothers apartment the day before.
The first two hotels I found had no vacancies. No open places for me to
squeeze into...I was tired and dirty and smugly smiling beneath a tired
mustache.

At the third hotel, I walked in and asked for a room. The skinny,
dark man with an oversized shoulder-padded coat replied, We, are, full.
I said, Please man, could you just put a mattress on the ground
somewhere and Ill just sleep somewhere? Anywhere? Im super tired, I
just came in today from the other side of the planet!

Next to the concierge was a small caf with white plastic tables. A
tall, well dressed man with gawky-shoulder padded sport coat put down
his pencil and looked over his shoulder towards me. I smiled.
He said in a smooth, calm voice, Traveler, put down your bags.
When I am finished my writing I will make sure that you have a
proper private room.

His eyes moved to my cage-free, case-free guitar with all of her


stickers and decorations. He smiled.

I felt my shoulders scream with exhalation as my backpack straps


slid down off my arms.
I pulled up a stool.

He asked me if I could play.

I strummed reggae rhydum and we began singing.


We improvised and sang our life stories.

The greatest way to meet a new friend is through song.


Some shake hands.

Most animals sniff.


We sang.

We sang for hours.

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We had never exchanged names, yet by the end of that jam there
was a great knowing that far surpassed the stunted fruits of whats your
name.

Turns out, when I walked in he was in the middle of writing a song,


and he was a bit stuck. Turns out hes famous. James Katz (Katzchulungoo)
is his name...His breakthrough hit was a happy, calypso, electro-beat
song he wrote a few years back about Ebola disease and prevention...
Right after his song came out, Ebola cases plummeted! (Were working
on an HIV diddy called When you go out in the rain, remember your
umbrella). The king of that part of Uganda (the youngest king in the
world at ten years old) appointed James officially as a prince. So hes my
new best friend. Hes got a heart of gold. We ride all around together
on his motorcycle. Im on the back strumming my guitar as we climb
up and down dirt-roaded mountains singing new songs. We go to gigs
where sometimes we are playing for members of Parliament and other
fancy people.
Roger, the guy who works the desk at my guest house, makes 3 dollars a day. He works from 8 a.m. till midnight every day of the week. His
transportation costs are $1.50. Then food and rent...the math doesnt
add up.
James is putting on a huge New Years concert where thousands are
due to attend and he invited me to be a featured international performer!
There was daytime and there was evening.
And it was good.
Day one,
Uganda.

Try this out:

The next safe person who you meet who asks you your name and
who you are and what you do, sing them a song about yourself and your
life.

People often say, How are you doing? and then expect an answer
that describes how you WERE doing. Ive been good, is a typical (past
tense, conditioned) answer. But the question is in the present. How
ARE you doing, now? And often I just want to say, right now I am in a
conversation with you, and its going pretty well. We just started talking
and you are already checking in with me to see how Im doing, which is

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a little strange. In most design strategies one evaluates near the end, not
first thing right off the bat. How bout lets have a conversation and at
the end well check in about how we are doingEhh?
No more parrot talkin, please.

Day of the Show

January 1st, Fort Portal, Uganda

Fighting broke out yesterday in neighboring Kenya.

Somehow someone thought they could cheat on elections and get


away with it!
One hundred and twenty-four dead is what they said.
War in the north...Now war in the east...
War in the west, in Congo...

Uganda is landlocked and she gets her petrol from Kenya, and since
the fighting broke out the petroleum teats have run dry. In the region
I am in, there is one station with petrol within one hundred miles. It
happens to be two frisbee throws away from my guest house. Hundreds
of petrol-hungry motorists have descended upon this little station with
their cars, motorcycles, and empty geri-cans...fighting over drops of the
flammable earth nectar. I can hear them shouting from my bedroom.

Police with AK47s have been gathering at the station, for soon the
pumps will run dry. What would you do if the pumps and the faucets
ran dry?
The show must go on...
It begins in an hour...

Showtime

I had been billed as a world traveling, touring musician named


Jeremiah the Israelite. Everyone was tripping that I looked like Jesus
and had just come from Israel. Somehow a rumor got out that I had
written some well-known reggae hit, which I hadnt.

They tried to keep me hidden backstage during the show so that


my entrance would be more dramatic, but it was only my fourth day in
black Africa and Id never been to a Ugandan concert before, so I snuck
out and headed to the outdoor bleachered venue.

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As I walked onto the grass and dirt dance floor, I felt the breeze of
three thousand eyeballs redirecting on me. The musician stopped lipsyncing, but the music continued. Some pointed, some laughed.
I smiled.
I waved.

They laughed.
I smiled.

I took off my shoes and started dancing.

Laughter turned into danceter, and the musician picked up the beat
and continued to lip-sync. Turns out most performers in Uganda lipsyncNot even karaoke. I told James that lip-syncing was very popular
in the USA amongst teenage girls with hair brushes, and he couldnt
stop laughing. Out of the fifteen musicians there that day, I was the only
one who played any live sound, voice, or music. I was laughing to myself
the whole time at the absurdity of the whole movie.

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When I got on stage, people were shell shocked. The MC told me


that they had never seen a white person with long hair and a beard who
wore simple clothes before. The MC sat in front of me with two microphones, for voice and guitar, and held them out with his two arms. I said
some words about our family in Kenya, and unity, and a call for peace. I
think a lot got lost in translation. Most all the people there spoke Bantu,
a very rare dialect of Lugandan. They definitely did not seem into the
music at first. I played Bob Marleys Africa Unite into One Love and
some Shlomo Carlebach peace songs in Hebrew.
I had a trick up my sleeve. Before the concert began I wrote down
on my wrist the translation to several key phrases in Bantu.

When I started singing and freestyling in Bantu Good Morning,


One Love, Peace in the Heart, Butterfly, Unity etc., people actually fell
out of their seats.
Before I left for Uganda, peopled always ask, So, what are you
going to do there? In my heart and in my head I knew that my mission was to surrender to the unknown path, and by surrendering, some
road would reveal itself to me and I would follow.
So where are you going? -them
Into the unknown. -me

Most people dont like that answer, even though its always true.
They often think I am being smirk and sardonic. So often Id just make
up some platitudinal answer about going on safari or something just so
that people would feel satiated, like they got their question answered. In
my head I knew that my trip was going to lead me to realities beyond
what I could currently see. This thought stream ran through my head as
it was day four in Uganda and I was playing onstage in front of thousands of locals, politicians, and Im seated next to the officially certified
and sashed Mrs. Uganda.

Kenyas Burning

Kenyan refugee camp in Uganda

After a song session with the kids at the Kenyan refugee camp,
I sat and met with the elders. I listened. They were eager to tell me
their stories. One guy, Peter, who was about my age, told me through
his swollen eyes about how hed been lynched by a mob and then had

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to watch as his home and all of the things hed spent his life collecting
went up in smoke. I promised him I would tell his story. So here I am.
I could not imagine having something so disastrous happen to me and
then to feel like there is no one to tell it to. It happens all the time. They
all had suffered...they had no homes...little food...theyd seen death...
yet they knew how to dance and celebrate the gift that is the moment.
And we danced. And it was amazing.

Senegal

Landing in Dakar tonight. Instant sand dunes and giant men wearing
turbans and beautiful color-filled robes with sandals. This is no ordinary
trip. I am leading a group of thirty rabbinical students from Reform,
Renewal, Conservative, and Orthodox denominations in Senegal with
the American Jewish World Service. If all we did for these two weeks
was work on understanding each other, Dayenu, it would be enough. On
top of the plural-uni-ism piece we also all worked on a project together
building latrines in a village. We ate together, we studied justice and
poverty together, and to top it all off, we prayed together. Each morning all of the participants from all of their different divisions, denominations, were asked to pray together. Orthodox men with shproingly
tzitzit praying with and beside lesbian Reconstructionist women. Any
two people should be able to at least pray together, give thanks together,
to ask together, especially if theyre both Jewish, you might think.

Senegal Day 7

I almost threw up today. The village where we go each day is an


hour and a half away from where we sleep. We cram into an ancient bus
that needs to be filled with water once an hour. The bus turns off the
horizontal concrete walls onto paths made of sand and dirt. Ancient
bau-bau tree forest as far as the eye can see, circular houses built of earth
and straw and shabby roofs made of tin. It hasnt rained here in eight
months.

I pulled out my guitar, the one with no case, and started to play
a happy song. Ten kids gathered. Then twenty. Then thirty. Each one
abundantly beautiful. There was this one kid up at the front of the
crowd, about two feet away from my kneeling body. We were eye to eye
and we were singing a happy song. He had mucus pouring out his nose
holes and flies sitting on his eyeballs. Through the holes in his tattered

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shirt I saw bumps from where worms had invaded his body, and I almost
threw up.
Do you want to skip through this part of the book/reality?
I did.

I almost stopped playing my happy song to run away and find a


tree where no one could see and throw up behind it. I was so disgusted.
Disgusted at the thought of What if this was my sick child, and I had
nowhere to take him, no money for the bus ride, let alone the clinic or
doctor? I was disgusted that the predicament even existed, and I almost
threw up. I decided to hold it in and continue playing music for the
moment. I told myself that later I would honor those putrid feelings and
allow them to emerge and live as they want to, but not now. I played on
with a broken smile on my face.

I couldnt do it.

Senegal Day 8

I tried.

I tried to cry, but I couldnt.

I love to cryto taste the depth of the winter and heat of the summer. To come from that place where Im overflowing in one way or
another. To feel deeply is to be alive.

During the Amidah, the silent personal meditation, I tried to conjure up the feelings of disgust that I had put on pause from the day
before and from the world in front of me now. And I couldnt. I was
blocked and congested, energetically constipated.

In the night we gathered, as we do every night, to learn, explore,


and discuss. Our classroom is a beautiful thatch-roofed hut with an
air-conditioner that doesnt really make the air cooler, but makes a lot
of noise. I douse myself religiously with geranium and rosemary to keep
the malarial mosquitoes away, and I havent gotten sucked on once. My
skin is glowing. I smell like flowers.
I told my thirty rabbis about my energetic constipation and asked
them for some counseling. How do I drop it from my mind to my heart?

Its the hardest and easiest thing on earth, is what they told me.
We lit a candle and we cried.

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HUMAN ERA
The problems in this corner of the world are completely out of control and can be overwhelming, often to the point of paralysis. Millions
of refugees, Sudan Genocide, 5.4 million dead in the last ten years in
Congo! I barely even knew there was anything happening in Congo.
Kenya is burning, 28 percent of pregnant women in South Africa have
AIDS.
In the year 2009, the era that birthed technologies that enabled us
to upload and reference the entire Koran, the Bhagavad-Gita, all the
Vedas, all Bill Murray movies, and the Torah in 6 seconds in the palm
of your hand from almost anywhere with no wires, 24,000 humans die
everyday from starvation.
In the era where human beings traveled without touching the
ground, faster than any animal, without sweating, by simply tilting their
ankles and gently rotating their fingertips, most of the 24,000 each day
starving to death are children.
What do I do with that?

Where does it go in me?

What if I actually sat with any of those truths and really let them
into me, not just in my head?

Not so long ago it used to be that people only knew and would see
the problems and needs of their own little village, shtetl, or community.
Occasionally they would hear with their ear about bigger problems or
needs of the country or another land.
Today is different. These days are no ordinary days, in case you
havent noticed. Its never been like this before. In these rare times
we live in, people are constantly, consistently bombarded with images
and knowledge of suffering. Internet, CNN, BBC, barraging eyes and
conscience constantly. Ceaseless war, famine, bombings, drama, and
tsunamis dance their way into our eyeballs, into our bodies, in through
peoples living rooms everyday, live via satellite.
We can get flooded.

Our ability to act/react cannot keep up with our levels of awareness.

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A tricky seed within the fruit of knowing. Often the impulse to fix or to
help gets overdosed, hyper-stimulated. G!d forbid, we turn the impulse
off, we become numb.

Somehow though, I believe that there is enough. That we werent


dumped on this planet without enough resources to feed ourselves and
all live decent lives. Sounds crazy and so far off. I pray that we get out of
our own way. We are All blessed with a sun that is constantly showering
and recharging a super fertile planet that just wants to give and give.
There is enough.

There is enough space.


There is enough food.

There is enough room.

Theres enough energy.

Theres enough money. Medicine


There is enough.

It is we who poison the earth and hoard her resources. Then we


fight trillion-dollar wars over these resources, so there is no money for
medicine or education, for the basic and the obvious. Opportunity cost,
Econ 101: Had we not gone to war with Iraq and invested the trillions
of dollars elsewhere, we could have crossed off one of the big ones...
AIDS or cancer maybe...world hunger...education for all...sustainable
energy...probably several of these. We could collectively choose such a
reality. We mustnt get stuck in our old broken patterns, in the same-old
same-old. You know when you get on the back of a Greyhound bus and
it smells like piss and you cant stand the smell, but after a few minutes
the bus rolls and you get used to the smell and it seems like it goes away?
It doesnt. Ive also met a man who lived next to the Grand Canyon
who no longer gazed with amazement and gratitude. Walking connected
means being hip to what is going on while it is going on.
I tell you, it has been wonderfully startling for me the last few
weeks.

One night I was in Uganda, the next morning in a cafe in Amsterdam,


cuddle puddle that night in New York City, and then San Salvador by
noon the next day. Head spinning, reality shifting on a dime. Amsterdam
and her sterility and straight lines, with the mud huts of Uganda still
fresh in my eye. Thousands die each day from diarrhea. Rehydration
salts cost three dollars a packet. So Im stuck asking myself, how do I

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buy anything I do not Need?

Every 110 hours a million more humans arrive on the planet than
die into it. Every seventh person on the planet is a Chinese peasant.
Humans drink over a billion cups of tea a day. The insects outweigh
us and the chickens outnumber us four to one. We are tiny...You and
everyone you know make up a sampling error on any global census, yet
you are it. The dust of the earth for whom this world was created.

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Gleanings.
Perennial Truths, Insights & Perspectives
I have not come here to teach the reader anything new,
but to recall to mind (and heart) that which is well known to him.
~ Moshe Chayim Luzatto

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change happens in one moment


We sometimes tell ourselves, It will take so long to change. So
then we never change. This lethargic voice of doubt is from the aspect
of you that is slated to be composted, that is slated to change. Your old
habits and ruts exist. All things and energies that exist have a will to exist. Therefore they will tell you things to keep them around, so that they
can continue to exist. In other words, old habits dont die easily because
no thing that is alive dies easily if it can help it.
The truth is...change happens in one moment.

The preparation-work for this moment is getting clear about how


you want to be. What does Creator/creation want of me? There are many
methods for getting clear and intimate with your higher self, which is
not shackled to your current ways of being. In your quest for refinement
you might find that, I wish to only speak my highest truth, or, I want
to give energy or money toward Justice everyday, or, I will only eat
life-enhancing foods, or...
Once you know with your higher mind how you would like to be in
this world, it only takes one moment to actualize it...

A moment will arrive when you will be about to default into an


old way of speaking, behaving or eating or... Then the magic moment
happens. You catch yourself and you zoom out. In this moment of grace
you become aware that you are sitting at an intersection (and the larger
Truth is: each moment is a thousand-pronged intersection). At this moment, you can see the choices before you. This is a sacred awareness. You
could let the gossip out of your mouth or you could stay silent. In this
moment, if you overmind your behavior with a higher awareness and
you choose to stay silent and swallow the destructive thought from the
tip of your tongue, you have changed, and thousands of barefoot angels
start dancing with drunken revelry to their favorite Grateful Dead song
in Heaven.

Are you done? Nopers. Maybe never. Because two minutes later you
will most likely be at that similar intersection again. All of your spirit
guides turn down the music and start dropping you clues as they cheer
you on... And it gets easier. We begin to form new patterns, which are

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in line with our higher selves. Slowly, orange-clad cranial and cardio
construction workers begin putting up orange and black detour signs on
ancient synaptic highways as new pathways are formed.

Of course, this new forming pattern will be evaluated from time


to time. But when you go to evaluate a truly holy and healthy aspect of
yourself, it is not afraid to be scrutinized. It will not make up lies and
distortions to avert attention. Rather, it invites the probing search light.
If it is beauty-filled and from Truth, it has nothing to hide.
After you pull through an intersection and make a good life enhancing choice, pat yourself on the back. Have a smile with yourself
after you choose any action or direction with your higher self driving the
bus. It is important to celebrate. Dont skip this part.

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un-hog-tying your dreams


My name is Pesach, which comes from the holiday Pesach/Passover,
a springtime holiday that celebrates freedom. Remember that anything
holy, like a holy-day, has to be connected to your heart. It has to be
personal. Every holy-day has to, in some way, be about you. Passover
cannot be just a story about some slaves that got freed somewhere. It
has to be about you and your story, your slavery and your freedom. It
becomes sanctified when it is allowed in the sanctuary that is you.
Someone once interviewed a slave in ancient Egypt and asked him
what he wished for most. With a Yiddish accent the slave replies, If
only my bricks were a little bit lighter and I had a little more time off
on Sundays. We call these slave dreams because they are shackled to
a non-thrival reality.
Where in our lives are we doing this?

Where in our lives do we cover our yards with inedible grass, instead of allowing edible forest gardens to succeed?

We can dream infinitely huge unshackled dreams, yet it is so hard


sometimes to see beyond what is. The current prevailing paradigms are
so convincing. In our relationships and our jobs, most of us are settling.
The blind man says, I am doing my best.

The wide eyed one replies, If any one person on this whole planet
actually reached his or her full potential, and actually did their best, the
entire world would be fixed and redeemed all at once. So none of us are
doing our best.
Go big or go home.

If you are not going big, or dreaming big, you are to go directly
home.
Go inside.

Connect to your source.

From there you will grow, and go, big!


Take a hike!
OK...

Get real!

All right...

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sustainable bliss
Sustainable Bliss

Simcha l Simcha...

Happiness to Happiness.
We often worship the darkness...

People say, We need darkness for there to be light. I say, ask a


photon in the middle of the sun.
We love the heroic Hollywood crescendo of coming out of the
darkness and into the light.
The contrast of light on dark does make it easy to see light.
And...

We dont Need it.

There is another way.


Simcha to Simcha.

Happiness to Happiness.
Light upon Light.

Going from one good moment to another good moment without


the contrast in the middle.
Its like appreciating what you have while you have it.

It takes a heightened awareness to be a drop of water in an ocean


and still know that you are water, but it is doable.
Try it.

Its a paradigm shift.

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closeness

If you have one real moment of closeness with someone,


it can last a lifetime. ~ Reb Shlomo Carlebach
The world is starving. We are all starving for closeness.

Closeness is the biggest missing thing in the world today.

You can raise a child and take him to baseball practice and buy him
nice clothes, do all the right things, and still be so far away from him.
No closeness.
You can say the deepest, holiest, highest prayer in the worldturn
to page 53 in your prayer book and utter all the right ancient words, and
yet be so far from them. No closeness.

We eat food every day and were often completely detached from
where it came from and where it grew and who touched it. No closeness.

My friend tells me of her troubles, her cat died, and often all we do
is probe for more details, or relate a similar story, or say II am sorry.
Well do anything to deflect connecting directly to the persons feelings.
Anything to avoid closeness, even though that is exactly what were all
starving for.
Am I even close to my authentic self ? How much of what I say is
from conditioning? Hi, how are you doing? Fine, thanks. Parrot talk.
Am I close to my words? Am I one with my words?
How much of my day, of my precious life, do I live in accordance
with my truest, most authentic desires and authentic selfor am I living
far from them? Closeness.
Closeness is holiness.
Closeness is holiness.

There once was a temple that was built as a temple for all nations.
It was a magnificent temple. At certain times of the year, people from
all the nations of the world could come and make offerings. Though the
temple was arguably and likely the most grand and glorious temple ever
built, there were no pictures or paintings in this temple. No colossal
statues of a guy hurling lightning bolts. No paintings of a holy human

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dying on a roman torture device. No giant golden depiction of a plump


serene man sitting with inner stillness.

There was a special room in the middle, in the heart. Once a year,
one pure holy man would enter the room with a rope tied around his
waist (lest he die and no one could enter the room to retrieve him). In
the center of the room there was a sacred box filled with divine expressions of Truth. On top of this box there were two statues of two angels
facing each other, arms and wings out, about to hug.
Closeness.

artwork by Chanan Eliyahu Baer

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semipermeable auric membrane


Everything is the Guru. Some use Yoga practice as teacher, some
(knowingly or unknowingly) use Beverly Hills 90210 and other TV
shows to attune themselves to. I say attune because every thing and
person that we inter-act with we also, to some degree, tune ourselves
to. We are, of course, made of energy. Energy, of course, wiggles. And
it can wiggle in an infinite number of ways. Your energy knows how to
do different dances than mine. In fact, energy lives moment to moment
shifting from waltz to watusi in a heartbeat or two. Imagine your best
friend walks through the door right now. Your energy immediately starts
picking up new rhythms, and so does your friends. This is even measurable by science, if you are into that sort of thing.

Picture Billie Holiday singing in Radio City Music Hall. See her
projecting her energy outward through her face and through energy amplifiers into the co-resonating crowd, masses of hue-manifesting beings.
If shes singing the yellows, then everyone feels yellow. And when shes
singin them blues, then thats what you are.

Often when two people/nations cannot harmonize, and there is


static and distortion, all that is needed is a third resonator, a third object
or person that the two disharmonious entities can align themselves with.
During the peace work I have done in Israel, I discovered the importance of finding that third entity. When the Israelis and the Palestinians
would sit together at the Sulha and Sulhita (forgiveness) gatherings, yes,
wed listen to each others stories, but I think the most effective thing we
did together was to drink tea. To write songs together. To give thanks
together. To pray together. These were our third entities that we attuned
ourselves to. And that is what peace looks like. Drinking tea with your
friend. Making energetic harmony. And from that place everything is
possible. Political disputes become graceful when we come from this
place of connection.

Your life and your being are the most sacred things that you have.
Be conscious of who or what you co-resonate with. What you let in.
Which billboards you stare at. What you put on your altar. Your eyes are
holy portals that bathe your entire being in whatever you look at. Your
mouth, a sacred faucet. A Jew often wears a kippah, or head covering, as

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a physical reminder of the porous, semipermeable auric field that lets


energy in and allows energy out. Im not going to dare tell you what to
look at or when/what to speak, Im just sayingrow, row, row your
boat. Bring bring bring intentionality and consciousness around what
you let in and out of your holy vessel.
Row row row your thoughts gently through your dreams. Merrily
merrily merrily merrily, life is but a stream.

Though the river could swallow us without thinking twice, and we


really have no idea what is on the other side of that mountain up ahead,
we gently paddle and tweak our karma.

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presence
People love to feel high. Its nice. High, which is up, is one
direction. Its nice, but its only one direction.

During a sacred song, the Soul ascends and dances beyond the
confines of the Body. Often in elation, I am detached from my physical
senses. I am not seeing the room of people around me. Im somewhere
else. Its nice. It feels spiritual. I used to think that getting high was
the point. Now I have come to experience that the holiest moment of
a song is just after the song. In the silence. The Shivasanah. The day
after a Holy-day, where the soul comes back down and merges with the
moment.
The greatest super-move of this Life is that we get to have a Soul
IN a Body! Your Soul spent plenty of time outside your Body before
you were born, and shell dance there again when she leaves your body
for the last time. The awesomest is to have a Soul in a Body. To be
fully Here, connected deeply to this world in all directions. This way we
sanctify this world.
When Im scheming on the future all the time, my Soul is pulled
out in front and outside of me. When my attention and focus is stuck
in the past, my Soul-body, the part of me that dwells in me, is pulled
out through my back. Ouch! This does not feel good, especially for long
periods of time.
Having a Soul, in a Body, connected through the senses to the moment, is the greatest gift we get to experience with this Life.

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sit spot
Some place is calling you.

Go for a walk alone and find your place in the world.


Let your place find you.

Try to find a place untouched by human hands. A place where there


are not so many squares and rectangles all over. Out of doors. Out of
sides. Its easier to see out here. But of course you are one with the all
everywhere you are.
And sit.

Breathe.

Wordlessly connect to creation on purpose.

Release the thinking mind and come to your senses. Always come
back to your senses. Allow the senses, the holy portals that connect you
to the world, to open.

Fix your eyes on a spot on a tree. Let it be the bulls eye. Expand
your peripheral from side to side and up and down like widening rings.
Go wider until you can see all the edges of your periphery at the same
time while fixed on the bulls eye.
Wordlessly take it all in.

Open your ears to all the sounds. Try to hear them all at once without focusing on any one.
See wide and hear wide at the same time.
This takes practice.

Practice makes better.

Come back to this place often.

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jah is one
I want to share with you the biggest secret.

Everyone knows from the Torah/Bible the story of Adam and Eve.
G*ds first human friends. The naked farmers. The story that tells how
humans were placed in a garden where everything they needed was at
their fingertips. It was a time before pollution. A time before dis-ease.
We tasted the duality fruit of knowledge, of good and bad, which
immediately pulled us out of that initial garden of grace.
Here are some big secrets.

Firstly, were still tripping, intoxicated with the fruit of duality. We


walk around convinced that we are singular, separate waves, blind to the
truth that we are also all water, composed of the same essence.

Seven* billion little judges meandering this mud heap, each with
their own unique set of relationships to good and bad, to things and
people, what is good food and what is bad food, to what is a just war and
what is an unjust war.

The most pervasive aphorism in the Jewish tradition is the Shema.


It says, Listenreally listen. Turn down the noise. Let go of the static
that accompanies duality, and listen. In the stillness we are re-minded,
Jah is One. (Maybe stop reading for a moment and try this out.)
But what does that mean?

Some interpret Jah is One to mean that there is only one God. I
call this the one dude model of God. Most picture him as a Him, a guy,
with a huge awesome beard, sitting on a cloud, and He throws s#t at
you when you are bad and gives you a big thumbs up and a smile (maybe
even a good seat at the afterparty) when you are good. I grew up with
that model. Many of us did.
Many understand the Shema as a refutation of polytheism, with its
many gods, by proclaiming, There is only onedude.

The funny thing is that when you read the Torah in Hebrew you see
that it uses at least seventy different names for G?d. If you just read the
Torah without any interpretations or preconceptions, you would think
that the Torah was talking about seventy different characters, seventy

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different gods. But everyone knows that the seventy different names
speak to seventy different aspects of Jah. Seventy varied relationships
with the All. There is an aspect of Jah who is in complete control and
can kick your butt in a heartbeat if it wants to. In Hebrew this is called
Melachai Ha Malachim, or king of kings. This aspect can manifest as
a swerving semi tractor-trailer going 90 mph on the turnpike, or its
the winning lottery ticket, or anything in between. Its the forces and
variables in your life that are out of your direct control (most things).
If you are seeking greater intimacy with this aspect of the divine
you can go stand next to an Ocean. Or go live on a sail boat.

Then there is the aspect of the divine that only wants to give and
nurture us in a pleasureful way. El Rachamim, from the Hebrew word
Rechem, which means womb. The Merciful. El Rachman in Islam. This
aspect wants to give and protect, and loves unconditionally. Each name
is a different aspect. And the crazy thing is that this interpretation,
which celebrates the different aspects of Jah, is not so different from
divine concepts as found in Hinduism, which calls Brahma the creator,
Lord Vishnu the preserver, and Lord Shiva the destroyer, but ultimately
believes that these are all just multiple forms of the one God.
Sacred awareness can be transmitted in many different ways. It can
come from a book, from contemplation, from a friend, from suffering
etc. The vehicle of sacred transmission where I began learning many
sacred lessons was a 1977 burger king brown motor home whos entire
engine regularly needed replacing.

After college, after being institutionalized for seventeen years from


preschool to university, naturally I wandered and wondered. A mind
thats seeking ultimate truths will naturally feel suffocated if limited to
one set of ideals or beliefs. Thank G!d that wisdom wasnt only given to
one people. Rather it was spread out between the nations. Thats why
a hungry mind is always seeking and will look for truth beneath every
stone it can find ( HaRav Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook, zl ).
I decided to put down the things and places I thought I knew and
go for a walk. I call this chapter of my life/stage of evolving, the great
unlearning. This chapter is where I began to let-go-of/compost the
foreign ways-of-being that I had acquired that were foreign to my authentic Neshamah/Soul. Its possible that all human suffering is due to
inauthentic, shmutzed-up soulular expression. Maybe.
Winter 2001, Yoni and I picked up our motorhome Mira and hit

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the road. We drove out of Philadelphia at night with Cooper and Oliva,
bago surfing on the roof. Cooper hit a low branch and crawled in the
window of the moving home with a battle scar under his left eye and a
badge of unconventionality under his belt. We figured, most people follow conventional lives and most people arent happy or fulfilled. I think
we even knew then that this life was so precious. Somehow we knew not
to let some external force haphazardly design life for us.
Before heading south, my holy Mom insisted I watch Easy Rider
and Deliverance to show me how nice Jewish long-haired boys were
treated below the Mason-Dixon. I watched the movies. I listened intently to the nice, northern, outdoor adventurer squeal like a pig as the
inbred, shnagle-toothed, grinning southerner held up a shotgun. Three
months later, deep in the southland, while sitting around a campfire
singing Zeppelin with an ex-con Harley-biker bus mechanic named
Uncle Squeezer, I smiled inwardly as I felt preconceptions melt and
become replaced with the unequivocal truth of experience. I chose to do
my own thinking.

As Im sure you know, medicine can take many forms. A hug, a


smile, silence, or the nectar of a plant. Plants can alter our state. There
are plants like the one we call coffee which gives us a bolt of energy.
There are ones like willow, whose bark when chewed relieves the pain
of headaches and whose juice is the main ingredient in a heavily processed, very altered, condensed-powder-ball called aspirin. And, there
are plants which aid in the liberation of the mind. There are flower
buds who can assist in the unshackling of the gates of the heart. Yes,
there exist non-human allies which aid in the de-shmutzification of the
authentic soul. The creator is kind to us.

On my quest I visited and lived at an old Ashram, Yogi centers,


Hippie farms, sat in ceremony with Native Elders, Mayan circles, chanted with the Krishnas, sang with Swamis, meditated with the Buddhists,
looking anywhere and everywhere for sparks of universal truth. This
book describes many of the happenings along the path. In fact, this book
is itself a part of that path, which I am still on. I thank you, reading this
word right now, for walking this path with me and allowing me to walk
with you through these symbols and shapes we call words.
By age twenty-four Id been to forty-eight states (minus Hawaii and
South Dakota). I got to a point where the roadtrip no longer started or
ended. I began to form a relationship with the Spirit that moves through
all things. So many different names to call it. I think around here people

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call it God. In Hebrew the main name for it is Hashem, which directly
translates to the Name. The Name, as in, Place name here, because
any name you give this entity will just be a name, but we have to name
it something because we want to talk about it, but dont get too caught
up in the name because its just a name.
Louis Armstrong almost said: You say Allah, I say Elohim, you say
Yah-way, I say El Rachim. Allah, Elohim, Yah-way, El RachimLets
call the whole thing off. But ohhh if we called the whole thing off, we
wouldnt have words with which to talk about the unspeakable!
At a Rainbow gathering in Utah I sat across a camp fire from a
great man named the great Fantuzi. He sang to me:
The branches of a tree. They may be many,
But the tree...is one.

The petals of a lotus, have you noticed, are many,


But the lotus is one.

Gurus and swamis, teachers are many,


But the truth is one.

Prophets, religions, Lord, theres so many,


But God is one.

So many peoples in so many places celebrating this universal force,


yet somehow we get tripped up into thinking that your oneness that
interconnects all of existence is somehow separate from my oneness,
because you call it by a different name and you celebrate it slightly differently? A great suffering occurs when we try to divide the indivisible.
People fight wars over these differences.
My momma used to tuck me in every night and sing, with her
angelic voice, the Shema with me. She sang me the biggest secret of
the universe every night, but I didnt understand it. At least not with
my mind. I put thousands of miles under my tires, hitched around the
world, carried that sweaty red external-framed packed backpack up topless mountains looking for it. It was there all along.

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Hashem Echad.
Jah One.

Jah is One.

Jah is the Oneness.

The Interconnectedness of All things.


The Spirit that moves through All.

When we awaken to the knowing that we are all interconnected,


a great compassion is born and a great healing occurs. Lets say I am
chopping onions with the knife in my right hand and the knife slips
and cuts my left. * Never in a million years would my left hand pick up
a knife and take a swing at old righty. Never! Why? Because it is so
clear to me that my hands are connected, that they are both a part of
an interconnected system called me. Imagine if every time we hurt an
other, another person, another nation, we realized that we were really
hurting ourselves. But its so easy to forget. Its as though we humans
are programmed to forget, to slip. Thats why in some Jewish traditions we post the Shema, this awareness proclamation of oneness, on our
doorposts, so that we remember it every time we go out into the world
or into our own little world. Traditionally, it is one of the first things we
are to remind ourselves of in the morning and the last thought to think
before sleep. Some tie it to the third eye to inform our seeings and wrap
it round the arm to bless the doings.
Its cute and nice that some people have a conscious relationship
with the fact that they are aspects of the oneness that flows through all
things, but at the end of the day, the wisest Guru-Shaman-Rabbi-Jedi
is no more and no less made of great spirit than any other person/facet
of creation. Dig that.

Its cute and nice that I have a conscious relationship with the
natural world and spend lots of time in the nature. At the end of the
day, I am no more and no less made of earth, water, wind, and fire then
a hedge-fund, suit & tie, wall-street, corporate agent, who thinks that
dirt is dirty.

Reb Shlomo says there are two realities, two ways to look at the
world. One way sees only oneness and perfection. The other way sees
the world with eyes of good and bad, eyes of beauty and ugly, holy and
* This parable appears in the Talmud Yerushalmi, Yoma 23a.

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unholy. Both perspectives serve essential roles. But, says Reb Shlomo,
only one who has dwelt in a realm of oneness and perfection is equipped
and capable of going into the realm of good and bad, and taking the ugly
and realizing its beauty, taking the unholy and elevating it to holiness.
Maybe elevating the world around us and inside us is our whole purpose
of being. Thats why it is so crucial to set aside time in our lives and in
our weeks where we are not entrenched with working and fixing the
world. For our purpose in life to blossom, we need to allow for moments
where everything is as is. Moments where we stop moving, where the
dust settles and the water becomes clear. Where we are in a state of
being rather than doing. In Hebrew we call this time Shabbes.

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allowing abundance
In Eden, all of creation was in alliance with the humans. Food,
shelter, and medicine were in abundance. Then we tripped and slipped
and fell from that initial grace.
Heres the big secretshhhhhhh.check over your shoulder
OK.
So.

Here it is
Were still in Eden!
Shhhhhhh

I know its crazy, but if you look around closely youll know this,
that we humans live on a big garden-ball spaceship called earth. And
it comes fully equipped with a sprinkler system called clouds, oceans,
and rivers. And foods? The garden gifts us absurdly varied varieties of
foods...from barley to bananas, pistachios to pumpkins.
You know, lots of organisms only eat one or two other kinds of
things. It could have been so with humans, but it is not. In Eden, we
eat every color. This garden is bursting and bumping with medicine and
shelter! WOW! Its all there. Rather, its all here! And all it wants to do
is give to us in radical abundance.
No matter what we do to her. We slather her with concrete and
poison her life-supporting vein-rivers with our toxins. We choke her
breath, the wind, with fumes and plumes that arise as we burn and destroy her. Yet all she wants to do is give. She breaks holes through our
concrete, and she filters our smog. Yes, we still live in the unconditionally loving, life-sustaining garden of Eden. Its just hard to tell because
weve trashed the place. We exert so much time and energy blocking her
mighty loving will to give. If only we...

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Shhhhh...

Thats the big secret.


Know you Know.

Go tell everyone!

What if I told you about a miracle plant that helped fight cancer,
was the richest plant source of beta carotene, cleared acne, balanced
weight, was delicious, lowered your cholesterol and more(!), and had no
negative side effects? You probably wouldnt believe that such a plant
existed, let alone believe that such a gift grows tenaciously and abundantly in most yards across the USA. Lions-teeth aka dandelion, is
fully edible and medicinal from root to leaf to flower, yet we spend
millions of dollars and invest millions of hours in killing and poisoning
this plant. On CNN today they talk of a food and money crisis, and at
the same time people try and eradicate this amazing free medicine food?
Go figure.
No matter what we do, the things we need most wont go away. Cut
one dandelion, two grow back. Whatever in our lives grows wildly and
abundantly by our front door is what we need most.
What grows abundantly by your front door?

What in your life keeps growing back each time you try and chop
it down?

We humans spend a lot of time trying to eradicate parts of ourselves.

I often hear people say, I just want to release what is not serving
me. Which translates to, I want to cut and hack away with metaphorical
meat cleavers the parts of myself that I think I dont want or need. Cut
one, two grow back. I often see fears and insecurities getting chopped
and buried, only to grow stronger. It seems they have something to tell
us, something to teach us, and they wont go away until they get a chance
to speak. Once they have clearly delivered their message to us, they
often simply compost, like everything else in the universe.

Kabbalah mysticism demystifies life in teaching us the art of embracing our struggles by flipping them on themselves. It teaches that
at the root of any problem or struggle is a spark of a positive attribute.
Finding this holy spark, often amidst layers of suffering and patterns,
is a gift.
I hate myself for not fulfilling this or that dream in my life might
get flipped into, I deeply value and appreciate this life, and I want to

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use it to make and build something amazing.

I am mad at my sister because she never does the dishes turns into,
I value cleanliness, beauty, and order.

I hate my commute to work each day and getting stuck in traffic


flips to, My life is so precious and I want to feel like Im using each
moment to its highest potential.
I could try and explain more, but why dont we just do it?

Pick something in your life that you are struggling and suffering
with.
Anything.

Look at your suffering.


Observe it just as it is.

What does it look like?

What colors are present?

See the layers of your suffering peeling back like an onion.

( You might find that you actually have an intimate relationship


with your suffering. As you try to find the message/medicine embedded
in it, often it is then that it puts up the most resistance. It has a secret
for you to know, but it doesnt want to just give it away, because once she
tells you her secret she might be gone, transform, compost as her task
will be completed. And maybe your suffering wants to live. Live in you.
Live through you. We can observe that everything that lives has a will
to stay alive. And shell dig her nails in and grasp onto anything as you
approach her with a light.
Shell tell you exactly what she thinks you need to hear, to get you
to turn your flashlight off.
She is a gift. But she is tricky and sneaky. So if you wish to transform her into her full gift, you must also be clever.

Here is a tip to overcome a stubborn, suffering, pain-body thats


kicking and screaming:
it.

For just this one moment, look at your suffering without evaluating
Just look at it.

Call on the ancient tool of observation without evaluation.

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No judgments.

No good or bad.
No wrong.
No right.

Just see what is...

What is actually happening.

Imagine that your suffering is as a dream that someone told you,


open to interpretation and investigation. Imagine every detail of your
suffering has meaning and information to glean.)
Now its time to dig.

Dig through it until you find some beautiful life-enhancing quality


embedded.

If you are clear and bold with yourself, you will find some root force
that is actually life-enhancing. It is likely getting twisted and infected as
it tries to radiate out of clogged, dilapidated channels.

Sages teach that it is from this beautiful root quality that healing
occurs.
Embedded in suffering is its own medicine! JAH!

From this revealed place of beauty and of source, beautiful outcomes


more efficiently and gracefully are allowed to emerge.

Reb Nachman says that in every situation and in every person, there
is at least some faint spark of goodness, no matter how wicked or painful
the situation or person is.
It is our job to find these sparks,
to stair at them,

to bend down low to the ground and blow on them like breath on
an ember,
causing them to glow.

This is how healing occurs.


Try it!

People will often hide and cover their golden spark with shmutz.
Do not be deterred. It is possible to celebrate and breathe life into a
spark of perfection in another person, even when they themselves are
not in touch with their own spark.

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Often our obsessions with the acquisition of things, things and


more things in this life is simply a misconnected yearning to cling and
connect with the infinite. Thank G!d, we want more. More what? is
the question of the day. Maybe the answer to what are you after? is the
most telling part of who you are.

Abundance (in Hebrew, Sheffa) comes to us in many different forms.


It can take the form of money, food, friend, sunshine, rain, plants, time,
health, etc. It is good to have robust and diverse channels to connect to
and receive abundance.
Often growing right next to poison ivy is the plant-ally jewelweed,
which makes the itching stop. Yet we often walk around with blinders,
scratching and suffering.
Sheffa!

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trick for peacemaking


Person A:

See and state which of your needs are not getting met.
See and state how that makes you feel.

**

Person B:

Repeat and reiterate the needs and feelings of person A.


Person B:

See and state which of your needs are not getting met.
See and state how that makes you feel.
Person A:

Repeat and reiterate the needs and feelings of person B.


From that place of connection, design amazing, abundant strategies
to get those needs met.

From this clear base place of source, it is infinitely more graceful to


connect, understand, and make peace.
Go to CNVC.ORG for a complete list of feelings and needs.
No joke.

** Make sure that your feeling is actually a feeling.

I feel like you are never dependable, is not a feeling.


You are never dependable, is not a feeling.

Its a subjective opinion and a judgment, which actually breeds defensiveness and
resistance from the very person who you want on-board!
Said in feelings and needs, it might sound like:

I felt aggravated and hopeless when you did not meet me when you said you would
yesterday, because my need for harmony and order is not getting met.
This is a feeling and a need.

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Most of us were never taught this language of connectivity. TV


society told me that men were not even supposed to have feelings (G!d
forbid)! So we often speak in layered veils that separate.
During my entire schooling, a teacher never once sincerely asked
me how I was feeling, or what I was needing. They asked me so many
other things
We had so much time together...

Every moment that I am alive, I am feeling.


Feeling something.
Feeling.

Every feeling is attached to a need.


Every feeling is attached to a need.
Fulfilled needs :)

Unfulfilled needs :(

Peacemaking is when we design and implement a scheme with the


goal of fulfilling needs.
Designing anything is a holy task. Designing your life and your
relationships are probably the most important things you will ever do
in this life.
Our relationships are critical. Think of Abrahams family and the
rifts that were left behind through Isaac ( Jews, Christians) and Ishmael
(Muslims). Ripples can last thousands of years. Heal them nowThe
flavor of our ripples depends on now. Imagine if the ripples of your life
sent waves that reached out for thousands of years. They do.

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love pain
It is in the nature of Love and Light to want to spread and flow.
Thats why when you find something awesome in this world, your first
instinct is often to turn to the person near you and share it. When Love/
Water hits an obstruction, it pushes. We call this pushing pain. The
void/shadow behind the stone is sadness.
Focused love dissolves the stone. The stones always have medicine
to share.
The pain/pressure/sadness are blessings because they point to the
places where the light is not yet reaching.
If you can sit with your sadness in a way that is beautiful and without guilt and shame, it will speak and move and transform.
Love is the fruit on the tree of oneness.

Beyond all the noise of distraction, Love is our natural state.


We are one with the All and All is birthed from Love.

We are here to Love and to celebrate Love, the greatest thing that
exists in all of existence.
We allow room for Love to be revealed through ourselves.
Through our moments,
our interactions,

through all our relationships.


So may it be.

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giving is greatest

Giving is the greatest thing we are allowed to do with these lives


and with these mobile flesh-bodies. You could make a list of all the
things that you, as you, can do in this life. Giving is king. Receiving
is awesome, but giving rules. Hand open with allowing-ness, fingers
unfolding, overflowing, dropping gifts along the trail with ten-pronged
world fixers. Dont you know that love is the greatest thing around?
What goes out goes in...Can you show me something greater?Id love
to see itSomething greater than Love?
Giving is a fruit from the tree of love.
Playfulness, a peach, from Jah above.

Can you show me something greater?

I havent found a more delightful room to dwell in.


And this mansion is infinite!

When you ask me for a favor, I know you are doing me the favor.
For as you shine light on this precious doorway, you give me a clear
opportunity to give.
The sun never says to the earth, you owe me
Even after all this time
Look what happens with a love like this
It lights up the whole sky
~ Daniel Ladinsky from The Gift: Poems by Haf iz (1999)

The word charity comes from the Latin word caritus which means
caring. Caring is a feeling. I might give charity in the form of a dollar to
a homeless man because I feel pity for him. I might think to myself, His
lot in life is so low, and Im so lucky and blessed with plenty. Charity is
often a vertical type of giving, from high to low.

Tzedakah (Hebrew) means Justice. I do justice because it is right.


Justice doesnt wait for feelings to percolate. In her pure state, she flows
horizontally like water, spreading out evenly and filling in where needed.
When I give Tzedakah/Justice to a homeless man by giving him a dollar,
Im not doing him a favor, Im just doing Justice, doing what is right and
fair, for his plight is my plight.

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surrender

If you want to be afraid, then there are a million things to be afraid


of. Life is a near-death experience. If Jah wills that we are to get hurt
or killed and that our bodies and souls are to be composted, then that
is what shell do, in a blink, in a second. The key to not being afraid
is surrender. The word Muslim means one who surrenders. We surrender to the fact that we are ALWAYS being held by spirit...We are
always just ONE breath away from death, constantly on life support. It
is the truth...and its actually quite beautiful. When we Know that Great
Spirit is in F ULL control, we need not be afraid. Just the fact that we
are the few, the proud, the alive ones right now means that Spirit wants
us and supports us and LOVES us. The fact that you are alive and reading this means that you are being deeply held and breathed. The trick is
allowing yourself to be held. Not resisting. Not sticking your elbows out
as we do this trust-fall called life. Surrender.

The other day I was with a friend who had eaten some psychoactive,
consciousness-expanding plant medicine. He came to me with his heart
racing, saying, I think Im going to die...man! I reassured him saying
No one gets out of here alive buddy. You, in this form, are for sure going
to die. Probably not today though. The plant medicine had forced this
truth, which had been dormant, to the front of his eyes and because he
had ignored it for so long, it shocked him. It is good to surrender to the
Truth.

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love warrior
Picture a relationship that needs some healing. Imagine a relationship where there is much distance and possibly walls of fear in between,
blocking connectivity.
Now set it aside.
Picture yourself.

Picture yourself as a vessel filled with the purest of pure light.


Imagine that your love has no thing and no one to fear. You are a bold,
courageous love-warrior.
Picture yourself, this bold love-warrior, pouring love into the relationship that you had earlier picked. What are you doing, what are you
saying, which face are you wearing?
Shannah tovah!

Have the best life of your life!

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self-lovin
Theres a voice inside my head that sometimes gets nasty and fresh.
He has said things to me that I would never say to anyone else. You
have failed at this before, you will fail at this again, You are ugly, You
are not good enough.
Heres how I tricked him:

Once when he was blabbering in my mind about how I was weak


and unsure of everything in my life, I gave the voice a challenge. I said to
this inner voice, If you are truth, then Ill give you the microphone and
you can speak out of mr. mouth-hole for the next few minutes. Secretly
I know that my mouth is trained to speak lovingly, in ways that promote
healing, and it is guarded from speaking lies and words of destruction.
When the voice of self-deprecation that had been on a tirade in my
mind tried to speak out loud, my mouth would not let it out. My mouth
is a gate, and it would not let the vile words pass through. And I smiled.
The nasty voice in my mind became embarrassed and the wind quickly
left its sails. The curse turned into a blessing as I asked my inner voice
out loud to be more of an ally to me and support me. Things havent
been the same since. Anytime a nasty voice starts rearing its head in my
head, I just glance at my mouth, and it blushes.
rule.

For some, Do unto others as youd have done to you, is the golden

For people who are already pretty kind to others, the often-needed
medicine is the Self-Lovin rule, which says, Do unto yourself as you
would do to another.

Speak to yourself with that same sweetness that you would speak to
a friend or a child with. Actually, be kinder.
Try it out.
Aho.

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nothing ever just dies


No thing ever just dies. Show me one thing that doesnt turn into
something? Things change form. And everything turns to something.
Nothing just disappears. No, not even all your fears. Everything turns
to something. The only thing that dies is the form you once knew some
thing as.
A human is made of Dirt and Spirit (Spirit being that thing behind
our eyeballs that makes us us). The Jewish star symbolizes this with a
triangle pointing up from the earth, symbolizing the dirt-clump meatsack space-suit soul-suit that we call our body and a downward pointing triangle that describes our soul, which is a pinching of the infinite,
or the Ein Sof in Hebrew. A Human is where Heaven and Earth kiss.
When we dream, our soul goes for a joy ride. When we die, the dirt goes
back to dirt and the spirit goes back to spirit.

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you should
You should... Of all that there is to know on the whole entire
planet, all the languages, molecular sciences, exotic histories, etc., what
percentage of all there is to know, do you know?
So why should on me? Do you really know the optimal path for
my life? If so, great! What are you connected to that is guiding your
guidance system?

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say what you mean


Say what you mean
mean what you say

thats what I sometimes say.


Its always funny to me that most people celebrate Labor Day with
a day off of work.
(Brother Yoni likes to call it a day on rather than a day off . He
also calls the week end the strong start).
We do the exact opposite of what we are allegedly celebrating.
Celebrating Labor Day with vacation

is like sending hate mail on Valentines Day.

Or taking things for granted on Thanksgiving.


Or pulling down all your flags on Flag Day.

Or renouncing freedom on Independence Day.


I meet lots of people. It breaks my heart but most people dont like
their work. They likely would not be standing in a toll booth or making
strangers french fries or installing cable TV in endless peoples living
rooms or picking incessant, endless rows of corn and coffee if it wasnt
for a buck. If what we call labor is so celebrate-able, how come we dont
work overtime on Labor Day? Labor pain? Better it be called Leisure
Day, or Follow Your Bliss Day, or Do With Your Day What You Actually
Most Want To Be Doing With Your Days Day, because thats what most
people do on that Monday anyway, and that is in fact celebrate-able.

Unless, of course, your job is actually your vocation, taken from the
Latin word vocare (i.e., vocal, invocation) which means calling. If your
job is your calling, what you were placed on this earth to do, and not a
Job (see Book of Job), then I think we would have no trouble celebrating
that. Double shifting. Living life for a living.

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how do you do?


Man walks into a bar, surveys the scene, spots an empty entry beside a beautiful woman, and pulls up a stool. Man signals the tender,
nods at the woman, and attempts to catalyze conversation with the most
rudimentary of conversation starters; the age-old, time-tested, FDA approved, How do you do?
The phrase resonated in his mind like an out-of-tune accordion
playing too loudly at a Polish wedding. The contrived and platitudinal
nature of the words made him feel like a sheep. In fact, 49 percent
of the registered voters in Huxleys brain voted to start Bahing out
loud in self deprecation, but the swing-state-ish hypothalamus shot the
motion down. Later inquiries would reveal that the true puppet master
was none other than the sinister neo-conservative left temporal lobe
of the neocortex who covertly blocked the vote by dumping squirts of
dopamine-inhibitors on the hypothalamus just microseconds before the
vote.

With the vote being so close, brain was forced into a temporary
state of fantasy. But what if I had said Bah?
Maybe shed know exactly what I meant.

Maybe shed instantaneously realize that we were destined to live


out the rest of our lives together, or at least we could go back to my
apartment and collaboratively dupe our brains into believing they had
fulfilled their ultimate Darwinian purpose!
Fantasy was abruptly interrupted by auditory stimulation.
Good, retorted beautiful woman.

Boring answer to an equally vapid question. Conversation was on


the verge of flat lining, so Huxley attempted defibrillation.

Isnt that a strange question, How do you do? I mean, we say it all
the time without ever thinking about it, and its completely unoriginal
and I just think its strange.
Beautiful womans eyebrows clenched with bewilderment.

Its so bizarre, so incomplete. How do you do? How do you do


what?

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In Huxleys brain, a revolution had ensued. Sub-conscious thought


had declared autocracy and imposed marshal law, establishing a clear
and unchecked connection to mouth. It occurred while the rest of brain
was looking the other way, distracted by the sheep fantasy.

If I saw you eating fire or folding an origami crane, it would be


completely appropriate to ask How do you do that? An appropriate
answer would entail you describing the method you used to do what you
did. Good would not suffice. In fact it might even seem curt or rude.

Perhaps it is an abbreviation with the assumed ending of How


do you do your life? And this is a wonderfully profound and pointed
question that actually strikes right at the core of what Im interested in
when meeting someone. To be honest, I could care less what you do, and
where and when you do it. Who you do is not my business. Im slightly
excited to know why you do what you do, but most importantly I wish to
know how you do it. How do you interact with the world? How do you
deal with calamity? How do you express your joy and your sadness? This
is what interests me and what will determine our compatibility. Because
Ill tell you what Maam, I have been to paradise. I have been inside the
grand, pearly gates of the Garden of Eden, and the woman next to me
could only complain about the mosquitoes. Do you know what I mean?
Do you see what Im getting at?

Beautiful woman pushes out her stool, places five dollars on the
counter, and says not a word. As she walks away, a hint of bewilderment
causes her head to wobble slightly. It was at that precise moment that
left temporal lobe decided to cut funding for its inhibition program,
instantaneously triggering the lungs to compress and the larynx to contract, emitting a meek and barely audible Bah.
Subsequently this propagated the delegitimization of the shortlived monarchical subconscious regime and democracy prevailed once
more in the space betwixt Huxleys ears.

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master of the center


Step 1:

We learn where our center is. We discover where we feel most at


home. The place where we thrive. Where we love best. Where we are
soft but firm. This place can definitely take a while/lifetime/lifetimes to
find, and this place looks a bit different for each person. But most report
that it is a worthwhile investment of time and energy to find.

This step often involves varied experiences, exposure to a myriad of


possibilities and realities. Anything that can be juiced and understood
as teacher helps reveal aspects of center. Books, movies, silence, nature
and song can illuminate and catalyze this holy clarification.
Step 2:

Holding your center. Finding center is a life-long investigation.


Once you know a bit of how you would like to be, the tricky part becomes standing in that knowing. Living it. Being the gyroscope in the
middle of the ship that stays aligned amidst the tempest of waves that
eventually come.

Winter 2008, I was living in a cabin on the back side of the


Shawangunk mountains of New York State. I had a little loft cabin,
some chickens, and a wood-burning stove to keep warm. And what a
winter! There was two feet of snow on the ground for months on end. A
few of my male friends and I decided to form a mens club. We dubbed
it The Greater Ulster County Baal Shem Tov Mens Club Society For
Goddess-Worshipping Men. Wed meet each week at Yeshs cabin. Id
bring a bundle of wood and throw it in the wood-burning sauna sweat
lodge that sat next to a lake at the edge of his property. Wed shvitz.
It was 3 degrees outside and 200 degrees in the sauna, sometimes
hotter. Wed sit in that dark candlelit cedar chamber, naked and raw.
Wed share stories and songs and prayer as ego rolled off our bodies in
the form of beads and then rivers of sweat. While sitting in the extreme
heat, sometimes every instinct in my body would be screaming to run
out the door. It was so close and so easy. Three feet away the air was cool
and fresh. Part of the practice was to hold our physical and energetic
ground, not allowing ourselves to be tossed and pulled. We would sit.

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Like yoga, we call this experience a practice. It is a practice because it is planned and we have some idea, some control, of what the
waves and variables will look like. The real test comes when I am driving
home from the sweat and maybe someone cuts me off on the road, or
maybe a guest at my house left it a mess, or maybe my partner wants to
leave me. The test becomes: can I hold my center? Can I stay loving and
open amidst the waves that life inevitably tosses in my direction?

Eventually we evolved our practice. Wed go out to the lake each


week with an axe and chip out a hole in her thick skin of ice. Wed go
into the sauna and sit and sit and drip and get so hot that our bodies and
sense of self would dissipate into vapor. Hearts beating slowly. Muscles
limp. With steaming bodies wed waddle outside to the hole in the ice.

Now, Im naturally a Yahoooooo!er. I like to scream and feel and


release exhilaration. We evolved our practice so that we could jump into
the ice water while holding the same soft, quiet, hot energy we had
developed in the sauna. No scream. Just a deep, calm, beautiful bliss.
After that winter, I found myself sitting in many strange circles and
situations where I was called upon to hold space, and this practice that
I had undertaken was vital. Before heavy maneuvering, I close my eyes
and go inside, into the sauna and then into the ice water. Then I am
ready for any energy that comes my way.
You know, we give permission to one another all the time. When a
silly friend comes into the room, I sometimes match energies with him
almost as though he has given me permission to let my silly side out. In
ceremony, it only takes one person to begin speaking, singing, coming
from the heart, allowing those in the circle to do the same.

When we are bold and hold our centers as we walk around town,
we become mobile tuning forks, giving permission to love amid cities of
disharmony.
Step 3:

The third act is knowing when to let go. There is a season for holding center and then there is a season for truly allowing myself to feel the
depths and motion of the ocean. To get tossed and carried by the tempest. My lover runs in the room crying. As she cries on my shoulder, do
I stay centered so that I can see her and her situation with even-keeled
clarity and candor, or do I collapse and cry along with her, attuning
myself to her pain? Good question. There is no one answer. There are
seasons. The medicine of the moment is in the moment. Awareness and

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presence are always the first step. Awareness. Consciousness. What am I
actually doing? Listening to the moment. What energy am I holding as I
do my doings? How does my being wiggle, and which ripples am I emitting? What flavor is my wake? These are the questions of self-awareness.
By at least asking these questions and being aware of how we respond to
situations and what energy we hold, we gain clarity and greater harmony
with our moments.

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the medicine is in the moment

Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places
if you look at it right. ~Grateful Dead
It can be hard to walk talk in this world without making a mess.
Every action and inaction releasing unfathomable ripples. Even right
now.
Maybe I studied all the ancient texts, mastered religion and meditation. Still, how do I know when to say what? When to move? How to
groove? Where to look? What to do?
What is guiding me?

What is guiding me to choose between engaging in a conversation


that clarifies reality or making a joke, between offering a prayer or staying silent? Is my little brain steering the ship? My brain knows so little
of all there is to know. So, so little.

I say: The medicine of the moment is in the moment. There is a


way to walk through reality, which is just a river of moments, while
remaining connected to what the moment is asking of me. All that was,
all possibilities, and all of the great truths and wisdoms are embedded
like DNA in the fabric of this and every moment. It is good to be tapped
into this. Wherever I am, the moment is with me, which is convenient.
When we walk like this, we might call it walk connected or a walking
meditation. In Hebrew, we might call it Halachah (sacred walking).
There are forces in this world that often disconnect us from being guided to walk our optimal path. The forces of distraction, illusion,
hype, and confusion are often loud, hidden, sticky, and cloaked with
catchy jingles.
Shhhhh...

There are so many beauty-filled ways to connect.

Stillness, breathing, presence with the present, listening, Shabbat,


holy-days, the forest, my senses...Connecting me to the unique medicine of this moment. Then, from a state of presence and be-ing, it is safe
to walk forward and do our do-ings.

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Religious and societal codes offer a framework, but even they dont
give us specific guidance on how to navigate the nitty gritty of my moments of infinite possibility. Walking connected; GPS guided by the
most high.
Try it!

I pray that these words and this book be an aide to the graceful
unfolding of your life. It is my wish and prayer that when you put this
book down, you walk away guided clearly by your optimal, most lifeenhancing path. It is possible that the revelation of this path is the
reason your soul was sent here, into this here body-space-suit youre
wearing.
What if when we greeted one and other, instead of saying Hi, how
are you doing? we were to say Hi, how can I help with the graceful
unfolding of your life? How can I be the sweet medicine in your moment?

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seven spheres

There are seven primary relationships that you and every human
have. We can call them the seven spheres. Most of these spheres can
be loosely defined. For example, the sphere of your relationship with
your nation could mean what country you live in or it could mean your
religious affiliation. Community might mean the village you live in or
an online chat room you frequent. Your primary partner might be a dog.
Seven Spheres/Relationships:
1) Self

2) Primary Partner
3) Family

4) Community
5) Nation

6) Humanity

7) All of Existence
8) ...

It appears to me that a healthy human feeds all of these spheres.


A healthy life enhancing human spends time and energy, our most precious, limited resource, directed at all of these spheres (not all at once,
but itd be fun to try!). The designs for how and when to feed these
seven spheres are unique to the individual.
We all know people who are stuck/constipated on the sphere of the
self, who never spend time or focus their life force on feeding and caring
for the sphere of humanity. This persons doings, in all spheres, will be
lacking and likely destructive/suffering-inducing because the person is
divorced from a primary relationship.
We also know people who are dedicated servants of humanity but
who do not care well for themselves, have no nation of their own, and
rarely feed the sphere of family. This energetic constipation is also de-

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structive and will likely induce suffering.

Perhaps you could picture a person who is ardently attached to his


nation/religion but is completely divorced from humanity and all of
existence...Ouch.

The suffering that is evoked from a constipated or undernourished


primary relationship is a gift, like bitter medicine, for it points a sacred finger and draws attention toward the place where love is needed.
Imagine that (G?d forbid) you got used to living in a cesspool. Your
experience of THIS STINKS! is the very force that will propel you up
and out and into a clean garden.
I believe, and have experienced, that there are paths to the garden
that do not involve cesspools.
What is needed is an energetic accounting. Scan through these
seven spheres. Check yourself. Notice if any spheres are not getting
enough water. Ensure that all spheres are being fed.
Have fun with this.

Make beautiful designs.

There is an 8th relationship, which is beyond words and within


words and can be found permeating all seven spheres.
Aho Mitakuye Oyasin (Lakota prayer/amen),

May we be blessed with peace and nourishment,


to all of our relations.

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obstacles

Based off teachings of Rebbeh Nachman, Likutey Moharan I, 66,


The greater the goal, often, the greater the obstacle.

If you want to do something awesome and huge, there will often


be obstacles along the way. You could picture the obstacles like a dam.
Obstacles can cause our desires to well up and gain strength as they
push upon the impediment. Every action is rooted in a desire. Once your
desire is strong enough, the dam resolves and composts, and the energy/
your desire surges. On a good day, the desire fire is strong enough to
push you over the mountain you are climbing.

The greater the goal, the greater the momentum needed. Therefore,
the greater the obstacles.
When we recognize the obstacles in our lives as gifts, our relationship with them transforms and becomes much more pleasurable.
Sometimes the obstacles even become laughable. When an obstacle
shows up and you can recognize it as a gift instead of getting angry and
frustrated, we can say, Hey you, youre here to propel me. Thank you...
lets go!
I also believe that it is important not to worship the obstacles and
deem them as 100% essential to accomplishing something. Sometimes I
have a strong desire to do something awesome, and the path gracefully
unfolds without obstacles, which is nice.

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missin the train


Scene One:

Im at home chopping wood and making soup. At exactly 4:21 and


51 seconds, I walk out the door and walk for 8 minutes and 16 seconds
to catch a train at the train station, even though I never checked the
schedule and dont own a watch. The train comes once every 2 hours.
Just as I get to the station the train is there, and the doors of the train
are about to close. I hop in and the train leaves the station. I might
say to myself, Wow! Angels! What a miracle! G?ds hand made this
happen...This was so destined, fated...and soooo synchronistic etc., etc.
Scene Two:

Im at home chopping wood and making soup. At exactly 4:21 and


51 seconds, I start walking out the door. But before I walk out I decide
to blow my nose, which takes 11.4 seconds. So I leave at 4:22 and 2.4
seconds and walk for 8 minutes and 16 seconds to catch a train at the
train station, even though I never checked the schedule and dont own a
watch. The train comes once every 2 hours. Just as I get to the station, I
see the doors close and the train pulls away...Shux!
While waiting for the next train, I go down to the river to skip some
stones. There and then I meet a woman whos communing with nature
on purpose, who later becomes my wife.
We are always being held. We are always on the train, even when we
seem to miss the train.

Gam zu l tova, there is a greater good unfolding Ein od milvado:


there is nothing else but...

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why we do anything

Finding the Holy Root Source


Adam Olam Katan. Olam Adam Gadol. Man is a little world.
The world is a big Human.
~ Otzar haMidrashim, Olam Katan 406

We can decode the nature of the universe anywhere we look. We


can connect any action to its holy root, even a heinous action. All of our
actions come from our desires, and all of our desires are holy at their
roots. Sometimes the way that we express our desires are heinous. But
the roots are always life enhancing.

Dont take my word on this. Actually, please dont take my word on


anything written in this book. The highest expression of these ideas and
perspectives is a way of seeing, not knowing. Perspectives like these live
in the eyes (from Latin specere, to look) and the heart. The brain can
clarify the desired highest perspective (how do I wish to see/be with the
world?), but that is only the words on the menu. The point is not the
words, the point is the meal. The meal is how we see and how we be.
Put the idea on as a pair of glasses that you are borrowing. See for
yourself. Play with them. Take them off. Put em on. Be timeless. Walk
with it if it resonates as truth and if you feel more like your truest self.

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Heres how to connect any action to a holy life-enhancing root.


1) Look at anyone doing anything. A man riding a bike.

2) Ask yourself: Why might they be doing what they are doing?
Why is he riding a bike? Any honest guess will do. To visit his
friend... For exercise... Hes running away from someone...
All of these answers can be traced to a holy root.
3) We ask again...Why? Why might he be going to visit with his
friend?
Possible answer: He wants someone to talk to.

4) Why does he want someone to talk to? A possible root answer


is that he is looking for closeness. Ahhhh...
The Holy Ishbitzer Rebbe says that often a persons insatiable appetite for always wanting more money is rooted in a desire to connect to
the infinite. You can never satiate the desire to consciously connect with
the infinite, with the finite, says the Rebbe. No matter how much gold
you compile, you will always be hungry. Unless...
It is good to be connected to the root of our desires.

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best friend truths


I have found that almost every spiritual question, conversation and
argument boils down to a double truth and the need for balance and
harmony between the two truths. Here is a list I compiled of some of
the great double truths.
The great double truths
Tree of life
Oneness

Interconnected
Infinity

The Great All

Tree of knowledge

Duality

Individuated

Finite

All Good

Light

Me

Good and Bad

Always Here and Now

Past Present Future

Doesnt matter

Everything is important

Dust of the earth


Satiated

Outwardness

Care for others


Giving
Light

Acceptance of death
and and and...

The world was created for me

Yearning

Colors of the Rainbow

Inwardness

Care for self


Receiving

Vessels to contain light

Yearning for life (l chaim!)

Double truths are usually called opposites or paradoxes. Sometimes


they are even called polar opposites. They say its like comparing apples
and oranges. But apples and oranges are both similarly shaped edible
fruits that grow on trees on planet earth. Theyre often even interchange-

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able as kindergarten snack foods? Opposites? I find the term opposites
to be a bit violent and conflictual. I think the term perpetuates disharmony so I have scrapped it.
Instead, I like to call the great double truths best friend truths.
Best friend truths work best together.

The spiritual work for one who wishes to walk with pleasantness
is usually to hold and nurture both sides of a double truth. If I cling to
one aspect of the truth and ignore its best friend, life will get messy. The
messiness and friction I feel from being out of balance is there to bring
me back to balance. You can pick any pair from the list of great double
truths and see/imagine for yourself how they work best together. For
example: If I am only connected to the truth of the great oneness or the
greater good unfolding, why get out of bed in the morning? Why should
I fulfill my unique purpose? If everything is only a wash of oneness and
goodness is my life even important? If its all good, why not rob a bank?
On the other side of the best friend coin, if I am only connected to my
individuation, my separateness, my me-ness, I will likely be a jerk.

Balance. Walking forward with both aspects of the great double


truths honored and nourished. Wide vision.

The kabalistic tree of life diagram, which depicts how life works,
has a column on the left and a column on right and then a central stem
which balances the aspects of this life.
The Chinese Yin Yang (dark light) symbol, (which has similar characteristics to the Hebrew letter Aleph, the first letter in the Hebrew
alphabet/aleph bet) is a reminder of the complementary nature of the
great double truths.
To complicate the subject slightly... There is perspective that says
that the great double truths are not equal truths. This perspective says
that the left, with its separateness and individuation actually sits within
the house of the right, the greater truth, which is oneness.

The main thing is that you dont want to be a drunk driver, constantly swerving to the left and then oversteering to the right and back
and forth. Youll hit a metaphorical tree. This style of life-driving makes
for great dramas, great movies, great messes and great clean ups but it
can be exhausting and destructive. An important question to sit with is:
Which perception/reality is your home and which one do you visit? Do
you mostly see the greater all-goodness in your moments/your life and
then occasionally visit the dualistic perception of good and bad? Or vice

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versa? Which side of the great double truths do you generally hang out
in? How is your balance?

Possibly the whole purpose of the spiritual path, the great wisdom
traditions, this book and this chapter is to get clear on what is going on,
on the surface and beneath the surface, to clarify how life works, and
then to design a working walking thriving life which is rooted in the
clarified truth of this reality.

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empty vessels
You are a healer? You are the doctor? You are the white blood cell
that composts the virus? Are you the medicine? Are you the plant? Are
you the juice in the leaf that causes the blood to heat up? Are you the
chemical compound within the pill? Are you the force of life who surges
through all things living?
Are you the healer? You heal people?

At our best we are empty vessels. We make space for the words, the
movements, and the medicine to come through us.

This teaching and several others are riffs from a teaching I heard
from the great and wonderful Judean Hill, fairy of white light, Shoshanna
Harari of the Hararis, May they be blessed with overflowing grace and
wealth, happiness and health in abundance. Amen.

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whats your deal?


A message to critics of John Kerrys 2014 Middle East peace efforts, to myself and to you.

You dont like his deal? Maybe you dont like his plan? You dont like
his techniques or his style?

Whats your deal? Whats your awesome plan of supreme goodness


for yourself and this world? What are you doing to implement this plan?
The mess of this world is all of ours to clean up.

No one person is more or less responsible for the complete fixing of


this beautiful and broken mud heap.
You might say that an infant or a child is less responsible, but they
are likely doing the most potent work in fixing the mess of the world...
With their purity...How their insides match their outsides...They are
the great teachers. They are the medicine and so are you.
You dont like John Kerry as your house cleaner? Clean the mess
yourself...or find thousands of other humans to clean with you. You will
soon see that all of creation is in some way pushing toward this great
fixing. Which is nice.
John Kerry, I Love You.
When nations want to win a war they spend trillions of dollars, use
the most advanced technologies, have pentagons where they have long
meetings everyday. When nations claim to want to make peace in the
Middle East, they send John Kerry.
Where is the great pentagon or great circle for cultivating peace?
Peace and Love are underfunded.
G?d bless you John Kerry.

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apology to women from all men


On behalf of all men, I wish to apologize to women.
For every time you walk on a bus and get ogled
For every unwanted touch

For having your voice and wisdom silenced and kept out of sacred
books
For male dominated politics and wars

For glass ceilings and the hoarding of power

For male dominated pronouns and language and G?d names


For airbrushed and distorted images of beauty

For a society that makes it hard for you to smile in public without
being misconstrued
On behalf of all men, I am sorry, and dedicate myself to the fixing.

It is possible that if the balance of the masculine and feminine were


in the right relationship, that all other problems on planet earth would
be healed. So may it be.
How about grandmothers on the war council instead of men who
are openly taking money from weapons manufacturers? A grandmother
will kick your ass if you mess with her children whom she gestated in
her belly. She will send her children out into danger, but only if she
absolutely has to.

There are many flavors of Love. There is a unique flavor of Love


that a woman can know that I, a man, will never know. It is a caring
which comes from the ability to grow and birth life. I wish to live in
a world society that is more deeply infused with this unique flavor of
Love.

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the great should


You should come to my house tomorrow.

Really? You know the optimal plan for my life? In some cultures
the word should was reserved for oracles and prophets. Are you connected?

I see one great should. All the rest of them seem imperfect and
unsustainable. It is unsustainable for someone else to always be telling
me what I should do, even if they are a prophet. The one great should
is that we should listen to our soul speak. We should let our highest,
clearest, essential self reveal itself and co-steer the ship. I believe that if
we are really connected to our soulular truth, we will naturally love the
other as the self and protect creation and know whom to listen to and...
The soul speaks through the heart. We listen from our third ear,
through our heart, to our Neshama/Soul, which is a fractal of the infinite. We listen from our third ear, through our heart, to our Neshama/
Soul, which is a fractal of the infinite. This is sustainable and perfect
and will connect us to our highest purpose in this life. There is nothing
better for us to do with this life than to live connected to our highest
purpose. We have to do something while we are alive...

There are many ways to cultivate a third ear which can pick up the
subtle directives of the soul. Happiness and a joyful disposition help
to keep the channels of perception deconstipated (open and flowing).
There is a way to stay connected to joy even in our sadness, when our
sadness is beautiful and we feel no shame around it. Grieving can be so
beautiful. Uncomposted stagnant grief definitely blocks the flow of the
most high, and Ive been told personally by the Queen of the Fairies
herself that uncomposted grief that just sits around can turn into cancer,
God forbid.
Maybe the whole game/goal of this life is to keep the pathways
clear; to let the flow of truth/emet/essence/daat/matza/shechinah flow
through us uninterrupted; to allow the truest and highest expression of
the soil and those around us to blossom; to let the natural succession
succeed. There is an Eden code embedded in all aspects of creation. It
is possible that all endeavors, scientific or religious, that are not aimed at
cultivating these Edenic relationships are in some way suppressing the

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highest forms of abundance. In the Hebraic wisdom tradition, we call
these forces which block the highest flow Klipah. Klipah also means
the husk on a seed, the husk which must compost for the Tree of Life
to sprout.

I have observed that a global shift toward connective consciousness


and soulularly connected existence is happening in the world right now.
The existence where we as a global species are allowing the highest flow
of truth to reveal itself is called (by some), in Hebrew, Olam Habah/the
World which is coming, and is also called by many other names.

The world which is coming is coming. I say, best to have a sturdy


vessel and a big sail to catch the winds of the truth that speaks through
your soul and sings through the truth-essence of everything around you
now. In this way, the world which is coming becomes the world which is
here...which is nice. Actually its nicer than nice. Olam Habah is, by definition, the highest most harmonious existence available in any moment.

Having a big sail means we must quiet the static and noise that is
foreign to our essence. This can be lots of fun. Actually, being in our
natural state is the most pleasure-filled state we can be in. There is so
much attraction and distraction in the world, one can have their perceptions and relationships hijacked for entire lifetimes (except for during
infancy). You can train a mouse to be afraid of cheese. If you were to put
a mouse and a piece of cheese in a metal cage, and every time the mouse
approached the cheese you sent electricity/pain through the cage to the
mouse, eventually when the mouse saw a piece of cheese he would run
the other way. Imagine if he saw a huge brick of cheese. To him it would
look like Godzilla. He would run so fast, away from that which his essence desired most. Our work here is to return to our essence. If we are
going to do something in this world with our life-time, and we are not
connected to our essence, what are we doing? We have to do something
in this life while we are here, with these perfect soul-bodies and these
warm fleshy space suits. We might as well have the best life of our lives.
Quieting the static and the noise which is foreign to our essence
and connecting to the truth of our souls is something to do intentionally
and unintentionally. It is good to have long extended periods of time
dedicated to basking in this essence-connected relationship, at least one
day a week. It is good to have key times during the day that are aligned
with the natural rhythms of existence, at least three times a day. We can
invite in this relationship and receive/Kabbalah it in our moments and
right now!

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In this world of klippah/concrete, the Divine presence/Shechinah


is often likened to an exiled bride. Lets get married! Unless you have
something better to do.

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LOMO
There is a popular epidemic called FOMO The fear of missing
out. Many people suffer from it. I have the antidote. Its called LOMO.
The love of missing out. LOMO says, go have the best life of your life,
party your best party, and hopefully other people are partying harder
and living more beautifully than you are! Do you want to live in a world
where you are always where its at, or do you want to live in a world that
is overflowing with thousands of amazing gatherings that you could not
possibly attend? When you hear about an amazing gathering that you
werent at, give thanks. It was awesome and you didnt have to be there.
There is advanced posture of LOMO called SHLOMO which is the
simple happiness and love of missing out.

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the meaning of life


The meaning of life is to live a life full of meaning.
When navigating the unknown,
it is imperative to keep your energy clear and positive.
Outcomes are incubated in whatever energy/soil you are holding.
Fear and negativity often sink the boat,
and maybe thats just what you need, a new boat.
To get closer to Jah-Jah Great Spirit, we must get closer to one another. Aho Mitakuye Oyasin, to all of our relations.
Separation is an illusion.
This life is a literal metaphor.
When we love one another in daily communion,
thats how we love Jah whom we never see.

When we love one another in daily communion,


thats how we love Jah whom we only see.
~ riff off a Quaker prayer

If Im hungry at 4:30 in the morning, I think G!d will deliver.


~ Blind Mellon

If you look close enough to anything or anyone


you can find magnificent beauty. Try it.
Part of forgiveness is the letting go of hope for a better yesterday.
Closeness is holiness.

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Carry one of these in each of your pockets:
I am the center of the universe,
this whole entire world was created for me
and

I am the dust of the earth,


a drop of water in an endless sea.
~ riff off a translation of the Mishnah

Freedom, health, and happiness yearn to be shared


and in the big picture dont last long when hoarded by the few.
Happiness is when what you think, what you say,
and what you do are in harmony.
~ Mahatma Gandhi

At every moment, it has always been and will always be everywhere,


here and now.
As hard as you may try,
you really cannot be anywhere else.
When you allow yourself to become vulnerable,
you cease being vulnerable.
The thought that money is what sustains you is idol worship.
Patience is a virtue, and so is tenacity.
Humility is knowing who you are and not pretending to be more or
less then that. Too tall, knocked down. Too small, boiled up.
All distraction is an attraction, just to something else.
Highly distractable = Highly attractable

Anxiety is one breath away from excitement. Its just lacking oxygen.
Do not be an end user. ~ Frank Cook zl

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Mushrooms are likely aliens.


Eat something wild everyday.
~ Frank Cook zl

We are all Microcosms of the Macrocosm.


As nuclear radiation plumes from Japan drift across the ocean
onto the green wind turbines of Southern California,
I am reminded of the irrefutable perennial truth that
we are all in this together.
All that was, all that is, and all possibilities,
all of the great truths and wisdoms,
are embedded like DNA in the fabric of this and every moment.
The only way we are going to get it together, is together.
~ R' Zalman Schachter-Shalomi zl

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POEMS.
If our lives are the most important
theatrical production,

let the inner artist unfold the plot,


making decisions that bring

excitement, wonder, and revelation into life.

~Alex Grey

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Shades Of View
I own my perspective of this world. I own my reactions to situations.
Often it seems these decisions are made by an autopiloted monkey in the
back of my head. But even he is me. Unfortunately, autopiloted monkey
is a creature of habit, often pulling up to crazy intersections and making
the same predictable turns. The biggest challenge with these monkeys is
that once they get their monkey-hands on the steering wheel, they dont
like to let go. Sometimes for years. Sometimes for lifetimes.

They constantly tell the other passengers what they would need
to hear to make them seem needed. Danger lurks, implores the neurotic monkey. Its all just a game, jokes the jester. You are going to
fail, taunts the loser monkey to the mind. Then that same monkey, you,
causes feet to collide, making you trip and fall in a miserable self-fulfilled prophecy. Loser monkey sinks a little deeper into his chair, picks
up the microphone, and smugly announces to the passengers, Told you
so. Cycle reinforced with more fervor.

Releasing Babylon from the thoughts and exile from the voice on
a path thats divine, while taking back your mind. Oh say, can you see,
the veil that blankets your cornea? Who picked out the glasses you are
wearing? Was it you? Cuz I got them too. But each moment I pick my
Shades of View:
I wear glasses of forgiveness
Glasses of oneness

Glasses that see the good in all


Glasses that see the G*d in all
Glasses of sadness
Glasses of classes

I have glasses in my cupboard that see only perfection


I have glasses of broken
Glasses of fixing

Gratitude goggles

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Ugly shades

Beauty lenses

I have in my position a pair of glasses that render me invisible


I also have a pair that make you invisible, trivial, divisible

In the attic I keep a microscope that sees all the details and a dusty
telescope that probes tomorrows
Collecting glasses
Detective glasses
Mirrored ones
Clear ones
Fear ones
Free ones

Cheap ones
Reruns

Heavy ones
Red ones

Green ones

Ones that you gave me and ones that I made


I got parade shades

Fancy ones and phony ones

Funky filters that see James Brown in everything


I got spectacles for reading the news
One that sees only shades of blues

One that sees your core and ones for inspecting your shell
Ive got thinking glasses and laughing glasses
Loving glasses and leaving glasses

Glasses of acceptance and glasses of repentance


Glasses that sparkle and glasses that shackle

Babylonian blinders that also come as contact lenses


and are often hard to find

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Yet each moment, I pick my shades of view

I got glasses that know no time and ones that see this world in rhyme
Ones for reminiscing
Ones for forgetting
Ones for dreaming
Ones for peeking

Ones for wasting the day

And ones for talking with God


Ive got childrens glasses and grown-up ones
Hipped-out oversized that Janis would wear

Ones for quick glances and ones that let me stare intensely for hours
Ive got ones that aid in creating
Ones for breaking

Ones for freeing the mind

Ones for reading the fine print and ones that allow me to zoom out
and see the big picture
Ive got ones that make me feel groovy like Im in a movie
And ones that I only wear on a Tuesday
Manly ones
Girly ones

Ones smogged out from pollution

Ones with straps from the institutions

Long slender Malcom X black topped ones


that feel like revolution
Glasses that need to know why
And ones that allow me to cry

Glasses that make me feel like a spy in this world


Glasses of science

Glasses of religions, with connections and divisions

Glasses that leave me stuck in the mud in a world of indecision

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Soft ones

Furry ones

Ones that are flexible and ones that you couldnt bend with a crowbar
Ones that you couldnt scratch with a hammer
Ones from TV

Ones my momma gave me when I was a kid


Right ones

Wrong ones
Good ones
Bad ones

Ones that are funny and ones that crave money

Ive even got a pair that are made out of milk and of honey

And ones that are specifically designed for nights that are lonely
Ive got beer goggles and stoney shades that make the world spin real
slow
Ones that glow, in the light
Broken ones from a fight
Nearsighted
Farsighted

Late night candle lighted

Each moment I pick my shades of view

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Invitation
Pushing through the night

Wind tunnels flash saltwater on the deck

Slicing salty liquid with giant steel beams


Regal carpets lace the rickety floorboards
Handrails polished

Grand pianos and smoky lounges


Scenes and dreams converging
As we make a giant circle
Families and white hairs
Sit and soak it in

If you pay this and make that you can pull up a chair
Light a Cohiba

And dig the view

Where the blues are filled with light


And all simple needs are satiated
Theres polka in the Shaker suit

And merengue lessons on the main deck


Every inch most delicately painted
I look at a picture

I have a picture of you with me


Of us in our cabin

Blood rushes up my neck


And floats in my cheeks

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A piece of me jumps over the rail into the endless black
He swims through the veils
and the swells
Soaking wet

pulls onto a daytime island


you are there

you are glowing


And Im on fire
we are sitting

skin dissolving
both basking

in the chain reaction


air trembling
hands touch

warmth passing
walls melting

third eyes locked and growing


My chest opens for a moment
And I have a place for you
in me

With grand pianos and smoky lounges

Where regal carpets lace my old floorboards


Near the center I have a room
of glass walls

and endless cushions made from our favorite tapestries


lit with golden dancing candles
Come sit

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If
If you can walk
you can dance

If you can talk


you can sing

If you can think


you can dream

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If We Choose To
We can lift each other up,

We can move each other high,


We can overcome,

We will live in peace,


Well celebrate,

Well walk hand in hand

Listening to the harp-strum beat,


Higher and Higher

We will give what weve got

We wont stop until were done


We shall be released
We shall be free

We can live in truth


Higher and higher

Well get rid of war,


Everyone will eat

We wont live in fear.


We will live as one,

This is just a dream.


So was every other idea that ever happened.

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Release all chains that shackle the mind.


No more slave dreams tonight, baby.
Clear mind

Clear vision.

See the change you wish to be,


Be the change you wish to see,
Were here because were here
because were supposed to be

but we can go anywhere tonight.


Anywhere tonight.
Anywhere fun.

Anywhere you want.

The tank is full and Ive got a credit card.


Sometimes we sit at the edge of G!ds driveway

idling for hours and days and lives with the key in the ignition,
scrambling to try and read the maps and charts

asking lost strangers out the window which way to go.


Anywhere you want, beloved,
Anywhere you want.

I can see your bliss skipping down the road,

looking back with a laughing inviting smile.


Why not turn the key and lets get the heck out of here.

Or step out of the car and bliss out dancing on G!ds front lawn.
Just no more sitting in smogged-out clouds of confusion.

This car is starting to smell and weve got better things to do.

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180

Sustainable Bliss

Medicine Wheel

Embracing the spiral of seasons


I am the Autumn. I am transforming, ever-changing always morphing,
my leaves they glow yellow-orange before they take to flight, I too am
filled with new color, I am the birds migration. Im falling but I know
I will be caught. I am the red-eyed harvest moon in November, I am
the sweet corn sheathed and slathered in layers of husk.
I am the Winter, I am the night, my days are short. Im bundled tight.
My wind is frigid, my branches naked, I color all existence white. Im
cold to the touch and I dont get out much. Im inward and quiet. I am
the red tailed fox, nuzzled in a pitch-black den beneath the earth waiting patiently. I am a blizzard and I am the morning frost. In the thick
of it all I sometimes feel lost. I am the North Star on a brisk night in
December.
I am the Spring sapling that pushes his way up through the black soil
to feel the first kiss of light. I am out of hibernation. I am alive with
rejuvenation. I grow and stretch in every direction. I am fertile with
infinite possibilities. I am the creative flow. I am the swelling river. I
am nectar. I am the drunken bumblebee robed and soaked in pollen. I
am a newborn baby bird about to fly wherever I want.
I am the Summer in full glorious expression, I stand on the mountain.
I know who I am. I am filled with abundance. I am beaming with
light. My days are long and my branches are strong and full of life,
my hand is open wide with gifts. I know that I am whole and I feel
divine perfection. I am the midday sun in August, I am laughter filled
with friends, I am the bird that cant stop singing for I am the day that
never ends.

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Poems 181

Invitation 2
We sit naked by the spring
Sun-soaked Judean hills
Blue sky in my eye

The morning sweat still lingers on our skin


so we dip

in the spring

Ripened grapes linger


by our heads

Hibiscus to our flank


We carry heavy loads

And move at our own pace


Work interrupted

Allowing space for discussion of God


Soft words cushion

Like a pillow for our heads


We frolic in heaven
and think of you

as angels descend
serving dishes

fit for God himself


Imagination

made a reservation
for you

at the table
Come
Oh

by the way

The flies in heaven are tenacious

The morning wind blows them over

from the commercial chicken farm next door

They only bother you if you choose to, on some level, be bothered.
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182

Sustainable Bliss

You Are

inspired by a poem by Haf iz


You are a cosmic superstar

With more transformative power than white bread


Who thinks she is merely singing in the shower
You are a magnificent golden dragon,
Wearing blinders,

Believing she is a moth


You are a messenger from G!d,
That walks amongst man,

Who thinks shes just a human


You are a divine sacred Elephant,
Stricken with amnesia,

Who thinks shes an ant


You are the radiant crimson sunrise
With eyes color-blinded

Searching for inspiration


You are the bottomless well of water
Whose mouth is parched
Lips craving moisture
You are a royal fish

Trying to wear pants

In a country as foreign as land

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Poems 183
You are the mighty rhinoceros

Not seeing what grows on her nose


Searching for something pointy

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184

Sustainable Bliss

Lost in the Dark


When youre lost in the dark and you cant find the switch
and your hopes and your dreams lie dead in a ditch

When your blisters are hurtin but you still gotta run
and your days feel all over before theyve begun
When your tires are flat and so is your pulse

and to most youre invisible like the holy ghost

When youre going through the motions and none of its real
and love shes an emotion you forgot how to feel

When youre down in the dumps and all circuits are busy
and you feel like an ant thats lost in the city

When your eyes are forced open and the truth is apparent

and it seems everything is flawed from g?d to your parents

When youre climbing a mountain and your rope disappears


and youre forced face-to-face with your deepest of fears
and crying wont help you so you suck up your tears

and no, not no ones listening, not none of your peers

When all colors seem faded but nothings wrong with your eyes
and your best girls in love with some other guy

When the beginnings a blur and the ends fast acoming

and youve run out of time but youve got to keep running
When your sails are all torn and your vessel is tossed
and you constantly dwell on all that you lost

When youve been up all night and its near the break of dawn
and the worlds best advice is hey, life goes on
Remember, it could be worse,

At least you dont live in Syria or Iraq

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Poems 185

Path Divided
Theres a couple in the corner. Theyre sitting where we once sat.

Her heart winces softly propagating salty droplets to reinforce the prepaved wet trails down her drooping face. Everything ends. Nothing is
perfect. Everything ends. Nothing is perfect. Like a broken vinyl skipping in the back of his mind. For when this day forfeits they will be
walking down a path divided. The flickering of her eyelash will no longer
tickle the pillow of his chest as they snuggle serpentinely while slipping
into subconsciousness. Half measures of coffee beans will be scooped
during the early-morning rituals. They will cling and throw themselves
like lemmings, into the black hole they have created. Yes theres a couple
in the corner and theyre sitting where we once sat.
He tells her, Separation is only an illusion.
She says, It does not feel like that.

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186

Sustainable Bliss

Truth Craves Nothing

In my solitude I dream of a partner.

While coexisting I crave singularity.

In my stillness my feet fancy movement.


On my adventure I desire stability.

In the winter I dream by the window of the summers heat returning.


In the daylight I patiently await the moons gossamer glow.
In my ignorance I seek wisdom.
In my thoughts I seek silence.
My silence wants words
Words want Truth

Truth craves nothing...

Nothing other than to fill and penetrate and reveal itself


in every nook and crevice and face hole of existence.

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Poems 187

Masters of the Human Race

written on the steps of the Parthenon, Athens, Greece

City towers and streets we pave


Shiny steels the latest craze

Will someday form historic graves

Where tourons come to spend their days


While acting out redundant plays

Everything around here moves in circles


Sitting on the thinkers stairs

Where thinkers once did stroke their hairs


While pondering lifes truths and dares
A burden solemn few could bear

I hold you high and start to stare


And wonder if you even care

That I can see straight, right through you


The high city fell and rang a bell

She traded Hades for a place called Hell


Your olden ways have all turned stale
But the seeker still can find the trail

And your scattered ruins tell the tale


Of a time when all was sacred
Parthenon and Athens shrine

A table where the gods once dined


Discussing matters most divine

While Bacchus drank his jug of wine


Apollo flew his mighty sign

And in the sky he drew a line

That did not fade and knows no time


The morning candles burning fine
Sometime she even likes to flicker

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188

Sustainable Bliss

Your pillars stood one test of time

You show remorse forgotten crime


Spartan queen come cross the line
Into this space most sublime

Come take my bread and drink this wine


That renders all who drink it blind

And sucks up all your tears from cryin


And leaves your laughter left behind

This land I swear she has no seasons


The law of land cant turn to rust

Now your mighty pillars melt to dust


Institutions fall and flee like lust

Where once was said In Zeus we trust

Golden arches sway and they too will bust


Nothing lasts forever but forever must
Hey, at least thats something
Masters of the human race

Sprinting towards the end of days

You set the course then set the pace


Then disappear without a trace

The nightman comes to take your place


But stumbles in his frantic haste

The hungry hunter hates the chase


And one day will be forgotten

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Poems 189
So listen to the whistle blow

The raven whispers to the crow

We shall reap what neighbor sows

and drape the summer white with snow


For Poseidons tempest soon will grow
As statues fall like dominoes

He wags his pitchfork to and fro


A signal clear to she who knows
The waters, they are rising

Lifes a tale that cant be told

I heard the mighty planter told

As he rambled down an empty road


And sang a song that cant be sold
Not even for all of Athens gold
This storys far from over

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190

Sustainable Bliss

A Mime Stood at the Gallows

based on Haf iz: on tricking the destructive inclination


A mime stood at the gallows,

as innocent as the day his life did start.


When given a last chance to speak,
he remained true to his art.

The people came by the hundreds,


to see this final act.

They all knew that his lips were sealed,


and that they would not crack.

A solemn tear ran down a painted face,


as he waived the crowd farewell.

Then his voice was heard for the very first time,
saying Ill see you all in hell.

The whole crowd gasped together,

and the hangman fell to the ground.

The mime removed the rope from off his neck,


and tiptoed home without a sound.

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Poems 191

Around the Candle


I thought my car was stolen yesterday

With my entire childhood in the trunk


I didnt think twice
Which is nice

Drove my car down Main Street in Woodstock


Where once the flower children gathered
Half a million strong

And through the rearview mirror I seen


Peace signs

And prayer flags

With hefty price tags on em


It just made me sing louder

Today I woke up to bells ringing


And Momma singing

Sun salutations and a backbend

Off the green couch to rhythmic music


Its a sunny day at the end of October
I think its Halloween

Though its hard to tell sometimes


When you are wearing a mask
My chariot takes me north

But my mind drifts farther


Farther still

My radio was stolen so all thats on is my mind


And a movie is playing

The doctors are dancing

With their seemingly sterile robes

With their super vacuum cleaner spot-removers

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192

Sustainable Bliss
Its raining

And the sun is shining

My life is happening right now

This whole entire universe was created for each singular speck
of the dust
of earth

and Im a card-carrying member of this bold brigade


The few

The proud
The alive!

Im starting my 29th rotation around the candle


Sometimes I get dizzy

I climb the tall trees just to feel her spinning faster


The seasons always shifting their hue
With gradiance and graceful shift
Changing flow

Front-row tickets

To the trees putting on their annual red fire show


Before the candle gets dim
And the branches naked
As if to say

Stay warm,

Ill be back later

As if to remind me to wake up
She reminds me what it was like
in high school

when parents went out of town


Listen, she tells us

We can do anything we want!


Listen

we can do anything we want

and I know a great innkeeper in this part of the universe

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Poems 193

Inspiration
I stay inspired
She is my fire

Without her I have no purpose

No purpose means no propulsion


No propulsion is stagnation
Stagnation is death

No thing ever just dies


Energy is never lost

Every thing recomposes


Ahhhhhh, Inspiration
Moving brightly

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194

Sustainable Bliss

I Do Declare
The self-perpetuating stagnating pursuit of happiness
leaves us gasping

Pay no attention to such silly crooked Jedi mind-tricks


Try and pursue your breath
Right now
Try it

(If you are breathing, youre not pursuing, you are breathing)
Howd it work?
And breathe...
You

You who have life

You have the right to be

You have the right to be happy

You have the right to choose the highest perspectives around town
And you can stay for as long as youd like
See

I am wearing my special shades today


and I got both hands on the wheel
I parked here at this rest stop

With this turnpike flowing through me


Big cities almost disappeared
I got charts and maps
and half a tank of gas
Where to go?

North East South West

Everybody knows that home is the best

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Poems 195

So

Come let us sing our best song

and harvest the light directly from the sun


For its quite possible
even likely in fact

that this trip has just begun

And the plot keeps growing thicker


Like a controversial sticker
That speaks truth to me

Truth from the depths of the depths


Truth like a friend

Sacred wings unfolding


Keys falling like pollen

I do declare

This happiness is Holy

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196

Sustainable Bliss

Scruffy Man with a Face Like Mine


Scruffy man with a face like mine
Lights the way

Holds the space time

The birds are dancing high tonight


And leaving lines behind
In the Jerusalem sky
And just then

The scarab queen walks by


A reflection of the moon

That never comes too soon

Smells like sage fields in bloom


I find you up a tree

Swinging on the branches


Laughing from your gut

And taking lots of lovely chances


And well paint the night with strange funny colors
Then youll get up and fly away

With the June wind pushing at your back


And all my life has brought me to now
Its all led to this

the most recent moment of my life


So show me a sign

Or how will I know


Which way to fly

The bus driver is high


The night is dark
The road is long

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Poems 197
The work is great

The workers are lazy


Caught up and hazy

Lackadaisically we spin
Somewhere
Anywhere

Anywhere fun

Are we having fun yet?


Are we dreaming?
Love Scheming?
Better be

Were gonna have to dream scheme ourselves out of this


So dont ever get used to all this pushing and shoving
The fussing and fighting

Dont get used to the walls and the wars


Where everyone loses

Im only interested in the games where everyone wins

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198

Sustainable Bliss

Smile and Breathe


Panama 04

Words become frothy

Like cappuccino coffee

then dissipate through the membrane of a mind.


These two just knew exactly what to do.
They dance in perfect time.
Let it in let it out
Let it in let it out

Simply put, simplicity is simple.


Smile and breathe

Show me your dimple.


No not today?

Feeling lifes shades of gray


Or blue?
Do you?

Know what youre after?

Whats at the top of your caterpillar pillar?


Perhaps a storybook ending,
Or an incarnations return.
Heavens depending,

Or the brimstones churn.

Meandering souls searching for divinity


Seeking out truth.

But no collect calls

from this telephone booth.

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Poems 199

Pathways converging
Diverging
Colliding

All traversing

The same mountain

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200

Sustainable Bliss

Forces of Shadow

Written at the 5th gathering of the Elijah Board


of World Religious Leaders in Oxford, 2012.
The forces of shadow in this world are so organized.

They have corporations, credit cards, uniforms, politicians,


gunpowder, jingles, TV channels.
They have long meetings every day.

The more we get together, the happier well be, was what my teacher
once taught me.
Seems to me to be;

We are the One percent, sharing a unified presence of Oneness with


ourselves and the 99% of ourselves who might think they are other
than the 100%
which we all are

We sit, in circle, tribal leaders from real and imagined corners


like colors on a rainbow

who know how to behave

who know the great harmony


of Purple alongside Blue
next to Green
beside You!

Distinguished differentiated pigment hues


who know we are all Light

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Poems 201

For Ecosystem resiliency

the Chosenness of All is for all to see


in this Unified Diversity
we call Existence
So many stories

Ancient medicine awakened


When to speak

When to Silence
Ohhhhh...

The Great Silence.

What am I connected through while I do my doings and speak my


sound art?
Where am I speaking to in you?
Now.

Here.

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202

Sustainable Bliss

Your Regular Place (Space)

written the day after the meeting of World Religious Leaders in Oxford
She asks me where would you like to sit
I look around the room.
I just got off the plane.

Dream-filled Oxford sleepy daze...


Singing on the plane...
Soaked in the waters.
And touched a tree...

But still my gut is rumbling...


Feeling into...
Silence...

Great silence...

Thunder roars...

The clouds do their squeezing as teardrops of liquid manna fall freely


fertilizing this freshly tilled dirt like theres no tomorrow.
Great Silence...

Feels like the day after a great wedding...

Face muscles and eyeballs a bit tired from smiling and seeing so
much...
and what now...
Where do I go?
From here?
From here.

Its your regular place, she tells me...


As I take my seat

In this Jerusalem hillside cafe


In a place I call home.

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Poems 203
Its the place I come back to.

Its a place I come back through.


Never the same.

I was up all night last night

doing metaphorical push ups and decorating vessels.

For there are infinite and varied positions of abundance


And I want to be ready
And response able
Connect able
Love able

Like its my job


Im seeing,

Youre wearing,

Your insides on your outsides

And today I feel as I can see right to you.


Its a messy world today...

A bit messy to be walking around in with an open heart.

Like walking through a swamp in a thunderstorm with white linen


pants
that can never get permanently stained.
Clues everywhere...
So much to hear...

Vessels shattering...and recombobulating at the same time.


A great awakening has begun.

The Universal Spring of Heart Occupation


Some sit silent and listen to the music

Some are awakening with a cold sweat from a horrible dream with
their fists still clenched.

I smell a terrible smoke today blowing in from the North as Syrias


burning.
People hiding for dear life.

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204

Sustainable Bliss
Gaza rockets red glare. I rack I ran I ran...

War in the North, South, East...Ahhh the West...

On some level everybody knows that Harmony is the best thing going
around.
The key is not in how many of the great knowings you know...
but the harmony amongst them.
Vomit all you need to dear one.

Clarify and cleanse your insides before you glow...


Just pull back your hair...

And try to make it to the toilet...

And do us all a great favor and refrain from publicly barfing on your
neighbors in an amplified way.
So I walk.

Like its my job.

Like its my job to walk.


In this great silence.
I contemplate.
Regenerate

And decorate

My regular pace

My regular place
Dissolving.

I take my seat in this Jerusalem Cafe


With new life

I pick up this saddle and ride


for dear life

Through the great silence


Like its my job
to live...

As flickering candles on a dark sacred night

Saddle strapped and mounted onto a waxy green growth-tip on a


sprouting tree of life.
Out comes the sun!

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Poems 205

You Say
You say Its all good
But I think I would
Notice

You Say Its all right

But its Saturday night


And Im lonely

You say Its all been done


My lifes a rerun
Well maybe

You say Freedom aint free

Whats that supposed to be?


A trick?

You say Whats your name


So we play the name game
Who am I?

You say A horse is a horse


Not so of course
Go ask logic

You say Refills are free

But you took money from me


What gives?

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206

Sustainable Bliss

You say Have a nice day

Thats exactly what I was going to say


Same teacher

You say Life is a dream


Yet I feel quite awake
I must be dreaming

You say Follow my lead


As you step on my feet
This dance is crazy

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Poems 207

Hitch Hiking Song


May 2004, Costa Rica

Well dont you want to pick me up


You there in your pick-up truck

Im out of money but Im full of luck


dont you want to pick me up

Ive been thumbin since the rooster crowed


Been standing here with my heavy load

My dream is waiting at the end of this road


Ive been here since the rooster crowed

Take me down to where the air is sweet

And Ill wash the past right off of my feet


Just let me rest on your empty seat

And take me down to where the air is sweet


Youve got a ride and Ive got a smile

Ive been standing here for quite a while


What if I was your only child

On the side of the road for quite a while


All I need is a little lift

Some conversation and a place to sit


Ill roll us up a nice big shift
All I need is a place to sit

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Theres a paradise just down the line

Where the fruit trees blossom all of the time


And the water tastes just like wine

At my paradise at the end of the line


Well dont you want to pick me up
You there in your pick-up truck

Im out of money but Im full of luck


Dont you want to pick me up

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Sustainable Bliss v3.indd 209

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Go Further.
It is possible and likely that this day and this life
has not yet climaxed!
May you live the life you Love.
I have read through this book several times
and found content corrections each time.

There are almost certainly assertions or words in this book


which are not 100 percent correct.
Please take these ideas and go further and deeper.
If ever you forget what to be thankful for,
be thankful you are alive.
If ever you forget what to pray for,
pray for the healing and fixing of the whole world.
If ever you feel broken and alone,
know you are connected to all of existence.

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I offer

online Spiritual Life Coaching,


Teaching, and Music at

www.PesachStadlin.com

Sustainable Bliss v3.indd 211

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Not About the Author.

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Acknowledgements.

ma Miriyam Elkins, Poppa Steve Stadlin, Dov, Michi, Yoni


the great gift Stadlin, the Viv, Jamie Todd Abby and fam,
Tootie, Jon and all Elkinss, Micah and Shoshanna Harari,
Meka
Moka
the
Purim
wonder
stallion,
Aharon the spiritual geologist Varady and Olam HaZeh Publishing,
Baruch the blessing Shapiro, Yona the word master and the Dans,
Jerry Garcia, Shimi and the Winters, Rebbe Nachman,
Shlomo the Chussid and the Goodfriends, Reb Shlomo
Carlebach, Yitchak Meir Malek and family, Rav Kook,
Rabbi Itzchak Marmorstein, the Baal Shem Tov, Shiraz Friendenberg,
Michael Even Aish, Sarai, Adam the purple prince Segulah,
SEH, Mae Song, Yiffat Livanah, Tsahar! Livnot and the Botzers,
Dougie fresh and the Chermaks, Darshan, Darwicks, the Gristles,
Guru Gornish, Guru Gura, Otis Funkmeyer, Uncle Richard,
Dovid Feldman, Yakir! Toby, Folli, Yochanan, Yosef the Wise Needelman,
Yaakov and Lepons, Jerusalem, Joel Caplan, Ben Bresky,
Happiness Schwartz, Adam Schwartz, Jared and the Willigs,
Ryan Malachi Cooper, Mati Cooper+, Aliza Hava, Avi Freed-man,
Eden Village family, the Nachlaot Chevrastas, BZ crew,
Princeton Posse, Mira crew, Sauna crew, the Greater Baal Shem Tov
Mens Club Society o.g.w.m.f.m., my future family, Indiegogo helpers, Funk master Gurwitz, Simone L., Granmda Yo, Tamuz perfectly,
Joy Blz, Brody, all medicinal plants, lactobacilli, the Creator of
the universe, Nili Simhai, my intact ancestral wisdom tradition,
the heilige Dubinsker Rebbeh, Ebit+, Bill Murray, Hafiz, KCBnR+,
and and and You!....

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Add Your Name(s) Here

(and pass this book on when the time is right).

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