Archive | June 2013

The Art Of Living

“The art of living… is neither careless drifting on the one hand nor fearful clinging to the past on the other. It consists in being sensitive to each moment, in regarding it as utterly new and unique, in having the mind open and wholly receptive.”

Bee to Flower Pollination“This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”

Dandelion Macro“Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.”

Bullfrogs Mating“To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.”

Bright Yellow Flower“Try to imagine what it will be like to go to sleep and never wake up… now try to imagine what it was like to wake up having never gone to sleep.”

Pink Flowers“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”

Bright Yellow Flower “The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.”

“Life is like music for its own sake. We are living in an eternal now, and when we listen to music we are not listening to the past, we are not listening to the future, we are listening to an expanded present.”

*All quotes by Alan Watts

Duck, Duck, DUCKS!

Duck, Duck, DUCKS!Newest episode of our nature show (filmed in HD). Episode 02 features us exploring the water and the ducks that live there, complete with sound effects provided by nature.

filmed by Stephen Ames
postproduction by Nicole Terry
Intro F/X from “Yirah” by Dyman off his album Island (Free Music Archive)
Music from “Revival” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Sound F/X provided by Nature

EPISODE 03 – Dragon’s Fly
EPISODE 01 – And Along Came God

And Along Came God

We love to explore the ground among the insects to see from their perspective.

Welcome to episode one of our new nature series (filmed in HD). Episode one features an unidentified beetle and dead cicada (awesome pics to follow in a future post).

filmed by Stephen Ames
postproduction by Nicole Terry
Music from  “Clenched Teeth” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Episode 02 — Duck, Duck, DUCKS!
Episode 03 — Dragon’s Fly

Nitric Kiss

“Human life is as evanescent as the morning dew or a flash of lightning.” ~Samuel Butler

The Perfect Storm by Michael BolognesiHave you ever stood in a thunderstorm? Have you ever had a thunderstorm chase you? Have you ever seen it form in front of you, growl deep in its throat, then . . . let loose?

Have you ever awoken in a puddle?

We have.

Gone-for-a-paddle (for Bev) by John Bennett It is beautiful, as breathtaking as any sunset, perhaps more. Perhaps one of the most beautiful earthly sights the eyes’ mind and consciousness love to behold in this elsewise strange and maladaptive world. We wonder at how many have missed the nitric kiss of the open sky walking beneath the broiling belly of the upper deep. How eerie to think one shrouded, crouched, and miserably shivering beneath an umbrella afraid to be wet for fear of appearing at work rumpled; how terrifying a fear. What a bizarre worship-ritual of a place is employment. Employment so revered that wetness is reserved only before entering and not while in destination? What is so important about one building over another? The amount of wood? The number of open walled-in spaces? Strange and maladaptive world, indeed.

Light Years by Justin Kern But beneath the skydome of stars, strange weather phenomena, unusual aircrafts, miles of insects like some kind of organic highway and fractaled branches, we have seen from the perspective of an ant and the view of a god. How is it possible to be biased? To decide for another his fate when we cannot for our own? We would rather skirt the edge of death looking down, than seated at a high, mighty office of judgment. Outside among the elemental earth, after a time observing sunrise to sunset, clouds forming and dissipating, moonrise to moon’s set, ebb and flow of the natural tempo, the humming rhythm and syncopation of the long nighttime in calendars, dates, and tock tick grind of daily routine seem . . . out of place. Not so much wrong, or unnecessary or hated or suffered, just out of place.

Mice under a rock by Cloudtail Days, nights, and seasons change and move at a slower pace than the alarm bell tolls. Once we have slipped silkily and willingly into the lingerie of time, many other interesting tidbits arise. When lying upon a strip of sandy beach beside a stream for many days and nights, gradually we began to fit in. How did we know this? For we were not some honored title carried about a self like some theatrical display, the elements told us otherwise. Each night we frittered with mice at all stages of life, who stole our food, crawled down Stephen’s shirt, and ran over us as we slept. We were no different from a fallen log, a rock, a pile of leaves. Is this not heaven?

We watched from the ground the behaviors of nocturnal animals who did not seem unnerved by our presence. For sure, we were sensed and determined non–threatening, but we were no more human than a familiar scent.

This was living and we were alive, sipping at the cusp of Now.

sun flooded autumnal forest by skoeber“[We are beings] of Heaven and Earth, of thunder and lightning, of rain and wind, of the galaxies.” ~Eden Ahbez

 

*Image Credits (used with permission under CC license)–
“The Perfect Storm” by Michael Bolognessi
“Gone-for-a-paddle (for Bev)” by John Bennett
“Light Years” by Justin Kern
“Mice under a rock” by Cloudtail
“sun flooded autumnal forest” by skoeber

Torture, Pain and Suffering can be Good

stevenlogI am no one special. I am not smart. I was diagnosed mentally retarded when I was 13. I have also been diagnosed with Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Bipolar Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder. I have also been labeled a terrorist and a criminal. That sure is a lot of contradictions, but they aren’t mine.

I spent 3 years in Special Education coloring, drawing, and counting change until I dropped out of school. I just never could do schoolwork, I thought it was absurd. I don’t have any letters after my name, I haven’t attended and/or graduated from any prestigious schools, I haven’t even dropped out of any prestigious schools demonstrating my self-motivation and non-conformity. I don’t have a degree that automatically makes whatever I attach my name to an instant voice of veracity.

I was beaten almost daily as a child. Many were so severe that I couldn’t even stand, walk or get out of bed. I missed a lot days at school because of the beatings. My Grandmothers tried to help me. They even hid me a few times, but they were unable to stop it. I lived in terror every moment of my childhood.

When I was a child, I was also strapped down to a table with wires glued to my head. Everyone couldn’t figure out why I wouldn’t do school work so I was sent off to the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville Pennsylvania for  tests.  After that, I was placed in Special Ed.

When I was in my early 20s, I barely escaped a lobotomy. They said a lobotomy could cure me. This was from a well-meaning Psychiatrist in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. He knew I was in severe mental pain, but he didn’t know what to do about it.

I’ve been surrounded by S.W.A.T 3 times. I’ve played cards with serial killers and mass murderers during my 3 stays at Mayview State Hospital a maximum security forensic hospital.  I’ve had to go months without bathing, brushing my teeth, or shaving while in the hole in Dauphin County Prison. My teeth rotted, just like the clothes I wore.  Living in and never leaving a 4×8, room for a few months brings on higher states of consciousness—so it was a good thing.  Also in prison, I was stripped naked, handcuffed behind my back and strapped in a chair for days at a time. It’s not much fun sitting in your own excrement and urine, but the pain and suffering make for a wonderful teacher. It gave me a deeper understanding of torture. The people who commit acts of torture are more afraid than those that they torture and they don’t know what they are doing.

I’ve been homeless, hungry and cold. This was also a good thing. It let me know what the homeless really face on a daily basis.

Knowing this may make you into an automatic skeptic, which is fine, but it does more for me. It makes me free to say and do whatever I want.  And what is it that I do and want? I want to share my experiences with others, ease their pain and suffering. Why?  Because I empathize with, have compassion for, love for everyone.  I have tried, oh, believe me, I have tried not to empathize, have compassion and love for others, but it is something I just can’t turn off. People may consider me an enemy, but I never can be. I just can’t hate.

Because I am not confined by letters after my name, a piece of paper certifying my pedigree, any school, business or institution that pays my bills to disappoint or offend, no will whatsoever to uphold my good name. I am neither obligated nor bound to carry out the will of someone else. I realize that pain and suffering are a gift, not a curse. What could be freer than that?

I’ve always been free, because I’ve never been broken. I can’t break, I can’t change, so there is no escape. It is not will or defiance. I can’t do things that I consider wrong or absurd, believe me I have tried.  I can’t give up my freedom, believe me I have tried. The very thought of stealing, lying, cheating, or being deceptive or doing something absurd causes my mind to schism, my heart to race and the sweat pours out of me, it drives me insane. I have always been like this and it has caused me to go through what many consider terrible situations.

I’ve never wanted to be or trade places with anyone else. I’ve been fortunate to see and experience things that most people only read about. I got to experience all of this not by hurting anyone, stealing, lying , etc., no, these events all happened because I couldn’t do what I was told to do. I couldn’t be a slave. Pain and suffering are a gift…probably the greatest gift one could receive.

Pain and suffering can teach one to have empathy, compassion and love for everyone, including those who have committed wrongs against you.  So, if you’re in pain and suffering, it may not seem like it at the moment but, you are surely blessed.

 

Reality Is. . .

America Institution

Okay, people, one last chance. Reality:

Reality is: Government
Reality is: Bills, inspections, gods, licenses, laws, taxes, pension funds, slavery, tax refunds, war, religion, money, countries, nations, insurance, inflation, debt, and freedom.
Reality is: None of the above are real, only reified by you because. . .
Reality is: You’re a slave.
Reality is: Malevolence, malice, murder, rape, plunder, tyranny, oppression, violence, crime, television, and death.
Reality is: You’re not going to get what you want except a pre-determined settlement in place of what you wanted, but . . .
Reality is: That Settlement is an illusion or a delusion to distract you from the aforementioned Reality.
Reality is: You hate your children, your children hate you, your husband hates you, you hate your husband; your therapist, representatives, lawyers, politicians, congressmen, bosses are lying to you to effect the aforementioned Settlement.
Reality is: You agreed to Settle.
Reality is: You will never think for yourself, and even if you could (which you can’t, but if you could) you won’t be allowed to, because . . .
Reality is: People who are much, much smarter than you (or who consider themselves to be) will think, and are already, thinking for you.
Reality is: You accepted this Settlement.
Reality is: Your mind is full of illusions, delusions, distractions, amusements, entertainments, and trivial and superficial information, because . . .
Reality is: You want all the illusions, delusions, etc. in your mind to be real, because. .
Reality is: You can’t face Reality, and if you did, you’d shatter into pieces, crawl into a hole, get religion, find a god, pray, do drugs, drink, commit suicide, watch television, overeat, get therapy, or something else to escape Reality.
Reality is: You don’t care about anything beyond your Settlement and defend it no matter what the consequences.
Reality is: You superimpose your emotions onto external sources (other people), because . . .
Reality is: You don’t possess any original or independent thought, because . . .
Reality is: You are neither original nor independent.
Reality is: You will accept a Settlement, but you will not accept responsibility for your deluded, self-serving, self-centered actions to keep and hoard that Settlement, because . . .
Reality is: You’re just a passing fad, and . . .
Reality is: So is everyone else, because . . .
Reality is: You are a slave and allways will be.
Reality is: There are gay people, fat people, thin people, black people, white people, stupidity, intelligence, etc. etc., and . . .
Reality is: You’ll never fit any of them into your deluded pseudo-reality (Settlement), so . . .
Reality is: You’re trapped in your pseudo-reality, but the good thing about . . .
Reality is: You’re absolved, because . . .
Reality is: The people who do your thinking for you know you’re deluded and forgive you for it.
Reality is: You can’t do anything about it until you face Reality, which . . .
Reality is: You can’t, because no matter what you say, you prefer your Settlement.
Reality is: Unless you Realize, you’re “The Herd.”
Reality is: You lie to yourself and everyone else to excuse your agreement of Settlement, so . . .
Reality is: You’ll die and be forgotten because you’re anonymous, therefore unthinking.
That is Reality. Now deal with it, but . . .
(Reality is: You won’t because you can’t, because . . .
Reality is: You’re a slave who doesn’t care you’re a slave as long as you can have your Settlement.)

Social Insects

“Our treasure lies in the beehive of our knowledge. We are perpetually on the way thither, being by nature winged insects and honey gatherers of the mind.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche

Toad Frown“It is amazing what a lot of insect life goes on under your nose when you have got it an inch from the earth. I suppose it goes on in any case, but if you are proceeding on your stomach, dragging your body along by your fingernails, entomology presents itself very forcibly as a thoroughly justified science.” ~Beryl Markham, West with the Night

Grumpy Old Spider“We are not like the social insects. They have only the one way of doing things and they will do it forever, coded for that way. We are coded differently, not just for binary choices, go or no-go. We can go four ways at once, depending on how the air feels: go, no-go, but also maybe, plus what the hell let’s give it a try.” ~Lewis Thomas

Pretty Eyes“When we seed millions of acres of land with these plants, what happens to foraging birds, to insects, to microbes, to the other animals, when they come in contact and digest plants that are producing materials ranging from plastics to vaccines to pharmaceutical products?” ~Jeremy Rifkin

Dramatic Cicada“I always liked the idea that America is a big facade. We are all insects crawling across on the shiny hood of a Cadillac. We’re all looking at the wrapping. But we won’t tear the wrapping to see what lies beneath.” ~Tom Waits

Best Friends“If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.” ~E.O. Wilson

“There are, as is known, insects that die in the moment of fertilization. So it is with all joy: life’s highest, most splendid moment of enjoyment is accompanied by death.” ~Soren Kierkegaard