Meditation Kicks Ass

sit. stay. heal.
Year Two, Week Twenty
Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY
Last week in Manhattan
I had this 
SUPER META EXPERIENCE
thanks to a great friend
with amazing connections
I was invited to a meeting with
A TOP LITERARY AGENT
Standing on the sidewalk
outside her midtown skyscraper
I felt really weird
this is when the 
META PART
kicked in
I could observe
that I was feeling weird
and how weird it was
that I was feeling weird
and even a little
NERVOUS
or something like nervous
and what was weird about
FEELING WEIRD
is that after decades of
ONGOING INSECURITY
and
SELF-DOUBT
and
SELF-FLAGELLATION
a combination of
GETTING OLDER
and
THERAPY
and
MEDITATION
has left me
most days
feeling
PRETTY FUCKING CONFIDENT
not cocky mind you
just mostly at peace with
WHO I AM
and
WHAT I DO
and
THAT I CAN’T CHANGE OTHERS
and yet something 
felt off as I 
rode the elevator
UP UP UP
and took a seat
and tried to describe
my new book about
MEDITATION
I’m pretty sure that
the agent said one or two
NICE THINGS
but pretty much 
all I can remember
regarding her thoughts
on the manuscript 
is that she thinks it is
A ONE NOTE BOOK
and that it 
LACKS NARRATIVE ARC
and that my voice is
TOO BLOGGY
As I sat there listening
I was able to employ
a technique I learned in
MEDITATION CAMP
where I went to meditate
for 10.5 hours for ten days
and where during evening lectures
they really pound it into you
GENTLY BUT FIRMLY
that you must learn to
OBSERVE 
but not
REACT
I was observing that
a younger iteration of myself
was still in me
THE REBELLIOUS TEENAGER
and she wanted to say
Nunh-unh Nunh-unh Nunh-unh
and also
I’LL SHOW YOU BLOGGY LADY
but I sat there 
and I listened
and I knew my reward
was waiting
and that reward was
A SUNNY FALL AFTERNOON
running around the city
with my boy
I also knew
even as I sat there
that maybe the agent’s thoughts
weren’t totally wrong
I never said there wasn’t
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
in the words I’d put down
So I said to myself
SELF JUST THINK ABOUT IT
In the week since that meeting
I remembered the very first
THERAPY SESSION
I had maybe twenty-three years ago
I borrowed my roommate’s therapist
I just had one meeting with him
before waiting years to find
a therapist of my own
I told him about my dad
of course I did
and he taught me this thing
which was that
If I am planning a trip
and my father said
YOU BETTER NOT DO THAT
that if I heed his warning
and don’t go
or if I go anyway
JUST TO SPITE HIM
either way
I am reacting to his voice
not listening to my own
and then he went on
to tell me the importance of
MAKING MY OWN CHOICES
It’s taken me so long
to really truly apply that lesson
and I still sometimes get
CONFUSED
for instance
now that I’m home
and now that I’ve begun
REVISIONS
I find myself applying
some of what the agent said
but I’m not yet sure
if I am doing that
in an attempt to do some
BIG CITY DANCE
or because maybe I know
somewhere inside
her points were really good
if not delivered in
the most palatable way
I do know that
if as I go along
it all 
FEELS WRONG
I will have no problem
reverting back to
my original concept
I made other observations also
A big one is this
for all the bellyaching I do
about how the whole
BIG PUBLISHING WORLD
is really not my thing
and how very not interested I am
in all of the 
BULLSHIT
that accompanies
gathering a larger audience
I’m the one who
chose to accept the invitation to
THE BIG CITY DANCE
no one forced me
and if I really
have such disdain for
hanging with the
BIG DOGS
I could’ve just
STAYED ON THE PORCH
but I didn’t
I ran around the yard
I got my ears nipped 
hardly the first time
There’s another thing 
that stays with me
from that day
Once I took the elevator
DOWN, DOWN, DOWN
I found my boy
and he said
let’s get out of this place
like we were characters
in a Springsteen song
So we split for 
THE VILLAGE
and we walked 
all around
and we ate
AMAZING FOOD
and we talked
about everything
and it was so fun
and though I admit
I wasn’t 100% 
IN THE MOMENT
for every moment
because I haven’t yet
trained my mind enough
to truly just
LET SHIT GO
and the agent’s words
continued to echo
overall I managed to have
A WONDERFUL TIME
Today I
Breathe In
and I
Breath Out
and I am so grateful
at how much this
MEDITATION STUFF
is paying off
as I learn to 
SIT
and
OBSERVE
and try not to
REACT
and to remember 
to throw the unhelpful stuff
into the dumpster
and just
CARRY ON
Thank you

Year Two, Week Twenty

Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY

Last week in Manhattan

I had this 

SUPER META EXPERIENCE

thanks to a great friend

with amazing connections

I was invited to a meeting with

A TOP LITERARY AGENT

Standing on the sidewalk

outside her midtown skyscraper

I felt really weird

this is when the 

META PART

kicked in

I could observe

that I was feeling weird

and how weird it was

that I was feeling weird

and even a little

NERVOUS

or something like nervous

and what was weird about

FEELING WEIRD

is that after decades of

ONGOING INSECURITY

and

SELF-DOUBT

and

SELF-FLAGELLATION

a combination of

GETTING OLDER

and

THERAPY

and

MEDITATION

has left me

most days

feeling

PRETTY FUCKING CONFIDENT

not cocky mind you

just mostly at peace with

WHO I AM

and

WHAT I DO

and

THAT I CAN’T CHANGE OTHERS

and yet something 

felt off as I 

rode the elevator

UP UP UP

and took a seat

and tried to describe

my new book about

MEDITATION

I’m pretty sure that

the agent said one or two

NICE THINGS

but pretty much 

all I can remember

regarding her thoughts

on the manuscript 

is that she thinks it is

A ONE NOTE BOOK

and that it 

LACKS NARRATIVE ARC

and that my voice is

TOO BLOGGY

As I sat there listening

I was able to employ

a technique I learned in

MEDITATION CAMP

where I went to meditate

for 10.5 hours for ten days

and where during evening lectures

they really pound it into you

GENTLY BUT FIRMLY

that you must learn to

OBSERVE 

but not

REACT

I was observing that

a younger iteration of myself

was still in me

THE REBELLIOUS TEENAGER

and she wanted to say

Nunh-unh Nunh-unh Nunh-unh

and also

I’LL SHOW YOU BLOGGY LADY

but I sat there 

and I listened

and I knew my reward

was waiting

and that reward was

A SUNNY FALL AFTERNOON

running around the city

with my boy

I also knew

even as I sat there

that maybe the agent’s thoughts

weren’t totally wrong

I never said there wasn’t

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

in the words I’d put down

So I said to myself

SELF JUST THINK ABOUT IT

In the week since that meeting

I remembered the very first

THERAPY SESSION

I had maybe twenty-three years ago

I borrowed my roommate’s therapist

I just had one meeting with him

before waiting years to find

a therapist of my own

I told him about my dad

of course I did

and he taught me this thing

which was that

If I am planning a trip

and my father said

YOU BETTER NOT DO THAT

that if I heed his warning

and don’t go

or if I go anyway

JUST TO SPITE HIM

either way

I am reacting to his voice

not listening to my own

and then he went on

to tell me the importance of

MAKING MY OWN CHOICES

It’s taken me so long

to really truly apply that lesson

and I still sometimes get

CONFUSED

for instance

now that I’m home

and now that I’ve begun

REVISIONS

I find myself applying

some of what the agent said

but I’m not yet sure

if I am doing that

in an attempt to do some

BIG CITY DANCE

or because maybe I know

somewhere inside

her points were really good

if not delivered in

the most palatable way

I do know that

if as I go along

it all 

FEELS WRONG

I will have no problem

reverting back to

my original concept

I made other observations also

A big one is this

for all the bellyaching I do

about how the whole

BIG PUBLISHING WORLD

is really not my thing

and how very not interested I am

in all of the 

BULLSHIT

that accompanies

gathering a larger audience

I’m the one who

chose to accept the invitation to

THE BIG CITY DANCE

no one forced me

and if I really

have such disdain for

hanging with the

BIG DOGS

I could’ve just

STAYED ON THE PORCH

but I didn’t

I ran around the yard

I got my ears nipped 

hardly the first time

There’s another thing 

that stays with me

from that day

Once I took the elevator

DOWN, DOWN, DOWN

I found my boy

and he said

let’s get out of this place

like we were characters

in a Springsteen song

So we split for 

THE VILLAGE

and we walked 

all around

and we ate

AMAZING FOOD

and we talked

about everything

and it was so fun

and though I admit

I wasn’t 100% 

IN THE MOMENT

for every moment

because I haven’t yet

trained my mind enough

to truly just

LET SHIT GO

and the agent’s words

continued to echo

overall I managed to have

A WONDERFUL TIME

Today I

Breathe In

and I

Breath Out

and I am so grateful

at how much this

MEDITATION STUFF

is paying off

as I learn to 

SIT

and

OBSERVE

and try not to

REACT

and to remember 

to throw the unhelpful stuff

into the dumpster

and just

CARRY ON

Thank you

Year Two, Week Nineteen
Brooklyn, NY
I’ve been traveling again
This time for a long stretch
nearly two weeks
A few weeks ago
I got a card
from a friend of mine
who travels 
EVEN MORE THAN I DO
and she noted that
ten days at a time
is about her limit
before she starts
wanting to be home
I’ve thought about that
a lot on this trip
which has included
Portland, Maine
Monhegan Island, Maine
Brooklyn and Manhattan
I love traveling
I really do
but I also
LOVE BEING HOME
didn’t somebody say once
this is the curse of traveling
wanting to stay put
wanting to keep going
and someone said
about parenting
that once you have a kid
your heart forever 
EXISTS OUTSIDE YOUR CHEST
I am still
SUCH A WORRIER
even after all these years of
MEDITATION
but the practice lets me
zoom in on what is
WORRYING ME
so that hopefully
I can address it
and move on
This trip I really
have focused on
how a major part of
my stress when I am away
is about the dogs
I can’t even believe I used to
have eleven pets
and still managed to 
take off on long trips
now I just have 
the two dogs
DANTE AND REBOUND
and I just worry about them
or more precisely
I worry about their caretakers
The dogs act differently
when I am away
because I am away
and last week 
there was a huge 
storm in Austin
and Dante apparently
TOTALLY FLIPPED OUT
all of my good and loving
dog caretakers
took care of the situation
but I felt 
OUT OF CONTROL
and I felt
like a dick
I know storms happen
I also know that it’s 
A LOT TO ASK
of others to deal with
these situations
As I think about this
and as I worry
and as I dissect the worry
I ZERO IN ON THE REAL PROBLEM
I am trying to do two 
things that fly 
in the face of each other
travel constantly
and
live with dogs
and
I realise
I HAVE TO PICK
not so much
ONE OR THE OTHER
but I have to
PRIORITIZE
and I know this
THE DOGS WIN
that doesn’t mean
I will stop traveling
but I will travel less
it’s the right thing to do
and I’m okay with it
It’s very likely that
2015 will be 
DANTE’S LAST YEAR
he has been
so good and kind and loyal
and he deserves
to have the shit spoiled out of him
and the comfort of me there
for the storms
and
for the sunny days
Related to all this
CONTEMPLATION
is recognizing that
when I am home
I feel a much bigger
FALSE SENSE OF CONTROL
I know I’m not in control
I know shit can change in
AN INSTANT
Because it’s happened to me
and it has happened to my friends
and it has happened to 
ALL OF US
And yet I still take
COMFORT
in this admittedly false
sense of control
because in it I recognize
the power of routine
the dogs taught me 
the most about routine
They love the same thing
at the same time
every day
and really 
SO DO I
when I travel
I create routines
IMMEDIATELY
it’s all about
INFRASTRUCTURE
and for me it begins with
MEDITATION
no matter where I go
I MEDITATE
in addition to my
DAILY SITS
I also practice
MINDFUL BREATHING
in cars
when walking
on subways
EVERYWHERE
it calms me down
it clears my head
So my head is clearer now
and I can see that
THE ANXIETY
is rooted in this
desire to move from my
ON THE ROAD ROUTINES
and back into my
AT HOME ROUTINES
which themselves will be
DISRUPTED
because whenever I am
home in Austin, Texas
I am far far far
AWAY FROM MY BOY
in my crazy lady fantasy world
he comes home
and he lives with me
FOREVER
but I know that’s not
going to happen
I just acknowledge it
Hello Thought
Goodbye Thought
and I try to have only
GRATITUDE
for our reunions
and to
STAY IN THE MOMENT
and not worry about
how I’ll have to say
GOODBYE AGAIN
and not worry about
when I’ll see him again
because really
while on the one hand
my heart is beating
outside of my chest
on the other hand
he is always there
hovering above me
in my mind
Today I
Breathe In
and I
Breathe Out
and I 
strive to have
NO REGRETS 
over this conflict of mine
and i have
MORE GRATITUDE THAN I CAN SAY
for everyone who
helps me when I
go away
those who host me
those who hold down the fort
Thank you

Year Two, Week Nineteen

Brooklyn, NY

I’ve been traveling again

This time for a long stretch

nearly two weeks

A few weeks ago

I got a card

from a friend of mine

who travels 

EVEN MORE THAN I DO

and she noted that

ten days at a time

is about her limit

before she starts

wanting to be home

I’ve thought about that

a lot on this trip

which has included

Portland, Maine

Monhegan Island, Maine

Brooklyn and Manhattan

I love traveling

I really do

but I also

LOVE BEING HOME

didn’t somebody say once

this is the curse of traveling

wanting to stay put

wanting to keep going

and someone said

about parenting

that once you have a kid

your heart forever 

EXISTS OUTSIDE YOUR CHEST

I am still

SUCH A WORRIER

even after all these years of

MEDITATION

but the practice lets me

zoom in on what is

WORRYING ME

so that hopefully

I can address it

and move on

This trip I really

have focused on

how a major part of

my stress when I am away

is about the dogs

I can’t even believe I used to

have eleven pets

and still managed to 

take off on long trips

now I just have 

the two dogs

DANTE AND REBOUND

and I just worry about them

or more precisely

I worry about their caretakers

The dogs act differently

when I am away

because I am away

and last week 

there was a huge 

storm in Austin

and Dante apparently

TOTALLY FLIPPED OUT

all of my good and loving

dog caretakers

took care of the situation

but I felt 

OUT OF CONTROL

and I felt

like a dick

I know storms happen

I also know that it’s 

A LOT TO ASK

of others to deal with

these situations

As I think about this

and as I worry

and as I dissect the worry

I ZERO IN ON THE REAL PROBLEM

I am trying to do two 

things that fly 

in the face of each other

travel constantly

and

live with dogs

and

I realise

I HAVE TO PICK

not so much

ONE OR THE OTHER

but I have to

PRIORITIZE

and I know this

THE DOGS WIN

that doesn’t mean

I will stop traveling

but I will travel less

it’s the right thing to do

and I’m okay with it

It’s very likely that

2015 will be 

DANTE’S LAST YEAR

he has been

so good and kind and loyal

and he deserves

to have the shit spoiled out of him

and the comfort of me there

for the storms

and

for the sunny days

Related to all this

CONTEMPLATION

is recognizing that

when I am home

I feel a much bigger

FALSE SENSE OF CONTROL

I know I’m not in control

I know shit can change in

AN INSTANT

Because it’s happened to me

and it has happened to my friends

and it has happened to 

ALL OF US

And yet I still take

COMFORT

in this admittedly false

sense of control

because in it I recognize

the power of routine

the dogs taught me 

the most about routine

They love the same thing

at the same time

every day

and really 

SO DO I

when I travel

I create routines

IMMEDIATELY

it’s all about

INFRASTRUCTURE

and for me it begins with

MEDITATION

no matter where I go

I MEDITATE

in addition to my

DAILY SITS

I also practice

MINDFUL BREATHING

in cars

when walking

on subways

EVERYWHERE

it calms me down

it clears my head

So my head is clearer now

and I can see that

THE ANXIETY

is rooted in this

desire to move from my

ON THE ROAD ROUTINES

and back into my

AT HOME ROUTINES

which themselves will be

DISRUPTED

because whenever I am

home in Austin, Texas

I am far far far

AWAY FROM MY BOY

in my crazy lady fantasy world

he comes home

and he lives with me

FOREVER

but I know that’s not

going to happen

I just acknowledge it

Hello Thought

Goodbye Thought

and I try to have only

GRATITUDE

for our reunions

and to

STAY IN THE MOMENT

and not worry about

how I’ll have to say

GOODBYE AGAIN

and not worry about

when I’ll see him again

because really

while on the one hand

my heart is beating

outside of my chest

on the other hand

he is always there

hovering above me

in my mind

Today I

Breathe In

and I

Breathe Out

and I 

strive to have

NO REGRETS 

over this conflict of mine

and i have

MORE GRATITUDE THAN I CAN SAY

for everyone who

helps me when I

go away

those who host me

those who hold down the fort

Thank you

Year Two, Week Eighteen

Krause Springs, Spicewood, TX

Way way back

when I first started 

THIS PROJECT

and wasn’t even sure

what exactly it was going

TO BE

I did create a page called

HOW TO MEDITATE

which was kind of 

a mashup between

A LOVE LETTER

and

AN INSTRUCTIONAL

for my friend

MUFFY BOLDING

who totally inspired me

to do this whole thing

I still stand by

everything I said

in that post

so today’s

REFRESHER

is just that

nothing to correct

from the last set of

SUGGESTIONS

just a friendly reminder 

that when you sit and

MEDITATE

I absolutely promise you

YOU AREN’T DOING IT WRONG

if you are sitting

(or even lying down)

and if you are breathing

and if you are 

MINDFUL 

of your breathing

(which you can accomplish

simply by saying to yourself

I BREATHE IN

when you breathe in

and

I BREATHE OUT

when you breathe out)

YOU ARE DOING IT

SO FUCKING RIGHT!

You are

trust me

But Spike

you interrupt me

in a borderline whiny voice

that is informed with

FEAR

rooted in some

silly belief that

there are 

MEDITATION POLICE

who will

COME AND GET YOU

and issue you a

CITATION 

for

WRONGFUL MEDITATION

Listen people…

DO NOT 

But Spike me

I know what you’re thinking

you’re thinking

But I’m thinking

and I’m not supposed

to be thinking 

so I am

DOING IT WRONG

But I, Spike, am replying

with so much

LOVE

and 

ENDLESS COMPASSION

that you need to

SHUT THE FUCK UP

and just

sit your ass down

and

BREATHE

I know

I know

The Monkey Mind

is driving you bananas

but guess what

The Monkey Mind 

is also known as

The Human Condition

so

WELCOME TO THE PARTY

WE ARE ALL RIGHT HERE

WITH YOU

(and hey

here’s something

for your 

MONKEY MIND

to ponder

Do monkeys 

sit and breathe

with their eyes closed

and suddenly feel

PANIC 

and refer to this

as 

HUMAN MIND?)

Remember

PLEASE

as per the agreement

we sort of made

when you read the 

original page about

HOW TO MEDITATE

and decided to 

give this 

MEDITATION THING

a shot

You were 

(and you are)

going to take note of

INCOMING THOUGHTS

and you were

(and you are)

going to pretend 

you are in the book

GO DOG, GO!

And you are going to say

Hello Thought

Goodbye Thought

and that’s that

no beating the shit 

out of yourself

you just

KEEP SITTING

you just

KEEP BREATHING

and as needed

you can refer to the

HANDY ACTION VIDEO

up above that

I made myself

to illustrate these points

Today I

Breathe In

and I

Breathe Out

and I am so grateful

that when it comes to

sitting

and

breathing

and

MEDITATING

none of us are

doing it wrong

Thank you

Year Two, Week Seventeen
Astoria, Oregon
Today some thoughts on
WORRYING
and
SANGHA
Each year I travel
a ridiculous amount
I do this for a
number of reasons
one is that
I have chosen family
all over the world
and I do my best 
to go and see
MY PEOPLE
and catch up
and love and
be loved back
the other reason
is less intentional
but I saw it clearly
as I was wrapping up 
this year’s pilgrimage to
ASTORIA, OREGON
where I go to spend time
with my ex brother-in-law
DAVID
we were related by law
for less than a year
but our friendship has 
continued to deepen
in the eight years since I
accidentally married
then hastily divorced 
his brother
so that other reason
is that it occurred to me
that when I go away
it is a chance to set aside
DAY-TO-DAY WORRIES
and frees me up to
WORRY ABOUT OTHER SHIT
for example
in Austin I was worrying
about my plumbing
in Astoria
I blocked that
and I allowed myself 
to indulge in a concern
that hits me every August
when my business 
SLOWS WAY DOWN
I go to that place where I
nearly convince myself
that’s it
the job I love
is going to disappear
the competition is
getting too overwhelming
people are undercutting me
what the hell am I going to do
will I have to sell the house
and so on
and so forth
I know vacation is
supposed to be for
RELAXING
and
VACATING
the mind
but I’m pretty sure that
no matter
how much I 
TRAVEL
and no matter
how much I
MEDITATE
I’m never actually 
going to
RELAX
but I’m way better 
than I used to be
I think my inability to relax
hinges on the 
HYPER VIGILANCE
a constant trait and symptom
of my
PTSD
It’s cool
I’ve mostly made peace 
with the fact that
I probably won’t ever be
CURED
but that at least 
there is a 
VOLUME CONTROL
which, yes, I’m going to
say it yet again
is called
MEDITATION
So there I was
in one of the most
beautiful places in the world
where the 
COLUMBIA RIVER
pours into the
PACIFIC OCEAN
and it was such a 
lovely place to worry
I took my anxiety
and I made
ANXIETY ADE!
I also used David
as a sounding board
we are so very in tune
we are so very much alike
and he is an
INCREDIBLE EMPATH
he is also nearly 
twenty years older than me
and so using his
sensitivity and experience
he helped me
work through my troubles
together we formed a
MINI SANGHA
I helped him too
He sold his house
and this was our last time
to spend time in it together
He needed to sell
a lot of furniture 
and that magic carpet
I’m sitting on
Neither one of us
really felt like
posting listings on 
CRAIGSLIST
partly because it’s
TEDIOUS
but also because
it meant that reality
would set in
and we would have to
truly acknowledge
THE HOUSE IS GONE
but I busied myself
taking pictures of it all
and writing 
RIDICULOUS DESCRIPTIONS
and putting it all up online
and fielding responses
and I have to say
it felt very satisfying
to be useful
to get this thing done
to see results
and it was also nice
helping David
who has helped me
through so many things
not the least of which
was my divorce from his brother
my friends
THE POLYPHONIC SPREE
have a record called
TOGETHER WE’RE HEAVY
I just love that
it’s a great phrase
and it captures my 
recent time with David
alone I might’ve 
floated off on my worry bubble
and he might’ve
floated off on his
don’t-want-to-post-stuff bubble
but together
we grounded each other
we anchored each other
and we 
GOT SHIT DONE
This photo was taken
my last night at the house
This year I slept inside
in a bedroom
but for many years
I stayed on this deck
in a tent
URBAN CAMPING
waking up each morning
to a view of the river
and often
FREEZING MY ASS OFF
which was great
Also on my last night
we discussed a
piece of furniture
we had failed to list
an old piece
it has the amazing
dual functions
of serving as both
A COFFEE TABLE
and
(I swear)
A POTTY
Who thinks of this shit?
We made a little
demonstration video
showing how useful
this thing would be
to a lazy person
who loves pounding water
but hates having to
go all the way
to the bathroom
to pee
I nearly peed
making the video
during which
I am laughing so hard
at David’s 
ELEGANT GESTURING
that you can hardly hear him
list the specs
over my
SNORTING
It was such a very fun way
to finish up 
my stay
I kept trying to be sad
about the house
but maybe I’m in denial
or possibly
and I think this is it
I am increasingly 
getting the hang of
IMPERMANENCE
I came home to Austin
I took my worries
and coupled them with
David’s steady reassurance
and I worked on my business
and the leads started
pouring in again
and then I
started getting rid of shit
because helping my friend
sell his furniture
was this great reminder
of how very little we need
in the way of 
MATERIAL POSSESSIONS
Today I
Breathe in
and I
Breathe out
and I am so grateful
for my
SCATTERED SANGHA
for their advice
for their places to stay
around the world
and of course
for their 
LOVE
Thank you

Year Two, Week Seventeen

Astoria, Oregon

Today some thoughts on

WORRYING

and

SANGHA

Each year I travel

a ridiculous amount

I do this for a

number of reasons

one is that

I have chosen family

all over the world

and I do my best 

to go and see

MY PEOPLE

and catch up

and love and

be loved back

the other reason

is less intentional

but I saw it clearly

as I was wrapping up 

this year’s pilgrimage to

ASTORIA, OREGON

where I go to spend time

with my ex brother-in-law

DAVID

we were related by law

for less than a year

but our friendship has 

continued to deepen

in the eight years since I

accidentally married

then hastily divorced 

his brother

so that other reason

is that it occurred to me

that when I go away

it is a chance to set aside

DAY-TO-DAY WORRIES

and frees me up to

WORRY ABOUT OTHER SHIT

for example

in Austin I was worrying

about my plumbing

in Astoria

I blocked that

and I allowed myself 

to indulge in a concern

that hits me every August

when my business 

SLOWS WAY DOWN

I go to that place where I

nearly convince myself

that’s it

the job I love

is going to disappear

the competition is

getting too overwhelming

people are undercutting me

what the hell am I going to do

will I have to sell the house

and so on

and so forth

I know vacation is

supposed to be for

RELAXING

and

VACATING

the mind

but I’m pretty sure that

no matter

how much I 

TRAVEL

and no matter

how much I

MEDITATE

I’m never actually 

going to

RELAX

but I’m way better 

than I used to be

I think my inability to relax

hinges on the 

HYPER VIGILANCE

a constant trait and symptom

of my

PTSD

It’s cool

I’ve mostly made peace 

with the fact that

I probably won’t ever be

CURED

but that at least 

there is a 

VOLUME CONTROL

which, yes, I’m going to

say it yet again

is called

MEDITATION

So there I was

in one of the most

beautiful places in the world

where the 

COLUMBIA RIVER

pours into the

PACIFIC OCEAN

and it was such a 

lovely place to worry

I took my anxiety

and I made

ANXIETY ADE!

I also used David

as a sounding board

we are so very in tune

we are so very much alike

and he is an

INCREDIBLE EMPATH

he is also nearly 

twenty years older than me

and so using his

sensitivity and experience

he helped me

work through my troubles

together we formed a

MINI SANGHA

I helped him too

He sold his house

and this was our last time

to spend time in it together

He needed to sell

a lot of furniture 

and that magic carpet

I’m sitting on

Neither one of us

really felt like

posting listings on 

CRAIGSLIST

partly because it’s

TEDIOUS

but also because

it meant that reality

would set in

and we would have to

truly acknowledge

THE HOUSE IS GONE

but I busied myself

taking pictures of it all

and writing 

RIDICULOUS DESCRIPTIONS

and putting it all up online

and fielding responses

and I have to say

it felt very satisfying

to be useful

to get this thing done

to see results

and it was also nice

helping David

who has helped me

through so many things

not the least of which

was my divorce from his brother

my friends

THE POLYPHONIC SPREE

have a record called

TOGETHER WE’RE HEAVY

I just love that

it’s a great phrase

and it captures my 

recent time with David

alone I might’ve 

floated off on my worry bubble

and he might’ve

floated off on his

don’t-want-to-post-stuff bubble

but together

we grounded each other

we anchored each other

and we 

GOT SHIT DONE

This photo was taken

my last night at the house

This year I slept inside

in a bedroom

but for many years

I stayed on this deck

in a tent

URBAN CAMPING

waking up each morning

to a view of the river

and often

FREEZING MY ASS OFF

which was great

Also on my last night

we discussed a

piece of furniture

we had failed to list

an old piece

it has the amazing

dual functions

of serving as both

A COFFEE TABLE

and

(I swear)

A POTTY

Who thinks of this shit?

We made a little

demonstration video

showing how useful

this thing would be

to a lazy person

who loves pounding water

but hates having to

go all the way

to the bathroom

to pee

I nearly peed

making the video

during which

I am laughing so hard

at David’s 

ELEGANT GESTURING

that you can hardly hear him

list the specs

over my

SNORTING

It was such a very fun way

to finish up 

my stay

I kept trying to be sad

about the house

but maybe I’m in denial

or possibly

and I think this is it

I am increasingly 

getting the hang of

IMPERMANENCE

I came home to Austin

I took my worries

and coupled them with

David’s steady reassurance

and I worked on my business

and the leads started

pouring in again

and then I

started getting rid of shit

because helping my friend

sell his furniture

was this great reminder

of how very little we need

in the way of 

MATERIAL POSSESSIONS

Today I

Breathe in

and I

Breathe out

and I am so grateful

for my

SCATTERED SANGHA

for their advice

for their places to stay

around the world

and of course

for their 

LOVE

Thank you

Year Two, Week Sixteen
Galveston, TX
When I was in Galveston
I had dinner
with my friend John
on his tiny houseboat
I LOVE THE HOUSEBOAT
I love it for what it really is
and I also love it 
for what it symbolizes
What it really is
is a masterful
MODEL OF EFFICIENCY
every inch of the place
is planned out
NO SPACE IS WASTED
despite the very 
limited amount of room
it feels like you have
EVERYTHING YOU NEED
and maybe even better
NOTHING THAT YOU DON’T NEED
so you can see 
where I’m going with this
I have been meditating now
for around fifteen years
but I’ve been really
MEDITATING WITH INTENT
since only January 2013
in the time between
THEN AND NOW
I have utterly and completely
CHANGED MY MIND
I have
it’s the coolest thing
I still have
TOTALLY SHITTY DAYS
I still
GET REALLY FREAKED OUT
but even when that happens
now I have a nice
Pelican’s Eye View
and I can zero in on
whatever is getting me down
and I can 
DIVE BOMB IT
with my
BREATHING
spear right through it
swallow it
digest it
and then
LET THAT SHIT GO
to me the
MEDITATED MIND
is like a little houseboat
in my head and heart
I can compartmentalize things
not in the sense of
putting them
out of reach
but rather
putting them
IN THEIR PLACE
I know where things are
and I know how to organize them
and i have
EVERYTHING I NEED
and while I’m not totally 
there yet
I am getting closer to having
NOTHING I DON’T NEED
and let me just 
put a fine point on it
for y’all
I LOVE THIS SO MUCH!!!
I LOVE IT!
I LOVE IT!
I LOVE IT!
Now look closer 
at the picture
see what is floating 
just behind me?
Ah yes
REVENGE!!
Let me tell you something
Maybe it’s because 
I’m from
NEW JERSEY
where people 
DO NOT TAKE SHIT
and 
DO NOT SUFFER FOOLS
or more likely it’s due to
being raised by
a paranoid man
but 
WHATEVER
point is
I still have some 
mighty fantastic
REVENGE FANTASIES
but now that I meditate
I’ve gotten great at
not acting on these
Not to say I always
acted on my revenge schemes
in the past
and not to say that
I don’t still sometimes 
send out an
ASSHOLE-RIPPING LETTER
but overall
in the big picture
I’m getting really damn good
(for me)
at
KEEPING REVENGE AT BAY
(get it?
get it?
AT BAY!!
haha!)
At the same time
I let myself be amused
at the places my mind can go
I mean
our minds
they are these really
wild places
they will forever be
OUR FINAL FRONTIERS
because they will always
NEED SOME SETTLING
and that is where
of course
MEDITATION
comes in
MEDITATION
is the
gentle sheriff
that brings
ORDER
wait did I just
make a metaphor
regarding meditation
involving a man with a gun?
(see how fast my
AWARE MIND
caught that?)
Anyway
you get the idea
I am so grateful
that breathing has
helped me make
of my mind
a fabulously efficient
little boat
that rocks gently
stays in a safe harbor
and is always anchored
Today I
Breathe in
and I
Breathe out
and I am so happy
I am learning to
rock the boat
rock the boat baby
but not to
TIP IT OVER
Thank you
Note: Will you help support this blog? Check out Spike Yourself to find out how and/or buy yourself a little something over at Spike Stuff. And please tell others about Meditation Kicks Ass. Thanks!

Year Two, Week Sixteen

Galveston, TX

When I was in Galveston

I had dinner

with my friend John

on his tiny houseboat

I LOVE THE HOUSEBOAT

I love it for what it really is

and I also love it 

for what it symbolizes

What it really is

is a masterful

MODEL OF EFFICIENCY

every inch of the place

is planned out

NO SPACE IS WASTED

despite the very 

limited amount of room

it feels like you have

EVERYTHING YOU NEED

and maybe even better

NOTHING THAT YOU DON’T NEED

so you can see 

where I’m going with this

I have been meditating now

for around fifteen years

but I’ve been really

MEDITATING WITH INTENT

since only January 2013

in the time between

THEN AND NOW

I have utterly and completely

CHANGED MY MIND

I have

it’s the coolest thing

I still have

TOTALLY SHITTY DAYS

I still

GET REALLY FREAKED OUT

but even when that happens

now I have a nice

Pelican’s Eye View

and I can zero in on

whatever is getting me down

and I can 

DIVE BOMB IT

with my

BREATHING

spear right through it

swallow it

digest it

and then

LET THAT SHIT GO

to me the

MEDITATED MIND

is like a little houseboat

in my head and heart

I can compartmentalize things

not in the sense of

putting them

out of reach

but rather

putting them

IN THEIR PLACE

I know where things are

and I know how to organize them

and i have

EVERYTHING I NEED

and while I’m not totally 

there yet

I am getting closer to having

NOTHING I DON’T NEED

and let me just 

put a fine point on it

for y’all

I LOVE THIS SO MUCH!!!

I LOVE IT!

I LOVE IT!

I LOVE IT!

Now look closer 

at the picture

see what is floating 

just behind me?

Ah yes

REVENGE!!

Let me tell you something

Maybe it’s because 

I’m from

NEW JERSEY

where people 

DO NOT TAKE SHIT

and 

DO NOT SUFFER FOOLS

or more likely it’s due to

being raised by

a paranoid man

but 

WHATEVER

point is

I still have some 

mighty fantastic

REVENGE FANTASIES

but now that I meditate

I’ve gotten great at

not acting on these

Not to say I always

acted on my revenge schemes

in the past

and not to say that

I don’t still sometimes 

send out an

ASSHOLE-RIPPING LETTER

but overall

in the big picture

I’m getting really damn good

(for me)

at

KEEPING REVENGE AT BAY

(get it?

get it?

AT BAY!!

haha!)

At the same time

I let myself be amused

at the places my mind can go

I mean

our minds

they are these really

wild places

they will forever be

OUR FINAL FRONTIERS

because they will always

NEED SOME SETTLING

and that is where

of course

MEDITATION

comes in

MEDITATION

is the

gentle sheriff

that brings

ORDER

wait did I just

make a metaphor

regarding meditation

involving a man with a gun?

(see how fast my

AWARE MIND

caught that?)

Anyway

you get the idea

I am so grateful

that breathing has

helped me make

of my mind

a fabulously efficient

little boat

that rocks gently

stays in a safe harbor

and is always anchored

Today I

Breathe in

and I

Breathe out

and I am so happy

I am learning to

rock the boat

rock the boat baby

but not to

TIP IT OVER

Thank you

Note: Will you help support this blog? Check out Spike Yourself to find out how and/or buy yourself a little something over at Spike Stuff. And please tell others about Meditation Kicks Ass. Thanks!

Year Two, Week Fifteen
Henry Rosenberg Library, Galveston, TX
I spent a couple of weeks
earlier this month in
GALVESTON
by coincidence 
more than design
I happened to be there on
AUGUST FIFTEENTH
aka to catholics
THE FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION
when it is alleged
the body of 
MOTHER MARY
rose fully intact
into the heavens
and also it is believed that
you must get yourself to
A BIG BODY OF SALT WATER
because on this day
WATER IS BLESSED
and so it was that
as a child
our family trips 
DOWN THE SHORE
were always timed so that
we could be so blessed
(aside: it was also 
HURRICANE SEASON
and so often totally
TERRIFYING
but we’ll save that
stormy story for 
another day)
As with our 
day-to-day 
non-vacation life
things pretty much
SUCKED
when we were 
at the beach
because my dad
who was 
VERY MENTALLY ILL
was at
THE HELM
He even had a 
SEPARATE LIVING ROOM
we were mostly supposed to
stay out of
it was called
THE CAPTAIN’S QUARTERS
and featured a nautical theme
of course we didn’t know
he was mentally ill
and even if we had known
it still would’ve been
more scary than any hurricane
and besides 
it still wasn’t an excuse 
for what he did
but I mention it 
because understanding his illness
even just a little
and at a distance of
nearly a half-century
still helps me to heal
My father often conducted vacation
as follows
he would draw hashmarks 
on the refrigerator on
PERMANENT BLACK MARKER
to show us how many 
hellish days with us kids
had passed and so
how many fewer he had
LEFT TO BEAR
he kept a little
FOR SALE SIGN
in the front room
so that whenever anyone
"acted out"
(which in his book pretty much
was defined by
oh say
BREATHING)
he would start
SCREAMING 
and put the sign in the window
or the yard
and let us know
THAT’S IT
this sheetrock box
that nonetheless is
our paradise
IS GONE
because you all are
UNGRATEFUL SHITS
There were other 
TYRANNICAL TECHNIQUES
but you know enough now
to know why
when I stepped on a rusty nail
when I was around ten
and it was the first day 
of vacation
I DID NOT WANT TO TELL ANYONE
because I had been breaking
RULE #2,758,234
which was
DO NOT GO OUTSIDE BAREFOOT
I did tell
after deciding I guess
that getting busted for not telling
would have worse repercussions
than telling
but I was so very afraid telling
would mean he would
make us all get in the car
and end vacation 
IMMEDIATELY
and my eight siblings would
HATE MY GUTS
this is how it was
most days in my life
trying to decide between
the lesser of
TERRIFYING CHOICES
so I told
and I wound up 
at the hospital
getting a tetanus shot
and I still carry the memory
of that terror with me
It mostly stays quiet
but when I was visiting Galveston
and when I stepped on 
a very sharp
and very rusty
piece of metal
it came back to me
this other time
I did not at first know
what I’d stepped on
so I tugged it out
and I wrapped it in
A CLEAN POOP BAG
and the dogs and I
kept walking for awhile
before heading back to my
friend’s house
where we were staying
she’s a nurse
and she held up the thing
that I wasn’t sure
what it was
and said
IT’S METAL
YOU NEED A TETANUS SHOT
she was very calm and nonchalant
and so was I
she offered to drive me
I declined
I headed over there
not in much pain
but worried now
about how much it would cost
because my 
OBAMACARE
has a big fat deductible
turns out it was only
SIXTY BUCKS
and it only took
ten minutes from 
walking in
to
walking out
and I 
MEDITATED
during the shot
so it didn’t hurt at all
not even much afterwards
the way tetanus shots usually do
And the whole experience was
SO PLEASANT
not just because 
everyone was nice
and
that it was so affordable
but also because
it was like I got to be
REINCARNATED
I got a total
DO OVER
from that day 
on vacation
forty or so summers ago
DOWN THE SHORE
and I got to see
this time around
it’s really 
NOT SUCH A BIG DEAL
to step on something sharp
you just pull it out
and you get it 
TAKEN CARE OF
and you know
IT’S COOL
I could use this
knowledge as an opportunity
to look back and
HEAP MORE HATRED
on my long dead father
that was a hobby of mine
for decades
and I even once
danced on his grave
terribly immature but
that was me
keeping a promise to me
I made
when I was
YOUNG
and
DRUNK
and
HAD BEEN KICKED OUT
FOR THE BAZILLIONTH TIME
I didn’t feel especially mad though
thinking back on
my rage-filled father
berating me for
accidentally stepping on  
a nail
(though at least we
got to still have vacation)
I was mostly just pleased
at how easy my
IN THE MOMENT
experience had been
and if anything
it gave me more evidence
of just how messed up
my old man was
to make 
SUCH SCARY DRAMA
out of something
SO SMALL
and it helps me see
how I came to
REACT SO STRONGLY
to so many things
growing up
and even still until
VERY RECENTLY
It was just
ALL I KNEW
maybe it was
ALL HE KNEW
and you know
ALL I KNOW NOW
is that it’s best to 
try hard to
KNOW NOW
and try hard to
LET GO OF THEN
I can’t say that I
buy into some
traditional belief in
REINCARNATION
as in that I’ll
come back as
a lap dog
or
a cockroach
or
a princess
or
a starving child
Too hard for me to
work that theory around
but I do like to imagine
EVERY MORNING
we are
REINCARNATED
and maybe some folks
further along the path
might say that
EVERY MOMENT
we are
REINCARNATED
every single breath
we have a chance to
as Thich Nhat Hanh puts it
BEGIN ANEW
Today I
Breathe in
and I
Breathe out
and I am so grateful to
that pointy rusty thing
for plunging itself into my foot
and I am so grateful to
MEDITATION
because it helps me
STEER MY SHIP
even and especially
when my mental seas are
STORMY
and I am going to say this
and I am going to mean it
and I hope it helps those of you
who went through
THE ABUSIVE SHIT TOO
This Forgiveness Thing?
Not easy
Not at all
But I think it gets less hard
with time
and
with breathing
Thank you
Note: Dig this blog? If you are able to help support it, please tell others about it and perhaps consider popping over to my Etsy Shop which is: SPIKE STUFF and ordering a calendar or t-shirt. Thank you so much. 

Year Two, Week Fifteen

Henry Rosenberg Library, Galveston, TX

I spent a couple of weeks

earlier this month in

GALVESTON

by coincidence 

more than design

I happened to be there on

AUGUST FIFTEENTH

aka to catholics

THE FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION

when it is alleged

the body of 

MOTHER MARY

rose fully intact

into the heavens

and also it is believed that

you must get yourself to

A BIG BODY OF SALT WATER

because on this day

WATER IS BLESSED

and so it was that

as a child

our family trips 

DOWN THE SHORE

were always timed so that

we could be so blessed

(aside: it was also 

HURRICANE SEASON

and so often totally

TERRIFYING

but we’ll save that

stormy story for 

another day)

As with our 

day-to-day 

non-vacation life

things pretty much

SUCKED

when we were 

at the beach

because my dad

who was 

VERY MENTALLY ILL

was at

THE HELM

He even had a 

SEPARATE LIVING ROOM

we were mostly supposed to

stay out of

it was called

THE CAPTAIN’S QUARTERS

and featured a nautical theme

of course we didn’t know

he was mentally ill

and even if we had known

it still would’ve been

more scary than any hurricane

and besides 

it still wasn’t an excuse 

for what he did

but I mention it 

because understanding his illness

even just a little

and at a distance of

nearly a half-century

still helps me to heal

My father often conducted vacation

as follows

he would draw hashmarks 

on the refrigerator on

PERMANENT BLACK MARKER

to show us how many 

hellish days with us kids

had passed and so

how many fewer he had

LEFT TO BEAR

he kept a little

FOR SALE SIGN

in the front room

so that whenever anyone

"acted out"

(which in his book pretty much

was defined by

oh say

BREATHING)

he would start

SCREAMING 

and put the sign in the window

or the yard

and let us know

THAT’S IT

this sheetrock box

that nonetheless is

our paradise

IS GONE

because you all are

UNGRATEFUL SHITS

There were other 

TYRANNICAL TECHNIQUES

but you know enough now

to know why

when I stepped on a rusty nail

when I was around ten

and it was the first day 

of vacation

I DID NOT WANT TO TELL ANYONE

because I had been breaking

RULE #2,758,234

which was

DO NOT GO OUTSIDE BAREFOOT

I did tell

after deciding I guess

that getting busted for not telling

would have worse repercussions

than telling

but I was so very afraid telling

would mean he would

make us all get in the car

and end vacation 

IMMEDIATELY

and my eight siblings would

HATE MY GUTS

this is how it was

most days in my life

trying to decide between

the lesser of

TERRIFYING CHOICES

so I told

and I wound up 

at the hospital

getting a tetanus shot

and I still carry the memory

of that terror with me

It mostly stays quiet

but when I was visiting Galveston

and when I stepped on 

a very sharp

and very rusty

piece of metal

it came back to me

this other time

I did not at first know

what I’d stepped on

so I tugged it out

and I wrapped it in

A CLEAN POOP BAG

and the dogs and I

kept walking for awhile

before heading back to my

friend’s house

where we were staying

she’s a nurse

and she held up the thing

that I wasn’t sure

what it was

and said

IT’S METAL

YOU NEED A TETANUS SHOT

she was very calm and nonchalant

and so was I

she offered to drive me

I declined

I headed over there

not in much pain

but worried now

about how much it would cost

because my 

OBAMACARE

has a big fat deductible

turns out it was only

SIXTY BUCKS

and it only took

ten minutes from 

walking in

to

walking out

and I 

MEDITATED

during the shot

so it didn’t hurt at all

not even much afterwards

the way tetanus shots usually do

And the whole experience was

SO PLEASANT

not just because 

everyone was nice

and

that it was so affordable

but also because

it was like I got to be

REINCARNATED

I got a total

DO OVER

from that day 

on vacation

forty or so summers ago

DOWN THE SHORE

and I got to see

this time around

it’s really 

NOT SUCH A BIG DEAL

to step on something sharp

you just pull it out

and you get it 

TAKEN CARE OF

and you know

IT’S COOL

I could use this

knowledge as an opportunity

to look back and

HEAP MORE HATRED

on my long dead father

that was a hobby of mine

for decades

and I even once

danced on his grave

terribly immature but

that was me

keeping a promise to me

I made

when I was

YOUNG

and

DRUNK

and

HAD BEEN KICKED OUT

FOR THE BAZILLIONTH TIME

I didn’t feel especially mad though

thinking back on

my rage-filled father

berating me for

accidentally stepping on  

a nail

(though at least we

got to still have vacation)

I was mostly just pleased

at how easy my

IN THE MOMENT

experience had been

and if anything

it gave me more evidence

of just how messed up

my old man was

to make 

SUCH SCARY DRAMA

out of something

SO SMALL

and it helps me see

how I came to

REACT SO STRONGLY

to so many things

growing up

and even still until

VERY RECENTLY

It was just

ALL I KNEW

maybe it was

ALL HE KNEW

and you know

ALL I KNOW NOW

is that it’s best to 

try hard to

KNOW NOW

and try hard to

LET GO OF THEN

I can’t say that I

buy into some

traditional belief in

REINCARNATION

as in that I’ll

come back as

a lap dog

or

a cockroach

or

a princess

or

a starving child

Too hard for me to

work that theory around

but I do like to imagine

EVERY MORNING

we are

REINCARNATED

and maybe some folks

further along the path

might say that

EVERY MOMENT

we are

REINCARNATED

every single breath

we have a chance to

as Thich Nhat Hanh puts it

BEGIN ANEW

Today I

Breathe in

and I

Breathe out

and I am so grateful to

that pointy rusty thing

for plunging itself into my foot

and I am so grateful to

MEDITATION

because it helps me

STEER MY SHIP

even and especially

when my mental seas are

STORMY

and I am going to say this

and I am going to mean it

and I hope it helps those of you

who went through

THE ABUSIVE SHIT TOO

This Forgiveness Thing?

Not easy

Not at all

But I think it gets less hard

with time

and

with breathing

Thank you

Note: Dig this blog? If you are able to help support it, please tell others about it and perhaps consider popping over to my Etsy Shop which is: SPIKE STUFF and ordering a calendar or t-shirt. Thank you so much. 

Year Two, Week Fourteen
On Holiday, Around TX
Because wherever I go
MY MIND
goes with me
so then
MY MEDITATION
goes with me too
even and sometimes 
ESPECIALLY
when I am
ON HOLIDAY
Because
I use downtime as 
RETREAT TIME
to reflect on things
I wish to work 
on and through
I’ve detailed before how 
I have a very 
VISCERAL MEMORY
which effortlessly 
recounts and feels
memories and pain
suffered not only by self
but others
Well this same memory
comes standard equipped with
A CALENDAR APP
so that even if my mind
is not aware of 
what date it is
my body will nonetheless
sometimes have 
AN INTENSE REACTION 
which I don’t even realize is 
A REACTION
until I look at the calendar
and then
I’ll realise the physical stress
relates to
something that happened
LONG AGO
at the same time of year
the best example
I can give 
relates to a 
MISCARRIAGE
I had 
mid-November 1986
for years afterwards
FOR DECADES
every November
same time
my body would cramp up
it’s the weirdest thing
By the time 
September 1st arrives
I will have passed the
ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY
of the last time
I had sex
MY VISCERAL MEMORY
keeps tapping me on the shoulder
reminding me of this
Like a lot of humans
I have a storied
SEXUAL HISTORY
rife with more fiascos
than movie style 
COPULATION FESTS
beginning with a 
VIRGINITY LOSS
I cannot remember
with any certainty
due to fear and
blackout drunkenness
and including some
really excellent
tender lovin’ moments
along the way
and also plenty of
CONFUSION
and
MANIPULATION
and
JEALOUSY
and
ALL OF IT
I’ve confused
SEX FOR LOVE
plenty of times
and even more so
I have confused
SEX FOR INTIMACY
(though I might argue that
all true intimacy 
romantic or platonic
at its heart is
FULL OF LOVE
so maybe mixing up 
sex and love 
and
sex and intimacy
is really just the
SAME THING)
In the hours after
my last sexual encounter
when I was still groggy
and
sleep deprived
and
FLYING HIGH
I wrote a journal entry
so I could remember
what I was feeling
JUST THEN
and while this passage is 
—-to be honest—
filled with some
GUSHING LANGUAGE
I am delighted
when I revisit it
to see that even then
whilst the glow 
and the scent
of the thing
was still on me 
and in me
I made a clear 
NOTE TO SELF
that went like this:
DAMN THAT WAS EXHAUSTING
and furthermore
Wouldn’t it be 
kind of cool if
I just let that be
THE LAST TIME EVER
so that I could let go of
seeking a partner for 
more of the same
and apply all that energy 
I am always using to find
A MAN
and just use it to
SERVE OTHERS?
(I include myself on that list of others)
It was a neat thought
but real life is 
NOT NEAT
The short version of
what actually went down
is this:
Despite rationally speculating
about a sex-free life 
I could not seem to stop
my mind and heart
(those damn Non-Vulcan organs)
from getting a bit
HUNG UP
on the man I’d slept with
in Buddhism this is known as
ATTACHMENT
Initially I felt okay with this
as the man had been
a very good friend
for a very long time
and had in the weeks
leading up to our
two-backed beasting
spent a lot of time
consoling me over
some other dude who
after seeking my 
CONSTANT ATTENTION
blew me off when 
“someone better”
came along
The consolation included
much talk over the importance of
not allowing myself to be
DISRESPECTED
like that
EVER AGAIN
and it also included
words from his lips
to my ears
about how
WONDERFUL
I was
and how
he loved me
and also
he initiated the whole
hop into bed thing
an idea which had not
ever crossed my mind
but I liked it
once it came up
IT SEEMED SO SAFE
and
IT SEEMED SO FUN
and
IT SEEMED BASED IN LOVE
so yes
naturally
I was confused when
Mr. You Deserve Respect!
morphed into
Mr. No Respect At All
not too long after he’d 
STUCK IT IN
Really?
REALLY?
How utterly confusing
I thought I’d put that sort of thing
BEHIND ME
years before
but apparently not
When I pursued answers 
regarding his
UNARTFUL DODGING
I received an excuse
that actually did seem
relatively legit
but then
MORE SILENCE
MORE SILENCE
MORE SILENCE
and any attempts on my part
to ford chasm with hellos
to wade back to
NORMAL
were met with 
long delayed 
staccatoed and punctuation-poor
mutant haiku of sorts
until at last
tired of this
BULLSHIT
I sent an 
ANGRY NOTE
saying how 
being blown off
left me feeling like 
A PIECE OF MEAT
tricked and used and
CONQUERED
and far far worse
feeling thrown away 
as a friend
over a little fuck
He responded
with more denial
said of course the friendship
was terribly important
and then resumed
SILENCE
Let’s be honest here
INACTION
speaks 
FAR LOUDER THAN WORDS
and the last time
he receded into that silence
up lit the neon sign at last
SCRAM 
it flashed
GO AWAY
Hardly the first time
this has happened
in my life
but this time
IT IS DIFFERENT
Because while
I am 
a bit sad to say
that in the aftermath
I did what I’d often done
those other 
SCRAM OCCASIONS 
when I
wasted time—
inventing narratives
making excuses
being angry
and
stumbling into
dark piles 
of 
sweeping generalisations
about how
FUCKING STUPID MEN ARE—
This time was different
WAY DIFFERENT
Because I also knew
IMMEDIATELY
as the thoughts were coming in 
that none of those lines 
of thinking
are really useful
or
PARTICULARLY TRUE
they just reflect back
accumulated memories 
of an earlier me
a more vulnerable me
a me who
again 
and 
again 
and
FUCKING AGAIN
opened up
HEART
MIND
MOUTH
LEGS
and
wound up
feeling like
SHIT
as a result
I don’t feel like shit
THIS TIME
Sure I have been upset
but I also know
LIFE GOES ON
I sit on my cushion
I breathe longer
I breathe deeper
I see 
MYSELF 
as the
COMMON DENOMINATOR
in a thousand shitty relationships
This is what 
I CONTEMPLATE
as my 
CALENDAR MEMORY
calls up unbidden
a reminder that I’ve just made
ANOTHER
trip around the sun
without 
GETTING LAID
Back in the late ’90s
upon breaking up with
THE CHEATING NARCISSIST
who had used sex as a 
WEAPON
I took a 
SEVEN YEAR BREAK FROM SEX
because being manipulated like that
being cheated on 
and treated so very badly
left me feeling like
I’d rather be alone forever
than ever risk feeling that way
AGAIN
this break at an age when
I was at my alleged
SEXUAL PEAK
In theory 
I could look back
and feel bad that I
"missed out"
but here is the
REALITY:
Those seven years
ROCKED PRETTY HARD
I quit drinking
I quit smoking
I wrote books
and
I FOCUSED ON RAISING MY KID
I had amazing parties
Incredible travels
and 
I started my
MEDITATION PRACTICE
and while it wasn’t all
SUNSHINE AND SPARKLES
It certainly had
more highlights 
than not
So too
this past year without sex
has not been awful
NOT EVEN CLOSE
In his book
FIDELITY
Thich Nhat Hanh 
says that
to refrain from sexual activity altogether
is much easier than to have a healthy
sexual relationship
He also says that celibacy makes
MINDFULNESS 
easier in many ways
Let me put that in
(pardon the pun)
LAY TERMS
When you are not
immersing yourself in 
the attendant suffering 
that invariably comes along with
any fabulous orgasms
and
other perks of
a relationship that includes sex
you are setting aside
A MOUNTAIN OF BULLSHIT
and giving yourself
lots of time
to do other stuff
This choice of
PANTS ON
is not for everyone
and I’m not here to proselytize
I know many many people
who have wonderful relationships
that include sex
HELL
my job
WHICH I LOVE
is to marry a lot of these folks
to each other
But my awareness
lets me see what is
RIGHT FOR ME
IN THIS MOMENT
When I reflect on
what I loved most
about the good sex
I have had 
what made it good 
was a combination of
BEING HELD
and
BEING TRULY IN THE MOMENT
that alchemical part where
for just a few minutes
it seemed that my otherwise
constantly anxious busy mind
EMPTIED
and
FOCUSED
on
RIGHT NOW
which is also
a big reason
I drank for so many years
Because with drinking
every night I would get
if only for a few minutes
RESPITE
from the anxiety
but then the anxiety
would ratchet up
with the hangover
So too has been the 
STORY OF FUCKING
for me
A little relief
followed by
A LOT OF WORRY
Giving up drinking
QUIETED MY MIND
Giving up sex
QUIETS IT MORE
I now find
TRUE RELIEF
in
MEDITATION
and 
any craving I have for
INTIMACY
is handily satisfied
by my incredible friendships
I think of Shakespeare’s
Sonnet 116 
which opens with
Let me not 
to the marriage of true minds
admit impediments
I am happy for my friends
who find in their partners
a steady peace and calm and
ANCHORING
I am familiar with the whole
NEVER SAY NEVER
thing
and I know
THE ONLY CONSTANT
IS CHANGE
and I recognise I could
change my mind one day
but as I sit 
in my little retreat room
ALONE
save for the dogs
(Oh The Dogs!)
and my mind’s calendar
says
LOOK AT THAT! A WHOLE YEAR!
I breathe in
and 
I breathe out
and I see that
in my life
I too often
allowed sex to be
IMPEDIMENT
to wreck the 
marriage of minds
NO MORE
Sometime
between
THE LAST TIME
and this
CURIOUS ANNIVERSARY
a very good friend
asked about this sex thing
if we should consider
giving it a go
just for fun
If not for the
MEDITATION
and
If not for the
shitty loss of friendship
with the last one
I might’ve jumped 
at the chance
But instead
I spoke my mind
I could do this
I said
and I could act nonchalant 
but I promise you
I will get
ATTACHED
And so we chose
not to impede
our married minds
a choice that
as it happened
brought us closer still
Today I
Breathe in
and I
Breathe out
And I am so grateful
for the 
AWARENESS
my practice brings
Thank you

Year Two, Week Fourteen

On Holiday, Around TX

Because wherever I go

MY MIND

goes with me

so then

MY MEDITATION

goes with me too

even and sometimes

ESPECIALLY

when I am

ON HOLIDAY

Because

I use downtime as

RETREAT TIME

to reflect on things

I wish to work

on and through

I’ve detailed before how

I have a very

VISCERAL MEMORY

which effortlessly

recounts and feels

memories and pain

suffered not only by self

but others

Well this same memory

comes standard equipped with

A CALENDAR APP

so that even if my mind

is not aware of

what date it is

my body will nonetheless

sometimes have

AN INTENSE REACTION

which I don’t even realize is

A REACTION

until I look at the calendar

and then

I’ll realise the physical stress

relates to

something that happened

LONG AGO

at the same time of year

the best example

I can give 

relates to a 

MISCARRIAGE

I had

mid-November 1986

for years afterwards

FOR DECADES

every November

same time

my body would cramp up

it’s the weirdest thing

By the time

September 1st arrives

I will have passed the

ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY

of the last time

I had sex

MY VISCERAL MEMORY

keeps tapping me on the shoulder

reminding me of this

Like a lot of humans

I have a storied

SEXUAL HISTORY

rife with more fiascos

than movie style

COPULATION FESTS

beginning with a

VIRGINITY LOSS

I cannot remember

with any certainty

due to fear and

blackout drunkenness

and including some

really excellent

tender lovin’ moments

along the way

and also plenty of

CONFUSION

and

MANIPULATION

and

JEALOUSY

and

ALL OF IT

I’ve confused

SEX FOR LOVE

plenty of times

and even more so

I have confused

SEX FOR INTIMACY

(though I might argue that

all true intimacy 

romantic or platonic

at its heart is

FULL OF LOVE

so maybe mixing up 

sex and love 

and

sex and intimacy

is really just the

SAME THING)

In the hours after

my last sexual encounter

when I was still groggy

and

sleep deprived

and

FLYING HIGH

I wrote a journal entry

so I could remember

what I was feeling

JUST THEN

and while this passage is

—-to be honest—

filled with some

GUSHING LANGUAGE

I am delighted

when I revisit it

to see that even then

whilst the glow

and the scent

of the thing

was still on me 

and in me

I made a clear 

NOTE TO SELF

that went like this:

DAMN THAT WAS EXHAUSTING

and furthermore

Wouldn’t it be 

kind of cool if

I just let that be

THE LAST TIME EVER

so that I could let go of

seeking a partner for

more of the same

and apply all that energy 

I am always using to find

A MAN

and just use it to

SERVE OTHERS?

(I include myself on that list of others)

It was a neat thought

but real life is

NOT NEAT

The short version of

what actually went down

is this:

Despite rationally speculating

about a sex-free life

I could not seem to stop

my mind and heart

(those damn Non-Vulcan organs)

from getting a bit

HUNG UP

on the man I’d slept with

in Buddhism this is known as

ATTACHMENT

Initially I felt okay with this

as the man had been

a very good friend

for a very long time

and had in the weeks

leading up to our

two-backed beasting

spent a lot of time

consoling me over

some other dude who

after seeking my

CONSTANT ATTENTION

blew me off when

“someone better”

came along

The consolation included

much talk over the importance of

not allowing myself to be

DISRESPECTED

like that

EVER AGAIN

and it also included

words from his lips

to my ears

about how

WONDERFUL

I was

and how

he loved me

and also

he initiated the whole

hop into bed thing

an idea which had not

ever crossed my mind

but I liked it

once it came up

IT SEEMED SO SAFE

and

IT SEEMED SO FUN

and

IT SEEMED BASED IN LOVE

so yes

naturally

I was confused when

Mr. You Deserve Respect!

morphed into

Mr. No Respect At All

not too long after he’d

STUCK IT IN

Really?

REALLY?

How utterly confusing

I thought I’d put that sort of thing

BEHIND ME

years before

but apparently not

When I pursued answers

regarding his

UNARTFUL DODGING

I received an excuse

that actually did seem

relatively legit

but then

MORE SILENCE

MORE SILENCE

MORE SILENCE

and any attempts on my part

to ford chasm with hellos

to wade back to

NORMAL

were met with

long delayed

staccatoed and punctuation-poor

mutant haiku of sorts

until at last

tired of this

BULLSHIT

I sent an

ANGRY NOTE

saying how

being blown off

left me feeling like

A PIECE OF MEAT

tricked and used and

CONQUERED

and far far worse

feeling thrown away

as a friend

over a little fuck

He responded

with more denial

said of course the friendship

was terribly important

and then resumed

SILENCE

Let’s be honest here

INACTION

speaks

FAR LOUDER THAN WORDS

and the last time

he receded into that silence

up lit the neon sign at last

SCRAM

it flashed

GO AWAY

Hardly the first time

this has happened

in my life

but this time

IT IS DIFFERENT

Because while

I am

a bit sad to say

that in the aftermath

I did what I’d often done

those other

SCRAM OCCASIONS

when I

wasted time—

inventing narratives

making excuses

being angry

and

stumbling into

dark piles

of

sweeping generalisations

about how

FUCKING STUPID MEN ARE—

This time was different

WAY DIFFERENT

Because I also knew

IMMEDIATELY

as the thoughts were coming in

that none of those lines

of thinking

are really useful

or

PARTICULARLY TRUE

they just reflect back

accumulated memories

of an earlier me

a more vulnerable me

a me who

again

and

again

and

FUCKING AGAIN

opened up

HEART

MIND

MOUTH

LEGS

and

wound up

feeling like

SHIT

as a result

I don’t feel like shit

THIS TIME

Sure I have been upset

but I also know

LIFE GOES ON

I sit on my cushion

I breathe longer

I breathe deeper

I see

MYSELF

as the

COMMON DENOMINATOR

in a thousand shitty relationships

This is what

I CONTEMPLATE

as my

CALENDAR MEMORY

calls up unbidden

a reminder that I’ve just made

ANOTHER

trip around the sun

without

GETTING LAID

Back in the late ’90s

upon breaking up with

THE CHEATING NARCISSIST

who had used sex as a

WEAPON

I took a

SEVEN YEAR BREAK FROM SEX

because being manipulated like that

being cheated on

and treated so very badly

left me feeling like

I’d rather be alone forever

than ever risk feeling that way

AGAIN

this break at an age when

I was at my alleged

SEXUAL PEAK

In theory 

I could look back

and feel bad that I

"missed out"

but here is the

REALITY:

Those seven years

ROCKED PRETTY HARD

I quit drinking

I quit smoking

I wrote books

and

I FOCUSED ON RAISING MY KID

I had amazing parties

Incredible travels

and

I started my

MEDITATION PRACTICE

and while it wasn’t all

SUNSHINE AND SPARKLES

It certainly had

more highlights

than not

So too

this past year without sex

has not been awful

NOT EVEN CLOSE

In his book

FIDELITY

Thich Nhat Hanh 

says that

to refrain from sexual activity altogether

is much easier than to have a healthy

sexual relationship

He also says that celibacy makes

MINDFULNESS 

easier in many ways

Let me put that in

(pardon the pun)

LAY TERMS

When you are not

immersing yourself in 

the attendant suffering

that invariably comes along with

any fabulous orgasms

and

other perks of

a relationship that includes sex

you are setting aside

A MOUNTAIN OF BULLSHIT

and giving yourself

lots of time

to do other stuff

This choice of

PANTS ON

is not for everyone

and I’m not here to proselytize

I know many many people

who have wonderful relationships

that include sex

HELL

my job

WHICH I LOVE

is to marry a lot of these folks

to each other

But my awareness

lets me see what is

RIGHT FOR ME

IN THIS MOMENT

When I reflect on

what I loved most

about the good sex

I have had

what made it good

was a combination of

BEING HELD

and

BEING TRULY IN THE MOMENT

that alchemical part where

for just a few minutes

it seemed that my otherwise

constantly anxious busy mind

EMPTIED

and

FOCUSED

on

RIGHT NOW

which is also

a big reason

I drank for so many years

Because with drinking

every night I would get

if only for a few minutes

RESPITE

from the anxiety

but then the anxiety

would ratchet up

with the hangover

So too has been the

STORY OF FUCKING

for me

A little relief

followed by

A LOT OF WORRY

Giving up drinking

QUIETED MY MIND

Giving up sex

QUIETS IT MORE

I now find

TRUE RELIEF

in

MEDITATION

and

any craving I have for

INTIMACY

is handily satisfied

by my incredible friendships

I think of Shakespeare’s

Sonnet 116 

which opens with

Let me not

to the marriage of true minds

admit impediments

I am happy for my friends

who find in their partners

a steady peace and calm and

ANCHORING

I am familiar with the whole

NEVER SAY NEVER

thing

and I know

THE ONLY CONSTANT

IS CHANGE

and I recognise I could

change my mind one day

but as I sit

in my little retreat room

ALONE

save for the dogs

(Oh The Dogs!)

and my mind’s calendar

says

LOOK AT THAT! A WHOLE YEAR!

I breathe in

and

I breathe out

and I see that

in my life

I too often

allowed sex to be

IMPEDIMENT

to wreck the

marriage of minds

NO MORE

Sometime

between

THE LAST TIME

and this

CURIOUS ANNIVERSARY

a very good friend

asked about this sex thing

if we should consider

giving it a go

just for fun

If not for the

MEDITATION

and

If not for the

shitty loss of friendship

with the last one

I might’ve jumped

at the chance

But instead

I spoke my mind

I could do this

I said

and I could act nonchalant

but I promise you

I will get

ATTACHED

And so we chose

not to impede

our married minds

a choice that

as it happened

brought us closer still

Today I

Breathe in

and I

Breathe out

And I am so grateful

for the

AWARENESS

my practice brings

Thank you

Year Two, Week Thirteen
The Writing Garrett, Galveston, TX
There is a bend in the road
along Lamar Blvd
The very first time 
I came upon it
was not long after
moving to Austin 
Fall 1991
I remember it because
I didn’t know it was there
and I nearly drove straight
and that would’ve put me
in the path of 
ONCOMING TRAFFIC
though it’s been
nearly twenty-five years
I cannot drive that bend
without remembering that time
THIS IS HOW MY MIND WORKS
And I don’t just remember
my own scares and fears and pains
I remember others’ too
This week I am 
at the beach
in a little space my friends have
which we call
THE WRITING GARRETT
I come here to practice
SLOWING DOWN
something which I will
practice for the rest of my life
and I am absolutely certain
will never get the hang of
But I’ll keep trying
and all things being relative
I am slowing down 
at least compared to
THE AUSTIN ME
but I’ve brought with me
a half-dozen books
a quilt project
a couple of knitting projects
and a list of historical research topics
I’d like to explore whilst I’m here
BECAUSE I AM CURIOUS
and
BECAUSE I LIKE TO GET SHIT DONE
but I still take time to
MEDITATE
every day
and my mind is
I realise
much like the room
in which I am staying
Physically speaking
it is a rather small space
but there’s an
EXPANSIVE POTENTIAL 
Just as I’ve got all these
books and projects
scattered about the room
I’ve got all these 
ideas and demons
scattered about my mind
and if I may
take the metaphor another step
in this room
the dogs 
(and to be fair, I also)
have brought in seemingly
INFINITE GRAINS OF SAND
now I know really it’s not infinite
but still if I swept for 
eight hours a day
every day
THERE WOULD STILL BE SAND
this is how I feel about
NEGATIVE THINKING
when I sit on the cushion every day
and when I
BREATHE IN
and when I
BREATHE OUT
I am doing this to 
CALM MY ANXIETY 
and also to 
CHANGE MY BRAIN CHEMISTRY
I started meditating a long time ago
before it became trendy for the
scientists to start digging around
and proving that you can alter
neural pathways using 
MEDITATION
my life is proof
it can be done
I am so much better now
than I used to be before
MEDITATION
but I still I sometimes
SUFFER
I come to a bend in
the boulevard of my mind
and I am reminded
of earlier times at that bend
when I didn’t know about it
didn’t know how to navigate it
and even though I do know now
how to turn the wheel
STILL I REMEMBER WHEN I DIDN’T
and I get that same
QUEASY FEELING
Some examples:
Even though when I am
here tucked away in
MY WRITING GARRETT
I hardly see anyone at all
except the friends who host me
and the dogs
(who are utterly faultless zen beings)
I still sometimes allow in the
IDEA OF PEOPLE
and usually in the form of
PEOPLE WHO DRIVE ME FUCKING NUTS
I’ve let this happen 
THREE TIMES
so far on this trip
I’m going to save 
the biggest example 
for next week
but for now
THE OTHER TWO
Firstly there is a young woman
who works for a friend of mine
my friend owns a shop
I used to work for her too
the young employee
has in the past
treated me like shit 
and seemingly sabotaged 
some of my work
though let’s allow for the possibility of
a little paranoia on my part
I wrote to my friend
sent a note to her personal email
and the young employee replied
and dismissed me out of hand
and I’ve been sort of 
LIVID 
about this which
honestly doesn’t make
a whole lot of sense to me
I mean who cares right?
The other instance
came in the form of
an unsolicited email
from another officiant
an LA slickster
who lives here now
and said she is starting
a web site 
"to serve the LGBTQ community"
and that I can
be part of this wonderful service
if I’ll just give her
ninety-nine dollars
and instead of just ignoring her
I foolishly engaged
and suggested she was just trying
to bilk me out of money
I’ve continued to be irritated
with these two women
for days now
which in turn leaves me
IRRITATED WITH MYSELF
but I am using my irritation
in combination with my
MEDITATION
to try to figure this out
of course there’s the usual suspect
that when we are annoyed by others
possibly (probably) they are reflecting back
qualities we ourselves possess
and are not pleased with
So I took that route
and I saw that what I think
the two women have
most in common is what I call
BULLSHIT
so I rooted around and
while I’m not sure if their bullshit
bugs me because it reminds me of 
my own bullshit
 I absolutely must cop to the fact
that I have at times been
THE BULLSHIT QUEEN
There’s another thing I’m thinking
I’m thinking the irritation I feel
is kind of like a referral pain
sort of how that bend in
Lamar Blvd
refers me back again and again
to the time I almost crashed
something about
these other women
is recalling for me
ancient memories
that I don’t even need to bother
to dial up specifically
(in fact I’d rather not)
I do know I was raised on
BULLSHIT MOUNTAIN
told endless lies about myself and others
and that despite my ongoing efforts
to be otherwise
I still often greet
the world around me
with suspicion and disdain
which you might not know
to watch me work a room
but trust me
(If you are able to trust)
just below the surface
more often than not
I’m wondering 
who is out to get me
and how they will hurt me
Now this is not
PURE PARANOIA
because law of attraction
or 
FATE
or
just bad luck
or
just the human condition
I have often enough
wound up in the company
of either flat out dickheads 
or else
otherwise semi-decent people
suffering from a case of
TEMPORARY DICKHEAD
which they happen to
take out on me
so I have some reinforcement
for the crap I fear
but then
I also have tons of
PROOF TO THE CONTRARY
I have
SO MUCH LOVE
and
SO MUCH SUPPORT
and
SO MUCH KINDNESS
and so I just
keep sitting 
and I just keep
BREATHING
which is like
sweeping the sand
and
sweeping the sand
and
sweeping the sand
I am not going to
get rid of all
of the sand
or the negativity
but there is
something about
THE SWEEPING
and
THE BREATHING
something in
THE ACTS THEMSELVES
that help me
shift the prism
as oh so slowly
I descend
BULLSHIT MOUNTAIN
Today I 
Breathe In
and I
Breathe Out
and I say
ON BELAY BABY
I’m coming down
Thank you
Note: Dig this blog? You might want to check out Keeping Austin Austin. Also, I’d appreciate it if you’d pop over to Spike Yourself and see how you can support my projects. You needn’t spend a dime. Thanks. 

Year Two, Week Thirteen

The Writing Garrett, Galveston, TX

There is a bend in the road

along Lamar Blvd

The very first time 

I came upon it

was not long after

moving to Austin 

Fall 1991

I remember it because

I didn’t know it was there

and I nearly drove straight

and that would’ve put me

in the path of 

ONCOMING TRAFFIC

though it’s been

nearly twenty-five years

I cannot drive that bend

without remembering that time

THIS IS HOW MY MIND WORKS

And I don’t just remember

my own scares and fears and pains

I remember others’ too

This week I am 

at the beach

in a little space my friends have

which we call

THE WRITING GARRETT

I come here to practice

SLOWING DOWN

something which I will

practice for the rest of my life

and I am absolutely certain

will never get the hang of

But I’ll keep trying

and all things being relative

I am slowing down 

at least compared to

THE AUSTIN ME

but I’ve brought with me

a half-dozen books

a quilt project

a couple of knitting projects

and a list of historical research topics

I’d like to explore whilst I’m here

BECAUSE I AM CURIOUS

and

BECAUSE I LIKE TO GET SHIT DONE

but I still take time to

MEDITATE

every day

and my mind is

I realise

much like the room

in which I am staying

Physically speaking

it is a rather small space

but there’s an

EXPANSIVE POTENTIAL 

Just as I’ve got all these

books and projects

scattered about the room

I’ve got all these 

ideas and demons

scattered about my mind

and if I may

take the metaphor another step

in this room

the dogs 

(and to be fair, I also)

have brought in seemingly

INFINITE GRAINS OF SAND

now I know really it’s not infinite

but still if I swept for 

eight hours a day

every day

THERE WOULD STILL BE SAND

this is how I feel about

NEGATIVE THINKING

when I sit on the cushion every day

and when I

BREATHE IN

and when I

BREATHE OUT

I am doing this to 

CALM MY ANXIETY 

and also to 

CHANGE MY BRAIN CHEMISTRY

I started meditating a long time ago

before it became trendy for the

scientists to start digging around

and proving that you can alter

neural pathways using 

MEDITATION

my life is proof

it can be done

I am so much better now

than I used to be before

MEDITATION

but I still I sometimes

SUFFER

I come to a bend in

the boulevard of my mind

and I am reminded

of earlier times at that bend

when I didn’t know about it

didn’t know how to navigate it

and even though I do know now

how to turn the wheel

STILL I REMEMBER WHEN I DIDN’T

and I get that same

QUEASY FEELING

Some examples:

Even though when I am

here tucked away in

MY WRITING GARRETT

I hardly see anyone at all

except the friends who host me

and the dogs

(who are utterly faultless zen beings)

I still sometimes allow in the

IDEA OF PEOPLE

and usually in the form of

PEOPLE WHO DRIVE ME FUCKING NUTS

I’ve let this happen 

THREE TIMES

so far on this trip

I’m going to save 

the biggest example 

for next week

but for now

THE OTHER TWO

Firstly there is a young woman

who works for a friend of mine

my friend owns a shop

I used to work for her too

the young employee

has in the past

treated me like shit 

and seemingly sabotaged 

some of my work

though let’s allow for the possibility of

a little paranoia on my part

I wrote to my friend

sent a note to her personal email

and the young employee replied

and dismissed me out of hand

and I’ve been sort of 

LIVID 

about this which

honestly doesn’t make

a whole lot of sense to me

I mean who cares right?

The other instance

came in the form of

an unsolicited email

from another officiant

an LA slickster

who lives here now

and said she is starting

a web site 

"to serve the LGBTQ community"

and that I can

be part of this wonderful service

if I’ll just give her

ninety-nine dollars

and instead of just ignoring her

I foolishly engaged

and suggested she was just trying

to bilk me out of money

I’ve continued to be irritated

with these two women

for days now

which in turn leaves me

IRRITATED WITH MYSELF

but I am using my irritation

in combination with my

MEDITATION

to try to figure this out

of course there’s the usual suspect

that when we are annoyed by others

possibly (probably) they are reflecting back

qualities we ourselves possess

and are not pleased with

So I took that route

and I saw that what I think

the two women have

most in common is what I call

BULLSHIT

so I rooted around and

while I’m not sure if their bullshit

bugs me because it reminds me of 

my own bullshit

 I absolutely must cop to the fact

that I have at times been

THE BULLSHIT QUEEN

There’s another thing I’m thinking

I’m thinking the irritation I feel

is kind of like a referral pain

sort of how that bend in

Lamar Blvd

refers me back again and again

to the time I almost crashed

something about

these other women

is recalling for me

ancient memories

that I don’t even need to bother

to dial up specifically

(in fact I’d rather not)

I do know I was raised on

BULLSHIT MOUNTAIN

told endless lies about myself and others

and that despite my ongoing efforts

to be otherwise

I still often greet

the world around me

with suspicion and disdain

which you might not know

to watch me work a room

but trust me

(If you are able to trust)

just below the surface

more often than not

I’m wondering 

who is out to get me

and how they will hurt me

Now this is not

PURE PARANOIA

because law of attraction

or 

FATE

or

just bad luck

or

just the human condition

I have often enough

wound up in the company

of either flat out dickheads 

or else

otherwise semi-decent people

suffering from a case of

TEMPORARY DICKHEAD

which they happen to

take out on me

so I have some reinforcement

for the crap I fear

but then

I also have tons of

PROOF TO THE CONTRARY

I have

SO MUCH LOVE

and

SO MUCH SUPPORT

and

SO MUCH KINDNESS

and so I just

keep sitting 

and I just keep

BREATHING

which is like

sweeping the sand

and

sweeping the sand

and

sweeping the sand

I am not going to

get rid of all

of the sand

or the negativity

but there is

something about

THE SWEEPING

and

THE BREATHING

something in

THE ACTS THEMSELVES

that help me

shift the prism

as oh so slowly

I descend

BULLSHIT MOUNTAIN

Today I 

Breathe In

and I

Breathe Out

and I say

ON BELAY BABY

I’m coming down

Thank you

Note: Dig this blog? You might want to check out Keeping Austin Austin. Also, I’d appreciate it if you’d pop over to Spike Yourself and see how you can support my projects. You needn’t spend a dime. Thanks. 

Year Two, Week Twelve
Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY
I am a control freak
MEDITATION
gives me increasingly clear
AWARENESS
of my control freakishness
and I like to think
and I like to hope
that also
MEDITATION
is helping me to 
LET GO
at least a little
Part of my awareness
includes understanding
where my 
NEED FOR CONTROL
comes from
not surprisingly
not at all
it comes from
FEAR
and one of my
biggest fears
is the 
FEAR OF BEING BEHOLDEN
this is because 
at the root of my fear
is the memory of being told
over and over and over and
fucking over again
as a child
that because I had a
ROOF OVER MY HEAD
and because I had
FOOD ON THE TABLE
then I had to comply
even if complying meant
being constantly bullied
so I grew up with what I now see
thanks to the awareness of
MEDITATION
was a super stubborn determination
to completely and totally
TAKE CARE OF MYSELF
now don’t get me wrong
being responsible and accountable
are important skills to have
to survive and to contribute
and to not be a burden
but you can
trust me
TAKE IT TOO FAR
in Faulkner’s 
AS I LAY DYING
at least as I recall it
the root of that 
fucked up family’s
FUCKED UPEDNESS
was that the dad was
a total dumbass who
in insisting on not taking help
just made things worse and worse
(apologies to you Faulker fans
if I got that wrong
but it is the impression 
I took with me)
My awareness also allows me
THE CLARITY
of seeing how so many
kind and loving and
INCREDIBLY PATIENT FRIENDS
circumvented my control freak shit
over the decades
by forcing help upon me
often in covert ways
sometimes through
persuasive speech
all this until I learned how to
RECEIVE
which I have thankfully
gotten better and better at
though sometimes I still
BACKSLIDE
Last week
I did a tiny backslide
it was really hardly anything at all
unless you consider how
big the lesson
that came along with it was
I was staying a couple of days
at the spa
a place I am fortunate 
to get to spend time at
thanks to some work I do there
The day came for me to leave
and so I grabbed all of my bags
and I am forever 
to the amusement of my friends
carrying way too many bags
(symbolic perhaps of all my
METAPHORICAL BAGGAGE)
and I am very very good
at carrying a bunch of bags at once
I call this
SINGLE MOTHER EFFICIENCY
and it dates back to
when I would hustle in from the car
maybe ten bags of groceries
at once
because I just had to 
keep moving
keep hustling
didn’t feel like I had
the luxury of multiple trips
to the car and back
always the hustle
always the control
never able to 
RELEASE
So anyway
there I was
carrying my bags to the car
when the
FRENCH CHEF
who creates the most
incredible meals at the spa
spotted me
he strolled across the parking lot
and he offered to help
and I did that control thing I do
and I said
Oh no thanks, I’m fine, 
I DON’T NEED HELP
And he cheerfully and decidedly
overruled me and
took some of my bags
and here is what he told me
a lesson he said he learned
from some friends
YOU MUST SAY YES TO HELP
OR ELSE YOU WILL 
BREAK THE CHAIN OF POSITIVITY
Such a great reminder
one enrobed in a
beautiful French accent
Oh I had so much 
GRATITUDE
for him
for saying that
for taking my bags
for showing me
I still have gratitude
So I pass along the message
similar to the one I saw
scrawled on a van in Brooklyn
RELEASE
ALLOW LOVE
TO FIND YOU
Today I breathe in
and I breathe out
and I say
MERCI UNIVERSE
for continuing to help me
figure out all this stuff
and for helping me to
oh so slowly
UNCLENCH
MERCI BEAUCOUP!
Note: Dig this blog? You might also like Keeping Austin Austin. And please check out Spike Yourself to see how you can support these posts. You don’t need to spend a dime. Thanks. 

Year Two, Week Twelve

Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY

I am a control freak

MEDITATION

gives me increasingly clear

AWARENESS

of my control freakishness

and I like to think

and I like to hope

that also

MEDITATION

is helping me to 

LET GO

at least a little

Part of my awareness

includes understanding

where my 

NEED FOR CONTROL

comes from

not surprisingly

not at all

it comes from

FEAR

and one of my

biggest fears

is the 

FEAR OF BEING BEHOLDEN

this is because 

at the root of my fear

is the memory of being told

over and over and over and

fucking over again

as a child

that because I had a

ROOF OVER MY HEAD

and because I had

FOOD ON THE TABLE

then I had to comply

even if complying meant

being constantly bullied

so I grew up with what I now see

thanks to the awareness of

MEDITATION

was a super stubborn determination

to completely and totally

TAKE CARE OF MYSELF

now don’t get me wrong

being responsible and accountable

are important skills to have

to survive and to contribute

and to not be a burden

but you can

trust me

TAKE IT TOO FAR

in Faulkner’s 

AS I LAY DYING

at least as I recall it

the root of that 

fucked up family’s

FUCKED UPEDNESS

was that the dad was

a total dumbass who

in insisting on not taking help

just made things worse and worse

(apologies to you Faulker fans

if I got that wrong

but it is the impression 

I took with me)

My awareness also allows me

THE CLARITY

of seeing how so many

kind and loving and

INCREDIBLY PATIENT FRIENDS

circumvented my control freak shit

over the decades

by forcing help upon me

often in covert ways

sometimes through

persuasive speech

all this until I learned how to

RECEIVE

which I have thankfully

gotten better and better at

though sometimes I still

BACKSLIDE

Last week

I did a tiny backslide

it was really hardly anything at all

unless you consider how

big the lesson

that came along with it was

I was staying a couple of days

at the spa

a place I am fortunate 

to get to spend time at

thanks to some work I do there

The day came for me to leave

and so I grabbed all of my bags

and I am forever 

to the amusement of my friends

carrying way too many bags

(symbolic perhaps of all my

METAPHORICAL BAGGAGE)

and I am very very good

at carrying a bunch of bags at once

I call this

SINGLE MOTHER EFFICIENCY

and it dates back to

when I would hustle in from the car

maybe ten bags of groceries

at once

because I just had to 

keep moving

keep hustling

didn’t feel like I had

the luxury of multiple trips

to the car and back

always the hustle

always the control

never able to 

RELEASE

So anyway

there I was

carrying my bags to the car

when the

FRENCH CHEF

who creates the most

incredible meals at the spa

spotted me

he strolled across the parking lot

and he offered to help

and I did that control thing I do

and I said

Oh no thanks, I’m fine, 

I DON’T NEED HELP

And he cheerfully and decidedly

overruled me and

took some of my bags

and here is what he told me

a lesson he said he learned

from some friends

YOU MUST SAY YES TO HELP

OR ELSE YOU WILL 

BREAK THE CHAIN OF POSITIVITY

Such a great reminder

one enrobed in a

beautiful French accent

Oh I had so much 

GRATITUDE

for him

for saying that

for taking my bags

for showing me

I still have gratitude

So I pass along the message

similar to the one I saw

scrawled on a van in Brooklyn

RELEASE

ALLOW LOVE

TO FIND YOU

Today I breathe in

and I breathe out

and I say

MERCI UNIVERSE

for continuing to help me

figure out all this stuff

and for helping me to

oh so slowly

UNCLENCH

MERCI BEAUCOUP!

Note: Dig this blog? You might also like Keeping Austin Austin. And please check out Spike Yourself to see how you can support these posts. You don’t need to spend a dime. Thanks. 

Year Two, Week Eleven
Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY
When I was growing up
my father told me 
that if I ever
left our small town
and went to a 
BIG CITY
I would be
raped & tortured & killed by
A MAN OF COLOR
This was hardly the only
tool he had
in his
MASSIVE TOOLKIT OF FEAR
There was also the
daily promise of an
ETERNITY IN HELL
and
more in the moment
the threat of
PERMANENT GROUNDING
(not the good kind of grounding)
I have spent
a good deal of my life
accidentally trying to 
OVERCOMPENSATE
for my father’s racism
by striving to demonstrate
HOW RACIST I AM NOT
which of course itself can be
a form of 
RACISM
even if intent was the opposite
so hard so often to
NAVIGATE ADULTHOOD
and
find roads away from the
LIES OF CHILDHOOD
When I was raising my son
I took him regularly 
to big cities
I always 
HATED NEW YORK
but back before
the internet was commonplace
it was in my best interest
to visit Manhattan
and meet with editors
my trips dwindled as
email changed everything
and then in 2010
after more than a quarter century
LIVING THE NIGHTMARE
I finally 
QUIT FREELANCING
so really I could
skip NY altogether forever
if I wanted after that
except for
OH IRONY
not long after
my son moved to
BROOKLYN
so now I keep going up
I go to see him
he could live in
a box of cat shit in
SIBERIA
and I would go see him
Last week
on a trip up
something amazing happened
I HAD A GREAT TIME
I did not
HATE NEW YORK
I imagined living there
(don’t worry son
it was just a fantasy)
I chalk up this
BIG CHANGE
to a few key factors
Firstly
Now I get to see the place
through the 
CURIOUS & APPRECIATIVE & NON-FEARFUL
eyes of my son
who loves the city
his calm way of
easing all around
calms me
Secondly
I always stay with
Melissa & Damon
part of my
GLOBAL CHOSEN FAMILY
and they are so kind
and they are so easygoing
I feel utterly relaxed
This is so different
I used to always get
so nervous in the city
not because of my father’s
terrified prophecy
but simply because
I could sense the energy of
TOO MANY PEOPLE
because if you made everyone
come out of all the buildings
and stand on the ground
THEY WOULDN’T ALL FIT
and that kind of collective energy
FREAKS ME OUT
so the way I used to handle it
was I drank 
COPIOUSLY
more so than on a normal
alcoholic day
I still cannot visit Manhattan
without remembering 
the night I can’t actually remember
the night of
SO MUCH VODKA I COULD’VE DIED
But that nervousness
was absent on this trip
which brings me to 
reason number three:
MEDITATION
This breathing stuff
has calmed me down so much
the day I took this selfie
on M & D’s balcony
I had
ONE OF THE BEST MEDITATION SESSIONS EVER
The monkeys shut up
The breathing commenced
There was no suffering
JUST BLISS
I knew the bliss wouldn’t last
I didn’t care
I stayed in the moment
It was amazing
This happens so rarely
and that it happened in
the place I am usually
MOST ANXIOUS
was extra awesome
New York is pretty much
Still the same old New York
Just as
the facts of my life
are still the same
facts of my life
But the meditation
helps me to 
SHIFT THE PRISM
I can’t change the facts
of my life
but with meditation
I can change how I react
and with meditation
my fear dissipates
my mind on meditation
is like my son’s mind
in his adopted city
it is 
FEARLESS
in the best sense of that word
it is
CALM
it is
CURIOUS
it is
AMAZED
it is
SO HAPPY TO BE HERE
Today I
Breathe In
and I
Breathe Out
and I am
so grateful
that I have had
another profound
CHANGE OF MIND
thanks to
MEDITATION
Thank you

Year Two, Week Eleven
Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY
When I was growing up
my father told me
that if I ever
left our small town
and went to a
BIG CITY
I would be
raped & tortured & killed by
A MAN OF COLOR
This was hardly the only
tool he had
in his
MASSIVE TOOLKIT OF FEAR
There was also the
daily promise of an
ETERNITY IN HELL
and
more in the moment
the threat of
PERMANENT GROUNDING
(not the good kind of grounding)
I have spent
a good deal of my life
accidentally trying to
OVERCOMPENSATE
for my father’s racism
by striving to demonstrate
HOW RACIST I AM NOT
which of course itself can be
a form of
RACISM
even if intent was the opposite
so hard so often to
NAVIGATE ADULTHOOD
and
find roads away from the
LIES OF CHILDHOOD
When I was raising my son
I took him regularly
to big cities
I always
HATED NEW YORK
but back before
the internet was commonplace
it was in my best interest
to visit Manhattan
and meet with editors
my trips dwindled as
email changed everything
and then in 2010
after more than a quarter century
LIVING THE NIGHTMARE
I finally
QUIT FREELANCING
so really I could
skip NY altogether forever
if I wanted after that
except for
OH IRONY
not long after
my son moved to
BROOKLYN
so now I keep going up
I go to see him
he could live in
a box of cat shit in
SIBERIA
and I would go see him
Last week
on a trip up
something amazing happened
I HAD A GREAT TIME
I did not
HATE NEW YORK
I imagined living there
(don’t worry son
it was just a fantasy)
I chalk up this
BIG CHANGE
to a few key factors
Firstly
Now I get to see the place
through the
CURIOUS & APPRECIATIVE & NON-FEARFUL
eyes of my son
who loves the city
his calm way of
easing all around
calms me
Secondly
I always stay with
Melissa & Damon
part of my
GLOBAL CHOSEN FAMILY
and they are so kind
and they are so easygoing
I feel utterly relaxed
This is so different
I used to always get
so nervous in the city
not because of my father’s
terrified prophecy
but simply because
I could sense the energy of
TOO MANY PEOPLE
because if you made everyone
come out of all the buildings
and stand on the ground
THEY WOULDN’T ALL FIT
and that kind of collective energy
FREAKS ME OUT
so the way I used to handle it
was I drank
COPIOUSLY
more so than on a normal
alcoholic day
I still cannot visit Manhattan
without remembering
the night I can’t actually remember
the night of
SO MUCH VODKA I COULD’VE DIED
But that nervousness
was absent on this trip
which brings me to
reason number three:
MEDITATION
This breathing stuff
has calmed me down so much
the day I took this selfie
on M & D’s balcony
I had
ONE OF THE BEST MEDITATION SESSIONS EVER
The monkeys shut up
The breathing commenced
There was no suffering
JUST BLISS
I knew the bliss wouldn’t last
I didn’t care
I stayed in the moment
It was amazing
This happens so rarely
and that it happened in
the place I am usually
MOST ANXIOUS
was extra awesome
New York is pretty much
Still the same old New York
Just as
the facts of my life
are still the same
facts of my life
But the meditation
helps me to
SHIFT THE PRISM
I can’t change the facts
of my life
but with meditation
I can change how I react
and with meditation
my fear dissipates
my mind on meditation
is like my son’s mind
in his adopted city
it is
FEARLESS
in the best sense of that word
it is
CALM
it is
CURIOUS
it is
AMAZED
it is
SO HAPPY TO BE HERE
Today I
Breathe In
and I
Breathe Out
and I am
so grateful
that I have had
another profound
CHANGE OF MIND
thanks to
MEDITATION
Thank you