Q.E.D.

Those of you who have followed my blog will have noticed that I have gone silent. In part this reflects a shift in focus: I’m still producing creative material out at Hypnosis Rising. But the work that I began here continues, it’s just shifted into another phase.

So why not continue writing here?

It’s not that there’s no point to the writing.

So what was the point?

Around sixteen, I placed love at the center of my intellectual universe. Listening to the confused public discourse of the ’70s, as splintering demographics set out to stake out their rights and privileges, I realized that the word had become degraded. So I set out to reclaim it.

What I realize now is how critical that decision was to my intellectual growth. We can either wrestle ideas into our service or we can facilitate their interaction. Any serious attempt to assess the material here will confront its astonishing breadth and depth. I know, because when I have free time and go back and look at it, I am flummoxed. Where did all of this come from?

Well, it came from ideas that were allowed to seek their natural place in the service of love. To understand that statement, I guess I should clarify that I see ideas as little angels. I don’t try to force them into my possession, I allow them to use my brain as a means of reorganizing themselves. They seem to enjoy working with me.

So to explain my silence: I don’t write because I can no longer see the borders of the universe that they have formed around me. They seem satisfied with what we have accomplished. No, “satisfied” is too weak. They are joyous.

Unfortunately, we live in an era that uses mass communication to suborn ideas to the end of self-promotion. That practice chews away at the periphery of my intellect. Most of my energy is spent holding the chaos at bay.

For those familiar with the phrase, “the center will hold.” The events will probably surprise you as they unfold. I point you to Martin Luther King Jr.’s last speech. I’m not about to allow those that control the mechanism of exchange to pollute my intellect, nor will I cede our power to them. Instead I pity them, for in attempting to do either (as proven in “Love Works”) they destroy themselves.

They subscribe to the prerogatives of selfishness and the outcomes of Death. I have chosen Love and Life.

Random Acts of Grace

While the material aspects of existence have been troubling, over the last four months I’ve had sublime experiences in the spiritual realm.

Since starting hypnotherapy full-time in January, the practice has been a financial disaster. I won’t go into the details, except to say that it appears that destiny is testing my commitment. By stretching out my credit cards and pulling down my 401(k), I should be able to make it through to September, at which point I’m going to have to throw myself on the mercy of strangers.

But hypnotherapy is only a metaphor for the greater work, and having freed myself from the projections of anger and greed contingent upon my employment, what emanates from me now stimulates grace-filled events.

When walking to Ecstatic Dance LA on Easter, a drunken youth waiting with three friends at a bus stop calls upon me for a blessing.

During a conversation with a new friend, I ask if she would mind if I projected the song she had offered to play for me. It resonates powerfully on the right side of my mind, and my female friends in the office building whisper and bow their heads to me the next day.

Having overcome the political cabal that has sought to suppress my business, female friends start showing up at Dance Tribe on Sunday. In the early morning hours, I have a terrible dream about trying to research hypnotherapy on the web. While one of them waits in the background as a passive support, I can’t type the terms into the search box. Another female presence tries to push me toward her, but I cry out to heaven, “Father! Help me! I can’t do it any more!” I wake up and announce to the air “You’re just trying to beat me down,” while I fix my attention on the female Chinese hypnotherapists that had set up the scenario.

And again today at Ecstatic Dance LA, where on Easter I first called the Tree of Life from the center of the floor. A graceful young beauty appears for the first time. She assumes that I’m trying to seduce her until I project that I’ve got far more important things to worry about. We skirt each other for two hours until the end of the dance, when I hold space for her as she winds herself into my energy. Assured, I reach down and raise the Tree of Life over the gathering. While I project the broad canopy from my outstretched palms, she starts to dip toward the floor before flinging her arm imperiously upward. And suddenly my heart cracks open and I scream in grief – two long agonizing cries before I realize that multitudes of men are escaping my heart. Men that died for love, now seeking healing among the leaves.

I guess that I’ve got your attention, ladies. What happens next?

Lady’s Man

At my Tuesday morning professional networking meeting, after the speakers have finished we go around the table to offer referrals and answer an ice-breaker question. Yesterday’s was pretty pedestrian: What historical figure would you like to meet and why?

The group is evenly split between men and women, but by the time the table had come around to me, the first nine answers had all been men. Eventually a lady after me offered “Susan B. Anthony.” The same woman also showed a religious turn of mind, saying that I had stolen her answer – “kinda” – before concluding “and Jesus.”

And myself? I would dearly love to sit for twenty minutes near the pregnant Virgin. Perhaps at the well as she rested for a few minutes in the sun’s warmth.

Just to feel her grace wash over me.

HypnoEuphoria

I am happy and proud to announce that last night I completed my year-long training program at the Hypnosis Motivation Institute. I am qualified for designation as a Certified Hypnotherapist. Along with the required coursework, I completed more than a hundred hours of certification trainings with the American Hypnosis Association.

The most painful part of the process was the slog from Ventura through rush-hour traffic. The frustration moderated mid-way through when I discovered K-LOVE, but I must admit that over the last week – with four sessions back-to-back instead of the usual two – as I crawled through early Christmas deadlock I found myself thinking “I am SO OVER THIS.”

But it is over – or at least the beginning is over. Now comes the fulfillment: I’ll be down in Ventura giving presentations, organizing group imagery sessions and working with clients.

And blogging again – most of it out at Hypnosis Rising, where I plan to publish an article and post a week. But I’ll also be more active here in a new way. Where in the past I’ve been trying create value by explaining “life, the universe and everything”, with hypnotherapy as an outlet for my caring self, I can commit now to developing and solidifying friendships with like-minded people in the blogosphere.

Shame

A dream this morning around 2 AM.


Wearing a loose loin cloth, I sat on the edge of a square stone slab in a garden. Across a channel of water through a stone portal I glimpsed a beautiful light-filled vista. I had a heavy burden on my back and one at my feet. My hopes were to find a way across the channel – perhaps only ten feet.

Perhaps there were stones to step on, but I realized that the stones were statues of holy people in the oriental style, with exaggerated drapery that would puncture skin if stepped on. Undeterred, I stretched my leg forward, but they shrank unwillingly into the water. I considered throwing my burdens across the gap, but they were too heavy. I resolved to walk on the water, but that visualization was rejected.

I felt a hand on my back and knew that it was my beloved. When I turned to look, the lady indeed had her hair piled up on her head. Her almond eyes were care-worn. Deprivation had dulled the long, lustrous black hair – worse, pests had infested it around the neckline, where it was cut away. As I watched, the skin stretched taut and thinned, losing its glow. Her hand reached up to my shoulder for support. A deep wound on the back of her hand was covered by a thick, hard scab.

I turned to gather her in my arms as she testified, “This world is breaking my heart.” Seeking comfort for my own situation, I began “It is the same for me,” but she had collapsed, her soul escaping with a final sigh.

And I was left with my shame and guilt, to have forgotten the plight of one so much more deserving than I.

Oak Forest Saved

Thousand Oaks is named for the pinnacle species of the sage. The crown of the Coastal Oak are waxy bowls with points. Fallen leaves turn downwards in layers that trap rainwater. The trees, which are drought tolerant and fire resistant, stabilize the landscape. Recognizing this, city law protects all specimens.

Westlake Village takes its name from the artificial lake that drains through the property on which Errol Flynn’s Robin Hood was staged. The property was converted to a park with mobile homes nestled among the oaks. The ambitions of the developer led them to place roads and foundations too close to the oaks, reducing the size of the leaf litter fields and so starving the roots of moisture.

My parents moved into the park thirty years ago, and my father spent twenty years educating the residents on the importance of the oaks for fire safety. When the oak rooted in the middle of the street outside their unit fell, four acorns sprouted in their yard. Fifteen years later, the crowns shield the roof.

At 10 AM Friday morning, the Santa Ana wins shifted from seaward to blow down the 101 freeway. Half an hour later, my son Kevin sent me a link to live helicopter footage. Fire crews were deployed on the ridge above the park, flames licking at the expensive decks. The valley below was hidden by smoke blown from the blaze that had closed the 101 at Reyes Adobe.

The consensus among family members was that my brother and mother had lost everything to the flames.

The pictures below were taken this morning. The winds had subsided overnight, and as I drove into the park the fire team that had secured the hillsides was gathered to leave. As I inspected the park, it was clear that at least one heroic fire team had been working under the smoke the prior day.

Though homes were lost, the battle was won at the downstream end of the park. The last unit caught up in flames had holes punched through windows and sides. A cul-de-sac separated it from its neighbor, and the descending shield of an oak crown whose leaves had been singed but resisted burning.

On the other side of the road, the defense had been mounted at a gully that drained into the stream. The power of the fire was evident in the ruins, but also the resilience of the neighboring oaks that had burned only on one side.

With the progress of the fire blunted, apparently it followed its updraft along the hillsides on either side. A photo from the street running up to the ridge shows the effectiveness of the oaks in protecting the combustible mobile homes from embers.OakForestSurvives

Finally, the joy of anticipation that another holiday season will be spent in my mother’s home.RobinHood51

And gratitude to the oaks for protecting the homes of those that protected and nurtured them.

Salt Burns

Isn’t that how it feels when you have a wound?

I made it to class at HMI last night. It was a near thing: due to the Hill Fire, the 101 was closed at the usual on ramp, and it took me ninety minutes to wend my way five miles through the evacuation from Camarillo Springs to get to Pacific Coast Highway. Traffic up Las Virgenes was throttled until we made it past the hairpins, but flowed freely up to the 101. I thought with the freeway closed traffic would be light through the San Fernando Valley, but the smoke from the Woolsey Fire was driving people out of the Conejo Valley. It was a slow crawl up to Tarzana.

Class began with a review of our “consciousness exercise.” The first three students avoided the point – which was for one day to record our unspoken judgments – instead rambling on about how they learned not to be judgmental. Feeling judgmental, I offered my example: coming in to work yesterday morning to learn of the Borderline Restaurant massacre. Talking with a colleague about the impact on the community where my sons grew up. One of our neo-con, gun-toting conservative colleagues came up behind me and I instinctually turned my shoulder to him. When he walked away, I thought “Well, good, I didn’t need to hear whatever he had to say anyways.”

As we gathered at the elevator at the end of the evening, one of my friends stopped to ask how I was doing. “I’m fine. I just need to stay focused on the situation I described. My weekend is going to be spent trying to find opportunities to project healing energy into the community.” He looked at me, shook his head, and offered, “Well, if anyone can do that, I guess that it would be you.”

I dragged myself to the car and headed back up the 101 to Westlake Village. Traffic warning signs announced that the freeway was still closed at the 23. The smoke was heavy as I exited at Lindero Canyon Boulevard, but let up suddenly when I pulled into the Oak Forest mobile home park. My mother was on the phone with my sister-in-law up in Templeton. We spent a few minutes chatting about the fire and the memorials for the Borderline victims held that evening, and went to bed.

The phone rang at 1:30 AM. I assumed it was another family member calling to check on us. Then my mother, looking pale, shook me to alertness. “Mandatory evacuation.” It was a conservative measure, I understood, but given the impossibility of defending the heavily wooded trailer park, I didn’t resist her urge to prepare an overnight bag. The flames were impressive from the freeway, but hadn’t yet penetrated the housing tracts or jumped to the ocean side. By 2:30 I was helping to set up cots in the Red Cross evacuation center at Pierce College, just two miles from HMI.

Mom wouldn’t lie down on the cot she had claimed, saying that they “were uncomfortable.” I started musing about our camping trips, asking what we had slept on when we were children? Just sleeping bags and heavy mats. She then laid down on the cot and allowed me to drape a blanket over her. My back was becoming tight, so I laid down on the floor and closed my eyes. Unable to sleep, I eventually headed out at 4:15.

Noticing additional closures on the 101 where the fire had jumped the freeway, I took De Soto Boulevard to the 118. The back side of the fire was burning slowly down the hillsides into Simi Valley. Exiting at Los Angeles, I drove the back roads, arriving in Port Hueneme at 5:30 AM.

I’m writing this from work. I tried to fall asleep when I got home after breakfast, but could only dose. We do donuts on Friday morning, and maybe the sugar crash will lay me out on the floor. But it doesn’t feel that way. I did a huge circle around the Conejo Valley where the Borderline Restaurant is the bull’s eye. I’m wondering whether it’s only ego that’s pulling me into the eye of that storm.

I’ll find out at Sunday morning mass.