Listen

Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Someone does something which I call “strange”, such as dancing by himself in the broad expanse of a train station.  What song of freedom is blessing his sweeping arms?  What’s transparent to him that’s opaque to me?  Perhaps at this moment in my life, I don’t have the ears to hear the sweet melody.  And that’s okay.  I can still smile in the presence of a free human being.

Maybe, though, I won’t smile.  Maybe I’ll conclude that there’s a drunk in front of me, swirling and twirling just before stumbling to the floor.  A philosopher named Ken Wilber talked about the “pre/trans fallacy”, in which another’s behaviour appears to be deficient, even pathological.  But it may in fact be something above normal, something that reaches for the stars rather than puddling in the gutter.

Could it be that some of us see connections that are invisible to others?  See through a self-imposed roof to the glory of sunshine?  Say “What if?” and “Why not?” rather than languishing in “the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.”

I don’t want to “regress to the mean”, as in having my life get ever closer to the mediocrity – the vanilla – of “average”.  I want to fly across the dance floor, drinking in both the applause and frowns of onlookers.  I want to feel the praise and blame falling off me to the floor.  They’re both imposters after all.  I yearn for the real thing.

Too Small … Too Oppositional … Too ?

Images are flying in my head, and out of my head. I don’t know where they come from or where they’re going to. They’re simply moving and grooving.

I like these explosions. They’re not a danger to me. They feel like messengers … if only I can crack the code. Or do I even want to do that?

Yesterday I was doing the Mutual Awakening Practice with a woman and it was my turn to talk. Suddenly I was intimate with my internal organs. They seemed squeezed together, irrationally arranged around bones and muscles. And then I was my dear organs:

“This is too small! What are we doing in here, so tight against each other? Hasn’t anybody heard of wide open spaces?”

As a yammering heart and liver rose up in protest, my stomach skin opened wide and internal friends burst out of their confine. They bounced in the air before me, jiggling in a raucous organ dance. Free at last! It was disco music and they were giving ‘er. My small intestine, normally a bundle of tube, had unfurled to its full 22-foot length and had transformed into a skipping rope, much to the delight of my spleen.

(I just reread this, and a smile comes easily. I wonder if I sound crazy. Oh well, I’m not.)

Today was another MAP practice. This time a chess board appeared in my mind. I don’t play but that doesn’t matter. The game appeared to be halfway through, with white pieces and black pieces dotting the squares in an unknown pattern. A voice yelled out in my brain “I don’t want to do this anymore!” Other pieces chimed in in agreement. “This game is over!” “Enough!”

And then each piece, whether white or black, leaned towards the centre of the board and nestled there together. There was peace.

I choose not to interpret. The visuals are stunning. Something inside me is churning out this stuff and I’m happy to be along for the ride. And tomorrow? That’s another day. What will appear unbidden as time unwinds? I’ll let you know.

Earthworm

I was on my Bowflex strength training machine this morning. It’s in the basement. For half of the exercises I’m facing a fun red wall. For the other half, I’m looking up through the window well at the Southern Ontario sky.

As you can tell, the metal well is ribbed and resembles brick. I love the natural look. I was grunting through two sets of the leg press when my vision caught something unusual in the scene. About eighteen inches below the lip, there was an earthworm, basically vertical. As I pressed in, I’d occasionally glance at the newcomer. Between sets, it was clear: the worm had died there, and his body would stay stuck to the side until I scraped it off. I made a mental note to do that … tomorrow. Future exercise sessions wouldn’t be disturbed by a dry thing hanging onto the lovely bricked pattern.

Minutes later, it was the leg extension exercise. Another glance showed that my flexible friend was a bit higher up the well, and not quite so vertical. “It’s alive!”

Closer inspection showed a tiny head wobbling back and forth, and the whole being wriggling upwards. When it came to a rib, it would keep on going, pulling its body above empty space in its pursuit of freedom.

“Oh my God … I’m looking out the window at an elite athlete!”

As the workout continued, I saw “higher, higher…” No cage will constrain. My mouth kept dropping open.

When there were no more exercises, I pressed my nose close to the window. Mr. Worm was pretty much horizontal now, about four inches below the lip. It was approaching a tiny crevice in the plastic surrounding the window. As I watched, there was a full five inches of invertebrate being poking towards the hole. Then four. Three … two … one …

Gone

Unfinished Business

A long time ago, in a province far, far away … I was a trainee in Werner Erhard’s est program.  A weekend for us in Vancouver had been scheduled and we had homework to complete beforehand.  One item on the list caught my attention:  “Clean your fridge.”  So down-to-earth, not really transformational at all.  

Except it was. Once soggy veggies and scum-laden crevices had been dispensed with, I gazed in wonder at the shiny freshness. On the flight west, I marvelled at the release I felt, and images of my dear fridge kept appearing.

Then there’s now. Seems like the lessons take time to sink in. An unopened box sits in the den at the front of my home. It’s done that for a month now. Inside no doubt is a new printer. My old one really struggled with the latest Microsoft update and the future looks bleak for this model that’s been left behind. You could say that it’s not really a problem, since printed pages continue to spew out of the beast.

But then there’s my mind. “I bet it’ll take a couple of hours to set up the new printer. Probably there’ll be stuff I don’t understand and I’ll be stuck on hold with the folks at Hewlett-Packard.” However I spin it, the basic fact is that I told myself I’d do X, and X keeps sitting there, sticking its tongue out at me. My printer energy is stuck, and that’s not good enough for this fellow who wants to flow out into the world.

It’s 6:30 pm right now and I choose not to begin the box-opening saga, but I promise you I will get the new one going tomorrow daytime. Whatever I write about tomorrow evening, I’ll attach a note about my progress/success. So there.

I get there’s power here. Moving unfinished to finished. In the past few days, I’ve done a few simple things that leave me with a head held high:

1.  I cut my toenails.  No big deal?  Wrong.  The arthritis in my right wrist makes it hard to wield toenail clippers, but I persisted.  It took a long time and I don’t care.  I’m tempted to attach a pic of my toes but perhaps I’ll choose discretion.

2.  I cleaned the shower, finally figuring out that wearing knee pads would allow me to really give ‘er with the brush for minutes at a time.  I don’t care if I never clued in before.  I now have a clean shower.

3.  This is an unmentionable concerning the human body so I won’t mention it.  But it’s been a long time coming and (Praise the Lord!) the deed is done.  Definitely no photos of this one.

4.  I … dusted.  And swept.  Where exactly did all this flotsam and jetsam come from?  No matter, the accumulation is now residing at the bottom of my garbage can.

5.  Over the last week, I phoned three friends to see how they’re doing.  We haven’t seen each other in person since March.  Very cool people, each their own distinct flavour of humanity.  We met.

***

Hmm.  My head is higher.  There’s a spring to my step.  The flow is flowing once more.

And yet one more vestige of incompletion remains.  Another dear friend hasn’t heard from me for awhile.  So when my tapping, proofreading and sending is done in a few minutes, I’ll give her a dingle.

Ahh …

Hanging On … Letting Go

It seems pretty clear – happiness resides in the land of the open palm, the gracious gesture, the ease of time stretching slowly away.  Misery knows the closed fist. the grasping, the muscles tense and rigid.

But then there’s money.

I love tennis.  In August, 2019, I booked ten nights in a Montreal hotel for the summer of 2020.  My sole reason for going was to feel the majesty of the women’s Rogers Cup tennis tournament.

This spring, the Government of Quebec said no to any professional sporting events in the province, due to Covid.  Sad but alert, I leapt into action, asking the hotel to refund my money.  They told me I’d have to talk to the travel company with whom I booked.

And so it began.

Actually, it wasn’t just one conversation with the hotel.  I’m guessing that I’ve phoned them 20-25 times and have talked to a real person 2-3 times.  Many requests on the answering machine for the manager to phone me went for naught.  (Sigh)

Four months after my initial contact in May, and after probably 8-10 hours on the phone, $886.83 is still in someone else’s pocket.  Today’s contribution was over two hours, talking to two reps of the travel company.  My case had been “elevated” but instead I felt submerged.

Throughout the process, I’ve seen errors of omission, broken promises about when people would get back to me, and I believe (on the hotel’s part) some deceit.

The next chapter will be a phone call on Monday morning – the hotel manager, the travel company, and me.

I’m not letting go.  Am I creating a lot of unhappiness for myself?  Am I wise to stand up for myself?  Am I being “Bruce”?  Somehow it feels right to be in these shoes of mine.  To quietly ask for fairness.  To not give up.  Although there are far better ways to spend eight hours than speaking into my smartphone and listening to what comes back, I find myself quietly nodding in approval for the journey I’ve chosen.  Whatever the outcome.

Let It Go

I can’t remember what I was doing in 2013 but clearly it didn’t involve keeping up-to-date with hit movies. I had vaguely heard of Frozen but that’s as far as it went.

Early last December, I was talking to some kids about films and admitted that I hadn’t seen Frozen. The universal response was basically “What!?” with the implication that I must have spent a fair slice of my life in a cave. Having been suitably humbled, I added a movie viewing to my mental to do list.

Later in the month, on a plane that was going somewhere, the entertainment system revealed that Frozen was an option. I jumped at the chance, but I do believe fatigue diminished the available joy. The film made no real impact.

Then there was last night. Disney Plus was telling me that Frozen was only a click away. I clicked … and sat in wonder for the next two hours. Elsa was a revelation, and so was her sister Anna. I fell in love. They were both so alive, such examples of full humanity.

And then there was the song. Elsa was seeing a new realm inside her, ready to burst. I was pretty close too.

The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I’ve tried
Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well, now they know

Now they know, Elsa. There’s no turning back after discovering a vivid, ecstatic, vibrant way to live. “Throw yourself into the world, Elsa.” And she did.

Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door
I don’t care what they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on
The cold never bothered me anyway

Ahh yes … they will say lots of things, some of them mean, designed to diminish the outrageous happiness brimming through you. “Settle down, Elsa.” No thanks. Bring on the winds. Let them buffet me, smash me to the ground. I’ll stand again.

It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all
It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
I’m free

I’ve had my moments when those last two words escaped my mouth. It was real. It was a message I could trust. It was home … lying on the couch before a crackling fire.

Really getting that I’m free, now what will I do? Think I’ll watch Elsa one more time. I believe she has an answer or two.

It’s Been Awhile

I’ve enjoyed blogging so much in the past year that I never thought I’d go five days without doing it. But here we are. I’ve been on lots of trips where my writing started with Day One and ended as the plane touched down back at Toronto Airport. Not this time.

As much as I’ve loved being so regular with the posts, there’s a rigidity to it that doesn’t serve me. ‘I don’t have to” could be my mantra. Actually, I am free. On any given day, I can focus on pleasing myself rather than reaching out to you. And I love reaching out to you!

There’s no wisdom in feeling guilty about a five day absence. Truly a waste of energy. The Evolutionary Collective seminar was immersive and very challenging. I felt my power … I felt my weakness … I felt my love for other human beings … I felt my need to be loved, noticed, included, accepted, communicated with. I felt the whole darn enchilada! And I chose not to write to you about it.

Hmm. This feels good – writing again. I knew down deep that I wouldn’t be gone for long. It’s too much fun to put thumbs to screen. Writing “sings” to me. It makes me smile.

There’s no need to “catch up”, to remember something that happened on Day Five, etc. So … a ten day trip that seemed to end on Day Four but really was just hibernating for a bit. I wonder what else I need to say. A few hours from now, I’ll be in the Pacific Grove Library – a perfect spot to share some more stuff. Stay tuned.

Spondic Love

 

I was on an internet call tonight with members of the Evolutionary Collective Global community.  I revelled in the experience of beaming love at a partner and then receiving it in return.  The topic for the evening was spondic love.

Beatrice Bruteau coined this term.  It’s not about what typically suffices for love in our society, where often it’s “I’ll be tender to you if you keep doing what I want you to do.”  It’s not about a couple turning inward in their devotion, shutting off the world.  It’s not about picking and choosing whom you love.  Here are some quotes from smart people to help us all see what spondic love actually is:

(Ilio Delio)

Bruteau indicates that a “person” is not an individual being.  Rather, a “person” is the unbounded activity of freely projecting energies, or what she calls “spondic” energy, a Greek word that means “libation” [pouring into].  Spondic energy does not originate out of thought or will.  It is not the act of an individual.  Rather, it comes from a deep, transcendent center, the still point where we are being held by Omega [“a final point of divine unification”].  It originates spontaneously, arising only from itself.  It is always free.  A “person” is one who acts out of a spondic, self-giving center.  Anything other than a spontaneous energy center of relatedness is not fully reflective of a person … Bruteau indicates that only “persons” can enter into communion consciousness.  “Individuals” remain external to one another.

(Patricia Albere)

Spondic love is the experience of “I am.  May you be.”  In the way we practice, there’s this experience of love, and when you love someone it comes from some place that’s deeper than your personality loving them.  There’s almost this cosmic energy that wants to just go “Ha!  I want you to have everything.  You know … like I love you.  I love you!”  You just want to imbue them with everything.  We feel that for our children.  Sometimes our heart bursts open into this kind of empowerment that is deeper than just human love.

You can feel it when you’re on the other end of spondic love.  It is palpable.  You actually feel like part of your life just got made because this person loves you from a place where they’re in and for you in a way that’s real.  This mutual spondic love is part of the consciousness that we’re working with, and the consciousness that I think is next.  I think that the next place of innovation will be that kind of love – instead of being separate, instead of not being even neutral towards each other and just surviving on our own, or competing or actively using each other and stomping on each other.

This spondic quality of love and connectivity will be the foundation for a ridiculous amount of miracles, innovation, creativity, coming together, working together, doing things that can’t be done, et cetera, et cetera, that’s going to be the next explosion of where evolution is going to be working.

(Brian Wilcox)

Life becomes libation, libation-ing.  Intimacy with Spirit, being one with True Self, from which flows this spondicity, flows into intimacy with the other.  To have this intimacy, we do not have to like the person, as defined by “personality”.  We do not even have to share a physical space with him or her … This libational kindness is non-local.  This loving can reach into the past, into the present, or into the future.  This love is boundless.

***

I asked myself tonight what my life would be like if I projected spondic love to people who come my way?  If such love was present in my thoughts for most of the day?  If it didn’t matter at all whether the love was returned?

Wouldn’t that be a recipe for freedom?

Free

We will begin to marvel that we let ourselves build our lives around the belief that we, the real self, were identified with these various descriptions, which descriptions required so much protection, justification, grief, anger, pride and so on.  So much vital energy.  We exhaust ourselves in the support of our descriptions.

I don’t know who wrote this but I like it.

As soon as I say “I am X”, there’s the opportunity for fear, smallness, defense.  “Could it be that I’m not really X?”  And would that possibility be a problem?  If it is, I better muster lots of energy to protect the truth of my Xness.  There are enemies out there who want to prove I’m actually not X.  I tighten my fists to beat them back.

I am a real man
I am intelligent
I am kind
I am determined
I am handsome
I am mature
I am generous
I am athletic
I am creative
I am popular
I am loved

But what if, sometimes, I’m not?  What then?  If I shrug my shoulders and say “Oh well” without feeding the statement and its contradiction, what would happen in my life?  Would angst fade to the background?  Would a reservoir of energy previously invisible be revealed?

I believe the answer is “Yes”.

Perhaps I’m not a personality riding on the roller coaster of life, raising my head here, letting it slump there.  Maybe I’m a fierce spiritual being who’s vibrant with the energy that flows outwards and unconcerned with the energy coming in.  There might not be any deficit, nothing to be fixed or improved.  What’s it’s all about could simply be expression rather than reaction, giving rather than fending off, flowing rather than damming.

In my better moments …

Bruce, you’re free
Bruce, you’re simply a space vibrating with possibility
Bruce, you’re marvelously sufficient
And did I mention that you’re free?

The Real Self

For those of you who read my most recent post, here’s some math:

100 + 104 = 204

***

We will begin to marvel that we let ourselves build our lives around the belief that we, the real self, were identified with these various descriptions [age, gender, personality, relationships, job, income, house, car, vacations …] which descriptions required so much protection, justification, grief, anger, pride and so on. So much vital energy. We exhaust ourselves in the support of our descriptions.

Beatrice Bruteau

“All those descriptions add up to me.” That’s what I’ve often said. Beatrice points to the possibility that I’ve been wrong. And now I sense a “bigness” that’s far beyond. It doesn’t matter if wise things come out of my mouth. That proposed V-shaped body is irrelevant. Crying when faced with heartrending stuff isn’t the be-all-and-end-all.

Perhaps what I really am is a huge space in which I’m free to move, to express. As much as I feel pulled toward an unknown future, there is a stillness unaffected by the ups and downs of life.

What if Beatrice is right, and I’m wasting precious energy in protecting all that I’ve said I am? Can I be brave enough to put up my hand without knowing what I’ll say? Can I trust that the space is large enough to contain all that I have to give, without me hunkering down to fend off supposed threats?

There may be no need for armour, for umbrellas, for closing my eyes to ward off the world. Maybe I can keep my eyes open to all that comes my way. And truly what energies can be released if I feel no forces pressing down on me, if I really get that “I am free”? Well, the answer to that is beyond my current mind.

I walk slowly, porous in my body and soul. There is no danger. There is nothing outside of me and so I cannot be hurt. All blends in love. We go forward together.

And then fear shows itself again. I grab my shield and ready myself for the impending attack.

In time, the shield falls to the ground.

I am free once more.

(Repeat)