Recipe Cards (Part Two)

A long time ago, I asked myself what contribution I could make to the world, something that no other human being would likely do.  I was a devotée of Ken Wilber, a spiritual writer.  For decades, Wilber has attempted to integrate spiritual approaches, to create a structure that would honour them all.  He devised a system of quadrants, lines and stages of development.

Well … if it’s good enough for Ken, it’s good enough for me!  I would take a different slant, however.  I would scour through all these books I owned and find nuggets of wisdom that “sang” to me.  Then I’d write them down.  No singing, no writing.

I started to create categories of wisdom.  Certainly “Love” would be included.  I ended up calling them “Transformational Subjects”.  After composing a list of these subjects, I gave them each a number, alphabetically from 1 to 1000.  I numbered by 5’s: 1, 5, 10, 15 …  When a new topic came to mind, there was lots of room for new numbers.

Why did I start doing this, you ask?  My vision was that if great minds had a profound sentence to say about “Peace”, and I accumulated what I considered wisdom from many sources, the whole would be infinitely greater than the sum of the parts.  “Peace” would shine in previously unimagined glory.

There were years I worked hard on this, and years I didn’t.  Random slips of paper became Day-Timer sheets, and eventually recipe cards.  I bought more books written by a wide variety of spiritual authors.  I found the shining nuggets, and I entered them on little white rectangles.  I refined my categories.

Finally the question came: “What am I going to with all this?”  How are people going to see this huge collection of ideas and musings?  Will I be in deep do-do because I have no idea who said what?  Is some author going to sue me?  So I did what any abnormal human being would do.  I hired a lawyer to research copyright regulations.  Several hundred dollars later, I received the good news that as long as I included a disclaimer at the beginning, saying that I had no intention to steal anyone’s words, and that I wouldn’t be making any money from this, I’d be okay.  The omnibus would be online only, so if any author objected to me sharing their thoughts, I could remove them quickly.

That’s my story up until a little while ago.  Stay tuned.  Oh … and here’s one of my category pages:


Okay, I admit it.  Tonight I went to see Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again for the fifth time.  This afternoon, I could feel the pull of the theatre, and as the Borg said in Star Trek: The Next Generation, “Resistance is futile.”  Now that shouldn’t be true.  I should be strong enough to chart another course, away from the magnificent love story, and towards reading a good book at home.  Shouldn’t I?

The movie is a magnet to me … such a vivid display of love – romantic, parent-child and friends.  I wrote about the film before so tonight will be a different direction.

Point number one > Who cares if I see a movie five times?  It cost me $50 plus popcorn.  And the joy it gave me was far beyond that.  What brought forth the joy was moments of communion between two people.  Time stood still as each gazed into the other’s eyes.  Just what I need to create in my real life.

Point number two > The difference between being pulled toward ecstasy and being pulled toward regression is immense.  Five beers would do me in and likely lead to a night over the toilet.  Life diminishing.  Five mother-daughter reunions leave me singing, in my voice and in my heart.  Life enhancing.

Point number three > Being drawn toward aliveness completely overwhelms being drawn to nothing.  Imagine waking up every day with nothing animating your spirit, nothing to look forward to, other than perhaps another day of consuming this or that.  Receiving the products of the world but not putting much out there to benefit fellow humans.  Compare that to anticipating the next conversation, and what two beings can create together.

So … is there a sixth viewing in me?  I’m not ruling it out.  Plus the Blu-ray comes out on December 31.  Happy New Year to me.

Sweat Bands

I like watching myself.  And today I’m watching my tomorrow: I’m going to be on the elliptical in the gym for six hours, the equivalent of 120 kilometres of riding.  My bike is still in the shop, waiting for a part that will help me climb mountain roads like a whiz.  So the gym machine will have to do.

I’m watching my fear.  I haven’t been strong lately and yet my task is huge tomorrow.  I’m also in the middle of getting off caffeine, and the head is a bit fuzzy.  With all of this, I’m strangely calm and excited about the morrow’s adventure.  I don’t understand how this can be.

I sweat a lot on the elliptical and a few days ago I lost my Captain America sweat band.  The only one left is an ode to Batman.  If I go to the gym with just one, my eyes will be flooded with stinging liquid, and finishing the job will be a very large challenge.  So after buying a tent at Mountain Equipment Co-Op this afternoon (for the ride across Canada!), I went searching for reinforcements.

Hey, this should be no sweat.  I’ll go to SportChek.  In I walked and a lovely employee directed me to the band display.  No Captain America, no Superman … just the Nike swoosh and the NBA logo.  I’m not particularly attached to either.

One spiritual perception is that no one thing or moment is better than any other.  So Nike should be just fine.  Except it wasn’t.  I could feel myself pulled towards an expression of me, and there wasn’t any on the stand.  I walked out.

Again, Buddhism would say that there is no me to be expressed.  However Bruceness was clearly alive today and I decided to retrace my steps to MEC.  My tent discussion apparently left no room for sweat band contemplation.  In I walked, and a smiling woman revealed to me that sweat was not an issue for the foreheads of their customers.  No bands.

“Go back to SportChek.” > “No, I don’t want to be branded.  Search on.”  End of discussion.

I know!  A running store.  Makes sense.  So all the way into downtown London to enter the hallowed hall of The Running Room.  A friendly and yet incredulous saleswoman told me they had bands to hold back hair but nothing to mop up perspiration.  Oh.  I wondered how true runners keep their eyes clear.  She suggested I try National Sport.

Runner’s Choice is the other major running store in London, and it’s also downtown.  Due to clogged traffic, it would have been easier to head directly to National Sport but I seemed to be a driven man.  And a huge smile was adorning my face.  It was wonderfully silly to keep travelling between stores just to make sure I survived tomorrow.  So … Runner’s Choice.

Nobody home as I opened the door but eventually an unsmiling clerk came from the back.  No, they didn’t stock sweat bands anymore, except for one patterned pink one.  It didn’t even look like a sweat band to me, and although I love pink, I said no.

National Sport it is.  Another sweat band rack and this time I saw red, white and blue types festooned with some unidentifiable logo.  Sold!  Here’s to Wednesday’s dry eyes.

I marvel at my mind and take joy in watching it at work, with no judgment of the process.  It’s a marvelous instrument, just like yours.  And sometimes it has a mind of its own.



Acting – Part 3

Last night, I sat in my man chair and watched my obsession continue to unfold.  Why not find reviews of Jake’s Women on the Internet?  And it was cool.  I found all sorts of amateur productions of the play, and what the reviewers thought of each actor and actress.  Mostly, the Jake’s of this world were doing a bang-up job with the character.

I also looked on Amazon to see what books have been published about Neil Simon.  And guess what?  There’s a volume of monologues from Neil’s plays, including Jake, so I did what any skewed human would do in the circumstances – I snatched it up.  A used copy set me back $ .01 (CAD) plus $6.49 for shipping and handling.  Bargoon!

After such an achievement, I sat some more and wondered what the next expression of my fanaticism would be.  After all, I’d already bought the script and was starting to memorize Jake’s words.  How could I possibly top that?

As I continued to look for reviews, I came upon the official site of Samuel French, the publisher of Neil’s plays.  There was a long list of his creations.  I clicked Jake’s Women and up came a map of North America, with seven green, upside down teardrops scattered over the surface.  It took me a few seconds to absorb what I was looking at … places where the play was being performed, or would be soon.

I know my Great Lakes, and towards the easterly end of Lake Ontario, on the north shore, was a little green blob.  I stared, and then clicked … The Pinnacle Playhouse in Belleville, Ontario; April 7-25, 2015.  Belleville is a city of 50,000 souls, two hours east of Toronto.  And I’m only 2 1/2 hours west of T.O.

Do it!

Do what?


On to the site of the Belleville Theatre Guild.  I could see the evening performance on Thursday, April 23.  I could take the train.  I could find a B&B.

“Well, you can’t just go for one night.  See Friday’s production too!”

“Isn’t that a bit excessive?”

“No, excessive would be watching Saturday’s finale as well.”

“You’re crazy!”

“Thank you.”

“Okay, I’ll do it.”

You’ll be happy to know that I have done it, sitting in the front row each evening – seats A3, A12 and A9 (that one right in the middle).  I get to study Jake, Julie, Maggie, Molly (ages 12 and 21), Karen, Edith and Sheila … up close and personal.

I leave on VIA Rail from London at 11:00 am on Thursday, April 23 and arrive in Belleville at 5:00 pm, giving me lots of time to detrain (15 minutes), walk to the Place Victoria Place Bed and Breakfast (30 minutes), drop my stuff (15 minutes), walk downtown (20 minutes), eat at a groovy restaurant (60 minutes) and stroll over to the Pinnacle Playhouse like I own the place, all set for the 8:00 pm curtain.

Oh, what a good boy am I!

Daytime on Friday – move and groove in Belleville.  Same for Saturday.  Lots of parks, riverside walks and funky stores to explore.  Benches to sit on as I pour over Neil’s script.  Thoughts to roam in and out of my lovely head.

A leisurely Sunday morning leads naturally to a rendezvous with a train at 3:25 pm.  Gaze out at lots of Ontario from my window seat.  Back in London at 9:00 pm and home in my trundle by 10:00.  A perfectly sane way to spend four days, I’d say.

I wonder what the actors will think when they see me front and centre three nights in a row?  “He must really like the play.”

Indeed I do