Loving the Sacred through Word and Image. Parliament Hill Ottawa. A Wordpress Production

Out of Body

Tap Tap Tap …

francis

“The way you make people feel says a lot about you.” Jordan Bach

Add another stellar day to the calendar. At the sun’s zenith this afternoon, it was quite steamy out. And the sweaty, dirty, humpy roofer men were up on a second roof just cranking out another new roof.

Several of these men took matters into their own hands as I watched them cut the sleeves off their shirts because it was so steamy up there, out in the sun.

They have another day’s work ahead of them, but the roof is covered and they still have a layer of roofing to put down.

It was a glorious day. I ran some errands, did some supermarket safari this morning after waking in the middle of a very strange dream.

I was on a sinking ship and then found myself in a foreign place, but at the end of the dream, I met up with someone who had been looking for me and knew my name and where I came from … The rest of the dream is gone and I woke up before I could figure out just what was going on.

That’s what usually happens in these technicolor dreams that take place at the very end of a sleep cycle.

I almost went back to bed to see if I could reconnect with the dream and let it play itself out, but that never happens either. Once a dream ends, it is impossible to reconnect to it, later …

I’ve not been able to work that one out.

So I got up – dressed – went to the store – got my laundry money and came home and proceeded to do laundry for the week since we were on our last pairs of underwear in the dresser.

You know its time to do laundry when you run out of clean underwear…

I departed early because I had stops to make on the way and I arrived at the church early and cranked out set up – I had brought a book with me but I was satisfied with listening to music on my phone.

I can’t get enough of Fleetwood Mac.

We sat a full compliment. One of our elder statesmen was in the chair. And he chose to read from Daily Reflections and The Spiritual Angle.

There was a healthy discussion of all things spiritual. From quoting the Big Book and hearing the sainted words of sponsors past, and what each of us has learned about the spiritual path, that is recovery.

One friend has returned to church looking for God, and in that quest to find God, he has a lot of questions. Then he said this … “I’ve never had a spiritual experience of the extraordinary kind, but the educational variety”

And I am half waiting for God to drop out of heaven and tap me on the shoulder and say “Hey, here I am, I wasn’t lost, you were…”

Another member said that if we only took the time to get quiet, and listen for that still small voice, we would make room for God to make His presence known to us.

Tap, Tap, Tap … “This is God, Here I am. I’ve been sitting her waiting for you to find me. All you have to do is look within and notice the breath in your lungs and the life you have – and there I am.”

I’ve lived a long life to this date. And there are many occasions I could tell you about where I saw or felt God’s presence.

The most important spiritual experience, well two of them in fact that happened when I was in seminary and just after I left was when David came to me after he had died.

The first time was the night of his wake – I was there. I returned to the school and went into the chapel to pray. I was alone, and along the back wall of the chapel were confessionals. I heard a door open and footsteps that moved from the back wall to the altar in front of me. The sacrament candle exploded and illuminated the high mural on the back wall above me.

And there was David, standing in front of me wearing my favorite shirt, the one he appeared to me in twice. And he said not to be sad, that he was free.

I have a Miraculous Mary medallion that his mother gave me when he died. I wear it still, to this day. I never leave the house without it.

The second time David appeared was in San Francisco. I had gone on a trip to San Francisco with colleagues. I went on a Mission District tour of an old church. In the graveyard was a life like statue of St. Anthony, our patron saint.

I heard a voice that bade me to follow. So I did. i walked into the church and up to the lectern and a voice said to me “look up …” I looked up and there was David standing on the balcony above the congregation seating.

God exists. And He does great things for us.

When I got sober the first time, God made manifest in the guise of Todd, who became my greatest champion. When I was sick, he took care of me, when I cried, He held me, when I was lost, he found me. And in my worst times, he lifted me up, unlike any other man, IN MY LIFE !!!

I did not die, But I lived.

There is a God.

Over the past almost twelve years, I’ve attended hundreds of meetings in the same space since I got sober. That’s many meetings. That’s hundred of people that have come and gone from those rooms.

If you want to see God – go to a meeting. Participate in someone else’s life. Watch them, over time, get clean and sober. 

See the life return, see the light rise in their eyes, and watch THEM find a God of their own understanding, trust me, you WILL see God.

You never know when something you say, may bring God closer to someone than He’s ever been.

I know that this spiritual practice we engage in takes time, and like all things, takes practice, prayer, and patience. I know that after all these years, my spiritual practice has given me words that are not mine at times.

During my days, a multitude of situations may arise. People come into my life right at the right moment, or vice versa, I come into their lives at the right time, because I get to share words with them. I find I have words in my heart that appear when needed and are useful.

Sometimes a kind word comes, a teaching, a lesson from experience, that I get to pass on to someone who might need it. And that has happened in the past few days. On a number of occasions.

When do you pray ???

It depends. It depends on the moment, and what is in front of me. I have friends all over the world by association and in person. Those people I know personally, and those I follow as part of a specific community.

Numerous times a day, someone writes … “Please pray for this or that…”

And momentarily, I stop and I say a prayer. I send light in a specific direction to a particular person. And in the moment I connect with the God of my understanding and WE participate in the life of another, if only for a moment.

Then, at the end of my night, when I sit here and close my day, I recall all those people from the day, and I mention them to God once more, as I give them over for the night into the hands of God.

I’ve learned how to do this over time.

I also realized today after hearing someone mention “church” at the meeting tonight, that he was sitting in Phillips Square … Which is a small square downtown with a statue and several street shops, where people congregate, and across the street from there is Christ Church Cathedral.

And this man walked across the square and went into the church, where he sat down, and eventually knelt to pray. And in that moment, he sat with God.

I realized that yes I go to the Cathedral for services on the odd occasion.

But I miss the sacrament.

I miss the tabernacle and the presence of the Body of Christ in the church.

There are hundreds of churches in this city. Most of them tourist traps. I used to travel to Old Montreal to Notre Dame Cathedral Church/Sacre Coeur to pray before the blessed sacrament.  I haven’t done that in a long long time.

But that message made itself perfectly clear to me as I was sitting in a meeting.

Is that ODD or is that GOD ???

I know for me – God exists.

I’ve made space for him in my life.

And that took almost twelve years of sobriety to realize.

And I think I will end on that note.

Goodnight.

More to come, stay tuned …


Crazy SOTB … In Memoriam … 1994-2012 …

Cue the music – start the fog machine – blue light GOBO slow pans across the floor through dimly lit space, and the first beat comes…

I am alone, it is early, the bar is not yet open, but I am there alone. Just me, the music and the spirit of God. Well, what little spirit of God there was at that time of my life. It is mid-summer in Ft. Lauderdale. I have just told Todd that I was going to die…

He wept.

Over the next few weeks, the teaching would begin. The team rose to the call, one of the boys was sick and was left on the side of the road with nothing but what little dignity was left in his soul. All I needed would be provided come hell or high water. Wild Horses would never stop the charge for life. We were all sick, we were all dying. Save for two people in the entire organization. My champions would save me, if I wanted it or not. Death was not an option and I would either get it or I would die…

So it began…

At that time, the temple of sin was alive and things happened so quickly that if you blinked you would miss it. The temple was filled with every earthly delight, Dante would have been pleased with our Garden of Earthly desires, carnal, profane and truly sinful. I loved every minute of it.

The rule was set…

You have a life, outside the temple. When you come to work, you leave your baggage at the door, do not bring it in here. No exceptions. Come to work, and you will serve me your Master and do whatever you are told without question without complaint, is that clear!

Yes Sir…

I took that time of my life as sacred and profane, but that is another story. You can read about the Sacred and the Profane over there in Pages… This is another thread to a long running story of how this boy was made a man, a saved man, a profane man, and in the same vein Sacred. You never know where your lessons are going to come from, and you are grateful for the wisdom and time people took out of their lives to care for you and teach you lessons that nobody else was going to teach you. So pay attention Little One.

This is your life we are talking about…

The gobos are tracking across the floor slowly through smoke and mirrors as the music plays just for you. I learned very early on, in that space that music would identify particular moods, paint particular pictures. Farkle and I had a ritual. He IS the only one left from the fray of men who lived and died from the temple of sin. We began each shift in our own way, begging god another night, another day, another minute. I was surrounded with warriors fighting their own significant battles with AIDS. I was not hit by the KS demon. I was not plagued by things I saw and witnessed, thank the creator. It was ugly. It was brutal and it was most importantly the fight of the century for all of us. Many men went to their deaths in our arms. We bathed them, clothed them and in the end we buried them.

Angry Larry…

When I got sober there was a man with AIDS named Larry, he was a drunk like me. But he was unique. He sat with a bottle on the table and a loaded revolver to shoot himself. He carried that gun with him and showed it to every one of us, and he told us relentlessly that he was going to kill himself. He got sober with the rest of us. Over the years following his spiritual awakening, he did something that no one else thought to do.

People with AIDS were being left in the streets. Mortuaries would not process sick people, they would not touch a body that had been infected with AIDS. Families would not bury their children. We did that. Larry opened his services to the community and he became another champion of the cause. I knew him. He eventually got rid of the gun, so I heard.

For a few minutes during transition, I would warm up the smoker, fire up the turntable and start the computer so that I could worship my God to the music of my soul. I did that every night. I worshiped whatever was going to save me.

I was servant to the men. I was servant to my Master. I was a slave for God, be he dressed or undressed. You never saw God until you witnessed true beauty of the soul in all its carnality. There is something sacredly profane about this part of my life. What went on inside the temple stayed in the temple. Many months would pass and I battled my demons of alcoholism before I finally fell into the pit of death, and there happen to be somebody watching from the sidelines.

Danny saved me that night. He was the man who cradled me in his arms, oxygen mask on my face and had called the paramedics to try and revive me. Danny took me home that night, and did not leave my apartment for a week. He fed me, bathed me and cared for me, under that watchful eye of my Master Todd. When the word was spoke, action was taken, and hell hath no fury if you did not jump when told to. Todd was very protective over his boys and men.

We were reminded that Todd had lost love to AIDS. Bob was buried across the street in the cemetery that faced our building. It was hard – it was painful, and it was sacred. Kevin and Larry did things for me that no man ever did for me in the real world. We were the three musketeers. We were the team to beat in bar management and service. We ran a tight ship and we were accountable, respectable and reliable. We proved a mighty force against the odds we all faced.

Let’s get it on…

Shift was begun at eight. The wells were filled the beer was stocked and the ice bins were full. Put your money in the drawer and let’s get the music thumping. Like clockwork at the strike of eight bells the first note hit the turntables. They were lined up around the building. Cars were parked all over the place. The temple worship had begun. Heaven was found amid the souls of suffering men who knew they were all marked for death, but for tonight, whatever you desired was fulfilled. You could drown away your sorrow and dip into the well of living water if you wished as well. You have never lived until you party like your dying with crowds of undulating flesh as far as they eye can see. The ghosts of those men now inhabit the fantasies and dreams I have still to this day.

One by one, two by two, they died in our arms. We held them until they took their last breaths. Memorialized in the careful and blood soaked threads of quilts, as the years went by, they started collecting by the dozen, then by the hundreds. If you’ve ever seen the entire quilt unfurled, all the men who were part of my life in those first years of my epidemic life, they are all together in death, as they were in life. Memorialized until the end of time. And we remember each of their names.

So many young boys torn from life before they knew what hit them. Men who infected them had died as well. Many of my friends were taken on trips that were detrimental to them, and just robbed them of life that was still left to live.

Todd saw to it that I would never go there…

You come to work, dress as you will, you obey me and do not waver from my eye, for I know your carnal desires and you are too young to tempt the devil with his dance. Because I surely did not know what could befall me if the right charmer enticed me into his web of desire, and they all knew I was fair bait. But in order to dine from my buffet, you needed explicit permission of my Master, who never allowed any man to defile me like many had been. I was off limits. I never crossed the line provided because that meant disrespect and I could never bear to break my Master’s heart with disobedience.

I loved Him, and He loved me – I had many problems. I was depressed and angry and resentful. I had the scars of traumatic visions of my dead lovers corpse in my head, and the words of his mother still ring in my ear today “I hope that every night until you die, that you see the corpse of my dead son in your field of vision.” That curse still lives with me and will go with me to the grave. Five day old corpses are not pretty. I had to identify the remains when all was said and done. Save that he was wearing jewelry that I could identify and part of him was still recognizable – God forgive me…

I remember that day, it was early afternoon the morgue called me from work to come and do the deed. I drove in and looked upon him in that room, I wept tears that burned into my soul forever. I just could not imagine – the pain was so hard to bear. I drove over to the bar. Bill was working behind the bar. I drank until I could not stand up on my own. I drank for a week, straight…

Todd and Bill needed to find me a solution and quick, because I was on the outs.

I started suicide therapy in a group setting that lasted 32 weeks. Nothing like rehashing death week after week, until the pain was purged from your soul, but is it ever? Months went by until I got my news.

But they cared for me in all my brokenness. A young angel would earn his wings back. Come hell or high water. In the end, when all was said and done, at the end of the day I survived, but so many did not. And each night I offer them prayers in hope that when I meet my death that all of them will be waiting for me in the Temple Of Earthly Desire in the promised land of the Kingdom of God, where the sacred and profane are mingled with the blood of the Almighty and the blood of my friends who have gone before me, on that day we will be cleansed of our sins.

And forgiven by God…

Amen

Goodnight angels of men

In a church,by the face,
He talks about the people going under.

Only child know…

A man decides after seventy years,
That what he goes there for, is to unlock the door.
While those around him criticize and sleep…
And through a fractal on a breaking wall,
I see you my friend, and touch your face again.
Miracles will happen as we trip.

But we’re never gonna survive, unless…
We get a little crazy
No we’re never gonna survive, unless…
We are a little…

Cray…cray…cray…

…Crazy yellow people walking through my head.
One of them’s got a gun, to shoot the other one.
And yet together they were friends at school
Ohh, get it, get it, get it, get it no no!

If all were there when we first took the pill,
Then maybe, then maybe, then maybe, then maybe…
Miracles will happen as we speak.

But we’re never gonna survive unless…
We get a little crazy.
No we’re never gonna survive unless…
We are a little…
Crazy…
No no, never survive, unless we get a little… bit…

Oh, a little bit…
Oh, a little bit…

Oh…
Oh…

Amanda decides to go along after seventeen years…

Oh darlin…
In a sky full of people, only some want to fly,
Isn’t that crazy?
In a world full of people, only some want to fly,
Isn’t that crazy?
Crazy…
In a heaven of people there’s only some want to fly,
Ain’t that crazy?
Oh babe… Oh darlin…
In a world full of people there’s only some want to fly,
Isn’t that crazy?
Isn’t that crazy… Isn’t that crazy… Isn’t that crazy…

Ohh…
But we’re never gonna survive unless, we get a little crazy.. crazy..
No we’re never gonna to survive unless we are a little… crazy..
But we’re never gonna survive unless, we get a little crazy.. crazy..
No we’re never gonna to survive unless, we are a little.. crazy..
No no, never survive unless, we get a little bit…

And then you see things
The size
Of which you’ve never known before

They’ll break it

Someday…

Only child know….

Them things
The size
Of which you’ve never known before

Someday…
Someway…
Someday…
Someway…
Someday…
Someway…
Someday…


If you could go back in time and relive one day of your life, which would you choose?

Courtesy: Face your Fate

The past is but a memory and all those memories I want to remember today must be written down. Trying to recall certain memories take more strength and brain power. There are periods of time that have faded from my memory, looking at pictures from my past is difficult because in many of them I am young, before I began to suffer from drugs and alcohol and those snap shots of life tell me about a time before the suffering began.

But the time that stands out in my head most importantly was all the years I spent learning to live and learning about life under the sharp eyes of my Master Todd. Those years at the Stud were very instructive and some of them were downright painful. But I had to learn these lessons or else I would fail at life.

This is where you suspend your morals and think outside the box because the rest of this story falls under the “leather Speak” portion of my story telling. You can stop here or keep reading. but be warned … i move from one space to another quite easily….

For every action and chore ended with a lesson about why I had to do that specific action or chore. It all had to do with some aspect of my life and how I would cope with that specific issue had it arisen later on in my life. If that lesson had to do directly with myself or how I would get along with others and also how possibly others could and probably would treat me. You never knew if you had good people or bad people in your life until it was too late. Sometimes you had to take what you got, and then other times you could pick and choose who would be in your life.

Where we worked – we were hand picked. The entire staff was built from the ground up and we all became family over the fourteen day “build” when we were building the bar from the ground up. We all worked day and night, sometimes without sleep. I paid my dues and proved myself worthy to be part of the team by picking up glasses and bottles and cleaning up after people, through blood sweat and tears I earned my place.

But it was all joy in the beginning. I would hold off on my own tragedy for a while those first few months working at the Stud. I faced my own demons and issues with others in my life. And I was a crash and burn alcoholic by the time that ended. I was drinking myself sick night after night because of what was going on in my life, I tried to drink away the pain.

I had to face my diagnosis with courage. I had my Master who listened to me speak, who cradled my head on his chest as I cried. There was nothing I wouldn’t do for him. But I was still a drunk, I had to complete my journey to death with the drink. And that is what happened.

Then one day I was told a piece of information that I had to take to heart and use every day from that point on. You have a life outside the bar, and you have a life inside this building. What you carry to the door stays at the door when you cross the threshold. Do not bring it in here with you. Leave it outside.

You come to work and you do what you are told without question. Do you understand?

Yes, Sir.

Every night there was something new to be learned. Every week I battled with my demons getting sober and dealing with the cascade of emotions coming from inside of myself. I just did not know what to do with them.

With every shift I worked hand over fist. It was some of the hardest times of my life. I would work happy hour from 5 to 8 p.m. by myself. At eight I would go into the kitchen to change up for the night shift. I was expected to prepare all the wells with beer, ice, liquor, fruit and cups. Then at 8 the bells would ring and the music would begin in the dance hall and the bar would open.

I worked like a dog. Throwing trash, filling buckets of ice, cases of beer and truck a shitload of trash out to the bin every night. And every time I completed a task I went looking for approval. I keep hitting lower case (i’s) i’m in bottom space.

You got to know what that means to understand the speak.

i would seek the approval from my Master to make sure i did something right. And it went on like that for a long time. Todd had them blue eyes like Jesus, that could bore into you from across the room. All i had to do was look at him and i would know what he was saying without a single word. But that was not the end of that. If he got angry his eyes would turn a stormy grey. You knew whether or not to speak to him by the shade of his eyes.

All it took was one look.

At some point, Todd caught on to what i was seeking. and he decided to teach me one of the hardest lessons i ever had to endure, which comes up as the one day that i would return to if i had the chance. i would come on shift and enter the office, kneel and i would get my marching orders for the night. i knew everything that had to be done for a particular shift. i was under Todd’s protection and guidance.

So the work began and the shift would come and go, and Todd and i had a special relationship of love and commitment. i needed him and he knew that i needed him in ways that no mere man would ever need another human being. And i worked for every word of praise and support that i could get. i thrived on that instant gratification. but that would end very quickly.

At one point, Todd took a tack, and did not tell me what was coming next. So i would get to work and work through my shift and the night would come and go, we had the best bar service team that ever was between Kevin, Tom and myself.

At the end of the night i would gather with the rest of the folks in the bar and the first night came as a shock, Todd would not look at me nor would he say a word to me. And that broke my heart. i would go home and sob. If you knew where i was in my head at that time of life, being ignored was detrimental.

The second night i would get to shift and Roy would give me my orders for the night, it was strange that Todd would not give me a word and that went on for days and nights. i knew he was watching me from the sidelines and i was not going to fail at my tasks, i would rather die than be told i did something wrong.

The third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth and eleventh nights would come in succession and i would work through my tears and the pain that i was living through. This period of time came to pass not long after i was diagnosed.

i was working through all the things that had to be done. And nobody knew what was going on with Todd and myself except Roy. i don’t know if you know what it feels like to work day and night and know that the man you love is ignoring you and you don’t know why, but to complain was not my place. i had to take it like a man and do what i was told to do, no matter what came up. unless i was going to die or something i was never to complain, and i did a lot of complaining until i was back slapped into submission.

Finally the twelfth night came up. I don’t remember what day it was or what date it was, all i know is that i was wearing thin on being ignored by the man who meant everything to me. i would catch him watching me from across the room on several occasions but as soon as he noticed i was watching him watch me he would change tacks.

The shift came to an end and i was besides myself. i had gone twelve nights in a row working like a dog doing everything that i was told to do by any of the bar staff at any hour of the night. To disrespect someone in the bar was to disrespect my Master. That community saved my life and every drop of sweat and tears that i shed were worth every minute of it.

Todd called me into the office and i knelt before him, my head was hanging and i was sobbing. Whenever i would go into the office for shift start my role was boy and i knew my place so on my knees was where i would start.

He knew that i was in pain. He watched me struggle for those twelve nights. It was the harshest lesson he ever taught me. He got up and came round the desk and grabbed my chin with his big hand and raised my eyes to his, i was still sobbing…

“Well Done Little One …”

Those four words were gold.

i broke down and cried like a baby. He hugged me and held me while i cried. i don’t remember how long that lasted but the next thing he said was this …

“do you know why you were taught this lesson? no Sir. Sometimes we seek approval for things that we do and sometime later on in your life you might go to work for someone else who may treat you like shit.”

They may not appreciate the work you do and they may ignore you or treat you less than.

After that teaching, i never sought another word of praise from Todd ever again. i did my work and was proud to have work and a place to call home. The bar remained open for another sweep of seasons and we were all still alive. But people were dying left and right. i worked every night with pride in my heart and love on my lips. You’d have to know something about Leather Pride to understand this aspect of my life and why it was so important to my life.

Just reading this brings tears to my eyes …


B Down Gobo – SOTB (redux)

b-down-gobo

Cue the music – start the fog machine – blue light GOBO slow pans across the floor through dimly lit space, and the first beat comes…

I am alone, it is early, the bar is not yet open, but I am there alone. Just me, the music and the spirit of God. Well, what little spirit of God there was at that time of my life. It is mid-summer in Ft. Lauderdale. I have just told Todd that I was going to die…

He wept.

Over the next few weeks, the teaching would begin. The team rose to the call, one of the boys was sick and was left on the side of the road with nothing but what little dignity was left in his soul. All I needed would be provided come hell or high water. Wild Horses would never stop the charge for life. We were all sick, we were all dying. Save for two people in the entire organization. My champions would save me, if I wanted it or not. Death was not an option and I would either get it or I would die…

So it began…

At that time, the temple of sin was alive and things happened so quickly that if you blinked you would miss it. The temple was filled with every earthly delight, Dante would have been pleased with our Garden of Earthly desires, carnal, profane and truly sinful. I loved every minute of it.

The rule was set…

You have a life, outside the temple. When you come to work, you leave your baggage at the door, do not bring it in here. No exceptions. Come to work, and you will serve me your Master and do whatever you are told without question without complaint, is that clear!

Yes Sir…

I took that time of my life as sacred and profane, but that is another story. You can read about the Sacred and the Profane over there in Pages… This is another thread to a long running story of how this boy was made a man, a saved man, a profane man, and in the same vein Sacred. You never know where your lessons are going to come from, and you are grateful for the wisdom and time people took out of their lives to care for you and teach you lessons that nobody else was going to teach you. So pay attention Little One.

This is your life we are talking about…

The gobos are tracking across the floor slowly through smoke and mirrors as the music plays just for you. I learned very early on, in that space that music would identify particular moods, paint particular pictures. Farkle and I had a ritual. He IS the only one left from the fray of men who lived and died from the temple of sin. We began each shift in our own way, begging god another night, another day, another minute. I was surrounded with warriors fighting their own significant battles with AIDS. I was not hit by the KS demon. I was not plagued by things I saw and witnessed, thank the creator. It was ugly. It was brutal and it was most importantly the fight of the century for all of us. Many men went to their deaths in our arms. We bathed them, clothed them and in the end we buried them.

Angry Larry…

When I got sober there was a man with AIDS named Larry, he was a drunk like me. But he was unique. He sat with a bottle on the table and a loaded revolver to shoot himself. He carried that gun with him and showed it to every one of us, and he told us relentlessly that he was going to kill himself. He got sober with the rest of us. Over the years following his spiritual awakening, he did something that no one else thought to do.

People with AIDS were being left in the streets. Mortuaries would not process sick people, they would not touch a body that had been infected with AIDS. Families would not bury their children. We did that. Larry opened his services to the community and he became another champion of the cause. I knew him. He eventually got rid of the gun, so I heard.

For a few minutes during transition, I would warm up the smoker, fire up the turntable and start the computer so that I could worship my God to the music of my soul. I did that every night. I worshiped whatever was going to save me.

I was servant to the men. I was servant to my Master. I was a slave for God, be he dressed or undressed. You never saw God until you witnessed true beauty of the soul in all its carnality. There is something sacredly profane about this part of my life. What went on inside the temple stayed in the temple. Many months would pass and I battled my demons of alcoholism before I finally fell into the pit of death, and there happen to be somebody watching from the sidelines.

Danny saved me that night. He was the man who cradled me in his arms, oxygen mask on my face and had called the paramedics to try and revive me. Danny took me home that night, and did not leave my apartment for a week. He fed me, bathed me and cared for me, under that watchful eye of my Master Todd. When the word was spoke, action was taken, and hell hath no fury if you did not jump when told to. Todd was very protective over his boys and men.

We were reminded that Todd had lost love to AIDS. Bob was buried across the street in the cemetery that faced our building. It was hard – it was painful, and it was sacred. Kevin and Larry did things for me that no man ever did for me in the real world. We were the three musketeers. We were the team to beat in bar management and service. We ran a tight ship and we were accountable, respectable and reliable. We proved a mighty force against the odds we all faced.

Let’s get it on…

Shift was begun at eight. The wells were filled the beer was stocked and the ice bins were full. Put your money in the drawer and let’s get the music thumping. Like clockwork at the strike of eight bells the first note hit the turntables. They were lined up around the building. Cars were parked all over the place. The temple worship had begun. Heaven was found amid the souls of suffering men who knew they were all marked for death, but for tonight, whatever you desired was fulfilled. You could drown away your sorrow and dip into the well of living water if you wished as well. You have never lived until you party like your dying with crowds of undulating flesh as far as they eye can see. The ghosts of those men now inhabit the fantasies and dreams I have still to this day.

One by one, two by two, they died in our arms. We held them until they took their last breaths. Memorialized in the careful and blood soaked threads of quilts, as the years went by, they started collecting by the dozen, then by the hundreds. If you’ve ever seen the entire quilt unfurled, all the men who were part of my life in those first years of my epidemic life, they are all together in death, as they were in life. Memorialized until the end of time. And we remember each of their names.

So many young boys torn from life before they knew what hit them. Men who infected them had died as well. Many of my friends were taken on trips that were detrimental to them, and just robbed them of life that was still left to live.

Todd saw to it that I would never go there…

You come to work, dress as you will, you obey me and do not waver from my eye, for I know your carnal desires and you are too young to tempt the devil with his dance. Because I surely did not know what could befall me if the right charmer enticed me into his web of desire, and they all knew I was fair bait. But in order to dine from my buffet, you needed explicit permission of my Master, who never allowed any man to defile me like many had been. I was off limits. I never crossed the line provided because that meant disrespect and I could never bear to break my Master’s heart with disobedience.

I loved Him, and He loved me – I had many problems. I was depressed and angry and resentful. I had the scars of traumatic visions of my dead lovers corpse in my head, and the words of his mother still ring in my ear today “I hope that every night until you die, that you see the corpse of my dead son in your field of vision.” That curse still lives with me and will go with me to the grave. Five day old corpses are not pretty. I had to identify the remains when all was said and done. Save that he was wearing jewelry that I could identify and part of him was still recognizable – God forgive me…

I remember that day, it was early afternoon the morgue called me from work to come and do the deed. I drove in and looked upon him in that room, I wept tears that burned into my soul forever. I just could not imagine – the pain was so hard to bear. I drove over to the bar. Bill was working behind the bar. I drank until I could not stand up on my own. I drank for a week, straight…

Todd and Bill needed to find me a solution and quick, because I was on the outs.

I started suicide therapy in a group setting that lasted 32 weeks. Nothing like rehashing death week after week, until the pain was purged from your soul, but is it ever? Months went by until I got my news.

But they cared for me in all my brokenness. A young angel would earn his wings back. Come hell or high water. In the end, when all was said and done, at the end of the day I survived, but so many did not. And each night I offer them prayers in hope that when I meet my death that all of them will be waiting for me in the Temple Of Earthly Desire in the promised land of the Kingdom of God, where the sacred and profane are mingled with the blood of the Almighty and the blood of my friends who have gone before me, on that day we will be cleansed of our sins.

And forgiven by God…

Amen

Goodnight angels of men

In a church,by the face,
He talks about the people going under.

Only child know…

A man decides after seventy years,
That what he goes there for, is to unlock the door.
While those around him criticize and sleep…
And through a fractal on a breaking wall,
I see you my friend, and touch your face again.
Miracles will happen as we trip.

But we’re never gonna survive, unless…
We get a little crazy
No we’re never gonna survive, unless…
We are a little…

Cray…cray…cray…

…Crazy yellow people walking through my head.
One of them’s got a gun, to shoot the other one.
And yet together they were friends at school
Ohh, get it, get it, get it, get it no no!

If all were there when we first took the pill,
Then maybe, then maybe, then maybe, then maybe…
Miracles will happen as we speak.

But we’re never gonna survive unless…
We get a little crazy.
No we’re never gonna survive unless…
We are a little…
Crazy…
No no, never survive, unless we get a little… bit…

Oh, a little bit…
Oh, a little bit…

Oh…
Oh…

Amanda decides to go along after seventeen years…

Oh darlin…
In a sky full of people, only some want to fly,
Isn’t that crazy?
In a world full of people, only some want to fly,
Isn’t that crazy?
Crazy…
In a heaven of people there’s only some want to fly,
Ain’t that crazy?
Oh babe… Oh darlin…
In a world full of people there’s only some want to fly,
Isn’t that crazy?
Isn’t that crazy… Isn’t that crazy… Isn’t that crazy…

Ohh…
But we’re never gonna survive unless, we get a little crazy.. crazy..
No we’re never gonna to survive unless we are a little… crazy..
But we’re never gonna survive unless, we get a little crazy.. crazy..
No we’re never gonna to survive unless, we are a little.. crazy..
No no, never survive unless, we get a little bit…

And then you see things
The size
Of which you’ve never known before

They’ll break it

Someday…

Only child know….

Them things
The size
Of which you’ve never known before

Someday…
Someway…
Someday…
Someway…
Someday…
Someway…
Someday…


Predestination

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A couple days ago Curtis sent me an email asking a question, And that was “Predestination – fact or fiction?” Which I wrote him a reply. That reply sent me back to the books. This book specifically.

I believe that God is up there in heaven. And that we are down here. God created them, man and woman and said that that was good. Man and woman have free will to make choices and decisions. God may have ordained the universe and he put us all here for a reason. To learn knowledge and to learn how to love unconditionally and in the end, how to go to our deaths with some modicum of dignity.

I had a hard time wrapping my mind around the thought that God ordained everything in my life to happen the way it did and that he had everything and nothing to do with my current state of life. Did God create illness and suffering and are we just living the lot that God gave us? And if God had the control to create specific instances in our lives then he has the power to change those aspects of life that need to be changed. If God is ultimately in control, and he has a chess board up there and he is playing a great big game with us as pawns then what good is religion?

I’ve never ascribed to the belief that God has caused so many to suffer with illness, disease and Dis-ease. There is such suffering in the world that I cannot even begin to imagine that God has predestined all of this to go like it has. I don’t have all the answers to questions like this, but I can ask them of myself because I have a religious belief and I have a form of cosmology in my head.

I have studied Eastern traditions in  my religious studies and they have different ways of seeing cosmology. Pantheistic religions have a broader view of cosmology than monotheistic religions. Then there is other literature that we can read. Like “Many lives and Many Masters.” or even the books by Kryon, the parables and the spirit books which I read so many of when I was first diagnosed because I needed to know how to die and I also wanted to know what was on the other side. I had my near death experience and they sent me back. And a wise man came to me and told me that I should ask my questions about the universe while I was still alive and not wait until I was dead. What good would answers be once we are dead…

The first time I read Many lives Many Masters it was a few years ago and I was at my in laws for the holidays, that was the first time that I had an astral projection occurrence. Then what followed was several snapping the tether dreams here at home. I have always paid attention to my dreams and I have cataloged them here under the pen name Jerome in the pages.

But I will tell you that I believe in reincarnation and that we have been here before. I myself have never been hypnotized and regressed but I have an affinity of certain times in history – I have quite the fancy for anything Egypt. That was really clear when the Egypt exhibit came to Montreal some years ago. I went to see the exhibit three or four times just to walk through the hall was a journey into the past.

So after talking to Curtis, I reread the text about past lives and reincarnation. And I have another book called The Journey Home a Kryon Parable that I quite like. They are both on my bedside table. I read them now and then. Because they are teaching books. If I have been here before, then I need to know why I am here now. And what debts need to be paid and to whom they need to be paid, and also what specific lessons am I supposed to learn while I am in this current physical incarnation.

If I was here before, and I died and I crossed over to the planes and was given my next incarnation with certain things I needed to do now, and also from Kryon it is said that we contract each incarnation with certain people in each incarnation. It is written that groups of people incarnate together over many lifetimes. That for some of us, certain people in our lives are only supposed to be in our lives for a specific period of time. And that when people come and go from our lives that it was supposed to be that way. And this is a present lesson that I am living through again right now. Why do people come and go from my life like they do, and this is the reminder why.

So now I have to look back over the recent past and ask some serious questions about what has happened and where the lessons are in everything I have done in the recent past. I am reflecting on this because I am writing my final synthesis paper for applied human sciences and I had to write about something from my life that recently occurred. And the writing flowed from somewhere within me. I just felt that the answer was coming so I sat and wrote out an entire section of my paper in one clean sweep.

I guess I go through these stages of reflection and growth every few months because my life is anything but boring and things are happening here and there all the time, and I feel like they have cosmic weight in this earthly incarnation. It goes without saying that this life was ordained by someone and that I have lived this life as it went. I made some rash decisions which I am paying for now. Yet I am still alive, so in my Christian cosmology, God isn’t done with me yet. This is a common expression that people who suffer from illnesses can hold on to, if we are still here and there is air in our lungs, then God is not done with us yet. There are still things to do and lessons to be learned, debts to pay and lessons to pass on to others on the path.

Lent is almost over… the 40 days of preparation and cleansing for Holy Week and the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the most holy time of the religious calendar. Did you carry only what you needed? Did you share your water and bread with other pilgrims on the road? Did you take the easy way through Lent? Or did you work to better yourself and maybe learn something about yourself over these past 40 days and nights? Will you be ready for the resurrection? Will you go to the tomb to find him on that third morning? And who will be with you and what will the angels tell you….

“He is not here he has risen from the dead….”

If there is something that I still need to learn then I am willing to walk a few more steps – if there is a debt to be paid – I need to know to whom I owe that debt. If there are things that were left undone in a past life and I carried those things over into this life, I need to know what those things are. It is said that we are to gain knowledge to become more like God. Which means we must master the seven virtues, and we must also get rid of the seven deadly sins from our lives. We must become more like God in all that we do and say.

Faith without works is dead, it is far to easy to speak the right words – if there is no right action behind them, they are just hollow words with no meaning. So what are you doing with your life? Are you just coasting through on easy street or are you on your personal journey? Do you know what you are doing here? Have you asked the questions you need to ask of yourself ? What is God calling you to do? What has been left undone. What debts do you need to pay and to whom do you need to pay them to? And what lessons have you yet to learn?

If we were here before, and we are here now, there are things still to do. If we are alive then we have a job to do, lessons to learn and we need to meet those people on the path we are supposed to or destined to meet and we are supposed to pass that knowledge on to them. You never know when you will be entertaining an angel and pay close attention because one day the Masters will appear and then you will know what you need to know…

It is simple – we come into this life, and after all is said and done, we must have the ability to be ready to die. Living with no regrets and no misgivings, living life to its fullest, drinking in every experience. Approaching every person on our path with wonder because maybe they have something to pass on to us. Are you paying attention to the signs and the little things???

Sometimes it isn’t the BIG lessons we need to learn about, for many it is the little ones that have the biggest impact on our lives…

See you all soon. More to come…

Stay tuned…


Meltdown…

One never knows when the dam is going to burst and the flood of emotions that will follow are going to occur. Over the last few weeks I have been trying to help hubby deal with his rejection by McGill University in the most helpful ways I can. Alas, I have failed in that effort.

I don’t know how to help him cope any better than I can, with all that resources I have at my disposal and people for him to speak to. How do you keep someone safe from the world? It has been a very upsetting day because hubby came home from his routine day of school and errands and he was a psychotic mess. Today we broke furniture and came to blows and I was the target of his assault. I guess I am not doing enough to help around here and that my efforts are useless and I do absolutely nothing to help him, in his own words.

We warned him of this happening. We tried to stave off the disappointment, but he is going to deal with his misfortune as he will, you can talk, talk, and talk, but as I said yesterday, people are going to have to figure it out on their own time and in their own way. So I have been sitting back watching this all come about, and they say silence gives consent right? He says that I do not talk, which is untrue. He thinks that I won’t listen without judgment, which is untrue. He has flown through this cycle very quickly and to damaging ends.

All this work he has done, has been for naught. The climbing the mountain has brought him no accolades, no scholarships, not acceptance by his peers and in his mind this has been a total outright evil rejection by a system that does not want him. We must add that as a mature student the stakes are different. We are much older that the regular university student – we may get good grades, and we may have to work harder than the rest to get ahead, but in hubby’s mind there is no difference. But there is…

Now he has to start from the beginning again and work on a second BA because his BA in English does not qualify him for very much and all of his friends got further academic acceptance including financial promissory notes of support for schools ‘out of province.’ So we talked about moving…

There are not many choices left to him to consider and the best viable plan is to return to Concordia this summer and continue his studies in communications where he has been studying for the last three years, this is not a choice he made easily, and it came with much revulsion and gnashing of teeth. How could he achieve such academic greatness, graduating with distinction and at the top of his game and not get one iota recognition from anyone further? Although on a personal level, all of his advisers told him that he is brilliant and smart, those words have fallen on deaf ears. He doubts everything that is being said to him because there was no pay off in his graduation. There isn’t going to be a huge celebration for him…

I don’t know how to help him cope any better than what I am already doing, because every time he gets angry he comes after me. and Fuck me for trying right??? In the Big Book it says that there are no justified resentments and that expectations are something that we cannot afford to have to a certain degree. Anyone knows that when you sets your sights too far up and your expectations find themselves in the stratosphere that the fall from those heights can be fatal. Hubby has had a fatal fall from heights that even I cannot save him from…

His attempt at surmounting McGill university was an exercise in futility and we all warned him of that, he did not listen. He was going to do things his way and be damned the ones who tried to deter him from starting the climb. They say that when climbing Everest [Sagarmantha] if you do not approach the mountain with respect and reverence and you do not honor the time told traditions of the climb, that you will fail at summiting the peak. McGill university was the closest to Everest that hubby was going to get, and he came at the mountain with expectations, an ego and a handful of really virulent resentments. And what did the mountain say to him…….. “You shall not summit my peak!”

He doesn’t want to attend any functions with other students because he has been humiliated at the highest degree, he only told his best friend and myself what happened. And graduation is going to be another upsetting event in his litany of fuck all events of this academic year. Many of them are moving forwards, where hubby, it seems, is only moving backwards with his going on to another BA instead of MA work.

All of his friends will be moving away and beyond and he will be stuck here, doing it all over again, and for him that is such punishment that even he cannot seem to bear at the moment. I am powerless to stop this from happening and I am not God, I cannot change the time line we are on. I am powerless over people, places and things.

So I am useless, All I do is sit here and do nothing, I contribute not enough and I am not pulling my weight around here. fuck me!!! I am without words for what happened today. I’ve been assaulted, insulted and read up one side and down the other for remaining steadfast and solid. At least I followed the program to the best of my ability and I only thought about drinking once today…

God grant me serenity…


Opening to Spirituality…

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“Spirituality is more about whether or not we can sleep at night than about whether or not we go to church. It is about being integrated or falling apart, about being within community or being lonely, about being in harmony with Mother Earth or being alienated from her. Irrespective of whether or not we let ourselves consciously shaped by any explicit religious idea, we act in ways that leave us either healthy or unhealthy, loving or bitter. What shapes our actions is our spirituality.”

Spirituality concerns what we do with desire. It takes its root in the eros inside of us and it is all about how we shape and discipline that eros.

Medieval philosophy had a dictum that said: Every choice is a renunciation. Indeed. Every choice is a thousand renunciations. To choose one thing is to turn ones back on many others. To marry one person is not to marry all the others, to have a baby means to give up certain other things; and to pray may mean miss watching television or visiting with friends. This makes choosing hard. No wonder we struggle so much with commitment. It is not that we do not want certain things, it is just that we know that if we choose them we close off so many other things…

I repeat this introduction to begin my discussion and exploration into that which is spiritual within me, around me and is every breath that I take…

I have often said that my relationship to the divine began well before I knew what the Divine was, but the memory of that first introduction to God and the ‘church’ is so deeply ingrained in my soul that to ignore it would be to deny that God exists.

That first day, as a small boy, my grandmother took me to the church and we lit the candles and she stood me before the altar of the church and presented me to God, it was as if, in retrospect, my grandmother knew more about the Divine than anyone else in my family. And she did. I think she knew the odds I was facing at home, with a father who always said that ‘I was a mistake and should never have been born’ she knew that only Divine intervention could have saved me. And in the end it did…

Going to church was something we did. It was part of our existence, the church. Back then in the 1970’s church played a pivotal role in the maintenance of family and the living of daily life and the raising of Catholic children inot pious and holy lives. I reflect that my parents were religious to a point until they themselves broke a cardinal rule and were excommunicated from Holy Mother Church.

That did not stop other members of the family from making sure we were present in mass every Sunday for as long as I remember. Being Catholic was something that was a mark of distinction and pride. The vision of the family going to church on Sunday morning was something you never took for granted. My Aunt and Uncle made sure that whenever we visited them that we would go to mass each and every week during vacations.

I was never raised to fear God or spurn religion. It was endemic to who I was, who we were as family. To know that we practiced our faith to the death. That the march through the sacraments as young people would ensure us our rightful place in the church and guarantee us a blessed death and funeral in the church sanctified by our practice of right and correct faith in spite of everything else going on in the world.

When I made my confirmation in tenth grade, I came face to face with God in my studies to learn the prayers and take the classes necessary to guarantee me a place in the graduating confirmation class. My parents were absolved of their cardinal sin by the pastor of the church we belonged to. Times had changed from Catholic 1970 to Catholic 1982. And the view of such archaic rules of old holy mother church had softened because numbers were down and priests knew that as times changed forgiveness and absolution of parental sin would guarantee that their children would continue to come to church and be guided in the ways of all things holy.

Remember when my grandmother presented me to God on the fateful day? Her prayers were realized when I was accepted into the Seminary in 1986. She knew that I would follow the faith that kept me alive as a child, and it seemed I knew it too. All I wanted was to serve God and his church. But the establishment was tainted and in the end I left the seminary, a failure as a candidate, but a winner in that I did not participate in the deceit and lies that were propagated by the men who called themselves priests. I knew what went on behind the gates of higher learning and I was not going to be complicit in what they were teaching to young boys…

After that my spiritual life was finished. My failure to become a priest was the downfall that took me to the gates of hell. So began my odyssey into the world. I grew up and became a numeric adult. Which means I turned 21… But I was still a child.

My life as a member of my family ended, and forced to make decisions that were clearly premature, I left the nest and entered the world. Ill equipped to know what the next right thing was. Add to that that something was different and I knew it, and so did my parents and nobody did anything to help me or to point out the obvious, because all the adults knew that I was an odd boy, but nobody had the decency to tell me. My bad I guess…

In 1987, I took a trip to Europe. I saw some great capitol cities and I even visited the Vatican and I climbed the cupola of St. Peter’s Basilica and saw the Pope. I stood on top of Holy Mother Church, literally. I looked down on the Vatican gardens and attended mass in the basilica. I had ascended from small town church to Holy Mother Church. I stood in St. Peter’s Square and marveled at the grandiosity of it all. I had made the physical and spiritual pilgrimage that every good Catholic should make in their lives, to visit Holy Mother Church once before death. It is not as grandiose as the Hajj, but pretty close.

I think that my Spiritual Life began with the words, “Jeremy you have AIDS, you are going to die, you have on the outside, 18 months to live, so make it count…”

I was 26 years old. That was in July of 1994. That was then, This is now…

I was sitting in class listening to Fr. Ray talk about spirituality and what was required of us for the term. We have a term paper to write for this class, and I sat there and I thought to myself, ‘what am I going to write on?’ Well, I am reading Mother Teresa’s Come be my Light, I could write about her. Then he mentioned LGBTQ spirituality and how it has become a force to be reckoned with. I agreed with that assessment.

I know for the first 18 months after my diagnosis, I counted the days. Every last one of them ad nauseum. I lived every day as if it was my last. My Master held me as I wept in his arms, because my family could not and would never. When I did not die, I began my spiritual quest. I was the ‘Boy who Lived!!!’

For a few years after that initial diagnosis, I was running on endorphans until I was confident that I could let go and I knew that I was NOT going to die tomorrow. When I met the doctor who would take up my case and he guaranteed me that I would not die under his watch, I began to live. These first five years after diagnosis were terribly difficult. I was so sick, I was loosing weight and after many close calls with death, I had my only Near Death Experience. I have since that day, have had many out of body experiences. But after sitting in the garden and the fact that they sent me back, set the fire within me to find out everything that I could about what was on the other side.

My spiritual journey had begun. I was getting sober at the same time so the 12 steps played a crucial role in jump starting my spiritual experience.  So began my search into all things spiritual. Every book, every story, every experience. Every path available to me to find, explore and follow.

Tomorrow part II of the story…


Jerome – Cosmology …

In Jain cosmology, the heavens are set up in a multi level system with the lower heavens and the upper heavens.
Jain Cosmology from Religion Facts Online


Jains believe that the universe and everything in it is eternal. Nothing that exists now was ever created, nor will it be destroyed. The universe consists of three realms: the heavens, the earthly realm and the hells.

There are seven levels of heaven in Jain cosmology. The top level, “the Realm of the Jinas” is reserved for liberated souls. The next level down is the realm of the gods.

The earthly realm, or jambudnoa (“Continent of the Rose-Apple Tree”) is divided into seven regions by six mountain ranges. Deliverance and religious merit is possible in three of these regions: India in the south, airavat in the north, and mahavideha in the middle.

The eight hells become progressively colder as they go down.

**********************
I had a visual dream today about the heavens. It was multileveled like Jain cosmology, yet it has a very Buddhist twist. I was standing on this plane, and I was taken up to the next plane of existence. I understood that when you die on one plane, you move to the next in an ever present ever changing world of existence.

Each plane of existence was not so much grander than the one before it, but there were clear differences in them as you moved from one level to the next. I was told that you cannot move between the existence planes or influence what was going on below. I had the ability to see cities and towns, and move from place to place, and space to space. I found myself navigating through apartments and gardens. I was able to move from one level [plane] to the next as if floating between the spiritual levels.

It was a technicolor dream of grand proportions. The colors were vivid the sky was bright blue and the temples were incredibly amazing with their sculptures and decorated statues and gardens. There was life and there was death.

I looked upon a calendar like structure, it was almost as if each life was documented and as the soul moved through each plane, they would come to the time where they would leave [each] plane of existence moving upwards towards the uppermost level. At the end of your time of existence on each plane there were temples to celebrate your life and mourn your death.

I do not know if there was an earthbound soul that corresponded to a spiritual soul making their way up through the many spiritual levels, rising to the top most level of shrines and gardens. I could not see below, I was focused on what was going on around me.

You exist on each level in successive and once you complete your time on each level you die, and that is not a bad thing. Eventually you end up on the final level where you find a huge temple with a gigantic Buddha and lakes and rivers, and temples and places to live.

I am familiar with Jain cosmology and with Buddhist tradition. They do not share the same afterlife cosmology which is strange because what I saw was very Jain, but what was the Buddha doing there? Jain and Buddhist tradition are very similar in many ways as when I studied Jainism, Buddhist writings were consulted.


Essay …

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He has passion, he has drive and a flair for the divine. From long ago he remembers that gift he was given to see things from a different point of view. An area of his mind is dedicated to that which he is passionate about. And he goes there on occasion, and it surprises him when he can instantly recall memory, teaching and direction.

But at times, that location is foreign and unknown. For the most part that passion lies dormant in the garden of thought and memory. Like this past week, for instance. The material he needs to study is in front of him, and unlike his counterparts who are crazily trying to learn by osmosis, his method of study is perfected in wisdom and memory.

And at that moment he has contacted that part of his brain that just knows! And it comes forth like a rush of the sea, or the breeze of a strong wind and it overtakes him. Reading is fundamental.

Knowing that his passion for religion will serve him well. Paying attention to lectures, reading the text and integrating discussion is necessary, but there is more…

The paper is due, and he sits in front of his computer and words fall from his lips like candy. He can’t help himself but to type as fast as the words are coming from his mind. He is sure that this free flow of information to his topical discussion of pre-Christian Celtic history and culture is correct. But where is this knowledge coming from?

The door to his inner library has been opened, but he did not actively seek to open this door, yet it opened on demand, but at whose demand, he wonders? as if that part of his mind knew that it was necessary at that given moment. He is grateful for small miracles.

The meeting and melding of conscious and unconscious conspire together to fill the pages with passionate information gathered over the years to culminate in a scholarly academic effort. And he knows that he is on fire, that to even attempt to stop the flow of information coming to the page would be disastrous for him at this moment, so he goes with the flow. He types until the rush of falling water stops.

He has done it again, another masterpiece of written accomplishment. He counts the pages and he changes nothing. The paper just has to go as is. He knows that it was the right decision to allow free form information to stay as it came to him.

He sat in bed last night reading the text, Roman Paganism, Hellenism and Alexander the Great, The Jewish Diaspora, and the concept of the Exile in Judaic history, Justin Martyr’s three theories about Christianity, Hellenism and the Jewish Response, Hellenism and the Christian response and finally, The Christian Persecutions in the first three centuries…

All this information is not new to him, he has studied this for years, and in this divine moment the door to his inner library has opened once again, on demand… but whose demand??

He has thought through the material and has his dates in logical order, he has written the essays in his head, because he knew that to write down the entire answer would stave away “cathartic in the moment writing” because he enjoys the challenge of “in the moment” essay writing.

As he sets the book down to prepare for bed, he thought to himself, you know, I have all this down – the warning light is blinking in my head, I missed something or I haven’t covered this other topic completely because his sixth sense tells him that the prof is going to drop an exam totally out of the realm that you have academically prepared. Listening to that still small voice and …

Picking up the book, he finds the end of the chapter, Gnosticism. But he knows this subject, inside and out, because he thinks like a Gnostic, he has studied all the texts he knows the finer points, the minutiae of their philosophy…

The morning of the exam is before him, he is confident in his abilities and he passes the T.A. on the way into the lecture hall and he asks her if she hand picked the questions for the exam, because out of all the topics only two will be asked to be written on. She replies, “Why yes, I did.” It’s going to be easy…

He sits and grabs the book for one last date review to make sure he has memorized them in the order of occurrence. He shuts the book after a few moments of thought, he closes his eyes and he prays for wisdom…

With the exam before him, he opens the page and looks down. There is no challenge, there is no complicated question that will require him to write an extreme essay answer that he so diligently prepared for.

He writes on the two topics, his sixth sense served him well. Hellenism and Christian response and Gnosticism. The doors of the inner library open and he begins to write. The cathartic free flow has begun, in a matter of minutes it is all over with.

He shuts the exam booklet and takes a deep breath…

What a let down. He is disappointed that he did not get the academic challenge he really wanted from the exam. Has he wasted his time in this class? Was this a bad choice, he asks himself? The writing of the essay came too easily, the answers came too easily.

He wanted to write about the Exile or Alexander the Great, alas, he has to settle for what he was asked to write on.

Is it better to know too much or to know not enough and in that have to struggle to write an exam, or was he meant to know all that he knew in the way he knew it and therefore he free flowed the answers like falling water, it just came like second nature…

Sometimes second nature scares him.

He has learned enough to know when he hits the mark like that that it was meant to be. He wanted the challenge, he was ready …


Radcliffe nervous about baring all on Broadway

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By Michelle Nichols 

 

NEW YORK (Reuters) – British actor Daniel Radcliffe hopes to debut on Broadway next year in a reprise of his London role in “Equus,” a performance where he shed not only his clothes but the mantle of Harry Potter.

Radcliffe won rave reviews for his performance as a tortured teenager during an 8-week run of Peter Shaffer’s grueling psychological thriller in London earlier this year, but said the prospect of acting in New York was “terrifying.”

“It will be amazing, but I will be terrified because I was talking to Richard Griffiths about playing New York and he said the most stupid thing you can do is underestimate New York audiences,” said Radcliffe, 18, in an interview with Reuters.

Griffiths, who appeared with Radcliffe in “Equus” in London and played the role of Uncle Vernon in the Harry Potter movies, won a Tony Award in New York in 2006 for his role in “The History Boys.”

While promoting his latest movie, “December Boys,” in New York, Radcliffe — best known for bringing to life author J.K. Rowling’s boy wizard Harry Potter — said “Equus” could open late next year in New York.

“I would be very nervous because I think that (the audiences are) even more discerning than in London,” he said. “But I know we have a good show, it was a good show when we did it in London and hopefully if we do it again it will still be that good. It has to be better.”

Media hype over Radcliffe’s nude scene in the play sparked more than $4 million in advance ticket sales in London.

“Equus” was first produced in London in 1973 to critical acclaim and won a Tony Award for best play in 1975 during a long run on Broadway. It was adapted by Shaffer for a 1977 film starring Richard Burton and Peter Firth, which received three Oscar nominations in 1978.

“December Boys,” Radcliffe’s first major role outside the Harry Potter films, opens in the United States, Britain and Australia this month. The movie tells the tale of four orphans growing up at a Catholic convent in outback Australia.

Radcliffe said he will begin working on “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” — the sixth movie in the seven part series — this month and that the project would likely take a minimum of eight or nine months.


The Totem

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Tonight I am proud to present the last of the three very special writers who were commissioned to write for me during my birthday week. This is from Cooper – from Coopers Corridor out in B.C. He is a truly gifted writer and a father of two young boys. Without further ado, I give you Cooper and his writing on the Totem.

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I stand in the great hall of the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver, head bent back, gazing up forty feet to where precise images have been carved into cedar totem poles by craftsmen whose art has been almost entirely erased by time. Near the bottom of a nearby pole, a smooth-shouldered wolf rests in the shadow of a killer whale. The eye of the whale is a shadowed well.

This wood, these bones, trace the nature and purpose of a vast awareness, a living spirit in the grain, each knot and every growth-ring a secret hieroglyph worked carefully into many layers of meaning. The echo of leaves is here, the resonance of damp fields half submerged in twilight, of dark soil and tales of night. And long, interwoven strands of time knitted together by wood and human hands.

The wood has been coaxed into shape … whittled, chiseled, sculpted with broad, incising strokes … by tools of utmost antiquity, by weapons, by stones, by countless forms oiled by brown muscled skin.

The focus of the collections is northwestern …hundreds of examples … an eagle with a five-foot, intricately carved beak, a tenebrous skull shape, moons and ravens and wild spirits of the forest. There are objects of great power here. The spirit of creative work calls to whomever will listen, and as I gaze at these ethereal faces staring back from a lost age, their muted colors hiding a secret flame, once again I hear that whisper spiraling out from the primordial source of things.

This is my spiritual heritage.

The instant I reach my hand to the wood and sense a silent energy thrumming inside, I become aware of being pulled into an elemental state. The stillness of that source lies behind the dream of an ancient, verdant grove that sometimes wakes me in the night.

Dark sky, cold rain, and a ground made bright by the sinuous shapes of wood sawn fresh from the tree … ivory of birch, faded porcelain of maple, linen of alder. There is some cypress, too, its scent of lemons reaching to sting me with exhilaration. A black, rough walnut rests alongside the opened bole of a Douglas fir, its orange grain glowing from a sunrise heart. I reach down to touch the alder, and in the moment of reaching, of touching the silent wood with its living core of mystery, I become acutely aware of the life-blood of my ancestors within me.

I acknowledge that the wood’s redemption … its escape from dissolution … is also my own. We are bound now, fragments of becoming. We share the journey of the totem. The faces of the figures are hidden in my own hands and heart. The totem is a spiritual heraldry. It describes, through a vast shorthand, the indications of the unfathomable. It is a finger pointing to the beginning, a wind blowing from a pristine field of possibility. It relates the tale of meteoric iron birthed as companion to the sun. Totems are reminders to remember, and to act.

I step into the landscape of my own totem. I see my Nana, the falcon, her brow etched like the grain of rough cedar, weathered by pain, made bright with love. I hear the voice of my mother, the wolf … first a clear call, then a tremor, and finally a sorrowing wail. I feel the hands of my unknown father, the ghostly raven that I sometimes watch, looking for myself.

I am the eagle ….the one who carries and sustains, whose touch is redolent with solace.

My oldest son, to whom I gave the second name Cedar … the swift little deer … blueberry stains on his chin, shouting with joy as he runs through green fields. And my baby boy Rowan, the seal, cradled by wonder, darting into the light with luminous eyes.

I wonder what indelible traces I will leave … and they … what teeth marks from carved mouths? I reach toward a horizon of prophecy, to mentors and unknown guides, the gods and goddesses of an unbroken cord of lineage secured at the source by invisible hands.

This is where I begin.

Totem Poles – The Story of a Nation carved in Cedar (website)

 


Blast from my Past .. On Coming Out !!


Here it is: The Anthem of my Life… Jimmy Somerville with the Communards Circa, it was early 1989 and I had turned 21 the summer before my move to Orlando. I’ve moved out of the house and away from my family to be a gay boy. Mark and Patrick have taken me to the Parliament House:

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For my “Indoctrination Ceremony.” We pay our cover and walk through the piano bar into the FootLight Theatre, a path I could walk blindly if necessary…

Carmella Marcella Garcia is doing “Under the Boardwalk” by Bette Midler, Rusty Faucett is doing “Fancy” by Reba McIntyre and I have just attended my first drag show in my life in the Footlights Theatre. Jimmy Johnson has done “Ain’t No Mountain Higher!” I am smitten with him. I loved him so. He brought me roses once. I am now a draglett…

We advance into the disco with Patrick on my arm. The lights are flashing, young gay boys are dancing to the beat, and I am out of my mind Drunk on the scene alone. If Heaven had a name then it would be Patrick! This song comes on and Patrick pulls me onto the dance floor and I am caught up in the music. He holds me close and then, like magic, he kissed me and for a brief moment I saw the light …

That memory is 19 years old. I have come so far. And I LIVED…

If I could have a drink, and One night to do it, with the people who were there just as it had happened then, this IS the night I would choose.


Coming soon… 7 – 31 – 2007

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We have invited several well known and brilliant writers to come and write selections for my Birthday Celebration next week. The brilliant Cooper from BC on the Peoples of the West Coast, And Novelists – (The Misanthropic Anarchist) Ben Leto from London England and our very own Haiku author of Montreal, the most amazing Angela Leuck.

You can visit Ben: The Boy who Could but Didn’t
You can visit Cooper : Cooper’s Corridor

It will be a most beautiful day of writing, poetry, prose and story. I hope you all will join us on Tuesday July 31st…


Sermon on many topics…

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Totem Pole in Stanly Park, Vancouver B.C.

Why is there a totem pole on this writing? Because I need a guide to write something coherent and learned. I go there mentally sometimes when I want to write, to sit in Kingcome Village with Mark Brian, the vicar of St. George’s Church, in Margaret Craven’s,

“I heard the Owl Call my Name.”

There is a majesty in the totem, a story of a people, of their traditions and their ways of thought. I heard a man speaking about the totem at the meeting tonight, and he said,

“I remember the totem, and the fact that I am the man on the bottom of the totem and not the one at the top. That keeps me grounded and sober.”

Men of different path’s populate the downtown core meetings and every once in a while you hear something that rings true to one’s soul. My heart stirred when he spoke and I remembered my spirit.

There is a lot going on in this sphere tonight, some of it good, and some of it is not so good. People are moving, leaving, breaking up and even some are moving forward in the coupling of relationships into one home and a together life. We have talked about depression as of late. And I have a particular view on that topic, because of my own depression battle and that of my husbands Bi-Polar issues.

There is NO pill that is going to make it all better. That magic pill does not exist. That’s why we have so many drug addicted people all over the world. When I got home Peter was watching a program on the Paxil fiasco. I was on Paxil once, what a nightmare. Doctors and drug companies want to ply us with all the pills we can pay for and for the most part, we can’t afford all the pills we must take on any given day.

You want to take pills and see therapists and doctors – yes do that. Sometimes depression and medical issues NEED a doctor’s or a psychiatrists fine vision. Peter’s shrink worked very hard to help us and he did. But aside from taking a pill and then finding Jesus, unless you want to get better and step out of the darkness, you have to take that first step into the light. So I offer you a candle to help light your way.

We cannot get by on medication alone. There has to come, in time, a desire to live, a desire to get better a desire to end the depression or illness. And I am one to speak about illness. I’ve been taking pills for the last 13 years to stay alive. Some sober people shun the medical necessity of some sober folks to stay alive. I’ve had all the fights I want to have about clean and sober and medical necessity.

I have been in and out of a therapists office on and off for the last 13 years. I find that another set of eyes and ears works to help me stay on track and having that guidance and therapy has, in short order saved my life. When I suffered from Agoraphobia some time ago, and I wouldn’t leave the house, I was on specific medication and seeing a specific therapist and we worked me out of the house over a six month period. It all started with wanting to sit on the front porch of my condo outside. Then I learned to walk around the block, and in turn I learned how to walk to the beach and feel safe, that my attacker wasn’t coming to get me. So I know what fear is.

And we find that “Fear is a Great Motivator for CHANGE.”

But fear can also cripple us. Do I need these pills forever, in my case, I need pills to help regulate my brain and my immune system and keeps my depression and anger in check. I know I need medication and that medication helps me stay sane, sober and alive. But I also take the steps every day to work on and with myself. Being good to myself, and doing something good for myself every day.

“Every day you should do something nice for yourself, Just Because!!

Fear must not cripple us into complacency and ignorance about the world around us. Depression is a hard fought battle for so many, I have a viable work – therapy solution I offer my directees and kids that I work with. When parent’s who know me ask me to help them with their children, I take that as a huge compliment and a very important charge. So I am not clueless when I talk about medical issues and pills and depression. I’ve been there and I am here. I survived debilitating depression, it can be done.

Letting Go…

All life functions on the principle of letting go. We are constantly changing physically, emotionally, mentally and sexually. Our lives move forward, as if on auto pilot, knowing that forward motion is the preferred direction and never backwards. How I wish, on that odd occasion, when I wax on nostalgia, that time could be reversed, just for a time.

Letting Go is a sober issue too. Recognizing the wreckage of our pasts, taking stock and making note, and 4th stepping the past away so that 5 – 6 and 7 can take root into 8 and 9 and then our checkup 10th step and continual spiritual connection in step 11 and then when we have done these to the best of our abilities for ourselves, then we can carry the message in the 12th step. Every one in this world is availed spiritual awakenings. it is possible for us to see, experience and share spiritual experiences. Letting Go is a spiritual experience. It is a spiritual action. That one is able to let go Absolutely!!

Sometimes we do not know when to let go, then again, many of us will not let go because that would mean that we would either be alone, live alone, or perish the thought, CHANGE!!! Sometimes I read blogs and I can see the “pain on the page.” I think that some people should let go of old habits and old people, those people who are not serving us in a spiritual capacity for goodness and light. But how do I move on and let go, well, that’s tricky. One step at a time. You make a decision. You set a date and you stick to that date.

Relationships come and go and boys are a dime a dozen and I can personally assure you that if you leave a function-less relationship that is painful, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I spent much of my HIV positive years ALONE. Because men are pigs, self serving and heartless and clueless. I have had (count them on one hand) very few relationships where I knew that the man who was in my bed – wanted to be in my bed, because he understood the reality of death and illness and I didn’t scare them. But most of them, eventually I had to let go because I was moving at a different speed as them. Life has its own rhythm. And its own speed. In fighting depression, I did it alone. Oh, I had friends, but I wasn’t in “relationship” with any one in particular – for a LONG TIME…

It wasn’t until I came back from my slip, worked on me, let go of the past and all that went with it, including everything that I owned, I am still working on that “Let DOWN” and got sober this last time, that I was ready to accept love and give love, I HAD to find love in myself for myself before I could give it to someone else and have that love reciprocated.

“The Pink Neon Sign”

I have learned over the last six years in Montreal sobriety, that every human being walks around with a PINK NEON SIGN flashing above their heads. Go to enough meetings and seek spiritual solutions and you will begin to see it all around you. Get on the Metro or a bus or walk down the street and read all the “Signs” coming at you…

  • Desperate
  • Lonely
  • Seeking
  • Drunk or High
  • Hysterical
  • PMS’ing…
  • Postal!!
  • Crazy
  • and eventually Sane and Happy

I have learned what sign all my “peoples” carry around above them and I love them any ways, even if some of them will never unplug or change the message flashing, for a few hours each week, I can reach them through ministry, and love them unconditionally. In the practice of “Letting Go” you stop and you unplug that sign for a while until you find an appropriate message to display. And that may take some time, and that’s ok, as long as you are working on yourself. You don’t have to be getting sober. These principles are universal and can be utilized by everyone – everywhere.

Sometimes the FEAR of Change or FEAR of being alone, makes us hang on to people and situations that baffle us, just because we don’t see the way out, or we are Un-Willing to see the solution, or we just FEAR…

“Fear is a great motivator for change…”

Everyone has the power to recognize when it is right to let go, when it is necessary to let go, and when it is crucial that we let go. Life will move forward and sometimes life asks of us to do things we may not necessarily like – but if the Gardner does not prune his rose bushes, how can they flower beautifully each season…

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Attributed to King Solomon

To everything there is a season, and
a time to every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born, and
a time to die;
a time to plant, and
a time to pluck up
that which is planted;

A time to kill, and
a time to heal;
a time to break down, and
a time to build up;

A time to weep, and
a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and
a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and
a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and
a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and
a time to lose;
a time to keep, and
a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and
a time to sow;
a time to keep silence, and
a time to speak;

A time to love, and
a time to hate;
a time of war; and
a time of peace.

With all humility we ask for God’s blessing tonight on those who come to visit and read, that they may find peace and wisdom in the many pages of writings we offer here and may I always remember that I inhabit the man at the foot of the totem and not the eagle of top. That I am who I am, in all my humanity, without ego or arrogance.

We thank the creator for all good things…


And the 2007 Tony for Best Musical goes to…

Spring Awakening