Dec 112016
 

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There is a way to avoid a Trump presidency, but it requires both compassion and vulnerability. Perhaps Alexander Hamilton foresaw this when he wrote of elector responsibility in The Federalist. Let me explain.

In less than a week, something historic will happen in our country. Electors will be defecting in some way, voting for someone other than the candidate that their state directs them to vote for. It’s happened a few times in our history, but I suspect this election cycle will herald something new, a use of the Electoral College that hearkens back to the birth of our nation. We already know at least two Republican electors will vote for someone other than Donald Trump, and the questions are getting deeper. One superb article asks “What Would You Do If You Were a Presidential Elector?” This cuts close to the heart

It’s been a long time, well over a hundred years (or perhaps never) since there has been such a deep malfunction in our electoral system. Hillary Clinton has nearly three million more popular votes than Trump, yet the Republican system of government that we love has created the prospect of a Trump presidency. Obviously, more voters are upset by this than the number of voters delighted by it, simply based on the popular vote.

Now the CIA reports that Russians deliberately interfered with the election, conservative publications confirm it, and both Senate and House republicans call across party lines for investigation. Of course there are many issues with Trump as president, flare-ups of racist behavior, trite reactivity on Twitter, and destabilization of our relationship with the largest nation on Earth, China. But these behaviors don’t seem to grab our national psyche and political will in the same way reports from 17 different intelligence agencies do. Even Fox News is taking this on, it’s deeply disturbing.

The only way to avoid a Trump presidency is if enough electors defect, and vote for some one else. This would toss the election to the House of Representatives for resolution. But who would the electors (and the House) vote for?

40 or more Republican electors could vote for another candidate (or even the one with the largest popular vote, Hillary Clinton – although that won’t happen).

100 or more Democratic electors could vote for a different Republican (like Kasich or Romney) and bring at least 36 Republican electors with them.

Stop and feel for a moment what either of these choices would require…a large number of individual altruistic acts on the part of many electors. The electors will get tons of abuse (they are already getting it) from the voters in their state, and would have to take a historic stand unseen in our country’s history. They would have to find the internal strength and resolve and vulnerability to vote differently, and this is no easy feat. They would have to not only swallow their pride and vote for the opposite party, but have the guts to stand up and be counted for history, without knowing the outcome of their generous act.

The potential for healing our national rift is enormous. The members of Congress are like a bad marriage; fighting publicly and criticizing each other endlessly for years, refusing to cooperate, obstructing progress.

The only way out of the current nightmare is through a compassionate and vulnerable act. It should not surprise us that the deep, violent and unconscious forces in our culture would bring us to this place.

Pray for compassion on one side or the other. It’s really important that both Republicans and Democrats realize that they have the power to alter history in this moment. It remains to be seen if that happens.

 Posted by at 6:28 pm

serendipity revisited

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Oct 292016
 
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Labyrinth at the top of Oak Manor, Fairfax, CA

This week, something happened that was so mind-bogglingly improbable, that serendipity itself is called into question. This is the center of a labyrinth at the top of the ridge we live on. Today, it’s wet, thank you to the forces, rains seem to be settling in early this year. As you can see, folks have put all kinds of cool things in the center — and in fact, this labyrinth is a community project, with some amusing history…it was destroyed by bulldozer about ten years ago by the Marin Open Space District, and then they discovered it’s on private property, so the district supervisor was justifiably fired/relocated for being a dork. But on to the story…

We hiked to the labyrinth a few days ago with pockets full of small altar objects, things that have been kicking around closets and cabinets in the house for years. A red glass heart, a really pretty fist-sized sea shell, a piece of quartz, a small child’s toy, and a half-dozen other items. Some came from Nancy, some were left here by friends at past ritual events…it was time to find a home for them, and the center of the labyrinth was perfect. So we headed up the hill with a friend, walked the labyrinth thoughtfully, and planted the objects. Lovely morning all around.

That same evening, attending class at Sukhasiddhi, I happened to get in a conversation with a woman I had never met before. For some odd reason, we were talking about hiking, and I found out that she and her young son had just happened to walk up to the same labyrinth in the afternoon, where he discovered all the new objects in the middle, and was fascinated by the sea shell, the glass heart…

Perhaps a half-dozen people visit this spot each day, and I know many of them from my neighborhood. This woman and her family don’t even live in my town, and just happened to go up there. On the same day. And found the same items. And we met each other for the first time. And we talked about hiking. And we discovered that we had had the same objects in our hands a few hours apart, miles away from where we were standing.

Minds blown, we stared at each other, and laughed and hugged.

Now, I’m a firm believer in serendipity, and mostly look at coincidence as the magic and teaching of the universe. I have been reading the book: E-Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality, by Pam Grout. That is blowing my mind too. It is almost as though the universe thoughtfully served up a mind-bogglingly unlikely coincidence just to make sure I’m paying attention. Apparently I’m not the only one, as I just discovered that there is an official acronym for this: MBUC.

Ok, I’m paying attention. And studying things they never taught me in college, while letting go much of what they did teach me. It’s actually an amusing relief to find out there is so much to unlearn. Like, uh, everything I thought I knew.

Apparently this happy sequence was not enough, and the universe has a sense of humor. We were out having lunch today with friends at one of our favorite places, Saltwater in Point Reyes. Our companions and Jen and I were engaged in a fun conversation about cooking, about baking, about how Michael Pollan’s series “Cooked” (on Netflix) changed baking habits. And he and his wife walk in to the restaurant. I can only laugh with the pleasure and divinity of all this.

 Posted by at 10:42 pm

there comes a time

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Jul 242016
 

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It’s been a summer of change, as I’ve quit my corporate gig as of the beginning of the month. Not sure how much software engineering is in my future, but I don’t think I will ever work in a company again, unless it’s a company I help create.

Uh, retirement? Cracking this door open, a world of feeling bursts forth. Fear. Do I have enough resources? What would my life look like when I’m not building software stuff? Who am I if I’m not a “provider”, if I’m not “productive”, if I’m not “competitive”? Excitement. Camping, motorcycle trips, woodworking projects, volunteer work, learn new things! My brain kind of explodes as I sit with what might be the biggest internal change I’ve ever embraced;

What I do know, after two weeks of blissful industry, is that I get to do more of what I really want. And more of what I really need… letting objects and expectations go, feel into what I truly desire, plan how to devote my time and energy. Right now life is quite full, as July is dedicated to moving Jen into my home. This means tossing more and more of the stuff I’ve inherited from my parents, stepparents, grandparents, and the last remnants of Nancy’s archives, books and clothes. The purging and organization feels great, our house feels better, cleaner, clearer, ours.

I am honestly surprised how life can be completely spontaneous! Someone needs a hand moving, Jen and I engage in a good deep discussion or wild brainstorming, we can just do it without schedule worries. Friends with a plane want to fly up to Tahoe for lunch, well, sure, I’m in! If I have a spare hour or two, there are a dozen projects to tackle, and all feel good to work on. My habitual focus is a great asset, as I could easily lose myself in the ocean of options available to me. I’ve been able to keep a few projects in my mind at all times, and knock them off one by one, without feeling stressed or overwhelmed.

On the professional front, as if by magic, two startup opportunities have come to my attention, chances to drive the whole development cycle, the product architecture and company build-out from scratch. One in particular involves both Jen and a friend of ours, and has consciousness-building and positive-karmic aspects that I find very attractive. Perhaps we will be working together on a new adventure that has benefits the world.

Already, the next few months feel full. Burning Man, a retreat on Kauai in September, a trip to Pasadena and and various other travel plans beyond that. This feels like the best part of my life is ahead of me, so much joy and contentment and pleasure in what I do each day.

It seems tragic that we cannot easily set our lives up to create this kind of existence. As I release most of my identity as a professional engineer, I must acknowledge that I’ve worked for 39 years with little time off, and I’ve earned this, before I can accept it and relax into this new life. Receiving such bounty brings me to tears of gratitude.

 Posted by at 9:13 pm

life in a shopping bag

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May 212016
 
life in a shopping bag

Today I happened to notice that I was carrying my usual small reusable shopping bag, and really looked at it for perhaps the first time in ten years. My first thought was, Wow, twenty four years old, and I’m still using this thing. The second thought was, How many shopping bags has it kept me […]

 Posted by at 4:48 pm

on bonzos and memory

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Mar 032016
 
on bonzos and memory

After spontaneously singing to Jen at 3am recently, a song from the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, I’m noticing some of the layers that assemble me, specifically, how my memory works. I’m also in a several day sprint where the evil disc jockey inside my head is playing a random stream of Bonzo music throughout […]

 Posted by at 6:52 pm

enzed

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Feb 282016
 
enzed

Jen and I are just back from a two-week trip to New Zealand, with a couple of days in Hawaii on the way home. We met in Wellington, spent a day exploring, then took the ferry to the south island and drove for ten days. You can see lots of pictures in my Facebook album. […]

 Posted by at 12:06 am

penny is gone

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Nov 032015
 
penny is gone

We inevitably lose our parents, and perhaps it is fortunate when we lose them before they lose us. My father-in-law lost his daughter, my wife, before he passed away, and I think it really crushed him. So there is a blessing and an initiation when our parents pass. Our grief can bring us into adult, […]

 Posted by at 5:37 pm

weapons and trust

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Oct 072015
 
weapons and trust

Six days ago, a young idiot with multiple automatic weapons killed nine people in Roseburg, Oregon. As we are all reeling from the insanity and pain of this tragedy, it struck again a half-mile from my home. Steve Carter, a beloved teacher and counselor, was killed on a trail I’ve hiked many times, his dog […]

 Posted by at 6:29 pm

ttitd

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Sep 092015
 
ttitd

Ah, That Thing In The Desert. I’ve been smiling and contemplating our seven days at Burning Man, wondering what can I say about such a well-photographed and commented event? It was my first time on the playa, and we had the good fortune to stay at VW Bus Camp, in Mz. Parker, the white Westfalia […]

 Posted by at 5:33 pm
Aug 092015
 
the cat nature of impact

I am fascinated by our impact on each other, partially because it is the only form of permanence that we have, and partially because it is so close to the heart of incarnation and karma. So I was moved to tears when I read (yet another amazing) obituary in The Economist…for a cat. Go to […]

 Posted by at 4:24 pm