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
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
May 212016
 

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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 from using, and the answer is perhaps five hundred. What a good investment, a free handout from a seminar weekend I never attended, one of the most green objects I have ever owned. So interesting how my value for this little bag opens into something much greater when I contemplate it, when I actually notice it.

The bag itself carries meaning, in the ineradicable stain patterns on the white canvas. There is a small green grass stain on the bottom, from the time I took it to a concert in Sigmund Stern Grove in San Francisco, to see the Preservation Hall Jazz Band 20 years ago with high school friends and my dear first wife. I certainly had a wonderful time that day, or that little detail would never have stuck in my head.

It came to me because my wife worked for the California College of Pediatric Medicine at the time. She and I got married less than five months after this Super Seminar, and we used several bags like this to pack stuff away for the backyard ceremony that filled our home with guests and love. We separated a dozen years ago, and somehow this bag traveled with me. I remember I used it to carry some very immediate and personal items, like my wallet and glasses, cell phone and address book, as I packed and left our home. Perhaps that is why I carry this bag with me most of the time, even though I have a dozen other larger, newer, less graphic cloth shopping bags, still sparkling clean.

Oddly, nothing around this bag’s creation and transmittance to me exists any longer. The marriage that brought the bag to me is long gone, and so is the California College of Pediatric Medicine, which was absorbed by another organization in 2002. I am no longer in touch with most of the people I knew at the time, having moved through divorce, re-marriage, widowhood and new partnership, and moving into new living places five times since the bag came into my awareness. So many changes, yet my relationship with this bag endures and deepens.

The bag itself is sturdy, still as functional as the day it was new. The company that made it, Crestline Company Inc., 22 West 21st Street, New York, is still around. A good example of the nature of phenomena: there is the thing (whatever it is), and our personal world of experience, perception, meaning projected upon it. The thing endures, das ding an sich (thank you, Kant!), while all our projections come and go like ripples on a pond.

I find myself noticing the objects in my life today with fresh perspective and much more respect. My world is drenched in depth and meaning, I need only look with grateful eyes.

 Posted by at 4:48 pm
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
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
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
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
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
Jul 142015
 
a day of preciousness

Today has been one of those beautiful, synchronistic days where I seem to have gotten all the pieces in place to feel precious human existence. We turn so easily away from death, thinking and worrying about all the mundane details, our mortgage, what our relatives or neighbors think of us…the honest truth is that death […]

 Posted by at 8:53 pm