Sunday, November 22, 2009

Precious Life... Precious Moments

When people advise us to cherish the moments we have together, to remember that these moments are precious, the message often goes through one ear and out the other. Although it may seem overly sentimental at times, the depth of this advice is infinite... and one of my best childhood friends is realizing the wisdom of this adage from his personal experience of great loss. His sister and best friend suddenly and tragically passed away in the spring of her life one week ago. When I saw him yesterday, he reflected on treasured memories of his beloved sister and embodied a deep sense of gratitude for those precious moments.

As a child, I often referred to David's family as my adopted family. His mother was a model mother in my eyes. She was caring, compassionate, thoughtful, firm, organized and so funny. Her expression of 'tough love' was always tempered with a clever wit that dissolved our resistance and made her seem to flow on the wings of grace.

Jean was the model little sister... loving, playful, creative, expressive, optimistic, confident, thoughtful and forgiving. Like her mother, she had a vibrant sense of humor, and was often smiling and joyful. Not that life is always rosy, but Jean was like the sun... she couldn't help but shine. Even when she was very upset with David, it didn't get the best of her... she would quickly forgive and forget. I think that Jean was wise enough to see that the attention she received from her brother was just another form of affection, regardless of how it was delivered.

At the mourning services, there was definitely grief and sorrow. And beyond that, there was love, admiration, and deep appreciation for the legacy that Jean left with her loved ones... of whom there are many. In celebrating her life and mourning her passing, Jean's bright spirit shines through. Those of us who were fortunate enough to know her came with reverence to her nature, and let that pervade the mystery of such an untimely passing so that we could remember the bigger picture, and reflect on the fullness of Jean's life. Dave said it perfectly... because of her ability to squeeze the nectar out of all of life's little moments, Jean lived more fully than most people will ever live.

On a more personal note, I started to think about my relationship with my own sister, Natalie. In the pursuit of life, we have allowed our relationship to drift apart. All I could think about yesterday was how grateful I am for her... that I can still squeeze her, touch her, laugh with her... that we can still make faces at one another, and share stories about how ridiculous we were as children. I was overwhelmed with gratitude and appreciation for my little sister who is so special to me... and feel a deep longing to connect more often with her, and to soak up the precious moments we will have together.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

T.S. Monk at the Genius Bar

This morning, I went to the apple store for a date at the genius bar. I see my name on the board. A few spots behind me, I see the name Thelonius M. I think to myself, 'I wonder who decided to use that legendary name to reserve their spot', assuming that they chose that name as an alias.

As I awaited my turn, I looked at the geniuses behind the bar, and mentally tagged one in the center as my preferred choice... mostly because I thought he was handsome, and seemed to have a nice vibe about him. After a few more minutes of hang time, my genius of choice called me up. His name was Mike. He was very kind, and extremely helpful. Although technically I was only allotted 15 minutes at the bar, he spent a lot more time with me working through the nuances of my problem.

As we worked through some final steps, he asked me to stay at the bar while he began helping the next client... he called the name: T. Monk. A man by the name of Thelonius Monk steps up to the bar and takes a seat next to me. He addresses the genius behind the bar, and they take a stab at diagnosing the problem further. Mike leaves the desk, and takes the computer into the back.

I talk story with this fellow seated next to me about our mutual love affair with apple computers. He wears a shirt that says "Jazz" simply, and speaks articulately with a refined perspective on computers and their evolution into the era of Apple. When Mike comes back, Thelonius tells him that his name was listed twice on the board, and can be removed. I mention to him that he carries quite a legendary name. He nods, and acknowledges the legacy in a matter-of-fact way. He asks me if I play, and I tell him about my experience as a jazz musician on the alto.

We get into talking about music, and I finally ask if there is a relation to Thelonius Monk. "Yes, of course", he responds. We continue to rap about musicians, and what it takes to develop a mastery of an instrument. I share how much my perspective has changed after having taken a 10 year hiatus from taking lessons and practicing. Now that I have matured, I am more dedicated than I ever was as a child.

He tells me that people tend to think that you have to start young in order to become a great musician... but in his mind, it's all about how badly you want it. If you want it bad enough, you can become a great musician. And that comes back to dedication.

He says that younger jazz musicians and students these days tend to be too serious, and take the whole progression towards mastery too seriously. He says, "My father was considered to be one of the most serious jazz musicians of his time, and he really didn't take it that seriously. And all the guys around him, Coltrane, Davis, Hancock... they were dedicated, but they didn't take it too seriously, either. If you take it too seriously, you can't create the music. It just doesn't flow that way."

I responded, "Isn't the essence of jazz about creative self-expression? And that seems to come through creating space to allow the music to flow." The analogies of jazz to the yogic path are synonymous. The same counsel that I receive from my yoga teachers was coming through almost verbatim from this master of music.

He got some bad news from the genius behind the bar. His computer would cost nearly as much to fix as it would to buy a new computer. After clearing the slate, we walked out together. He says, "You know, there are people who are suffering losses a hundred thousand times worse than me today, so I don't have any reason to complain." He asks me my name, and I introduce myself as I shake the hand of a legend and feel the moment of connecting through him to the most inspiring and innovative musicians of this past century. "It is an honor to shake your hand", I said to him, as our hands glued together in a full and perfect fit. We held our hands clasped for several moments as we greeted each other in salutation. He told me that he goes by T.S. Monk, and to check him out on iTunes.

As I walked away, I acknolwedged my desire to have asked him to chat a while longer, and keep the fruitful dialogue going. I acknowledged my longing to connect with him in the future, and to create a bond of attachment. And beyond the desire for attachment, I remember that I am being guided by angels, and don't need email or telephone numbers to come into contact with them. T.S. Monk delivered a precious message to me this morning that will serve me for many years to come, and for his inspiration, I am humbly grateful and totally stoked!

On occasions like this, I affirm that I am in the right place at the right time, and it feels so good to be in the flow. As I see it, there are no mistakes or coincidences. Yesterday, I had planned to come home sooner to go to the genius bar in the evening. I had made the reservation, and planned my day so that I would get home in time. As the time neared for me to head out of the city, everything slowed down. I decided not to rush, and just kept flowing. I decided I could always go to the store the following day. All the trains leaving NYC were delayed that evening, and I didn't arrive home until long after my original appointment.

This morning, I began my day with a walk outside, and then practiced yoga with mom. When I make choices that are aligned with my highest vision, magical encounters, like the one this morning, happen spontaneously. That is the only secret to success.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Gift

- Floating down the river of Saraswati

In ancient times, it is said that there was a river named Saraswati, and that about 3,000 years ago, this river ran dry. However, the river still flows within all of us, the river of creativity and inspiration, the essence of Shakti. This afternoon, I had the great fortune to swim in the river of Saraswati, accompanied by my guides, Heather and Benji. We explored this journey through Kirtan, sharing our voices to create the river in which we bathed and nourished our individual creative energies while nourishing one another.

Our chants and songs are songs of devotion, pure devotion, love, respect, gratitude, and throughout the experience, my heart opened wider to the beloved... in my heart, I felt deeply connected through this musical experience, and am reminded of the powerful influence that music has played in my life. It is time to invite music and chanting back into my life as another means to connect with others and to connect deeper to myself - Atman - the divine self within. Tapping into this infinite realm has been restorative and invigorating, and I am so grateful to have connected deeply with our guides, Heather and Benji.

Benji is an amazingly talented and knowledgeable musician, and Heather's voice is a gift, purely and simply. Through the experience of closing my eyes, I traveled into the realm of depth and wonder, full and infinite, graceful and complete... I floated down the river, and bathed in its waters... the healing vibrations of our voices and the beautiful instruments that accompanied us. I felt divinity move through me, through this body, and experienced the gift.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Power of Intention

I begin this shared experience seated within view of a large window protecting us within from the rainy day outside... it is the first rainy day that I've seen since arriving in Portland almost 1 week ago. I brought lots of sunshine and clear skies from California!

Today is Saturday... it is the day of a workshop intended less than one month ago... I called Denise this morning who informed me that we've got 25 PEOPLE signed up to attend the workshop! This is the glorious manifestation of my intention... 30 people. After checking out the space on Monday, I decided emphatically that I would like to guide 30 people through today's Acroyoga workshop. The universe is speaking! I will confirm the numbers after the workshop... I think it's actually a bonus that it is raining, because our activity is perfect for just such a day. Gather with friends and strangers in a warm, dry environment to PLAY AND FLY!

Reflecting on this intention, I am reminded of how clearly I have witnessed a mental volition, an intention, a thought, become realized. It is happening with astounding clarity and responsiveness...

On January 22, two days before my departure from San Francisco for my part of the world tour, I was walking to Jason and Jenny's house where we were hosting a going-away party for ourselves. As I turned up Rose Street, I began to ponder future Acroyoga teacher trainings, and wonder who would be assisting Jenny & Jason. I thought about how much our relationship has evolved since this past spring, and through the past six months... it is incredible and magnifiscent.

In my mind, I felt that I would be a very appropriate choice for an assistant for one of the next teacher trainings. I hoped that Jenny & Jason feel confident in me as a more experienced Acroyogi... further down this daydream, I thought about how cool it would be to assist the teacher training in Hawaii! A very promising return to the Mana of Hawaii, the healing warm waters of the Pacific, and the island lifestyle...

The thought passed as quickly and spontaneously as it had arose, and my mind was onto other wanderings. I arrived at the door, and was the first to arrive... befitting my plan to have time to prepare a curry for the evening. Within moments of stepping through the door, Jenny said that they had something they wanted to ask me... they walked over to one another, and asked me to assist them in Hawaii for the next teacher training. {pause}

Naturally, I accepted their invitation with great enthusiasm! I told them how I had been thinking specifically about assisting the teacher training in Hawaii just a few minutes earlier, and acknowledged the profound nature of creating an intention.

As I prepare to embark on today's adventure in the studio, my intention is to share with this group of people a fun, dynamic and engaging program that cultivates trust, connection and playfulness. I intend to create a safe container within which to explore Acroyoga using my experience to demonstrate how we can transcend our perceived limitations by working together, guided by principles of mutual support, compassion, and trust!

To quote Maia, I am so excited, I can not wait! The energy of my enthusiasm will certainly enrich the experience for all. These principles of trust and compassion are so important as a reflection for myself... to trust myself as an experienced guide... to have compassion for myself and others when it is difficult to help others discover the experience as I have discovered it before - the importance of letting go of past experience to embrace the present moment. I will remember that everyone will create their own experience, and that experience will be meaningful for them. WE ALL HAVE OUR OWN YOGA... my yoga today is to encourage and empower others to explore the wonders of working in partnership and connecting through contact!

May we all grow through this experience and trust that the work will speak for itself, it will find its voice through the hearts of each participant.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Reflections through the window into a rainy day...

Today is certainly a day for reflections. The rainy season begins in San Francisco, and I have decided to camp out at Philz Coffee where the window to the world is clear and wide. People wander in and out, and others wander past the storefront. The rain falls straight down, like drips of water melting off of millions of icicles in the sky. People are wet and happy as they seek solace in a warm brew of an original Philz creation.

As December approaches, I think about my lover far off in Mexico... re-reading some emails that we've exchanged has brought him into this moment, and rekindled the passion that I have discovered through our connection. I long to see him again, and realize that it may be several months before we reunite in this physical form...

I purchased a plane ticket to NJ this morning, sealing my decision to travel to the East before the holidays. I have decided to direct my efforts towards opportunities in NYC. This decision follows a moment of inspiration linked to a series of events in my life.

In September, I traveled to NYC and NJ following the Acroyoga training and Burningman. During those two weeks, I was embraced warmly by many bright spirits in the city, and was encouraged to stay and teach Acroyoga. I also envisioned opportunities to share bodywork at photo shoots and modeling sessions. It was clear to me that NYC was a market that was ready to be tapped by the world of Acroyogis, and significantly underpopulated in that respect.

I returned to California without any thought about taking my work back east. In the process of acclimating to life as usual, I began to lose sight of my direction. I slipped into total freedom, and was taking much for granted in the nebulous space of indecision. Clarity emerged through different windows, and interesting opportunities to share and promote Acroyoga arose. I appeared on television in LA, and received offers to demonstrate our practice at parties hosted by Lulu Lemon. I also started co-teaching the Friday night class with Carolyn.

In parallel to my Acroyoga career, I realized the need for more sustainable means of financial support... thus I turned to the accountant in me. I looked into opportunities locally, and sent out some emails to people in the industry... to date, nothing noteworthy has come back to me.

Just over a week ago, my precious wagon was stolen along with my boards and camping equipment. I immediately dropped into the space of acceptance, embracing my situation as is, and reflecting in gratitude for all my blessings... in the process, I let go of my attachment to my car and the belongings that left with it. I began to appreciate each passing day with genuine gratitude, appreciate the peace and happiness in my life, appreciate my freedom and abundance, appreciate the present moment...

Jason shared with me his experience of having all of his possessions stolen on the night of his 30th birthday along with his van. He referred to this experience as his grand liberation! It was just after this experience that he decided to take Acroyoga on the road, and paved the way for what Acroyoga has become today.

One evening, Juan Pablo asked me if I was planning to move to NYC... I hadn't given it any thought, but in that moment, the idea inspired me! Without my attachments to California, the car, the surf boards, the camping gear, I was truly free to go anywhere. NYC sounded very appealing, and also the perfect place to turn in pursuit of financial abundance. And with that moment of clarity, I began to clarify my vision to move to NYC. That night, I returned to the apartment where I am staying, and for the first time since the night my car was stolen, I reviewed the slip of paper given to me by the police department. I decided that I would call them the following day to inquire about my car.

At 6:30am the following morning, I received a phone call from the police station... they recovered my car. Long story short, I found the car in poor mechanical shape, missing the battery, intake, and distributor, and decided the car was not worth salvaging. I gave it to a guy named Ed who said he would get it running again. I recovered journals and photos that could not be replaced, and let go of the boards and camping gear that were not recovered.

Some rotten things happen for good reason, and it's often hard to see that when you're stuck focused on the rotten. I choose to see the blue skies beyond the clouds, and trust in the way things work out for the best... and with trust and peace of mind, I continue on the journey step by step.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Santa cruz is wierd and fun...

I'm going to visit the mystery spot this evening, and i have no idea what is in store for me tomorrow. Spent the night at a lovely college friends' parents house in the coolest neighborhood in town. Arose this morning before dawn and watched the sun rise over 'the hook' as I was scoping waves... blissed in the moment and awestruck by the beauty of morning and sunshine.

Waves were good... sat for a while at an empty spot that looked real good from shore, and enticed a few others over... a good set came through and all of us were thoroughly stoked... little barrels of fun. After sitting for a while, I paddled over to the hook, the next break over... as I approached the outside lineup, a set rolled in, and I missed the first and caught the next which took me all the way down the line, maybe a 15 second ride... definitely felt more confident and more willing to charge this morning. Crowds can be discouraging and intimidating... fortunately, this one haole boy came fa rip! You know da kine...

Day 3 continues...

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Return to apparent reality

Over the course of 10 days, I took a journey within, deep within myself, to explore the reality as it exists within the framework of my body... it has been a challenging and intense experience. Following this experience, I embrace with high spirit the long journey ahead... these were but the first steps on a long road.

And every journey begins with the first step. May this year provide us with greater insight, encouragement and the vehicles to enable us to take the first steps towards our individual creative mastery within the realm of this life, this existence, and may all beings be happy, be loving, be at peace. May we all experience the harmony of surrendering to the greater reality of existence.

Love to all of you, and may we all share this peace!

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Amma going to amma going to amma going to
transform into an orchid petal floating down a stream,
merrily spinning in a trance of love floating by familiar faces
who know this blissful journey.

Eternally blessed,
an angel to a world that needs to be embraced,
to flood and infuse the city streets with her darshan.

We are all messengers.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Paddling back into the present moment

The sharks were out last night, waiting at my doorstep - upon arriving at home, I found a dead baby shark in a vase outside my front door. It had been a pretty off week for me, and I was feeling generally out of sync and somewhat disturbed at this sight. At first, I thought it could be a bad omen placed there by one of the many Asian people living in our building. I asked our next door neighbors to check it out, and they just assumed my roommate was out fishing.

I brought this creature downstairs and placed in near trash cans, and returned to smudge my apartment with sage and rosemary... after the place was sufficiently smudged, and I began some vinyasa to warm up for the evening's acroyoga class. En route to class, I noticed for the first time the name Michael on a store that I have passed hundreds of times.

Our last student to arrive at the evening class was named Michael. He mentioned that he recently broke his hand, although he did not have health insurance. Throughout the class, I noticed that his body was resistant to the practice, to trusting. It wasn't so much about his broken hand... it was simply about trusting.

As the students left, Will and I stuck around chatting. We eventually found our way to the street, still deliberating as to what to do next... we stood for a moment debating the idea of getting some food, and since the cafe was due to close in 8 minutes, and I suggested action and we walked towards Gratitude. In his mind, Will was still trying to decide whether he was going to attend a special party across town at the Presidio. He simply couldn't decide how he was going to get there.

Meanwhile, we're hanging around the cafe, and as we sit at the bar, he asks me, "So who do you think is going to give me a ride to the Presidio", and without hesitation I point to an unassuming guy talking on his cell phone across the room. The cafe eventually cleared out, and this stranger approached us, and initiated conversation saying that he felt our presence and wanted to make himself known.

The meeting of our like minds was unique and beautiful, and he honored our request to take us whereever we needed to go. In that space, I acknowledged the present moment, and this manifestation of needs. It happens fluidly as one steps back into the natural rhythm of the universe with TRUST.

I was waiting all week for another set to roll in, and yesterday evening, I paddling into the present moment, looked over the edge, dropped in and hit the bottom turn... surfs up, kids!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Easy Flow on the Witch's New Year

It began with vibration - and creation manifested.

I awoke to the sweet and loving harmony of a North Beach morning singing songs outside my window. Back-to-back yoga classes for breakfast before the journey to the ocean. As noon rolled around, I called out to my brother Gordon about the surf adventure - he was down. We rolled into OB a few hours before low tide, and the fog was thick - just barely visible through the mist, one could see waves breaking on the outside sandbars... the parking lot was full, and that was a sufficient indicator of good surf.

We suited up and marched on down the beach - at a closer glance, the paddle out looks pretty messy. Waves breaking on the inside are coming from every angle, and it looks like a taste of winter out there... rather big. I bring awareness back to this moment, and am grateful to share this experience with my college friend.

As we paddle out, I keep an eye on Chris as he follows in my wake. To our pleasant surprise, we paddle right through some channels, and in no time, we are sitting out at the first break. Guys are scattered all over the place... the waves were pretty nice. I catch a nice right that takes me all the way down the line and into another reforming section. Nothing unreal, but certainly fun and challenging. A big set wipes us both out of the lineup and back to square one.

After a while out there, Chris tells me that he'll be heading in shortly. I acknowledge the numbness in my feet and hands, and indicate that I'll be following soon. Within minutes, another rogue wave clears the lineup, and I'm caught on the inside only to get swept way further in. The following cleanup waves only pull me further towards the shore, and so I surrender and rode the wash in.

On the ride home, we both acknowledged the beauty of this art of waveriding. Spent and satiated, our day was complete... there was no need for anything else. Everything to follow is be icing on an already stacked, triple-layer, double-fudge cream-filled cheesecake. We shared dinner together with the ladies at one of the city's best Chinese restaurants which just so happens to be within spitting distance of Chris' apartment. A perfect way to seal in the experience.

The Witches Dance

Throughout the prior two weeks, I set the intention to attend a spiral dance organized by the Reclaiming organization taking place that evening... yet at this time, simply being was bliss. After dinner, I walked over to the bus stop and struck up a conversation with wonder woman (it's halloween, remember!), who directed me to another bus line. Along the way, I passed a hill covered in beautiful flowers, and picked three of them. These became my celebratory decoration. The next stop was situated amongst a grove of trees, and walked around to touch each one. After completing the round, the bus arrived.

I saw the stadium lighting from afar, and the driver bade me to stay on the bus until we arrived at the closest stop. Walking down the hill, spirits circulated with mischevious grins on their faces. As I got within earshot of the stadium, I heard what sounded like cheerleaders and whistling... and to my surprise, I discovered that there was a football game going on. I thought, "No way! This is not possible. Where are the witches?"

I turned to a man walking down the street and asked where the venue was, and he directed me to an indoor arena just around the block. I walked confidently to the gathering, feeling much at peace with the world around me.

I soon entered the building with warm greetings, and sat down at the edge of the inner circle. Soon, inspiration bade me to find a spot in the bleachers to stash my shoes, and once there, I decided to hold that space. Almost instantaneously, Ben and Jamie walk into the place, and walk right up to where I am seated in the bleachers. I met these wonderful and loving creatures many months ago at another Reclaiming event, the summer solstice gathering, and we spontaneously became family. We embrace each other warmly and sit down together.

After a little while, I notice Chionesu (another member of the summer solstice tribe) and prance down to greet him. Together, we visit the north altar, and as the group began their invocation to welcome the spirits, and I move into that sacred space, channeling all of this positive intention.

The spiral dance took shape, and soon we were dancing and singing to one another -

"Let it begin with each step we take,
let it begin with each change we make.
Let it begin with each chain we break, and
let it begin every time we awake."

Let it begin with each breath we take... during the dance, I spot Trinity, a woman that I met at Harbin during a healer's retreat weekend. Just a few days earlier, I was speaking with a friend who is discovering her own healing potential, and she expressed deep gratitude for basking in warm glow of Trinity's encouragement.

As the spiral dance unfolded, we dispersed around the venue, dancing and moving with the music as it continued. I strolled around, and found Trinity holding hands and dancing with a woman, quite obviously transfixed in that moment. So rather than interrupt, I continue my tour, and suddenly, Chionesu's friend, a tall red-headed girl with a warm smile and a strong build, bumped butts with me and totally rocked my balance. She asked where we might find Chionesu, and then randomly suggested that we go talk to some friends. That was exactly what I wanted to do, and so we moved back towards the area where I found Trinity holding space with the woman.

Trinity was now solo, and as we approached her, I broke off from the strong red-head and stepped into Trinity's sacred space. The moment that we connected our spirit energy, we moved deeper into that space - our conversation spun into existence and our hands danced together, moving energy and sharing ideas, we breathed together. In our eyes a reflection - in her eyes, I saw my face and torso under a glimmer of light that appeared like a planet rising over the horizon. In my eyes, she saw her reflection framed on three sides as though she was standing in a triangle.

We held this space until most of the people had left and the remainder began breaking down the displays and altars. As we gathered our belongings and prepared to seal this moment, I showed her an energy lock that one of my dear spiritual friends had discovered following her vision into a past life experience.

I walked out of the venue with a revived sense of presence, and again felt complete and whole with the experience. I milled around the front of the building where I spot a tall guy with blond hair curling under his fur hat, and remembered seeing him inside, thinking that he was someone else. I walked over to him, and realize that he's a stranger... in fact, he's no stranger at all - we look at each other and smile, recognizing and welcoming the presence of pure spirit.

His friend comes over to introduce himself... hugs all around. Then he asks me if I want to join them for an adventure the following day - without a second thought, I'm down for it - sealed! We walk as a group down Haight Street towards the next leg of our respective journeys, and along the way, I invite these spirits to spend the night at my house since its empty for the weekend. They'd already arranged for a place to crash that night, so it was all good.

Soon, we find ourselves standing on a street corner, a handful of peeps from the spiral dance and various other street folk basking in the flow. The same bus line that brought me to this place approaches the corner, and one of our witches named Katie takes off running towards the stop... I pursue and bid adieu to those pure spirits who remained, holding the space on that corner.

During the bus ride, Katie and I discover many parallels in our San Francisco story, including a close mutual connection to Ian - he who first introduced me to Reclaiming! When I hop off the bus at California, I realize that I could've gone one stop further and would have been closer to a bus line that passes in front of my home.

Walking along the sidewalk, I notice a car is pulling out of a parking lot just as I am about to cross its path, and it comes to an abrupt stop so that I may go first. As I walk past, I hear a crash behind me, and look back to see the aftermath of a collision between a taxi and the car that just pulled out of the parking lot. No one is hurt, and I stand in the street, directing traffic around the two lanes where the cars are blocking traffic. I hear people consoling the driver who was most concerned over his damaged car. Notice this point of awareness... let us not be attached to our material possessions, especially when our health and well-being are intact. Eventually, the taxi moves his car out of the middle of the roadway, and I continue on my journey as my work there is done.

I cross the street to pick up the approaching California bus... when I get on, I cannot find my transfer - and the driver is reluctant to believe me. I explain that I don't have any money to pay for another fare. At the same time, another woman is trying to ride with an expired transfer. He drives on, but he threatens us once again at the next stop. I sit next to a girl from the spiral dance who soon lends me her transfer so that I can show it to the driver. He leaves me in peace for the rest of the ride... and the girl gets off at Taylor.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Every Breath is a Gift - - - -

Breath in, and breath out...
Honor this gift at every opportunity. It is life.

We are grateful for this sacred moment to honor life.

Now walk in the meditation that is now -

We are life, and life abounds all around.

We are creation, love, eternity,
eternally dancing in synchronicity with all beings, all creation, all life... alas the universe.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Return from the sacred wilderness

A simple reminder - let go of that which no longer serves you.

A simple gift - forgive yourself and those around you.

A simple wish - may our presence heal the world.

A simple way - love!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

What's up with the hippy dude in Adam's office? Didn't anyone inform him that long hair and facial scruff is unprofessional (Employee Handbook, pg. 1,402). And why is he hugging coworkers... could that be in violation of people's personal space (ibid, pg. 2,805,650) .

Choose your destiny:
Please some of the people all of the time,
Please all of the people some of the time, or
Love all of the people all of the time!

p.s. stop pleasing people. you are a perfect being. listen to the sound of your heart beating in universal harmony.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Ecstasy = Life!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Falling in love with the sweet sounds of America's heartland...

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Presence is a 3-ring binder

As the light shines brighter on this phenomenon of life, remember that every waking moment is a gift. There are no exclusions or exceptions... each day that we are paid to work another 8 hours is yet another opportunity to bring attention to the magic that is happening all around us, even in the professional workforce community.

Singing has its place during the walk to and from work, and hugging is fast become an obsession as the relationships that we've formed in the office grow deeper still. The comfort of finding a healing hand in a place where it is much needed is beyong comparison... the smiles of gratitude pierce deep into our hearts, and touch a place that would otherwise go unnoticed amidst the distractions of ambition, frustration, success and failure.

Presence in all aspects of living is clutch - only then can one fully be present to the joy of living, breathing, sighing... even in the most seemingly negative situations. In everything, there is balance, holding all the good and bad and in between together. We can choose to waive our presence when we get caught up in the cacophony of our microcosmic lives... bank statements, car payments, due dates and vacation days... or we can choose to embrace the spirit that unites us as living creatures breathing together, laughing with each other, and creating rythmic harmony with the beating of our hearts.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Peach Cobbler

I fed a man tonight... he was wrapped in a blanket asking for change. I wouldn't have met him unless my original plans fell through - which they did. After I gave him the pear from my hand, we held each other.

I walk the street in meditation, my intention focused on community. As I approach the yoga studio, I remind myself of why I am here. The series of events that brought me to this place are less consequential than my intention to be present. I have come to share my presence without exclusion - to be the change I wish to see in the world.

I defend my life by my actions and principles. I do not need a weapon to protect myself, for my spirit is pure. I do not hide behind a viel of reason or rhyme... instead I walk the path without faltering, and trust that the journey will manifest itself. There is no doubt, or second guessing... simply faith.

I returned to my house to eat peach cobbler for dinner. It was waiting for me in the oven. Such is life, and so the journey goes. The circle grows wider, and our community grows closer together... hovering around the warm smell of peach cobbler in the air.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Streaking across the state line in an endless dance of beauty that is an expression of human life, simply love.

Beauty, such blinding truth, the abundance of freedom, oh how sweet it is to be a part of this community.

Blind love from the heart, a global community supporting peace, justice, consciousness... holding hands with strangers, and looking into their eyes, singing to each other with intention, a prayer for peace. Uniting our intention with communities around the world in song and positive gyrations. This is the story of another weekend spent in the loving arms of a community devoted to the goddess within each of us.

still and forever hugging the inner spirit that radiates from within each creature on this planet. the journey continues.

i left this place last night - the joy it brings continues to fill the infiniti pool that is our love for one another. we need it. we need to love one another and we need each other. it's so simple. the healing of the world happens one smile at a time.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Motions

Yesterday felt so akward returning from the burn... even typing felt akward - so much so. My body did not want to go through the motions - it longs to be free of this environment, as I discover when I leave the office. Never before have I felt such an urge for leaving.

Today is another strange day in the life. Fortuntately, the playa dust found its way into my office as a gentle reminder - the essence of spirit flows through everyone and everything, even here, an essence that does not distinguish those who are wearing slacks and dress shoes instead of fabulous costumes. It permeates deeply to the core of our existence as physical creatures, and connects us with the foundation that unites all beings - Love.

The spirit is a beacon, beckoning around every street corner, a constant reminder of your true nature, the miracle that is... you. We are one, we respect and love one another, we acknowledge that our lives are irrevocably intertwined, and our actions affect one another. We love one another, stranger or friend, and we love ourselves through that process. It is one and the same... the journey that began in burning man continues - just follow the sound of your heart.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Streaking across La Playa

How do you describe a journey that words cannot capture, of which a picture does no justice? How do you leave a place so sacred and pure, where the human imagination is truly free to rediscover itself. Like children, we marched together along this arid, cracked surface... holding this special place. Together, we ran naked and danced in the streams of water spraying off the back of a slow moving truck. We rediscovered the simple joy of living.
Our eyes wide open, we embraced each other and each new day together in this loving community.

In our hearts, we opened a channel through which we walked into our dreams and lived them fully and completely. Underneath the surface, we danced around our fears and expectations, mocking them... challenging our perceived limits, trusting the environment as a safe testing ground. Through this process, we developed a deeper understanding of ourselves, the source of our fears and expectations, and the strength that lies within our hearts to overcome those obstacles.

In the desert, we lived together, a tribe devoted to love... surrendering our actions, our intentions, our lives to that pinnacle of human expression. Love is by far the greatest human creation out there in the playa. Despite all of the extravagant displays of abundance and creativity
... despite all that is constructed by people during the year in preparation for this festival, love is the glue that binds this community, and love is the reason why our tribe of burners continue to gather in this magical place year after year. Love has the power to create synergy beyond measure. It is our most noble and magnificent achievement in this physical realm, and it is that which reminds us that we are all one being... streaking across the desert, dancing with our shadow in the glow of sunrise.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

New Frontiers

As I've come to discover, nothing is definite... even yesterday as I was talking with a coworker who is leaving our firm, I was compelled to tell him that "I am leaving the accounting profession!" I still qualified that statement, yet it feels so liberating for me to think of the days when I don't have to answer to the responsibility of a 9-5 job.

Today, I spoke with Mary, a partner in my office with whom I work most often these days. When I first started working here, my peers told me to avoid her, and if I did work with her, expect to feel the wrath. Last spring, we began working together on some of her medium-size files, and she delegated authority for me to take full ownership (and accountability). It was an opportunity for me to test my skills, and as she developed more trust in me, I took full responsibility for these files. Soon, she introduced me to her large plastics files, around which time we traveled together to the midwest to work onsite. This became known as forensic accounting bootcamp.

A year later, I am writing reports for $25M losses, and she is giving me kudos for a great work product... of all the complaints that people made about working with her, the number one complaint was that she was never positive and never satisfied with people's work product. As you can tell, Mary and I have developed a great working relationship through trust, mutual respect, and hard work. She has provided me with opportunities to develop my technical and marketing skills, and continues to be a proponent of my career.

A week ago, she returned from her 2-week vacation in Australia, and invited me to have lunch with her. I could tell from her voice that it was not anything bad... although in the back of my mind, I was concerned about how much of the past two weeks had been spent slacking off and billing ambigious tasks on her large jobs. Well, this morning we sat in my office to discuss a file, and afterwards, I asked her if we were still on for lunch...

She began to tell me why she wanted to take me out for lunch - to discuss an opportunity. At the sound of those words, and the look in her eyes, my body started to get a few chills of excitement. She has known for some time that I have an itch to go work in our Sydney office. Well, during her vacation, she spent some time with the RGL folks who work in Sydney, and learned that the manager-in-charge is going to take maternity leave, and they will need someone to fill in for her.

She spoke with our managing partner in London and the other decision makers and gave them a recommendation on my behalf based on her experience working with me. She explained that my lack of experience in numbers of years, and my lack of a certification, was a major discussion point. Although she did petition that I have what it takes to manage the workload and take this opportunity to embrace the challenge and shine!

Although it is unlikely that they will put me in her place to supervise the office, it is possible that they will be responsive to my request, and perhaps send me out there for a little while to get some all-time surf... and help out in the office. As I have discovered time and time again, when someone gives you a chance to prove yourself, the stage is set to make a lasting impression... and given that chance, I want to show them what I've got!

Mary has been one of my greatest proponents during my tenure with this firm, and I realize that she made this recommendation selflessly. She is genuinely concerned about helping me to pursue my career goals, wherever they may take me. I have so much respect for this woman as a professional and personal mentor.

In summary, you just never know what you're going to get! Now that I have a real opportunity to have a guaranteed source of income in Australia, I am suddently more inclined to extend my journey along the career path of a forensic accountant... on a new frontier.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Better to give...

There are times when I am selfish in group settings... I often rationalize that people are ignorant to the greener grass on my side. Why shouldn't I appreciate something that would otherwise go unnoticed? Meditation brings me to greater awareness of this reality... it is my instinct to look out for #1. There is yet another kind of selfishness... one that manifests itself in the form of benevolence, generosity and kindness. It is a sense of gratitude that we feel when we share our wealth... when we benefit others by our actions.

The more we give, our capacity to give becomes that much greater. This experience is most visible to me around those who live fully in the present moment. When I pass by a homeless person, I acknowledge their presence. Sometimes I am inspired to talk to them, ask how they are doing, or find out if there is anything that I can do to help them out. Some ask little, if anything. To those few living in the now, it is more than enough to know that someone is concerned about their well-being.

We are all living here in the now, however, many are less conscious of this reality. Worries about the past and future cloud our minds, and render us oblivious to that which is right beneath our noses. To embrace this notion of the present moment provides an opportunity to share the experience with those around us.

Just think about riding down the elevator with a person that you don't want to talk to... it'll be about 30-45 seconds of awkwardness before you move along in your respective lives. Now imagine that an earthquake hits, and you are about to spend hours together in the darkness of that shaft... perhaps even witness each other's death. Think of the connection that you will make with that person over the next several minutes, hours, days... think about how it will feel to pour your heart out to them. And realize how profound that experience will be like for them... discovering how vulnerable we are, and how many qualities that we share being human.

When we wipe away the glories of our past, and the expectations of our future, we embrace the present moment and the connection between each of us. Our actions, words and intentions do affect one another... with conscious intent, we can make the world a better place.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Canine Cove

After several hours of driving in slow-moving traffic, we took a pit stop near Davis U. We followed signs from the highway leading to In-N-Out, the beloved chain that is reviving the tradition of fast food, under the premise that they offer a vegetarian burger! Stepping out of the car was like stepping into a convection oven... we soon learned that a veggie burger, In-N-Out style, is nothing more than a bun with all the fixins, less the meat.

Our destination was a beautiful, isolated campsite overlooking the Cache Creek canyon... our hosts were relaxing after spending the day playing in the creek. Just after we arrived, two other friends of the family showed up... and so the group of us newcomers set forth on an exodus to the river. We jumped into the cool water and floated along the currents and around the eddys, washing off the anxieties of the roadtrip. The hills surrounding the canyon reflected amazing orange and red hues of the setting sun.

That evening, we celebrated two birthdays and shared a magnifiscent feast of assorted wines, cheeses, grilled meats and vegetables, and cookies for dessert. Under the night sky, we gathered together in a cuddle puddle - an assortment of people, thermarests, blankets, pillows - and most importantly, love. It was a playful kind of love... we whispered sweet nothings about the beauty of the night sky, and watched the stars twinkle through the canopy of the tree hanging over us. A shooting star reminded me of Eve's presence in that moment.

The puddle began to evaporate with the rising sun, and people began to awaken the divine spirit within them. Soon the puddle was down to two, and we remained there, cuddled along the last refuge of shade, waiting for the sun to find us...

We celebrated the morning with a fabulous breakfast of eggs, bacon, grilled vegetables, coffee, pastries, fresh fruit, and artichoke quiche. The sun grew hotter every minute, and it seemed to be chasing us to the river. After breakfast, we moved camp to the creek where we established our waterfront residence... there we enjoyed the rest of the day, drinking beer, eating pitas, charging the river rapids, and watching others enjoy themselves as they passed our little cove. The real stars of the waterfront show were Kira and Zuri... our canine companions.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

To see the light, you must walk through darkness...

Shrouded by the fog, I wander along the cement and tarmac trail that leads me to an entrance way... with the turn of a key, I am invited to return to a place that inspires rest. I reflect on the evening transpired... the music still rings in my ears, and the rhythm of the night - the seething, writhing, undulating movement of musical energy moving through human bodies - returns to my mind's eye. There through the fog, I can see the people dancing, spinning, sweating, and smiling...

I feared letting go of my protective bubble of self-importance as I entered a place where the importance of the group dominated... a place where the magnificence of humankind manifested itself most notably as a collective exchange of energy moving through people like particles of matter. I felt isolated during this exchange, out of touch with the inspiration behind the movement. I felt as if there needed to be a reason to let the energy course through my viens like electricity... and that bubble burst.

Prana force, life energy, finds an outlet and moves through it... the force of nature is continuous, like the ebbing and flowing tide. So why fight it? Through this exchange, I opened channels within my body that called out for attention... they have been long silent. I dance into the darkness of my soul's closet, and I acknowledge the vulnerabilities of being human. I try them on like an outfit... sadness and confusion, fear and longing, desire and regret. Who put these clothes in here? They fit, but they don't feel like they belong to me.

I realize that these emotions do belong to me, and that I have tried them on in front of groups before... even recently, in front of groups that encourage trust, vulnerability and playfulness, a place where creativity and imagination thrive, where the child-like qualities that make us laugh, sigh, cry and wonder become fully present - this place is called a sangha, or community. It could be a community of two or twenty or two hundred... with trust, honor and respect, the sangha will thrive.

We are social creatures, and cannot help but interact with the community around us. To do otherwise would require exersion beyond our capacity. I remember now that this community of dancing orbs of energy is very similar to the other communities... in whose presence I can let down my gaurd and embrace the confusion, sadness, fear and weakness that resides in all of us. We are simple creatures experiencing together this mystery of life, much more alike than we are different. And as I walk along this dark and mysterious path, I realize, too, that there is much to be learned from the darkness.

The darkness illuminates the light, the moon reflects the sun, and each moment that we find ourselves in an empty place reminds us of how full our lives can be. Where there is darkness, light shines so radiantly that it blinds.

A student approaches a guru for guidance. The guru invites the student to sit down and tell him about his experience over a cup of tea. The guru asks the student, "What have you learned?" The student begins to speak, telling the guru of all the teachers he has learned from, and all of the schools of thought that he has studied. While the student expands on his knowlege, the guru pours tea into the student's cup. The student goes on describing his experience, and the guru continues to pour, even after the cup is full and begins to overflow. The student notices, and interrupts saying "Master, you must stop pouring. The cup is overflowing."

And the guru responds, "Come back to me when your cup is empty."

Monday, June 13, 2005

Stepping into the present

I've set the intention to pursue meaningful ambitions, paddling around the currents of mainstream society to enter the channels of consciousness inspired by moments of clarity. I've discovered such intense joy through awareness of the present moment, and I have become inspired by people all around me who have committed their lives to mindfulness.

I've recently met many wonderful people through the yoga community in San Francisco. Many of us have met in a setting that is conducive to conversations about our present experience, as opposed to discussing our background and past experiences. The experience of the present moment facilitates a dialogue through which we share our observations, gaining insight into one another's unique perspective. Down the road, we will arrive at topics about where we live, and who we know, etc... by that point, we will have already discovered who we are based on our shared experience of the now, making those other aspects about our past and future lives carry less importance.

During these initial dialogues, many have suggested that I am already traveling along the spiritual path of mindfulness. Such observations inspire me to pursue my vision, to walk confidently as a warrior of peace. I was just thinking about what I would have done when I was younger had I known then what I know now... reflecting for a moment, I realize that patience is such an important virtue. The journey IS the destination, and everyday offers an opportunity to embrace the present, to incorporate that which I learned yesterday into the lessons that I will learn today. To hope for tomorrow is to overlook today...

A friend came up with a suggestion for a massage studio business name that is absolutely brilliant - "release!" Keep your eyes on the horizon - this idea has great potential!

Sunday, April 03, 2005

return to the unreal world

I lied down in my bed tonight for the first time in five days... I just wanted to see how it would feel again. The next thing I know, I'm waking up an hour later from the most amazing nap. Over the past five days, my physical body had awakened to life in the desert, as did my spirit. Returning to the comforts of modern life, my body was at liberty to rest... completely.
Before we left the desert, a member of the group talked about a chant that is often sung during meditation... it is loosely translated as "take me from the unreal to the real". My heart sang this song during the desert spirit retreat, and my mind awakened to the real world. When I returned to the 'civilized' world, I began to realize the meaning of this chant. I understood how real life was out there in the desert.

I walked into the desert five days earlier without attachments or worldly possessions... I shed the unreal world outside; all that was left was my spirit and the shell of flesh and bones in which it resides. As a gift, I got to share this retreat experience with forty other like-minded individuals. Over the course of the next several days, my body gradually reawakened. Each passing day began a little warmer, and each night seemed milder. I would wake in the middle of the night and embrace the cool desert air against my naked body as I crawled out of my tent to take a leak... the moonlight invited me to come out, and the glittering stars invited me to stay a little bit longer before returning to the warmth of my bed and bedmate. Back in tent, I crawled quickly under the covers and wrapped myself around Chris, letting the heat of our bodies lull me back to sleep.

One morning, I awoke and walked barefoot across the desert, observing the peace and stillness of that morning, and the warmth of the sun bathing me in its morning glow. As I waited for the bathroom, I stood facing the east, closed my eyes, and raised my arms above my head in a salute of devotion to the sun and the desert. I bowed forward in gratitude and devotion, and as I relaxed in that position, I heard the fluttering of a hummingbird flying over my head. It reminded me of a story from the previous evening around the campfire about a hummingbird encounter during Kyra's massage, and that this animal represented joy. At that moment, my cup was brimming with joy, peace and gratitude... my cup continued to grow during the rest of the journey.

We went as a group to spend the day at the hot springs called Dry Creek. It was such a liberating experience to dance naked in the desert with all of these beautiful creatures... to describe the moments that took my breath away during these five days would exhaust my journal, so for the time being, I share my experience with these words...

I walked into the desert without attachment. I was transformed by the wisdom of a hundred-thousand years. I awoke to my senses, and gave birth to the embryo of the divine spirit within me. And my advice to you is take a hike.

Friday, February 25, 2005

When the world conspires in your favor, take action!

On my walk to yoga on Tuesday night, I listened to people walking around in the streets - I was more attentive than usual, noticing that people were walking in groups and talking to one another. I sensed an abundance of life out there on the sidewalks, and it was a beautiful image of life that I heard and saw. As I approached Union Square, I heard the singing of bluegrass, and I spotted two young, good-looking boys singing in unison to the rhythm of a guitar. I smiled to them as I passed, and one of them acknowledged me with a wide and happy smile. All the while, I looked at these people, and felt connected to them.

My yoga practice was amazing, and afterwards, I ordered dinner for myself in Russian. While I enjoyed my meal, Candyce showed up and joined me while she took a break from her volleyball game. Amidst the conversation, I alluded to being gay, and she said "I didn't know you swing that way" to which I responded "that's the only way I swing, honey".

The following day, I was planning to play tennis with Dan after work. I was so ready to leave the office at 5pm, and upon stepping outside, realized that the weather was less than favorable for tennis. I confirmed with Dan, considered going back to the office, and instead went home - I got irie, bounced around in a few handstands and backbends, and started a silent practice. I practiced for a solid hour before I was getting ready for finishing sequence, at which time... the phone rang. It was Dad, and we spoke about our existence on this planet, the limitations of scientific theory, and spirituality - he said that "matter is like drurzlak".

Yesterday evening, I returned to guided yoga practice. I was feeling great. About halfway through the practice, I noticed that one of the guys in the middle of the room was extraordinarily flexible, and was deep in one of the more challenging poses. Throughout the rest of the class, I would glance over at his reflection in the mirror to observe his form and admire his practice. When Sherman announced inversions, he requested a translation - handstands!! And with a single hop, he popped right into it and held!! It was marvelous. Inspired by the moment, I popped up on my first bounce, and there I was, holding the handstand - in perfect unison with the universe - my body suspended perpendicularly in the air!! It lasted for about 5 seconds before I lost that pure and effortless focus, and at that point, I knew that I could not bring it down smoothly...

Just prior to the handstand, I visualized rolling forward out of the handstand and breaking the mirror in front of me... the mirror came shattering down in that vision and cut me up a bit, but otherwise left me unscathed. I wonder if that visualization helped me cut through the perceived fear of falling forward. In any event, I was so close to the mirror that I couldn't fall forward, so I rolled out of the handstand to my side, and came down with a pretty solid thud.

After practice, I felt absolutely overwhelmed by the presence of this extraordinary yogi - I was tripping over him. People came up and expressed their admiration of his form and grace, and I too came over to introduce myself. He introduced himself to me as Michael. He was still very much in the moment, and continued to sit in lotus as he received the praise of others. Addressing Michael, Sherman said that "you've come a long way since I saw you last." I left the two of them to catch up, wondering the whole time why I didn't stay.

I was tripping about this boy, and from the moment practice was finished, I was moving out of the moment. I put my stuff away, and felt compelled to act indifferent to this amazing person in the same room as me. I didn't know what it was that drove me to act this way. Nonetheless, I realize that Michael has a unique and beautiful presence, the likes of which I have never experienced on a one-to-one basis, and I look forward to spending time with him.

Embrace the moment that is now... breath as if this breath will be your last, and live every moment with passion and fullness.

Friday, February 18, 2005

One step closer to nirvana

The Kabuki Spa is a most amazing gem in the heart of San Francisco's Japantown - it is a most rejuvinating and wonderful experience... and despite its location, this communal bath is free of any sexual activity. It is also silent - there is a small gong on one of the tables that can be used by any who wish to remind the group. Aside the gong, there is a bowl full of bath salt into which a design reminiscent of a japanese rock garden has been imprinted. Little cups of salt have been arranged in a pyramid shape for use as a scrub. They offer a variety of beverages, including orange- and cucumber-flavored water and hot tea, and small towels lie soaking in a bowl of ice water, accompanied by floating orchid petals. The steamroom has a fan inside that helps disperse the heat evenly throughout the room, and also has this wonderful cold shower that creates the effect of standing in a torrential downpour. Out in the open area, there are two pools, surrounded by several wooden lounge chairs and benches.

I went to the Spa for the first time with my kindred spirit and best friend in San Francisco. Both he and I really dug the experience, and are among the few who can appreciate this amazing place. The experience was only intensified by his company, coupled with the enhanced state of awareness evoked by our surroundings.

Last night I dreamt that friends of mine invited me to go to Kabuki this weekend. I told them that I had already made plans to go to Lake Tahoe, and couldn't join them. I don't remember who it was, but I do remember feeling hesistant about going with them to the Spa. Sometime this morning, this scenario came back into my head, and it seemed like the exchange in my dream really took place - this is where the line between dream and reality gets blurry. To blur it further, I am really going to Lake Tahoe this weekend, and was conscious of that plan in my dream.

Now that I've thought it through, I can't remember who invited me to the Spa in my dream - and I want to take a rain check! So if you want to go, you know who to call!

Thursday, February 10, 2005

I'm like a bubble waiting to burst!

It's been too long since these breathless moments found their way into my blog. It was only yesterday that I sat on top of a dune watching surfers charge world-class A-frames... on my swim in (i'll explain in a minute), I was in front of a wave in which this dude was getting barrelled forever, and I could totally hear the music of september sessions playing in the background. These waves were perfect - absolutely perfect. Big, powerful, smooth, hollow waves, solid DOH, glassy and still like a pond outside the break, and I was floating over the one bar along the whole beach that looked like this. It was magic - and I was watching it all unfold from the land.

I paddled out earlier, and saw a couple of things that got me thinking... one was a half-broken board floating in, and another was a surfer swimming in without a board. The latter made me more concerned... worrying about what the swim in would be like without a board, considering the fierce currents at play and the distance between the land and the outside breaking wave. Nonetheless, it was still pretty far out of my mind. Once I was outside with the rest of the pack, I watched these unreal waves unfold, and picked a spot. A nice wave showed up for me, and I charged it - I kicked in easily, and as I began to take the bottom turn, the wave began to pitch, and I wasn't far enough down the line, so I figured that I would get closed out... the wave was too high and I wasn't going to make it over the top, so I decided to fall back into the wall, and swim through... successful enough. However, when I came up, the tension from my board had ceased. I was SOL, and WOB (without board). So I was faced with the disappointment of having to swim in, while facing the fear of drowning in the process - tortured between the missed opportunity, survival, and the concern over my Hana Papa board... oh what if I lost it! What if I get tired swimming in the currents and drown? I almost had that wave!?

It wasn't a tough swim after all, and my board was there waiting for me. The little string that attaches the board to my leash broke (not the first time this has happened to me) and so I was forced to resign my stick and call it a day, and instead of surfing into the sunset, I enjoyed it watching others ride these world class waves... right here at OB.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

OB - biggest wednesday

I probably rode the biggest wave of my life this morning... it was huge, the whole beach, the waves, everything about this morning was big. People tell me that I'm a size queen... they are right.

I was paddling out well before sunrise, and it looked a mess... there was not a single spot that really looked like a good place to paddle out. With every set, the outside would break like it was an outer reef, and everything in between was a reforming mess of waves breaking and choppy waters. Amazingly, I got out past the break much sooner than expected, and at least a couple hundred yards from where I entered the water.

A set started rolling in, and I was in perfect position, just in front of the shadow of this first incoming wave and so I turned and kicked in for my first ride and it was so fast as soon as I stood up that my body was falling faster than the board was moving underneath me and I slid down the face, and ducked under. I came up just in time to watch a much bigger wave behind it break about fifteen feet in front of me... it was huge, probably close to 20'. It's near impossible to swim down in a wetsuit because you're so bouyant, but I tried anyway and as it passed over me, I was easily pulled underwater, dragged by my board and spent some time down there, not knowing how deep I was or what to expect when I finally came back up. Once my board stopped pulling, I swim up, and got a breath of air, and just as quickly dip back underwater because I was swimming in chopped up, foamy water so I couldn't stay afloat... I got out of that mess, and grabbed my board just in time to duck under another monster breaking right on top of me. Fortunately, I was in a good spot to punch through the back of it, so it didn't drag me too deep.

At this point though my heart is racing, and I've been underwater for a while, and the only thing on my mind is to avoid drowning, knowing that I'm out there all by myself. So as soon as I'm up again, I'm paddling out farther to avoid getting worked by the next approaching set. The ocean settles down at that point, I catch my breath and watch the waves crash around me.

That was the scariest experience of the whole morning. After that, everything just seemed much more manageable. The winds were howling offshore, and each time I tried to paddle into a wave, I'm too far out and blinded by the spray. Often times I get to see down these steep faces, and most of them look about 12'.

I watch some of these rogue waves on either side of me turn into sucking pits-of-death barrels like 8' feet in diameter. Eventually, I manage to put myself into a spot in which the shadow of the wave daunts, and I get taken out by another rogue wave from the outside. As the current moves me down the beach, I'm paddling in and out, trying to get into a spot to catch a wave. Eventually, I'm thinking that I'd better ride one in as it's almost time to go to work.

Finally, the shadow is in front of me, the mountain of water is rising, and instead of heading for the shoulder, I point at the steep, dark section just about to break, and turn into it. The spray blinds me for a second, and then I'm shooting at an angle down the face... and this wave is breaking fast. I hit the bottom turn, and I look up to see this 15 foot (felt like 20) monster taking the shape, and I'm flying right through the epicenter of the energy that has culminated to create this magnificent phenomenon. Had I slowed down and tried to get into the pit of death, I probably wouldn't have made it out, so I rode through that section, and rode the rest of the wave out... and once I got off, I couldn't resist the urge to paddle back out for more, More, MORE!

Since I was already much further in, waves were just breaking everywhere, and it was absolutely thrilling, and so a 10 foot wave peaks up underneath me, and I just tear it up. After the monster, I feel like I can handle these small-kine waves with ease. I turn around to see how far I would have to paddle to get back out again, and decided it was done.

I walked humbly along the beach back towards the parking lot. A father and his son were among the only people out on this vast expanse of beach, and were eager to get my feedback. They were definitely European, probably German, and were amazed standing in my presence. The father just couldn't say "fantastic" enough, and I just couldn't resist saying "Hi Dzermans!"

Friday, December 17, 2004

the wave of the day!

Paddling around this vast body of water, I feel like a little piece of seaweed floating around. The waves are coming in sets with long periods in between. The longer periods make the paddle out very manageable. The waves are breaking far off to my left, and the distance seems excessive between peaks. Within a few minutes, the peak to my left has shifted closer to where I am floating, and I can begin to see the topography of the landscape under water as I observe the crest of the wave shifting back and forth.

Soon I am paddlig right for the dark shadow forming under the face of a wave breaking in front of me... I turn, paddle, kick out, and it's on! These waves are breaking far out today... the churning water has created a lot of foam on the surface of the water, and you can hear thousands of tiny bubbles popping all around. A few monsters break on the outside, and as I paddle further out, the foam collects around my face like a beard of bath bubbles, and smells salty and kind of rancid. I dip myself fully underwater after I escape the sea of foam.

The currents eventually bring me back to where I first paddled out, and I watch a surfer swimming in with half a board left. The waves are heavy... I paddle around, trying to find a spot where the next set will hit, and I see before me a powerful right wave coming in hot. It's building with a lot of core energy, and I hear the lip crashing intensely just around the corner from where I am lifted up onto the shoulder of the wave... I drop in, and start hauling ass down the face. The wave is just opening up to my right, and it is steep - I'm pumping along the wall up to the top and rush back down, and charge forward as another wall takes shape before me... I'm feeling so good, and so in the groove, and I'm just pumping up and down this giant - with all this speed, I cut back towards the breaking wave, and pull straight up the lip and kick around... it shoots me out of the churning whitewash, and I'm still standing and riding! My first cutback!! On a DOH wave, to boot!! I keep riding it out through the last small section as the waves from the other side breaking left collide with this wave to end this most amazing experience. Oh my god, fullness!

Livin' life to the fullest!

Here's the website where you can check out pictures from this all-time day at OB -

Friday, December 03, 2004

where the magic happens

This morning, I woke up to the sun rising over San Francisco with a view from the water. I was up early, and had plenty of time to prepare for this magical event. On mornings like these, there is no place I would rather be than floating in the water of Ocean Beach, SF. My first wave was steep, and it pitched right over me as soon as I stood up - instant barrels... that's a wakeup call I can deal with.

If you walk into my office today, you will see three colored pencils, red, blue and gray, all neatly sharpened, a highlighter, my pen of choice, my calculator, several schedules, and binders of reference materials. As you pan to the left, you will notice 3 paper trays stacked vertically - recycled computer printouts and recycled notepaper. Captain Planet would be proud. The majority of people in this office will never use the backside of their worksheets. My Nalgene water bottle sits half-full of twice-filtered tap water.

At the visitor's end of the desk, there are magazines of varying themes, upon which my stuffed RGL bloodhound rests lazily. A stylish business card holder displays my professional identity. The magic happens front and center, where legal pad, colored pencils, and calculator synergize to create economic loss calculations. I really would like one of those visors with a green transparent lid... and while I'm on the subject, a white-noise machine would be nice... one that has a sound called the 'cacaphony of office life'... a harmony of typewriter and adding machine. This is my 6-7.

Today is a great day ;)

Sunday, November 28, 2004

tarzan and company take chitown

The Rinder clan was in full effect this past weekend, in celebration of our first Thanksgiving together, bringing the East and the Midwest together. It was a gathering of those surviving members of the family, 7 Rinders by blood, who carry the legacy of generations of survivors. The Rinder family was not alone in the struggle, as I discovered after hearing stories from Chris about his mother's family. There is strength in this blood, and good fortune, too.

This all began during the summertime, at which time Betty began to insist upon gathering us together for the next big holiday. The Chicago Rinder family has never had a big family gathering for the holidays, and so this time around, they doubled the size of the standard Thanksgiving party, where East met Midwest, and West joined in for the fun... and it was a lot of fun.

The spirit of the group created a very pleasant atmosphere, unlike any that I can remember in all my family gatherings. I was genuinely happy to see my siblings, as they were to see me, and to experience the uniting of those last decendents of Aaron Rinder, who I learned was born in 1899. We were delighted to also be celebrating an addition to this group in lieu of Betty's announcement that she is pregnant. To add to the good news, Marisia's cancer treatments are complete, and she is in the process of recovery. Despite her weakened state, she was unstoppable in and around the kitchen where she created our magnificent Thanksgiving feast. That feast was off the hook! It had to be the love and consciousness that went into the preparation that made this such a memorable and incredible dinner.

We had such a pleasant and relaxed Thanksgiving, and really spent the day being together, and perfecting the art of enjoying each other's company. It was truly incredible to witness a holiday during which voice are raised only in laughter and excitement, and where arguments over petty bullshit never enter the equation... there was absolutely no tension between Greg, Natalie, Mom, Dad or myself. I'm speechless.

The whole dynamic between our families is so good, so positive, that it makes me incredibly grateful for the family that I have. And the chemistry of this group, the mix of personalities and characters, is charming. I think it speaks volumes about the synergy of this group when I'm reminded of dancing together with my brothers and sister... that was about the most fun I have ever had, period. It was truly awesome. There is something really amazing about being able to experience such simple happiness with those who are blood, some of whom know you as well as you know yourself, and to stand in awe of that moment, and thanking the universal spirit to be related to such maginficent human beings. Chris and Betty are amazing and beautiful people that have grown up much like we did, so they can relate to us as well as we can relate to one another. It's wonderful... I always wanted a big family, and our New Jersey family often fell short of meeting my expectations for a joyful and loving family. This family in Chicago is different... I remember meeting Marisia and Benek in San Diego, and I dug their vibe from the getgo. Then meeting Chris and Betty filled a missing piece in my life... that big family tree was complete. These are people that make me proud to call family.

Now looking back at our first Thanksgiving together, I see such potention in this family to join together and create a meaningful difference in all of our interdependent lives. Amen, right on, shalom, aloha, and namaste!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Wearing more black than usual,

It's a day of mourning for many frustrated, even devastated, democratically-minded individuals... and I speak not of partisan politics. Simply stated, we the people want to run this country - WE support an administration that supports the principles of democracy. Our current administration deceives middle America, quite successfully, and attempts to deceive the rest of us, to believe that this is a functional democracy. Hardly the case; the reality of our political administration is akin only to a peaceful dictatorship.

We suffer as a country because of the overwhelming ignorance of the majority, those who put their stock in Fox news, who consider so-called traditional moral values (ie. social discrimination against gay marraige, gay civil unions, even sharing of work-related benefits between same-sex partners) to be important, and who blindly follow GW on his destructive path in the name of GOD. This is virtually the same motivation that inspired terrorists to mobilize around the world in their pursuit of devastation and destruction.

Bush supporters around the nation have virtually no concept of the world outside the scope of their television screens... it's quite pathetic. They choose to be apathetic and self-centered and it's quite clear that this kind of paradigm has only helped our country to become plagued with obesity, depression, ADHD... among the many effects resulting from a loss of consciousness and awareness in life.

It's time to listen to Senator John Kerry make concessions to a complete and udder idiot! God bless america is right! Fuck you, you stupid fucking texan. You can have America, because you manifest all the stupidity, pride and conceit that thrives in your supporters... and it appears that I'm outnumbered. So today I'm wearing more black than usual in mourning for our country - whose citizens must endure the harvest that the majority has sowed.

However, I will not be miserable because my country is a mess... because pain and suffering is inevitable, but feeling miserable is a choice! And I choose to feel great.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Sucked in and spit out

Wednesday of last week marks my first ride into and out of the tube. I was officially in the green room, and moving fast, so fast that I didn't take enough the time to appreciate those few seconds as I cruised into the section of wave that transformed into a vertical maelstrom about 6' high. It was so incredible, and so fast, and by far one of the longest lefts I have ever ridden. In the slot, feeling the sensation of being surrounded and spit out of a tunnel of water, that was enough to make me scream with excitement at the top of my lungs at the end of this magic ride.

I was screaming like a fool for at least a couple of minutes as I sealed in the experience... what a simple joy.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Shaking with Excitement

How can I contain myself?! I can't... I can't be contained. I was told that once after a rendez-vous with GHB. It just so happens that particular occasion inspired such a remark. I am literally shaking with excitement and can't possibly think about anything work-related for the next 45 minutes... therein lies the inspiration behind this entry.

I just listened to the surf report - light offshore winds, sunny and beautiful at the beach, and 6-8' faces - rideable and smooth... and low tide comes in at 5:56pm. There is nothing sweeter than the sound of that message, no love poem more endearing, nor sweet affirmation more comforting - I am utterly smitten by those words.

It's been almost two weeks since I've gotten some good surf, and perhaps I'm jonesing now for it - even this morning in my office, I couldn't help but gaze with blissful ignorance at the sketches of waves that I draw on my workpapers, and think of those amazing forces of nature that create choke waves.

Two weeks ago on Wednesday marked the end of a weeklong streak of incredible conditions... I was going to play tennis that evening with my tennis buddy Dan and I called to tell him that I would be a little late since I was planning to get wet first. I wasn't expecting the conditions to hold out yet another day, and sure enough, they did.

That evening, we observed (drooled over) a particularly fine boy named Jessie playing on the next court over, and after they had finished up, I walked over and chatted him up about playing together sometime. He has since become the hot topic on our plate of gossip, and we make it a point to run into him, either on or off the court.

Well, the universe does conspire to help those who seek it, and today marks an epic day of favorable coincidences that may ultimately lead to another run-in with the subject of our infatuation... It is Wednesday. I am playing tennis with Dan. I just called to tell him that I must get in the water. I will show up late, and Jessie will be there. This is my prediction -

more importantly though, I have a date with my all-time favorite lover... the

Sunday, October 17, 2004

The smell of inspiration...

The venue was relatively small, and incredibly charming... it was a playful mix between a concert hall and a industrial brick building, minimalistic in that dot-com modern look, with a touch of matte-finished black railings and fencing (no kidding) separating the seating area from the rest of the hall. It was the kind of place where you could imagine death metal concerts with bloody fans throwing themselves against fences and walls, or see it as it was on this particular night - an intimate, laid-back evening with the acoustic artists of folk rock.

Mason was the headline, and the reason I went to Slims. The crowd was hot - mostly straight, with a healthy number of teenagers looking like surf bums, in addition to the grungy skaters and earthy hippie chicks. When Mason finally came up to perform, I was within a few yards of him, and was so close that I could notice the way his eyes blinked when he was hitting the intense notes. It is amazing to be so close to someone that you admire so much.

His voice took me places, deep into my heart, and way up into the energy of the song where I felt once again like I was floating a few inches above the ground... this time around, I wasn't on any hallucinagenics. We all cheered with joy when he sang the lyrics "I'm staying far away from LA... I'm going north of San Francisco, into the cleaner ai-air." And
I just want to cry everytime I hear him sing "I miss the ocean when I go to sleep."

We were told several times that he loves coming to SF to play, and always loves the crowd. I left that evening with a warm fuzzy feeling in my soul, having gotten a healthy dose of the music that makes me sing straight from the source. To boot, it was amazing to be so close to him that I could smell the inspiration... or maybe it was just the perspiration.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

enslaved by the intellectual mind

'Beware!' The final words to me yesterday evening after almost an hour of rhetoric and philosophy of life with a guy filming the sunset... he's been watching it, drawing it, photographing it since the seventies.

He warned me of the intellectual mind, which represents the 4-6% utility of our minds, as I'm sure you've heard quoted. He referred to each of us having an embryo of a god waiting to be born, and in that god, we manifest our human magnifiscence through our bodies, ourselves. Without the burdens and handicaps of social constructs, he believes we can fly, we can reach the bottoms of the ocean by the power of our lungs, we can do without buildings, clothing, transportation... effectively, by nurturing our physical selves (his ideal version to include a discipline of martial arts, yoga, and true nutrition), we can live strong and survive the forces of nature.

He probably has drawn the shape of the sunset on your birthday... your actual birthday. That's what he's been doing for a good part of his life. He sees these different shapes that the sun makes as it descends the horizon, and captures these shapes in a simple drawing.

Anyway, he told me to beware of the intellectual mind that may limit me from engaging the intuitive and creative self that represents the real capacity of the mind... such an interesting and dynamic creature.

We started talking about the surf, and moved into this conversation about the sunsets, and then politics, followed by the environment, and back to the surfers, and then the history of ocean beach SF, and at some point, I realized that this could go on indefinitely, and that I will surely see Louie again.

We are free, free of the shackles and chains of social constructs, free of the intellectual mind, free to create, to live, to be and to perfect that art.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

The dream for a Friendly world...

where people of every creed, every race, gender, color, sexual orientation, or affiliation, can be friends. In order to be my friend, you don't have to meet anybody's expectation of amicability, beauty, intelligence, or wisdom - all you need is to offer honor, trust and respect. And all I have to do is to want you to be my friend.

That's the best part about friendship - it has no explicit standards. Others may say that your friend is clumsy... that's okay, he's my friend. Or that she is too conceited - or that he is too loud - or that she is too sensitive... it's part of the package. Take it or leave it. And I still say yes, I want to be your friend. You may have 15 enemies, and you can rid yourself of all of them by making just 1 friend. If you have two friends, you are blessed. If you have several friends, then I'm going to borrow one of them.

I went to Glide Memorial Church- - in the Tenderloin for the first time this morning, and I am truly blessed to live so close to such a wonderful community, where all people can find unconditional acceptance and love. One way to describe Glide is that it is a white black gospel church. It has all the soul and spirit of a true gospel church, and it is smack in the middle of one of the most diverse and accepting communities in the country.... I looked out at the crowd of people who filled the church this Sunday, and watched them all holding their hands high in praise for all the world to see how this diverse group of people form one unified people, united in the cause for peace, equality, acceptance, and goodness towards mankind.

Glide is a magical place, and is one of the few places on this earth where the dream of a friendly world can be experienced here and now. The sermon today was called "The Dream for a Friendly World", and it was given by Reverend Douglass Fitch, who told his story of growing up in a segregated world, segregated not by choice, but by the powers that be. He explained in a most charismatic and engaging sermon how the dream of a better world, a more accepting and friendly world, inspired him throughout all the hardships in his life, to make a postive difference in the world. Amidst all the challanges and obstacles, the dream continues to whisper in your ear, a reminder when you need to hear it most. And during those times when it seems like nothing seems to make sense, and the world as it seems is total chaos... in that cacophony of life we call society, there is still a melody ringing through, and that melody is our dreams, your dreams and my dreams.

Douglass wish was to experience his dream come true in this lifetime, and he ended his sermon by thanking god for Glide, because it is here, in the Glide community, that his dream has come true. Amen!