Generosity

generosity is good

Generosity makes everyone involved feel good. Both the recipient and the giver derive pleasure from the act of sharing, albeit in different ways. (It’s better to give than to receive?) Generosity is one of the easiest ways to instantly manifest joy, to create what’s commonly understood as “good energy.”

We all like getting surprises; we all like being thought of by others. What’s less universally appreciated is the benefits that accrue to the giver: a sense of well-being, of bigheartedness, of grace. When you give from the heart, you have no motive other than to brighten the life of someone else; when you do, the sun shines on both of you.

“Give until it hurts” is a popular credo in the political bribery industry. But true generosity involves no pain. As the kids say, it’s all good.

We’ve been making a point of reminding ourselves to be . . . → Read More: Generosity

Poem: Better Angels

love thy neighborhood

Out on errands, out on foot seeing and breathing

whatever passes for Nature

in Hollywood,

I – which means you-me-we-us – you were doing what you always do on gentle mornings

cinematically sunlit from the back:

you were noticing. Walking and noticing

energy organizing in most attractive and repellent ways. Seeing a fraction of the all and, overwhelmed

by the majesty and the emptiness,

the majesty of the emptiness,

you sigh smile

stepping once more into the opposite of the abyss.

 

Earlier this morning you returned the phone message of

someone who calls you only when she wants something.

(She wanted something; you tried to be generous.)

Later today you’ll rendezvous with

someone who meets you only when he wants something.

(You will try to be generous.)

Now you’re at the stoplight, waiting to cross the Boulevard thrumming with the echoes of Kenyan feet.

Karmic accounting . . . → Read More: Poem: Better Angels

Poem: On Watching a Bee Expire in the Garden

bee on the ground

The 2014 MK SPRING POETRY FESTIVAL, March 9-22!

 

Death and life are interchangeable,

inextricably entwined.

Without a brain there is no thinking,

no motoring of the mind.

Fret not about the end impending

when you suppose you’ll not be able

 

to kiss and laugh – oh, all the pleasures

almost justifies the pain.

Without a wound there is no succor,

unwelcome drought, cherished rain.

Call it fated, then call it luck, or

consign your dance to humble measures.

 

But dance you must. And singing! Loudly.

And loving oddly. And now

you see that when the playing concludes

what’s left is not about how

or when you tamed unbearable moods.

No. Embrace your death – and life – proudly.

Poem: Why Not Me?

Walk into the light

My friend the genius musician artist

said: “The three words that define Los Angeles are

Why Not Me?”

The correct question, as any enlightened person could tell you –

and probably would if given an opportunity

no matter how slender or conversationally tenuous, like a run-on sentence in an increasingly ponderous poem – the correct question, of course, is

“Why Me?”

Why have I been so extravagantly blessed with every single thing I have and

don’t have?

Poem: Your Choice

dark or light, you choose

Where you want to put it, fool?

On the dark?

All right.

I’ll say it again: All right.

All right. You know it’s gonna be

all right.

Everything is gonna be all right

even when it’s not.

Perfection includes imperfection.

And that includes you, fool.

Perfectly imperfect worry machine,

forgetting to clean

behind the scene, where we find your centrum, the magic locus,

the secret room where you choose to focus

on the one or the other, the either or the or,

the acceptance of less or the addiction to more,

the sympathetic fight or flight,

the brooding darkness and the eternal light.

 

Where you want to put it, fool?

On the light?

All right.

Yes. All right.

Poem: Yoga Lesson

candlepose

What is arrogant contrary to your view

would be to presume that the threshold of excellence you’ve artificially set –

what does and doesn’t qualify for literature art excellent worthiness –

earned along the way the organic certification, the one we all hope

we’re worth. In fact, my dear, my darling, my [insert pet name here],

the oracles have spoken and they say you’re flimfloozled.

And also mildly embruvulated!

 

Is it only Hollywood People who do yoga to relieve their suffering and pain,

and to exercise in stretchy pants?

Is it only bitter pedants who haven’t yet learned “show, don’t tell”

works wonderfully when delivering admonitory rants?

You can’t awaken the sleeping with a startling shout. You must enter their dreams,

burrowing through the seams, into the revelation spot,

ensconcing yourself there, building a tent, settling in for the long

long night of . . . → Read More: Poem: Yoga Lesson

Poem: Poet Philosopher

alan-ginsberg-poet-philosopher-carole-spandau

Let this be my manifesto

to be tacked upon cathedrals and posted on digital walls

where everyone in the world goes to look

at what isn’t happening to them. It has thusly been decreed

that He is I and I is He – another way to say

that I is We, and He and You and all that ever was.

It’s all in here.

 

The decision has been made – by who or whom or what, no one can say.

Royalty or slave, predator or prey, your divine purpose

is to be of service to God, God being Nature and living creatures and

everything that’s here and everything that isn’t.

Your brothers and sisters, the ones who aren’t born yet, the ones whose shells

you might one lifetime inhabit – everyone is qualified, despite what merchants in the religion trade

claim.

 

Heretofore . . . → Read More: Poem: Poet Philosopher

Family Problems

family problems

In the aftermath of the devastation wrought by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, where thousands died and hundreds-of-thousands more were left homeless, almost everyone I spoke to asked the same question: My Filipina wife — was anyone in her immediate family affected?

Everyone was greatly relieved to learn that, no, none of my wife’s immediate family members were harmed by the storm. To these kindhearted and compassionate inquirers, the absence of death, injury, or property damage to my wife’s closest relatives was a great relief, a kind of silver lining to the dark cloud of death that descended on her birth country. By some sort of strange spiritual calculus, it was understood and taken for granted that blood relations are intrinsically more important, more valuable to us, than everyone else – with the exception of those who are welcomed bloodlessly into the family through adoption and marriage. . . . → Read More: Family Problems

Dirty Thoughts

An Indian ragpicker searches for re-cycl

We’ve learned from experience, from having a surfeit of dirty thoughts. Voluntarily removing more than 3,000 pieces of litter from Hollywood’s Runyon Canyon (and the streets around it), has taught us several abiding lessons that the City of Los Angeles should consider in the ongoing battle against trash blight. + Getting folks not to litter in the first place — and to pick up any litter they see — is a tough ask when our entire lifestyle is based on “acceptable” fouling of our environment. We accept poisoned water in exchange for newly fracked fuel sources. We accept polluted air (acknowledged by the WHO as a carcinogen) in exchange for the convenience of one-person commutes. We accept an entire economy based on consume-and-dispose. Accepting a litter-speckled “nature area” isn’t hard to do when many of us arrive at the park in an SUV . . . → Read More: Dirty Thoughts

Very Special Yoga People

Upside down crescent flexibility

Yoga People come from all walks of life, with a million different back stories and life journeys. Nonetheless, Yoga People generally share certain admirable and desirable traits: physical flexibility, mental mindfulness, and a spirit of focused discipline. They tend to possess a figurative openness of heart that mirrors the literal openness of their limbs spread wide in an asana.

They look good, too!

Yoga People, the conventional thinking goes, are slightly more conscious of the universe than the average person, more awake to reality and possibility, thanks to the power of inward-looking meditation.

This may be true in many cases, maybe even most cases. But practical visual evidence, the kind with measurable parameters, suggests that for all their advanced inquiry into the nature of being, Yoga People are actually pretty much like non-Yoga People.

To be oblivious to the world around us and . . . → Read More: Very Special Yoga People