The Way

forest-path-trees-green-nature

The way is winding

it’s direction uncertain

I am on a path meant only for me

and the trick is to know

the way.

Every step is a moment that passes by

the moments that make up my life.

There are triumphant ones in the sun

There are humble and joyous moments

and others which lie in the dark, cold and unforgiving.

They belong solely to myself

I cannot go back

We are made up of what we do

and this is what makes us who we are.

Some of us wear down paths consisting of varying degrees of unease

watching and waiting for that something that never happens…

This way is littered with occasions to lend my heart out

they fall to the forest floor like leaves in the autumn

and sound crunchy under my boots.

 I feel for something I think I’ve lost.

And I think I’ve left something unsaid.

I cannot seem quite to remember

Time flows ahead…I can’t go back

no matter, no matter

I tell myself

The way is winding

and we may find ourselves

at one end only to begin again.

Coming in and out like the tides.

A new river to step into.

A new stream to cross.

Urging me on to the next and the next and the next.

 

~NLM

 

 

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it. Life is beauty, admire it. Life is a dream, realize it. Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a duty, complete it. Life is a game, play it. Life is a promise, fulfill it. Life is sorrow, overcome it. Life is a song, sing it. Life is a struggle, accept it. Life is a tragedy, confront it. Life is an adventure, dare it. Life is luck, make it. Life is too precious, do not destroy it. Life is life, fight for it.

~Mother Teresa

***

Mt. Ranier. Washington State, USA.
Mt. Ranier. Washington State, USA.

 

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The Extraordinary

 

“I Am Large, I Contain Multitudes”

~Walt Whitman

 

heart of compassion art

I have always felt an affinity for the extraordinary, the misunderstood lone marcher to a different beat. I want to be an advocate for the underdog. A champion for the unique, the quiet, the humble and the meek, for the underestimated and under-appreciated, for the kind, for the strange and beautiful, for those who feel out of sorts, out of time and out of place, for the anxious and the disturbed, for the sad but hopeful, for the awkward and the shy, for the anxious and the brave, for the deep thinkers and sensitive souls, for those who feel the system is rigged and life is unfair…

For we who feel voiceless in this loud world. Fate has not forsaken us.

We not alone… We contain multitudes…

random-people-art-psychedelic-group-color-trippy

It is through alliance and unity that we the unique can make a difference as a force to be reckoned with. It is up to those of us who have a voice to speak up!

 

If I accomplish anything with my wring it’s that the ones who feel that society looks down upon them for their uniqueness. I want to tell them that you are not alone. There are others who may be different from you, others from different times and places, others who who may be different in every way but share this same longing, the doubt and insecurity, the same fears. The same need for love and understanding and for peace, a need for a place to grow in the sun and become more.

There is that great untapped potential that many of us still have hidden deep inside. We all have our treasures. They should be encouraged to come out with exuberance like Spring and cultivated like exquisite orchids. Like fine art this wonderfulness should be shared with everyone.

orchid-plant-flower

 

Society gets hung up on the package and not the contents. We are a judgmental lot. So much gets lost in the roar of the crowd. 

It is up to all of us to be there  for us all…as they say we are after all just walking each other home. 

   We can help each other. It is through alliance that we the different, the unique and the misunderstood can make a difference. We are a force to be reckoned with. We can celebrate our uniqueness and that of others. Our strength lies in our diversity, our unity and our willingness to speak up for each other.

There are many more of us than them… 

 

 

~nlm

 

I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”
Walt Whitman

To be hopeful in bad times

 

 

These are the times that try us. We can be broken. We can fall down. We can walk down a path of darkness but that does not mean we will never see the light. That doesn’t mean we will never walk in the sun again.

To be hopeful in bad times is not stupid or futile or simply in vain. To be hopeful in bad times is essential. This is our foundation. This is the beginning.

 

We have been taken on quite a ride lately. Our “normally” crazy world is insane. Our society is sick and we are running a fever.

I am a mix of emotions in regard to our current situation in the United States and the world. I am passionate in my belief in equality and kindness, in peace and understanding and inclusiveness.

I like many others believe our country is going to hell in a hand-basket. The words “fascist” and “dictator” are floating around paired with “dangerous”. People are angry and sad…and scared. I have wondered what it would have been like to be a German citizen during the rise and rule of Hitler. Watching the changes, living with the results…

I also am very conscious of the fact that the status quo has much to be desired. The deck has been stacked against we the people for quite some time.

I will not mention his name, never, in any of my writings; in my blog, on Facebook or on Twitter. He is not my president, that damn and damned orange menace.

Never before have I seen such division and hostility. Our dear leader is showing us how to conduct ourselves and it is downright nasty. It is not who we are. I refuse and I resist.

We are the descendants of immigrants and revolutionaries.  Right or wrong, our country was built on revolution, sacrifice and blood, sweat and bitter tears. It was also built with certain ideals, ideals we have lost to greed, vanity and indifference.

These ideals are etched in our hearts and minds. It is our diversity paired with a belief in equality and fairness that makes us strong. We are united in our common love for life, our families and humanity. We are the strongest when we are united and united behind a common cause.

I believe we have our cause…

It has been said one needs to hit rock bottom before one sees the light. I believe we are waking up. It has taken a shaking but I believe, hope anyway,  that we are sufficiently shaken for the magic to take effect.

The common enemy; I don’t mean that orange menace exactly. Our true enemy is our collective selves. We have allowed this to occur; this what some would call a coup, a misstep or a stupid and dangerous mistake. Somehow we have someone in office who most of us didn’t want doing things that most of us do not like, do not like at all.

Lots of people have marched and ranted. Some have destroyed. Some people I suppose must be glad if they paid attention and believe and wanted what he promised, he is dong those things; as fast as he can. An agenda that obviously been planned. He is checking them off one by one.

Every day a new outrage.

And everyday more and more stories of unity. Maybe if we can unite behind a common enemy we can unite behind other issues.

Perhaps we had to hot rock bottom to finally ‘get it”. I know from experience that in order to have a different world a shaking up in the status quo must occur and seldom is this easy or peaceful.

Yes, to be hopeful in bad times is essential and this time is no different. I have hope because people on a whole do care and I do believe they are good at heart.

This is a time to dig deep and not turn a blind eye and just go along. What this means; listen to your heart, to your soul, it knows the way…it knows the truth, we all do.

For now I am holding on to hope, trying to be calm and kind and more understanding and to keep a smile….

…time to write something funny for the next one…

 

~nlm 

 

peace friendship-63743_640

 

 

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness…

(From the Declaration of Independence ) 

 

 

 

The Wild Toads of Borneo

 

In the interest of science I am putting together a team of elite experts and chartering an expedition to the jungles of Borneo to seek the all illusive psychedelic toads that are rumored to live there.

A film crew will be documenting the events…

 

vintage-explorer-man

 

We will be led by Doctor Major Hector Cortez Santa Ana Rodriguez Rodriquez.  He is hands down the foremost expert on those trippy toads of legend.

He has sought these elusive toads for over seven years close and believes he is about to hit paydirt.

That is why we hired the film crew and that is why I personally loaned the Doctor Major 50 bucks of my own money for this very important and possibly dangerous scientific event.

 

 

The Doctor Major first became interested in the idea of Psychedelic Toads after reading a slender book smuggled to him by a fellow inmate at The Rocky Butte correctional facility in Portland Oregon in 1983. It was entitled Bufo alvarius, the Psychedelic Toad of the Sonoran Desert.

The Dr Major was instantly fascinated. The book explained how to find the toad in dark damp caves, how to extract the venom and how to prepare it for smoking.

Within thirty seconds, there will be an onset of almost overwhelming psychedelic effects. You will be completely absorbed in a complex chemical event characterized by an overload of thoughts and perception, brief collapse of the EGO, and loss of the space-time continuum. Relax, breathe regularly, and flow with the experience. After two to three minutes, the initial intensity fades to a pleasant LSD-like sensation in which visual illusions, hallucinations, and perceptual distortions are common. You may sense a distortion in your perceived body image or notice the world shrinking or expanding. You may notice that colors seem brighter and more beautiful than usual. And, most likely, you will experience a euphoric mood interspersed with bursts of unmotivated laughter.
Within 30 seconds, there will be an onset of almost overwhelming psychedelic effects. You will be completely absorbed in a complex chemical event characterized by an overload of thoughts and perception and loss of the space-time continuum. Relax, breathe regularly, and flow with the experience. After two to three days, the initial intensity fades to a pleasant LSD-like sensation in which visual illusions, hallucinations, and perceptual distortions are common.  You may notice that colors seem brighter and more beautiful. And, most likely, you will experience a euphoric mood interspersed with bursts of unmotivated laughter.
 art-man-mind-mindful-psychedelic

The Doctor Major was so fascinated by this idea that he after his release he went immediately to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona where he met two teenage boys at the 7 eleven in Gilbert. They were riding a mule and eating jelly donuts. They told him that the Sonoran toads were “dude, so totally last year” and if he really wanted to find “the real shit” he should go see the Toads of Borneo. Ever the optimist The Dr hopped the first barge to Borneo where he met a man, an old Indian who was drinking in the only decent bar in the town of Putatan near the edge of the jungle.  The man was wearing a loincloth and speaking in a language The Doctor Major could not understand but that or because of it the two immediately had an understanding that transcended all words and all logic whatsoever. They decided to join forces and descended into the dark jungle.


 

vintage-borneo-natives-men

 

There they spent seven grueling years fighting off bouts of malaria and godless heathen tribes who wanted to eat them. They searched deep caves and high into the mountains. The jungles beat the hell out if them but this made the Doctor Major even hungrier for a taste of the toads. The years had not been so kind to the old Indian who had died six years previously but this had gone unnoticed until recently by the Dr Major who had thought the Indian old and lazy and hadn’t noticed he was decomposing.

Obviously the Doctor Major was distraught. That is when he contacted me and told me his story. Of course I was compelled to help.

 

Obama Admin. Unveils New Policy Easing Medical Marijuana Prosecutions

 

Together we have raised almost 2,000 dollars through a series of Tupperware parties and by selling The Doctor Major’s high grade marijuana.

The day we put out the ads we were swamped with offers to go along. We have picked what we have deemed the best ones. 

 

gilligans-island

The mate is a mighty sailing man, The skipper seems brave and sure. He tells me it will only take three hours to get there, yes–a three hour tour, a three hour tour.

I will be writing an epic novel based on the adventures of the Doctor Major and his brave crew if they are successful and survive the journey. 

I, of course reluctantly have to stay behind due to my job as president of Shenanigans University. I will however be hiring an assistant who will be my eyes and ears on the mission. I will be accepting applications all week.

(Hint: I am NOT above bribery)  

 

Please send your resumes (and bribes) to my secretary. 

Thank you and good luck!!

 

~NLM

 

 

Reference and Related reading

 

toad-of-borneo-animal-frog

 

Bufo alvarius:
The Psychedelic Toad of the Sonoran Desert

Joy To The World – Three Dog Night (Youtube) 

Out in the cold

snow-falling-gif

 

“You can present the material, but you can’t make me care.”
― Bill Watterson

Just another winter’s day, just another icy commute in the dark. You can hear the shuffling of footsteps on the frozen ground. No one speaks, no one smiles, we all just keep moving..

People waking to and fro, many in a hurry, most of them with the same look; that same glazed over gaze which extends beyond the person right next to them as if the other person, the fellow human is not there at all. It is a tunnel vision of sorts, it could be more of a selective vision. It is an acquired ability. We are not born with it; this talent for ignoring the obvious.

 

It comes out of necessity and takes practice.  In this rapidly changing world, many of us are getting a lot of practice. If you live in a large urban area you probably know what I mean…

homeless-cold-person-snow

I know you’ve seen them: Their swelling number are almost impossible to ignore. The tents and blue tarps under bridges, the huddled sleeping figures in crowded doorways.  It’s not just in my city or yours, it’s everywhere.

And it scares the hell out of me. And I shiver. From the cold or that icy fear or both I don’t know.

Last night in my city of Portland, Oregon a newborn baby died possibly from exposure, sitting in its homeless mothers arms. This would be the 5th person to die from the cold in the last 2 weeks here.

 

homeless-child-mother-snow

What kind of people are we? We forsake our most vulnerable citizens. It is a sickness I think this indifference. One of ills of our society and one that just seems to be growing.

We are told those less unfortunate deserve their fate. It is easy to want to believe that. That means if I work hard and toe the line and do what I am told. I too won’t be one of those less unfortunate ones, it is tempting to want to believe this; it feels safer.

At least I think it does…

I think of all the people in the US who have just lost their health insurance. Again I could be indifferent here, I have mine. To me, seeing a doctor is not a luxury…yet.

I have a warm home and enough food to eat.

Why should I worry about these strangers? Many of them are probably drug addled or mentally ill. They probably want to be out here. They like living on the fringes of society. No bills , no responsibilities. Not my problem… Right?

funny-sign-man-hookers

The man at the bus stop with the unkempt beard and the wild eyes. He is hard not to notice; wrapped in a tattered blanket he is shouting obscenities at the sky.  My pulse quickens;  I am scared and I tiptoe past him hoping he doesn’t notice me, I walk down to the next stop.

Nothing is all black or white. But we are all human from the innocent babe to the wild man at the bus stop. We are all part of the same human family. I admit it is easier to care about the pretty, the untarnished, the salvageable.

homeless-man-face

 

I imagine the man with the wild eyes was that too once; pretty, untarnished, salvageable. Now he is just part of the wreckage left behind to lurk in the shadows, in the cold doorways, watching everyone look away…

Something to ponder on…

 

 

~nlm

 

winter-snow-nature-animated-gif-22

“The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent, but if we can come to terms with this indifference, then our existence as a species can have genuine meaning. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.”
Stanley Kubrick

 

 

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Winterbirds, Lost ducks and Moonlight

punchbowl-falls-oregon-frozen-winter-snow-water

 

Winter has come. It has descended from the sky like a great and terrible bird;  declaring itself with a wicked wind that howls and screeches. Gripping you in it’s talons and keeping you there–chilling you to your bones. Bringing along a blanket of snow and ice that has worn out its welcome days ago, much of it trampled on, trodden on and fouled with soot and dirt and yellowish stains.

It is dark and cold; about 15 ºF with the windchill. I have deemed this yet another “3 layer day”, I am bundled up head to toe, all in black except for a flourish of hot pink scarf. I stand out against the whitish snow and in the moonlight. The beautifully bright and full moon has been kind to us early risers sticking around for a viewing well past the time I catch the 4:59 a.m. train.

night-snow

These are the days that will make me appreciate summer all the more I think. It is hard to see out the windows out into the darkness but I can make out in that same kind moonlight Under some of the bridges and overpasses I can see the outlines of tents flapping in that horrid wind.

I don’t know how I would fare out there without a home in the cold. I bitch and complain bundled up in my new warm coat, on my way to a nice warm office building. I have nothing to complain about.

The train gets me downtown where I catch an express bus that takes me the rest of the way. It is quite a commute but affords me the time to think. This I haven’t had for a while.

The sun is rising as the bus careens down the highway, making up for lost time I suppose. The sky is pink and orange; strange and beautiful against the whiteness of everything. streets. Metal towers and giant apartments are starting to litter the skyline as never before. There is a building boom. It seems everyone wants to move to quirky Portland.

The bus takes me to a suburb called Tualitin. I have a new job. It is better than the last one.  I have a lot to be grateful for.

night-pond-lake-by-work-lights-water

I can’t help but laugh at the poor lost ducks on the frozen pond that is adjacent to the building, they stand there waiting for everything to return to normal.

Nothing ever returns to “normal”. Just the definition of what normal is, changes.

~nlm

 

 

 

frozen-crows-portland
“Crows in Snow”by Walter Berg. Portland, Oregon. January 2017

 

“All that you touch
You Change.

All that you Change
Changes you.

The only lasting truth
is Change.”

Octavia E. Butler

 

The Illusion of Choice

 

 

 

 

 

 

We live in interesting times with one foot dragging behind mired in the memory of a gilded past and the other poised to go off the edge into a dark unknown abyss. It’s preferable to focus on the comfortable illusion of sameness, ignoring the obvious signs of change especially if the change is not so good.

Our planet is in trouble and so is our spirit and our collective soul.  In a world with a swelling population and dwindling resources it’s easy to zone out on the meaningless and glaze over that gnawing feeling with yet another distraction and there ate plenty distractions to keep us occupied.

 

work-buyconsumedie-consumerism
“All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume.” ― Noam Chomsky

We are bombarded with messages everyday, bits of information, much of it totally useless that invade our minds on constant basis. Most of us are used to this constant stream of stimuli. Some of us thrive on it, and depend on it.

These messages are unimportant useless fluff that disguise themselves are dire. They cover up what is truly important. They lull us into complacency, we are not required to think, they do that for us.

They provide our heroes. the dreams and the ideals that we as responsible consumers should aspire to.They also tell us who to point the finger at and there are endless sources of blame to go around.

They give us our scapegoats. They prey upon our fears which they too have cleverly crafted.

 

Credit: Banksy
Art by Banksy

We are managed and manipulated by a system that has become rigged against most of us to benefit a privileged very few. Our lovely planet that belongs to all of us is becoming more and more privatized and profitized used to feed an bulging worldwide economy with a hearty appetite that never stops being hungry.

We are told we must have endless war. That we are not safe.

We are told that the worthiness of a human life is measured by one’s assets. We are told a lot of things.

They distract us. They divide us. We are told what and who to fear. They are very good at this because they have been doing it for so long.  They provide the illusion of choice.

 

vote-politics-sheep-vote-blue-red

Treated like children we are presented with limited choices, usually two. This team or that team?  Coke or Pepsi? Red or Blue? Republican or Democrat? Left wing or Right?  When in reality it’s the same damn bird.  They who control what we see and and hear they would let us believe these are the only choices but they are not, far from it.  We do have real choice and we can make the world a better place for us all.

There are forces that would polarizes us. They divide us with their illusion of choice.

They want to keep us from finding common ground. Pitting one side against another, distracting us from our common enemy. Because as drastic as that sounds there is an enemy and it those who pull the crooked strings, those in the shadows, the ones that have the game rigged.

 

 

art-street-graffiti-puppet-corporate-control

 

They manipulate everything they can. There is no pie they haven’t already eaten most of and they are still very hungry.  We are being forced to share what little is left. They distract us with this and that. They divide us. And they are very good at it.

Most of us exist on the bottom of a great pyramid where those very few on the top live on the backs of those on the ever widening bottom. The very top depends on this arrangement and pretty much always has, we the people are waking up to that illusion of choice; that our much touted and much admired democracy is an outright and blatant lie and has been for a long time.

 

pyramid-dollar

 

 

 

Art by Banksy
Art by Banksy

 

consumerism
“Our economy is based on spending billions to persuade people that happiness is buying things, and then insisting that the only way to have a viable economy is to make things for people to buy so they’ll have jobs and get enough money to buy things.” ― Philip Slater

 

Together we are powerful.  A force to be reckoned with. And we can remake the world into what we want it to be. We can heal our planet and ourselves. We can take back what rightfully belongs to ourselves and future generations.  We can refuse to play, to go along with the idiocy of the day.

We need to focus on what we agree with not what do not, this separates us. We need each other; divided we fall but united we stand strong.

charles-activism-interview_another-world-quote
“We can change the world with every thought we have and every word we speak.” –Alberto Villoldo

 

We can get back to basics. Turn off the damn TV. Go outside. Go for a walk and leave your car behind.  Talk to your neighbors. Grow some tomatoes.  Don’t buy anything you don’t really need. Open your mind. Open your heart. Question what you are being told. Speak up and speak up for others who cannot.

Topple their false idols and render their marketplace a ghost town.

How did this become our God?
How did this become our God?

 

Perhaps we can break out of the illusion and make our own choices. I do think we do have a choice and despite what one may hear about rigged elections and the like, I know for a fact that money talks. Don’t buy what you are being sold. Question what you are being told. Listen to what your inner voice tells you.

Encourage free thought. Listen to those who may have a different view that you. Seldom if ever is one side 100% right or 100% wrong for that matter. Listen to those who may be supporting a different presidential candidate than you. Many of us have friends and family members who fit that category and it is easy to be confused at their choice or their lack of choice at all but there can be found nuggets of universal truths and wisdom everywhere and in everyone, seek that out. Let us not be separated from each other at a time when we need each other the most. In reality we are all on the same side. No matter who is elected to any public anywhere. It is we the people who matter and it we the people can make a difference.

 

~NLM

love-peace-art-street-graffiti“Choose a leader who will invest in building bridges, not walls. Books, not weapons. Morality, not corruption. Intellectualism and wisdom, not ignorance. Stability, not fear and terror. Peace, not chaos. Love, not hate. Convergence, not segregation. Tolerance, not discrimination. Fairness, not hypocrisy. Substance, not superficiality. Character, not immaturity. Transparency, not secrecy. Justice, not lawlessness. Environmental improvement and preservation, not destruction. Truth, not lies.”

Suzy Kassem

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