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.

 

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 writing  I want to tell all those who feel that society looks down upon them for their uniqueness 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

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

 

 

Related Articles

WHY YOU SHOULD GIVE A DAMN (strawberryindigo.wordpress.com)

A Baby is Dead After Being Found With His Homeless Mother at a Portland Bus Stop

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 Serendipity Effect

 serendipity


 


rainbow art

Some say it finds you! 

Fortunate happenstance perhaps…good things coming by chance..happy accidents…

What is serendipity and where can I get some of that potent elixir?

 Serendipity is the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

 

Life is a fast paced, whirlwind of a trip with plot twists and turns, unexpected snippets of senselessness tempered with semi-predictable outcomes. I say semi-predictable because I am of the philosophy that we make our own destiny and that destiny certainly make us. We can prepare for and harness both what we can and cannot control to our best advantage.

 

It was Norman Vincent Peale who inspired us all in his wildly popular “The Power of Positive Thinking”

I have read this classic at least a decade ago. And it inspired me. Many truths are contained within the pages of books. Peale explains in this book that our happiness depends on the habit of mind we cultivate.” I have taken this advice to heart…or mind, so to speak.  What we see and what we believe creates our reality.  Appreciation is key and what we think about what we already have taints whatever we encounter.  I never was always so positive as I am now. I’ve spent a great part of my life as a sarcastic cynic who believed that if I never believed in anything or anyone that I would never be let down.  I was ever wary, I had “seen it all”  I expected the negative and had no problem finding it.

I realized that if I wanted to change my life I would have to change myself and my outlook.  And I  decided to believe in all this, what I thought at the time was crazy mumbo jumbo because I really had nothing to lose.

 

We can recite platitudes, embracing their meaning but not truly believing in them. A lot of this stuff makes for excellent sound bites. We can sound cool and enlightened to our friends.  I known people like this who seemed to have something to prove by reciting every guru and free thinking wise person from Buddha to John Lennon.  Words can inspire but it’s what we do with that inspiration..

Serendipity is such a word.  It is inspiring, yes….

cat lady sunflowers friends pet
“Serendipity: Such a beautiful word describing the occurrence of events by chance. I like to think it’s the energy you put out into the world and the world returning your energy with love.” ― Steven Aitchison

 

I realize what I am saying may be construed as sounding too Pollyannaish  or too easy.  Real life is not like that. I know firsthand how damn ironically unfair it can be. I have found myself many times awestruck at life’s ironic unfairness. I could venture to say that a sense of humor helps but sometimes in life nothing seems to work and all the good thoughts and positive actions in the world cannot change that…

Ever have one of those days that start out horrid and end up atrocious?  No matter how well  intentioned and positive you are, you can’t win them all, no one can. That seems like a worthless platitude that doesn’t make anyone feel better. Truly it is only ourselves that can allow us to feel better.

 

Through our actions and reactions to events and nonevents we scatter seeds. Some get rooted deep in the ground long forgotten and some of those can seemingly out of nowhere erupt out of the ground and grow into something wonderful. It comes as such a surprise one can almost trip over it’s fantasticalness.
Serendipity isn’t what we find. It is not simply some pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. We can engineer serendipity by making something out of what we find, knowing this and then expecting to find it in the first place.

I could venture to say that positive thinking borders on the magical but it is not magic.

 

 

sun flower field sun happy nature

I think we can and do encourage serendipity by the choices we make, by our attitudes and by the way we treat others.  Put good out there in the world and with patience it will come back on you. Never stop believing, never stop putting your best possible foot forward.

I have seen people with good intentions try positive thinking and abandon it far too early expecting instant results. It doesn’t work that way.

Life runs in cycles, it ebbs and flows, no matter positive you are bad shit is going to happen to you. Conversely, so is the good shit, the trick is to learn from the bad and don’t take the good for granted…or too seriously. Goods things often take more than the power of positive thinking, no matter how powerful. Hard work,  perseverance and time with a pinch of luck makes the cake and when that’s topped with creamy optimism, the combination tastes like sweet success.

 

~NLM

people happy enthusiatic color confetti women

 

 

 

Serendipitous Quotes

*

“Cultivate the art of maximizing serendipitous opportunities.”
Gina Greenlee

*

“Success is three parts hard work and one part serendipity; this serendipity is a direct result of the other three parts of hard work.”
Ken Poirot

*

“The way to happiness: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry. Live simply, expect little, give much. Scatter sunshine, forget self, think of others. Try this for a week and you will be surprised.”
― Norman Vincent PealeThe Power of Positive Thinking

*

Related articles

SERENDIPITY was coined by Horace Walpole in 1754, inspired by The Three Princes of Serendip, the title of a fairy tale in which the heroes “were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of.”
SERENDIPITY was coined by Horace Walpole in 1754, inspired by The Three Princes of Serendip, the title of a fairy tale in which the heroes “were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of.”

 

Engineering Serendipity  (Nytimes.com)

10 Awesome Accidental Discoveries (popularmechanics.com)

George Harrison – What is Life 

 

Aliens inside us

 

There are aliens inside us…hidden deep inside us…restless ones who move about changing shape and creating quite a stir…subtly effecting us in ways we cannot imagine…slowly taking over our minds…driving us insane…

 

This is the dramatic version I like to entertain myself with. The one that suggests a nerdy sci-fi thriller mixed with a slick medical docudrama. This may not be too far off. ..

So just what am I jabbering on about you ask?

 

Mitochondria!

(Play dramatic music here)

that’s right. Mitochondria.

 

 

mitochondrion 1
Mitochondria

As we all know from Science class , mitochondria are adorable microscopic rod-shaped organelles. They live inside our cells, they give us our get up and go, our va va va voom and our very breath.

 

Really far out and groovy scientists hypothesize that millions of years ago a microscopic  free-living single-celled organism met up with another larger microscopic free-living single-celled organism and the two dug each other so much they reached some sort of agreement to develop a symbiotic relationship. And so they did;  shacking up together like bohemian live-in lovers, one not being able to live without the other, each complimenting each other perfectly. Eventually, the larger organism developed into a cell, the eukaryotic cell to be exact and the smaller organism developed into the mitochondrion we know today.   But how much do we know about mitochondria anyway?

 

Cultures cell stained for mitochondria (red), microtubules (blue), and the mitochondrial fission protein Drp1 (green)
Cultures cell stained for mitochondria (red), microtubules (blue), and the mitochondrial fission protein Drp1 (green)

Although they live inside us, mitochondrion do not share our DNA, they have their own.  They are quite the powerhouses of energy. They can change shape rapidly and are quite restless moving about ours cells almost constantly.

Mitochondria may not be literally the air that we breathe but it is they who convert the oxygen we breathe into energy in a process called aerobic respiration. Without mitochondria higher animals such as you and I and even my cat Mario are not likely to exist…

Ever since I heard of mitochondria and this arrangement made millions of years ago I have been fascinated.

 

 

I myself have entered into what most would consider a symbiotic relationships with another human and I don’t have to tell anyone that sometimes these relationships just don’t turn out. Sometimes they end badly and by the time you realize this,  it’s already too late and you have been driven insane.  It happens all the time. But imagine if you had literally absorbed this partner into your body and now it’s DNA is in your nucleus!  How can you undo this?  Argument, logic or idle threats cannot separate you. You are stuck with this mistake forever and there’s no amount of clever legalese or high priced lawyers that can save you.  OMG! Yikes!!

 

Mammalian mitochondria
Mammalian mitochondria

Really?  Can your Mitochondria make you crazy and if I ever do go crazy can I use this as an excuse?

I have been catching up on my technical journals and ran into articles citing evidence that there is a correlation between mutated mitochondrion and mental illness. This is no surprise.

This aspect is what intrigues me about the whole subject.  I mean could these little buggers be influencing us on a more subtle level, and if I screw up or do something stupid can I blame them?

Would anyone buy this?

This is what I ponder as I look out the window into the great wide world outside. I watch two crows fly high in the sky which leads to more pondering.  Yes, there are times when symbiosis goes horribly wrong but what happens when it goes wonderfully right?  Apart from some craziness, are we not the product of a successful symbiosis?  I try to imagine a time before the merging of the two single-celled organisms that created life as we know it here on earth.  In our narrow human point of view not a lot had happened before this chance meeting.  It was a spark that set off a whole heaping helping of a lot, dammit…

…has all of this been good ? That I will ponder another day…

I feel restless…

..the sun is out and I think I will go for walk

 

~NLM

art fractal gif 6

 

 

References and Related Articles

Entangled Particles and the Certainty of Love
The Air that I Breathe - The Hollies 


High Intensity Exercise Makes Muscle Mitochondria Happy

Psychiatric symptoms of patients with primary mitochondrial DNA disorders


Mitochondria (What is Mitochondria?)