friend, please read “letter to a friend who still suffers” to the right.
friend, please read “letter to a friend who still suffers” to the right.
we’re baaaa-ck! back from sailing the gorgeous, wild, mystical, mysterious, and oh-so-weird southern coast of newfoundland.
two weeks away! many books read:
we were a crew of five:
and oh, let’s not forget the boat’s doggie, Scrappy, the queen of Dagny (pronounced dine-ee, an Iclandic name for girls meaning “new dawn”).
the retired fishing captain from iceland….Petur, our boat’s captain: the man who –without even blinking an eye–sailed our 70 foot yacht through an inlet’s tiny hole, one that looked to any other like we were surely headed for deadly rocks; the man who senses change in current, weather or wind, or any other sea conditions, long before news comes over the airwaves:
and finally, the young (19 years old) Danish mathematician, Malte (pro-nounced in English, mal‘-dah) who is having himself a fine adventure sailing Dagny from Newfoundland to the Caribbean, before going off to college, back in Denmark:
our time aboard dagny was filled with the pleasures of simplifying our complicated lives: living in a small space, sharing that space with others, cooking simple delicious nutritious food (lots of cookouts on the shore, next to one magnificent waterfall after the next), and, most importantly, getting quiet in the mind.
it took us about three days to quiet ourselves from the hustlin’ pace of living in the fast lane (well…. let’s face it, anywhere in the good ol’ U.S.A. is much faster than anywhere else, to live).
i’ll have more to say about my experiences in newfoundland in my upcoming posts.
before leaving for our sail i made it a goal of mine to spend some time after returning to learn how to get this blog of mine out into the public’s eye. so that’s what i’ll be learning in these next weeks. always something to learn! always! i’m also working on my spanish, something i’ve been enjoying and speaking more and more over the past years, but…unless i practice daily, it all goes out the window (there was not much opportunity of speaking spanish up in “the rock” as the newfies call their country).
this life is so filled with possible adventures…all we have to do, like malte, my new friend from denmark, is to pack our bags and hop aboard a boat and go somewhere new. of course not all of us can do that, literally. but we can, however, metaphorically do it. we can “pack our bags” by making a decision to make space in our lives for something new. we can “hop aboard a boat” by setting a goal, then unfurl our sails (by choosing to direct our energies toward that special something new) and … finally … we’re cast off, setting out on our new life adventure, simply by one day deciding to do it!
breathe…enjoy…take a chance and go some place different (in your mind, at least!) that you’ve always wanted to go. you CAN do it! how? just by giving yourself permission to do so. and then…surround yourself with people, situations, affirmations, visualizations, activities, etc. that reinforce the positive decision, and the adventurous destination you’ve chosen.
congratulations on opening your mind, opening your heart.
with love, in the Light, your pal lordflea
we can either focus on the hard stuff in life…the injustices, the gripes, the grief, the dis-ease, pain, evil, hardships and challenges … or … we can focus on something entirely different and break free:
i’m sure you’ve had the experience: what you think is what you become. athletes use focusing techniques to win; students ace tests by merely thinking they can; jobs, parking spaces and even lovers manifest when we visualize them. stories of “what you think you are” are an integral part of our human-ness.
it’s true, whatever we focus on, that’s what we are. if i choose to focus on the turmoil of the world around me, i’m pissed off, disturbed, and pretty darn scared. but if i choose to focus on the inner state of connectedness, the spiritual Oneness that is the only Truth i’ve ever known to be absolutely, beyond a doubt prove-able (based on my own experiences) … then this life is veritably heaven on earth.
i watched “The Cry of the Snow Lion” last night. for those of you who don’t know this incredible documentary, it lays out the truth of Tibet’s oppression by the inhuman communist chinese. i can actually say that until last night i was ignorant of the truth of Tibet’s great oppression. what horror! what atrocities! what barbaric treatment of these spiritual people. but…and here’s the universal lesson that we all need to remember…the Dalai Lama, the leader of Tibet (in exile) in spiritual, political and cultural matters, incredibly holds no malice towards the evil treatment the red chinese government and its soldiers have inflicted on the Tibetans.
what a lesson. His Eminence says, “you cannot hate those that are evil. otherwise you become like them. you must oppose them with non-aggression, and overcome hatred with love, through compassion.”
in my own life i can apply this teaching to practically every single person, situation, and event that bothers me. i’m not perfect, but i’m getting better at detaching from the negatives. with my own family i have the opportunity to practice compassion on a daily basis, instead of waging war, i choose to not exercise bitter control over how everyone (should, ought) to act. let go let God, yes, that’s IT. i attempt to shower the warm, healing glows of love toward any one–even an insensitive, over-wrought daughter–who hurts me. the people who hurt us the most are our greatest teachers. once we learn to forgive–and detach from their lack of compassion.
ahhh, detachment now there’s another day’s sharing. compassion, a great topic for some other time. the very core of living In Spirit, to be compassionate (com=with; passion=feeling).
my little life is so comfortable. so easy. the Tibetans, those still in Tibet especially, have so much misery, so much oppression to overcome. i pray that the world will come together and send support to the People of Tibet.
please see the film: www.cryofthesnowlion.com and do what you can, even by sending your thought-energy, your financial donations, your social and political activism, or simply your awareness to help these people. things are so much worse than i had ever imagined. the red chinese government is nightmarishly cruel, inhumane and not ever to be trusted. they have sinned against humanity by their illicit takeover of the sacred Himalayan altar of Tibet.
today i spoke with Binky Person a Native American Hopi out in arizona, who is fighting his own private struggle, to keep the teachings of his ancient culture alive, to keep his people aware of their birthright. my friend Petuuche, of the Acoma nation (in New Mexico), told me, no–he begged me to help Binky, when i emailed to ask Petuuche how i could help the Hopi. on the phone Binky silently wept when i told him we were sending him a small donation. he cried. i cried too. man, it’s moving when you touch another human heart. and i never ever met Binky before that phone call today. he has no computer. he’s a simple corn farmer (all by hand, he told me) but he spends any time he can trying to help his own people–the Hopi pueblo nation–not to be put down by the encroaching americanization, the tv-consciousness, the materialism of modern life. he’s exhausted! Binky lives to protect the spiritual life of humanity. it’s important, i feel, to support people like Binky. yes, we can support the Tibetans, but here in america, the natives of our land need our help as well, if not more.
make checks out to: Native Movement (non-profit tax #501c3) and designate “for Hopi Nation’s special efforts.” Late in September Binky has organized a “Run for Water” event, in which races and other cultural experiences will be shared by all who participate. see www.nativemovement.org for more info on Binky’s work, and other ways you can help other indigenous people.
we are One. if we hurt one part of the web, all the web of humankind suffers. the Mystery is: we are One. think that. become that. Be One In Spirit.
i had to tell Binky, with a chortle, that here in my Florida seaside town of St. Augustine, the tourist industry promulgates the ridiculous saying, “St. Augustine–the oldest city in America”… on everything from t-shirts to big-ugly-toxic billboards. but i am always compelled to tell, irreverently, laughingly, to whomever will listen, in a very light-hearted but hey!-let’s-get-real! kind of way, “you’re absolutely wrong! st. augustine is the oldest white guys’ city in america…what about the thousands-of-years-old cities (of the Hopi, Acoma, and Laguna pueblos, and all the forgotten Annasazi). yeahhhh: Truth is Truth.
for the record, Old Oraibi, on the Black Mesa in Arizona, dated at over 4,000 yrs. old, the true “oldest city in America”–and it’s still inhabited! it’s very rough. there are no stores except where “outsiders” can come and see the Hopi’s masterful artwork. i don’t think there’s plumbing even, if they do it’s very primitive. each family has their own outhouse, on the edge of the mesa’s cliff. unlike other, richer tribal nations of indigenous people, the Hopi have no casinos. they need financial support from all of us white guys, and yellow, black, pink and even those megalomaniacal red ones from china.
in the glee (and ghee!) of laughter, keeping it light in the Light,
everyday i do a little bit of what some call yoga, but i prefer to describe what i do as how i’ve learned to pray with my body. it all started with PAIN. excruciating, nerve-clamping PAIN. in childhood i developed scoliosis in the sacrum area. pain became my “invisible friend” like other kids had angels, little elfs, or fairies (no no no to satsquatch!). i was in college when i taught myself how to do simple poses. there were no teachers back then (oh did you guess i’m no generation x-er?). first i did simple things…then…gradually…i relaxed ….
Just as this person looks doing the tree pose:
but THIS …. this is how it feels … inside!!! … to do that same pose ….
and so, my friend, this is why lord flea adores not only singing the calypso song of the day, but, as often as i can, to merge with my physical, visit the temple of my body, and allow my Self to become something i can’t in ordinary ways: by going into these (both simple and complex) strange poses, stilling my breath, concentrating on the energy pulsing through my consciousness, my sinewy muscles, my elasticizing tendons, my strong bones…and … holding IT!
in this way, my body has gradually become my greatest teacher. just as i’ve learned that our humanity is the greatest praise of the Divine. does that sound corny? sorry. that is exactly how i feel, after years of “doing” yoga.
oh, and i should mention here that i’ve taught hatha yoga for years to incarcerated juveniles. the very “baddest” of the bad in our so-called civilized society, that are in teenage lock-ups everywhere. i take yoga to them, and guess what? they LOVE it! those who have the guts to appear in yoga class, to the hoots and disses of their bros and sistahs of the hood, that is. but…that’s another subject for another day. they love it because with their own bodies, these kids learn how to tap into the Power Within, and … instantly … they are FREE. Truly. Remarkably. Utterly…FREE. Even while they’re there, in prison.
the pose i’m working on mostly in my practice these days is the handstand. i’m still chicken about getting away from the wall. courage is still not one of my fortes. so i’ve created my own vision to inspire me, help me relax, give me strength to connect both to the earth (with my invisible roots) and to be lifted by the ineffable Source, by holding me up up up to the Ideal–that ideal of successful connection!
i really wanted to talk about relationships today. i had something entirely different in mind, like love-relationships, parent-child relationships, person to Planet-relationships, too, when i started writing. but i guess all relationships start with that particularly intimate one each of us either has, or doesn’t, or is in the process of cultivating–that relationship with our own bodies. to be at peace with our mind; our physical self; and our Inner Self, the Spirit–that’s the basis of how we relate to the world around us.
this is why i do yoga. of all the methods of getting-in-touch-with-Truth i’ve experimented with (and believe me! i’ve tried a lot of ’em, not all, but hey–enough to know when a good thing’s a good thing, when you finally hit the jackpot), hatha yoga, the concentrated physical movement of coordinated breathe and muscular poses done with mindfulness, is where i find the most benefit, the best place to worship, and…get relief from any pain–mental, physical, or spiritual–in the meanwhile.
yoga, by the way, translates from its sanskrit as “discipline,” or, more precisely, “that to which one yokes oneself to.”
who, you ask, do i regard as good teachers?
well, above and beyond all my teachers is my beloved meditation master, the living saint, Swami Chidvilasananda, to whom i dedicate this blog. if you’d like to know about the ancient traditions of yogic wisdom that i study, under the tutelage of Gurumayi (Chidvilasananda’s nickname), please check out the traditional yogic philosophy, of which Gurumayi is the current teacher in the lineage of Siddha Yoga. www.siddhayoga.org
but the physical hatha yoga (hatha translates as simply “physical”) that i do is very diverse. here’s a list of some of my favorite hatha yoga teachers.
john friend www.anusara.com
ana forrest www.forrestyoga.com
shiva rea www.shivarea.com
rodney yee www.rodneyyee.com
baron baptiste www.baronbaptiste.com
all the great teachers they bring to kripalu www.kripalu.org
and in my own community, St. Augustine, FL www.discoveryyoga.com and Didier Razon and Ann Kiyonaga-Razon: www.didieryoga.com
most importantly, for those of you interested in exploring the yogic way of living, is to be in touch with your breath. don’t forget to breathe! and try to be aware of your breath whenever you can. right now, in fact.
a wondrous moment, a glorious day to you.
much love, lord flea
a new friend came into my life on saturday night, when we had a satsang at our house. “satsang” is a sanskrit term for “being in company of Truth.” it is what you call the time when seekers of all sorts get together purposefully for the opportunity to be as One, to honor the Inner Self, to honor the teachers, disseminate the teachers’ and scriptural wisdom, and to do things like chant, contemplate great words, and meditate, and…to socialize with like-minded individuals. we had cake (someone’s birthday! happy leos! and herb tea afterwards.)
this new friend of mine grows herbs. she knew i was a fan of nature because in our emailing back and forth preceding the satsang, i mentioned my love of ripping out lawns (which i do wherever i can) and replanting them with zero-scape (or is it xeroscape?) gardens, designed free-style with meandering paths, little areas of interests, and as much rock-work and sculpture as i can possibly fit into the space. i’ve done lots of this kind of arting-with-earth-moving-and-painting-with-living plants creation, in both cities and in rural areas.
in an email to her i mentioned how i’ve been trying to germinate “tulsi,” a variety of basil, which is considered both medicinal and sacred in India, where it’s from. so when Dora the herb lady (her business is www.maggiesherbfarm.com ) came to satsang, she brought bunches of cut neem, and…magic of all magic, a tulsi plant!
the neem was especially interesting to me, as i’ve been staring at a jar of neem oil, afraid to use it, timid to try something so foreignly sticky and yukky smelling, and generally being the kind of slouch and narrow-minded fool that i often ridicule. so isn’t it perfect, me thinks to meself, that Dora has brought me some neem as a gift.
plants are truly gifts from the gods. how often has mankind been rewarded, even “saved” by a natural plant or mineral? a cure for leprosy; the fungus growing on bread that became penicillin; barley and hops that became mankind’s favorite intoxicant: mead then beer; juniper berries in gin; little unopened flowers that are capers; and let’s not forget all the great cures of cancer, AIDS and every other disease that is sure to be contained in the “right plant”…when the scientists discover them.
a little treat for you, on this thought:
…so…what is neem, you ask.
it is a deep-green, delicated-leaved tree used for any type of ailment besieging a plant grower or gardener. writing this, i’m working up to trying an infusion of its leaves on an infestation of white flies attacking my young papaya trees. i’ll also be glad to share my other stash (a jar of neem oil from Dyna-Gro) with my friend, Isabel, who has an epidemic of microscopic black flies (or is it scale?) attacking hers. i’ll put some of this neem oil into my sprayer, diluted with water and liquid dish soap (1 tsp. per gal) and spray it on early in morning or late in afternoon. meanwhile, i’m cooking up the leaves of the neem branches that Dora brought, to make my own brew. the leftover naked woody stems i’ve put in a pot of water with the prospect of their sending out roots and then, voila! i’ll have little neem trees of my own to plant in my St. Augustine, Florida garden.
when i kill lawns i always plant as many native species of “wild grass” from the area, and as many big timber species of bamboo as i can fit into a property.
here, at the garden i’m creating at our new home (which I’ve named “Veritas Shambho”…veritas is latin for “the Truth” and shambho, sanskrit for “the abode of bliss”), i’ve planted over 7 different clumping species (old hamii, minor amoenus, buddha belly, dragon’s nest, etc.), and wow, this place will look like that fighting scene from “Crouching Tiger” in just a few years. be sure to always plant clumpers, not spreaders, for those of you who are thinking of going natural, and planting bamboo. BIG difference. you will regret it if you accidentally plant a bamboo that spreads, rather than clumps. so be careful.
which brings me to the thought of how nature is so well balanced, so much in fact that if we could just learn how to live from observing nature, how much happier, healthier, and prosperous we’d all be.
years ago i drew this illustration for Tim Plowman, a great botanist who succumbed early on to the AIDS pandemic. but before timoteo left us he studied the use of, spread of, and in general, good effects humanity has derived from the plant known as coca.
it has occurred to me on several occasions, about the mystery of how nature has encrypted both a blessing and a curse in each of her byproducts. certainly, the human species is the best example of that, as we can be either the very best example of cosmic consciousness or…the very most slug-minded beast who slaves at dispersing evil and dismay for him/her-self and others.
but with coca, mother nature has outwitted us brainy humans by implanting in this particularly favored of her plant-children, many remarkable attributes, attesting for its being one of the great plants that both boosts the human experience, and seriously challenges it.
the delicate tropical bush named coca erythroxylum is still cultivated for its unique flavor (and exported to Coca Cola factories throughout the world, minus the alkaloid cocaine which is distilled from the leaf in its native growing countries of Peru, Bolivia, Columbia); used still for its medicinal qualities by indigenous and acculturated people throughout the Andes, for warding off everything from altitude sickness, stomach ailments, to a child’s misbehavior, and even malnutrition. best known, though, is coca’s malicious, much maligned cousin, the alkaloid cocaine, which is familiar to plain old recreational drug users everywhere, for an energized thrill-seeking high preferred by those seeking to escape so-called reality (coke users, crack-heads, and their danger-loving drug-dealing suppliers).
when Nature bestowed on us earth dwellers the plant coca, She intended for the plant to be worshipped as a Goddess. the ancient Incans did so, and all was well. the ancient Incans used the plant sparingly, to fuel themselves on long treks through the mountains where taking food and water would be difficult, if not impossible. every Incan who was mummified has been found with his/her coca pouch for their trek to the Great Hereafter, as they believed chewing coca made them more in touch with the divine.
even modern-day descendants of the Incans have lost the divine connection to Mama Coca. to this day, the indigenous Kogi people of Columbia still chew (although, to my mind, way too excessively), but certainly more than any westerner i ever met either snorts, smokes or swallows drugs, chews gum or smokes cigarettes, for these so-called “pure” indigenous people to be labeled anything other than intoxicated. certainly these guys don’t need to so addictively be poking their sticks into their lime gourds, constantly constantly constantly activating the alkaloid in the leaves as they habitually do. whereas the other Altiplano indigenous people, for instance, the Ayamarra in Bolivia, just let their coca wads set and trickle their juices in their puffed-out cheeks, adding the lime activater (a catalyst substance, like ground-up seashell, or fire ash) to the cheek wad only occasionally.
truly, the world is witnessing the degradation and murdurous violence, the downgrading of humanity through the spread of drug use, and cocaine is one of the strongest, most addictive, next to heroin. within all so-called “beneficial” plants Nature has, in the balance of existence She is, activated the “encoded” curse within everything. with coca it goes something like this (lord flea sings!):
when the spaniards came to invade the new world, they wiped out the indigenous people, the Incans, calling them heathens and savages. they didn’t honor the gods of the Incans. they didn’t recognize Mama Coca, and called Her, instead, a false god. the spaniards wanted the savages to stop chewing Her coca leaves, to stop revering Mama Coca. but the native people did not, and thus, they were eradicated. now…centuries later…the conquerors, those descended from the spaniards, the english, the dutch, etc. have themselves come under the evil scourge of what coca does when it’s been altered by “human distillation” … in the form of cocaine. people everywhere are suffering from the prevalence of cocaine. gone are the days when coca was considered a valuable medicine, when Coca Cola had it in their drink (the alkaloid addition halted after narcotics were regulated by Federal Law in 1927, but the distinguishing extracted flavor of coca still is used). gone are the elixirs, the coca-laced wines and other coca-enhanced pick-me-uppers, the refreshing, nourishing potions sold everywhere after the discovery of coca in the new world.
now the world thinks of “coca” and (if they don’t confuse it with cacao, the tree that is the source of chocolate) they think of drug-addled crazies. This is the way Nature, or i should say, Mother Nature, our Mother Earth, our dear Planet, beloved Gaia, has encoded into all her being-ness her all-knowing, always sensing, self-protecting feature, in each and every one of her cells of existence. Including you, all other humans, and me.
In other words: addiction to cocaine is Mother Nature’s way of getting back on the guys, the so-called “civilized conquerors” who wiped out the Incans, just because they were different than they were. Heed this warning, all good people of the Earth. Mother Nature always balances the scales when there are injustices against any part of herself.
We are One.
we cannot hurt one part of Her without another part of Her hurting us. this is the law of cause and effect: of Mother Earth’s Mystery, the balancing act of Nature.
so…i boil my neem leaves and prepare to make my own insect-killer, bacteria-negater, infestation-preventing potion: not by buying the latest chemical (which might do ME in by accident…it happens!) but by finding out what Nature has given us to counteract negatives. There is always a positive out there, to balance out the negative.
oh, and did i mention i’m suffering from poison ivy this week? jewelweed, the natural antidote for poison ivy (rhus toxicedron) doesn’t grow around here, in northern Florida. but i found a good poison-ivy soap from www.Burtsbees.com that contains jewelweed, and also other good things from our Mother.
here’s another of my early botanical works for you. this study done for Tom E. Lockwood’s dissertation on Brugmansia (Harvard University, 1968). brugmansia is the tree form of datura, which is popularly called Devil’s Weed, Angel’s Trumpet, and many other weird, counter-indicating names that don’t make much sense, except they are quite sensational, as the plant is.
enjoy the moment, yours in singing Truth, lord flea
ps. if you want to know more about “Plants of the Gods” check out that eponymously named book by Schultes, Hofmann and Ratsch, Healing Arts Press.
Greetings from another, just like the others.
yes, I sing the song of our hearts, loud and clear.
my name, lord flea? you wonder?
i gave this name to myself in honor of a now-gone calypso singer from de eye-lands. like him I am a watcher, a commenter, a person who cares. i want to share with the world, but only of things of spirit,
In Spirit, lord flea sings.
in fact i am just like you and you. to sing out loud, with no tags (such as male, female, white, black, yellow, pink, republican, democrat, arab, jew, christian, liberal, tight-ass, etc. etc.) i am a mystery, on purpose.
and that’s what this life is like…a mystery.
the native americans call existence on earth the Mystery. and i agree. IT is.
glad to meet you all!! i’ll be posting regularly and sharing with you my thoughts and my art. here’s a little taste.