Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness ~ Power & Powerlessness

Dedicated to Marshall Slade Agresto Smith, who killed himself the day after his 22nd birthday. His family includes French, Spanish, Native American and Lebanese blood. The blood of his life is on all of our hands.

suicide, cultural ills, guns, Marshall Smith

Marshall Slade Agresto Smith candlelight vigil dedicated to his life, which he ended with suicide with his own gun.

He was an acquaintance whom i met at the bar where I asked to dj and incorporate my own music with the set. He hung out there from time to time, when he wasn’t working as a chef. Cooking was his passion.

Mashall Slade Agresto Smith

Mashall Slade Agresto Smith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I spoke to him, commenting that the way he dressed, he looked like the carpenter apprentices in Germany who wear a particular uniform and only walk between their apprenticeships, Zimmerman. I couldn’t remember the name, and intended to tell Marshall the next time i saw him.

Zimmerman is a tradition that is hundreds of years old, still practiced in Germany and parts of France.

Zimmerman is a tradition that is hundreds of years old, still practiced in Germany and parts of France.

A Zimmerman is basically a journeyman.

I noticed the last time I saw him to my astonishment that he had a real gun in a holster carried on his belt, hanging at his stomach. He said “yeah, it’s legal here in New Mexico”. Bout a week later, i was swinging by the plaza of Santa Fe coming into town at dusk and saw all these people standing holding candles and ‘CANDELARIOS’ lined up around the center.

Candlelight vigil for Marshall Smith

Candlelight vigil for Marshall Smith

I thought to myself, which tragedy happened now around the world, a new bombing or flight disaster? I approached and tried to see in the darkness the picture setting there. I soon learned that it was a vigil for Marshall, who killed himself several days earlier. The day after his 22nd birthday he shot himself with his won gun. His family stated in the announcement of his obituary, to not let people who drink be near guns, and not let people with guns near alcohol.

I came across this article a few days ago and sensed it that it’s appropriate to the current zeitgeist.

Broken Open, Heidi Barr, grief

Broken Open Heidi Barr on grief

“Politics.  Human decency.  Disrespect for women.  Self hatred.  Governmental control.  Fear. Complacency.  Planetary destruction.  Stealing.   Dishonoring sacred sites.  Destroying nations.  The despair of the poor.   The despair of the rich.  Outrage.  Ignorance.  Brushing it under the rug.  Dishonesty.  Hope.  Hopelessness. Wondering.  Paying the bills.  Running away.  Feeling stuck.

So I don’t think we need more guilt, or rage, or powerlessness.  We surely don’t need more entitlement, self hatred, or shame.   But we do need to grieve that which has been lost, that which has died, that which we or our children will never have, and that which is at this very moment fading away.  Stephen Jenkins says, “Grief requires us to know the time we are in.  We don’t require hope to proceed.  We require grief to proceed.”

Marshall’s one grandfather had been president of a local college, St. Johns. The other, a Native American who’s a fantastic chef, bringing the family together through this ritual and art, which his grandson Marshall adopted with a passion.

I feel that this is representative of a sickness of our culture.

We’re all ‘expected’ – by whom – cultural norms and habitual responses – to conform; i.e. in our economic incentives, the way we dress, the appendages and material possessions we obtain, through the work we do, the way we express ourselves and how we view and even interpret reality. It’s a structural conformity, that filters down to our routines and habits, the ‘weekend’ celebration, the time allotted from our economic machine to gather… otherwise – put your head down and don’t question. French, Ukrainians…question. Americans are severely brainwashed. Noam Chomsky communicated how the media contribute to this structural conformity in Manufacturing Consent. “proposing that the mass communication media of the U.S. are effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry out a system-supportive propaganda function, by reliance on market forces, internalized assumptions, and self-censorship, and without overt coercion, by means of the propaganda model of communication.”

Suicides, drug addiction are all representative of cultural ills. War is a condoned, anticipated and enculturated norm which is uncanny. War and artillery, weapons and the military industrial complex are viewed through the cloak of nationalism. It is your duty, and is equated with loyalty and honor to your country. I become so disgusted with this that I often feel just disappointment with my fellow man, and have more affection, adoration & praise for other animal & life forms, including plants.

This young man was not a conformist by any means>>>>and our culture screams for conformity. Consumerism overpowers the urge for genuine communication and cooperation. We all quickly assess and judge by clothes. How do you dress? What kind of automobile do you drive? What are these things broadcasting about you? What is your job or profession? How do you make your way in the world to pay for your housing and clothes…so that you have a place to sleep when your weekend respite arrives to spend some time at home enjoying these? We drive by one another insulated in our automobiles or interact while attending an entertainment event which we usually need to pay for. The entertainment standard is something we passively ‘watch’, rather than interactively participate in. I have been viscerally thinking about this and wrote while waiting to attend the ‘visitation’…that I’m disgusted with Marshall’s suicide, feel it is representative of cultural ills – not merely family.

fiery orange sunset

fiery orange sunset

The same day that I walked out of the visitation for Marshal and caught a glimpse of this fiery orange sunset which lingered pink on the horizon as I rode away, I later communicated the circumstances to a friend living in New Mexico who also saw this sunset. She said that just that day she had been reading about the Bridgend suicides, which were this sudden increase in suicides among mostly teenagers and young adults in the last few years in Wales. I found this article about it. The Mystery Suicides of Bridgend county

“The author talks to “cluster suicide” experts…Outbreaks like this are rare but not new…They have happened in Germany, Australia, Japan, the U.S., Canada, and Micronesia…Psychologists familiar with the phenomenon are saying that what’s going on in Wales is a classic case of the Werther effect, named for Goethe’s novel The Sorrows of Young Werther, about a young man who puts a gun to his head to end the agony of unrequited love and because he can’t find his place in the provincial bourgeois society of the day. The novel’s publication, in 1774, prompted young men all over Europe to dress like Werther and take their lives. It’s also called the contagion effect and copycat suicide: one person does it, and that lowers the threshold, making it easier and more permissible for the next…”

“These suicides are a symptom of a deeper societal malaise.”

This was just one individual, yet it prompted me to wonder how common suicides have been in history. It’s something I’ve never really wondered aboutinternational suicide rates. It appeared from my search that this has been on the rise in a number of different countries. I can’t imagine that this was common hundreds of years ago somehow.

International suicide statistics

International suicide statistics

About the same time that this occurred, George Monbiot – an environmental, social, economic and political writer – wrote this blog. “There Is Such a Thing As Society

Why should plagues of mental illness surprise us, in a world being ripped apart?

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 12th October 2016

“What greater indictment of a system could there be than an epidemic of mental illness? Yet plagues of anxiety, stress, depression, social phobia, eating disorders, self-harm and loneliness now strike people down all over the world. The latest, catastrophic figures for children’s mental health in England reflect a global crisis…There are plenty of secondary reasons for this distress, but it seems to me that the underlying cause is everywhere the same. Human beings, the ultrasocial mammals, whose brains are wired to respond to other people, are being peeled apart. Economic and technological change play a major role, but so does ideology.”

“Though our well-being is inextricably linked to the lives of others, everywhere we are told that we will prosper through competitive self-interest and extreme individualism.”

Another article and preview of the film which it refers to also presented itself during these same last few days.
From Brexit to Donald Trump: welcome to the age of hypernormalisation in London

“No one talks about power these days. We are encouraged to see ourselves as free, independent individuals not controlled by anybody, and we despise politicians as corrupt and empty of all ideas…But power is all around us. It’s just that it has shifted and mutated into a massive system of management and control, whose tentacles reach into all parts of our lives. But we can’t see it because we still think of power in the old terms—of politicians telling us what to do.”

Hyper normalization Living in an Unreal World

Hyper normalization Living in an Unreal World

Hyper normalization, film, Adam Curtis

Still from trailer of Hypernormalization film by Adam Curtis

“The aim of the film I have made — HyperNormalisation — is to bring that new power into focus, and show its true dimensions. It ranges from a giant computer high up in the mountains of northeast America that manages and controls over 7 percent of the worlds total wealth, to the complex algorithms that constantly monitor every move and choice you make online- giant computer constantly compares events happening around the world to events in the past. If it sees a dangerous pattern, it immediately adjusts its trillions of dollars to keep things stable. That is real power. The algorithms on social media constantly look at the patterns of what you like and then feed you more of that—so you enter into an echo chamber that constantly feeds you back to you. So again nothing changes—and you learn nothing new that would contradict how you feel. That too is real power.”

In the meantime, Native Americans and a handful of white people are in North Dakota trying to defend their land.

In North Dakota, Dakota Pipeline, protestors, Water Protectors

In North Dakota, the Dakota Pipeline protestors are actually Water Protectors

By the way, I learned the other day from a man I met who had been adopted by a Native American family who is a Native American Literature professor, that in contributing to the writing of the United States Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson was inspired by the Iroquois. The Six Nations: the Oldest Living Participatory Democracy on Earth

“The people of the Six Nations, also known by the French term, Iroquois Confederacy, call themselves the Hau de no sau nee (ho dee noe sho nee) meaning People Building a Long House… The original United States representative democracy, fashioned by such central authors as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, drew much inspiration from this confederacy of nations. Together these peoples comprise the oldest living participatory democracy on earth. Their story, and governance truly based on the consent of the governed, contains a great deal of life-promoting intelligence for those of us not familiar with this area of American history.”

Iroquois, 6-nations, Participatory Democracy

Iroquois 6-nations Oldest Living Participatory-Democracy on Earth

Karl Marx was also influenced by the Iroquois in his political philosophy.

In fact, every kid in school is indoctrinated into this with the daily pledge of allegiance.

United States Declaration of Independence

Second paragraph of the United States Declaration of Independence

And yet, I don’t particularly feel that we are all created equal, especially when those who inspired the declaration are the very people who live in sacrifice zones – A sacrifice zone is a geographic area that has been permanently impaired by environmental damage or economic disinvestment. These zones are most commonly found in low-income and minority communities.

Speaking of Democracy, wikileaks now reveals that it is not ‘we the people’ in a Democracy who vote for our representatives, but in fact just before the last election it was Citibank who were already planning even before Obama was elected, who were going to be taking the top posts in the Federal government. This New Republic describes The Most Important WikiLeaks Revelation Isn’t About Hillary Clinton

What John Podesta’s emails from 2008 reveal about the way power works in the Democratic Party.
BY DAVID DAYEN October 14, 201

“Michael Froman, who is now U.S. trade representative but at the time was an executive at Citigroup, wrote an email to Podesta on October 6, 2008, with the subject “Lists.”

This was October 6. The election was November 4. And yet Froman, an executive at Citigroup, which would ultimately become the recipient of the largest bailout from the federal government during the financial crisis, had mapped out virtually the entire Obama cabinet, a month before votes were counted. And according to the Froman/Podesta emails, lists were floating around even before that.”

 Is Compassion the Antidote to Neoliberalism

Is Compassion the Antidote to Neoliberalism

Meanwhile in his article addressing climate change and the disasters and devastation of the petroleum industries’, Monbiot writes in his blog “What Lies Beneath” – a nice play on words – is as biting and bold as his honest assessments always are.

“All this nonsense is a substitute for a simple proposition: stop digging. There is only one form of carbon capture and storage that is scientifically proven and can be deployed immediately: leaving fossil fuels in the ground.

“Their (governments in the pocket of the oil industry) choices are as follows. 1. a gradual, managed decline of existing production and its replacement with renewable energy and low-carbon infrastructure, which offer great potential for employment. 2. allowing fossil fuel production to continue at current rates for a while longer, followed by a sudden and severe termination of the sector, with dire consequences for both jobs and economies. 3. continuing to produce fossil fuels as we do today, followed by climate breakdown. Why is this a hard choice to make?”

In the meantime,

Great Barrier Reef officially declared Dead after 25 million years

Great Barrier Reef officially declared Dead after 25 million years

The Great Barrier Reef is officially dead: http://www.theearthchild.co.za/great-barrier-reef-officially-declared-dead-25-million-years/

I am in the library with my laptop, the only place to come to, not having residual cash to pay at a cafe to sit and linger in communication with the rest of the world. I’m here among library patrons along with a regular homeless population, of which, I guess i’m sort of one. In Tucson, at the grandiose university student library, there were a lot of homeless people too. There are no places to congregate really, unless you have money to spend. I wish to continue writing blogs and doing the research to complete my book, wish to continue playing bass guitar and piano and composing music with computer programs. I am lost as to how to find an artist residency.

… I entertain myself through learning and reading and doing various creative projects, which except for the tools – is free – all the time and effort put in to it have returns in the delivery of delight and joy gained through doing something. It is empowerment through action, not through consumption.

I have been kicked out of numerous places over the last year; parent’s home in PA, the workaway on a ferry in Brooklyn, my friend’s house in PA, the WWOOF i had arranged in the middle of nowhere in Arizona, and then voluntarily from the place i could no longer afford by paying rent with my credit card…and a few other places among familiar people, because people need their space. In fact there are a lot of quite large homes here in Santa Fe and people with homes left vacant while they live in their other homes….and I now have even more stuff that I’ve aggregated to my side; a suitcase of clothes, my laptop, bass guitar, favorite piano book, camera, now a few more frisbees since I’ve joined in on local ultimate frisbee pickup games in each towns I’ve lived in…and yet am almost homeless again, as I’m living so far up into the hills – literally encroaching on the animal habitats of the animals that have no more space for their own territory to live and survive – that my back is started to feel the weight of carrying everything with me down the hill and then trekking back.

I’m going to attend the debates tonight again in a public forum, just to exchange with people around me in their loathing. I had found a place and exchanged a friendly conversation for almost two hours with the woman with whom i thought we had a lot in common, and she said she had to sleep on it, and then never bothered to call me to say she didn’t want me as a housemate. then i moved to this mountain home guest of a man living alone there whose dog I walk, and the other woman who i was going to move in with and had to wait 2 weeks + to move in, called it off at the last moment, after i’d taken down all my signs, stopped looking for housing. a day before move-in i received an email in blue ink, very comforting looking, saying that she wasn’t moving in. then i had my first day at a job substitute teaching and instead of the principal telling me that it wasn’t going to work while I talked to her about potentially exchanging positions with the music teacher substitute who didn’t know how to read music…didn’t bother to tell me to my face that the job was off, but i found a ‘system response’ later that night. Had i not seen it, i would have gotten up again at 5:30 am to get there. then last night, i went to practice bass with a band, and neither of the guys bothered to phone to tell me that this was off, in fact they were playing earlier together with another guy on bass, when the day before i was trying to arrange an alternative night to accommodate the one guys’ new job.

It appears to me that gay men control the fashion and the art industry and then a small percentage of people control everything else. I’ve put out housing ads, and there have been a few people who randomly contact me with obscure cryptic texts, and then there have been a few men who send me pics, practically sexting, to their abs in pictures.

In the meantime, An eye-opening flight over California’s dying forests
By Kurtis Alexander Updated: August 6, 2016 8:00pm

Dead trees sweeping across the Sierras, California's dying forests

Dead trees sweeping across the Sierras – California’s dying forests

The four crew members were halfway through two weeks of flights over landscapes shifting ominously from green to brown, and already they’d begun to draw their conclusion: The mind-boggling number of trees that have died in California due to drought — an estimated 66 million over five years — is only the beginning.

It’s creeping farther north, and to higher elevations, not only providing tinder for wildfires, but also obstructing the forests’ fundamental ability to provide clean water and absorb carbon dioxide.

All i want is an artist residency where I can physically contribute to learning about and maintaining sustainable living, while also helping to ensure animal habitat conservation. My dream; a community of people contributing this, who are also committed to completing new works on an ongoing basis, the work which blends into education and awareness of the fragile planet and interrelationships that need to be sustained. DOES ANYONE KNOW WHRE THESE EXIST? WITHOUT A WAITING LIST?

guess i'm going to have to adjust the sails

guess i’m going to have to adjust the sails

Le plus dur n’est pas de rêver, mais de ce réveiller

….the most difficult is not to dream, but to wake up…..

Carol Keiter, blogger

Carol Keiter the blogger

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Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz welcomes donations for her writing, photography, illustrations, eBook & music performance and composition

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Helen Keller | Curious mind & Courageous Heart | Soaring Because of No Social Cues

It occurs to me why Helen Keller was so ahead of her time, bold in her statements and fearless in her ways, because she never had any social cues telling her that she COULDN’T; no discouragement from the raising of an eyebrow, blatant condemnation, the subtle changes in a person’s voice, body language that expresses disapproval. Having said that, I really haven’t read about her life, the family environment she was brought up in or what strengths of spirit those around her had. She didn’t have sight, hearing or speech to put her into a tentative or fearful place. And with lack of social admonishments or critiques, she soared to greater heights than most people…who learn to be meek, insecure or unsure of themselves because of the feedback that others may give them.

Helen Keller quote security is a superstition

Helen Keller quote security is a superstition


It occurred to me when I pulled out an image I have accompanied by one of my favorite quotes by her about security. I thought of how people are trained to behave, cued to keep quiet, blocked by ridicule through tone of a voice or body language…
Helen Keller Life is a daring adventure or nothing

Helen Keller Life is a daring adventure or nothing


I love these quotes and look forward to reading more.

Love over Fear – Jim Carrey | Supermoon Hitchabout | Lakota Sioux – Secret Within

I came across this through a FaceBook wall posting, and feel the need to share.

Jim Carrey’s Secret of Life – The Journey of Purpose

His words paraphrased:

Choose love as the lens to look through, make decisions based out of love rather than fear.

Jim Carey’s Secret of Life The Journey of Purpose

Jim Carey’s Secret of Life The Journey of Purpose

We are not only viewers, we are projectors of our reality. Fear can write a lot of this script; when one is leaning back into the past or leaping towards imagined thoughts of the future. Yet, all that is happening, is in this moment, not in the past or in the future. It is your choice to make decisions that are based in either love or fear.

Herman Hesse

There is no reality except the one contained within us…Herman Hesse

Life doesn’t happen to us, it happens for us. It’s about having faith in one’s vision, and letting the universe know what you want, working towards it and letting go of how it arrives.

You always have two choices, love or fear.

Cape May sunset

Arriving at the Atlantic, as sun was setting.

And on that note, I chose love over fear, to follow through with my desire to watch the Supermoon rise over the Atlantic Ocean. This prompted my “SuperMoon Hitchabout”. Destination, exploring the marine reserves; the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays. Not having realized just how vast this area I wished to explore is, ridiculously underestimated, I wound up staying at my designated starting point, Cape May, New Jersey, and not venturing any further. My aim was to arrive at the Atlantic ocean to see the Supermoon rise, and I did. My last ride brought me right to the Cape May ‘boardwalk’ (made of cement), as the sun was lowering in the sky.

Turquoise waters of the Atlantic setting sun.

Turquoise waters of the Atlantic setting sun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The setting sun.

The setting sun.

Pencil water color of the waters as the glowing orange sun was setting.

Pencil water color of the waters as the glowing orange sun was setting.

Supermoon rising over the Atlantic Ocean

Supermoon rising over the Atlantic Ocean

I left earlier in the day with the necessities: a backpack equipped with a sharpie, tooth brush, bathing suit, sleeping bag, sunscreen, lipstick…digital camera. Didn’t take a credit or debit card, nor had i bothered to look to see if I had ANY money. Turns out I had a 5 dollar bill and change. Packed some baked sweet potatoes, bread, cheese, fruit and a water bottle. I felt like a beer the second night, which is when I discovered I had a five on me.

 

My trip costed $1.57 all inclusive: the PBR ‘tally’ that I bought the second day, travel, accommodations, running water access (rest houses on the boardwalk), ocean-side sleeping. I might add that this included these high-tech beach sweeping vehicles which would have ground me into a pulp, had I not made the rational decision to lay the sleeping bag between the search and rescue life boat and fence at the dunes.

Due to self-imposed lack of finances, I had little choice but to catch a ride with someone. The morning I decided to go, I glanced at the local city’s craigslist rideshare and responded to a person’s ‘anonymous email’ asking people to accompany him to Niagara Falls. I suggested that my intent is to go to the ocean and explore the marine wildlife of the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays…Minutes later a text arrived on my phone. Adverse to giving out my address randomly, I told him generally where I live. It turned out that within minutes of my departure, the phone rang. I told him to meet me at a corner.

As I turned to that street, in the distance I saw a vehicle parked and someone walking around it, a vibe of commotion. As I approached, I was certain that this was him. As I got closer through the glaring sun, I saw an array of newspapers lying on the ground at the rear of his nondescript van. I leaned towards the open passenger window and before introducing myself, asked if this stuff, motioning to the ground, was his? He hastily offered to pick it up. He had driven from a neighboring State to offer me this ride. A large round man, archetypal Jewish with his scull cap perched on his thick head. I glanced at the filth in his car, the seemingly glued-on pile of coins on the floor by the passenger seat. I turned and picked up the littered papers from the ground and floated them through his window. I told him that this isn’t a good sign, and basically said, thanks, but no thanks, and walked away.

I ignored his call minutes later as I had grabbed my sharpie and was making a sign for my first destination, the entrance to the PA Turnpike. The first car that stopped was a man even scarier looking than the one I had just walked away from. I declined, “I want to get a ride all the way to this point. thanks anyway”. I rarely turn down rides. This was peculiar. The next ride was a woman who turned out to know my sister and brother, once I had offered more information. She went out of her way to bring me to my first drop-off point. The remaining rides were equally smooth and interesting, during which time I chatted with the drivers’ and listened to their stories.

 

sign so small someone would have to be close to see it

sign so small someone would have to be close to see it

Coast sign

The last ride was a Filipino American man who lives in Cape May. He drove me directly to a central point in town by the boardwalk. He spoke very clear English and had a lot to talk about. We each smiled and laughed as I was leaving his car, knowing that I had just the sleeping bag on my back and no plans.

Dusk before moon rise

Dusk before moon rise

When I arrived the air was still, barely a breeze. I climbed onto the lifeguard chair (vacated at 5:30pm) and sat my stuff down. Two young couples were sitting on a blanket nearby visiting for the day from Philadelphia. The water was smooth, silky, lovely. The air moist, the ocean’s rhythmic breathing muted thunderclaps.

Glowing Supermoon over the Atlantic  Cape May, New Jersey

Glowing Supermoon over the Atlantic
Cape May, New Jersey

What was astounding, was the color of the water as I swam, facing the glowing setting sun. The play of light was incandescent orange on a turquoise blue, mirroring the sky. I was compelled to make this water to remember it, since I couldn’t bring my camera into the water to capture my point of view.

That first night after having played a beach game on the sand for hours with a family of cousins, I then went to the boardwalk to sit down. This parlayed into a bed that first night, after meeting a Bulgarian kid on the ‘boardwalk’ where I sat on a bench. He asked with an obvious accent if I’d like someone to join me, to which I answered no. Hours later, except for his intermittent phone conversations in Bulgarian with a girl in Wildwood, we were still talking. I wound up crashing at his group house that night. I was wondering why I kept hearing people speaking Russian around me that day, then discovered first-hand, that it was probably Bulgarian I was hearing. huh? Luckily, the next evening I was already familiar with the built-in tent structures on the beach. They came in handy as I slept in a sleeping bag under the stars, when rain drops started falling at 6am. I was near these built-in tent structures (not those below) but smaller and more portable ones, easy to unravel and fasten the tarp, under which I could just listen to the drops along with the driving breath of the ocean. ‘-)

Fixed tent structures that became my makeshift home.

Fixed tent structures that became my makeshift home.

I visited the Cape May Bird Reserve, of which I have some shots too. I visited a concierge of this local Cape May Hall, where I picked up a map and started to make my way first to get information from a local reserve.

Cape May cartoon map

Cape May cartoon map

The map was dramatically off in terms of leaving streets and distances out. Trudging down the street towards the first place in tremendous heat, I wound up turning around, deciding rather to check the reserve. Hitching back to the center of town, an SUV with two plain clothed policeman informed me that “it’s illegal to hitchhike in New Jersey”. I walked the rest of the way. When I got to a traffic light to take the road to the bird reserve, I looked into the distance, and decided to hitch. A guy with his surfboard in the car picked me up. I asked what kind of work he does here, as he had a pretty fancy vehicle. He’s in the navy. The visit to the reserve was quite significant, not so much because of the birds, but because of the people who were there at the same time. We hadn’t seen each other there, yet I had glanced at two couples making their way at the end of the trail. I later recalled that the arm of the one woman was the same as that who was driving the car on my journey back to PA. They wound up leaving and arriving at the Pizza place near the reserve where I chatted briefly with an employee there, at the same time as me. They noticed me, how friendly I was. Later that employee told them that I was going to Pennsylvania, where the couple live as well. The following day the man in the couple was standing at a vendor stand, when I approached to ask if the guy had cardboard. Half an hour later, it was he and his wife who picked me up after my first ride brought me to the edge of town and entrance to the bridge connecting to the major highways.

I had been standing there in the sun and some rain drops with a sign with the letters, PA. I watched as numerous NJ, DE and PA license plates drove by, leaving the beach behind. When they stopped, they announced that they’d seen me twice over the weekend, and that they intended to pick me up if they saw me. I didn’t learn until a little ways in that they were going to within 40 mi. of my town. The three of us communicated animatedly about all sorts of things the entire drive. It was the ensuing rain drops that prompted them to leave as well, and at times there were heavy downpours en route. It was a valuable exchange for each of us, synchronistic for sure.

Orange glowing moonrise night after the Full Moon.

Orange glowing moonrise night after the Full Moon.

As I approached the beach this second night after the sun had set a while earlier, I was stunned to see this deep orange moon rising up into the low clouds. Here are the rest of the pics of the trip.

Cape May

Cape May

On the final day, sitting on the beach as I ate my last food before leaving for my journey home, suddenly something hit me on the back of my head. It was a seagull. He was doing more than just nudging me because he wanted what I had in my hand. I threw up a tiny piece of bread, and within 3 seconds there were 17 seagulls flapping their wings right within feet of my head, some just inches away. It was a little daunting.

I just got these shots.

IMG_0045 IMG_0048

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we got to the eastern outskirts of Lancaster, PA, we passed an Amish buggy with a trailer transporting a baby calf in back. My shot missed the trailer, but wow, amazing to see this juxtaposition of Plain people and their traditional ways intersecting with modern life, where they live in farms scattered around the countryside. They let me off at a convenient place and we said goodbye.

Amish buggy on the road approaching Lancaster PA

Amish buggy on the road approaching Lancaster PA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seagull through glass

Seagull through glass

A picture I took in Wildwood, NJ through a glass roof.

A picture I took in Wildwood, NJ through a glass roof.And a Lakota Sioux Indian creation myth to leave you with.

 

 

 

 

Lakota Sioux Creation Myth

The Creator gathered all of Creation and said;

“I want to hide something from the humans until they are ready for it.

It is the realization that they create their own reality.”

The eagle said, “Give it to me. I will take it to the moon.” The Creator said, “No. One day they will go there and find it.”
The salmon said, “I will bury it on the bottom of the ocean.”
The Creator said, “No. They will go there, too.”
The buffalo said, “I will bury it on the Great Plains.”
The Creator said, “They will cut into the skin of the earth and find it even there.”
Grandmother Mole, who lives in the breast of Mother Earth, and who has no physical eyes but sees with spiritual eyes, said “Put it inside of them.”
And the Creator said, “It is done.”

ocean_sunset_framed

blurry selfie

blurry selfie

Love & Life | Documentary about Dian Fossey | Life Quotes to Act on

Tonight I did something unusual. After a full day of activities and finishing dinner at about 10pm, I turned on the television. Typically I’d prefer to play piano or bass guitar, go out to an open mic or chess night, or write…However after enjoying nature earlier in the day while doing some stuff that needed to be accomplished around the home, making sure that the animals and birds that make our yard (like a mini forest) their home were given ample water and seed, afterwards, I bicycled to the library to work all day on my book. On the way home, I visited a farm owned by Milton Hershey properties where I’ve met several of the care-takers over time, because I’m caught on their surveillance video cameras every time I stop there to visit the horses, a donkey donkey, and three cats which I’ve named: Goldie, Gordo and Groucho in this photo; from fore to background. Returning to this barn in 2014, I’ve sadly learned that Groucho has since died, hit by a car on the busy highway next to the property.golde_gordo_groucho_2

Yeah, so besides music and sports and writing and investigating things, I really do love animals.

It soon became clear why I ‘intuitively’ turned the TV on. I tuned in to a documentary “Gorillas in the Mist” about the American zoologist Dian Fossey played by Sigourney Weaver. Fossey studied gorillas in their habitat in the forests of Rwanda. She was initially encouraged by the anthropologist Louis Leaky and became one of the foremost primatologists in the world while she was alive.

Because I love animals so much and by the way studied ‘cultural anthropology’, I was mystified and mistified by the movie. Yeah, I made up the second word, because my eyes were tearing up during a lot of it. I could fully identify with Fossey’s love of the gorillas, instinct to protect them and fury over them being brutally killed just to serve as trophies for wealthy people. dian_fossey_gorillas

There is currently an illegal trade of endangered species which makes me ill. As you can read in this short segment about poaching in Africa “War Against Wildlife: Tusks and horns are no match for automatic weapons” in Sierra Club’s ‘Sierra Magazine’ July/August 2013, “Poachers are rapidly killing off Africa’s most iconic megafauna to make keychains and impotence cures.” They also mention that “wildlife poaching is highly militarized. Last year hundreds of Sudanese militiamen swept 600 miles south on horseback to slaughter 300 elephants in Cameroon. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, scores of elephants are being gunned down with automatic weapons fired from helicopters-some of them linked to the region’s national armies.” Here’s a photo of anti-poaching rangers and Congolese soldiers patrolling Garamba National Park-too late for this elephant killed for its tusks. Sierra_Magazine_shot_Congolese_anti-poaching_rangers The writer Paul Rauber also mentions that “the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species seems inadequate to deal with the crisis. Its decision in 2008 to allow African nations to legally sell more than 100 tons of stockpiled ivory to “accredited traders” in Japan and China revived what had been a moribund carving industry.”

Often Hollywood makes me ill as well, for different reasons. Each time a commercial came on to advertise some stupid made-for-TV show, I was irked as I hastily muted it and focused my attention on my computer screen. Yes, I was multi tasking – reading emails at the end of my work day. And no, I don’t have a ‘job’ with income, yet I am taking my work of writing and marketing my first eBook, very seriously. ‘-))

Yeah, so despite the fact that Hollywood does deliver some good material for sure, like this movie, I still snarl at a lot of the gimmicky stuff.

I wan’t so shocked at the end of the movie when Fossey was murdered, after seeing how personally involved she became in protecting these animals when in fact, she was encroaching on the livelihood and ‘habits’ that spread over several generations of the indigenous people who share their same habitat. I quickly looked Fossey up and sure enough, wikipedia states that the murder case was never solved.
Dian_Fossey_Art_of_Conservation
Point is, that I feel happy to have learned about her life, studies, about these creatures and just had an all around great day because I fully felt gratitude, enjoyment of communing with nature and animals, satisfied and thrilled with the writing I’m doing and just full of joy with appreciation of the simple things, riding a bicycle to commute, love nature and the animals I encounter and enjoy humans whom I meet as well. ‘-)

It was with this sense of feeling satisfied, that I happened to ‘bother’ to open one of the emails delivered to my inbox, which more often, I skip.

To explain, over the last years, in the process of trying to understand why I was drawn to stay in a relationship with a guy who was basically abusive towards me and critical more than supportive, I would investigate what it is about ‘me’ that caused me to devalue myself to this extent. In the process of trying to wrap my head around this and seek information, I’ve wound up ‘signing up’ to receive emails (in one of my email accounts) spanning topics on emotional health, codependency, narcissism, empowerment and well-being. In other words, in trying to fix ‘the problem’, I began to realize that it starts with fixing ‘oneself’. Over time I learned that I have to be accountable for my own actions and that I am ultimately responsible for my own happiness.

So even though in time I soon figured out that some of these (email saviors) are actually trying to entice the reader into ‘buying in’ to their system, there are genuinely some that deliver good messages.

I decided to share this one, because several of the life quotes’ I read were actually ones that I have heard and embraced before.

So here it goes, sponsored by ‘Its All About Women’ “Ways to LIve Life to the Fullest”

Sometimes, we just need to be reminded.

What are you going to do today to live life to the fullest?

Don’t wait ’till tomorrow to chase your dreams and goals. Because life is too short to just be a spectator…

Dare to be adventurous and step out of your comfort zone.

Notice the miracle of life in every moment, even the seemingly ordinary.

Chase your goals and dreams with discipline and determination, but never lose the childlike wonder that is thrilled by the ups and downs of the roller coaster ride.

Every day holds endless opportunities for you to participate in life, instead of just watching it go by.

some ‘quotes about life

• “Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.” T.S. Elliot

• “Life is either a daring adventure or it is nothing.” Helen Keller

Helen Keller quote Security does not exist in nature - life a daring adventure

Helen Keller quote Security does not exist in nature – life a daring adventure

Helen Keller quote character not developed in ease and quiet

Helen Keller quote character not developed in ease and quiet

• “A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” Charles Darwin

• “There are only two ways to live a life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein

• “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” George Bernard Shaw

• “Enjoy life. This is not a dress rehearsal.” Anonymous

• “The chief danger in life is that you may take too many precautions.” Alfred Adler

• “It is better to wear out than to rust out (fade away).” Richard Cumberland

• “Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it; boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” Goethe

• “Life, like a mirror, never gives back more than we put into it.” Anonymous

• “And in the end it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.” Abraham Lincoln

• “Life is a choice. Choose well.”

• “It’s the things that you ‘don’t do’ that you will regret.” Susan Sarandon

thanks for reading!

oh whatever, that's me the blogger c'est moi!

oh whatever, that’s me the blogger c’est moi!

By the way, I have so many things that I want to continue to blog about in addition to completing my eBook and beginning once again to compose more music, and yet, because I have no ‘funding’ or ‘sponsors’, I am barely able to keep afloat. Presently living in Berlin, Germany again, I have not even been able to pay all of my rent this last time. So I think I’m about to go off on that daring adventure “called life” into the unknown, since I will soon not really have a roof over my head. Therefore, hint hint, any donations will be accepted /-)) or if you know of billionaire, ask him/her to give me a little .001 %. Donate Button

Fundamental is mental | no matter where it is brewed | July 25th Day Out of Time

Sorry that I’m using derogatory slang, but you get the drift, and it rhymes. I don’t have time at the moment to write more on this subject, because I have to continue doing my writing project of “Business English” preparing MBA students for their interviews as wannabe consultants, through which I currently pay my rent. Set aside contemplating, playing bass guitar, singing, playing piano, composing music, writing in my blogs, continuing with the writing of the children’s book that’s on hold……….because I have to do this ‘work’, and toss the arts aside.

I think that this in itself is ‘mental’ – art, thinking and contemplating life, put on the back-burner – but we don’t live in a sane world. We live in an insane world dominated by greed driven economics, and fear driven beliefs in some sort of savior, somehow explaining the fact that we’re all gonna die.

It doesn’t matter where it’s roots are, if it’s blood soaked Christians or Muslims who are the targets; fundamental religious beliefs are mental.

Fundamentalists – whether representing Islam or Christianity – demonstrate holding onto one’s beliefs and being incapable of seeing what is real and breathing, beyond the dogma one is repeatedly stamping and recycling ad infinitum into one’s thoughts and hence consciousness.

It’s the same with gun toting defenders of the ‘right’ to bear arms, which ultimately, makes the annihilation of a life, so absurdly easy, that it’s a cosmic joke.

With respect to 9.11, to all of the anti-Christian attacks, to the myriad of people around the world slaughtering their neighbors in the name of ethnic or religious identity… and now this Christian right-wing dude in Norway who slaughtered the left leaning labor party youths due to his anti-Islam fanaticism and xenophobia.

I just say it again, any fundamental clinging to a religious or political party or whatever identification with a group, which then isolates it and casts another group into the category of an ‘enemy’, is mental…full-on insane.

how can a person remain sane, when the world is insane? well, I guess it’s all a matter of balance, and making every moment a precious attempt to reach for love and unity, and to look for peace and beauty around you.

Oh yeah, today, July 25th, is the Day Out of Time, here’s some information about it, I’ve posted on my other blog.

http://digesthis.wordpress.com/

Happy Day of Contemplation!

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Mahatma Ghandi:

Keep your thoughts positive, because they become your words.
Keep your words positive, because they become your behavior.
Keep your behavior positive, because it becomes your habits.
Keep your habits positive, because they become your values.
Keep your values positive, because they become your destiny.