Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Penguin within...

I had dinner with an old high school friend today. We got reconnected through facebook. (Isn't everyone getting reconnected through facebook these days, for better or for worse?)

It's been interesting to see these people from my past--people who knew me before the major snowball of change rolled over me some 17 years ago. It was inspiring and timely to hear my friend's perspective on who that teenage tall penguin was. He said that even though we didn't spend a lot of time together, he always had a deep respect for me, that I was a kind, open, intelligent, strong person. It was nice to be reminded of that.

As we shared dinner, my friend said he could still see that person in my eyes, in my heart. Tears welled up for me. "I know she's still there," I said. "Thank you for seeing her."

For all of you out there who believe in this tall penguin and have openly shared your love with me, thank you. May peace be with you dear friends.

tall penguin

Monday, July 30, 2007


On my last post Rahul made the following comment:

"As much as it takes strength to uphold "religious" doctrine in the face of logic, it takes strength to give yourself the opportunity to define your own existence. Strength and courage."

Your timing is impeccable my friend. You have mirrored the thoughts I was intending to blog about today. Perhaps you are my guardian angel? ;)

I see myself in similar situations as I have been in my past. As if my life is coming full circle. I see my contribution to the situation I'm in now. It is humbling to watch your life unfold and see the hand you have played in it. A series of choices has lead me to where I am in this moment. What I really wonder is if I make different choices now as compared to then, will the outcome then be different?

What's that saying: 'the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results?' I feel like I've been attempting to make different choices with my life in the past two years, conscious choices. And yes, as Rahul has noted this takes strength and courage. But the choice I face before me now feels monstrous by comparison. It is the choice to live, to "define my existence". There is no file in my brain for this.

It is taking all my strength and courage to face each day. The thoughts of suicide linger in the background of my mind. Oblivion beckons me daily. I am watching the play unfold in my mind, attempting not to define myself by it. I have resources and support now that I didn't have when I faced this crossroad some 15 years ago. I feel my friends and family surround me in a way that I've never felt before. I actually feel that there are poeple who would miss me if I were not here anymore.

And yet, with all the support, the choice is still mine. To carry on or not. To live or die. No one can choose for me. It is a decision I am making from minute to minute, from hour to hour. It is difficult. It is exhausting. And yet, it is inspiring. For within my soul I am finding a resilience I didn't know was there. To quote Camus, "In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer. " The depression I entered this past winter is still ongoing. This 'dark night of the soul' still lingers. But somewhere deep within is the flame of summer, a spark that refuses to die.

One of my favorite poets is Robert Frost. I will end this post with his famous words from "The Road Not Taken":

"I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."

tall penguin

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The fatigue of inevitability...

Back in 1999, I was excommunicated (disfellowshipped) from the Jehovah's Witness community for an infraction of the religion's tenets. That is another story entirely but if you've read my blog and you've heard me allude to a six hour interrogation process, this is the event I'm referring to.

After the decision was made by the group elders to disfellowship me, I called my best friend at the time to let her know, as we would not be allowed to have any contact for a while due to the shunning policy. I told her of my "infraction" and she was speechless.

"I'm disappointed. You were always the strong one," she said.

Yes, I had always been the strong one. Until I couldn't be the strong one anymore.

tall penguin

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Primal Scream

I’m working in the Kids department at the bookstore. There is a child of about three who won’t stop screaming. The customers around him seem unimpressed.

I sigh with envy.

As if reading my mind, a lady approaches me gesturing in the direction of the screaming child, “Don’t you wish you could do that sometimes?”

I smile. “Yes. Daily.”

My mind drifts back to grade seven. At the end of every school day I would count the minutes until I could burst out the door and let out a very guttural “ARRRGGGGHHHH!!!!”

I’d get a few looks from my schoolmates, not unlike the looks my little three year old friend was getting from the adults around him. But it didn’t stop me. Some days my classmates would even join me in my primal scream.

Even farther back, I recall releasing my frustration on my Holly Hobbie doll. Now for those who are old enough to recall, Holly Hobbie was a very old-fashioned sort of doll. She was dressed like she belonged on the set of Little House on the Prairie; floral dress, bonnet, long braided hair and simple black shoes.

I can see Holly Hobbie and I lying across my bed. I’m about five years old. My Holly Hobbie doll is my pillow. I am crying into her soft belly. And I am biting her feet, so hard there are bite marks on her shoes. I still have her. She sits in a box in storage. She reminds me of how alone I felt in the world. How alone I still feel.

Where does that anger go now? I feel a fire running up the core of my body. That same fire I dispelled with my primal scream in the seventh grade, that same fire that left indelible marks on the feet of my childhood doll, that same fire that threatens to consume me even now.

I often describe my brain as feeling like it’s on fire. And it is. I imagine it is screaming the same thing that my little three year old friend would have screamed if he’d had the words, “Life isn’t fair! And I don’t want to play anymore.”

tall penguin

You're so vain, you probably think this blog is about you

"Oh Well"
by Fiona Apple

What you did to me made me
See myself something different
Though I try to talk sense to myself
But I just won't listen

Won't you go away
Turned yourself in
You're no good at confession
Before the image that you burned me in
Tries to teach you a lesson

What you did to me made me see myself somethin' awful
A voice once stentorian is now again meek and muffled
It took me such a long time to get back up the first time you did it
I spent all I had to get it back, and now it seems I've been outbidded

My peace and quiet was stolen from me
When I was looking with calm affection
You were searching out my imperfections

What wasted unconditional love
On somebody
Who doesn't believe in the stuff

You came upon me like a hypnic jerk
When I was just about settled
And when it counts you recoil
With a cryptic word and leave a love belittled

Oh what a cold and common old way to go
I was feeding on the need for you to know me
Devastated at the rate you fell below me

What wasted unconditional love
On somebody
Who doesn't believe in the stuff

Oh, well

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

View from the plane trip home...sunset

High Flight

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air. . . .

Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

— John Gillespie Magee, Jr

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Third Time's the charm?

So, here I am. Got inducted into the Hall of Fame for first-time rollers. I was graded a B- by an expert. As my prize I got to have it all to myself. And, as the fates would have it, the experience was the like the first night, quieting and creative. Lessons learned this time around:

1. Don't give up anything after the first or even second try. Give everything at least three tries. (Yes, I know. The irony.)

2. There's more to life than any one experience. I think I get hit hard by stuff because a lot of experiences I've never had before and so I haven't built up files in my giant computer we call the limbic system. For most people, getting dumped is something they experience gradually, through grade and high school crushes. But me, hey I'm 33 before I get that fine teacher. But there's a file now. Oh yes, there's a file now.

3. Be careful what you wish for.

4. Each person's nervous system and brain are so individual. You never know how you or someone else will respond. To drugs. To alcohol. To life.

5. When the body says no, listen.

And last but not least:

6. Don't try to blog while high and carrying on a facebook conversation. Multi-tasking difficult.

tall penguin

Your Carbon Footprint...

My dear friend Loni has brought my attention to this site which outlines ways to reduce your carbon footprint and therefore pay heed to the threat of global warming.

Now, I can't say I'm an environmentalist by any means but this site has definitely raised my awareness and will make me think twice about my impact on the planet.

Funny though because I'm more aware of my emotional/existential footprint. I consider it my personal responsibility to raise my own consciousness/awareness so that my emotional impact on those I share the planet with is a positive one. I figure that if I can win the battle within my own psyche I'm in a much better position to be at peace with my fellow man. I wonder what an "emotional footprint" pie chart might look like. Hmmm...

tall penguin

My last relationship in six frames



So many people keep telling me I need time to heal from my recent breakup. Why? Who says I need time to heal? I think about cancer and spontaneous remission. Sometimes the body just stops the cancer in its tracks. How does it do this? And why doesn't that happen with everyone?

Perhaps our ideas of healing and the time needed for it come from our beliefs around wounds. What if we didn't see ourselves as broken, hurt or otherwise in need of repair, what would happen then? Would the wounds cease to exist? Do they only arise in our own consciousness?

As I have questioned the beliefs around the religion given to me by my parents, I now question every belief, every opinion, every piece of advice given to me by others. So if you're one of the people who's given me advice lately and I've scoffed, don't take it personally. It has nothing to do with you. Unless, of course, it does.

tall penguin



What language do you speak in your head? If you speak more than one language externally, what language do you process in internally? And what language do you speak in your dreams?

I posed these questions to my younger cousin last night. He's 18. English is not his first language. He paused when I asked what language he speaks in his head. For the first time in his life he realized that he doesn't use a language in his head. He has images. He seemed delighted to discover this bit of information. He said it explained why he's always had such a difficult time verballly expressing himself. He draws and creates music though. I wondered aloud if that is the language he feels most comfortable using. He agreed that it was.

Now, if you're read my blog, you'll know that I think a lot. And you'll know that writing is my preferred form of communication. If you've spent time with me in person, you'll know that I find verbal communication difficult and limiting. And that I often reach a frustration point where I throw language out the window and withdraw, if not shut down.

I have read that you can only think one thought at a time. I don't know how true that is. Not even sure how you'd gauge such a thing. But from my experience, this seems unlikely. In my brain it feels as if there are layers, like a hologram. There are a vast number of conversations going on at the same time. These conversations are layered on top of one another. They exist at the same time and place but on different levels, like the layers of a hologram. And they create a larger picture, but one that is not always so easily described. Actually, it is beyond words.

I remember in my art class how I was drawn (no pun intended) to creating layers of paint. I would layer color upon color until it felt complete. The art instructor said my pieces displayed a depth of emotion. No shit Sherlock. Come and spend a few hours in my brain and you'll see how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Also, as I've blogged about previously, there's always a song playing in my head. It's like the backdrop for the montage of conversations occurring in my brain at any given time. I sometimes share song lyrics with you. They're a glimpse into my personal soundtrack.

As a child of 4 or 5 I recall being aware of my holographic brain. I remember thinking, 'Are all the other kids thinking about what I'm thinking about?' Perhaps they were. Perhaps they still are.

tall penguin

Choosing Illusions...

I just wrote about choosing beliefs. Now I'll write about choosing illusions. Perhaps they are the same topics. Oh wait, they feel like the same thing. Hmm...let me rethink this.

tall penguin

Pattern Seeker

I have been a pattern seeker for as long as I can remember. I seek out the connections between what is and what was. I try to see the connecting threads of people's behavior, the repetition of behaviors across time, and the foreshadowing of events based on those patterns. I'm amazingly accurate at times. I can foresee outcomes before they happen. It's like I have a catalog in my brain of behaviors and likely outcomes and when I see things happening, I can predict what might happen next. And often I'm right. Of course, often I'm wrong. It's interesting though.

It's also exhausting because I can rarely detach from the information I feel coming in through my senses. It affects my ability to focus and be in the moment. I feel flooded with information and I feel compelled to sort it. But I can't sort it fast enough. I can't catalog it fast enough. And it is tiring. And yes, that's why I seek a wonder drug. It's why I meditate. It's why I wanted to believe in a god. I sincerely wanted to believe that some day, a cosmic knight in shining armor would save me from my pattern seeking, save me from the thoughts that rush through me daily, save me from myself.

tall penguin

And another...

"What people think of me is really none of my business."


I once read somewhere this quote:

"I love you and it has nothing to do with you."


tall penguin

Is the Double Blind Blind?

From wikipedia comes this definition of the double blind method:

"The double blind method is an important part of the scientific method, used to prevent research outcomes from being 'influenced' by either the placebo effect or the observer bias."

I've spent most of my life analyzing and attempting to understand what makes people tick, including myself. I've read studies, done research, made observations, sought out "experts" and here I am with more questions than answers. There seem to be so many factors that go into the human experience, into why people behave as they do, make the choices they make, see things as they see them. All of which seem very difficult to double blind. I find it increasingly difficult to believe that the double blind process is all that effective. While it may currently be the best tool we have for studying mankind, I think we give it far too much credit.

As I wrote yesterday, there has been discovered a link between the strep bacteria and childhood OCD. Now, we can only account for that possibility because we know that strep exists. It's been discovered and so scientists can add it in as a variable when they're testing for possible OCD drug treatments.

My question is, how many variables do we still not even know about? How can scientists account for variables that the human mind has not even yet discovered or even conceived of? Right now, there could be a microscopic parasite that can cross the blood-brain barrier and it's slowly eating away at all of our brains. How would you account for that if you were doing a drug study? How can you account for something you're not even aware of? Does the observer not automatically become biased by virtue of what he doesn't yet know?

And how can the observer ever truly know that which he knows? Isn't it just a big loop? Sigh. This loop is slowly becoming a noose.

tall penguin

Choosing Beliefs...

Let's play for a minute. Let's say that I have the ability to choose my beliefs. And let's say that I choose to believe that I am a spiritual being having a physical experience. Now, if I extrapolate that, it could mean that this physical realm is of no real and lasting consequence. It's a game. It's a playground for the physical body and when it's over, it's over. The spirit will continue on in another form elsewhere. (I'm not getting into the idea of karma here. That's a whole other possibility.)

I think sometimes about going back to the jw's. Not seriously, but from this game perspective. If the physical experience I'm having here right now is just that, what does it matter what I do? It might be fun to see if I could actually go back to the jw life and keep a straight face. If I could go back to knocking on people's doors and proclaiming the end of the world. I actually dreamed about this last night. I plugged myself back into the Matrix and found myself a jw. I saw myself preaching and holding a bible and telling people that Armageddon is coming. When I woke up, I felt sick. Go figure.

Now, let's say you choose to believe that there is no spiritual component and that this physical realm is all we have. Seems to me that you could live out the exact same game scenario as above. That again, you could convince yourself that nothing really matters and since this life is all you have, you may as well do whatever you want.

Both of these beliefs don't include the idea of conscience or karma or anything else that would cause us to feel responsible for our actions. There are a million other beliefs that could be born from the original stance. This discussion could go on ad infinitum. Oh wait, it has. Since man came down from the trees. Stupid evolution.

tall penguin

Sleep perchance to...

When I'm having a bad day, as in the kind of day where my thoughts rush around from all directions and I can't seem to stop them, I often stop to ponder what has made the difference. Why are my thoughts so out of control today as opposed to any other day? Why are there some days where I can sit and watch them like clouds rolling by and other days where they're so intrusive that I feel like splitting my skull open with an axe and removing all the thinking bits?

Sleep. There appears to be a connection between the quantity and quality of my sleep and how well I function during the day. I like sleep. I really like sleep. When it's good, it's really good. I dream quite vividly. And sleep is one of the rare times where I feel safe to just be. I like the surrender that happens when I drift off to slumberland.

I sometimes can experience this state of bliss while meditating, but god, meditating is so much work. Or it feels like work. Is there a difference?

Have you ever noticed the odd sleep that happens from about 9-11 in the morning. You've usually woken up prior and it's likely your body is done sleeping for the night but you fall back asleep and somehow, your dreams are different. Like you're half awake and half asleep. I can't describe it very well, but if you've experienced it you'll know what I'm talking about.

I have no regrets about the amount of time I've spent sleeping in this life. If it weren't for sleep, I doubt I would be here to blog at all.

tall penguin

Friday, July 20, 2007

Strep & OCD

I've been doing some research on the brain. (When am I not doing research on the brain?) Apparently, researchers have found a link between the Streptococcus bacteria and OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder). Who knew?! This is old news by the way and I'm getting an awful case of deja vu thinking I've written about this before, so if you've already read this, here or elsewhere, forgive me.

Here's an excerpt from the NIMH site:

"A likely mechanism by which a bacterial infection triggers obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) in some children has been demonstrated by scientists at the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and collaborators at California State University (CSU) and the University of Oklahoma (UO). Their research suggests that an antibody against strep throat bacteria sometimes mistakenly acts on a brain enzyme, disrupting communications between neurons and causing a form of obsessive compulsive and related tic disorder in children — pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococci (PANDAS)."

Now, this gives me pause to think about the implications of bacteria and viruses on our mental health. Other than the acronym they've lovingly chose for this condition (PANDAS), there is nothing cute about OCD. It's debilitating. As are mental disorders of any type. I really wonder how much of our mental state is affected by micro-organisms. The three pound universe is vast my friend, and not easily navigated. And we've only just begun.

tall penguin

Pot Musings Continued...

Last night I did the pot thang again. But it was different. I'm wondering if each time will be different. I didn't get the same quiet as the other night. In fact, my mind raced more. I felt creative but the thoughts were coming so frantically that I couldn't get them down on paper. I found myself quite paranoid as well, which wasn't much fun.

I also noticed that my senses were more acute and turned up. I really prefer the experience I had the other night. I spend most of my days as it is with everything turned up. It's the quiet reprieve I enjoyed the first time around that had me thinking pot could be my wonder drug. Ah well, it is what it is.

tall penguin

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Loud and clear...

You may recall from this post that my cousin on the east coast has a "healer" friend who does energy and bodywork. Well, I just got back from seeing healer lady and had to share this with you. As I'm getting ready to leave after the session, she looks at me and asks, "Are you thinking of writing a book?"

I smile and nod.

She continues, "Well, they said to stop procrastinating."

I laugh. Okay, I get the message.

tall penguin

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Sometimes I feel like I have free will, the ability to choose. At other times, I'm not so sure. I sometimes feel pulled by my genetics/environment to behave a certain way or make a certain choice. And then, there's a third category. Perhaps it's fate. Perhaps it's intuition. But there are times where I feel pulled in a certain life direction. Pulled as if by a magnet, by some unseen force, to make a particular choice.

Like the choice I made to get a job at the bookstore, or to get my own apartment or to walk the Camino---these didn't seem like choices. There was no choice, like the decision has been made for me and I am just going with the flow. It's a lovely feeling really. One of complete surrender. One that stems from a place of knowing deep within my soul. From a place of complete fearlessness. These words barely even describe it. If you've felt this before, you know of what I speak. If you haven't, you will. Be still and listen.

tall penguin

Monday, July 16, 2007

Notes from a reefer virgin...

As mentioned previously, I recently had my first intense pot experience. I've smoked up before but I don't think I was inhaling properly so I didn't get the full effect. Well, now I know how to do it and oh my, what a time it was.

I actually wrote almost the whole time I was high. Here is what I wrote, transcribed in full. I've blocked out names for obvious reasons.

Re: sensitivity of smell, hear, eyes, nerves, etc: they smell, tasted more. I could barely even taste sour cream and onion chips. They got giddy, I didn't. We all got hungry.

Re: my mouth (jaw felt off; bite felt off) It felt like in between freezing/unfreezing, like I could feel all nerves running through my jaw--kind of painful but not--in between stages of freezing.

(words are in 3D)

***** feels slightly anxious. I FEEL QUIET!!! The fucking voices are there but it's like it doesn't matter. AND I CAN FOCUS!!! For the first time I can filter out the peripheral incoming in my sense. FUCK!!! I so need to get an RX for you know what.

***** is saying there's no fizz in her pop. We're all laughing like crazy. I'm smiling, not really laughing. But man, do I ever feel joyful in my heart.

(Time seems slow. The letters are still 3-D)

(I can think about ***** but it doesn't feel all hurting in my chest.)

(Check if chips stale.)

(Can't wait to get this on the blog. When I can coordinate my muscles better.)

I feel so creative but not as inclined to create. I feel so slow. FINALLY. SLOW!!!

Can still notice the underlying current of my thoughts--or rather the overlying current. But it's like I can finally be with the really me--the "I am." Who I really am. I could spend a LOT of time like this. Fuck! I can so understand why a lot of the great artists over history have created while under the influence.

(Could I get arrested for putting this out in public? I can't believe my conscience still plagues me, even in this state.)

I hope this writing is real. And it's not going to be one big smudge after this wears off. That would be a real shame.

Mental Note! Carry notebook when going to smoke up.

(Nope the chips aren't stale. I just really can't taste them.)

(My writing--it feels like...you know...like a 3D picture looks when you're not wearing the glasses? Like all these concentric lines around each figure?)

*****, I hope you're paying attention. You're pretty cool. I liked you in high school.

(Hi Mr. Censor! The one in my brain (not *****). Okay, I won't say any more. Geesh, how high would I have to get to stop the censor?)

Okay I'm gonna go now.

P.S. And *****, I know why you were an insensitive ass the first day you got high. Wasn't much censor to turn down, now was there? Still doesn't excuse you, but now I know. Now if I could only understand why you were an ass when you weren't high???

Okay, gonna go now for real and enjoy this feeling.

If there is a god, now's your chance. May I never wake from this. I am finally free. FREE!!!


Final Mental Note to Self: HAVE SEX WHILE STONED!!!

And yes, I will be accepting applications. Just kidding. No, don't email me. Okay, well not all of you. Some of you can email me. You can figure out which group you're in. Bye :)

15 minutes later (***** was making chicken wings so I can gauge time.)

Okay, more to say.

I am still aware of my muscles, particularly the left side of my neck which has been giving me a hard time this year. I still feel very energetic.

And still notice what's going on around me. Like *****'s shifty eyes and obvious paranoia. *****'s quiet, like she's asleep but she still seems aware. And ***** who's out cold. And me, I'm writing for posterity.

The dehumidifier sounds like a radio tuned into 104.5 (I heard the call sign in my head which is odd considering I'm not in the same province right now.)

And my memory is in the past. But it's all the good stuff--earlier life memories. It runs by my eyes like clouds. Like a movie behind my eyes. It makes me smile. I must say it's oddly wonderful.

I'm glad I'm writing this stuff down. Because my short term recall is crap now.

(The perceived radio is on my right side. But as I get closer to the sound, I see only the dehumidifier.)

My companions are almost all asleep. And I feel energetic. But mellow. (The "radio" still drones on.)

Wow, I'm really seeing how crazy brain chemistry really is. Just reminds me that we know so little about the brain, or mind, or consciousness. I think this is my third or fourth time trying this. But the first time I've ever been like this.

I was the last to feel anything. Just like my alcohol experience. I'm almost always the last to get drunk. Drink to drink I'm usually the last one buzzed. Then it all seems to hit me at once. I wonder if pot will be the same.

It's been two hours now. Half of the group is asleep. I'm still writing. There's a cramp in my thumb. I can push through it though.

From the white noise of the dehydrator is a tick tock from the home local's "Beat the Bank" promotion. It's really weird.

(Chicken wing frenzy.)

I can feel myself coming down now. Wait, let's take a photo for posterity's sake.

(Photo session.)

I am now the only one awake. My brain is back to buzzing. And my heart is back to its ever-expanding-oh god-it-hurts-too-much state.

It's all over now. Oh, and the name is Charly.

tall penguin

Shout out...

...to Rahul and his new blog:


tall penguin

Sunday, July 15, 2007

For the record...

Stephin Merritt is a genius.

tall penguin

The wind...

I stood on the bridge. The wind coming off the river threatened to blow me over. I planted my feet firmly on the ground, let my hair down and let the wind wash over me, like water. And I smiled.

You were all there. I felt your presence all around me, like angels heralding the middle of the day. I could see you all by name, even those I haven't met yet. Odd yet wonderful. This sense of connection, like the energy of the wind running through me is the same energy that runs through you, that runs through all of us. And I smiled.

tall penguin

Lovin' that Sufjan...

by Sufjan Stevens

I fell in love again
all things go, all things go
drove to Chicago
all things know, all things know
we sold our clothes to the state
I don't mind, I don't mind
I made a lot of mistakes
in my mind, in my mind

you came to take us
all things go, all things go
to recreate us
all things grow, all things grow
we had our mindset
all things know, all things know
you had to find it
all things go, all things go

I drove to New York
in the van, with my friend
we slept in parking lots
I don't mind, I don't mind
I was in love with the place
in my mind, in my mind
I made a lot of mistakes
in my mind, in my mind

you came to take us
all things go, all things go
to recreate us
all things grow, all things grow
we had our mindset
all things know, all things know
you had to find it
all things go, all things go

if I was crying
in the van, with my friend
it was for freedom
from myself and from the land
I made a lot of mistakes
I made a lot of mistakes
I made a lot of mistakes
I made a lot of mistakes

you came to take us
all things go, all things go
to recreate us
all things grow, all things grow
we had our mindset
all things know, all things know
you had to find it
all things go, all things go

you came to take us
all things go, all things go
to recreate us
all things grow, all things grow
we had our mindset
(I made a lot of mistakes)
all things know, all things know
(I made a lot of mistakes)
you had to find it
(I made a lot of mistakes)
all things go, all things go
(I made a lot of mistakes)

Art imitating life...

Last evening, as I was having my first full-fledged experience with smoking pot, Frank Warren was posting this week's Post Secret entry. As I was coming down, I did my weekly check-in at the site and saw this. I had to laugh. Life imitating art? Art imitating life? Fate? Serendipity? It's just all too funny.

There is more to the pot story by the way. I chronicled my psychoactive journey (yes, I actually managed to write in that state). I'll share it in the next few days. Stay tuned.

tall penguin


All My Little Words
by The Magnetic Fields

You are a splendid butterfly
It is your wings that make you beautiful
And I could make you fly away
But I could never make you stay
You said you were in love with me
Both of us know that that's impossible
And I could make you rue the day
But I could never make you stay

Not for all the tea in China
Not if I could sing like a bird
Not for all North Carolina
Not for all my little words
Not if I could write for you
The sweetest song you ever heard
It doesn't matter what I'll do
Not for all my little words

Now that you've made me want to die
You tell me that you're unboyfriendable
And I could make you pay and pay
But I could never make you stay

Not for all the tea in China
Not if I could sing like a bird
Not for all North Carolina
Not for all my little words
Not if I could write for you
The sweetest song you ever heard
It doesn't matter what I'll do
Not for all my little words

Objects of my Affection...

Objects of my Affection
by Peter, Bjorn & John

I remember when, when i first moved here,
a long time ago,
´cause i heard some song i used to hear back then,
a lone time ago.
i remember when, even further back,
in another town,
´cause i saw something written i used to say back then,
hard to comprehend

and the question is, was i more alive
then than i am now?
i happily have to disagree;
i laugh more often now, i cry more often now,
i am more me.

but of course some days, i just lie around
and hardly exist,
and can´t tell apart what i´m eating
from my hand or my wrist.
´cause flesh is flesh, flesh as flesh as flesh,
the difference is thin.
but life has a certain ability of breathing new
life into me,
so i breathe it in.
it says here we are, and we all are here,
and you still can make sense,
if you just show up and present an honest face,
instead of that grin.

and the question is, was i more alive
then than i am now?
i happily have to disagree;
i laugh more often now, i cry more often now,
i am more me.

and the other day, this new friend of mine
said something to me
"just because something starts differently,
doesn´t mean it´s worth less."
and i soaked it in, how i soaked it in,
how i soaked it in
and just as to prove how right he was,
then you came.
so i´m gonna give, yes i´m gonna give,
i´m gonna give you a try,
so i´m gonna give, yes i´m gonna give,
i´m gonna give you a try

Simple Lyrics...

This time around
You can be anyone

Helen Stellar

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Camino Compadre?

So, I'm gonna do it. A few months ago, out of nowhere, the idea popped into my head to walk "el Camino de Santiago". I know very little about it and yet it was there as clear as day--a little voice saying you need to walk the camino. For those of you that don't know about the camino, it's a walk through Spain, famous for being the most important Christian pilgrimage walk during Medival times.

I am not a Christian. I don't even believe in god. And yet, this walk calls to me. My ancestors are from Italy, not Spain. And yet, this walk calls to me. There are a million factors possibly working against me doing this walk. And yet, it calls to me. I can't explain it and frankly, don't feel the need to.

What I am looking for is possible walking companions. While I'm quite content to walk alone, I'm also open to having any or all of you out there join me. I'll be posting more details in the coming weeks as I do more research. But if your heart feels connected to this idea in any way, drop me a line and we'll chat.

tall penguin

Ever have those moments...

In life, sometimes we set goals to achieve things--it could be a career goal, relationship goal, personal goal, etc. And then we you get there, you achieve whatever it is you wanted and you realize it just doesn't matter to you anymore. And the more that happens, you see the futility to tying yourself to the future. Of thinking that something out there is going to make a difference in the quality of your life. Because life as John Lennon so aptly stated, "Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans."

There is only now. Our thoughts about the past or the future only happen in the now. There is no other moment but the one breathing its way through you right now. And there's a certain magic to the present and your awareness of it. You can watch all your thoughts roil by like clouds on a sunny day. They're just there. There's no attachment to them. You don't feel the need to define yourself by them. They just are.

Of course, being in the moment does not preclude planning for the future or looking at the past. The difference is in noticing that you are here in this moment and in this moment there is choice. We get to reinvent ourselves each day. We can choose and choose and choose again.

tall penguin

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Word...

Okay, it's official. Me and alcohol--not friends.

tall penguin

Friends & Family...

In the past little while, I have felt the love and support of friends and family in a way that is new. I have allowed myself to be vulnerable to them and, unlike certain people from my past, these friends have returned that vulnerability with unconditional love. They have become family in ways I would never have imagined.

Thank you to all of you who have been there with me, standing by my side. Those who have been willing to stay the journey with me, to walk alongside me as I grow, expand, hurt, love, grieve, rage and everything in between. Those of you who have witnessed my life, some from afar, some right up close, and many even through this blog. I cherish the support you have all given me. I am filled with gratitude. May you all have peace.

tall penguin


I woke up this morning and it hit me: "I have no attachments." Now, there have been days where I've felt that but it was from a much different place as in, "Poor me, I have no attachments. I'm alone." But today, it's like, "I have no attachments. I'm alone. I'm free. My life is my own. I can hop on a plane tomorrow and leave town and never come back. I can start a business. I can start a relationship. I can stay in bed all day. I can do anything. I have no attachments. I owe no one anything" It's incredible really. I can't recall ever being in this place before.

There's this sense of peace welling in my heart today. Like my heart has breathed a cosmic sigh of relief. I'm coming to see that the only confinement I still have in place is the one in my own mind. And even that prison seems to be shifting. I can see it now for what it is. I can watch it and realize that it's not me, not who I am at the core of my being.

So, what will I do next? Hmm...

tall penguin

Thursday, July 12, 2007


This is one of my favorite poems by Christina Rossetti. To me it is a poem about death. But not just the ultimate death we all face, but also the mini deaths we die each day. For as we live, we die. Some days we live more than others. And some days, we die more than others. It is the cycle of this overall thing we call life. It is the yin and the yang. The holding on and the letting go. The joy and the pain. We are all of it and none of it at the same time.

Not sure where I'm going with this tonight. My fingers are typing faster than my brain can think of what I'm writing. Anyhow, enjoy the poem.

tall penguin


Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day.
You tell me of our future that you plann'd:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


I read once that forgiveness is letting go of the hope for a better past. It's amazing that we could even spend time hoping that the past could be any different than what it was, because it's gone. It's done. In the words of Robert Frost, "no more to build on there."

Yet, we do it all the time. We linger in the past, thinking of the 'what ifs' and the 'if onlys'. Agonizing over the 'couldas' , 'wouldas' and shouldas'. And agony it is. For it's done. What's done is done. It cannot be otherwise. It cannot be changed. We are here now in this present moment and that's all we have.

I heard a great quote from Eckhart Tolle about forgiveness that gave me pause:

"If her past were your past; her pain your pain; her level of consciousness your level of consciousness; you would think and act exactly as she does. With this realization comes forgiveness, compassion, peace."

There is profound wisdom for me in this. It is such a loving way to look at others and myself. May we all experience this empathy and compassion.

tall penguin

Knowing me, Knowing you...

In writing this blog, there is a definite sense of vulnerability. A sense that people may think that they know who I am by reading these words I write here. It has given me pause in recent days. I have taken some space to be with what I've put out to the world on these pages. What I have lived in the past six months, the past 33 years. There are no conclusions. Just some thoughts as always.

These words are not me. As my dear friend James puts it, "Your thoughts about a tree are not the tree." What I write here is the meandering journey of my mind. A catalog of emotional experiences, daily occurrences and my responses to them. That is not who I really am. There is beneath it all a silent watcher, untouched by all. The me that is connected to you and to every one and every thing. That me is beyond words. If you care to meet that me, look into my eyes. I'll be there.

tall penguin

Revisiting the visitors...

A couple of posts ago, I made some statements about our inability as humans to have perspective on our life here on planet Earth and how it would be useful for some extraterrestrial to provide such perspective.

A friend was quick to point out a possible flaw in such thinking. An E.T. would still only be able to see things from their perspective and who's to say that their thinking would be any more objective than ours. We are always at the mercy of our perceptions, collectively and individually. Perhaps even god wonders whether there's other gods out there who think differently than he/she/it does. Hmm...

tall penguin


The dance complete
They return to what they know
Or rather
What can be no other way
Stars foretold long ago
Seeds sealed the deal
Words written on slates that were never blank
It is what it is
How could it be otherwise?

Her body reels with pain
Electric spiders weave webs of grief down her spine
Skinless sinews exposed
To a world that cannot contain her
She is who she is
How could she be otherwise?

He taps on piano keys
Composing the future of the past
Ever smiling
Charged with illusions of grandeur
Masks so well made that even he has forgotten what he’s hiding
The dancing bear on parade
He is who he is
How could he be otherwise?

Their paths no longer cross
At least not in ways anyone would notice
There are unseen ties that bind
Probably never to be broken
What’s done is done
It cannot be otherwise.

tall penguin


I am not so afraid of fire anymore. Or rather, I’m not so afraid of getting burned.

tall penguin


Flowers in full bloom
Fear the inevitable
Petals will soon fall.


The fog sits so low
I can taste yesterday’s rain
Swimming in my mouth.

tall penguin