Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mortality. Take Two.

My Uncle died tonight. He's the oldest of my Mother's siblings, and the first one to die. Wasn't I just talking about mortality and how weird it will be to lose my brother one day? Life is odd. So very, very odd.

I don't know what else to say. Go hug someone you love tonight. Be grateful they're here.

tall penguin

One True Love...

Once I gave up belief in a god after leaving the Jehovah's Witnesses, I was forced to reconsider the rest of my dearly held beliefs. Constantly asking myself "Is this true?" has lead me to let go of more than my belief in a true religion and a true god. I have also abandoned my previous beliefs in New Age woo, alternative medicine and anything having to do with the supernatural.

The last of my beliefs, the hardest one to face, was my belief in The ONE. Not unlike my belief in the One True God, I believed in the One True Love, the one person on the planet who I believed was for me, my soulmate. It took me some time to realize it but a belief in the One True Love is just another mystical belief system. It implies a sense of destiny and some kind of cosmic orientation of events to plant the two soulmates together in time and space so they may live in tender bliss. I really didn't want to admit to myself that believing in The ONE was no different than my previous beliefs in the One True God and the One True Religion. The One True Love was my last sacred cow. The last of my wishful thinking. I really wanted to hold onto this belief. I really did. But, like all the other beliefs I'd questioned, it just wasn't sustainable.

I've suffered from a lot of cognitive dissonance as a result of my belief in The ONE. When you become fixated on the idea that there's only one person who is the right person for you to spend the rest of your life with, you view relationships through a very narrow scope. In my case, men I would meet would be evaluated very quickly as to their "rightness". At the first sign of differences between us, I would write off the unsuspecting male. Nope, he's not The ONE. I have rejected many a decent man with this thinking.

And then, there was the opposite situation. Having met someone who I thought was The ONE, I became confused when circumstances prevailed that interfered with our being together. How could he be The ONE if we can't be together? And does that mean that I'm now destined to be alone for the rest of my life because we're not together? Talk about a mindfuck.

Believing in The ONE sets up the unsustainable, much like belief in a god does, because the criteria for the existence of The ONE is as elusive and complicated as that of the existence of a god. It's purely subjective, as love is in general, but believing in The ONE makes love even more clouded and hazy. It is an insatiable belief that requires many mental leaps and concessions to hold onto. Love is difficult enough. Why cloud it with fantastical beliefs that have no basis in reality?

Having now abandoned the idea of The ONE, I find myself open to loving so much more deeply. I can open to who is present with me, in my life now, without having to measure him against some unreachable ideal. I can love him as he is, where he is. Releasing my fairy tale notions of love has allowed me to sink deeper into the humanness of love, which sees both with eyes of reason and eyes of wonder. One need not believe in the untenable to enjoy the beauty of love. One can meet love as it finds it. Rational love brings great freedom. So glad I've found it.

tall penguin

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Do you realize that everyone you know, some day, will die?
~The Flaming Lips

When you grow up thinking you're going to live forever, that God's going to give you everlasting life, you don't really come to terms with your own mortality in this life. Or at least I didn't as a Jehovah's Witness (particularly as JW's believe that they are currently living in the "End Times" and they're not going to have to die at all, whereas most other religions believe in a resurrection/reincarnation into an afterlife). It took me a few years post-JW to realize that I'm going to die one day. But it took me longer to realize that those I love are going to die one day too, many before I will. This really hit me this past week.

My parents will die. Likely before me, meaning that there is a definite point in the future where they just won't be here anymore; they will be here one moment and not the next. What will that morning after feel like? When the people who raised me are no longer around? I never really thought about that reality as deeply as I have in recent days.

And my brother too. He is five years my senior. Odds are that he too will leave this life before me. I can't imagine what life will be like without being able to call him up randomly in the middle of the day and make him laugh with some bizarre cartoon or movie reference ("Tukki Tukki Kaka Kaka" from the film Evolution gets him every time). And who will I argue philosophy with when he's gone?

It's so strange to me how the mind works. One day you're not aware of your mortality and then the next day you are. Acutely.

tall penguin

If You Want to Change the World...Love a Woman

by Lisa Citore

If you want to change the world… love a woman-really love her.
Find the one who calls to your soul, who doesn’t make sense.
Throw away your check list and put your ear to her heart and listen.
Hear the names, the prayers, the songs of every living thing-
every winged one, every furry and scaled one,
every underground and underwater one, every green and flowering one,
every not yet born and dying one…
Hear their melancholy praises back to the One who gave them life.
If you haven’t heard your own name yet, you haven’t listened long enough.
If your eyes aren’t filled with tears, if you aren’t bowing at her feet,
you haven’t ever grieved having almost lost her.

If you want to change the world… love a woman-one woman
beyond yourself, beyond desire and reason,
beyond your male preferences for youth, beauty and variety
and all your superficial concepts of freedom.
We have given ourselves so many choices
we have forgotten that true liberation
comes from standing in the middle of the soul’s fire
and burning through our resistance to Love.
There is only one Goddess.
Look into Her eyes and see-really see
if she is the one to bring the axe to your head.
If not, walk away. Right now.
Don’t waste time “trying.”
Know that your decision has nothing to do with her
because ultimately it’s not with who,
but when we choose to surrender.

If you want to change the world… love a woman.
Love her for life-beyond your fear of death,
beyond your fear of being manipulated
by the Mother inside your head.
Don’t tell her you’re willing to die for her.
Say you’re willing to LIVE with her,
plant trees with her and watch them grow.
Be her hero by telling her how beautiful she is in her vulnerable majesty,
by helping her to remember every day that she IS Goddess
through your adoration and devotion.

If you want to change the world… love a woman
in all her faces, through all her seasons
and she will heal you of your schizophrenia-
your double-mindedness and half-heartedness
which keeps your Spirit and body separate-
which keeps you alone and always looking outside your Self
for something to make your life worth living.
There will always be another woman.
Soon the new shiny one will become the old dull one
and you’ll grow restless again, trading in women like cars,
trading in the Goddess for the latest object of your desire.
Man doesn’t need any more choices.
What man needs is Woman, the Way of the Feminine,
of Patience and Compassion, non-seeking, non-doing,
of breathing in one place and sinking deep intertwining roots
strong enough to hold the Earth together
while she shakes off the cement and steel from her skin.

If you want to change the world… love a woman, just one woman .
Love and protect her as if she is the last holy vessel.
Love her through her fear of abandonment
which she has been holding for all of humanity.
No, the wound is not hers to heal alone.
No, she is not weak in her codependence.

If you want to change the world… love a woman
all the way through
until she believes you,
until her instincts, her visions, her voice, her art, her passion,
her wildness have returned to her-
until she is a force of love more powerful
than all the political media demons who seek to devalue and destroy her.

If you want to change the world,
lay down your causes, your guns and protest signs.
Lay down your inner war, your righteous anger
and love a woman…
beyond all of your striving for greatness,
beyond your tenacious quest for enlightenment.
The holy grail stands before you
if you would only take her in your arms
and let go of searching for something beyond this intimacy.

What if peace is a dream which can only be re-membered
through the heart of Woman?
What if a man’s love for Woman, the Way of the Feminine
is the key to opening Her heart?

If you want to change the world…love a woman
to the depths of your shadow,
to the highest reaches of your Being,
back to the Garden where you first met her,
to the gateway of the rainbow realm
where you walk through together as Light as One,
to the point of no return,
to the ends and the beginning of a new Earth.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Little girl
Street corner
Near my home
She wears a pink tutu
With diamond sparkles
And twirls and twirls and twirls

Sun streams across her face
She is a dancing rainbow

The light changes
Mom grabs her hand
And twirls her across the intersection

Keep dancing
I whisper on the air
She turns back and smiles
She knows.

She knows.

tall penguin

Friday, March 19, 2010


I recently celebrated the Indian Festival of Colors, Holi, at a Bollywood dance event called Besharam. The club holding the event garbage-bagged one of their lounge rooms from top to bottom so we could enjoy throwing around the colored powders associated with the festival. In India, the festival usually lasts sixteen days and celebrates the beginning of Spring. I got to enjoy it for just a few hours, but managed to do some major color damage in that time. And I've got the pictures to prove it. (Credit to the event photographer, Nari Mavalwalla.)

I can't wait to go to India one day and celebrate with the locals. Of course, I can only imagine how stained I'd be after two weeks of this. After the event I went to, my chest was green for a week and the undergarments I wore are now permanently tie-dyed. But it was so worth it.

tall penguin

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


My friend D and I were on the subway tonight at around 9:00 p.m. There's about a dozen people on our car of the train waiting to pull out of the station, when two guys come out of nowhere, pull a young man off the train, punch him and steal his Iphone, all in less than 60 seconds. We were all so startled that we didn't realize what was happening until it was over. At first it appeared that maybe they all knew each other and were just goofing around, but once it became obvious that this wasn't the case, it was too late. As soon as the perps left we asked if the young man was okay and notified a transit worker about the incident.

As the train pulled out of the station and we all sat there in shock, I had a moment of vigilante rage well up, thinkin' it would've been great to go all Jodie Foster ala "The Brave One" on their punk asses.

Fact is so much stranger than fiction.

tall penguin

Saturday, March 13, 2010

To Verdener (Worlds Apart)

I just finished watching the Danish film To Verdener (Worlds Apart). It is based on the true story of a Danish girl raised as one of Jehovah's Witnesses, who is forced to choose between love and her faith when she falls in love with a non-believer. It is an incredibly accurate portrayal of life as a Jehovah's Witness and all the challenges that that entails, particularly as one faces a crisis of faith.

The film should be available for rent in the Foreign Films section of your local video store or you can buy it from Amazon. Watch it. Share it.

Here's the trailer:

I can't stop crying. Watching this film was like watching my life unfold on the screen. I've been in a really rough state as of late. As far as I get from the whole Jehovah's Witness experience, it becomes clearer and clearer to me over time that I will never be free of it. I wish I'd gotten out sooner.

I wish I'd gotten out sooner.

tall penguin

Preaching Hate in Uganda

I'm getting pretty close to being done with this planet. Mars anyone?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Same Difference?

A lot of things don't bother me the way that they used to. I'm never sure though whether that means I'm growing up or just numbing out.

tall penguin

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Please Stand By...

"Life is improv. Marry a writer."
~Mark Feuerstein

I'm sure I'm not the only one who experiences this. You ever have mental conversations with people that are so thorough and real that it takes you some time to realize that they never actually made it out of your mind into reality?

I had some messages sitting in my inbox and only realized two weeks after their arrival that I hadn't replied to them. I was certain I had answered them when really I'd just replied to them in my head. Perhaps it's the curse of being a writer; everything in my head is a grand story.

So, if we're sitting at coffee and I have a question mark on my face, it's probably because I've already had this conversation with you in my mind and it's not quite playing out the way I remember it. Bear with me. Eventually I'll join you in the rewrite.

tall penguin


It is sunny in my city today. Life feels somewhat easier to bear when there is sun in the sky. The underlying depressive funk is still there, lingering in the background of my psyche, but somehow, when it's sunny, I'm able to give it a big ole "Fuck you" and move out into the day and just be.

I can even smell Spring in the air. Spring. I like Spring. Can't wait for the tulips. I like tulips. Ooooo and Summer. I like Summer.

tall penguin

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Just Listen.


Houses not homes

Securing a future no one wants

It all moves along

With the click of a pen.

Signing off on life

To prepare for an inevitable death

No insurance policy

Can ever cover

That which dies before it dies.

Swimming against a tide

That forever crashes us back on the rocks

Wearied of love

When love is not enough.

Flooding the senses with song

And nicotine

Swirling ashes

Of the funeral pyre.

We're dead already


And returned to the earth

From which we came.

There in the clay


We will take our rest

Hand in hand

Eye to eye

In the eternal dust.

tall penguin