Bless the garbage carriers
Bless the apple-pie-baking stay-at-home mothers keeping the family together and the babies fed
Bless the newborns squinting into bright light crying for the loss of the safe womb
Bless the convenient store clerks holding it down through the night
Bless the dishwashers
Bless the costume makers
Bless the backup singers
Bless the presidents and their sordid pasts upholding belief-monuments of a crumbling past because, fuck, that must be exhausting
Bless the invisible people doing what they do, making money to feed families and children
Bless the humble humans behind the spot light
directing it at glittering jewels we are so hypnotized by
Bless the invisible in each one of us, the tender vulnerable children inside acquired masks worn to help us feed ourselves, survive, and hopefully feel sensations of joy and goodness
There is goodness in every aspect of existence
Look behind the moon and you’ll see the beautiful blackness
Open, receptive, and true
The sun and moon know that who you are encompasses all of it
We all have secret lives hidden from one another
And I hope we can learn to share more
So we don’t all go mad with the wildness of hidden things
There is nothing to fear in this revelation
There is nothing to lose, and everything to gain
It doesn’t take bravery
To spend lots of money
Lusting after expensive lifestyles
It doesn’t take bravery to
Work hard for a dream
That you inherited from a
It doesn’t take bravery to hate
Someone for abusing you
They were abused
And so was their father
It doesn’t take bravery to
Preach from a street corner
Lies that your father told you were truth
It doesn’t take bravery to judge
It doesn’t take bravery to hate
It takes bravery to love
It takes bravery to question truth
It takes bravery to be patient as you wait long enough to perceive past the veil
It takes bravery to persevere beyond your own limitations
It takes bravery to love through hurt and hate
It takes bravery to keep burning the candle after every one of your friends and family have blown theirs out
It takes bravery to carry the light through the darkness
It takes bravery to believe
It takes bravery to place faith in a brighter day that speaks to you through your dreams
It takes bravery to live
We need you
And your songs
Your weird drawings
Your slack lining
Your patience to wait for the hummingbird to come to the flower
We need you
And your business acumen
Your ability to see into hearts through eyes
We need you
And your resiliency
And bullish perseverance
Your easily distracted nature
We need all of you
We need you
Just as you are
Keep it coming
We’re all dancing this dance
We need you and your crazy genius
Have I said it enough ways?
Come as you are
Wherever you are on the spectrum
We need you
As you read this, I invite you to welcome the energies of patience, and slowness
The following words and phrases are often thrown around:
“we live in a fast paced culture”
”there is so much change happening in the world these days”
”the world is in a time of great upheaval”
“we are alive at a potent time”
“the veils are being lifted”
and I want to say:
there is always stillness, and presence
and patience available
there is no rush
...the road into the future is without end
...the future is truly infinite, as is our ability to grow and change. Into and through this life, and beyond into and through death.
Its easy to see that there is a plethora, an abundance, a complete lack of scarcity, a true tidal wave of information and awareness happening in these days. The digital age! The age of knowing things in a moment by flicking your thumbs on a little screen.
...and I ask:
where’s the integration?
one of the the most common things I see in my peers in these days is a constant stimulated state that never has a chance to settle and release, creating a perpetual feeling and experience of electric stimulation.
So please. Listen: you can find ways to rest, and integrate, and release, and let go, and that experience will surely give you some aspects of peace and fulfillment which you are thirsty for.
...it has done this for me, and I don’t know what you are needing, but this is my offering for this time. From my long journey into and through loving myself, and feeling for the threads of peaceful knowing which bring me a feeling of arriving and feeling at home here in my body and on the earth.
As I grow I feel enormous wellsprings of benefits and wisdom arising from the Yin field. Important in all this newness, vision, and inspiration is time to rejuvenate, reflect, and integrate.
Many of my close friends and many I witness in the culture are bouncing from experience to experience, acquiring so much potency and inspiration from workshop and experience after experience, and for years I have been asking the question “what sets me apart that I feel so different from my peers, what is it that I am bringing to this global puzzle?”
Tonight I realized that it is partially to be found in the way I relate to experience and integration.
As a cys gendered white male, my cultural message has predominantly been about producing, achieving, power, strength, potency, ability, novel skill, and even amongst the more alternative-seeming health enthusiasts: bettering the self, biohacking, endless streams of books and media and podcasts.
Side note: I How much of these messages are actually profit driven on the part of the motivators?
What seems to set me apart from many men, and what seems to naturally incline me toward more comfort with women throughout my life, is an awareness of and enjoyment in the yin field. By that I mean rest, communication and reflection, integration, patience, softness, emotional feeling, aesthetic beauty, and the like.
For a while when I was younger I thought this meant I might be gay; I would spend the majority of my time either with women friends or alone. I was confused and yet clear in my aversion to my male peers’ activities: porn, one-upmanship, general violence, novel intense activity like fighting and fireworks, wild antics. I mean, I would get drunk and stoned with the guys and that was awesome sometimes. But it was the exception, and I usually felt most myself either alone or one-on-one with a trusted female peer.
So i’m at a stage in my life wherein I’m asking myself what are my deepest and most important gifts to give to the world. And that brings me to writing this, unpacking this whole flower blossom that is me, and getting to know what makes me, me. Over time it seems like there will be these clues that arise. There already are.
when im in public, or listening to various media, or with friends, and there’s this momentum and speed, I feel an edge arise in me and a desire to slow down, be restful, care for the body, reflect, integrate. There’s a quote that I read somewhere once that says something like “all the secrets of the universe can be found inside a single raindrop.” I’m sure many people have said many similar things, and it comes up for me often when I’m hearing about the next event, book, experience, workshop, etc. : a question arises in me: “when does it stop?” ... when is there an arriving and allowing the dust to settle.
So. I suppose my gift to the world has something to do with how I embody flow. For some myriad reasons, I have this heightened sensitivity to the balance in my body, mind, and spirit, and I make adjustments more quickly than others in response to what I feel. The questions of “why do I have this heightened sensitivity” and “what do I do with it” maybe are irrelevent at this point.
Suffice to say that the Yin field, as a man, as me, is something I’m very aware of take time to cultivate a relationship with.
It igives me a feeling of being nourished not only by the sun and the newness and the bright glow of growth, but also the deep roots of life-giving nutrients that I feel will feed a long and healthy life full of deep earthly connection.
Like someone came in and took a red marker to the Sistine chapel
the sacred becomes buried
But how long would it have been preserved? At what point does the stone give up and crumble, patiently,
To the ground
To be reborn as a child’s doll or tea table
Even the finest works of art and life and beauty some day too will dissolve
Change is what is reliable
Change and release and new growth
Tonight I went to a night dedicated to exploring self pleasure in a small group, together. We sat, laid, nested in a circle, each with our spot, dedicated to feeling or being with anything that arises within the invitation to explore pleasure in our bodies.
But I don’t feel like I came on to write about that. More relevant is grief. Sadness. Letting go. I’m reading Martin prechtel’s book The Smell of Rain on Dust and it’s teaching me to trust this emotional river I am being carried downstream in. It reminds me of rafting the Colorado River down the Grand Canyon. There’s basically one entry and one exit, and three full weeks of rafting, camping, rapids, and hopefully not drowning in between.
So im doing the work. I’m bringing all the elements together. Therapy, massage, Chiro, friends, cuddle dates, ecstatic dance, deep sharing with my family, exercise. Truly I feel more myself than I ever have, centered, and in moments, more alive than ever in my memory.
Theres something alive in me that I’m realizing may never fully leave, and that is this home that has been made for sadness and for the underbelly of the world, room for grief, for the shadow. My being has widened and now grief has a seat on this magic school bus. Alongside happiness, inspiration, scepticism, and all those friends.
My experience was that the passageway of separation from a five year relationship of such depth was so challenging partially because I had the sense that because the space for grief on a whole new level was opened, it would never leave. That now, instead of visiting sadness or grief when I felt like it, or it was convenient, or maybe when it smacked me down for a few days but I got back up and did my best to keep moving forward, now it’s different. Now the whole earth has dissolved into something else entirely and my garden is made up of new plant species.
So the self pleasure circle was a part of that new garden tending. Adding more life to my self love practice, deepening into community in new ways, and in a very poignant way, something about making myself accountable to new aspects of myself that I wish to call forth. Now when I walk through the coop and I see someone from tonight, we will have this shared knowing, and I will be reminded of what I wish to call forth in myself.
More self love, always
free flowing expression
Thank you for reading this, dear reader. Thank you for journeying with me through this little exploration. I believe in the power of connecting our human experiences through writing. I wonder what this elicits in you.
From the playboys
To the words on this page
My heart and life
To the drunk, destitute
Dirty and wanting showers
Homeless skid row sleepers
Dropped out of life
Like a trap door opening
Under the illusion of a
Solid home mother loving
What are the common threads
That weave us together?
These hearts and
Traumas, desires burning
For satiated hunger
A quenched thirst,
We are children
Masks and shells of Forgetting the breasts we came into this world suckling
I see the beauty in each person, layers of
Acquired teaching and behaviors
I see the possibility of this
The center from which we all source
I see love at the root
Feeding us all
I see looking into one another’s eyes
Who can bow lowest?
When the stars are soil
Digesting my knees
As I dig myself into darkness
Seeking lower than you
The face of beautiful
Resonance that I see
Is it me?
The flame you carry
The torch you light
In my eyes
I want to be lower
So I can gaze up at you
See the etched outlines
Of your timeless divine
Reflected in light
As you spit poetry
Like burning stop signs
I’m going crazy in sanity
Grounded in divinity
I want to dig myself deeper
And stand lower
So my crown touches your feet
And the roots you grow
From your toes
Twist into my hair
Become brain neuron
Connecting the blessing
Of bowing low
And allowing the
Humility to grow
Soaking up burning sages
That you waft through the pages
Of my poetry book
And I thank you
For allowing my presence to
Affect your air that we share
I thank you for all that you
In this shared
As I drop to my
I’m landed in Bali and have been settling in the last three days, finding my body and energy in this new environment and embracing the warm humid air and bright sunshine. Quite a change from Ashland life, with the smoke and intensity of forest fires raging through the hot dry summer. I just got a little sick with a cold and am feeling that one aspect of it is a clearing of all the ash that has been accumulating over the last month of Smoke Life in Oregon.
One level of my being here in Bali is to do a videography project for the school that Jananī Ayni teaches for (www.schoolyogainstitute.com) ... my task is to capture the beauty, textures, and essence of this place and the transformative experience that is this 21-day yoga training. So far the work has moved fairly smoothly and I’m having fun both capturing some luminous moments of students engaged in yoga study, as well as buzzing my little travel sized drone around the beaches, surf, and cliffsides throughout the day. The view from above is always striking and gives a feeling of new context for our earth-based lives: little humans going about our lives on the belly of a large green earth globe in the context of vast landscapes of lush jungle and waters.
I also brought my tea set with me and so I’ve been having some sweet morning sits with Janani as the life awakens ... water, water everywhere ... big fat bees buzzing on violet flower vines, chirping birds, Komodo dragon sightings on secluded beaches, the life here is intensely awake and aware, at times writhing and potent, saturated. It’s a practice for me to be in the awe and wonder of the majesty of every corner of existence here while remaining connected within, to the relaxed space of knowing inside the core of my self. Every day brings with it the spiraling, undulating relationship-dance of life as I explore inner and outer awareness, manifest through all of seen and unseen existence.
If you’d like to see more of the images from my travels in Bali and beyond, take a look at my Instagram account @lorenedwardwheelerphotography where I post images from my travels.
Sending love to you all, in all ways.
~ If you didn't know, I have a music & art page ~
As I travel into and through this Bali adventure I notice that I go through some pretty challenging and painful episodes of anxiety and forgetting of why i'm here and what i'm doing here. As in, what am I doing in life, what is my purpose, what am I here to do, to give, to receive.
I'm in a beautiful tropical paradise place, creating beautiful art, surrounded by inspiring and inspired people, yet there's something within for which life is never enough. There always needs to be something better on the horizon, or what I have is not enough. It's a voice and an energy of anxiety and a lack of settling. Somehow it doesn't let it be okay to just sit, relax, receive, and breathe deeply. If it had a voice, it would be saying "you haven't done enough, keep going, keep moving, you're missing out, you haven't done enough, you need to keep digging and searching."
As I tune back into the music i've made, like this vocal improvisation piece I have posted below ("Safe Passage"), I remember something vast yet personal. It has something to do with my purpose on earth and what I am here to do. The direct wordless antidote and answer to the above worries, questions, and anxieties. It's something I tune into usually during morning music sessions that feels inherently Me, something timeless and soft, open, available to life and potent, calm and relaxed yet engaged.
I am learning to embrace the multiplicity. Some of you who know me or who have read some of my writing might already know that my western astrology shows me being a Triple Gemini: Sun, Moon, and Rising signs all in Gemini: mutable air, change, shifting perspectives, the eternal explorer, always learning and investigating, restless, wandering, curious, inquisitive. I feel a strong resonance with these qualities, the multiplicity, the multifaceted nature of my self and my approach to life... and I also have simultaneous desires and interests to focus in, follow through, develop particular areas and reach high levels of cultivated mastery in music especially, and within music, the voice.
That is to say, one way I feel it, is that at times I feel quite split. Between multiplicity and the longing for focus. Another way of feeling it is that I feel multifaceted and adept in a wide variety of areas. Gifted, to be so inspired by so much of life and desiring to express in many forms. So the process is Less about feeling Destined in one path from an early age and working it throughout my life, and More about Allowing my energy to go where it wants to go. The path is not the voice solely, the path is the inspiration itself. The life force. The curiosity and intrigue of pursuing something and allowing the path to take me with the pure energy of vitality.
A practical vision of this which i've had recently is going on tour with my music around the world, and then taking some time off to make a video project, take some photos, explore, travel, disconnect from the sharing momentum, cultivate, drinking tea all the while, go back on tour, maybe do an art installation. I think these visions are going to increasingly become a central part of my life as the years go on and I develop courage and trust in my art.
So, what does this teach me? To trust ~ ah, there you are my old friend.
And so here is a sharing along this path of mysterious creativity that is my life. A little sliver of the rainbow pie of creative living that seems to be this embodied existence for me. May it do what it's meant to do for and with you and me and everyone.
I went to school for opera training and I’m still unlearning and crafting what I received there. Also I’ve had a long string of bodily injury that gives every day a new doorway into nooks and crannies for the voice to fill into; the body is my work of art. How much nuance can I bring into my musculature, matched with dedicated knowledge acquisition and of course ... as I’m learning every day ... relaxation. How to return even in the stretched open and minute details of classical recitation to a fluid and easeful state?
...and then tears, the feeling of impossibility as I devote yet another day to this far reaching task of living a creative life
...although that’s just ego isn’t it? My own excuses and apparent hardships standing in my own way.
No, instead, I am truly grateful to be living this artistic life. I am moved by the music. To wake up every day and look into the mirror where, in addition to my groggy eyes, I see written “Dream Big” in artful, bold letters. Yes. I am grateful for this life and all that I put into it day after day. There is nothing I would rather do with my life.
a trip to the woods and waters, and an opening into the warmth of friendship
If you're doing a little bit each day to improve the self,
if you're often (not necessary always) asking yourself "how can I be of greater service in the world,"
if you're devoting a little more time overall to something you care about,
if you're focusing on what you do want and not always what doesn't feel right,
If you're making time regularly to make at least a little progress in understanding yourself and how your unique set of life circumstances has created who you are,
If you're doing what you are aware of and are able to do (within the limits of space and time) to create positive change in the world,
Then you are doing enough.
And the sum of all those small decisions is already heading in a very positive direction
And you are on your way to making a very meaningful impact on this earth that we share
We are increasingly developing virtual reality computer worlds wherein people are living the majority of their hours, while plastics are becoming thoroughly integrated into our biosphere and oceans. In those virtual reality worlds there are both designers working tirelessly to engineer a more sustainable future, as well as gamers who spend all day every day reenacting violence, digitally, toward people they've never met. And in the oceans are both fishermen taking whales at unprecedented numbers, as well as people dedicating their every waking moment to cleaning up the mess we're making, no matter how insurmountable the task may seem.
What I see is every situation having the possibility to take us further into suffering and the dark underbelly side of our nature, or these same situations being the opportunity for a life-supportive choice and a Yes to clean, pure, and conscious nature.
The task I've found myself coming back to again and again is that the very small-seeming decisions that add up over time are vital ... using fewer plastics, prioritizing home cooked meals, changing my orientation toward renewable resources. These are small things which do literally add up to a well-formed life web in the space time continuum.
Meanwhile, the big picture perspective is navigating like a compass, bringing clear sight to every movement of the day while maintaining awareness of the overarching movement of my life, of the collective movement of our human family. And amongst this awareness, asking consistently "how can I use my energies for the greater good in the most effective way possible"
I was once told by a partner that focusing on our own inner situation is akin to "belly button gazing," with a negative judgement. The value system was around helping people out there, there are people going hungry, they need help, so help them. Yet meanwhile innumerable personal life traumas are running the show alongside a benevolent and loving intention.
So there's a meeting and getting to know one another, between the various aspects of the self. The aspect that wants to help and give and manage and loves to offer support, and the aspect that is internal, in pain, in joy, feeling, sensing, the whole inner matrix which channels pure spirit into action and beingness.
As far as I have seen and learned, this back and forth never stops, the growing of awareness through action and being, and both are available to be explored.
A healthy balance between the two is helpful for both to be full and vital ... deep inner work alongside lucid, directed action and beingness.
The streets are talking to me!
Today in Eugene I did a ritual swim down the rapids and river communion experience, next to where I put my clothes down I found a 1-lb bag of powdered star anise. Anyone know much about the uses of this plant? Then I was walking back to my car and was presented with a very much not subtle universe message on the concrete.
As I'm learning to embody the full range of emotions, I notice a huge amount of anger surfacing especially from the sacral area. With the clear light of awareness I welcome the energy to fill me and teach me. A central lesson is standing for myself and self protection and preservation. Also a message that something needs to shift considerably, that I'm grating against the flow of life and a choice needs to be made or something let go of.
I'm grateful to be choosing a path of embracing the full range of human experience. Guided by teachers I respect, I learn about the one energy in all it's forms moving through this form. Education on the transmutation capacities inside my being. Affirming the light of true awareness and love.
I filmed this short video years ago on Orcas Island. I just recently found the footage and edited video after years of wondering where it had disappeared to.
Visiting my friends Sarah and Christian on Orcas Island, Cody came over one night to have some whiskey and do some type writing. It was a perfect evening of creative immersion and I dove into the visual world to explore the textures of his visual poetic perspective.
Visual pieces like this that remind me of the heartbeat of the muse, she sings through, whispers in quiet moments and places her hands on my hands to lead the way. I follow.
Writing and being creative: a new piece being birthed, a procreative ecstatic tingling energy of new life, which, with repetition, often transitions into a less excited and yet deep space. Often I've thought I was doing something wrong and missing the original essence of the music when this transition would happen, out of the ecstatic wide-eyed bliss and into something more mellow, in the deep practice. I wanted to be in that inspired state all the time when I was creating. I would push songs through and record them quickly and sloppily, not totally satisfied, but wanting to preserve that original essence.
Now i'm taking more time with the music and letting it change me. Going through a form of grieving of that way of relating to music where it's short lived, intense, like a honeymoon phase of relationship. Now I'm embracing the slow diligence of fleshing out and unfolding what a song is asking to become.
I'm reminded of something the Russian concert pianist Valentina Lisitsa said, that the process of deep practice is transforming a raw block into smooth granite: stable, unmoving, yet polished.
I still welcome the raw undefined energies of creativity to live in each performance of a song, like when I was growing up, our yard always had a wild area of uncontrolled natural growth.