The Girl Asleep at a Party

When I was in college, I used to get blackout drunk. At UC Santa Barbara, that is called “Wednesday” , Certain as there was a Saturday and I didn’t have rehearsal? I’d be drinking 5-6 hard liquor or beer drinks a night and wandering into a stranger’s house to use their bathroom. 

There would always be that one girl, asleep at a party. She’s surrounded by activity, people are stacking cups on her head, and the world could light on fire – she would not wake up.

A few months ago I had a very rude awakening. The world, the planet, our lives are all short and maybe we are able to come close to our reason being here. But in the meantime happiness is the only thing worth pursuing even if it means risking the way you used to be.

I’m anxious. All the time. I don’t know minute by minute what I’m supposed to do and I’m letting others dictate that for me. I’m trying to surrender to the path, let the ride be the guide and really choose what challenges me and makes me happy to wake up every day.

Put the pursuing of that makes me want to be the girl asleep at a party. I know I won’t be able to go back to it, but I want to be her, just for an evening. 

I’ve taken a little bit of Kava-Kava, this herbal anxiety medicine that I found at the organic drugstore. It makes my lips tingle. It makes me want to eat a cookie. It makes me want a hug. It makes me want to pass out in the middle of the party.

This is the challenge of a conscious life : once you wake up, you can never go back to sleep. You must be conscious at all times even when it feels painful or scary. You must be the truth about your life if you want to get anywhere close to your joy.

I hope that I’m listening to what I truly believe is in my heart. I hope to stay awake and energized throughout the entire process of transformation. I hope I don’t get swallowed up by what I expect of myself. I hope that I don’t die before realizing infinity every day. I hope I can live in joy and happiness even when it hurts. I hope to never fall asleep again. 

May you never fall asleep again. 

Sat Nam

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Ishtar and Jesus go out for Coffee

(Jesus is sitting in a cafe, waiting on his date to arrive. Enter Ishtar, the Babylonian Goddess of love, war, fertility and sex, and even though it is indoors a beautiful wind caresses her hair. Slow motion walk to 80’s power ballads as she sits down)

Jesus : Hey

Ishtar : Hello. 

Jesus: Thanks for – I mean, I’m glad we could meet. Finally.

Ishtar: I know, I hear you’ve resurrected. That’s so cool.

Jesus: Yeah, it was kind of rough for a few days. Three days. In a cave. Alone. And then POW – here I am.

Ishtar: Do they have strong coffee here?

Jesus: Um, yeah…I guess so. Pretty strong. 

Ishtar: That’s good. I was at a blessing of this cult of sacred prostitution, you know – workers united and all that stuff. I was up all night long performing sacred sexual blessings.

Jesus: Yeah?

Ishtar : It’s always so awkward when people expect you to have sex. I mean, I am aware that my rite and destiny is to fill the fruit with seed, the spring with blossom, blah blah blah but you know what? A girl likes to be asked. 

Jesus : Sure.

Ishtar : That’s why my friend said I might like you, she says you aren’t like any of her other clients.

Jesus: Oh, I’m not one of her clients. 

Ishtar : Honey, I’m the goddess of sexuality. You don’t have to play puritan to get me to like you.

Jesus : No really, I never have…you know, sex, with any of those women. Really?

Ishtar : Principled?

Jesus: No, I just like to talk to them. 

Ishtar : Really? About what? 

Jesus: I’m a motivational speaker of sorts. 

Ishtar: For…who?

Jesus: Everyone. I want to teach peace. 

Ishtar: Oh…(looks at her phone) Do you play sports?

Jesus: No. 

Ishtar : Do you watch sports?

Jesus: Not really. I was never really good at them. I like to write. 

Ishtar: That’s what Mary said. 

Jesus: Oh, how’s she doing?

Ishtar: She got pregnant again. Had to give it up, again. Hazard.

Jesus: It’s her right, hope she is healing. Tell her I say hello when you see her.

Ishtar: I will, and thank you. Damn straight it’s her right! Well, at least you’re a feminist. 

Jesus: At least?

Ishtar : I’ll be honest. I’m not really into the “let’s talk about our feelings” types. I’m more into the “fuck your friends, kill your enemies, and meet me at the orgy in the land of fertile plenty” types.

Jesus: Sounds fun.

Ishtar: But maybe you can help me with something. I just had this crazy breakup, right? Tammuz, this guy I was really into? Got taken into the underworld and totally hooked up with his Abysinian girl. Which I’m OK with most of the time, but it’s like, he told me that we were exclusive and I believed him, you know. So anyway, I banished the Abysinian into the eternal realm of darkness and Tammuz was like, you know what? I’m staying down here. So now since he’s gone I haven’t been really feeling…you know…into it? Sex with other people has been fine and whatnot, I love it, it’s what I do, but you know…I’m just not feeling it? So the rivers are drying up, and I’m feeling really depressed. Like, lifetime original movie depressed. 

Jesus: Tell me more, my child. 

Ishtar: Ok…weird….anyway, here’s my question: how do I get him to ressurect from the underworld? Maybe you could talk to him! You’ve done it, you could talk him through it. 

Jesus: Wait, so…you’re not interested in me at all?

Ishtar: You seem like a nice guy. Which is a problem. People forget I’m the goddess of war as well. I need conflict.

Jesus: So, you like assholes?

Ishtar: Pretty much. 

Jesus: Huh…well, thanks for being honest, I guess. 

Ishtar: Well, can you help me with my problem?

Jesus: What makes me think I’ll help you?

Ishtar: You’re the son of God. You help the needy. And I have needs.

Jesus: Clearly.

Ishtar: And what’s that supposed to mean?

Jesus: I didn’t…you don’t understand I’m not saying…

Ishtar: For a motivational speaker you sure pick an unusual tactic : slut shaming. 

Jesus: Resurrection. You want me to convince your boyfriend to resurrect? 

Ishtar: Yes. 

Jesus: Well I can’t do that. 

Ishtar: Why not?

Jesus: To everything, turn turn, there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven. Purpose UNDER heaven. If he wants to rise up, truly rise up and become everything he has ever wanted, he needs to get under the banner of his heavenly self. 

Ishtar: Listen, Buddha dissapeared and came back. Guru Ram Dass dissapeared into the river and reappeared to sing the song of formlessness. Why can’t you get my boyfriend to like me again?

Jesus : Sometimes it’s the hardest thing in the world to watch our loved ones dissapear into the seasons of themselves. We may be in eternal spring in our hearts, but they want to stay dark. We can choose to ressurect ourselves every day that we live in compassion, or we can choose to live in darkness. But that’s our choice. Ressurection wasn’t mine, nessacarily. I was supposed to be a symbol of something people do every day. I can’t rescue your boyfriend because he isn’t in a place where he wants to be reborn. 

Ishtar: What, into your Dad’s idea of who he should be?

Jesus: Here’s a secret. My Dad wants nothing else but for people to be happy. To live as they are : perfectly imperfect. But humans keep finding ways to mess that up. I don’t know what your boyfriend is going through…it must be terrible to lose someone like you in his life. Some people are reborn into my heart because they feel great when they are there. But it really doesn’t matter if they choose to go through me or someone else : they’ve got to save themselves from the terrible place inside that brings fear. However way they do it, they have to find a way to be reborn every day or the pain becomes insurmountable. 

Ishtar: Wow. 

Jesus: But that’s not my job. I write. I inspire. I embrace. And that’s what I do best. But I’m not captain save-a-ho. I can’t go rescue your boyfriend. He’s got to take the steps back towards you, if he wants to.

Ishtar: Well, thanks. I appreciate your honesty. 

Jesus: You’re welcome. 

Ishtar: I think we should be friends, though.

Jesus: That’s OK. I’m not really into, you know, man eater types? No offense. 

Ishtar: None taken. 

Jesus: I also really like black women. 

Ishtar: Me too. 

(Unable to resurrect the conversation, they sit in silence)

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29

I turned 29 today. Technically? One of those “not a big deal before the big deal birthdays” emotionally? Crucial considering there have been multiple milestones crossed. 

I made a list of things I wanted to do today, to really set myself up for the year –

1. Something Giving – Donated 10 dollars to a food bank because I have recently become vegan and wanted to give others a nourishing plate. Discovering food as an ally has been empowering for me ever since I have given up the cow in the new year. Giving that back meant something to me. I heard a story about Yogi Bhajan, that he used to make people bring cookies on their birthday. Even if it was a new student, who raised their hand in class saying “It’s my birthday” He would tell that person to bring cookies for the class, and they all would wait. He thought it was so crucial that you started your year off gifting that he was willing to wait for you to come around.

2. Something Creative – This is my true self. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been trying to tell silly stories and make people laugh. I have fallen in with groups of people who are making things – whether that is a community, a book, a piece of art, a kid, a costume for comic-con, a song? Everything that you create and share makes you radiant and I wanted to explore that radiance within myself. I started work on a screenplay that has been stuck in my head and causing anxiety because I don’t have the words for it yet. Here we go.

3. Something with Yoga – My BOTTOM line!! Yoga has become like my religion – when times are hard I lean harder on my practice and find the strength to get through the pain. I went to a class tonight that was later than the others, but I knew was a good fit for me. I am a Kundalini Yogi but have been taking more posture based classes to learn the correct alignment in other forms. I get there, and sure enough I’m proud of my decision.

First, the teacher was older than myself. I love older yoga teachers because they have recognized the power inside them at any age goes beyond physical posture but still challenge your entire self on the mat. Gurmukh, the master teacher who taught me Kundalini Yoga? Was making me sweat in her 70’s and still makes people sweat today.

Second, the teacher reminded me what I knew was important while teaching me new things : when you take a yoga class it is never about how you bend or what you are physically capable of. It is how you handle yourself in the world when you leave class that makes you a yogi, how you interact with your friends, community, and those who need you that is your yoga. She showed me a posture that I needed to align my neck during shoulder stand, and she made me think about how I want to share intention and blessing with others. 

Third, the teacher gave me a hug at the end of class when I told her it was my birthday. Hugs are always awesome. 

4. Something involving a Friend – I spoke to a very dear friend of mine who has gone out of her way to make my day special, and shared some nice love on the phone. Then I did what I do every year : write 3 pages in my Google Drive entitled “29” and write every bit of magical thinking inside of me.That was when another friend appeared. She hadn’t been described to me in that way since I had been in therapy, but this friend became truth as soon as I wrote her. Our duality inside us is such that we have the critic and the friend – the critic saves us from making bad choices but can cut us off if we let him take over. The friend is constantly there for others but sometimes can forget to be there for himself. The friend is expansion, compassion. This year, I did something with the friend inside me : Treated her like she was a precious jewel. That God and me, me and God are one together. Friends, forever. 

May all of your birthdays be creative, prosperous, kind, generous, filled with divinity, light and love. May you have many birthdays that are better than the last, and may you be happier with each coming milestone. May you bring life and adventure as you take advantage of the gift of being human. May your light shine through your years as you do : with every intention towards truth and your inner destiny. May you be of spirit, always. 

Sat Nam

What the Bee Taught Me : Acupuncture and Ascending

Every day we are open to have our own magical experience. I’ve had some female trouble lately, mostly the fact that during the month of January I had my period for 15 days straight. Terrifying considering that :

A) I am house sitting, and everything that could get stained frightens me.
B) I have recently become vegan, which has led to both physical and emotional detox issues.
C) I hate doing laundry.
D) I haven’t had an annual exam in 3 years and the internet is filled with cancer-fear.
E) I mean, 15 G-D days??? Are you KIDDING me?

At the recommendation of a friend, I sought out an acupuncturist and made an appointment for an annual exam the following week. My flowchart of hope brought me to a place where eastern medicine would help make the news from the western doctor more than “you waited too long, dork”.

The morning of my acupuncture appointment, I was brought into a calm bright office and offered tea. Fifteen pages of questions about my mental history, physical history, diet and cravings, family history and hospitalizations? What was most interesting was the “recent trauma” portion.

Please list the dates and duration of any traumas (divorce, move, death, changes) of your recent past. 

Fortunately in the land of milk and internet, I am more than happy to share all of my traumas publicly. I burst into tears describing the holidays from hell, depression history and “boring drug” addiction. Please note that boring drugs consist of the drugs that they don’t make movies about getting addicted to: television, self pity, sugar and sleep.

After laying my heart out on the table, the kind and generous lady of the needles and herbs offered me a place on hers. I didn’t want to watch the needles go in, because the idea of being a voodoo doll scares me slightly. If I was a voodoo doll, I am convinced that there is someone out there just like me feeling amazing and free due to this wonderful medicine.

She explained every point on my body that the deft needles hit upon. Heart, open sky of the head, the uterus, stopping the excess chi in my uterus area. According to traditional acupuncture theory, all of our 12 major organs have personalities and energies that sometimes get clogged. Those 12 organs exist in pairs of 2 that balance each other out. It’s almost as if your body is a dance floor, with 6 pairs of dancers that move to the same song but all move differently. When one set of dancers aren’t communicating, the floor becomes less balanced and full. Minus 6 points to uterus and stomach for being real heavy footed on my body ballroom.

The lady of the needles and herbs walked me through every single part of what was going to happen next. Every bit of information made me relaxed and nervous. The whole experience about as invasive as a strong hug. When someone you love really puts pressure on, encouraging you to go deeper and explore every part of yourself that hurts. The parts you don’t want to see, usually.

I thought it would hurt more. It poked and prodded for a bit, and my body responded with adrenaline. But I breathed through the part that was scary. I decided to use mantradetox(tm)…a medicine that I decided to trademark in my head which consists of letting go through words. Let me give you a free trial of my medicine…If you are going through the problems I am? Chant these words in your head: let go of Brandon, let go of the movie, let go of fear, let go of time, let go of place, let go of fear, let go of the other, let go of hating yourself, let go of feeling less than, let go of blind ambition, let go of not knowing, let go of feeling like you are worthless.

Let go, already.

When I got up from the table, I had a feeling like I did when I had my first Kundalini Rising. Euphoria, laughter, the feeling of being high off of your own body. I giggled and stretched my way off the table. I stumbled to my shoes. I hugged the kind woman who just opened up every broken channel inside me. I walked to work, eating an apple and tasting the delicious morning.

That’s when the bee came.

As I sat on a bench, a bee came along and chilled out on my shoelace. Then my hand. Then my shoulder. And I raised my arms to the sky to tell him to let go of me. No sting, no fear, no anger.

Dammit, I thought. If a bee is my spirit animal I must be some sort of corporate drone. Looking the same as everyone else, eating all the same things. Part of a bee dance I can’t get out of.

Then as I looked at spiritual animal references, the bee has been a pollinator of creativity. The bringer of change. The sexual and the fertile. The harbinger of community. The one who leaves the nest and goes forth to spread prosperity, and bring prosperity home. According to Zen Beekeeper Michael Thiele:

“I think bees can inform our practice and become an encouragement to leave home. That’s what swarming of the bees in the spring is about: leaving home, leaving their precisely-defined nest location and taking the risk to fly into the unknown. It is amazing to witness this event and to be exposed to this faith and trust of the process of moving through the unknown! And finally, a new home is found.”

Warning: Excessive Bee Puns coming up. If you find this BEEguiling, keep reading.

As the channels to yourself become open, as the fear mixes with excitement, as the real truth of your inner bounty BEEcomes clearer, may you find home wherever you are. May you BEE brave enough to change, kind enough to yourself to let go of what no longer serves you. May you BEE fat with all the prosperous nurturing that the honeybee gets, drinking all the love in with your gratitude. May you BEE like the bee, spreading fertile joy everywhere because you have a sweet structure and community that values your dance. May you experience bliss like you never thought you could, because you deserve every minute of it.

Sat Nam.

Read Michael Thiele’s Interview on Beekeeping and Zen Practice : http://blogs.sfzc.org/blog/2013/05/22/bee-well/ 

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