It’s eight days until my 50th birthday and I still haven’t given up, not completely. I mean, ultimately, if you were to give up you would stop yourself from living. That’s a different catagory of “giving up” and not what I’m talking about here, obviously, because these are my fingers typing. What I mean is that I still believe that I am bigger than the world. I’m bigger than the trouble and the injustice.
I’m still defining myself first, like a child, rather than settling into what the world wants me to be or says that I am. Don’t get me wrong, I have been a scoundrel and I can still behave like an enormous ass hole but, essentially, I do not believe the world and I think it’s important to not believe the world.
What do I believe in?
I believe in doing what’s right and I believe that unless you believe in doing what’s right, you will never do what’s right and never find out how wrong you were. That’s me. What I think is right, now, isn’t the same as what I thought 10 years ago, 20 years ago. It’s not completely different, the essence is still the same. The essence of Justice, the essence of being a sovereign human before being part of a community, the essence of knowing yourself before judging others, the essence that we are all connected, no matter what and like ocean tides, we move and are filtered together, whether we agree with each other or not. We all move together.
I have some decisions to make. They’re the hardest decisions of my life and the most important, they are not new, maybe repackaged, but not new and they have always been with me to make and I have, for the most part, turned my back on them in favor or what I thought was the easier path of least resistence. This is not easy to accept. I’ve created a structure of my life, dependant on my avoidance of these decisions but I’ve neglected my own structure, stunted it, held it from being strong, while building a house of cards.
Fortunately, in some ways, I haven’t completely ignored my own structure and strength. The world gives you opportunities for strength and I have taken some of those. I have also held values and supported them in the face of a world that is also a house of cards, thus building other strength. But overall – I have not been tested and overall I have failed other tests and overall my own, personal failure, has spread like a contagion and touched all who touch me and all who touch them and out from there.
That is how it works. Nothing is isolated, nothing is alone. If you build strength for yourself, you build it for the world. If you let go for weakness, you let go for the world and inspire weakness.
This is why the world is the way it is today.
I do not want to continue to fail to be who I believe I am and who I believe I can be. I do not like the way that sits with me anymore and my 50 years have given me the gift of hindsight to banish my delusions that there is any thing or person who is responsible for my life before I am.
I am responsible for my life. I am responsible for being exactly where I am this second. I am responsible, only me.
I hate you
so that I can love
So young when
And part of growing up
that the old tools
At least not in the way
I am not separate from you
you are me
I hate you
I hate me
But not all is lost
nothing is lost
which you are ready
to leave behind
to sink and dissolve
in the ocean of your
and swim on
in fresh, clear water
you are invigorated
and no longer struggle
I am unbound
and my burden…
I have laid it down
others have helped
me to unstrap it
I do not have to hate
I see the keyhole
there is bright light
I do not need to open
from the center
once tethered and reliable
available if needed
connected to the earth
The balloon is not longer tethered
and it will float
on the mercy of the wind
and eventually will crash down
for lack of maintenance
or because of the irresponsibility
The balloon cannot rethether itself
it must be caught
Humans are also becoming
freeing themselves from
in the disguise of freedom
How wonderful it is to fly
but ultimately, a lie
you cannot fly from death
you cannot fly from the ending
of your experience
So while in this vast sandbox
you may float as far as you can
you may dig a hole so deep
you may go to places where
no one is or has ever been
And are you free
You are only, alone.
There is a part of me
that only wants to hug
and be hugged
to be warmly and forever
There is a part of me
that basks in the emotional
glow of good feelings
of kind words
of percieved love.
I used to think there was soemthing wrong
with this part of me.
That this part of me
was weak or less or immature.
Now I see that this part of me
And the part of me that is weak,
is the part of me that
It’s the part of me that
pretends that wanting comfort
and acts like a petulant child
when faced with
the desire or fullfilment of comfort
and the strategies of comfort.
Of course we need strategies
if we’re not honest
or mature enough to
accept our normal, human desires.
We need strategies
so we can sneak around ourselves
pretending we don’t see
or don’t know
making up the biggest story
of them all,
That we are somehow compartmentalized
that the filing cabinets of our mind
don’t exist within a greater
context that knows everything
that anything could be separate.
We believe we can hide things from ourselves
we’re like the young child
covering little eyes,
“You can’t see me”.
I love my birthday but it hasn’t always been that way. Throwing a party for myself is something I’ve avoided. I don’t want it, don’t want the attention, it’s silly, useless and indulgent. I’m perfectly capable of planning a party to celebrate the birthday of my son, but when it comes to celebrating the birth of me…forget it!
I mean, imagine, throwing a birthday party for yourself and inviting all your friends and just celebrating YOU! You could have invitations, balloons, cake, dancing, singing and have everyone bring you presents. I’m going to take a guess that some people LOVE this thought, and not in a self-indulgent way, but in a healthy…“of course, why wouldn’t I celebrate myself”, kind of way. I’m not one of those people, or at least I haven’t been for most of my life.
And when I say “those people” I mean the ones that have a healthy connection to the logic of having a relationship with yourself the people who understand there actually is a “self” that is worthy of celebration, not just a “self” that is put aside to get shit done or that can be ignored and mistaken as a pillar of silent “strength”. No! A self that is the same self that existed when you were born, when you turned 3, 7, 10, 15, 21…the same self that you see in children, that’s the self worth celebrating. That’s the self that at some point in my life, I stopped celebrating. Thank god for women and children!
But I decided some years ago that I didn’t want that anymore. The birth of my son cut right through my hard, calculating, action driven shell and remembered to me the beauty and innocence of my own humanity, my own softness and at once it was crystal clear that not only did I want something different for my son, but I understood that that meant wanting something different for myself. What was it that I wanted? Simply put, a world of peace. I remembered it was more important than any work, any job, any fun, any friends any thing…I remembered from all the events of my life, that a world of peace was what I wanted for most for my new boy.
Well it means wishing and hoping and wanting isn’t enough, unfortunately. It means if I truly want a peaceful world for my son I must be willing to look at where peace comes from.
Where does peace come from?
If I know where it comes from then, like a seed or the potential of a seed, I can prepare the ground, perhaps nurture the seed, tend the seedling and do what is necessary to grow it. If I know where it comes from…If I don’t know where it comes from, it will be impossible for me to grow peace.
So back to my BIRTHDAY!
After all what really is a birthday celebration but a celebration of your unique, personal, precious self. And what does it mean if I don’t celebrate this precious self? What if I don’t even recognize I have a precious self? Ooooh, I don’t think that’s good. I don’t think that’s good for a peaceful world for my son. And so I’m learning to recognize this part of me. Not in an indulgent, me, me, me, type of way (although sometimes it may feel like that), but in the same way that I would recognize my son, or a child, as precious. Celebrating begins to become more natural once recognition starts to happen.
And every birthday since I began this journey almost 8 years ago, I get to see how much has changed from the previous year, I get to experience a part of me that has long been neglected and forgotten, I get to celebrate that part of me, nurture it and continue on until the next birthday marks another measuring point.
I’m starting to understand where peace comes from. Happy Birthday to me!
The Pretense of Righteousness or Our Un-Corruptible Spring or Corruption and Pollution Have No Chance
One doesn’t have to look far today for pictures of dying children. One doesn’t have to go far to actually see dying children. Dying children are all around us. And we are the “lucky” ones.
I believe the more pain you can feel emotionally the more access you have to your humanity, which is our singular gift of existence. I believe one of the cruelest myths ever perpetrated on humankind is that pain is bad. If pain is a part of our humanity and we are taught that pain is bad or something to be avoided, well that doesn’t bode well for our species. Some may say that the ideal is a world without pain, some transcendental space where humans have overcome pain and exist as some ethereal entity painless, ascended perhaps. In fact the more I think about this and write about it the less desirable a world without pain becomes. Perhaps that is just my cro-magnon coming out, my un-evolved human who can’t mentally or spiritually realize a world beyond his own body, his own mechanism. Be that as it may – I am here, now and I am wearing my body suit. I am wearing what I have been giving and I am processing the world through this suit of flesh and bone and with my squishy electric brain and I know that to be human, to be Damon, I must feel the pain of wearing the suit, I must feel the pain of the un-evolved brain as it stretches to reconcile itself in all its parts between what it sees and what it knows is possible. I have come hard wired with my suit of perception and my processor – these are my tools and I have also come hard wired with my beautiful and dreadful imagination, my ability to create in space and time. I have the ability, at the same time to perceive a hungry child, to perceive millions of hungry children and millions dying from hunger and at the same time imagine a world where they are fed, where there is no hunger. I can do this.
Well so what…
So what is that I think what the world needs (Yes, I agree with myself) to feel more pain. Not in a “Batman The Rise of The Dark Knight” type of way. No. We do not need to inflict more pain. There is plenty, an overwhelming amount of pain every moment of every day, some inflicted some as a process of life. What the world needs is to feel that pain, deeply, overwhelmingly. What the world needs is to be overcome by the pain of being human and by the pain in the dying of a child. If we felt the pain that is all around us, whether a result of injustice, malice or life we would not be so hungry for the destruction of our world. We would have access the softest most beautiful sense of being human. It is all there for us. Right now, sitting at desks, worrying about bills, wondering what to buy or who to vote for. It is all there for us, underneath our convictions and our righteousness. The pain, our emancipator.
I don’t know about you even though I like to think I do (and really – I do know about you and you know about me) but for me when I engage my creativity I am terrified by what I see and I wish to only remain in my head, safe from a world that today doesn’t seem to want to change. Safe from a world that is being fed pills to relieve the pain in order to inflict more. My creative space, the space, quiet, unspoiled from which the spring of whats best in me bubbles up and nourishes it’s surroundings feels threatened by the pollution and corruption of the world into which it bubbles. But, my friends, my brothers and sisters, I have been confused and deceived. The source of the spring is pure and un-polluteable, un-corruptable. It is the pollution and corruption of the world that should feel afraid, my spring cannot be touched and if I find the courage to release it to the world pollution and corruption will have no defense and through only a spring of one, will immediately become less potent. And that is just one spring. We are billions. We are billions and corruption and pollution have no defense for us. And that is why corruption and pollution have only once resource, only one solution, they must not allow the springs to flow. They must not allow the springs to flow and there is only one way to stop the creative expression of a person, their spring, and that is fear.
There are worlds beyond our worlds of countries and politics and news and entertainment. There is a bomb dropped on a village that burns a child to death. There is the intentful existence of death by hunger. We are not helpless humans. We can achieve what we choose to achieve and we do. When you sit quietly in your creative space, with the purity of your spring bubbling and nuturing, in that place very few see but that you know intimately, what does your world look like? Does it look like the world we live in today? Is it different? How is it different and what would happen if you shared your spring with the world?
It’s not that another journey begins…it’s that my own journey continues on a different course. There is plenty of back story and plenty of time for that and who knows if I’ll even get to it or if I’ll even continue to write going forward; ahh, but i am writing now and what I am writing now is a reflection of what I have learned about myself in the last few days (how gifted am I, how spectacular, that I get to keep learning about myself, that I am not static, that I am uncomfortable, that I don’t feel good, that I get to explore – if I want – how spectacular). I have two items in front of me that I am struggling with. The first is my weight, an effect of my choices in my life. The second is this business that I am growing, also an effect of my choices.
What I learned (again, in some ways) is that I am simply a young child who wants to feel comforted, good, loved and has always thought and expected that those feelings would come from outside of myself (understandably so because when I was young, in a sense, they did come from outside). I learned (again) that I am not my feelings. And I learned that the struggle I have created in myself is a story that I make up (well the struggle is real, kind of, I make it a struggle in my head, but in reality there is no struggle).
So what’s next? Well next is putting down the story and looking at my life and feeling my vulnerability and recognizing that if I want certain things in life that I don’t currently have it will take effort and it will take being uncomfortable and it will take persistence and then choosing whether the things I want are valuable enough to me to endure the pain of what it will take to achieve (or attempt to achieve) them.
My struggle has evolved.
Thank you Dani Padilla, Monica Duran, Kieth Raniere, Nancy Salzman, Sally Gindel-Brink, James Arthur Keith Brink, family, friends (old and new) and especially thank you to those who have challenged me with honesty.
My intent is to document this next direction in my life here…on these pages…will you come with me? I hope so…
It’s hard not to think about life these days. Everywhere I turn I meet animals, living things; the earth is waking up.
Today I’m not sure if it’s possible to verify anything unless you’re present to experience it yourself. I try to refrain from “knowing” unless I happen to be there and even then I sometimes wonder “if that really happened”. So when I say that Junior Seau killed himself I say it without any first-hand experience of his particular circumstance.
What would it be like, that single second before you pull the trigger; the moment which you actually begin to act on the decision you’ve been agonizing over.
If Seau was happy with his life isn’t it safe to assume he wouldn’t have ended it? Suicide by gun is not something that simply happens one day, it’s the result of much thought, much ebbing and flowing of emotions and experiences taking years, maybe decades. Junior Seau obviously didn’t show the world what was going on underneath, what we all saw and wanted to see was only a reflection of the real person, the person that put a gun to his chest and pulled the trigger. Who was that person, that’s what I want to know. Who was that Junior Seau.
What’s troubling for me and the reason I chose to write about the reaction to his death is the fact that people want to remember the reflection. No one wants to remember the boy who became the person who’s name was Junior Seau. This is an example of the tragedy of our human lives. We seldom look at what’s real, even when what’s fake destroys itself completely.
I am sorry for Junior’s pain and I am sorry for the pain and confusion of those that knew and loved him. But I won’t honor his life by remembering what a great guy or what a great athlete or what a great hero or what a great restauranteur or what a great dad or what a great son or what a great anything he was. Because, in a sense, he wasn’t. And by honoring those things in him, the things we all wanted him to be, needed him to be, we are honoring the reasons (or at least part of the reasons) he killed himself. We are upholding the lies we tell ourselves and our children, that happiness and joy can masquerade as something else.
Who is it that will be missed? It seems like it’s the same Junior Seau who couldn’t stand to be alive anymore. Are we wrong? Could we be wrong about a boy who only wants love and comfort (as we all do when we start out) and finds, instead, athletic achievement and worship? Are we wrong to think having it all, money, “love”, fame, personality, good-guy-ness is the key to being happy?
Obviously we are.
Junior Seau and others who choose the same path are nothing like who and what we think. The sooner we stop celebrating the reflections the sooner we will begin to recognize our own humanity and discover that our search to heal what hurts on the inside can never be won on the outside. And the sooner we destroy that myth the sooner our children will realize that it’s ok to fail, it’s ok to feel pain, it’s ok to be vulnerable which, as an effect, will produce adults that understand that this life, alone, is the most precious gift we could ever find.
Our children need us to celebrate truth in life, not achievment after death. Junior Seau was not a hero. He was not an inspiration, at least not in the way that everyone wishes and wants him to be. He was a deeply, deeply troubled person and human who never learned how precious he was and who never found anyone amidst his thousands, perhaps millions of fans and “friends” who could help him release what finally took a bullet hole to let out.
It’s ok to remember and it’s necessary to mourn but the real tragedy of Junior Seau is that we are not being honest with ourselves and each other about who he was and who we are.
I got up this morning to coach an Ethos class at 7am. It’s important to me and it’s becoming less of a fight with my laziness because I let it be important to me and I support that it’s important to me by showing up which helps make me stronger in the fight. I imagine if I keep it up the “fight” in this area of my life may just fade into the past…no more energy spent on the suffering. That’s a nice thought…
I had a chance to write some morning Poetry – morning I find is the best time, or one of the best times, I feel less polluted, more connected to what’s important to me. It struck me, as I put the headphones on, that maybe I was floating away, away to the surface, away from the deeper parts of me, the deeper parts that would provide the STUFF…where the conflict, terror and love live…I put on the headphones, it felt good, but my mind brought the question up and so I followed it…what I found was I choose to make music coming through the phones a restrictive thing (which is no different from making it an expansive thing – at least in the way I was doing it). The point is that there’s something underneath the hearing of the music and that’s where I want to go. I ended up putting the phones on and challenging myself to exist in that moment below the beats I was hearing and then I continued and played with wondering about living underneath sight and smell and sense…
I don’t spend a lot of time questioning my senses or ever wondering what life would be like without them. Is my life better because I see? Hear? And if so, why? I could keep going but instead I’m going to post the poem I wrote…I do hope you enjoy it, I hope in some way that you find it useful, that’s the greatest I could hope for…
What’s underneath the beautiful chaos
rhythmelodic staccato drop beats pound thump
and I feel like I want to exist on the same level
as the beats
coming up, staying up – for air
playing at this level, where most play
it’s easy easy to forget the day
and why not
with a bobbing head one conquers the world.
What’s underneath the beautiful chaos
the spread of buttered beats on my brain of bread
Can I have my bread buttered
and eat it too
and then lift my head, swallowing the beats
thumping down into the belly
ingesting the horns and bleating trumpets
But I’m up for it.
I think it’s going to take some time
and that’s only if I keep practicing.
Otherwise I’m going to be bobbing my head
all the way to the grave
snapping my fingers to a manufactured beat
like a drone
How different am I
from the drone.
What’s underneath the beautiful chaos
what’s inside the package
how important is it to vilify your senses
in order to put things in perspective
so that you can be friends again
I am like a soft and malleable sponge
who thinks he is a rock…
and as I sit, plugged in
I struggle struggle struggle
to get beneath the intent of the music
I struggle to hear only noise
and see only light and dark.
I have to do this because there is something
underneath the beautiful chaos.
This is my day.
I will not pay.
There is a space, long forgotten, a sacred center that burns with the ferocity of the sun and threatens to, at all times, singe and turn to ash all our contrivances and expectations. Perhaps, of course, that is why we have built such barriers, thick and virtually impenetrable around this ferocity. But even our barriers, built of years of misunderstanding our fears, cannot keep out the rumble, the vibration. Just as there is no possibility of the plates of the earth holding up against the bursting of the core, neither can we ever fully die. What one may think is death is only highly trained anger acting as the transferring mechanism for the energy of the soul.
-but wait, golf is on ESPN-
I will not fucking pay and I will not behave myself in the midst of the great energy of fear that is the final result and last gasp of those attempting to forget. And you? What about you? What about your rules and your civil society and your road signs and traffic lights; what about you? Are you proud of yourself and your humanity or are you just getting by, slowly, growing angrier and angrier, unsure of why and even less caring.
There are children who do not know our tricks and there is nothing more important in all of human existence, nothing more important in all the universe, nothing more important in god, than to protect these children from our disease. We must immunize them from the traits and familiar trappings and comfortable niche of fear, we must put them into the roaring river that drives itself along the rocky and uneven bed and allow them to stumble and climb and find their balance and secret caves and freeze in the water and warm them by our own skin and put them back in again. There is only one way.
I’ll be fucked if I’m going to pay! You?