Wednesday, April 09, 2014


The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see. GKC

 Sometimes the anonymity of being a tourist lends a temporary comfort; a comfort that eventually leads you back home to where you're left with a feeling that you haven't gone anywhere. 

Monday, April 07, 2014

There be chickens!!

Chickens are becoming as commonplace as back yard gardens these days. I've come to think of them as extended family. My relationship with each is different from the other. Katie is my temporary substitute for a dog. Big Fattie McChicken is a great conversationalist albeit very opinionated. Cassie is sweet and beautiful while a few are just plain douches. On the whole they are fun to watch and the eggs are a bonus. They capture the wisdom of early to bed, early to rise. Something that I've envied yet never mastered. Being well fed, well cared for, they enjoy roaming the yard. And the neighbor's yard. And the neighbor's neighbor's yard. They don't stray too far but their world is big enough to keep them content.
With the house up for sale I'm concerned for their future. Will I be able to take them with me? Finding homes for them is simple. Parting with them is the difficult part. I enjoy my slice of an urban homestead yet I am all too aware that with life comes change. I am content in knowing that life is fleeting. Everyone will die. Good health comes and goes. Yet, I feel that I've dealt with many years of self sacrificing bullshit earning me rest and peace for the remainder of my days. But don't we all? 

Silly little human beings.... 

Sunday, April 06, 2014

A poser I may be

Society is not changed by example. Society may reform itself, it may bring about certain changes through political or economic revolution, but only the religious man can create a fundamental transformation in society; and the religious man is not he who practices starvation as an example to impress society. The religious man is not concerned with society at all, because society is based on acquisitiveness, envy, greed, ambition, fear. That is, mere reformation of the pattern of society only alters the surface, it brings about a more respectable form of ambition. Whereas, the truly religious man is totally outside of society, because he is not ambitious, he has no envy, he is not following any ritual, dogma or belief; and it is only such a man who can fundamentally transform society, not the reformer. The man who sets out to be an example merely breeds conflict, strengthens fear, and brings about various forms of tyranny. It is very strange how we worship examples, idols. We don't want that which is pure, true in itself; we want interpreters, examples, masters, gurus, as a medium through which to attain something - which is all sheer nonsense, and is used to exploit people. If each one of us could think clearly from the very beginning, or reeducate ourselves to think clearly, then all these examples, masters, gurus, systems, would be absolutely unnecessary, which they are anyhow...

My introduction to the East began as part of my recovery and physical therapy for a severe back injury. My therapist, an Australian gal with hair like Amy Winehouse was teaching me Feldenkrais.  She also gave me two cassette tapes produced by her husband. The tapes gently walked me through several levels of Taoist Neigong. This began my long slow crawl back to health while it also opened the doors to TCMQigong, and forays into both Taoism and Buddhism. 

Like many children of the 60's and 70's perhaps due to the influence of the Beatles and shows like Kung Fu, I have been captivated for many years by the phrase "Meditation." My quest for better health was nourished by many teachers and mindfulness meditation soon became my anchor. Yet slowly meditation became more of a coping mechanism attempting to deal with a very troubled marriage and other mounting tensions. Beginners Mind became Ku. What has been spoiled has replaced mindfulness practice and I've reached a stalemate. 

"When I get to the bottom, I go back to the top of the slide, 
where I stop and I turn and I go for a ride, 
till I get to the bottom and I see you again....... 
Yeah, Yeah Yeah

It's been suggested that perhaps my path lay elsewhere as my grasping for what used to be is clearly stalled on the tracks. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Peace at the Pagoda, peace at TaoSpring

A moment not measured in time. The kind of warm day when you forget about the weather. A breeze only noticed by the caress of her hand. The prayer flags mimic her movement. Slow, without purpose; but purpose abounds.

Climbing the hill for the first time, slightly out of breath, anticipation and a call to exercise find the lungs in labor as the trail slowly clears.
 The temple not yet complete, the Buddhist monks found one more lesson in impermanence. A large portion of the temple had burned. And judging by the date of the fire and that of today, progress was slow. While on the ascent down the trail, we noticed the rocks for the first time. Laughingly we joked that our eyes were, "opened."

Some years later I explored the hill with my love Gaia Girl while on the road with my other love, the Ghia.

As I was saying, the weather was as perfect as the Tao. One rode the day as a baby in a stroller. I remember the sync and the laughter. She is earth. I am sun. Tea leaves in a cup cannot reveal enough about this combination. A wood horse. A water rat. A Buddha adorning each point of the compass.

A jet chem-trailed moving from west to east marking a hemisphere that by it's very height made it unclear if you were seated in the northern or the southern half. We closed in on each other. She leaning back onto me. Our faces forward, our bodies forming a comfortable chair. We talked as if we knew each other. As if we had been separated through time. Familiar. Easy.

Our days at TaoSpring are herb filled as Gaia Girl broadens her healing skills. We like to spend time on our New England byways discovering medicinal plants hidden in plain view. Many of them brought over from the old world, some of them native. Our chickens entertain while laying eggs that most often are given away.
We planted a small garden this year. Cucumbers abound, beans and cherry tomatoes. The later being plucked by the ever illustrious Katie Chicken. The healing hand of Gaia Girl present is in all things.  Loving, wise, wicked smaaaart, healing. A unicorn in a field of horses.

Wherever have you been Gaia Girl? No matter. You're here now.                  


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Having children, having angst

Fill your bowl to the brim
and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife
and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security
and your heart will never unclench.
Care about people's approval
and you will be their prisoner.
Tao Te Ching

We see him sitting on the back stairs or hanging over the railing with either a cigarette or a "forty" in his hand. His body emancipated, eyes protruding and his sockets are sunken into his skull like craters on the moon. The large house in which he now resides hosts twenty single rooms, a shared kitchen and a few shared privies. It lies at the edge of a small shopping center looming large as a Steamboat lodged on a sandbar just twenty paces from the alcohol store operated by a jovial man from India. It all seems surreal. This house was the place that I warned him about when he was a boy. Jokingly I would tell him and his younger brother that we should go uptown and trace out a spot so that they would know where to stand when they behaved errant. I would point to the wretched refuse as a deterrent. This is not, I told them, where you want to be.

He lives there now. 

Heroin was the train, pleasure the conductor. I never believed that he would have his ticket punched. There was enough evidence that the train was one way and that the road back was longer than most could endure. I believed that if the time ever arose he would up and walk away.

He did not.

His mother was recently hospitalized for the umpteenth time for cutting herself, carving deep wounds under each breast. And now his brother, younger by two years lost his job after a depressive breakdown. He spent time in the same hospital where his mother was two weeks earlier and spoke with many of the same people that she did during her stay.


Like most fathers I want my children to do better than I did. More happiness, security. Asking myself, "but what does that mean?" I arrive at no conclusion. I've heard it said that chemical imbalances are fictional. But family trees are not. This family tree, my family tree, has produced the fruits of depression and all the associated tag lines. Alcoholism, hospitalization, addiction, in all it's myriad forms.

It creates in me an itch of angst that is hard to locate and tough to scratch. I seek ways to escape it and I seek ways to let it be. The feelings that this produces weighs down the smile, the bounce in the step and it drags me away from the now;

Past/future - future/past. It offers nothing, it takes everything. I look about for easy sailing. Respite. A blessing. Instead I hear the hermit calling.  And retreat is at times the proper course. It is not to be confused with flight. Know when to hold, know when to fold them. Press forward, pull back, Wu Wei.

A friend with her two small children came by today. While I played with the little girls she said, "You want them?" I told her, "No way! Have you seen my brood." With a laugh she said, "Hey. They're all alive and kicking. Like mine. If they're breathing then I've done alright."


Tuesday, June 11, 2013


The Tao would teach that our responsibility is not to mother or father people, or to supervise their behavior or learning process, but simply follow what is high and good in one self.

The pathway became more and more difficult to follow and he stumbled several times over tree roots left exposed by the erosion of travelers who passed through here before. Walking deliberately, studying where each foot set down, he noted the subtle zig-zag of the journey.  He learned over time to never question the sudden veer in direction and sought to studiously follow where direction appeared to lay.

On a most peculiar day he lost sight of the trail. He ignored what he knew to be true. The wisdom of stillness became replaced by a quickened pace. The terrain grew steep and the fast pace was soon replaced by a full out run. The ascent felt good. Lungs filled and the heart beat loudly. Speed was replaced by imbalance. As he ran and tumbled he felt the thud of his heels beating his backside with an increasing involuntary self flagellation.

Knowing that balance was no longer his he waited for the inevitable tumble. His decent ended with a disorienting roll and ended with cuts and bruises. The forced stillness was painful. The sun was creeping over the horizon and the cool of the evening was upon him. He looked about for a place to reside for the night and tend to his wounds.

Left without comfort, his solitude reminded him of travelers past. He felt the call, the need, his very nature to part ways and travel on alone. He must follow the way and let others go where their hearts and nature directs them.. It was necessary if he was to ever walk freely. It was lonely yet filled with many teachers along the way. Some were heard. Some were seen. Some not recognized.

Emotions are like little children wanting to be heard. But children do need guidance and should never be left to run unsupervised.

Sleep brought unexpected guests that would tend to his wounds; wounds that ran deeper than mere cuts and bruises. He nestled deeper into his burrow and waited for the sun to rise.

He knew what he had to do.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Pet sounds...

Chickens choose the morning entertain and in turn appear entertained by two male
robins fighting in the bright green grass over a potential mate.
The cats vying for a morning, "treat."
Crows in commute from north to south.
Cats crisscross their marked territory.
We've been visited by deer, partridge, opossum
and raccoon and a dog who stopped by to steal any
shoes absentmindly left out on the porch.
Chipmunks and squirrel play by day,
the bats aerobatic overhead at night;
all equally welcomed.
Skunks numbers at night equal the
number of cats seen by day.

There is a porch that has given me countless hours of enjoyment but it has become loud and busy.  It is the most traveled road through town. Transportation variants rule over the sounds of nature.

It is life. It's the form that distracts. It creates a discord in energy, subtle in it's deception. Like loud children in the classroom it disrupting those who are there to learn. A person can push through and hear and learn.

 But how superior is a disruption's absence?

The house is for sale. A new TaoSpring will arise more grand than before.


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