Monthly Archives: February 2017

11

THE SHAMAN

I wrote an essay recently that some of you may have read. The reason I took it down was I didn’t like the tone and conviction of the essay. Yes, a lot of the things that I wrote in that essay may feel true but I did not truly express what I was getting at.

In the discarded essay I was talking about something I really have no business talking about anymore. It wasn’t anything scandalous it was just a road I have traveled on before that is no longer a dimension or perspective I want to give attention to, or at least for now.

Dimensions of existence is a term that may explain the subjective world we all live in to an extent. I am not speaking about quantum physics or the essential nature of this reality, whatever that is. I see these various dimensions like focal points in our attention, and I think we all have our own frequency even though these frequencies sometimes cross or commingle. It could also be said that these dimensions are just narratives that are constantly implying a subject that is mercurial and not necessarily available like an orange is at the grocery store.

I heard a shaman recently say that many human beings are living in a dimension of reality that is more like a raw nerve or an automaton constantly responding to stimulus. He believed that these automatons do not have the ability to self reflect. 20 years ago I might have fallen into that category. He also said that some human beings are finally starting to become human which he believed was the ultimate evolutionary state. He mentioned the importance of our emotions and them being a path to something sacred that this world does not encourage.

The young shaman also mentioned that in the western world people that hear voices or visions are unemployed, homeless and locked up in looney bins. He said that in his culture those people are considered to be called upon to become shamans. It was a nice positive spin on something that western culture demonizes and is quite cynical of.

I had an experience yesterday that made me realize that these “dimensions” are constantly shifting for me, sometimes quite drastically. You will probably agree that they do for you as well. We do not really have much dialogue about these constantly shifting dimensions. It seems that the world we are told to believe in is very stable and operates in just few dimensions like right or wrong, true or false, this or that. This is not anything new but it relates to what I wrote yesterday.

As I worked on this essay yesterday all of a sudden I heard an unrecognizable voice fill the space I was in. The voice was mumbling but it was not coming from the computer or my tv it was very intense. The voice got louder and louder. It was a woman’s voice. My first instinct was to stop typing and just try to locate myself and the voice. I found my body after a few seconds. I established quickly that this body is me and then my mind I guess suddenly tried to locate the foreign voice and its origin. At first I thought maybe it was coming from my neighbor downstairs but the voice was too loud and kept getting louder, then I thought oh shit this voice is in me.

A second later I was like OH here it is, finally the last part of my complete collapse. I really felt that this voice was in me. I was welcoming my own insanity with a surprising calm. I wasn’t upset or scared it was just like —ah, yes here is the voice that I feared my whole life. It is now actually really here and it is not that bad.

I thought this is just a voice, it is not telling me to kill or do crazy shit, yet. Maybe it will get clearer? My next thought was now I can officially tell people that I am really crazy. My wife is in for a surprise tonight!

The voice got louder and finally I could understand one of her words — “ball.” She said something about ball. OK, I need to stay focused, pay attention Luis. The message is clearer now! I know the word “ball”and that is good right? Go on, I’m listening I told the voice. I listened carefully for the next clue in complete attentiveness as the mumbling persisted. I was excited but confused. All of a sudden I heard what sounded like an audience cheering.

I got up and looked out my window and forgot that there is a stadium near the building I live in. Eventually I heard some feedback and was brought back to this regular dimension of reality. Something was wrong with their PA system and they were playing with the audio levels. The acoustics and the thin walls of my apartment with their single pane glass windows created a strange ventriloquism making my living room a receptor of dislocated sound.

I laughed and could not believe that my first instinct was not to assume that it was coming from outside of me but that it was coming from inside of me. This is not the first time that this has happened it actually happens to me more than I care to admit. It is a silly quirk I know, but the shaman was right about different dimensions.

What fascinated me as typed this out for you to read is if we say that it took a year or a day for me to figure where the noise was coming from your perspective on my sanity would change I imagine, if not you’re nuts, right? But if I tell you that it took a few seconds there maybe some of you that feel that is well within the boundaries of sanity. We all have our measures of acceptable sanity and at times I feel completely insane. It is something we don’t care to admit at work or even tell some of our friends for the reprisal of shame that only serves a useless social hierarchy. But I am not saying let us do away with shame I do think it has its place, especially when it comes to useless violence.  I wonder if we had more dialogue about all of our insanities instead of the character we try to paint ourselves as for ourselves and an audience would that make things feel less divisive and threatening?

I went to the grocery store that afternoon after my dislocated voice episode and looked all around me as people mindlessly pushed their carts, others were reading those gossip magazines about actors getting divorced. As I waited in line I could see the grocery clerk in my lane looking so tired and disappointed as she shuffled the endless cascade of wrapped foods. The lady in front of me holding one of those magazines pointed to a celebrity and said to her partner, “It is good she is finally leaving him!” She had a kitten tattoo above her ankle living in a bouquet of faded flowers. A weak red heart hung over the kitten’s head like a thought bubble with nothing in it. I smiled and thought some people were almost custom made for this world.

I saw her groceries traveling on the conveyor belt in front of me and it reminded me of those charts that you see in schools or museums where there is a monkey evolving in stages into a modern man. Her food selections were an evolutionary chart of my old food choices evolving from Cheetos to a banana. There was something tender in that dimension as I clutched my organic kale like a purse and I said goodbye to her Cheetos.

My recent health issues and my desire to heal myself “naturally” (I see nothing resembling natural but you catch my drift) has been a strange gift of fear. Several days ago I started to detox from all the sugar, caffeine and processed foods I had been addicted to. I felt that I was dying as this stuff started to leave my system and then today for the first time in years my body felt what I would call normal. It felt like what I imagined my little kid body felt like when I was happy and not sick.

Even in the paragraph above I notice something about my narrative that I am winning at something. I feel to some degree no matter what we say when we tell a story to an audience we are the hero. I think it is Bukowski that said– ‘no matter how bad it gets in the things I write I always win even when I lose.’

One thing that I realized right now that bugged me about that essay I wrote yesterday that you wont ever get to read was that I was subtly trying to be the hero with a way things are, or the truth about something I know is not truly constant or certain. I have struggled with that role long enough knowing the costume doesn’t really fit. I keep stepping on the cape and have grown tired of it.

I am enjoying more and more the discovery of what I am not than what I am.

As the Buddha once said, “I don’t need Cheetos, coffee or donuts and it feels good.”

Thank you for reading this,

Luis

 

podcast header

Episode 10 “The Heart Knows”

Description: Martin Luther King, Internet trolls, silence of the lambs, the tattoo box, the hugging saint, end of life questions.

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4

Why Go Back?

“Why go back?”

This a question I ask myself quite a bit, especially in the last 24 hours.

I had to go back to the periodontist today for possibly more gum surgery. He’s one of those doctors that does not have a great bedside-manor but supposedly he is the best. From all the complications I have had I would say he is far from it. The list is long and I will not bore you with the details. But I am looking for a new doctor.

Most of his patients wait about 30 minutes or more in the modern art waiting room. Which is not a long time according to “Miami doctor time”. I don’t have a lot of patience for most of the theatrics that go on in traditional “modern” medicine. Most people do not see the ridiculous socially acceptable things we allow medical professionals to do to us. If you live in Miami, Florida it is not uncommon to wait between 30 minutes to 1 hour to see a doctor and  sometimes more. What doctor would see us an hour past our appointment time without rescheduling? Today something in me said, “I am not playing this game anymore.”

Today was just a consultation for more work and when I walked in at 10:58 a.m. for my 11 o’clock the receptionist said, “Let me text him.” I knew immediately he was not in the building and he has done this before. I started to get angry. I asked the nurse walking behind the receptionist — is he in the building and she said yes. The quiver in her voice and the half hour later proved to me that that was untrue.

He has this trick that I figured out this time around. They send you back and put a bib around your neck and ask you the same questions while the receptionist calls him and tells him the coast is clear because the building does not have a back entrance. I waited a few more minutes and something in me just said— get up and don’t look back. I was done.

As I walked out the receptionist’s eyes were as big as saucers. She could feel the vibe I was putting off. She squeamishly asked, “Are you leaving?” I said, “Yeah I am done with all this. I told you I had to be somewhere at 12.”

Minutes later my phone lit up with him calling me through his personal cellphone. I did not answer because I do not have the self control to keep my mouth shut and play nice. So I didn’t take it. Also with all the other medical stuff that is going on with me I am trying to keep my stress levels low. But still I was fuming and my heart felt crazy.

At 12 I had a lunch date with my wife, my mom, my youngest sister and her husband. My sister and her husband are really cool people and even though we are nothing alike they love me and I absolutely adore them. I told them the story and my mom in usual fashion sided with anyone but me. She has done it since I could remember. My mom could find fault in me becoming a saint. It is just her way.

After our lunch we said our goodbyes while my mom continued to criticize all the things I had done wrong with the periodontist. On and on it went. I hugged my mom and told her -” I still love you Mom, goodbye.” My wife and I got in the car and left.

Eventually a sick feeling came over me. I felt awful. This feeling was so familiar it happens almost every time I see my mother.

I have talked to my mom a lot about her way and nothing ever changes. My sisters, and most people that know her have all run up against the same thing that I am describing. Her reputation is notorious. She is not all bad. She occasionally can have a very sweet way about her but you have to be completely alone with her, otherwise her walls go up and there is no climbing them or taking them down.

I was sad as I drove back home through the Everglades. This drive back home for me always makes me feel better. The further I get away from the city I become lighter, my muscles start to relax. My vision becomes sharp and focused. I become excited to see the many birds and gators that line the edges of the Tamiami trail through the river of grass, but today was different. There was a heaviness and exhaustion to me.

My wife and I spoke about it on the drive back. I wasn’t mad. I was just disappointed and hurt that it is always like this. I know it is not personal because she does it to the waiter, to my sisters and the list goes on. She will do it to you if you meet her. Where does all that come from?

I have tried everything from letting it go to having a family meeting about it. I have even stopped communicating with her for a while. Eventually she is back in my life. She apologizes and recognizes her wrong but after a while she gets comfortable again and the pain games begin.

I have thought about never speaking to her again but in latin culture that is a mortal sin. It is something that I know I have learned culturally but after a while I feel sorry for this little old lady that is controlling, angry and probably scared.

Why does it hurt me? Why do I go back? I keep expecting that one day she will change and she never does. Many of us feel the same way about her. Have I not done enough psychotherapy to know better?

Psychotherapy did give me the ability to recognize that it is not me that she is upset with. It took me decades to allow a woman to love me. It took me decades to learn to trust a woman. It was so hard. I can’t believe how hard I worked at it.

But she can still rattle my cage. It still hurts. The child inside feels all of it without understanding the reality of what is hurting or truly happening.

Why do I go back? Why do we go back to things like this and when do we never go back again?

I would love for her to change, and be the way she is when she is one on one with me. When she feels safe which is rare she is my mom. The rest of the time she is this little girl that is scared just like my little boy that is here now. I imagine him holding her hand and saying I am scared too, this world is too much.

Why do we go back?

I don’t really know, but maybe one day I wont go back anymore. I don’t know how to make it better but it feels nice to imagine us both as children sharing our confusion and fear. It is easier that way — to know that we are both lost feeling all this that seems to be too much.

2

Scared & Willing

I just had a short email exchange with Joey about content for our next episode.

I want to change things up all the time. I want to try and not repeat myself.

I become very suspicious when ever I hear myself or anyone else saying the same thing again and again. For me that incessant repetition is a safety net. When I keep repeating myself I know I want to convince myself of something uncertain.

I want to try different messages. I want to play with different words, thoughts, actions, and feelings.

I have asked myself and Joey — what if we did a show that doesn’t let us fall back on our go- to responses? What if we had a show that we said nothing familiar? I don’t know if one could do that consciously.

Life is so wild and comes in with something new, amazing and horrible when we least expect it. I guess I want to be more open, more surprised, and maybe more horrified.

I still see parts of me that I repeat on the show and in my own life and I cringe. It feels like it is not alive, it is a safe recipe for living.

The great surprises come when I least expect them and I have my eye off the ball. It is not focus but openness that lets things in.

Intention may play a part and lately I feel something is trying to say something but it is a whisper. I may never get to hear its words, but I am open.

I see that even getting bad news about my health is exciting not because I am fearless but maybe I get to let something  go that I do not need to hold on to anymore.

I wonder if I can express something new. I want the opportunity to say something other than what I have said before. And if it doesn’t happen what is it like to fail openly?

18

BAD NEWS

I got some bad news about my health yesterday. No need to check in on me or wish me well, unless you are the best damn cardiologist in the biz and want to treat me for free.

My wife was very upset about it today. I do NOT have a death sentence but the future looks like it may have some challenges up ahead. We are both scared. I can’t imagine my life without her and I imagine she feels the same. It is scary to really want someone around. I understand why people put their walls up because it hurts and it’s terrifying to get things that feel to be a part of you taken away. She is my missing piece and my best friend.

I had this feeling for a long time that something was wrong but people kept saying that I was fine because I look fine and act fine, but like my father I have a good intuition about things. Maybe for me like him it may be too late but I hope not.

I am really afraid of all the pain that I will experience and of course what my family will go through if they lose me but I suspect that death is not the scary part — it is the aliveness of it all. To be alive is so terrifying! To risk so much that can be hurt or taken away is so intense. Losing any of the people I love so very, very much seems too intense for me. I am selfish and in a way I’d rather go first than last.

I am not sure what all the stuff they are going to do with my heart will entail but all I know is that I have this moment right now to be here writing this to you and there is joy. I am scared but there is joy. I don’t want to leave but there is joy. I love so much and there is joy. I am sad and there is joy. I miss my dad but there is joy. I miss my childhood and there is joy.

I wish I could hold the little boy I was long ago and tell him that there’s nothing wrong with him and to trust his heart all the way to the very end.

A few months ago before all this I made a decision to just do what brings me joy and now I understand why. I also thought that I should do the show again and that it could be more vulnerable, more human and a lot funnier. The last 3 months of my life have been the happiest I have ever been. And I am not sure what will happen but I want to thank Joey and all the people that encouraged me to do this show — this life. I will keep at it as long as I can. And maybe the doctors will get it right and fix this broken heart.

Thank you for reading this and being a part of something that means a lot to me,

Luis

1

Fake New and No News

Yesterday Luis sent me a link to a “news story” reported by the Huffington Post.

Now I know that the Huffington Post is not “real” news. It’s a glorified blog.

But I assume (and this may be assuming too much) that there is some editorial oversight taking place there. Meaning, I assume that at the very least some editor reads stories before approving them for publication.

The story Luis sent me a link to was a story about how Moby (DJ, electronic music artist, and vegan/animal rights advocate) published a post on his Facebook page stating that he met with some friends who work in Washington (DC) and now has “evidence” that Donald Trump is being blackmailed by Russia.

Here’s the crazy thing. I’ve been so desensitized by the entertainment and distraction masquerading as being worthy of attention (i.e. the news) that I almost missed just how ridiculous this is.

It’s not that Moby isn’t entitled to his opinions. He is. And he gets to post them on his Facebook page. That’s fine.

But that’s not news. And it’s not worthy of my attention.

Also – and this just now occurs to me – I recently heard on the radio that Moby has a new autobiography. The fact that he was interviewed for an hour on a nationwide, syndicated NPR program that normally deals with slightly more “serious” topics, suggests to me that he has some major PR dollars behind him right now.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the HuffPo “news” was paid for by his PR agency.

But that’s also fine. HuffPo gets to take money and publish whatever it wants. And PR agencies get to buy media spots.

The thing that baffles me is that we give it our attention.

Any of it.

Not just HuffPo and Moby and Russian prostitutes allegedly urinating on the now-President of the United States for money.

But any of it that isn’t something real to us. Real as in this right here and now. This presently. These feelings, sensations, sounds, and people. And our sense of connection with what is real.

Because Moby and PR agencies and HuffPo and Donald Trump only get to have as much power and sway as we give them.

It’s our power. And we’re the one’s being swayed.

We get to choose to be mesmerized or not.

Think about this for a second. If we as individuals were true to our hearts, who would build the bombs? Who would wage the wars? Who would cut down forests? Who would build and run factory farms? Who would mine and enrich nuclear fuel?

Not me.

Would you?

Donald Trump can’t do anything you and I can’t do as individuals.

Moby can’t either.

Nor can Ariana Huffington.

We give our power away to a sociopathic energy.

Why do we do it?

I can tell you why I do it.

Because I’m afraid of fear.

Fear isn’t the problem.

Fear is fine. It’s right to be afraid when there are scary and dangerous things.

But I’m afraid to be afraid. So I’ve listened to the news, voted for leaders, had gurus, and prayed to Jesus.

Please save me from myself, has been my prayer. Save me from feeling anything I don’t want to feel. Keep me in my safe cocoon.

But I’ve been praying to a sociopathic energy.

The prayer itself feeds the sociopathic energy.

I no longer believe that what I need is prayer. What I need is connection.

And I get to choose that. Here and now. Always.

A Special Broadcast Tonight!

Joey and I are releasing a two part special on conspiracies that will be available tonight at midnight EST on youtube and itunes. Follow us down the strange path and let us know what you believe! Thank you!

 

Here are the links: https://youtu.be/QFmlsKu2hno & https://youtu.be/crckYG2Kbz0

2

Authenticity?

Do we want authenticity?

I recently heard an artist talk about his work and he said, “No one wants authenticity. We all think we want that but the reality of it is always duller.”

I don’t think he meant that we want to be lied to, but that we want a manipulation of the actual experience we are trying to express, understand or have. We are story tellers in a sense.

I understood his message as someone that makes images as part of his livelihood. A tattoo or a painting is just an idealized version of the subject matter or emotions that are trying to be portrayed as objects in an abstract visual language. And in fact abstraction is an immensely powerful thing that I think we take for granted in the way we think and feel.

Even an autobiography is an abstraction of someone’s life. We don’t want to hear endlessly page after page of their actual life we want the best and worst moments. Yes?

Even our own feelings are just idealized abstractions to get to some resolution about the messy unclear messages we are actually receiving.

So the “best” versions of something are ones that in my opinion can be idealized and abstracted clearly. Strange huh?

Language and thoughts are abstractions and in a sense we are not in reality we are abstracting reality or better said we are imagining reality.

Not that cool when you are ABSOLUTELY convinced that you are right about something that seems so real and important?

Our imagined world of choices, problems, and pleasures are all idealized abstractions.

So where do we go from here?

By now you may be wanting a paragraph that leaves you feeling good or at least leaves you feeling all warm, fuzzy, and complete but those are manipulations and tricks I see myself and most writers use to manipulate the actual experience.

So beware because authenticity can be boring.

I am not saying that something is wrong or that something has to be corrected but next time you get fooled or duped just realize it is our nature to idealize and abstract the way things actually are and we love that.

Next time you read something just look and see that there is a hero hiding in there wanting to be agreed with in the most subtle way and the good news is that when something seems impossible just know it may be an idealized abstracted version of reality and in that there is freedom.

See what I just did there?

Sincerely,

Luis