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Week of May 10th, 2018

Love Rules

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"I tell you the more I think, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people."
- Vincent van Gogh

"Everything I understand, I understand only because I love. Everything exists, only because I love."
- Leo Tolstoy

"Until you have loved, you cannot become yourself."
- Emily Dickinson

"Love imperfectly. Be a love idiot. Let yourself forget any love ideal."
- Sark

"For one human being to love another is the most difficult task. It is the work for which all other work is mere preparation."
- Rainer Maria Rilke, Translated by Stephen Mitchell

"If you do not love too much, you do not love enough."
- Blaise Pascal

"Love is everything it's cracked up to be. It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don't risk everything, you risk even more."
- Erica Jong

"Fall in love over and over again every day. Love your family, your neighbors, your enemies, and yourself. And don't stop with humans. Love animals, plants, stones, even galaxies."
- Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

"To love is to tilt with the lightning, two bodies routed by a single honey's sweet."
- Pablo Neruda

"The most vital right is the right to love and be loved."
- Emma Goldman

"Believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it."
- Rainer Maria Rilke, from "Letters to a Young Poet," translated by Stephen Mitchell

"There are two ways to reach me: by way of kisses or by way of the imagination. But there is a hierarchy: the kisses alone don?t work."
- Ana?s Nin

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Here's a spell to commit pronoia, authored by psychotherapist Jennifer Welwood. I invite you to say it.

Willing to experience aloneness,
I discover connection everywhere;

Turning to face my fear,
I meet the warrior who lives within me;

Opening to my loss and pain and ignorance,
I remember who I am and what I'm here for.

Surrendering into emptiness,
I find fullness without end.

Each condition I flee from pursues me,
Each condition I welcome transforms me

and becomes itself transformed
into the blessing it always was.

Listen to this piece as a spoken-word piece

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"Meditation may require a lifetime to master, but it will have been a lifetime well spent.

?If you want to judge your progress, ask yourself these questions: Am I more loving? Is my judgment sounder? Do I have more energy? Can my mind remain calm under provocation? Am I free from the conditioning of anger, fear, and greed?

?Spiritual awareness reveals itself as eloquently in character development and selfless action as in mystical states."

~ Eknath Easwaran

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The people I trust the most are those who are always tenderly wrestling and negotiating with their own shadows, making preemptive strikes on their personal share of the world's evil, fighting the good fight to keep from spewing their darkness on those around them. I aspire to be like that, which is why I regularly kick my own ass.

How-to-kick-your-own-ass lessons are available at 2:20 of this video

How-to-kick-your-own-ass lessons are also available at 7:30 of this video

Here's the "Kick Your Own Ass" anthem

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The Tragic Magic Triad: taking things too personally, taking things too literally, and taking things too seriously.

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"I do want to create art beyond rage. Rage is a place to begin, but not end.

"I do want to devour my demons?despair, grief, shame, fear?and use them to nourish my art. Otherwise they?ll devour me."

- Sandra Cisneros, from "I Can Live Sola and I Love to Work," in her book A House of My Own: Stories From My Life

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Homework: Write essays on one or more of these topics:

1. ?How I Used My Nightmares to Become Smart and Strong?

2. ?How I Exploited My Problems to Become a Spiritual Freedom Fighter?

3. ?How I Fed and Fed and Fed My Monsters Until They Ate Themselves to Death?

4. ?How I Turned Envy, Frustration, and Smoldering Anger into Generosity, Compassion, and Fiery Success?

5. ?Why Perfection Sux?

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Visualize your greatest fear. How much of it is based on a possibility that the dreaded experience could actually happen? What part of your foreboding, on the other hand, is fueled by your active imagination, your habitual propensity to worry, and the pervasive angst the media and entertainment industry have infected you with?

Once you've meditated on those questions, try this one: What would it be like to live utterly without fear for 24 hours? No fear about what people think of you, no fear that you're not good enough, no fear of losing what you treasure, no fear of your hair looking bad, no fear at all.

Surprise! You can! Pick a day sometime soon when you will celebrate Freedom from Fear Day.

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If you would like to support my ongoing work, please visit my Virtual Tip Jar at Paypal.

You can also contribute to my well-being by buying the Expanded Audio Horoscopes I create every week. These forecasts are different in tone and content from the written horoscopes I provide here. They're my four- to five-minute-long ruminations about the current chapter of your life story. They're available here.

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I love your pilgrim soul and I love your ever-deepening eyes.

I love how unflinchingly you peer into the heart of your own darkness.

I love how you're making yourself more and more receptive to truths in their wild states.

I love how you can dive into your in passion but never shirk your commitment to the good and the true.

I admire the way you never bear a grudge against the mountains that are in your way, but rather just set to work getting around them.

I love your commitment to deciphering the code you left for yourself before you came into this life.

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Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.

? Mary Oliver, from "Sometimes"

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"When one has not had a good father, one must create one," said Friedrich Nietzsche. What does that mean? How might you "create" a good father?

You could develop a relationship with an admirable older man who is an inspiring role model.

You could read books by men whose work stirs you to actualize your own potentials.

If you have a vigorous inner life, you could build a fantasy dad in your imagination.

Here's another possibility: Cultivate in yourself the qualities you think a good father should have.

Your ideas?

Even if you actually had a pretty decent father, I'm sure he wasn't perfect. So it still might be interesting to try out some of these ideas.

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I invite you to write down descriptions of the five most pleasurable moments you've ever experienced in your life. Let your imagination dwell lovingly on these memories for, say, 20 minutes. And keep them close to the surface of your awareness in the next three days.

If you ever catch yourself slipping into a negative train of thought, interrupt it immediately and compel yourself to fantasize about those Big Five Ecstatic Moments.

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So it turns out that the "blemish" is actually essential to the beauty. The "deviation" is at the core of the strength. The "wrong turn" was crucial to you getting you back on the path with heart.

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"In a world where people all around us are lying and confusing us, to be honest is a great kindness."

- David Edwards, *Burning All Illusions*

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Anything about me that seems to be generous can also be understood as my natural longing to give back to the world in return for all the world has given me.

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"Modern post-industrial societies tend to produce un-sane populations -- multitudes of people who are unbalanced in their adaptation to the destructive stress of daily existence. One of the symptoms of this un-sanity is the loss of contact between the waking ego and the depths of the self, a contact that requires involvement in dream experiences and information.

"Cultures generally resist change, and modern materialist societies are no different in this respect. Devaluation of dreaming and other spiritually efficacious experiences is part of the foundation of 'false consciousness' required by capitalist/materialist political economies.

"Materialist cultures require that the focus of awareness be upon the material conditions of life and away from involvement with the inner being which is the only road to spiritual maturation."

- Charles D. Laughlin, Communing with the Gods: Consciousness, Culture and the Dreaming Brain

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Red K Elders says: "People sometimes don?t believe that it is possible to commune with anything other than human. ?I sat for an hour talking to a tree, and it didn?t say anything to me?, they tell me.

"I ask them what did they give to the tree? Did they make offerings of food or drink or bodily emanations? Did they play it music or sing it a song? Did they dance for it so beautifully or gently ask if they may lovingly touch or hold it? Did they even introduce themselves properly and share a delicate secret from their innermost being?

"Other-than-human relationships are like any other in this respect. We have to show our caring, dare to reveal ourselves and continually build trust with each other over time.

"And let go of expecting anything from the other. Go with the attitude of ?what I can do for this tree today that will honour it, express my gratitude for all its whole beingness and support its growth?? Go continually, answering that question for yourself, before you even start expecting any interaction or answers from the tree.

"Then one day, the tree may speak to you, but it may not be with words, and it may happen so quickly you?ll miss it the first few times. Slow your whole body and elongate it into tree-time. Go again like a child, playful and with reverence. Pay exquisite attention to every nuance of the entire scene with all your senses wide open."

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My dream: I dream I am a baobab tree on a giant floating island. My life is long -- more than eleven hundred years so far. The name I go by is Rumble Balm.

I have a thick, bulbous trunk. Centuries ago, it got partially hollowed out by a stroke of lightning. Didn't kill me! Made me more useful! The spaciousness inside me is so welcoming that people and baboons and monkeys find shelter here. Sometimes they spend the night.

I love it when you come. You sing to me. Your fragrances remind me of how much I love everything: amber and cinnamon and pearly pomegranate and honeycomb of bees that specialize in the nectar of ylang-ylang flowers.

I have a large capacity for storing water. This enables me to survive during draughts. People carve and paint my fruits, fashioning them into ornaments, or they use the fruit's pulp to make porridge and a delicious sour drink. If they steep my seeds in water and drink the potion, crocodiles will not attack them. It's one of my magic properties.

Fibers from my inner bark are good for weaving baskets and ropes and fishing nets. If I don't get too many fibers stripped away, I can regrow myself.

People who have malaria can drink my pulverized roots and feel better, and they like to bathe their babies in the water where my roots have soaked. My leaves are like a tasty vegetable, and can also be brewed into soup and sauce. They are good medicine, too. People use them to stop sneezing, cough up excessive phlegm, cure asthma, soothe insect bites.

My large white flowers open only at night, and are pollinated by fruit bats.

Tonight the waning gibbous moon is high overhead. You come to see me with your eyes like jasmine flames. You circle my entire body, patting and caressing, then curl up inside me and sing me a song, a lullaby: "I Want Everybody":

I want to be free
in the mystery of love
I want to be wild
when the world begins again
I want to wake up and listen
Be in love with my life and death
and I want you to be there with me

I want all the children
to have enough to eat
I want all the angry men
to destroy their own pain
I want us all to be happy
and crazy and safe and real
I want everybody to be loved

P.S.: Hear the song here.

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Here's the oracle I'd like to be able to write for you a year from today:

"You escaped the chains that kept you enslaved to your primary source of suffering. You broke the trance it kept you in, and you freed yourself from its demoralizing curse.

'Now you have forged a resilient new relationship with your primary source of suffering -- a relationship that allows you to deal with it only when it's healthy for you to do so and only when you feel strong enough to do it.

"Very nicely done! Congratulations! Excellent work!'

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I INVITE YOU to say these things:

"I love everything about me"

"I love my uncanny beauty and my bewildering pain"

"I love my hungry soul and my wounded longing"

"I love my flaws, my fears, and my scary frontiers"

"I love my surprising power, my sweet mysteries, and my unknown freedom"

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If I ever produce a self-help manual called "The Reverse Psychology of Getting Everything You Want," it will discuss the following paradoxes:

a. People are more willing to accommodate your longings if you're not greedy or grasping.

b. A good way to achieve your desires is to cultivate the feeling that you have already achieved them.

c. Whatever you're longing for has been changed by your pursuit of it. It's different from what it was when you felt the first pangs of desire. To make it yours, then, you'll have to modify your ideas about it.

d. Be careful what you wish for because if your wish does materialize it will require you to change in ways you didn't foresee.

Any others you can think of?

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If I could have but one wish granted it would be
to live in a universe like this one
at a time like the present
with friends like the ones I have now
and be myself.

- by Rand Howells

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"Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way."

- Alan Watts

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Once a month, we celebrate the holy principle of STOP MAKING SENSE. It helps keep us immune from the pandemic of sober sincerity and funereal earnestness that's infecting the collective imagination.

Go to my Facebook page to participate in this month's celebration.

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Lama Palden Drolma says: "There is such power in sharing the good results in our lives -- whether in meditation or in anything else we do. The practice of 'dedicating the merit' in Tibetan Buddhism is an act of radical imagination that has a real impact.

?In dedicating our meditation to ease the suffering of all beings, we engage in an act of radical imagination. Our radical imagining is that all beings are free, at peace, and awakened. Imagining this stretches our minds and creates the possibility for it to actually happen, because if we cannot imagine something, it?s nearly impossible to actualize it.

?In this radical imagining, our vision includes everyone equally in our love. This develops our generosity, loving-kindness, and commitment to the equality of beings. This kind of beneficence does not condone anyone?s destructive actions. Rather it looks toward the possibility of liberating and transforming the ignorance that drives people?s destructive actions.?

More . . .

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Exclusive! The Beauty and Truth Lab reports the news before it happens! In this special report, our psychic journalists bring you the stories that haven't happened yet -- but will:

A new breed of well?read, charismatic homeless people will arise. They'll spread understanding and laughter through their communities, and will be routinely feasted in the homes of grateful citizens.


A Constitutional Convention will produce a New Bill of Rights. Among its new amendments: All Americans must be rewarded financially in direct proportion to how much beauty they create.


One of the bestselling self-help books of the decade will be The Zen of Juicy Sacred Radical Temper Tantrums.


Biologists in Sweden will furnish conclusive evidence that men have "periods" analogous to a woman's menstrual cycle. They seem to correspond to changes in the relationship between Earth and the planet Mars, the biologists will claim.

At the peak of the male "marstral cycle," which can last up to 10 days a month, the adrenal glands release a hormone that makes men more likely to be irritable, more skilled at disguising their irrational impulses with logical explanations, out of touch with their feelings, and prone to violence and poor judgment.

There's also a vulnerable phase preceding the period, which the biologists will dub PMS, or Pathological Macho Stress.


Having one billion dollars solely for your own personal use will become a crime.


There'll be gay trees, holistic crack, a new class of aphrodisiacs that stimulate compassion even more than sexual desire, and computers that can talk to the Goddess.


There'll be new interactive video games with socially redeeming value. In one of the best models, kids must negotiate all seven levels of Buddhist enlightenment with a Smurf-like character who resembles the Dalai-Lama.


The average length of an act of heterosexual intercourse in America --which is currently only four minutes -- will jump to 22 minutes.


The national murder rate will plummet when "The Hedonistic Midwife Channel," a new cable TV network, begins to broadcast live childbirths 24 hours a day.


Researchers will uncover stunning evidence that vegetables have an intensity of consciousness and feeling much closer to that of animals than has previously been suspected. Many vegetarians will renounce their previous diets and swear to eat only milk and honey.


Surgeons will begin to perform foreskin reimplantations. After a major study of the psychology of rapists suggests that many men confuse sex with violence because of the post-natal trauma of circumcision, thousands of males will attempt to heal their psyches by having pseudo-foreskins grafted on, using patches of skin from elsewhere on their bodies.


The government will pay subsidies to some lawyers so they won't practice law?much as it now pays supermarket chains to keep cheese off the market when there is too much and the excess would bring prices down.


True "personality" as we know it will begin to die out as more and more people perform imitations of composite characters they've assembled in their mind's eye by watching celebrities they admire.


Dolphins will cease to be smarmy symbols of nature at its cutest when the public becomes aware that they're among the horniest creatures extant. An expos? will reveal that dolphins are sexually active from birth, females are wildly promiscuous, and adolescent males are usually bisexual.


A rowdy new class of genetic engineers will have little interest in creating oil spill-eating bacteria, frost-resistant strawberries, or other useful hybrids. Considering themselves to be a cross between computer hackers and performance artists, they will create fun monstrosities that appeal to their sense of play and perversity, like winged horses and trees that grow leaves resembling one-hundred-dollar bills.


A new grassroots political movement, Tax Patriots, will assert that paying taxes is the greatest patriotic duty one can exercise, even more than serving in the military.


The US government will give back the Black Hills to the Lakota Indians, Maine to the Passamaquody Penebscot, New Mexico to the Acoma Pueblo, and the Saint Lawrence to the Mohawks.


Pizza Hut will be bought by Oprah Winfrey, who will convert all the existing restaurants into a world-wide chain of well-stocked vision-quest sanctuaries known as "Menstrual Huts."


A Sufi real estate magnate will build a chain of sacred shopping centers in the American heartland.

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The preceding blips are excerpts from my book
Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia. It's available at Amazon and Powells.

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"I call the high and light aspects of my being spirit," says the Dalai Lama, "and the dark and heavy aspects soul.?

"Soul is at home in the deep, shaded valleys. Heavy torpid flowers saturated with black grow there. The rivers flow like warm syrup.

"Spirit is a land of high, white peaks and glittering jewel -- like lakes and flowers. Life is sparse and sounds travel great distances."


In his book Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships, psychotherapist John Welwood writes, "Psychological work focuses more on what has gone wrong: how we have been wounded in our relations with others and how to go about addressing that.

"Spiritual work focuses more on what is intrinsically right: how we have infinite resources at the core of our nature that we can cultivate in order to live more expansively. If psychological work thins the clouds, spiritual work invokes the sun."


To these formulas I would add that the spirit is about rising above and seeking what's most noble, while the soul is about diving in and wrestling with exactly what is.

Both tasks are valuable. Neither realm is inherently better or more important. If you have a bias one way or the other, it's usually best to be conscientious about maintaining a balance.

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While you commune with us here at the Conspiracy to Commit Insurrectionary Beauty and Smart Love:

Your favorite phrase might be "flux gusto"

The colors of your soul might be sable, vermilion, ivory, and jade

Your special emotion might be skeptical faith

Your magic talisman might be a thousand-year-old Joshua tree whose flowers blossom just one night each year and can only be pollinated by the yucca moth

The garage sale item you most resemble might be an old but beautiful and sonorous accordion with a broken key

Your sweet spot might be in between the true believers and the scoffing skeptics

Your sacred fungus might be yeast and your soil of destiny might be peat moss

The shape of your life might be oval with soft dark sparks

Your lucky number might be 3.14159265

Your lucky phobia might be arachibutyrophobia, or the fear of peanut butter adhering to the roof of your mouth

Your holiest pain might come from your yearning to change yourself in the exact way you'd like the world around you to change

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The preceding blips are excerpts from my book
Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia. It's available at Amazon and Powells.

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