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Week of May 25th, 2023

Fantasize that your so-called "dark side" is sweet and creamy

My book Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia is available at Amazon and Powells and

Below are excerpts.


vorfreude: (n.) the joyful, intense anticipation that comes from imagining future pleasures

numinous: (adj.) describing an experience that makes you overwhelmed yet fascinated, awed yet attracted -- the powerful, personal feeling of being viscerally inspired

ostranenie: (n.) encouraging people to see common things as strange, wild, or unfamiliar; defamiliarizing what is known in order to know it differently or more deeply

smultronställe: (n.) lit. "place of wild strawberries"; a special place discovered, treasured, returned to for solace and relaxation; a personal idyll free from stress or sadness

rasasvada: (n.) the taste of bliss in the absence of all thoughts

firgun: (n.) the act of sharing in or even contributing to someone else's pleasure or fortune, with a purely generous heart and without jealousy

namascray: (n.) The crazy in me recognizes and honors the crazy in you.

"Vorfreude" is a German word. "Numinous" is English. "Ostranenie" is Russian. "Smultronställe" is Swedish. "Rasasvada" is Sanskrit. "Namascray" is a made-up English-Sanskrit hybrid. "Firgun" is English.

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1. Say these words into a mirror: "It’s bad luck to be superstitious."

2. Fantasize that your so-called "dark side" is sweet and creamy.

3. Watch TV with your third eye.

4. Put on inflatable sumo wrestler costumes and play bagpipes as badly as possible.

5. Imagine you have guardian angels who look like Malcolm X and Eugene Debs.

6. Plant orchids on a strip-mined hill.

7. Dream you're a red-tailed hawk soaring over a shopping mall.

8. Forgive yourself for the blindness that put you in the path of those who betrayed you.

9. Put bumper stickers on your car that says, "My goddess can kick your god's ass!"

10. Hire a puppet troupe to reenact your life story using marionettes in Renaissance costumes.

11. Buy seven used gowns worn to the Academy Awards show by famous actresses, and send them gratis to seven Guatemalan teenagers.

12. Meditate on how one of the symbols of plenitude in Nepal is a mongoose vomiting jewels.

13. Thank your mother for the pain she endured while birthing us.

14. Review in painstaking detail the history of your life, honoring every moment as if you were conducting a benevolent Judgment Day.

15. Create a royal crown for yourself out of shower cap, rubber bands, and light bulbs.

16. Test to see if people are really listening to you by asserting that Karl Marx was one of the Marx Brothers and that Joan of Arc was married to the Biblical Noah.

17. Teach an animal to dance.

18. Make believe you are the ocean king or the thunder queen.

19. Actually kiss the earth now and then.

20. Find many good excuses to say, as physicist Niels Bohr once did, “Your theory is crazy, but it’s not crazy enough to be true.”

21. Ask butterflies if they will hang out on our faces for a while.

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I'm not a major fan of occultist Aleister Crowley, but I appreciate some of his ideas. His definition of magic is pure and true: the Science and Art of causing change to occur in conformity with will.

He wasn't simply referring to the esoteric transformations attempted by wizards and witches wielding spells and conjurations. He meant anyone who seeks to make practical shifts in his or her life.

Let's say you grew up conditioned to feel shame about behavior there's no good reason to feel shame about, and you resolve to do whatever it takes to dissolve that shame, and you succeed in doing it. That's magic.

Or maybe you no longer want to attract bad listeners and flaky collaborators into your sphere, and you promise yourself you will alter that pattern, and you ultimately achieve your goal. That's magic, too.

One other example: You decide you want to be a skilled songwriter, and spend years learning to play an instrument, analyzing the songs you love in order to understand how they're constructed, and cultivating your creativity. That's magic at work.

I invite you to identify an example of one or two of your own magic skills.

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