The First Step of The Unbroken Path

The performance is much less blurry in person.

The performance is much less blurry in person.

Last night, I enacted my first performance of “The Unbroken Path” as an actual show. It’s a challenging thing for me because as an artist, I’ve always longed for my performances to be more than just a musician up on stage playing songs. After all, I consider myself to be more of a writer than a musician and feel that I have more to share than simply background music as people share beverages and conversation, so for me, having The Flow Factory as a venue to really connect with an audience is an incredible gift.

For my first foray into this particular show, the turnout wasn’t spectacular as far as numbers go, however, I was really glad that those who did show up were people that I love, and that were willing to give me some really helpful feedback. But I still have to wonder if they get what I’m really all about.

As a life artist, especially over the last year as I have attempted to guide The Flow Factory into becoming something that will serve my community, I have dabbled in a myriad of activities that offer service to the world I inhabit, but aren’t necessarily my greatest gifts. Perhaps the downside to that is that I am often regarded merely as the guy who does those menial tasks that no one else wants, instead of being recognized as the artist I feel that I truly am. It’s very similar to the feeling I had when I was working “real jobs” like waiting tables or working as a psychiatric technician while simultaneously writing a book, screenplay, or song. Although I get the most joy out of my creative outlets and feel as though they are the greatest offerings that I have, the majority of the people that share my journey with me culminate their appreciation of me around the modest tasks of taking orders, delivering food, or wiping asses.

Many of my tasks at The Flow Factory are much more substantial than these things, yet I still feel overlooked and often unappreciated for what I really want to offer. Yet in the world we live in, at least in the society of consumerism, it is a buyers market, and the services that are most appreciated are often those that people want based upon the patterns they have set up for themselves, and not so much on the services we most greatly want to offer. Perhaps if we were able to open ourselves up to a greater recognition of the true nature of abundance, we would afford people the opportunity to rise above the necessity of being known and appreciated for merely the meager tasks of servitude that afford them the luxury of being able to simply survive, and follow their hearts into the true service they feel called to.

It is my hope that the acknowledgment of The Unbroken Path may help us to get to that point, but I feel that before that progress can be made in the society around me, I still have some steps to take myself.

Baring It All On The Unbroken Path

It is a rather daunting thing to prepare for the show I am to perform this Saturday night. Not only do I need to be able to deliver a 1700 word poem, and sing 7 of my original songs, I will also be largely improvising as I attempt to express the world from my persepective. On top of all that, I’ll also be doing part of the show in the nude.

halloween-davidI’m not quite sure whether the nudity will attract more people to come or if it will deter them from coming at all. I think that the people the show will appeal to are evolved enough to move beyond the giggles and see the message behind the performance. Nevertheless, when I first arrived at The Flow Factory, I had a vision of my performing The Unbroken Path, and the nudity became integral. I just hope that its not too cold because that could be embarassing.

The Unbroken Path is about the journey that we are all on. Each of us has some sort of paradigm that we follow, whether it be a religious thing like the Romans Road or the Four Noble Truths, a self improvement guide like the Twelve Steps or the Eight Habits of Highly Effective People, a scientific understanding like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs or Hawkins’ Stages of Consciousness, or just a basic understanding of mythology like Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey. Beyond all of the language used to describe our vantage points, we are all on an unbroken path of realizing who we really are.

To develop the script for The Unbroken Path, I weaved together a myriad of these paradigms, connecting the common themes and finding the flow through all of them. Then I interpreted that outline into a poem. Since it turned out to be longer than the time usually alloted at an open mike night, I weaved in the songs I’ve written to describe the various stages of the human journey, and it became a show.

I am also hoping that the performance will lend some credence to The Flow Factory as a legitimate venue and inspire other area musicians and performing artists to utilize the space for their own shows. I believe that art is playing a key role in the shift our society is experiencing, and we hope to use that creative energy to develop channels for the cultivation of business, citizenry, and charity as well. So the financial revenue generated from The Unbroken Path through the recommended $10 flownation will be distributed to support me as an Artist, The Flow Factory as a Business, the Common Wealth Time Bank as the Citizenry, and the Sanctuary of Sarasota as a Charity.

I have written much about this whole ABC (squared) Economics concept, and I have experimented with its application. I feel that with the right amount of energy, it has the potential to be highly successful. I’m not sure if the show will reap the profits necessary to produce a tangible outcome, but if nothing else, I hope that it produces enough to help me continue on down this unbroken path.

The premiere of The Unbroken Path will be at 8pm on Saturday, December 21 at The Flow Factory, 2035 Cornell Street. For more information, send an email to inkensoul@gmail.com.

 

 

Hey! I’m Not Disordered After All!

I recently read that the creator of ADD revealed it to be a fictitious disease on his deathbed, and like many things on the Internet, it didn’t completely surprise me and I can’t really tell if it’s true or not. In America, we have a penchant to find a classification for everything. Because we live such busy and stressful lives, we have little time to invest in truly seeking to understand life’s little idiosyncrasies, opting instead to merely simplify something as a diagnosis, category, or stereotype so that we may get back to work and try to squeak in some time for pleasure.

The unfortunate side effect of our mad dashes for understanding are the limitations our so-called understanding puts on us. When people exhibit certain behaviors, it is seemingly much more efficient to give them a diagnosis based upon their similarities to others who have exhibited said behavior, and utilize conditioning, pharmaceuticals, psychotherapy, or other behavioral modification techniques to make those people act the way we think people should act in order to be productive members of industrial society. The problem is that much of the behavior is in response to the unhealthy and unnatural lifestyles that “normal” people have adopted in order to enable industrial society.

LADP_Small-CoverWhen I first came across the ADD explanation for why I acted the way that I acted, there was a part of me that felt somewhat damaged for having this neurological disorder, yet part of me that felt somewhat vindicated. Although my culture deemed me to be disordered, it was a condition that affected a growing percentage of the population, and for me, there was comfort knowing that I wasn’t all alone in my struggle against my mind. That there were so many people who operated like me, and that so many people who were studying “my kind” in order to help us gain a greater understanding of the anomaly was very empowering.

I read a great deal about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (although I was labeled as without the hyperactivity component), and soon found a writer who saw strength in the disorder instead of merely disease. Thom Hartmann had come up with this “Hunter in a Farmer’s World” theory, built upon the premise that humanity began as a hunting society, and though we evolved into a farming society (which has morphed into an industrial civilization) those afflicted with ADD are genetic remnants of that hunting society. Hunters have largely different skills than farmers and have a hard time adjusting to agricultural activity, therefore, when school desks are lined up like rows of corn and we are forced to remain in one place doing one thing for 40 hours a week, we tend to either get frustrated or withered.

At the time, somewhat miserable over having to chase my tail in order to carve out a career for myself so that I could continue to provide myself with food, water, and shelter in a world that seemed largely uncaring, unfeeling, and unconscious as to how their activities and attitudes affect the world around them, I reasoned that although I may be some sort of anomaly, it was a preferred state than having to endure the same, miserable reality as everybody else. Sure, I was still a bit miserable over having to do so much arbitrary activity just to survive in this supposed land of plenty, but I was thankful that my neurological mutation had kept me from being as submerged into and dependent upon the prevailing system as so many others in my generation. My disorder, with its inherent strengths, offered me a road to freedom from the greater plague of misunderstanding that afflicted so much of the world I saw.

It occurred to me that perhaps my disorder wasn’t such a thing at all. Perhaps all of these people started thinking differently because humanity, caught up in the throes of a maladjusted “civilization,” needed us to. Perhaps the disorder, through which the doctors were creating yet another industry from by way of pharmaceutically enhanced adolescents and children, was actually the rise of indigo, crystal, and rainbow children, heralding a new way of thinking so that we may establish a new way of living.

As “ADD” became a catchphrase and I had learned all that I wanted to learn about what others thought of my supposed disorder, I just sort of dismissed it and moved on with trying to find my own way by catering to the strengths of my neurological pattern more than tending to the weaknesses. As a pragmatist, I must confess that I’ve had mixed results from my own experiments, but overall, my personal prognosis has given me a generally more consistent state of peace and happiness than I was when I started my regimen of insanity control all those years ago so I must be doing something right. I continue to notice more and more people exhibiting the traits of ADD, often triggered by trying to multitask and being overstimulated. Entrenched in a civilization of increasing complexity, I think that we will continue to see more anomalies rise out of this developing culture, and though many will be inclined to try to medicate our problems away, eventually the mutation will become mainstream and what we now classify as disorderly will bring us a new world order.

In the meantime, if the American medical complex has given you a diagnosis and classified your way of being as one of the thousands of “disorders” in their Bible of psychiatry, take heart. Their limited research, devoid of the spiritual components of complete human beingness, may help you to recognize behaviors that you can change and triggers that you can avoid in order to relate to life better, and it may even help you find some unrecognized strengths. However, realize that you are much more complex than the religion of pharmacology can account for, and what they consider a disorder may just be your saving grace.

Sorry, but this film is no longer available on DVD at http://www.lifeatadifferentpace.com.

Happy Thanksgivukkah!

thanksgivukkah_largelogo2_icontextToday marks the second convergence of Thanksgiving and the first day of Hannukah in quite awhile. The last time Hannukah fell on the last Thursday of the month, the day that Abraham Lincoln proclaimed to be celebrated as Thanksgiving in 1861, was 1888, and the next time won’t be for another 70,000 years, give or take a few centuries. Due to the rarity of the moment, I was intrigued by the alignment.

Because Jews follow their own calendar and Americans follow the Gregorian calendar (or Christian calendar), established by Pope Gregory to keep Easter aligned with the anniversary of the Council of Nicea, there is a bit of a discrepancy as to what day is what. For both of the systems, as with any system man designed to categorize and control the infinite, there are a number of exceptions built into the program to make up for their inability to perfectly align with nature. Amidst their disparate leap years and relatively fixed holidays, every now and then, just as with their belief systems, something overlaps.

For me, although I realize that both of the systems, as with all of the man-made systems we cling to, were designed to achieve some semblance of understanding about the world we inhabit, I appreciate that there are built in moments which allow us to celebrate life. I only wish that we could one day transcend our calendars and other manufactured systems of folklorish understanding in order to live in that state of celebration of community when the sun shines on every day, regardless of how we name it. Nevertheless, I am still extremely appreciative of these holy days and seek to celebrate them for all that they are worth.

This Thanksgivukkah, I am thankful for the land of milk and honey. I am thankful that life reveals herself to me every day through events which sharpen my skills as an effective and efficient human and relationships that help to define who I really am. I am thankful that, despite my fallibilities as a man-made man, designed through a convergence of culture, clay, and creativity, life continues to give me ample opportunity to learn, grow, serve, and receive through a spiraling kaleidoscope of frustration, elucidation, redemption, and grace

To list everything that I am thankful for would take more time than I have words for so I think I’ll get to just being in a state of thanks and open myself to giving as I appreciate the festival of lights that guide my way..

Will Sarasota Take the Doctor’s Advice or Embrace the Epidemic?

Over the past decade, as with the rest of America, Sarasota has seen a steady rise in the growing epidemic of homelessness. Due to a myriad of reasons including the blowback from mortgage frauds, growing unemployment, and untreated addiction and mental health issues, this social disease has affected a number of Sarasota residents, a number that has grown by 40 percent since 2011. Although the most devastating consequences of this plague are the families, as over 900 school-aged children have been displaced, for the residents of Sarasota, the most disparaging blight is the over 1400 adults, many of whom reside in the downtown area as a constant reminder of a system that is no longer working.

In the midst of this epidemic, Sarasota has sought the expert advice of Dr. Robert Marbut, a homelessness consultant who has been working on the issue for over three decades. After investing over $30,000 for Marbut to research the area, explore the organizations that address the problem, and ferret out flaws in the treatment of Sarasota’s homeless population, now that Marbut’s report has come out, complete with steps toward addressing both the chronic homeless and the families it affects, many are reluctant to follow the expert advice. One of the key steps that must be taken, according to Dr. Marbut’s diagnosis, is the development of a “come as you are” shelter, which would provide beds, social services, and treatment programs for anyone who needs it, regardless of their level of sobriety, a step that many of the more puritanical residents find too big to take.

Historically, where alcoholism and drug addiction are intertwined with homelessness, Sarasota has been quick to criminalize those who have been seized by the epidemic, and many continue to judge their condition as a moral failing. Regardless of what any experts may have to say, there are those who feel that people that sleep fitfully on the ground, are constantly hounded by police and arrested, have little hope of finding employment, and have succumbed to the addictions which feed the American economy need to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and change their lifestyles before they are entitled to any help from the community. Although alcoholism and drug addiction are dragons which even the most wealthy often find to be impossible to slay, somehow, when the poorest among us are seized by these enemies of the human spirit, after their esteem is stripped from them, when they are made to feel like garbage, when they struggle daily for their basic human needs of food, water, and shelter, they are expected to find the strength to believe in themselves and overcome the only substances that give them any relief from the pain they endure every day.

There is merit to the concept of tough love, but this “holier-than-thou” attitude of rationalizing the dispensation of compassion only to those who achieve some nebulous state of moral purity seems more like an insidious game of carrot and stick. Although there may be some semblance of good intention behind calling people to a life of sobriety, in a culture where alcohol is praised during most every commercial break and drugs are prescribed just to allow people to cope with living in “normal” society, asking people to rise above the fray of addiction as they are being trampled by it is nothing short of sadistic. If we take an honest look at our society and the unhealthy way we treat ourselves and others, it is apparent that we haven’t gotten it all figured out, and should we have the sort of moral compass we expect from those that have fallen through the cracks of our imperfect system, we will compensate for our failings by ensuring that at least the basic needs of shelter, food, and water are met for all of our citizens.

Once we get in touch with our humanity and decide that it is not morally acceptable to allow people to suffer unduly without trying to help, then perhaps the “least of these” will have some desire to engage with society again and find their way out of the cloud of apathy which enshrouds them. However, should we look at the doctor’s advice and decide not to take it in lieu of this sense of moral superiority we have enshrined for ourselves, then the true sickness that has caused this epidemic will continue to grow. For homelessness is truly not the disease which plagues us, but merely a symptom of our separation from one another.

The Game of Money

tmg_imagepluslogoAlthough humanity has come to embrace it as a necessity, the monetary system is a game. It is not a bad game or a good game, but does have further reaching consequences than most games because the majority of players don’t realize it’s a game. The origins of the game have been woven throughout various cultures and generations as the game has been upgraded with complexities and higher stakes since it began, each generation finding more ways to incorporate the game into more and more facets of their lives.

Like chess, football, freeze tag, or tiddlywinks, the game is filled with highs and lows, moments of glory and moments of defeat. There are particular rules of play in order to establish boundaries within which the game makes sense, and there are those who will sometimes stretch those boundaries to their own advantage, thereby making the game much less conducive toward happiness for the other players.

While success in this game can often facilitate happiness, the game itself is not mandatory for establishing happiness. Because the monetary game is based upon a competitive model with a loser for every winner, unfortunately, the game can also do as much to deter happiness as it can to facilitate it. Due to the extreme competitiveness and severity of some of the players, sometimes, even for the grandest winners, the game is just no fun at all.

500x_money-game-pashAs with the more recent development of virtual computer games, the monetary game can be quite addictive, and players often get so consumed with the playing of the game that they neglect other areas of their lives that are far more important and far more conducive of happiness. The game is so insidiously enticing that many players will only participate in the other areas of their lives if they can play the game there as well. Like children playing hand-held video games at the dinner table or using yo-yos in the classroom, many people work the game into very inappropriate places, such as interpersonal relationships, spiritual practices, and community participation. Often denigrating the quality of these facets of life by limiting their inherent capacity for happiness to the confines of the game, the game is the least fun when people are forced to play due to the compulsive tendencies of the game’s greatest fanatics.

Nevertheless, as has been done throughout its evolution, the rules of the game are always subject to change. Thanks to certain shifts in consciousness throughout the populace, and due to the glaring fallibilities in the most recent incarnations of the game, many are realizing the game’s limitations and downright inconsequential nature when seen in the light of the more valuable and eternal facets of life. Because of the game-changing nature of an awakening populace, many are seeking to not only change the rules of the game to reflect the greater qualities of collaboration over the limiting antagonism of competition, but are also seeking to transcend the game altogether and return the course of civilization toward a more harmonious path with nature instead of continuing on with the artificial constraints imposed by this fabricated contest of commodity.

For those who wish to continue playing the game, yet wish to do so in a way that will cultivate a greater economics of happiness for all involved, the greatest challenge will come in overcoming those that have mastered the current incarnation of the game by writing the rules for it. Should this game be played in a manner whereby its results no longer detract from the well-being of those who do not wish to detract attention from the more important facets of life in order to play, the game may very well continue to serve a purpose in facilitating happiness for those who find joy in it. Yet if the game continues to create more losers than winners, unjustly subjecting moderate and amateur players to undue suffering and torment, there is the high probability that the game will reach its conclusion in deference to the more equanimous game of life.

Ultimately, the future of this game will rest upon the desired outcome of those who are most greatly involved in its play. Should the recognition of abundance beyond the limitations manufactured by the game prevail, those who are most adept at playing the game can steer its course to more greatly manufacture a tournament of winners and utilize the game to establish an often disregarded sense of fun in meeting the needs of the world. This monetary game, which has usurped our understanding of economics, does have the capacity for collaborative contentment, yet just as with the equanimity which comes with success in the game of life, the outcome will largely depend on how we want to play the game.

The Challenge of Renaissance

Renaissance-manIn carving out this niche as a Renaissance man, there are a certain number of challenges, not the least of which is that there are few paying jobs for a man with world change on his mind. The stability offered with normal jobs is not something regularly attained by those who give less emphasis to the way things are and more to the way things could be. And because much of the Renaissance I would like to help usher in involves breaking up the old paradigm, the role I have chosen to fill involves creating new opportunities not only for myself, but for those who also see the light at the end of the tunnel yet haven’t quite figured out how to traverse the expanse from here to there.

Fortunately, this role comes equipped with opportunity. For although the old paradigm of utilizing agriculture, industrialism, and information dissemination to serve the commodity world view is crumbling as life reveals itself to be more than a commodity, chiseling away at the unnecessary excess of this antiquated way of viewing the world reveals more possibilities for crafting the remnants of the way things have been into new configurations to support the way things can be. However, the precipice from past to future still looms large ahead of me as the questions of what can stay and what should go echo from the cavern of possibilities.

As Laurence Brandt says in Zen and the Art of Making a Living, “Those who take up their work as a creative pursuit, those who are really working from “the inside out” in a spirit of service, need a wider range of alternatives than the conventional nine-to-five job format alone.”

In the old paradigm, which guided the American experiment through its apex in the fifties, the nine-to-five job was something to be desired, offering status, stability, and security. However, as the dream of industrialism has begun to fade, and the populous has opened up to greater possibilities in the realm of entrepreneurism, that status, stability, and security are no longer offered from the dying breeds of nine-to-five jobs, but seem to be floating in the ether somewhere between the past and future. If we are to guide this transformation toward a Renaissance rather than a Dark Age, it is up to the Renaissance man to fashion these sensibilities into tangible ways of interacting with the world that can help the populace transcend the limitations created through the faltering Age of Separation and open up channels for them to embrace the coming Age of Reunion.

The Age of Reunion,” as Charles Eisenstein calls it in The Ascent of Humanity, “is rather a new human estate, a return to the harmony and wholeness of the hunter-gatherer but at a higher level of organization and a higher level of consciousness. It does not reverse but rather integrates the entire course of separation, which we may begin to see as an adventure of self-discovery instead of a terrible blunder.”

As the old paradigm of separation continues to reveals its fallibilities, and wisdom allows us to see how much damage it has caused, we are given the auspicious occasion to offer forgiveness to the entirety of humanity for clamoring its way through our societal development, and realize new inroads for attaining the quality of life we are actually longing for. However, to seize this potential, we must recognize that throughout our journey toward civilization, life has provided in a myriad of ways and will continue to do so. And if we bring our inherent creative potential to the task of weaving together these disparate pieces of abundance, which have been largely torn asunder by the Age of Separation we are waking from, we truly can usher in the Renaissance we seek as a catalyst for the Age of Reunion and an entirely new understanding of economic viability.