Opening the Sacral Chakra

I get stuck sometimes as I’m going through my little Unbroken Path paradigm. Even though I’m the one who set up the order in which I am to discuss and write about the various steps along the path, I’m not always good at doing things in an orderly fashion. It is one of the traits that helps me roll with life’s punches and also one of the hindrances that keeps me from being a good little industrialized automaton. I’ve learned to forgive myself for whatever shortcomings it conjures up and just appreciate it s one of the crazy little foible that makes me who I am, and since I generally like who I am, I don’t beat myself up too hard for not meeting self imposed, imaginary deadline when there re other, more pressing things that need to be the dead to.

The particular step I’ve been working through lately is opening up my sacral chakra. And although I haven’t necessarily been writing about it, I have been giving it much consideration as I’ve been letting it spin these ldt few weeks since my last entry on The Lovers card of the Tarot. As I mentioned then, for the first time in my life, I am polyamorous, quite a transition for a guy that was raised to believe that monogamy was not only the only acceptable vehicle for sexual activity, but that it also had to have a lifetime exclusivity clause. Considering that I’ve already shattered the clause, and don’t feel any pressing need to commit myself to another relationship in ordere to feel complete as a person after my divorce last year, I am merely learning more about myself, thereby learning about the entire human race, by participating in honest, open, adult relationships that sometimes become intimately passionate. The results of my little faith-based sociological experiment have been quite astounding.

I think that part of opening the sacral chakra is realizing ourselves as sexual beings and recognizing that that’s not a bad thing. Especially in this culture of veiled puritanism, we tend to beat ourselves up over having and/or following through on our sexual desires. Because we so often relegate this rather large part of who we are to the realm of “sinfulness” we are less apt to understand ourselves, and more importantly, to understand one another. I find that getting in touch with your sexuality makes you more benevolent, friendly, creative, and secure in who you are.

Now that doesn’t mean that just because you’re sexually active you’re going to be nice to everybody, have a healthy self esteem, and become an artist. Sexuality does still have its dark side and can be manipulative, coercive, and lead to many issues that may do more to block your self actualization than to cultivate it. Nevertheless, when sexuality is appreciated in a healthy loving way, the results can be truly wonderful.

Today I Choose To Live In Peace

This morning, I read in my Course in Miracles workbook “This day I choose to live in perfect peace.” this was shortly before I realized that I’d accidentally deleted everything I’d written in the iPad an Angel recently gave to me. Fortunately, I’d read it to my sister Kate the night before so I had peace in the knowledge that it had at least one audience before it went the way of improvisational performance art and drifted off into the realm of practice. Although I’d wanted to share the words with a larger audience, I realized that they would certainly return again, perhaps sharper and more refined. Maybe one day I’ll even be able to write for twitter.

peacespinningAll of the writing that I’d done was based on the Power of Peace show that I’m producing this Saturday at The Coffee Loft. The idea for the show came to me a few weeks ago. I’d been wanting to put on an event at the establishment foe awhile, and since I had nothing of the sort scheduled or the month of December, it seemed like an appropriate time to do something a little different. Last year at this time, I’d just begun my series of one man “Rucksack Cabaret” shows which culminated with the “Rucksack Extravaganza” at the Bay Shore House. Since that event was used as a soft launch for the Common Wealth Time Bank, and offered me the opportunity to showcase a number of other local talents, I figured I use the opportunity to do more of the same and expand this particular show to share a bit of the peace I’ve found in opening myself up to a greater sense of abundance after giving up the use of money last year.

As with all of my shows, to prepare for this one, I’d selected a number of songs I wished to perform that touched upon the theme I was shooting for, organized them into somewhat of a story line, and proceeded to write my way between the songs in order to get a better idea of what I wanted to say during the performance. After probably getting a few thousand words in, I figured I’d probably end up just using the words as blog fodder and just say what came to mind as the Spirit led during the event. But since I do intend on performing these songs much more over the next year, and since they are largely based on stories I’ve lived and will most certainly tell again over and over again, I do believe that the words will return I other manifestations and find their audience as they’re ready to.

When I first returned to Sarasota, after honing my skills as a singer/songwriter at open mic nights in Los Angeles, I went to play at one in Bradenton where, like in many of the “venues” in this area, I was relegated to background music as people exchanged small talk over cigarettes and beer. I quickly realized that it wasn’t my intention to become a house musician or to just play music for people to bullshit to. Perhaps I have a heightened sense of self importance or perhaps I recognize the limits to my ability as a performer, but I wanted, and still want the times that I gather people together to listen to the music that I play and ideas that I have to share to be more than just another night on the town. As I’ve taken to close most of my performances recently, I want to “have faith, show love, give hope, and spread peace.” Considering that the date of this event leaves 21 days until the supposed end of the world, I figured it was a good time to help people come to peace with a few things.

Also considering that this year marks the end of a twelve year sequence in which I’ve come to grips with a supposed neurological disorder, traveled the country in search of an alternative to the capitalist/consumerist lifestyle that has become the scourge of the Western world, emancipated myself from the shackles of a religion based on limitation, ceased to relegate my value to the myopia of the Federal Reserve Bank, seceded from the US government to start the autonomous nation of Stevetopia, started an alternative local economic currency, and come to a healthier relationship with my Creator, I’ve somehow managed to come to a real sense of peace with who I am in the midst of all the drama I’ve embroiled myself in. So I’m very excited to share some of my findings with real people much more than just writing about it. As such, the loss of a few words, or even a few thousand isn’t really that big a deal when I put it into perspective.

Thankful to Be Me

This year, I am so thankful for so many things, I can not even imagine condensing them all into just one day. Right now, I’m thankful for old friends. Two in particular. Either they’ve recently gotten more active, or Facebook has been letting them into my feed more, but I’ve been seeing more posts by a couple of friends from college lately and saw that they recently got together. One of them is Jay Burleson.
A few Thanksgivings ago, Jay B sent a song through our email circle of ten tight friends before Facebook, mid-adulthood, and a bad case of cranio-anal disorder kind of flummoxed the group (for those unfamiliar with the term, cranio-anal disorder is the not so rare condition when someone has their head up their ass.). Nevertheless, I still love all of those guys more than they can possibly know, and every time I get play the song, I think about Jay B and the boys.
I Don’t Need Anything I Don’t Have was written by Glen Phillips. He is the lead singer for Toad the Wet Sprocket, a band that was popular when we were in college and is soon going back into the studio to record another album. I met Glen in LA when he played a show at the Largo on Fairfax Avenue once.
Jay B Had met him a few nights earlier in Florida and asked me to give him my copy of The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight by Thom Hartmann, which I happened to see on Jayne and Ellen’s shelf yesterday. The book was a big inspiration when I read it while I was hitch hiking through Missouri and Kansas on the way to see Jay B in Colorado during my first attempt at finding a better system than the Judeo-Christian/Capitalist/Consumerist mindset that seemed to be guiding my civilization toward certain annihilation by the angry Hand of God through lack of civility, blind obedience, egotism, and over shopping. Both Thom and Glen, and even more so Jay B, helped me to realize that there really is a better way. Just a few more travelers on the Unbroken Path.

Jay B came to see me a few months later when I was working at Korbel Winery in California. He showed up in the middle of night with a six pack and a smile,  and it inspired a song. I’ve sometimes been accused of having a big ego, and I’ve come to the realization that a majority of the time it’s true. With all of the traveling I’ve done, the jobs I’ve worked, relationships I’ve created, and crazy stunts I’ve pulled, I’ve developed quite a many facets to this creature known as Steve.
If you take the time to link to look at the facets, you’ll see many that are chipped, stained, or cloudy. In Western thought, it is because I am an imperfect sinner with a black spot on my soul. In Eastern thought, it is the wabi sabi of imperfection that makes me beautiful.

To some people, I’m too much of one thing, to others, I’m too much of another. Whatever it is that I truly am, I am at peace with it. In my tradition, God said that his name was I Am That I Am. In my search to more greatly understand what this entity is and how it can best use a beaten and battered poet like me in a world that sometimes seems to serve only to teach how to beat and batter, I’ve largely come to realize that It’s pretty much everything. Basically, what will be will be. And when I stop beating and battering, and just listen to the still small voice in the quiet of my breath, I’m much more able to understand what It wants me to do.  I don’t always listen, and often get distracted by Its complexity, but Whatever that I Am That I Am really is, I hope that Its message can be heard beyond all of the other nonsense that I am.

At a time when I feel completely abundant, having given up what the knuckle-headed world round me holds most valuable, I am truly thankful for having the freedom to just be myself, the courage to live up to the challenge, and the understanding that its enough. When I don’t have to worry about what I don’t have or about being somebody I’m not, I get to open up my attention to so many amazing people, a more robustly beautiful environment, and more opportunities than I could possibly respond to in my lifetime. Basically, I’m thankful for every facet of the perfectly imperfect life around me.

Sarasota Is Again Disgraced with Civil Servants that Do Not Understand Civility

Last year, I dedicated myself to become both homeless and moneyless due to the unsustainability of our current monetary economy and the ever-increasing hostility shown toward the homeless citizens in the place of my birth. Since then, Sarasota’s homeless population has been tormented by the Sarasota Police Department, and although a great number of the county’s citizens have collaborated on developing a ten year plan to end homelessness through the Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness, it appears as if the SPD and the City Commission are spending their energies and assumed powers to only make things harder for this most fragile contingent of our community.

In spite of the fact that Sarasota offers no dedicated 24 hour shelter for those who cannot afford a place to live, or are unable to manage the seemingly simple tasks of participating in our rather complex society due to mental illnesses, drug addictions, or other disabilities, these people are continually hounded and harassed by the Sarasota Police Department. If they spend time in public places, they are asked to leave or arrested. If they find a hidden place to set up a camp as to not be tormented by these gun-wielding fiends, they are rooted out and treated as less than human.

Recently, one of them was arrested for simply charging his cell phone in order to keep in touch with loved ones, or, God forbid, have to call 911 in order to ask for help from those that predominantly act as their nemeses. Although the City of Sarasota recently installed a number of electric car charging stations which may be used freely by anyone who can afford an electric car in addition to an actual home, it seems to be too much of a strain in the city’s budget to help the downtrodden empower their communicative abilities. This type of blatant preferential treatment for those with money and abhorrent injustice for those without is merely one example of why Sarasota received the 2006 title of “meanest city” to homeless people, a title that both the Sarasota Police Department and the City Commission seem to wear as some sort of masochistic badge of honor.

As a Sarasota native, it pains me to be so ashamed of and disgraced by those who have sworn to protect and serve the citizens of this community. Whether they be homeless, snow birds, tourists, or tax-paying residents, every human being that sets foot on this soil needs to be treated with dignity and respect. Especially for those who face the demoralizing dilemma of not being able to afford a decent living in these disastrous economic times, we must realize that they are still a part of our community, and the more we rub their noses into their poverty, the more we cultivate the poverty of our souls.

We must do better, Sarasota.

The Return of the Prodigal Son

When I was younger and even more of a wanderer than I am now, my mom would often welcome me home by jokingly exclaiming, “The prodigal son returns!” Since my leaving the Fundamentalist Evangelical Church (FEC) and testing the waters of many of the practices they referred to as sinful, the biblical story of the prodigal son has continued to play a somewhat pivotal role in my life. And due to my proclivity to continue seeking out and engaging in practices that I know do not serve my higher good and actually decrease my energy and ability to perform at a functional level, the story continues to pop into my mind from time to time.

When I was hitchhiking home from LA several years ago, I woke up in an empty Texas fireworks stand to find a copy of the New Testament with the story of the Prodigal Son on the back cover. When I got back home, I went to see a children’s pageant at my old church with the story as the theme. Even today, at a time when I’ve become more acutely aware of my subconscious, within a moment of the story crossing my mind, my daily reading in my Course in Miracles app spoke again of the return.

This is not to say that I am returning to FEC around, but I do find myself returning to a relationship with my Father/Mother/Source where I feel more fully embraced and as if I actually belong.

The Allure of the Lovers

I´ve been more than negligent in moving through the steps of the Unbroken Path lately. Partly because, after the tragic death of my beloved friend Pip and the de-materialization of my marriage, I have been focusing much of my energy on working through the step of meeting my Belongingness and Love needs by establishing community ties through the Common Wealth Time Bank. And partly because this next step is the Lovers of the Tarot, and I am still trying to work this out for myself.

You see, while I am trying to address each of these steps as universal principles, I am also trying to actualize them in my own life and come to some sort of personal revelation as to how they apply to me. It´s not always an easy task to incorporate the world´s understanding into ones own life, especially when it something as misunderstood as the Lovers.

¨This card is divided into a top and bottom. On the bottom half stand a man and a woman. They are naked before the world. A tree of flames stands behind the man, while a fruit tree with a snake around it is behind the woman. The ground is a bright spring green and a mountain rises in the distance between them under a blue sky. In the middle of the card, aligned with their heads, is a billowing cloud, upon which rests the top half of an angel. The angel wears a purple cloak and lifts its hands in the air, but not as high as its crimson wings. The flames that make up its hair light its face a golden yellow to match the endless rays of sunlight encircling it from above.¨

Most interpretations of the card view the man and woman, the lovers, as Adam and Eve. Standing naked in front of what appears to be the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life, that seems like a pretty appropriate explanation. And if we draw from that story, I think it helps to get a little clearer picture.

The Lovers card is about choice, and as it is number 6 in the Fool´s Journey, it is also related to the card of the Devil, number 15 (1+5=6), in that it bears a striking resemblance in both design and meaning. I´ll get more into the Devil when he shows his face again, but I think that the choice we face with the Lovers is largely one between attachment and autonomy. While our connection to those that we love, whether it be a person of the opposite sex, a group, a mission, or some other object, can help us feel as if we are more fully whole, there is also the danger of losing ourselves in the relationship and being thrown off of our own personal course.

In the story of Adam and Eve, Adam seemed to be faring pretty well in the Garden of Eden, tending to the stuff God made and hanging out with the animals, when God slipped him a roofie and formed a woman out of one of his ribs (ok, so I´m modernizing it a bit). So then the woman decides to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the one tree God said that they shouldn´t eat from, and the dopey, old lovelorn man joins her in the feast, and what was once perfect becomes a whole lot less than. Now, seeing that this book was written by men, who tend to always want to blame somebody else when they screw something up, I can´t account for the actual accuracy of this story, but suffice it to say that if Adam had just held is ground and kept on doing what he was called to do instead of attaching himself to her plan, he probably would have been a lot better off and humankind would still be living in eternal bliss.

Nevertheless, as humans, we always seem to want something more. Now, being raised in this Judeo/Christian heritage, I was always taught that there was one woman for every man, an idea perpetuated by our adoration of the romantic idea of true love. In many ways, this made me very selective of the women I´ve shared time and intimacy with, and in many ways it made me very screwed up in that I was always looking for someone to ¨complete me.¨ However, as I´ve gotten older, and seemingly wiser, learning from the relationships that I have nurtured, I´ve realized that I am a complete person in my own right and don´t need to look to any other person to fulfill me. It seems that when we spend our energy trying to find that one special person to fit into the hole we have in our hearts like some kind of socio-emotional jigsaw puzzle, we tend to distract ourselves from just loving ourselves as we are and get drawn into attaching ourselves to an often unrealistic notion of creating something that doesn´t necessarily need to be.

From what I´ve come to understand, there are a few different kinds of love. Just like eskimos have several different words to describe different kinds of snow, so did the Greeks have different words for love. There is a brotherly love called phileo, the open love of God called agape, and a romantic love called eros, which we´ve become accustomed to attributing to life-mates. Personally, I´ve been more focused on developing my phileo and agape love since my divorce, and considering how that particular expedition into eros love turned out, I´ve become what some refer to as polyamorous in my more intimate relationships.

That doesn´t mean that I´m into orgies or anything, but for the first time in my life, I´ve become much more accepting of the idea that I can be intimate with more than one person. Again, my religious tradition has historically judged this type of operation in the world as evil. However, just as I´m not looking to attach myself to any single person to complete myself, I also no longer look to my attachment to religious beliefs for fulfillment either. Whether it´s a woman who wants me to partake of the knowledge of good and evil or a religion, I´d rather not eat of that fruit and simply love honestly while walking my own path.

That may someday change as I still really like the idea of investing myself in one person and cultivating that type of relationship. Nevertheless, as this particular fool reaches this stage of the journey, I am opting to embrace what comes to me without clinging to it and move forward without attachment.

 

Steve McAllister is the author of The Rucksack Letters and How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. He posts regularly at The Unbroken Path and is currently the Director of Operational Development for the Common Wealth Time Bank in Sarasota, Florida. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.