Tuesday, December 26, 2006

season's greetings

Blogging is no longer one of my daily activities. I'm in the process of bolstering my emotional reserves and I almost feel that I don't have the capacity to put myself out there on the blogsphere right now. At the same time I miss the input I was receiving from the beautiful people I have met online.

I suspect I will return again once things ave settled down somewhat.

Until then, rama, scruff, steve, kirsten....

have a wonderful new year :)


Monday, December 04, 2006

For many people there is no chance of recovery from 'chronic' schizophrenia. Recovery is not offered to them as one of their options.

They are prescipted a lifetime of mood-stabalizing drugs, which generally suppress psychotic symtoms. This is enough for most professionals, and for the concerned families advocating medication. How much easier if the symptoms just went away! Who wants to waste time wondering about causes?

The people I work with are not in a recovery program. They are given medications which numb and exhaust them. I arrive in the morning and gather then all into the lounge, where everyone sleepily follows a simple yoga routine. I encourage them to breathe, but they find it difficult, R* says it makes her dizzy, and G* begins to feel panicky. G* takes two valiums a day to ward off his panic attacks. Nobody blinks an eye as day after day, year after year, he entrenches his drug habit.

The others think he's lucky to have a private doctor, and a family who will foot the bill for his expensive habits. Most of the residents are state patients, supplied with daily doses of antipsychotics by the government. They are beautiful people. Each of them have been through so much to arrive where they are at today, so much alienation and loss. They no longer have a place in our society, and what's worse, they have no prognosis of recovery!

I want to change my varsity major to psychology. 10 years from now I want to be a practising professional in this field. There is so much exciting work being done overseas at the moment, in terms of dealing successfully with schizophrenia. Dr. Al Siebert runs a website called successfulschizophrenia.org which offers many profound insights into the nature of schizophrenia, and the path through to the other side.

I am hoping that I will have the strength of heart to work with these people for the year that I have prescribed myself. It's heartbreaking yet also rewarding. I must honor them too, they have made the choice to stay alive and face the odds, and each one of then still has something unique to offer. I need to practise non-attachment in an environment that tweaks all my sore bits. It's tough. But it's good practice. If I want to do this professionally one day I need to be able to empathise without hurting.... don't I?

Anyway, I'll have lots of time to figure it out.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


It's been two years now since my head popped. Nothing up until that moment had prepared me for it.

I was sitting, staring at a wall. It was late afternoon, and it was near the end of our meditation session at the local zendo. 10 minutes chanting, 20 minutes sitting, 5 minutes walking, another 20 minutes sitting and then...

my mind had been in turmoil during the time I had been there. I breathed deeply, counting each breath to remain focused while the flow of thoughts swirled. Eventually I reached a point where I was no longer aware of my body, having plugged into that wonderful zen space where outside conditions begin to lack their validity. The inside of my head felt huge, the thoughts taking up all the space, and stretching the limits. It almost felt like my head was a balloon expanding under the pressure.

I kept breathing, breathing, riding with the feeling, allowing the thoughts to stretch wider and wider until...POP! The boundaries of my mental space winked out of existance. All of a sudden there was absolutely no distinction between outside and inside, it was all one seemless whole. Tears started pouring down my cheeks as I sat keeping my breath steady, literally blown away by the awesome nature of reality. There was no 'me' and there was no other. It was all suchness and it was experiential suchness, not some conceptual construct.

Since then that mental space has never quite abated. Even in the thrall of a heated argument there is a part of me which experiences the suchness and observes without attachment. This has been a great blessing in attaining emotional equilibrium, yet it also complicated things somewhat. Up until that moment I had been a Christian practising Zazen. After my head popped there was no one left to pray to! There was no outside presence to appeal to for help! And no inside 'me' to do the appealing!

I came to realized with a great deal of shock to the system that I was essentially responsable for my being. The implications were vast.


Sunday, November 26, 2006


This is a canvas I am working on. It's proved rather tricky to portray what I originaly set out to, that is, the many dimensions within which the mind functions. There aren't enough colors in the visual field! So I've settled on a rather intellectual interpretation of the theme.

There's so much more I'd like to put in, but at this point I wouldn't know how!

Yet I am happy with how it's turned out. It is a thought provoking piece, for anyone interested in the mind sciences.

And on that note I recommend an excellent lecture by Dr Alan Wallace , entiltled "Towards the first revolution in the mind sciences." He is a Buddhist monk who is 'seeking ways to integrate Buddhist contemplative practices and Western science to advance the study of the mind'.

Its a talk well worth watching.



Friday, November 17, 2006

They wear their past lives
like badges
keys to their culture
displayed with sleepy smiles
for visitors to coo over


Sunday, November 12, 2006

that I would be good

I'm playing a song by Alanis Morissete as I write.

That I would be good even if I did nothing
That I would be good even if I got the thumbs down
That I would be good if I got and stayed sick
That I would be good even if I gained ten pounds

That I would be fine even even if I went bankrupt
That I would be good if I lost my hair and my youth
That I would be great if I was no longer queen
That I would be grand if I was not all knowing

That I would be loved even when I numb myself
That I would be good even when I am overwhelmed
That I would be loved even when I was fuming
That I would be good even if I was clingy

That I would be good even if I lost sanity
That I would be good
Whether with or without you

It makes me want to cry. I feel so much pressure from my own self expectations. Some where deep down I feel that there's something wrong with me. Somewhere deep down I am ashamed.

I've always had a sense of being different. My mom was gay at a time when it was the ultimate taboo. I grew up believing that my family would never find a place in society. I've also always worried about being flakey. Too many times people have looked at me skew and ignored my input. 'What a strange child!' they would say to eachother. And I would hear them. The things that I am passionate about are right on the peripheries of most people's conscious awareness. If I hadn't learnt all about being diplomatic I would surely offend people all over the place.

But in the end it's not about what eveyone else thinks of me. In the end I am the one telling myself that something is wrong. I feel the divine so strongly and yet I can't bring myself to embrace myself as divine too. I feel stuck in a strange no mans land. I am not driven by the passions of the world, yet I am here and I am functioning.

Why am I ashamed of who I am becoming? Why have I always felt like I need to apologise? When I was a kid and I had problems mixing with people my own age, my mom took me aside and told me that I have an IQ that tops the charts. She explained what 'genius' is, but she never said that it meant I could accomplish anything I put my mind to. The message that I got was that being a genius was as much a social stigma as being the child of a gay mother. Another thing to be ashamed of.

And even now as an adult, instead of being proud of my conceptual abilities, I find myself playing them down so that I don't stick out too much.

I am in a process of defining myself once again. I seem to go through this every few years. It's hard and it hurts. But at least I am aware. If I am aware I can observe. If I observe I can learn, if I learn I can understand. And if I understand I can let go....i think....

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Yay and blessings - I got the job :)! I started last Monday and I've been pretty busy adjusting. I'm really enjoying myself.

I will begin posting again once things settle down a bit...

till then
love to you all

Thursday, October 19, 2006

my interview

I interviewed for a really amazing job today.

The position is as a facilitator for the adults in permanent residence at H*H*. The house was established as a home for adults with schizophrenia. There are seven people there, men and women, ranging from young to old. My job would be to run a daily program with them, covering different activities like arts,crafts, music and yoga. The program runs from 9 till 1, when we all have lunch and then I go home, just in time to pick up my kids from school.

When I saw the ad online my heart jumped. My little sister was diagnosed with borderline schitzophrenia when she was 17. None of us knew what the hell it meant, she ended up becoming more and more isolated. Two weeks after her 21st birthday she took her life.

Its been nearly five years since her death, and I've spent that time educating myself about the alleged disease.

Firstly, it has nothing whatsoever to do with multiple personality disorder. Equating the two is a very common mistake, but any educated person knows that schizophrenia is altogether something different.

Secondly, nobody knows quite what schizophrenia is.

A recent article on BBC News discussed the current trend towards scrapping the term completely. It is an ambiguous name given to a wide range of symptoms, and no one can point to a cause.

No one except Jung that is. But he's not taken seriously because he acknowledged spirit and that is taboo in the scientific community. Jung was an enlightened man. He studied Eastern philosopy, and he told the story of schizophrenia from a unique perspective.

He described a process called individuation. He believed that consciousness evolved, and that reaching individuation was the next step on the road. Part of the process of individuation involves integrating the contents of your subconscious mind into your conscious awareness. Some people make this transition smoothly, but other people, taken by surprise by the sudden lack of mental boundaries, become afraid and thus become victims of their subconscious mind. Somehow they get stuck, they loose touch with what is in their head and what is 'real'.

Most people at this point get admitted to a mental hospital, where the awful cycle of medication begins. The meds are symptomatic. They render the patient docile, no more trouble for the care takers. The medication they gave my sister had terrible side effects, as do many psychiatric drugs. She was an avid reader, but the pills destroyed her ability to focus, after two sentances she would put down a book with a sigh, and light another ciggarette. After a while she just stopped going to the library.

The meds also limited her range of emotional responses, no anguish or despair. And no joy or passion.

Often she would refuse to be medicated. At these times her subconscious mind, held back like a dam about to burst, would flood her head with a terrifying whirl of bizzare information.

She could feel everyone and everything, she was convinced that we could read her thoughts, that she could influence people far away. These feelings were prompted by the sudden onset of a state almost similar to the first stages of enlightenment. A state where you can feel how connected everything is, and it all makes a stange kind of sense.

But she had no context within which to process it. She had been brought up in a Christian family, who worried that she may be possessed by some strange devil. She became terrified of her own mind. And there was no one to help her. What made it even worse is that she had been using psychodelic drugs all through her early teens. In my opinion this was one of the main reasons why she was unable to make the transition smoothly.

Schizophrenics become very spiritual when going though a psychotic episode. They almost always think they're God. They feel that the universe is talking to them. Everything has a deeper meaning, everything is imbued with significance.

I experienced these same states while going through a period of transition in my teens. I was able to integrate the experiences. Whether it would have been called a psychotic break I don't know. I was never taken to hospital. I knew when to keep quiet. 25% of people who experience sudden onset schitzophrenia recover completely. The rest are not so lucky.

Due to the successful transitions, I now have psychic and empathic abilities way beyond the average person. I am also deeply connected to spirit, unable to ignore the call of the sacred. I can see and work with dynamic energy fields, I am able to make use of glossalalia when I am deeply in prayer. And when I finally ran into Zen Buddhism all the foundations had been laid for almost immediate kensho.

The term 'spiritual emergence' has sprung up in the more avante garde sector of psychodynamic theory. The idea is that many cases of schizophrenia are in fact cases of spiritual crisis, which if thoroughly resolved can leave the 'patient' profoundly more in touch with life and spirit.

Unfortunately, as is usually the case on this tragic and beautiful planet, we humans choose to address the symptoms and not the cause. People are put onto severe, lifelong medication, written off completely, never given the chance to discover who they might be once the terror of the transition has worn off. There's no one to tell them its ok.

If I get this job I may have the opportunity to make life a little easier for a handful of people. I will have the chance to learn so much about this awfully misconcieved 'disease'. It may also prove to be emotionally exhausting. My ability to empathise with these people leaves me close to tears. So if I don't get the job then maybe it would be better. Maybe I should spend the next ten years working up to a position like this....I don't know. At the moment it's up to the Tao.

Monday, October 16, 2006

This is a short video of a song that I wrote a few years ago. I'm experimenting with putting my music into more of a multi-media friendly framework. This was done rather spontaneously, and the sound quality is pretty bad, but it gives you an idea of my music and my style....

hypnotising you


I'm hypnotising you,

pulling the wool over your eyes in a fancy way.

But don't let this bother you at all my dears

I'm holding both your hands

I'm here to guide you in my ways.

And my ways are all your suffering minds have ever seen.

And the excuses you're making don't you know that you've been making them for me.

I've been gathering hearts in a room that has no windows and no doors.

I talked you all into leaving them here 'till you forget which one is yours.

And disillusioned souls who take a stand to challenge me.

Well they're effectively ejected from consensus reality.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Monday, October 09, 2006


An artists impression of the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy

I'm writing my Astronomy exam tomorrow. I've really enjoyed this course. It's been a wonderful introduction to the subject.

Did you know that our galaxy (the Milky Way) is home to a supermassive black hole at it's center? Our galaxy is shaped like a spiral that spins around a central nucleus. Scientists have measured the orbital rate of stars close to the center,and they exceed the speed at which such large bodies should be traveling. This excessive speed is attributed to the huge gravitational pull of the black hole in the center.

I think this has huge philosophical implications. But I won't go there just yet...

Another amazing fact that I've gleaned from this course is that stars are the forges in which matter is created. Nuclear fusion in the center of stars is responsably for the creation of all the elements. Gold and silver are heavier elements, and can only fuse at very high temperatures, they are products of supernovas (the explosive deaths of very large stars) which are rather rare, and this explains why some elements aremore rare than others.

Absolutely fascinating...
See the links below for more indepth information :)

wikipedia - supermassive black holes

Nasa - supermassive black holes

Thursday, September 28, 2006

faeries in the garden...

My friend and neighbour hosted her daughter's 5th birthday party over the weekend. As a tribute to the little princess, she dressed in her daughter's favourite style - as a faerie.

I took this shot as she stood chatting with another mom. The cactus lined up perfectly beneath her, and then I went to work in photoshop...

the holy cactus has a guardian angel :)