Coming from the perspective of living for a thousand years. How our emotional impact on people is our progeny. And principles for healthy relationships of all kinds.
Now as for the “Love” word….
I Love many things. I Love my family, my friends, my life. I Love food and clean water. I Love my musical instruments. I love dance and art and poetry. I Love Nature and animals and trees and mushrooms and rain and moss and soil. Quite frankly, I Love everything. Now does this dilute the potency of the word “Love”?
Please read an article I wrote about Love here: http://josephrastovich.com/2018/06/true-love-and-the-many-different-forms-of-love/
I think the key is to Love without attachment. For many people the word Love has many attachments.
Whatever happens between us — whether we stay friends, live in different countries, or even drop out of communication — I will always Love you.
A Love without opposite.
A Love without a reason.
A Love with a capital “L”.
A Love without attachment and expectations.
The same Love I have for the song of birds and colors of a sunset.
Love is undefinable. But let me try…
Love is an appreciation and adoration for the beauty, magic and nourishment of something. I Love therefore I care. Love is humble. Love is free. Love is warmth. Love is gentleness. Love is levity. Love is awe. Love is comfort. Love is acceptance. Love is with an open hand. Love is turning towards. Love is listening. Love is compassion. Love is resonance, attunement and connection.
Almost half of all calls to your cell phone will be scams in 2019, according to a report by First Orion. But this is not the only reason I block everyone’s phone calls…
It was a dark and auspicious night. The first time I had been to one of my “secret spots” while the sun sleeps. I jumped the barbed wire fence and walked in with my flashlight. While few things scare me in Nature, I got spooked enough to turn back. But it was only then when I heard a distant stream which beckoned my curiosity. I went off trail to find verdant soil of moss, lichen and mushrooms giving me a certain camaraderie out here alone. After carefully crossing another old barbed wire fence and rounding a box canyon, the stream became louder. I shined my flashlight across the valley and saw a waterfall I had never seen before and I am sure no one else knew. The super-blood-wolf lunar eclipse left me in complete darkness where I could look to the sky and see the milky way. Once at the waterfall, I danced with rain drops falling down the tiered stones while the water shimmered with starlight and the moon changed her dress. A beautiful and sacred experience only to be cut short from a phone call late at night. Even in my distant refuges I could not escape intrusion. I was angered by the interruption and did not answer … but also had an epiphany.
The sacred focus on this precious reality I live in is often fragmented by distractions from other people. Even when I do not respond to a call, text or notification it breaks my continued focus which is hard to regain. Like making love and then having the door-bell ring.
I believe the currency of life is not money nor time. It is attention. And tech companies seek to monetize our attention by triggering the addictive dopamine response (same mechanism in cocaine and gambling). The average millennial checks their phone 150 times a day according to a study by Qualtrics. This divides our daily waking time into six and a half minute increments. This dissected attention is a piecemeal warzone of the very thing that defines you … awareness.
Most phone calls are not urgent. As a creative professional I need my sustained focus all day and do not tolerate unwanted distraction. This is why I block all phone calls.
People with their stories, media with it’s opinion and applications with ulterior motives seek to replace my physical reality with their own virtual one. Trying to convince me of a facade reality which will never be as complete as my own authentic one. Or in other words, giving my attention to another’s reality is only a partial experience whereas giving my attention to my “here and now” is a complete experience.
If someone wants to talk with me they can leave a message or send a text.
But of course texting is fraught with unwanted attention drains as well. People quickly realize that texting me is not much different than email. It usually takes me hours and sometimes days to respond to a text. Here is how most people deal with texts…
Fred is going about his productive day being focused in the flow, then he gets a text from his friend Jane. Not wanting to be rude, he responds promptly, but then he gets another text a few seconds later. He spends some time thinking of and composing another text to send, to which Jane responds just as quickly as before. And then the cycle of text-and-response, text-and-response burns a whole half hour out of the day just to figure our where they’re going for lunch. If you have multiple people texting you, this can eat the entire day as well as being a regular interruption of real life.
I’ve defaulted in not responding promptly. Sometimes I will only send one text a day … if that. If a person responds in the usual quick way, I wait to respond till I am in a place where I don’t need my focus which is usually at least a few hours later. This prevents me from getting into a cyclic conversation which burns my time and attention. If things need to be figured out quickly, I will call them since phone conversations have less chance of miscommunication and relay information in a fraction of the time it would take to text.
Seek solitude and be rewarded with the richest life.
Here is a fitting quote by Henry David Thoreau:
“Silence is the universal refuge, the sequel to all dull discourses and all foolish acts, a balm to our every chagrin, as welcome after satiety as after disappointment; that background which the painter may not daub, be he master or bungler, and which, however awkward a figure we may have made in the foreground, remains ever our inviolable [shelter], where no indignity can assail, no personality disturb us.”
“Silence alone is worthy to be heard. Silence is of various depth and fertility, like soil. The silence rings; it is musical and thrills me. A night in which the silence was audible. I hear the unspeakable.”
You’re an artist when you say you are.
You’re a good artist when you make somebody else feel something deep or unexpected. -Amanda Palmer
As a self described individualist taking pride in self-sufficiency, I understand the trepidation in asking anyone for help.
In 2017, I drove my flatbed truck down to Dallas, Oregon to witness the full totality of the solar Eclipse alone — or as alone as I could be.
Driving down there on surprisingly open highways, I thought “once again the media is hyping traffic problems too much, perhaps it scared people from going”.
The eclipse was a powerful experience where tens of thousands of people were all focusing on the same thing and experiencing uncommon collective awe in the magic of existence.
Afterwards I had nothing to do but head back home.
I use the lesser known navigation app “Waze” and thought I was being clever in choosing the Oregon backroads to avoid the congested interstate. It turns out “Jane” told everyone else the same thing.
As time went on and more people decided on heading back home, the winding single lane country roads — as if capillaries — were having serious thrombosis.
Stop and go traffic moved slowly for miles upon miles which made my leg sore considering my five-speed manual transmission. Eventually it slowed to the point where we were stopped for fifteen minutes at a time before moving another twenty feet. Was there a crash?
I finally got out of my truck and jogged two miles to find a four car ferry shuffling people over a small stream. I asked the man how much does it cost?
I don’t have cash. Do you take credit card?
I had to turn around after investing hours on this path.
Anyone else would have asked the nearest person for two dollars, but not me. I had too much pride to beg. I walked back in poor mood with a perturbed countenance.
Someone I had chatted with earlier while walking to the front, rolled down their window and asked what I learned up ahead. I told them my situation and they raised a questioning eyebrow while saying “well, we’ll give you the $2!” I walked the rest of the way with a springy cheer that others could not fathom in this traffic jam.
How grateful I was. And a powerful lesson in realizing we live in an interconnected society where the smallest actions can be profoundly helpful. Perhaps next time I will ask for the $2.
How many other things do I not ask for out of egoic stoicism?
* * *
Amanda Palmer has an excellent ted talk below (and new book called “Art of Asking”) which explores why many people are afraid to ask for things and how important it is for professional creatives to ask.
Asking for something exposes you to vulnerability and rejection. So we retreat into our lonely shells to avoid potential pain but end up moldering.
She presents a novel idea of working for free but asking for help. She encourages people to pirate her music but asks people to help her out. This has yielded one of the most successful music crowdfunding campaigns where she raised over ten times her original ask of $100,000.
It’s not about how to make people pay for art,
rather it’s about how to ask people to pay for art.
I want to add that there is a critical element which she doesn’t explicitly cover in her Ted talk…
When you ask for something, make sure you give something — even of simplest form. When Amanda was a street performer as a living statue, she would give a flower to anyone who put a tip in her hat.
Sometimes the reciprocation is simply authentic gratitude by telling them “Thank you so much! This helps me more than you might imagine…”
With gratitude, good fortune grows. People want to support those with real gratitude as opposed to the ungracious.
* * *
In Maria Popova’s article on BrainPickings, we are reminded that Henry David Thoreau — the man known for living alone in the wilderness in his hand-built cabin — was in fact supported by his mother and sister bringing pastries every week and how the land was given by a rich friend. Do these supporting people somehow reduce the legitimacy of Thoreau’s writings?
We romanticize struggle of the lone hard-scrabble person scratching their way to success or revelation; but it is the loving support we often fail to mention which paves the way for the greatest achievements in humanity. Behind all the heroes in history from Nikola Tesla to Picasso to Lincoln there are the unsung “Mother Teresas” quietly supporting them.
I reflect on how I claim victory for saving a nearby piece of nature from development. I was no “warrior” any more than another. I was just taking action as part of my flow. The supporting ancestors laid the foundation to where I am now. All the illuminating environmental media and books to inspire responsibility, how the canyon was previously saved from development decades ago, how my parents moved me to this area, how my neighbors gave me the letter from the city, how social media allowed me to get the word out, how my parents taught me to do graphic design, etc. etc. The people behind each of these elements are the ancestors who created divine circumstances which prompted me to take action. Most of them don’t realize they laid down the foundation for me to save the canyon and will never know they had a part. I then ask, who supported them? And who supported them? And who supported them? Who am I laying the subtle foundation of support for? This is the “butterfly effect” where we are all constantly creating realities with the simplest actions.
How my saying a simple word can change the course of reality in ways I don’t consciously realize.
When I asked people for their contact information to be part of a group,
when I asked an environmental lawyer to join us,
when I asked someone to file a freedom of information request,
when I asked the newspaper reporter to do a story,
These are all things where asking for people’s support creates the reality we want to live in.
When I read about Thoreau being supported by his mom bringing donuts, I am reminded of another donut story revealed by Jia Jiang’s TED talk “What I Learned From 100 Days of Rejection”.
Whereas Amanda‘s requests were reasonable. Jia’s were absurd. In his experiment to overcome fear of rejection, he went out of his way to be rejected.
The first time, he asked to borrow $100 from a stranger. When he was told no, he effectively ran away.
The next time he asked for a burger refill and when questioned he stayed engaged. But didn’t get a burger refill.
The third time he went to a donut shop asking for a donut shaped like the olympic symbol. It worked and the worker pieced together an interlaced five ring donut.
Besides overcoming his fear of rejection by asking for something, he also leaned to stay engaged and not “run away” when faced with repudiation. For example, asking why they said “no” to the original request usually revealed important things such as it was not him being weird, but rather they were physically unable to.
Or by mentioning their potential doubt before asking, you can overcome their resistance. “This might be weird but would you…”
I could fulfill my life dream by simply asking.
The people who change the world are the people who were met with the initial and often violent rejections. Like Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela or even Jesus Christ.
These people did not let rejection define them; they let their own reaction after rejection to define themselves. – Jia Jiang
With search engines, I often tell people to “ask yourself before you consult search engines or external resources…”
While search engines allow us to research things and find inspiration; It is also causes us to no longer ask ourselves what we think and feel about a subject when we have the lazy way of just searching answers online. Too often we no longer think for ourselves but instead ask google. There are two negative potentials here.
Number one is the fact that google can control what you see and what you don’t see. This is centralized control of information. If you ask a search engine a question about genetically modified foods or global warming, your opinion can be based on what the computer shows you whether they are ads, page rank or mere omission.
The second is it often robs people the preciousness of creative critical thinking. You no longer have to think up an answer to your question when you can just search for it via google (or other search engines). But what if new answers would be discovered in the laboratories of our minds if people only thought for themselves? More often than not, search queries yield results from lay people on forums whom often know nothing more than I do or are repeating fictitious misconceptions. This also results in the development of echo-chambers whereby we get increasing polarization of view points through positive feedback loops which do not happen in libraries and book stores.
The old-fashioned way of learning things through other people, books, magazines and our own thinking allows us to be exposed to more varied and experiential view points.
Of course this comes from me … a person who built their own tiny-house version of a library … but I digress.
What music can capture a balance of human emotion? A balance of past and future? Of extroversion with introversion? Of the etheric state of receptivity with the rhythmic state of transmission?
My answer to these questions is Santana’s unusual song of “Future Primitive”. It is a musical composition with topography leading from an etheric calm trance-like sound which brings to mind a place without human existence, this leads to a frenzied drumming which inspires movement and dance. The drumming brings to mind our society of interconnected communication. But gradually this fades back to the etheric state. There is a saying that we are little water droplets in a waterfall who are separate for a period of time, but at the end they join back together in the same river of which they came from. “Future Primitive” begins as we all begin, etheric and unmanifested. From which we are born into a frenzied state of coherent drumming as if the heartbeat of our life. This fades back into the nebulous. This is the cycle of life itself.
Imagine not being able to see, hear, taste, smell, touch, talk or move. Do you not exist? Or do you exist?
What does the consciousness do in the state of no sense? What if it does not remember what sense is like?
Could you imagine how consciousness in the state of no-sense would pine to experience anything?
This is the state of which that in the unmanifested realm are. There is a “clamoring” to manifest into the above-ground would of sense. Any sense. A state of experience. Even our supposed pain, trials, challenges, despair, heartbreak are worthwhile. A wonderful thing from the perspective of no-sense. Of course the happiness, love, pleasure and “goodness” are wonderful too.
Keep this wonder of our sense-ual experience in awareness as you experience the ebb and flow of being manifested.
Wow I am experiencing XXXXX, this is wonderful!
Perhaps this is why meditation is powerful for our contentment. Meditation get’s us closer to a state of no-sense. The realm of the unmanifested. Reminding us at a deep level how great it is to be manifested and experiencing ALL that there is to experience. Our individual experience is all worthwhile. Every bit of it. Every moment. The ups and the downs. The whole and the partial. The supposed “good” and supposed “bad”. The love and the heartbreak. The connection and lose. The everything and nothing.
Think of how great it is to be “alive”. Our separate individualized sense-ual experience with great variance / topography / texture / contrast.
Think of how great it is to be “dead”. A peaceful no-sense unified state of everything and nothing.
Life reminds us of the greatness of death. Death reminds us of the greatness of life.
Manifestation reminds us of the greatness of unmanifestation. Unmanifestation reminds of the greatness of manifestation. And here I / you / we are existing in the equinox of the past and future. The horizon of the two states. As the two states make love at the edge of infinity, there we are. The gentle pendulum swings back and forth but has greatest affinity to center. distillation
At first I think depression is caused by a chemical imbalanced. I personally know that the few times I get depressed it seems to come from nowhere and tends to be related to weird excito-toxin foods I had previously eaten. But upon further thought regarding young people, I feel that young people shouldn’t be depressed. They have their entire life to look forward to. They are at the stem cell point in life where the options of paths to take is more varied than ever in life. Yet it is young people who are most plagued with suicide and serious depression. What is the problem here?
All too often, young people live in families where they do not have any support for their passion or aspirations. And frequently it’s not just a lack of champions but also receive downright cruelty and abuses of varying form. Many young people don’t receive love or when they do it’s actually transactional. Reciprocation is healthy whereas transactional is when love is withheld until you do what the other wants.
Without a solid, loving, compassionate, understanding, supportive family, many people born in toxic families isolate themselves or seek companionship from a friend group or dead-end relationships. This is natural … if your family fails you seek family elsewhere. However without healthy examples, the friend-groups or relationships tend to be foolish, incomplete and toxic. Indeed people seek out relations that emulate what they know. Few have learned to develop the confidence to say “no” to energy suckers and realize they deserve better.
In having deep conversations and hearing the life stories of many people I began seeing a repeat archetype:
A person comes from toxic family where they receive no support. They go to school where the other kids (usually from toxic situations as well) are cruel and likewise do not support eccentricities or being authentic. Many teachers are jaded and forced by higher bureaucracies to teach according to constricting standardized tests leaving little room for organic expression or interaction — further stifling authentic creative expression. Peer groups usually force uniformity to the arbitrary rules of “fitting in” such as wearing certain clothes, picking on certain people, liking/disliking the same things. A person fears breaking from the peer norms for fear of being relegated to a lower rung of the social order … or perhaps no rung at all.
The landscape often doesn’t provide inspiration or outlets either. The city, suburban and even sub-rural environment is a hard, manicured, contrived reality. Organic things like weeds growing in mono-culture grass; animals like coyotes who might eat fluffy; and fruit trees which make messes on sidewalks are all eradicated. The creative expression of Nature herself is suppressed by the collective human desire for control and conformity. Nature is trimmed, chemically treated and put in straight lines just like the human body in the media. Many have lost the ability to walk out their backdoor into wildness. There is no common access between houses, thus requiring a person to walk great distance on concrete near rushing cars in order to access the remaining parcels of undeveloped land. It is past the end of the sidewalk where they can warm their soul with the sound of red-wing black birds, the glimpse of a timid deer or elusive coyote; where the wind blows freely it’s subtle wisdom. Where the makeup of homogeneity is washed away by the wild rain. Where you can put your hands upon the ground, observe a square inch of soil and witness the completeness of life and death in an instant. Multiple animals, insects, moss, lichen, plants all in your hand … not found in the manicured parks or regulated lawns. The soil of authentic reality sifting through your fingers. It is here where we realize the magic of existence. The beauty of even the most mundane. It is here — in “demure” nature — where you can sit on a rock or nurse log, lay upon the grass or lean on a tree, look to the freeing sky and dissolve into nothing/everything beneath you. It is here where you are accepted and can express your authentic self. It is here where you find the nourishing support of Nature.
But alas with continuing mindless development gobbling the last remaining wild lands for the sake of linear progress, young people have dwindling access to these places of acceptance and expression. While critically valuable, National and state parks are usually distant and not something people can walk to every day.
Even for the lucky people who have access to the now piecemeal wilderness, many have been instilled a fear of Nature. A fear of people (criminals), animals (coyotes, cougars), insects (ticks, mosquitoes), plants (poison oak), themselves (injury, getting lost). This fear comes from a toxic family, ignorant friends, alarmist news and dramatized pop-culture. I lament the people who fear the wilderness which is the antidote to their existential despair.
Those who come from unsupportive families, surround themselves with vampire friends, and live isolated from Nature … look for answers as they drink the kool-aid when it comes to institutional careers…
Except for the outliers of society, there is no doubt we need money to live in our modern society. There are two ways most people pursue this … hourly jobs or salaried careers. With the later being the better of the two paths because at least there is space for respect and upward mobility but it is nonetheless an hourly job in disguise. Young people who are unsure of a career path turn to jobs to satisfy the need for money. But most jobs they get are dead-end, useless, mundane work in artificial environments which will eventually be replaced by robots and computers. To compound the purposeless jobs they find themselves, they often have the archetypal authoritarian boss who yet again suppresses authentic expression. When it comes to hourly jobs you are admitting to selling your precious time and life … aka selling your soul. If we follow the logic where the end goal is simply to get paid for your time (life), then we can conclude that speeding up time until it no longer existed would be ideal. This is seen with workers watching the clock and who can’t wait for 5pm or the weekend to come. In other words they are saying “I want to throw away the majority of my life in order to have money and the precious few hours at the end of the day and week to really live”.
What is seldom taught in school, mentors and family is entrepreneurialism. While the mundane still exists in being self-employed, you have the freedom to go wander whenever you want, talk to who you want, express yourself however you see fit and live the life you want to life. If you are like me, you might pet the crow sitting on your desk. Contrary to hourly workers, an entrepreneur wishes time would slow down. This is a healthier perspective and is indicative of a life well lived. Live life where you wish time would slow down instead of speed up.
Over 160,000 people under the age of 25 commit suicide each year and is one of the leading causes of death among young people. What is the antidote to this?
Personal spiritual foundation.
Access to Nature.
Learning to say “no” to the wrong things and “yes” to the right things.
Outlets to express their authentic selves.
Choosing the path of transmuted anger instead of paralyzing sadness.
Personal Spiritual Foundation
For many young people, the older authoritarian religions of yore do not resonate for good reason. But without a replacement for spirituality, many resort to agnosticism. But even with their atheism, they approach it without passion. At least the passionate atheists have purpose in the dogma of logic and ironic absurdism.
But without a passionate personal understanding of spirituality, life can seem meaningless and purposeless. Reading self-help books and diverse perspectives on spirituality can plant the seeds of formulating your own spirituality; but what is most important is creating your own spiritual experiences. Seek out what can only be called “magic”. The synchronicity between friends and loved ones. How music creates emotions. How dance is liberating. How a sunset or natural vista is inspiring. How the unity of a sperm and egg can create a whole new being. The relation we have with animals. The feeling of compassionate Love. You will find your own spirituality when you seek out that which cannot be explained but only experienced.
Access To Nature
Wild nature is the best place to experience this unexplainable magic of profound truths. Nature is where we came from … our original parents and oldest ancestor. Consequently the compassionate Love and acceptance we experience in Nature fulfills us. It is here where you recharge your energy, let go of negative attachments, express your authentic self and derive the deepest wisdom.
Learning To Say No. Learning To Say Yes.
Learning to say “no” specifically to people who are toxic is important for living a harmonious life. People who cause self-doubt, drama, trauma and co-dependence are energy suckers and drags … but also powerful teachers. With the lessons of how to stand in your own authentic power.
Sometimes a person will need to go through social catharsis and remove toxic people from their lives. Saying “no” to certain supposed friends. Changing schools to where you don’t know anyone and can reinvent the social expectations others have of you. Or moving to a different town to get away. Sometimes drastic circumstantial shifts are needed to rid one’s life of toxic people and situations. The key however is to not repeat the mistakes of the past self. No longer will you accept disrespect, lack of support, degradation, abuse or irresponsibility from your family, friends or mate. With new people and new life with less precedent as the entrenched people of past, it is easier to stand in your authentic power.
Conversely people who come from toxic situations often fear success or lack confidence. Many think they “are not good enough” for a perfect mate, fulfilling career or ideal location. When people doubt themselves they say “no” to things which would empower their life and “yes” to things that drag them down. Thus relegating themselves to a life which confirms of a faulty paradigm of disrespect and drama. Rejection happens whether asking a beautiful person for a date or trying to close a sale with a big client. For people with toxic backgrounds, they use this rejection as confirmation that they are unworthy and retreat into a contracted state. However success is created from grit and perseverance. Eventually someone will say yes! But you will only find out if you devote enough time and have many doors slammed in your face without loosing hope. An example is where someone buys land to mine for gold — and after spending much money and many years — yield nothing. They quit, liquidate the equipment and move away. The next person who bought the land found the richest gold vein just a few feet over from where the previous people where digging. Opportunity happens for people who devote themselves and never give up hope even after heartbreak and disappointment.
Sometimes when life seems meaningless, purposeless or dead-end … enough for them to consider suicide … a person just needs to make a radical shift. Sometimes it can be simple like changing the way you dress but other times it can mean selling everything, changing your contacts and moving across the globe. By making such drastic changes you are more likely to break things loose. To start the life you want rather than staying in a non-fulfilling stagnant situation.
One of the most detrimental things for young people is a lack of creative outlets to express themselves. Art, music, writing, outdoor recreation and dance are all outlets than need to be cultivated. Without healthy outlets like these, the pure creative energy get’s stagnant and spoils into self-destructive behavior such as indiscriminate sex, drugs, alcohol, addictions, peer pressure, delinquency or risky behavior resulting in injury and heartbreak. In hearing the stories of people who went through tumultuous younger years, I have found that efforts by parents and teachers to suppress these behaviors through shame, fear or punishment just creates further entrenchment of the self-destructive behavior. These impulsive actions are pursued to fill the void of organic improvisational spontaneity they lack in their daily life. The antidote to these risky behaviors with their “exciting” appeal is to give young people fulfilling outlets for their creative energy and supporting the eccentric experimentations with understanding wise guidance.
Some people think saving the world is futile. Some think the world doesn’t need saving. Others doubt their ability to do any real change and resign themselves into impotence. While others think that mere positive thoughts is enough. And some think that other people will save the world
In my mind, I would rather die trying to help the Earth than to reflect on a life lived without that purpose.
We cannot assume someone else will protect our wild lands and make sure that our Earth with soil, water, air, biodiversity and genetic integrity will remain pure and unadulterated.
I know my purpose in life is to be a spokesperson for nature, to give voice to that which cannot speak for itself; as well as to be a protector for nature and fight for what cannot fight for itself.