I am as enthralled and enchanted with the American Water Dipper as John Muir once was. Indeed it was his favorite bird.
This demure brown bird about the size of a robin lives in cold mountain streams and near waterfalls. It is so incredibly at home in the water – more so than even ducks which often come back to land. Their very complex and always unique song is akin to a parrot in its language. But unlike other birds, it seems the Water Dipper sings to the river itself or simply because it cannot contain its ecstastic love for the flowing water. You can’t even hear its song that well because it is so interwoven with the gurgles and crash of rapids and waterfalls. It can usually be heard from above the stream bank a little easier.
John Muir was enraptured with the bird because it seems to retain its joyous happiness even in the darkest and coldest winters when all other animals are hunkered down wishing for spring. The Water Dipper reminds us that we can be at home anywhere – even the harshest environments. To be happy and live in joy no matter how damp, grey and “dreary” that others bemoan. To be one with your environment. To be in love with the elements.
It’s understandable when animals love each other within the same species. It’s precious when animals love other species, such as when a dog mothers a fawn. But it is downright profound to behold animals in love with elements within Nature. I’ve seen this by the way a dying bee clings to a clover flower such that I was overcome by the realization of how much love the bee had towards the flower. How much comfort and joy flowers brings to this insect. I’ve seen cows and horses leap with glee upon being put out to pasture. In love with open spaces and green grasses. I’ve seen my crow, Keiko, appreciate the colors of the setting sun. I’ve seen birds of all kind do the “rain dance” when misted by rain. A dance of wild ecstasy. But the greatest love, comfort and joy I’ve seen in an animal is the Water Ouzel with water.
So at home in the water, I wondered if perhaps it originated from water itself. Perhaps the droplets of water congealed with divinity to give rise to the Water Dipper. But when I considered this more I realized perhaps the Water Ouzel manifested from the river stones instead.
Indeed when searching for the Water Ouzel, it is hard to differentiate between the rocks. It is the same color, same size, same shape as the stones they hop upon.
Besides the beautiful voice, another notable feature of the Water Ouzel is how it bobs its body up and down. Bouncing in a motion like a child excited to begin. I’m reminded of the shaking motion we do in Qi Gong to move energy and break up stagnation.
Perhaps – I wonder – the water dipper manifested from the river rocks. Animated by the love they have for its flowing companion of water. Perhaps it can only remain in bird form for as long as it sings its song and dips its body up and down. For if they forget to sing and dance they’re sure to transform back into the rocks they came from.
Maybe we can take note from the water ouzel. Maybe we loose our vitality when we forget to sing and dance. Maybe we loose our magic when we fail to see the joy of our life and environment.
Give love to the elements. Dance in the rain. Let the sunsets move you to tears. Let wind whisper sweetness to your ears. Let the smell of forest and desert remind you of something which will never be explained. Be held by nature as you behold its timeless splendor.
Today is 2022-02-22. An alignment
of this many numbers is uncommon.
I began today with my usual
leaning into work where I did some plasma cutting and shop clean up.
But the most auspicious time of 2:22 2/2/2022 was fast approaching.
In 2019, my Prius was about to
turn 222,222 miles. Curious where I would end up, I kept driving till
it turned over. I found myself at a place called “Friday Creek”.
From here I found and crawled into a large hollowed tree and read the
words “Not All Who Wander Are Lost” written on the inside. A
potent message that was important to me during that time. I live for
these magical happenings.
Certainly this looming time today
had potential for similar discovery of magic.
I decided to head North in order to get away from the more busy Columbia Gorge. I could “smell” the scent of magic in that direction. I knew it would be in a place I had never been before.
Onward I went. Past Troutlake.
Then right onto road 88. I went as far as I could till the road was
no longer plowed. This happened to be a snow park. I ventured over
the giant burm of plowed ice and scurried into the unmarked wintry
forest. At this point I only had several minutes to find my magic
place. So I walked through the forest while keeping track of time. At
2:22 I was in front of a tree which a sign stapled to it stating:
“Boundary. Cutting Unit. Lipo.
I walked past this tree at 2:22
and during that same minute found a wellspring coming from a old
I marveled at how I found an
unmarked spring on my auspicious hunt. I went quite a bit further and
sat on a stump in the sun and
video recorded the meaning of what I had found.
Here is a summary of the meaning
that I found.
I often ask the
universe/source/spirit/god to give me magical signs that guide my
life to be clear. So often magic can be so exceedingly obscure that
it is difficult to get a clear answer. So I have requested universe
to give me signs written in plain English. These signs have
manifested in the example of finding the painting and note on the
barbed wire fence which matched the poem that came to mind while
playing piano a few days prior. Has manifested with a medicine woman
telling me to be a hollow bone, then being magically led to a hollow
tree the next day. Has manifested with finding a quote from a Rumi
tarot type card in the weeds randomly. Has manifested with the quote
I found inside the hollow tree when my prius turned 222,222.
And so here is a sign that says
“Boundary” and “Cutting”. What do these words mean to me?
Well let’s add more context,
recently I had a very meaningful and potent dream. I
will rewrite the dream here:I
was in some position of law enforcement and was going to a
neighborhood to check out a werewolf prop that someone had put up.
This werewolf head somehow landed on my windshield where I could
really see the details. It was like one of those gruesome wolf masks
you see at Halloween shops and was incredibly realistic. Very scary
but nonetheless fake. I thought the neighbors were overreacting with
what appeared to be a prank from some kid. But in hearing more of the
story from the neighbors, I found out this has been going on for some
time and the werewolf prop had been moved around strategically in a
way to intimidate people.
scene changed and I witnessed a group of vampires who would move this
werewolf prop. When they realized they were being watched, they
wrapped themselves in their black cloaks and disappeared back into
the forest. It is unknown whether they were real vampires or if they
were people pretending to be vampires.
The scene changed to my
Grandma’s land. Here I did energy work to protect the land from these
nefarious beings. I said words like “release, clarify, protection,
harmony” while physically using my hands to move unwanted energy
away from the land. I had a handful of long pine needles which I had
“charged” to be protective talismans – for lack of a better
word. I went to each corner of the land to plant one of these magic
pine needles to create an energetic protective fence around the
While I was working on energy clearing and protection, I
was also aware that I had a clone of myself sitting in the passenger
seat of my car out front of the house. This clone of myself was
deeply sleeping – or perhaps it was out of consciousness – or
perhaps it was dying. I was concerned about my clone self and cared
for it as if it was my child, however I couldn’t attend to it. I
couldn’t help him. Because I was doing energy clearing for others. I
also wasn’t able to plant the last corner with the last pine needle
before I woke up. I remember the feeling of moving energy. I
remember the concern and fear I had for the well-being of my clone
This dream can be summarized as
there are “vampires” in my life that take my attention away from
my primary path to the detriment of my well-being. This aligns with
my feeling that my attention has become so diluted away from the
things I was put here to do.
So what is the answer? The answer
is to have better boundaries and to cut the things
which are energy (blood) suckers. Let’s explore further…
The Rumi card I found in weeds a
few months ago has two meanings. It said “If you become a lion,
love will become a lion hunter.” This means if I become prideful
then love will predate me. Whereas if I embody the positive qualities
of a lion such as being courageous, then love will pleasantly seek
and befriend me. The phrase can be read in two opposing ways.
I need to have better boundaries
with what I say yes to. Better boundaries with what I invest my time
into. I need to have more boundaries.
Conversely I also need to
evaluate the walls that I hold around myself and my heart. I need to
cut the blockages that hold me back.
With the word “Cutting”. This
also has two meanings. It means I need to cut the things in my life
which do not serve towards the greatest harmony. This goes
hand-in-hand with boundaries.
Conversely how I am cutting
myself off from source authenticity. Just as I need to find and
dissolve the boundaries/blockages to flow, I must also find and
dissolve that which severs this flow. “Blockages” (boundaries)
are static things, whereas “severing” (cutting) are actions that
cut the flow.
There are always two sides to
every coin you find.
Let’s take this further and look
into numerology. The sign also said “Unit 19”.
The number 19 is both 1 and 9.
This number contains beginning cycle and ending cycle numbers. When
you add these two numbers it equals 10, which reduces (1+0) to 1.
Number 1 is the beginning of a cycle. The beginning of a new era. A
new way of being. A new way of being was born from the union of
beginnings and ends.
How relevant it is then that I
crossed an invisible boundary between this and that as marked by
number 19 during 2:22 2/22/2022. I am grateful my signs often come as
In this amplified time of “two”
there are two things which come to mind. That of relationship and
that of polarity. It is a time to reflect on relationships with
others and to observe how female and male create fertile
polarity/dichotomy just as winter begets summer. Night informs the
day. Death defines birth. And visa versa.
It is incredible to find an
unmarked secret spring in the middle of the forest by chance. And it
is especially potent for it to be revealed at such a powerful
alignment of two’s. What does the spring mean?
A spring represents yet another
dichotomy. It is the point where water (symbolic of consciousness)
goes from its etheric, dark, dream realm into the manifested,
above-ground realm of sunlight. It is the source of a cycle because
it is where it both ends and starts (19 = 1+9 = 10 = 1+0 = 1). It
reminds me of the importance to have a foot in both realms
simultaneously. The dream world and the get-er-done world. As a
creative, it is important for me to pull from the realm of ideas and
make them into reality. Poems, sculpture, music, dance, events,
structures and methods. I imagine mountain springs are where the
creative muses live. I am quite fond of collaborating with the
fleeting creative muses that come to me.
And so the wisdom I received on
Evaluate my life for blockages
while enacting healthy boundaries.
Evaluate my life for how I cut
myself from source, while also severing the things which do not help
A reminder to manifest my dreams
in flow state just as the mountain springs do.
That everything has two
A confirmation that magic can be found if you are willing to look for it.
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”?
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