Sunday, November 16, 2008

A New Kind of Life

On November 8th, in a friend's backyard underneath gorgeous autumn trees that dropped their leaves on us, Ashley Horn and I were married. We had a small ceremony and our closest family and friends, although Ashley's brother Shaun & his wife and children couldn't be there...

I feel like I am having a gradual change in my thinking, rather than an immediate switch to thinking like a married man. I had no idea what it was going to feel like and how I would view it....

I love you Ashley.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Sur-Real Life

Surreal...overused and misunderstood--at least by me.
I won't get into my issues with this word as a descriptive tool...

Yesterday played out in an almost theater-like the morning began with the graveside service for a woman who a month-and-a-half ago I wouldn't have described as extremely close, but who I would today describe as the most inspiring teacher I have ever had--like a second mother even. Although we have had quite a bit of interaction over the past six weeks, I think that maybe my perspective is what underwent the most radical change, as opposed to any effort on her part to shift our relationship. I stood with her family and friends as we celebrated the beginning of her soul's journey into the next world of God.

Less than an hour after her body was lowered into the ground and covered with earth, I was at my mother's house for a party to celebrate my upcoming marriage. Many of the same people came to both events...

Friday, October 31, 2008

Journeys 2 Gether

Many thanks to my wonderful friend, Justin Nevill, for creating this website...

to check it out-to see what we are up to-go to

this website!

Love Rio


Many of the world religions teach us that the passing of the soul from the body to the next world is not cause for despair and sadness, but for happiness and rejoicing. As a dear friend put it to me...our inability to comprehend this truth is reflective of the duality of the human existence, the balance that we are all striving for. It also is in keeping with the crumbling of the old world order and the synchronous rising of the new-as more and more our spiritual sides mature and become aware that our physical bodies and our mortal existence is not the pinnacle of our being that our materialistic society portrays it to be.

I have been given a gift too precious to fully describe. I have seen a friend's battle to remain focused on the ultimate objective of God's will as the crude housing that we call our body failed. I have watched living become difficult, the most taken for granted, simple tasks become arduous labors, resulting in exhaustion and nausea. Sat alongside a bed while pain and agony repeatedly beat away at the mental reserves and willpower to die gracefully.

But most of all, I watched the trembling hands, and wandering mind return to the prayers; the mouth-sometimes silently and through dry, parched lips-repeatedly offer forth the exhortation "Ya Baha El-Abha!" I have listened to the holy words of God uttered with a waning voice, but a spirit that was desperately trying to burst freee from its earthly confines and shout its praises aloud so that all could hear the beauty!

I don't know how this works either, but I know that she will always be watching and assisting us. Thank you for giving me this wonderful part of life, and thank you for all the secrets you have given me-and most importantly for the assurance that our souls do not rely on our bodies to sing their song to the heavens.

Please say a prayer-any kind that you can-for a dear friend and sister who has been freed from this plane of existence and is now moving onward in her journey.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


New Zealand is looking like the clear choice for settling down right now...Ashley and I are both really excited about it. I don't think I have met a single person who had bad things to say about the country...
Hopefully we will have some letters of introduction to the Baha'i's over there...and if anyone knows anybody who would be willing to show us their neck of the woods we would love to have contact information...
send it to

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

time vs. money

I have seen this face-off before
I have seen the pendulum swing one way
one day,
then the other the next.
Restraint and sacrifice, teetering between necessity
of materials,
and the necessity
of precious moments.
Sometimes we cram greatly to one extreme,
at the expense of the other
and sometimes we walk the balance beam between.
How much money will I need
to make my memories of this time pleasant?
Can I ever get enough to outweigh the loss
of seeing a child's beautiful child-smile?
When I look back on our last conversations,
will I regret that I cut them short to go to "work"?
How long does it take to realize
that you can't take it with you?
and yet...
I cannot stop thinking of money...

Monday, September 8, 2008

Having Left This World...

Baha'i Prayer for the Dead
(If it is for a man, then substitute son, him and his when saying it)

"O my God! This is Thy servant, and the daughter of Thy servant who hath believed in Thee and in Thy signs, and set her face towards Thee, wholly detached from all else except Thee. Thou art, verily, of those who show mercy the most merciful.
Deal with her, O Thou Who forgivest the sins of men and concealeth their faults, as beseemeth the heaven of Thy bounty and the ocean of Thy grace. Grant her admission within the precincts of Thy transcendent mercy that was before the foundation of earth and heaven. There is no God but Thee, the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Generous.

Then repeat six times the greeting 'Allah-u-Abha',
and then repeat nineteen times each of the following verses.
We all, verily, worship God.

We all, verily, bow down before God.

We all, verily, are devoted unto God.

We all, verily, give praise unto God.

We all, verily, yield thanks unto God.

We all, verily, are patient in God.


two more endings
one drawn out too long
another cut much too short
added to the earlier story
of an expected passing
that was surprisingly unexpected
in threes he comes
but it is simple statistics
the longer you live
the more lives you will bear witness to
as they come to a halt
and while some are planning weddings
and some are birthing children
others spend their time mourning
and wiping tears from their cheeks
as they try to find ways to say goodbye
to someone that has already gone
a small comfort it can sometimes be
when my soul swells with remembrance
and I realize that they are not gone forever
but living on in every one I see

Friday, September 5, 2008

Literary Privacy

I was reading a book by Chuck Klosterman. Chuck is quite a much as any of us. I could relater to Chuck because the majority of the thoughts that he wrote about revolved around the way he perceived everyone else perceiving him. Perfect.
Perfectly selfish and egotistical. If I had the same experiences as Chuck, I could have wrote that book.

In his book her does a lot of writing about his relationships with women. It struck me, that I too could do the same thing, although I haven't yet. Its not that I would have a lot of women to write about, its that I could spend pages dissecting what I think that they were thinking in any given situation. Some of my worst moments in the past few years have been when I actually vocalized these dissections to the women in my life. I have definitely learned that a little censorship of my internal voices is a good thing. But...

Once a little time has passed...can I share my thoughts then? What if I change names? Situations? Who will know? What about my future wife? Can I write about her? Us? When will it be okay? Chuck didn't necessarily wait--he just wrote about what he was doesn't always have to be damaging. But the one thing he noted that makes me cringe, both because I know it to be my own tendency as well as knowing how much it angers me when I experience it...

Is the fact that often time the things that I can make into cohesive thoughts on paper-with my words-are things I don't know how to say out loud.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


I have a housemate...
which is actually quite nice...
it is a completely different situation than the last time I had one.
and I really enjoy sitting around and talking with her.
and this morning
she asked me if I was okay a few times before she left the house.
I couldn't figure out why at first
She even checked up on me later via email
with a funny telegram style message-stop-
that personified her sarcastic, humorous nature
and betrayed the deep caring that she hides underneath it

what am i talking about???

she was right to worry-
I feel a little shell-shocked
and I can only imagine what it feels like right now
to be the person who I am worried about
as he goes through his own range of emotions
and grief
and loss
but I, and everyone else in his life,
although I shouldn't speak for them-
I don't care-I will anyhow.
you see, we all love him so much,
and we want to be there for him,
and we want to share our love with him,
and we want to see him happy
and free
and I really find it hard
to watch him try to get there by himself
but it reminds me of rock climbing
when you are the belay
you can often see the path the climber needs to take
the next hold...
but when you are pressed against the rock face
and your fingers are slipping
and your toes are cramping
and you can't see the next crevice,
Where do you get the courage to just reach out?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I am getting married to Ashley...a beautiful woman whom I have known for over five years now. There is a lot I could say about the path that has brought us to where we are...but all I am going to tell you is that I can't wait to see her in November. And hopefully we will get to see some of YOU too.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Four-Way Stop

Leaving the west side of Saipan and heading away from San Jose, past Chalan Kiya and up the hill towards the Northern Marianas College, it always seems to start raining. It seems as if it could be sunny and hot everywhere else that I go on the island, but as soon as I head inland I get rained on. It isn't quite so much of a problem since I turned in my scooter for a 96 Nissan Sentra. It just barely creeps up the hill at a maximum speed of 20 mph...but that's a whole 'nother post!

Once I crest the hill, the road levels out and signs seem to indicate that you are in the village of DanDan. I get a little confused about this, as it seems a good ways away from the actual homes that make up the neighborhoods of DanDan. Some friends happened to be sitting next to me and they straightened me out. Lower DanDan comes first and then up the hill you skirt San Vicente and come into Upper DanDan.

The point of all this, is that as you hang a right at the complicated intersection right after the fish market that takes you into either San Vicente or DanDan, you come to a crossroads. When you are heading into this crossroads from the south and the west, you have no stop sign, and consequently do not have to stop. (Just to clarify-Stop signs don't really make people stop here).

But if you are approaching the intersection from the back island route, to the north, or from the east coast of San Vicente, you are faced with stop signs. Now, if you still don't see the problem here, it's okay, it isn't exactly readily apparent when you describe it. And for the locals who read this, I am really not complaining. I love this intersection. But it is fundamentally representative of the danger, confusion, half-assing it and just general waste of time, materials and energy that seems to be rampant on Saipan right now.

Still don't get it? Draw a picture. Crossroads. Two way top, but the stop signs are adjacent to each other, rather than opposite. Wouldn't it be better to just do away with one of the signs? Did there used to be more? Am I just a dumb haole who doesn't know what he's talking about? Maybe. Just proceed through the intersection with caution...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

brilliant ideas

I have them on a regular basis.
I do not remember them on a regular basis.
Enough about me...
I picked up a book titled 'A Moment on Earth"
from the end table of a house I am "sitting" at.
The book is a DVDBook about an idea a guy had
to synchronously film multiple places on the Earth.
Wonderful idea. It worked out.
Neat movie.
Check out the website for a little bit of a teaser.

A page from another's blog...

I have this friend, her name is Martha..and she apparently has a blog, a fact which I was not aware of until very recently. Ours is one of the longest surviving friendships of my life, since we met almost 20 years ago.

Although we were out of touch for quite some time, when we finally began talking again, I was amazed by her travel stories and the richness of her life. While I had been stagnating away in the same town for years, she had left our home state and seen some of the world, all the while-in my mind at least-holding on to the Baha'i ideals that we had been raised with.

She inspired me. She confirmed for me yet again that it was possible to try to live up to the demanding moral standards that we were taught as children. I rebelled against it. Maybe she did too, a little. But she kept the nose of her ship pointed in the right direction, while I left the monkey in charge of my ship and went below to have some rum with the wenches.

She knows (now!) how amazing I think she is. And this article on the persecution of Iranian Baha'is came from her blog. If you want to read some of her other stuff, beware...she is a damn smart girl...and an okay swimmer too!

Monday, August 4, 2008


I have recently:

got this and other awe-some pics from WA
bought a slightly-used "new" car for $1300
worried about money
spent a few days house-sitting in a nice house with a gorgeous view of the bay
spent a couple hours soaking at Mandi Spa (mmmmmmm!)
tutored six Korean children and two adults
played in a soccer tournament hosted by the Saipan Korean Football League
given some serious thought as to where & how I want to spend the next year of my life
almost sold my house in Charlotte, NC but not quite
experienced my first serious case of writers block on a project with a deadline
really missed my dog
not stretched enough and experienced some serious pain as a result
worried about money some more
read Martha's blog and put off creating yet another email account so that I could tell her that I think she is an amazing woman and that we all have neuroses
prayed for assistance
still haven't massaged anyone
missed my dog who isn't mine anymore
missed my brother who (even though he's adopted) still is mine
wanted to tell my family and friends that
I love them ALL.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Love My Dogs...

It is wonderful to be able to get chances to do things that would be way out of my league in the states. Like writing an article for a magazine. Just sort of fell into my lap. I was honored to be asked to do it. I hope I get another chance. Check it out at the Island Locator Magazine blog and tell me what you think. My article was part two to one that I read the first month I was on island. I am supposed to be writing part three right this minute. Instead I am posting this blog. I hope Katie doesn't see's coming right away I promise!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Who cares what a kid thinks?

I have been blessed enough to just sort of fall into a tutoring position as the result of someone whom I met here leaving the island. Initially it was only seven hours a week, but then some more students were introduced and I now am pretty busy tutoring from 10:30 am until 5:30 pm five days a week, plus a few hours on Saturday. It is amazing and humbling and tiring and exciting to see people so excited about learning.

One of my students is a boy named Chris. He is fourteen in Korea, where they began a person's age at conception. Which by the way I think makes a great deal of sense-think about it. But he would only be twelve in America. He is the most advanced out of his family, who have all come to Saipan for a month of intensive English tutoring. He is very talkative and I really like him.

This afternoon we were talking about different types of food and as I pointed at a picture of a supermarket meat case I jokingly asked him if it was American Beef. To explain the joke, he, his mother and his aunt have all informed me that people in Korean don't like American beef. Ya' know, that whole mad-cow disease thing kinda soured them on it. So anyways, I said this jokingly-and the joke was in the inflection of my voice, which is not something that most foreigners can pick up on-and Chris' eyes got really big. His answer came in the excited, elevating voice that is his normal volume of communication with me. (I am going to paraphrase his answer and our dialog in general-doing my best to leave the point that struck me intact.)

"No, no American beef. Is Korean beef. No buy American beef. American cows are crazy," was Chris' response.

"Not anymore," I tried to defend my countries meat practices. "They say that the beef is okay and there is no more mad-cow disease."

His eyes got big again and he responded with words that would have made many people nod in agreement. "We don't believe your president when he says mad-cow disease is no more. Why we believe your president? George Bush is a liar. He attack Iraq and say maaaanny nuclear weapons and so attack Iraq and fight and no nuclear weapons. And he say bin Laden and..." Here he paused and asked me if he was saying bin Laden right-he wasn't, because he pronounces the letters R and L incorrectly unless he makes a great effort to inflect them properly-and what his whole name was. I told him, and he continued.

"Yes Osama bin Laden and he say find him and kill him. And no kill bin Laden. And he really attack Iraq for oil."-(it sounded more like oir)-And he said it questioningly and so we repeated the word 'oil' quite a few times. And then he finished up with "Your president is a bad man attack Iraq for oil and a liar."

A twelve year old. From a country on the other side of the planet. Of course he has heard and absorbed this from others. From his parents, his teachers, relatives and the news. Maybe there is a left-wing liberal party running around trying to convince non-voting, non-citizens of our country and its leaders incompetence. That seems likely. I don't really believe that there is a global conspiracy to make George W. Bush seem like a liar and an imbecile. I realize that this wasn't exactly a scientific poll, that one young Korean boy is not representative of the entire world and its views...but still.

As I sat there and listened to him I could hear the emotion in his voice, the feeling behind his words-and none of this is really that "close to home" for him. It became incredibly clear to me in a moment how young boys are willing to die because of opinions like this. His opinion may not mean much right now. I wonder how many more children there are like him around the world, wondering at American incompetence and ignorance. At our ability to demand righteousness and good behavior from others and our seeming inability to present it in ourselves. Maybe Chris becomes a politician in Korea someday...who knows. Whatever, he's just a kid right?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Brian Regan

Someone else has always said it funnier...
I plan to use this for my tutoring sessions this week...


an email to my father dated April 5th, 2008,
he asked me to 'describe' where i was...

cherry blossoms--white and pink
petals falling down on you like snow
bamboo forests
wind whistling through them
stone cairns
in graveyards from at least a thousand years ago
sounds of trains
beautiful roofs
and houses stacked on top of each other up the mountainside
always rice cooking
and the smell that a city makes when throngs of people stomp around it all day long
oh yeah
apparently japanese as a culture don't wear deoderant
not that bad yet
as the temp is still mild
but i can't even buy any there
maybe in the other places
may need a care package
or maybe its one less amenity to worry about
toliet seats are almost always heated

Friday, July 25, 2008

No Vegetarians Allowed

It began with pork ribs
and about twenty hot dogs
out came the containers of steamed rice
green salad-with apple slices in it-
of course the kimchi.
by the time my plate was full
chicken wings were ready
with some spicy chili sauce to flavor them
followed shortly by beef sliced
the way that I have only seen Koreans do it
some T-bone steaks to add to the mix
and large shrimp followed that
I ended it all up with a tin-foil wrapped potato
a plate full of sliced mangoes that weren't totally thawed
and marshmallows to roast over the dying charcoals of the grill
as children shout at each other in Korean
and I turn down a cold Bud Light...
I realize just how well these folks would fit in
at a BBQ in North Carolina
or anywhere else in the U.S.
if only people weren't so blind to our inherent oneness.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I am busy, busy tutoring students six days a week, for many hours each day.
The owners of the house I have been staying in get home in less than a week.
I need to find a car to purchase.
I feel like every muscle in my body is contracting bit-by-bit each day.
I am listening to My Heart Will Go On...
ok not any more, whew.
I am sad because I really like Saipan but I am trying to make plans for the next year of my life...
and building anything upon the shifting foundation that is this island seems...
either blissfully idiotic
or just foolish.
I don't know
Nor does anyone else
I wish the light at the end of the tunnel was visible...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tank Beach

This past Saturday, I went out to see Tank Beach for my first time since I have been on the island. I went along with Denise, who teaches children's classes on Saturday mornings to a group of kids in Kagman.

At about 9:00 am we had seven kids and the two of us, and we partnered the kids off and gave each set of 'buddies' a bag. I had another bag for Denise and I but didn't bring any extras. We figured we would spend about an hour out there and then head back to the house, only a short five minute walk away from the beach.

We got down to Tank Beach. It looked like a boat carrying plastic containers had dumped its load into the ocean of our coast. The tide line contained as much minuscule broken plastic pieces as it did shells and coral. I was stunned by the amount of plastic out there; from bottles to pieces of crates, from wheels to what can only be described as 'chunks' of plastic. There was some trash that I would describe as "locally grown", styrofoam plates and cups, drink boxes and beer cans, but this was much more the exception than the rule. The one thing that I was really disturbed by was the plastic six-pack rings. Really?!?! Maybe that was in the trash from the sunk plastic boat too...but for pete's sake!!! People! Cut the six-pack rings up so that fish and wildlife don't get stuck in them! It even gives you an excuse to whip out your knives while drinking-which always can make for a good story that the whole family will remember for years to come!

We filled up five trash bags in about fifteen minutes. The kids spent a lot of time examining stuff, we could've done it in about five minutes. We barely made a dent in it. I hope we can get back out there soon, even though that was the culmination of our children's class lesson on service. I feel like we barley scratched the surface. These children didn't seem to know that plastic NEVER will degrade. They didn't know about the danger of six-pack rings, or that many of the bottles we found are recyclable. Maybe a lot of other people don't either.

There's much that can be said about the need for reducing our waste, re-using what we can, and recycling what we are able to. Plastic NEVER goes away!! It isn't out of sight, out of mind anymore either. Just read this article to discover where your plastic has been going...

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Little Boy and the Starfish

One fine warm day, an old man was walking down a sandy, tropical beach. He noticed as he was walking that the tide had brought in a lot of starfish. He started looking at the starfish and admiring their pretty colors as he walked.

He noticed a little boy in the distance was walking towards him, but at a very slow pace.

The reason for the slow pace of the little boy became apparent the closer the old man came. The little boy was also looking at the starfish, but he was doing more. He was picking up those he found and throwing them back out to sea.

"Why are you throwing the starfish back into the sea?" asked the old man. "Starfish die if they're out of their sea water for too long." replied the little boy.

Ever the practical man, he said, "It's a good thing to do, but do you know how many starfish there must be washed up on this beach every day? You can't possibly make a dent in that. What difference can you make in an effort to save starfish?"

The little boy bent down, picked up another starfish, threw it out into the sea, turned towards the old man, and said, "It made a difference to that one."

I challenge you to find a way to make a difference.

Honesty is in our Eyes

I was reading an e-mail from someone who I considered a close friend, someone whom I shared a time in my life with, who I haven't really connected with since last fall. At least I didn't think we had, but I heard rumors of things being said by them that suggested otherwise. The things I heard were only told to me because I asked about them specifically, and they didn't really affect me-but they affected someone else who was close to me. And so I decided to be upset about them. And I have been upset; I have been holding on to a resentment about these words that I didn't hear, that weren't said to me, or anywhere near me, for almost three months now.

I was considering a response to the e-mail I just got, which I believed to be extremely deceitful and insincere. I cannot claim to always being an honest man. I have told my share of lies in my life, and I doubt that I am finished with dishonesty. But I have recently been shocked by the ability to just stare into another's eyes and pretend as if there is nothing to be truthful about. That there aren't things that need to be said, explained, accounted for. I have felt my heart literally break as I stared deep into eyes, waiting for something to be said...and all I got was intense fear. And again, I felt a pain when someone pretended not to notice me, then acted surprised when they saw me. Yet it was a fraudulent act, so clearly dishonest that its a wonder we even kept up the charade of friendliness. This time at least, there was talk...but it was a thin glaze over the words that had been said, and I couldn't help bristle with resentment for the lack of confession and apology I felt was deserved.

And so I was going to write all this to my one-time friend, and as I thought about it I was bowled over by the duplicity of the situation. For while one person was looking me in the eyes and leaving it all unsaid, I was doing the exact same thing to another. Of course, I felt my deception was right. I thought my lie was justified. I wanted to say something, really I did. But I just couldn't bring myself to admit the truth. Face-to-face, I shied away from the truth, and I missed a valuable chance to be a better person. I did exactly that which I was despising.

And while my friend clearly felt uncomfortable around me, and didn't attempt to stay near me, I covered my dishonesty so well that I continued to stay near another, even as I kept up my treachery.

So I cannot reprimand another, for over and over again I find, that I, somewhere-somehow, have been guilty of the same transgression, whether in a lesser or greater degree. And it all makes me wonder...where my eyes as filled with fear as yours were?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

My piriformis is sore. Now, since my spell-checker doesn't know what a piriformis is, maybe you don't either. It is a muscle that has it's attachments on the sacrum and the grater trochanter of the femur, and its main action is lateral rotation at the hip joint...or you could say it's a muscle in your butt that turns your leg.

That's it. Hope you weren't looking for a whole lot more.

Oh, and I am absolutely ecstatic right now! I just can't tell you why!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

rainy night

I recently went somewhere special
with someone special
and while we were there I found something special
and i just wanted to share some of it with you
these are just the ones that really spoke to me...

My home is the home of peace.
My home is the home of joy and delight.
My home is the home of laughter and exaltation.
Whoever enters through the portals of this home,
must go out with gladsome heart.
This is the home of light;
whoever enters here must become illumined.

The mother is the first teacher of the child. For children,
at the beginning of life, are fresh and tender as a young twig,
and can be trained in any fashion you desire.
If you rear your child to be straight, he will grow straight,
in perfect symmetry. It is clear that the mother is the first
teacher and that is she who establisheth the character and
conduct of the child.

O ye loving mothers, know ye that in God's sight,
the best of all ways to worship Him is to educate the children
and train them in all the perfections of humankind;
and no nobler deed than this can be imagined.

If love and agreement are manifest in a single family,
that family will advance, become illumined and spiritual;
but if enmity and hatred exist within it,
destruction and dispersion are inevitable.

And above all other unions is that between human beings,
especially when it cometh to pass in the love of God.
Thus is the primal oneness made to appear;
thus is laid the foundation of love in the spirit.

I have the different source information if you are interested.
Please forgive me for my earlier ranting...I didn't mean YOU.

True Story?

The following scene took place on a BA flight between Johannesburg and London . This is a true story.

A White woman, about 50 years old, was seated next to a Black man. Obviously disturbed by this, she called the air Hostess. "Madam, what is the matter," the Hostess asked. "You obviously do not see it then?" she responded. "You placed me next to a Black man. I do not agree to sit next to someone from such a repugnant group. Give me an alternative seat." "Be calm please, the Hostess replied. "Almost all the seats on this flight are taken. I will go to see if another seat is available." The Hostess went away and came back a few minutes later. "Madam, just as I thought, there are no other available seats in Economy class. I spoke to the Captain and he informed me that there are also no seats in the Business class. All the same, we still have one seat in First class." Before the woman could reply, the Hostess continued: "It is unusual for our company to permit someone from Economy class to sit in First class. However, given the circumstances, the Captain feels that it would be scandalous to make someone sit next to someone so disgusting." She turned to the Black man and said, "Therefore, Sir, if you would like to, please collect your hand luggage, a seat awaits you in First class." At that moment, the other passengers who were shocked by what they had just witnessed stood up and applauded.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I just feel like saying forget it.
Who am I?
Why in the world do I owe you anything?
Did I promise you something?
Because I don't remember that...
We are all giving to each other all the time...
and sometimes I am so damn sick of you expecting another gift
Yeah, it's too much to ask
No, I can't spend all my time with you
Not even a little bit
It is time to make some choices in my life
So sorry for wanting to be happy
I hate that you are inconvenienced by my happiness
It's tearing me up
The messed up part is--
It does tear me up
I hate this feeling
I am not responsible for you and your
I just want the clarity I felt once before
to be present on a regular basis
why can't you just be happy?
why in the world do you insist that i be a part of it?
i can't do that for anyone else
God knows I've tried


"...on a jet plane,
don't know when I'll be back again."

I heard those lyrics over and over in my head during the past two weeks. Late in the evening on July 3rd, I became convinced that I needed to make a trip back to Charlotte. The party that I had helped organize the year before was going to happen and I was going to miss it. I tried to discard my yearnings as ego-mania, believing that there was no rational reasoning behind such an impromptu-an expensive-trip to my hometown.

So I resorted to meditation to clear the nonsense from my brain. Only it didn't, clear, it crystallized into a list of things that I had left undone, or that I needed to do. Still suspecting some sort of acute mental dysfunction, I sat down to make a list of the pros and cons of such a trip. The majority of the cons centered around money-and I have been making efforts in my life to not live based upon a fear of not having enough of it. As long as I was honest and truthful, I didn't feel as if I was going to do any other sort of damage on my trip.

I bought my ticket at 1:30 am on the fourth of July, hopped in the shower, threw some stuff in a bag, gave the house a thorough water-proofing, left the landlord a note, and headed to the airport to catch my four a.m. flight to Guam. It's a short half-hour flight, on a wonderful twin propeller aircraft. I am used to it now, but the first time on it was a little unnerving. After an hour in Guam, we left around 6:30 a.m., headed towards Hawaii. The flight landed in Honolulu around five o'clock in the afternoon on July third, seven hours after leaving Guam. Weird! I always wanted to be a time traveler! From there, we flew to Houston, and since we arrived a little behind schedule, I barely made it to my next flight. Houston is an enormous airport, and I hope all the others who were with me made their respective flights as well. We touched down in Charlotte at noon on the fourth of July, almost exactly twenty-four hours after I had left the house in Saipan to go to the airport.

That was just the beginning...I made three more trips to the airport over the next 10 days, for a total of over 32 hours. I also rented a car in Texas and drove for over four hours one way to visit some family. And now I am contemplating my next trip... although I don't have a definite date yet, it is going to be soon!

Special thanks to a wonderful woman here on Saipan who saved my ass by cleaning up the mess I left here as I rushed away to North Carolina...I owe her big time! I would also like to apologize to anyone who I didn't get to see, or didn't spend much time with...I love you and wish there had been more time!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Power woes in the CNMI

Saipan's rapidly deteriorating power situation is a constant frustration for almost everyone on the island. I read an excellent blog that asks some point-on questions of the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation(?) and the government...

Go check it out.

Marianas Pride

meditation made simpler

When I met Mark, whose house I am in right now, I was laying on the sand at Micro Beach, trying to decide if I was going to stay in Saipan and fly back to Tokyo and then on to my next new country. He was kite boarding, and he had gotten blown a little too far downwind. We talked just a little bit that day, but he gave me his number and told me to call if I stayed. I did stay. I didn't call. But it isn't a very large island, and it wasn't long before I ran into him again.

I feel a lot of things about him. Not going to go into that now. Before he and his family left, he had been raving about a new approach to meditation that he had been trying. He brought it up again, and the night before he left he gave me the first two tracks of the Holosync program from the Centerpointe Institute. I know now why he was so excited to share it with someone. I feel the same way right now. So I am going to attempt to share a little of Holosync (which is a copyrighted name) with you.

Real quick-your brain activity can be measured in waves. Beta waves are what most of us are in during our awake, active state of being. Slightly slower are alpha waves, which usually come at the period between waking and sleep. They have been associated with focus, "superlearning" and meditation. Theta waves are present during the dream phase of your sleep, and also increased creativity, extremely deep meditation and some kinds of learning. The deepest waves are Delta, the deep sleep where the body seems to produce healing hormones as well as many other autonomic nervous system functions.

Meditation is hard work. The idea is simple. Sit calmly. Focus on one thing. Think of nothing else. The actual doing usually requires years of practice to achieve this seemingly simple task. Lots of benefits though...increased calmness, inner peace, ease in dealing with stress, detachment and love for all creatures, etc...Long-time meditators achieve theta and even possibly delta waves during meditation, and some times even out of it.

Holosync uses binaural beats to cause the brain to tone itself to the waves of deeper concentration. Studies since the 60's have shown that people exposed to this type of audio stimulus can learn better and faster, retain more; alcoholics sober up and stay that way, developing needed skills better; stressful situations are handled easier; creativity is increased; the studies go on and on. Using this type of technology, the brain creates these waves, and a natural process that can be a result of meditation is sped up. But not only is it quicker, and easier, since you don't have to be a master at calming your mind to reap the benefits, the creators says that it eventually takes you deeper than meditation has ever been shown to take you, allowing you access to the Delta waves in a way not possible on your own.

There is a lot going on in my life. I have been pushing myself, off and on again, for the past six years, to truly discover my beliefs and other filters that skew my version of reality and cause me so much suffering. I have come across some amazing tools along the way. I am not 100% sure about Holosync, but after reading the book, 'Thresholds of the Mind' by Bill Harris, I can recognize his approach and the fundamental truth of his years of experience with helping to change his own and others' lives.

There's a lot more that I could talk about. There are some of you who I want to give this gift too. Many of us could benefit from the book as well. Some will just get scanned pages that relate most directly to how we have related in the past. This little book has reminded me again of how wrong some of you have treated me. And how wrong I have treated myself and others. There are a lot of lessons, albeit repeat ones, in this book. It is a good read even if you aren't doing the Holosync program. There is one thing that Mr. Harris doesn't mention in his book that I feel is absolutely paramount to a complete shift, a complete psychic change. It is a firmly entrenched belief in my life now.

It is my responsibility to pass on all that I learn to others. If I am not helping another person, I find myself backsliding in my development. Books and meditation and theories on transformation are all great. But for me, I must give what I find away if I want to keep it.

Here is a link to the website: Centerpointe

Monday, June 30, 2008

extra, extra

During Saturday's chaos of packing and getting to the airport, I got a phone call about an opportunity to be in a commercial. It would take all day Sunday, and maybe some of Monday, and was going to be filmed on the beach. My name had come up, invariably, when people were trying to think of Caucasian male who had nothing to do. Just for the record, I'd like to say that I have met other white males on this island who are bumming like me. But I'm not complaining. Other than a level 2 Reiki attunement I did a week ago, I haven't had any income since we won the 3-on-3 soccer tournament and I got 100 bucks. Not to say that there haven't been any chances for some work here or there, but I have been enjoying my lack of responsibility. But this commercial job sounded like the perfect way to do nothing while making money. And hang out on the beach!

I made it to the site about twenty minutes after eight, wearing a t-shirt and board shorts. Two Japanese staff members looked me over, and the produced a bag from the costume table and handed it to me, pointing me toward a nearby tent. I changed into a pair of khaki clamdigger-style shorts and a light blue button-up short sleeve shirt. Styling. They rushed me out to the beach where a group of about forty people in various bright clothes already stood. And so began the day.

They arranged us in loose rows, facing the camera. Then they began the process of "you here, you there" as they switched and arranged us in some order that I can only assume will look amazing in the finished product. They changed people's outfits, sometimes switching their clothes, sometimes producing a pair of scissors and exposing stomachs. They came by me and un-buttoned a couple buttons on my shirt. "More sexy now," said the Japanese man. I looked at the pretty Filipina girl next to me repeated the phrase questioningly. She looked at me for a second and then turned away, apparently not in agreement. The sun was already beating down and although I was right at the edge of the shade from a line of palm trees, many people were already sweating. After about 30 minutes of this, they marked our places and sent us back to the tents, where they had breakfast (Japanese style-thank you to Carmen for exposing me to this!) and cold sodas and Oolong tea in a can.

We sat for over an hour just talking amongst ourselves before they called us back out to the sandy beach. By now, it was almost 11 am, the sun was nearing the center of the sky and the breeze died the moment we all stepped foot out from the shade. We got to see the star actor finally. He was accompanied by an umbrella bearer, and makeup artists, as well as a guy with a little hand-held air-compressor that blew cold air. Maybe his face is well-known in Japan. He showed us to throw our arms in the air as we shouted out Japanese words and phrases. Then they brought us the cans.

The commercial is for a Japanese alcoholic beverage that comes in approximately 16 ounce cans. So here we all are sweating in the sun, and all of a sudden these guys rush out with platters full of fresh-from-the-ice-chest cans. They felt glorious! But no drinking! So for the next hour we held the cans and performed. They re-organized our groups, and shifted us around. Then they must have realized that a lot of us weren't even Japanese-I don't know if we were screwing up the words or what-but they removed all of us gaijin and sent us back to the tents. We didn't wait for the others to start eating the lunch that was provided.

After lunch it was back to the beach. More cans to hold, only now we had to pop open the cans and just hold them aloft! Soon people were pouring the cold liquid on their bodies. Some people were pouring the cold liquid in their mouths. Every time clouds obscured the sun we had to stop and wait. Sometimes we waited for the editing of a particular scene. I used to think that I sweat more than normal, but after looking around at some of the other guys, I realized that I'm pretty average in the amount of sweat produced category. We finished the commercial that afternoon. A bunch of the (white) folks managed to keep their (and others') cans and so headed out to their house to perform a taste test. They said it wasn't bad. I'll take there word for it. All in all, it was an easy days work. The agent just called me a minute ago. I'm headed over to pick up the cash. Look for me soon in the next Japanese beer commercial you ever see.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

going back to the states

When I first got to Saipan, it wasn't long before I heard of David, a licensed massage therapist who also lived here. His name was mentioned here and there as I met people and talked about my possibilities for practicing massage on the island. About a month ago, one of the Baha'is mentioned to me that their friend was leaving the island and had a massage table for sale. So he gave my number to David and we arranged a meeting. Neat how that worked out huh?

David runs on island time, or maybe it's "David time"-either way, it isn't that much different from my time and so it took us a couple tries to meet. I went to his house, and met his wife Teri, and their two year old son Kellan. I spent almost an hour there with them, as they shared their experiences of the last eight years with me. I didn't buy the table on-the-spot, but told David I'd call him about it.

I did buy the table from him, and we threw in all his sheets and a few bottles of oil to go along with it. He also offered to "transfer" several of his English tutorees to me. Sounded like a great idea to me, especially since I hadn't made any money since the 100 bucks I won in the soccer tournament. Now that I have the table I am starting to bring in a little bit of income, but tutoring takes a small amount of time and seems to be a good way to make some extra cash.

So on Thursday I met David at two of his student's apartment. I met Han and Joseph, sixteen and fourteen years old respectively, and their guardian Barbara. Koreans who all speak way better English than I do Korean-although I am having them teach me a little bit. I also bought a book called 'Making Out in Korean' which has lots of slang. So in effect, I'm not only trying to speak a language I don't know, but I'm trying to be "cool" to a couple of younger guys. This could be an international disaster of epic proportions. I get to see Han five days a week and Joseph twice.

The next day I went to David's to meet him and to be introduced to another one of his students. I proceeded him at the arranged time, and so when he and Teri arrived, I was suddenly aware of how little time they had before they left, and how much they still had to do. After a little shouting, David and I left and I followed him to the bakery where he met his next tutoree, an older-than-me Japanese woman named Sukiko. Unfortunately, he had neglected to tell her about his leaving. So our meeting consisted of a short explanation of his leaving, which involved a lot of Japanese, which David apparently understands and speaks a very little. Which is a very LOT more than I speak it. He left us to talk more, and she opened her English reader and we spent an hour speaking English. Sort of. I get to see her only once a week.

I spoke with David later and realized that it was physically impossible to get all of the stuff done that he needed to in the remaining twenty-four hours of his time on Saipan. Remembering how much assistance I had, and am still getting, that made my trip possible, I offered a little assistance in the form of picking up some boxes and taking them to the post office for them. I am pretty sure I knew deep down that it was going to be a lot more that.

So I now have a key to their house. Books. English-teaching materials. Food from their pantry. Three hundred dollars to mail three 50 lb. boxes and seven smaller ones. A pile of stuff to go to the garage sale store. I was there to help load the van from Teri's work with their stuff. I saw Kellan throw a fit as he was held by his mom, screaming for his nanny as the van drove away. I watched the nanny, Ann, fail to fight back sobs as she said goodbye to a two-year old she had helped raise. I talked with David about the way he was avoiding the emotions of the situation by putting every thing off to the last minute and rushing around at the eleventh hour. He admitted to it, but as we were getting ready to leave the house, with Teri and Kellan already gone, he bent and picked up a little sand shovel kit from the pile of give-aways. He muttered something to himself and then looked up at me and I could see the memories threatening his composure. He swallowed tears and said it was time to go. He had done most of his packing between 1:30 and 3 pm, although just like me, he didn't get everything done.

After a few stops, I got him to the airport-where he used to be employed by TSA, met up with Teri and Kellan, and along with her boss, said good bye to them all. I drove home to finally put away my groceries from an earlier shopping trip. When I reached my house and opened the rear door, my heart sank. Kellan's car seat was in the back seat-they needed it for him on the plane. I looked at my watch. 4:24. Their flight was scheduled to leave at 4:45. I called David. He answered. I live about 14 miles from the airport. 40 mph is the highest speed limit sign I have seen on this island. "I'll try to get it there" I said.

They got it. In the nick of time. One of his former co-workers met me at the TSA checkpoint and ran it to the plane. I realized how stressful ones leaving can be on the people left behind. Thank you again to all of you who made it possible for me to follow a dream. I love you all so much.

To sum it all up...on the race to the airport, I noticed that the car's alignment got a little bumpy around 70 mph. In the states, I would take the car to the mechanic and tell them about my problem and ask them to fix it. Here, if I took it to a mechanic, they would say the much more-obvious (and cheaper) solution.

"Don't drive 70 miles per hour."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Help a Child Today


Twelve year old Ali has lost everything and faces an uncertain future. The explosion that took both his arms also took his family and reduced their home to rubble. The hospital where neighbors took him, treated the life threatening wounds, but For Ali, there is no one to care for him or offer him comfort. He begs for arms so he can take care of himself, but he's twelve years old, he's just a boy, a frightened little boy.

Ali and hundreds more just like him, need us, they need the Foundations for Life program. Please consider helping us by making a contribution that will allow us to help these children.

CHILDSAFEfoundation est. 1993 is a private not for profit humanitarian organization dedicated to helping the most disadvantaged children survivors of war.


101 Main Street, P.O. Box 22 Madison, MO., 65263


CHILDSAFEfoundation is reaching out to the massage therapy community to ask for help. Our “Foundations for Life” limb replacement program for child victims of cluster bombs, and mines and other explosives is in trouble.

This past spring, in one week, five young cousins in Lebanon, playing in a field stumbled across a cluster bomb. All five injured, all five needing medical assistance. The same week saw a mother and her four children in Laos injured by a thirty year old cluster bomb that, unknown to them, had become lodged in the soil under their home.

CHILDSAFEfoundation can't budget for these kind of tragedies. It is impossible to know from day to day, season to season when the next explosion will take place. We only know that it will, and more children will be hurt as a result. Sadly, this happens far more often than people realize. Governments, in most of the countries with child victims, are ill equipped and lack resources to help these children.

As a massage therapist, you know what it is like to work with someone who's in pain, you see the effect this has on their lives. This allows you to better understand the kind of pain and suffering these children endure. You, better than most, know why helping these children is so important.

Childsafe has received a very generous offer: if we are able to raise one hundred thousand dollars between now and June 30th, a private donor will match, dollar for dollar, the money raised. This is an amazing offer, one that would allow us to continue our work through the summer and see us through till our regularly scheduled fund raiser this fall.

Please make a contribution today that you can comfortably afford. We have one week to double your money and this will allow us to continue help these children.

Make your online donation today at

On behalf of all the children who will be helped by this program and your generosity, thank you.


Jacqueline Beaudoin,

Childsafe founder

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

response to a comment on "unsure"

the comment was on my unsure post, down a couple weeks. he says:
I think that little voice is our king inside. The one who gives orders to our warrior self, congratulates him for his successes, and admonishes him for his failures. My struggle is in the practice of listening to that king. I'm a warrior by nature (I think) - I like to do, and often times I'm doing just to be doing, without real purpose, without direction from the king. That's very wasteful and I appear guilty before the king regularly.

My hope is to check in with the king once a day (bring myself to account), get my orders for the day and do them. Rinse and repeat. Well, and my king voice seems to need to be heard more regularly than once a day, maybe it's not a daily ritual, but a steady state of willingness to listen when the king is ready to talk. Or maybe it's both.

It's so easy to just go and do, we're praised so much for doing and praised so little for stopping to listen. Hmmm... how to overcome that temptation and stand before the king. Thoughts?

I am going to quote this from the book: Alcoholics Anonymous.
In thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or decision. We relax and take it easy. We don't struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while. What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind. Being still inexperienced and having just made conscious contact with God, it is not probable that we are going to be inspired at all times. We might pay for this presumption in all sorts of absurd actions and ideas. Nevertheless, we find that our thinking will, as time passes, be more and more on the plane of inspiration. We come to rely upon it.
pgs. 86-87

Some other stuff I have read brings up a few more points. This paragraph seems to be speaking to those of us who are "new" at "talking" with our Higher Power. But it is important to realize that we can never be so close to God that we don't need to check our behaviors against other, more objective people. The idea that we receive direct inspiration from God can become a dangerous one if not tempered by the humility of our continuing reliance on other people for support as well. Although in theory a total reliance on the God-voice would be ideal, it seems that it would require a level of perfection from us that we are not able to consistently produce. Hence we are given wonderful people in our lives to provide dissension and confirmation to what we hear from within.

I think that the unavoidable conclusion of all of this talk is what I have never wanted to admit-that I have to "grow up" to be as wise as the "grown-ups". I always wanted to believe in my own intellect (still do) and ability. I wanted so badly to be a prodigy, the possessor of a wisdom beyond my years. Of course I also wanted this to be recognized by others. But I am coming to the realization that knowledge is not the same thing as wisdom. Neither is wisdom something that comes automatically with aging. It all takes work-application of the learned actions and ideas against a continuing experience of the reality all around me. Answers beget more questions. Learning begets more discovery. As of right now, I would have to say-as cliche as it sounds-that the more I learn, the more I realize I still have to learn. And that as I continue on my journey, I will learn to consult with my King more and more. It just keeps getting better with age, right J?

GMT + 10:00

Blah Blah That's the time zone I am in. It is 14 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time.
Now I don't watch a whole lot of TV. I have come to regard it with actual disdain. I was not a big fan of my parents and the daily restriction of half-an-hour that they placed on me as I grew up. Having emerged from my time spent under their rules, and my necessary rebellion at everything they proposed for me, I self-regulate myself to approximately an hour of television a week. When I did have cable last year, I spent my time building up my brain power by watching South Park episodes. Respect mah authoritah!
Here on Saipan I don't have cable-or even a television. But I was recently alerted to the 2008 European Cup soccer tournament, and I enjoy the sport so I decided to try and watch some of the matches. And herein lies the problem. When I asked the folks here when the game was they responded, "It starts at 4:45."
"A.M." I questioned.
Yessiree. So I set my alarm, went to bed early (Damn that was hard!) and got up and went to Dale's house to watch the game with some other devoted fans. But this got me thinking about some other sporting events. Like the recent NBA Finals. They all seemed to come on in mid-afternoon...hard to catch if you were at work, although several of the people I watched one of the games with claimed an "extended meeting" to make up for the absence at work. It is Saipan after all. What about something like the Super Bowl? Well, kick-off at 6:30 pm EST would be 8:30 am here. Heck of a time to start drinking at a Super Bowl party!
Nascar races would begin around 2 or 3 in the morning here...and go until near sunrise. And Monday Night Football is going to begin around 11 am come that time of year.
I'm just trying to point out the immense sacrifices that the dedicated sports fan has to make here on Saipan. It ain't me. I'm not gonna make those sacrifices. But some people will. Some people have to. And they should be recognized. And saluted.
The question this brings up for me is...if I can get up at 4:45 am for a soccer match, why can't I get up for all the other structured activities in my life? Maybe it just means that watching soccer matches should be an important part of my life.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

stand up

the song i refer to in my last post...

this is a youtube video for the song Stand Up by the Flobots
support these guys by buying their album

dear mr. president

This is a song I heard for the first time on the radio here in Saipan yesterday. I was amazed as the song went on...before it was over the radio station had cut the song off-and then seemed to go through a little bit of a scramble to get back on the air. It is powerful. I don't know if it's all true. I don't believe that we can lay all the damage in our country at any one person's feet. But I never been so frustrated in dealing with other people as I have been over the past eight-plus years of debating George W. Bush and his abilities with his supporters. And now, as people jump the sinking ship of his administration, and experts analyze and corroborate the views that many of the citizens of this country have held...the question still remains:

What the hell are we going to do about it?

If you like just listening to socially conscious music-nothing wrong with just liking some music-check out these guys...the Flobots...while their new single is good-I like some of the other songs with their more direct messages. Check out the whole album, or especially the track Stand Up. This is the video for the first single "Handlebars".

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


i am incredibly smart
some days i will not be able to converse coherently
i love listening to people talk about themselves
today i might be sick of your prattling
i have always had a reasonably healthy diet
the next month could be nothing but pizza and soda
i am trying to watch my mouth
but i might have a Tourettes moment now and then
i am embracing religious views that demand a high moral standard
i will not always be able to adhere to a high moral standard
over two years ago i decided to give up alcohol and drugs
but the rest of the world didn't
i was praised for my abilities as a massage therapist
yet to this day i am afraid to begin a practice
i can speak english
i enjoy teaching
yet i am scared to attempt to teach english
i know all final decisions rest with me and the One within
yet these words are a cry for validation and direction
i can feel the possibilities that exist
they are infinite
and so i continue to stand in their midst
with my eyes tightly shut
some days i will make a difference
and some days i will barely make it
for as long as i can remember i have expected perfection
and for as long as i can remember i have given myself
the perfect excuse.
it's about progress...not perfection.
but i won't make progress if i am not striving for perfection
because i am perfect right now
and tomorrow i will be perfect again
and i will continue to be as perfect as i can be
for the rest of my life
so i never have to chastise myself
for not being perfect

i love the internet

one minute i was reading the blog of a local Baha'i/ophthalmologist/soccer player who has a wonderful sense of humor

then i was reading THIS blog from a surgeon in South Africa

AND, best of all,Homer Simpson was involved.

Click here

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


1: concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others
2: arising from concern with one's own welfare or advantage in disregard of others
— self·ish·ly adverb
— self·ish·ness noun

now that I have read the definition I am unsure if I can write what I was thinking.

i don't know anyone who fits these definitions even half the time.

this seems to be a definition of an extreme...and i don't think reality exists in extremes.

so none of the examples i was thinking of fit--under this definition.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

neighbor dogs
who come running toward the sound of my scooter every time I pull up
barking and just making a general ruckus
that subsides once I cut the engine and say
"Hey there doggies"
in a soft yet excited tone of voice
that causes them to go from their on-guard stance
to the curling-body-with-a-wagging-tail stance that says
"please pet me!"
the scenario repeats itself when I leave
in a mirror image they act
and follow me up the driveway
barking and chasing
until they grow tired and return home
casting satisfied glances over their shoulders
with a triumphant sense of accomplishment

Gobi would do the exact same thing if he were here
so, Why DO dogs like to bark at and chase small-engine powered vehicles so much?


I am delving deeper into the science of healing and it's varying modalities. I am re-examining some self-awakening techniques that I have known about for awhile, but that I haven't practiced lately. I can see outlines and patterns of my behaviors and the ensuing discomfort that is produced, usually as a result of not following that little voice's direction.

That little voice that I have always heard. Even in some of my more depraved states, when I had muddied my mind and body with chemicals and alcohol, I would be shocked by clear statements that seemed to originate inside of me, despite my intoxication. Sometimes, I tried to shut that voice up, because I did not want to hear it. Other times I just ignored it. More often lately, I will listen to it on certain matters, but rationalize my way out of following it's directions on others.

It has been telling me that I was going to travel for years. It has told me that I have to spread the Word of God-as I understand him-and to share that with others who will listen. It has repeatedly told me to spend time alone with myself. It told me in a huge way last year that I no longer had to be afraid of God in the way that I had been for my entire life. Everything it has spoken of in the past, I can see now as beneficial to me; I could even see it at the time, but I just wasn't ready for all of it at the time.

I can admit now that I am not willing to cease certain behaviors...that I want to wallow in "whatever" a little while longer. I hope that this is just a step along the way to being able to follow my spirit's suggestions in a more timely manner.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

it rains

in sheets
a torrential downpour
drenching everything.

the wind gusts
blowing the rain sideways
through windows and doors.

clouds obscure the sun
and the entire sky becomes gray
an entire ocean and mountain
under one storm.

then the sun appears
and the rain slows
and the clouds that you could see coming
pass by and dissolve
and you are left with beauty again.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Moving On Up....

I moved today. Although I had a wonderful apartment with lots of room and great landlords and neighbors, it was a little expensive for the lifestyle I am trying to lead-namely, that of a beach bum who doesn't go to work. So, more in line with that idea, I was asked by the lovely couple whom I described in my surfing blogs, Mark & Patty, (and of course their son Kai) to house sit while they are vacationing (hah!) in the states for the next two months. They are renting a two-story house in the northern reaches of the island, about nine miles from where I was staying.

I stayed there once before, and last night I stayed again so that I could get up with them and drive them to the airport this morning. Then I packed up my apartment, which took a little longer than I had expected, and drove everything over to their house. I have begun to acquire things, as one does I suppose, and it made me feel like throwing a lot of stuff away. One of my neighbors in the apartments is getting ready to move back to the states with his family, and so they had given me all sorts of things-from pots and plates, to a printer and English tutoring materials. I was struck by the husband's character when we first met, because although he obviously had his opinions about our other neighbor, he verbally let me know that he wasn't going to share them with me, and he more or less-we're all human-stuck to that principle of not talking about others. Instantly impressed they say, first impressions...something something. He is also a very new Christian, as is his wife, who is Chinese, and so they are undergoing some drastic changes in their lives. I gave him a little Hidden Words book, which prompted him to unload even more books on to me-from religious and prophetic reading, to investigations on the slave trade in Saipan to accounts of military soldiers of the USS Indianapolis-which was sunk somewhere in the Pacific Ocean...I think. I finally stopped him, but I would guess that-counting all the tutoring material he gave me-I have about 30 new books from him.

Then I got to Mark & Patty's house, and as they showed me around and went over the care-taking requirements, Mark started giving me books that we had talked about. Three Cups of Tea, which some of you may recognize, Khalid Hosseni (wrong spelling-I hope I'm close) new book, a book and cd on a form of meditation, and some Buddhist books. Not to mention tons of Surf Journal magazines and some surfing picture books. Even cooler, they sold their TV/video games and entertainment center since I was last there! But he still has yoga DVDs and he suggested i try one on the laptop since I keep talking about getting started with it. I know it will come as it needs to.

So I'm moved in...the neighbors are the owners, they have lots of dogs-four-and pigs-one young one fenced right next to the back corner of the lot. They also have a metal roof on their house, and there are mango trees, and some coconut trees too, but mainly mango trees, that lose their fruits during the night. Apparently it's better now than it has been, since lots of them have already fallen, but when one drops in the middle of the night...well, it sounds like something heavy dropping five or ten feet and hitting a tin roof. I'm sure I'll get used to it soon, but it is startling now no matter how ready i am for it.

I'll go into it more later-but these folks are wonderful and have a great energy. I am impressed by their life, their attitudes, and their home feels warm and comfortable. I'll get a couple exterior pictures--nothing special--and a shot from the bedroom patio-it looks down over the lagoon to the west. I'll be staying there until July 28th, when they get back from the states. Ciao.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

topic from a meeting

picture by Ryan Sawhill

This evening I was reminded of one of my old beliefs, one that I had nurtured and stroked most of my life. I say old with a sense of hope...because I have found beliefs that I thought I had discarded somehow back in my mind and actions without ever seeing it return.

The belief is: that I cannot learn from others; their mistakes, experience, advice, etc...That I have to make the mistakes myself. This had always been my m.o., from the earliest time I can remember. Of course, as children there is a phase where we do this simply to form our own identity, to separate ourselves from our parents, and I definitely did that. Rebelliousness fit like a tailored suit, and the admonitions from others always came couched with an off-handed praise in my early years.

"Now you're very smart, but _______ is going to cause you problems if you keep it up."

A hundred different variations of that warning were hurled my way, starting in my elementary school days, and I rarely remember taking a single one seriously. I was constantly falling down, constantly running into walls. Repeatedly, as I look back now, exactly what others predicted would happen did-and I just continued right on with my attitude of disregard. This attitude was enforced by a firm sense of entitlement, a belief that the world owed me something, and so I found a thousand scapegoats for my actions and failures without ever fully recognizing the prophetic warnings that were constantly leveled at me.

By the time I was aware enough to see my behavior with some sort of honest (I use that term VERY loosely) self-appraisal. I came up with the above stated belief to explain it. I just couldn't learn from others. It was how I had always been. Just the way it was. Just the way I was. I even tried to justify it by saying that I was "questioning truths" and not just taking everything that was told me without finding out for myself. My mind was playing tricks on itself.

I gave so much credence to that belief, as I said I coddled it and nursed it, reinforced as it was by so many other people around me who said the same thing about themselves, that I was a little surprsied when one day it was challenged. Someone just said "Bull___. Quit using that as an excuse for your behavior and laziness."

Ouch. But he continued, pointing out countless instances in my life that showed me grasping a concept that I only vaguely had experienced for myself, based upon what other people had told me. "Do you know what that is called?" he asked me, hesitating as I screwed up my face and honestly tried to think of the answer. I couldn't, and he told me. "Maturity."

There is so much that could be said along this topic...but I am just postulating the idea, the mere possibility, that an idea such as "I have to experience it myself to learn/understand/believe it" is extremely self-limiting. And I found for myself that it was an extremely easy (because they don't always go quietly!) belief to discard.

I DO learn from others mistakes. I listen to what those who appear to have gone before me share. I try to limit my use of the expression "I know"---because I don't know. But today I am open to the possibility that somebody does know, and I like to look for that experience when facing my life.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Oh my...

(written in July 2007)

Paulo Coelho's Warrior of the Light - Twenty Years Later

Warrior Of Light
Issue n°151 - Twenty Years Later

Next week we commemorate Santiago de Compostela day (25th July). Last year, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of my first Santiago Walk, I made the pilgrimage again, by car, in the company of my wife.

I remember one afternoon sitting in a garden in Leon, looking at the river flowing by.

Beside me, Christina – my wife – is reading a book. Spring is beginning in Europe, so now we can put away our thick winter clothes. We have been traveling by car all these days, passing through certain places that have marked our lives (Christina traveled the Road to Santiago in 1990). Though not in any hurry, we have covered 500 kilometers in less than a week.

Mineral water. Coffee.

People talking, people walking.

People also having their coffee and mineral water.

Then I go back twenty years in time, to one afternoon in July or August 1986, a coffee, a mineral water, people talking and walking – except this time the scenario is the plain that stretches out beyond Castrojeriz. My birthday draws near; I left Saint Jean Pied-de-Port some time ago and have covered just over half the journey to Santiago de Compostela.

Walking speed: 20 kilometers a day.

I look ahead, the monotonous landscape, the guide also having his coffee in a bar that seems to have appeared out of nowhere. I look behind; the same monotonous landscape, the only difference being that the dust on the ground bears the marks of the soles of my shoes – but that is temporary, and the wind will sweep them away before night falls.

Everything seems unreal to me.

What am I doing here? This question goes on pursuing me, although several weeks have already gone by.

I am looking for a sword. I am performing a ritual of RAM, a small order within the Catholic Church without any secrets or mysteries besides trying to understand the symbolic language of the world. I am thinking that I have been fooled, that the spiritual quest is just something with no sense or logic and that I would be better off in Brazil, caring about what I always cared about.

I am doubting my own sincerity in this quest, because it is hard work looking for a God who never shows Himself, praying at specific times, traveling strange roads, being disciplined, accepting orders that seem absurd.

That’s it: I doubt my sincerity. During all these days, Petrus has said that the road belongs to everyone, the common folk, which makes me very disappointed. I thought that all this effort would ensure me a special place among the few chosen who approach the great archetypes of the universe. I thought that I was finally going to discover that it was all true, all those stories about secret governments of wise men in Tibet, magic potions capable of provoking love where there is no attraction, and rituals where all of a sudden the gates of Paradise open up, was all true.

But what Petrus tells me is exactly the opposite: there are no chosen. We are all chosen, if instead of wondering “what am I doing here?” we decide to do something that fills our hearts with enthusiasm. Working with enthusiasm, love that transforms, the choice that leads us to God, that is where the gates of Paradise are to be found.

And this enthusiasm connects us to the Holy Spirit, not the hundreds and thousands of readings of the classic texts. It is wanting to believe that life is a miracle that enables miracles to happen, not the so-called “secret rituals” or “initiatory orders”. In short, it is man’s decision to comply with his destiny that really makes him a man – not the theories that he develops around the mystery of existence.

And here I am. A little beyond halfway on the road to Santiago de Compostela. If everything is as simple as Petrus says, why all this useless adventure?
On that afternoon in León in the far-off year of 1986, I still do not know that in six or seven years’ time I will write a book on this experience of mine, which is already in my soul - the shepherd Santiago in quest of a treasure - that a woman called Veronika had prepared to swallow some pills and try to commit suicide, and that Pilar will stand on the banks of the river Piedra and write her diary in tears.

All I know is that I am on this absurd and monotonous walk. There is no fax, no cellular phone, the shelters are few and far between, my guide seems irritated the whole time, and I have no way of knowing what is going on in Brazil.

All I know at this very moment is that I am tense, nervous, incapable of talking with Petrus because I have just realized that I can no longer go on doing what I have been doing – even if this means giving up a reasonable amount of money at the end of the month, a certain emotional stability, a job that I know well and some techniques that I master. I need to change, follow in the direction of my dream, a dream that seems to me childish, ridiculous and impossible to make come true: to become the writer that I have secretly always wanted to be, but have never had the courage to admit.

Petrus finishes his coffee and mineral water, asks me to get the check and for us to start walking again, because there are still some kilometers to the next town. People go on passing by and talking, looking out of the corner of their eye at these two middle-aged pilgrims, wondering about the strange people in this world who are always ready to try and relive a past that is already dead (*). The temperature must be around 27o C because it is late afternoon and for the thousandth time I ask myself whether I have made the wrong decision.

Did I want to change? I don’t think so, but after all, this road is changing me. Did I want to know the mysteries? I think so, but the road is teaching me that there are no mysteries, that – as Jesus Christ said – nothing is hidden that has not been revealed. In other words, everything is happening in exactly the opposite way from what I expected.

We rose and started to walk in silence. I am engrossed in my thoughts, in my insecurity, and I imagine Petrus must be thinking about his job in Milan. He is here because somehow he was obliged by Tradition, but perhaps he hopes that the walk will soon come to an end so that he can get back to doing what he likes.

We walk for almost all of what remains of the afternoon without talking. We are isolated in our forced companionship. Santiago de Compostela lies ahead and I cannot imagine that this road leads me not only to this city, but also to many other cities in the world. Neither I nor Petrus know that this afternoon on the plain of León I am also walking to Milan, his city, which I shall reach almost ten years from now, with a book called “The Alchemist”. I am walking towards my destiny, dreamed of so many times and so many times denied.

In a few days I shall arrive at exactly the place where today, twenty years down the track, I write these lines. I am walking in the direction of what I always wanted, and I have neither faith nor hope that my life will be changed.

Yet I push ahead. In some distant future, in one of the bars which I shall pass by a few days from now, my wife is already sitting reading a book, and there am I, writing this text on a computer that in a few minutes will send it by Internet to the newspaper where it will be published.

I am walking towards that future – on this August afternoon in 1986.
(*) in the year I made the pilgrimage, only 400 people had taken the Road to Santiago. In 2005, according to non-official statistics, 400 people passed every day in front of the bar mentioned in the text.

Copyright @ 2007 by Paulo Coelho
Warrior of the Light, a publication


I am a giant vibrator...

What I mean is, my entire body feels as if it is vibrating right now, like a high-octane race fuel is pumping through my veins and I am being held in check at the starting line. Like any moment I will explode into some action or state of raucousness. (Wow, I spelled that word correctly first try.) And it has been going on all day. And maybe yesterday too. I have nervous energy...I am not working, a state of being which I haven't experienced for this much time in over seven years. And then I was using drugs and alcohol to fill up my time. But even then I would get restless after an extended period without work-without a purpose.

Relax and enjoy it, someone advised me today, laughing at my discomfort. I know that I should. I am trying not to struggle with this. Paradise? Oh no, I will find something to complain about, or else my name's not Complainy McPlainPants. Can't enjoy myself on this beautiful tropical island because I'm not working. Geez. But it's not just that. I have bills and debits mounting up, and although I am not in immediate danger, I am somewhere near a fork in the road that says financial stability-to the left. And to the right-what the heck are you doing? At least that's what my map looks like to me right now.

I want to solve major problems. I want to experience freedom from limiting beliefs. I am trying to expand my mind and grasp some greater truth. I feel the need to devote myself to some worthwhile cause. Repeatedly I am seeing families and thinking about my past decisions, which always leads to comparing myself to others-a fruit-less endeavor. I want to teach. To share. What good is this intellect with no one to converse with. Why does everyone go have a drink in the evening? Why can't someone speak up and say, "Gee, I sure would like some good conversation tonight-let's go get some food and talk." It doesn't happen. No response when I offer it. I am sooooo impatient.

p.s. the caffeine probably isn't helping. but that is not it. this feeling has been growing ever since this weekend in Guam. there is so much emotion bubbling just below the surface of me-there is precious little that i can talk about with tears beginning to slide down my cheeks and dampen my "beard" (i use that term loosely!). Talk about job possibilities? Crying. Working with kids? Cry. teach the Faith? tears. Love? cry. Life? cry.

What am I mourning? Is it what I think? Cuz something already told me what it was, and I don't like it. Fear? Definitely. Always. Sometimes I hate %$^& crying. and sensitivity. bunch o' horse....i'm going to chew some tobacco or something manly like that. this blows.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


i typed a lot last night.

it was funny and going great.

then i lost my connection.

and it didn't save.

and i don't feel funny at all right now.


Monday, May 26, 2008


I am learning that it helps my readers if I can convey a message in fewer words, and while I am pretty sure this is possible, I do so like to hear myself, err, type...

I hope you have had the experience of revitalization at some point in your lives. What I mean when I say that is the experience of re-learning, or having beliefs re-affirmed by others through some indirect form of communication. I don't simply speak of "mob thinking", where the sentiments and energies of a large group of people can influence one's own thinking, but the actual realization of truth, deep inside, not from the outside, which confirms something that has always been there-albeit often forgotten.

Sharing the Word of God with others brings great joy.

No matter how sure I am of my path, there is always room for improvement.

My tests are nothing compared to the tests of some people on this planet-and I should always be grateful for my hardships-because they are mine-they are me.

I am here to be of service to my fellow man.

Everyone is doing the best they can at this time.

I was so overcome this weekend by so many emotions, but mostly by the love and sense of community that I was drawn into by a group of folks who know nothing of me. I was awed by people who had left their homes in America decades ago to spread the faith that they believed in. They came to the Marianas when there was no comfort of modern America as there is today...and they have stayed and raised families, and built a loving community. And despite the current situation, they have continued to teach and spread their love, even as they see their efforts bear only little fruit. For my entire life I have heard this message of brotherly love, this promise of God that there is more than And I feel now how deeply others must have felt when it blazed in their own hearts...I must share this with you. With her and him. With them. Not because your salvation depends upon it. Not because I get anything from it.

Because it fills my heart with joy to do so. No matter whether you accept or reject it. And I will follow that joy wherever it takes me. I love you all.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Off island

For a little while.

Going to Guam, which is only a 50 minute flight from Saipan.

Everyone describes it as a much more commercialized, fast-paced version of this island. It's economy is actually doing pretty well at the moment, and the general opinion seems to be that jobs are available there, if I want them.

I don't really want a fast-paced, commercialized life style at the moment. It sounds like there is "more" of everything on Guam.

More jobs.
More expenses.
More tourists.
More US military personnel.
More american businesses.

But I don't know yet if I'll have many chances to be online...this weekend is the Baha'i National Convention of the Marianas-so through Sunday I'll be pretty busy. I will also get to check out some meetings on the island, more people means more fellowship. Looking forward to it!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


I am moved by music. It causes my limbs to move in time with its rhythm, foot tapping and head nodding-sometimes in anticipation, sometimes in ecstasy, sometimes to the tips of my extremities, and sometimes a pulsing that moves through my body with no outward sign that my heart beats

You cannot tell me how this music makes me feel. You can watch from the outside as my face softens and my lips spread and my eyelids droop, as I slide into a alternate universe where everything moves in time with the beat in my head. Cars pass by, or slow down to turn; cyclists pedal along the path, weaving around pedestrians and joggers; dogs trot alongside their owners; children run towards the water’s edge; and the clouds flow across the sky, covering the heaven’s light momentarily and casting their shadows on the ground all around me-it all is in time to the instruments that are pounding out a tune inside my skull, coloring my vision.

Evoking memories seems to be my iPods current specialty. As it shuffles through its mix of songs, it drops songs into my consciousness that trigger remembrances of loved ones, of life events and of feelings and emotions that surround them. The amazing lesson I am learning from this small device, an iPod shuffle-which btw has no screen, so that you cannot see your song list to pick what is next, hence the name-is to feel my emotions fully and completely. Acceptance, perhaps? Maybe-so often I have railed against my feelings-I fight, I run, I cover them up, sedate and try to alter them; so rarely have I ever felt the feeling coming and relaxed into it, consciously let go, un-tensed my muscles-mental and physical-and allowed the emotion to wash over me.

Especially now, with so many new feelings-loss, separation, joy, accomplishment-this iPod lets me experience a huge range of emotions, and I can just let them flow. I can ride and listen, smiling and crying, and it is a freedom that is new to me. Sometimes I don’t want the feeling, and often I change a song for that reason, or just because I don’t feel the song at that particular moment. Occasionally I replay songs, if their feeling is so poignant that I don’t finish feeling it with one song. Sometimes I just feel like wallowing-Coldplay is a great band for that particular feeling.

Give it a try. Pick a song you know touches you. Put it in you ear. Put your face under the sun. Walk. Sit. Wear a pair of sunglasses so that you can cry if you need to. Love yourself and acknowledge that feelings or all true, and they are all ok. That’s just what I have been doing…but do whatever you want. Because I cannot tell you how this music makes you feel.