Attack of the Benevolent Harpies and Fahrenheit 11/9

A few days ago a couple of old friends of mine tracked me down and pinned me to the wall. “Wake up!” they yelled, “we are mothers, and we have forgotten these children, the children in cages at the border, and now they are dying. We have to do something and you have to help us!”
 
I was horrified. I had just gotten comfortable. Oh, I knew things were bad, children were being ripped away from their parents and left in jail cells, and it curdled my blood if I let it in. So I didn’t. Because what could I do, just one person? And anyway it wasn’t even headline news anymore.
 
And now these two friends had spoiled everything. I knew they were right, but I didn’t want to have anything to do them. Because they’re different from me, fearless bitches who will plunge into hell itself on the volcanic force of their convictions to do what they believe must be done.
I am not like that, and I don’t want to be like that. I’m a quiet person, I hate politics, and more than anything, I’m scared of what might happen to me if I stick my nose where it isn’t welcome.
 
So I said thank you very much, I’ll let get back to you.
 
But then I couldn’t sleep. Because like they said, I am a mother. Of course I have to do something.
So, looking for clues about what exactly to do, I watched Fahrenheit 11/9.
 
It wasn’t the kind of enlightened reassurance that I was hoping for; it was horrible. But it helped. Because it horrified me enough to set a fire under my butt, and it also gave off just the faintest whiff of hope.
 
The movie packs a wallop. It makes it clear that our situation here in the good ol’ U.S.A., is worse than we have ever imagined. In his hometown of Flint, Michigan, the children are dying because the Mayor chose to poison their drinking water in order to make a buck. And you know that this isn’t an isolated case, that people in power everywhere believe they can fill their hollowness with money. What happened in Flint could happen anywhere.
 
It’s like your most horrible nightmare, where the bogeyman is climbing the stairs, he’s almost outside your bedroom door, and you are doomed… until, at the last moment, you notice the feeblest ray of moonlight leaking through the curtains, and you realize that if you don’t panic, but look very carefully, it just might show you a secret doorway out.
 
You’re lucky, you find the chink in the wall just in time, and slip through it, emerging in a new place with a bunch of other people like you. You’re catching your breath with relief, until you realize with horror that no, you’re still doomed, because the bogeyman is still coming, he’s coming for all of you, and he’s closer than ever, and no one can stop him.
 
You are sure all is lost, until Tinkerbell flits in. She’s lost her wand, but she can still talk, and she whispers in your ear that there is a way to beat the bogeyman – but it only works if you act together, all of you. If you believe in each other, support each other, and work together with unshakable faith, you will unlock your collective secret superpowers for good, and all will be well.
 
Well, that’s good enough for me.
 
The bogeyman is real, but as the movie also showed, that there are a LOT of good people out there, all of us following that feeble ray of light. Little by little, with patience and courage and persistence, we will find each other, and if we keep the faith, and give our best, there’s more than a small chance that goodness and kindness will triumph, and the future will open up, full of joy and peace, for everyone.
 
But like my friends said, we have to wake up and act. And there’s a chance we will fail. But even so, it’s all we can do. It’s the only way to be OK with ourselves.
 
I say it’s worth the risk – what do we have to lose but the nightmare?
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Attack of the Benevolent Harpies and Fahrenheit 11/9

Losing Sadness and Finding Peace

I went on a walk to get away from some problems that were generating too much mental babble. Craving silence, I tried thinking of nothing, just feeling the stillness – but mental silence, though lovely, is hard to sustain. Then I thought of the meditation where you imagine a luminous sphere that descends into your heart and then expands out beyond your body. I’ve always loved this meditation; it puts me in a soft, expansive state of calm. I generally do it sitting down with my eyes closed, but why not try it while walking? I did, and it was good, so I wrote a poem.
 
 
 
A Way
 
                                                                                           
Here is one way 
 
of the many true ways
 
to lose sadness 
 
and find some peace:
 
Take yourself on a walk 
 
in the open air
 
and call down for company
 
a luminous sphere
 
that you bring inside
 
to settle
 
like a light
 
in your heart
 
Then let it expand
 
all around you
 
most softly
 
growing past body
 
and thought
 
and deed
 
and everything else
 
you might have been
 
until you are happy
 
floating at ease 
 
suspended in quiet,
 
in the home of kindness,
 
and patience and wonder, 
 
sweetness and trust 
 
and true dreams.
 
Then filled up with wellbeing 
 
take yourself homeward
 
to your friends 
 
and your dearest loves
 
and give them this gift:
 
Tell them what wonders
 
have found you this day
 
through the grace
 
of quiet release.
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Losing Sadness and Finding Peace

I lose things

One of my New Year intentions is to blog for real, which means every day, not just every few months or years. Another is to let my words out into the public mind without being so damned picky about how they are arranged. I need to stop obsessing about syntax. So here’s today’s entry:

I lose things. Usually my phone, which I have already lost this morning, before doing anything but getting up, doing the morning toilet ritual, taking my vitamins, feeding the cat, sweeping the kitchen floor, doing my morning meditation, letting the cat out, making mate, and re-arranging my room, setting up a chair in the corner where I can work undisturbed instead of always being out in the kitchen, where people talk to me even when I’m working on the computer.

Well, that is not so few things, and I can see how somewhere in there my phone simply slipped out of this universe. But it does that too often, which says to me that I am usually not present in my body.

So here’s a new practice: to pay attention to my body and what I am doing. And when I wander, to simply come back to that.

Wishing myself and everyone else good luck!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on I lose things

An Antidote to Darkness

One evening not long ago, when I was sunk in suffering over something beyond my control, I remembered James Baraz’s 91-year-old mother Selma.
In the you tube video “Confessions of a Jewish Mother,” she tells how her Buddhist son ruined her life. He got so sick of her complaints that he asked her to do something new. Every time she complained, she should just add these words: “but I am blessed.”

She did it, and to her horror – “It kills me to say this,” she lamented – she got happier.

Floundering in my doldrums, I thought maybe that’s a good antidote. Negativity is really just complaining internally, so maybe I’ll just try repeating those words to myself whenever I have a negative thought…

She was right. It works! The problems are still there, of course, but the words let the light in, and the darkness is never quite so dark after that.

 

Song of Light

For Selma Baraz and her son James, who brought light into the darkness by reminding me that I am truly blessed

Blessed is the Light

Flower of life

that opens my heart with joy

from deep within

Generous is the Light

that does not scorn the shadows

though they scuttle before it

like discombobulated dreams

Friendly is the Light, and tranquil

holding me like a child

and filling me with peace

Do not ask me to explain

Words are themselves

made of Light

and so cannot define their substance

but can only sing.

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on An Antidote to Darkness

Resurrection and a Blog

When Winged Lion Press Cooperative disappeared six years ago, I imagine most people assumed she was dead. She wasn’t – although she wasn’t exactly thriving, since she had to subsist almost entirely on scraps from her internet hosts, to whom I faithfully paid $8 every month for her room and board.

Now, however, she is being reborn, along with a blog, with whom she kindly agreed to share this space. Rather than ramble on about all the details, I’ll just send you to the blog – that should explain everything .

  • TLR
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Resurrection and a Blog

Walt’s Miracle: On Wings of Intent is on Kindle!

After weeks of single-minded, brute-force doggedness, my hero, Walt, has at last unraveled all the preposterous, brain-numbing conundrums in Microsoft Word and achieved the impossible:  On Wings of Intent – a biography of Silo – is now available as a Kindle e-book.

The e-book is where it’s at. At $10 on Amazon, it’s half the price of the print version, and twice the quality, especially the photos, about 100 in all. If you read it on your computer you can see many of them in color.  And if you buy the print version of the book, you get the e-book for free (see “Matchbook Price”).

 

On Wings of Intent is a biography of Silo, Mario Luis Rodriguez Cobo, “Sage of the Andes.” Born in Argentina in 1938, Mario Rodriguez was a brilliant thinker, prolific…
AMAZON.COM
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Walt’s Miracle: On Wings of Intent is on Kindle!

On Wings of Intent – a biography of Silo – Done!

Dear Friends – We did it!!

The book - On Wings of Intent
The book – On Wings of Intent

On Wings of Intent – a biography of Silo, Mario Luis Rodriguez Cobo, “Sage of the Andes” – is finally FINISHED.

The English edition – nearly 500 pages – is now available on Amazon, in black and white (color will be available in the future, but at a much higher price). The kindle version will also be available in the near future.

The Spanish translation is also complete – mil gracias Puchi! – so editions for Spain and Latin America are in the works.

We hope to find a way to make the book available at the Parks of Study and Reflection, and also find ways to print locally in other parts of the world so that international shipping costs can be minimized.

Writing this book has been an amazing experience, and an enormous privilege -thanks to everybody for your ongoing enthusiasm, support, and encouragement.

Most of all, thanks to Silo for living such a life!

For everyone, Peace, Force, and Joy

Trudi

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on On Wings of Intent – a biography of Silo – Done!

Silo Biography Ultimatum and Response

Our employer, the behemoth publishing enterprise Winged Lion Press Cooperative, has sent us – the Royal We and associates – an ultimatum:

Get this book OUT already, or else!

Scared witless, we have been racing against the clock, slaving over our hot pits of seething electronic impulses, endangering life and limb and sanity – but at long long last, dripping with sweat and tears, we are nearing the finish line, bearing aloft a gorgeous tome of over 450 pages, containing more than 90 photographs of Silo and his friends.

I will say no more about dates, having been warned never to promise anything until it is absolutely certain. Gods willing, however, it will be before the Boss’s 69th birthday, which, gods willing, that individual will live to see.

Stay tuned.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Silo Biography Ultimatum and Response

Cracking the distribution conundrum

Distribution – that’s the big issue for anyone wanting to reach a broader public, and not just preach to the choir. Distribution companies are the only ones that can place books in bookstores – and they won’t accept self-published books or books from a micro-press, only books from “real” publishers.

Well – what’s to prevent us, Winged Lion Press Cooperative, from becoming a “real” publisher?

I did some research. Apparently anyone can call themselves a publisher – but if you only publish books by one author, distributors will consider your books self-published, or at best micro-press-published.

However, if we can show that we publish more than one author – the more the merrier – it could increase our chances of having our works accepted by distributors.

That’s why we’re taking WLPC off the back burner, and embarking on a campaign to “get real” by publishing titles by different authors.

So – this is your golden opportunity. If you are thinking of publishing or reprinting, please consider using the WLPC imprint.

What does that entail?

It simply means listing Winged Lion Press Cooperative as the publisher on your title page, and publishing through one of the many print on demand services.

What’s in it for you? 

At this point, mainly just the great satisfaction of increasing our distribution potential and making it easier to spread the word about Silo and his legacy.

Other than that, we are happy to share our own experience with print on demand publishing, and with promotion and marketing. For the future we’d also love to talk about trades – such as exchanging editing, translation, and desktop publishing services.

WLPC’s mission statement is below – if you feel like your work fits, and would like to support this effort, please send a copy of your book or other piece to wingedlion@gmail.com.

Winged Lion Press Cooperative Mission Statement

Winged Lion Press Cooperative is a vehicle and a gift Inspired by the life and work of Silo, Argentine author and spiritual guide. We welcome a broad spectrum of participants in all fields of creative and intellectual endeavor:

  • anyone who yearns to make contact with the Sacred and the Profound in daily life, in the arts, in dreams and meditation and visions;
  • anyone who wishes to contribute to the study, investigation and development of human knowledge beyond what is accepted by convention;
  • anyone who dreams of transforming this world nonviolently;
  • anyone who hopes for transcendence beyond death. 

Publishing categories include Word (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, screenplays, and other creative works; testimonials of experience; and scholarly and investigative productions); Image (photography, painting, drawing, sculpture, etc.); Multimedia (film and video, comics, etc.); and Sound (music, spoken word, etc.), in both print and electronic formats.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Cracking the distribution conundrum

No Co-suffering!

For weeks some of my dearest loved ones have been going through hell – one from the stress of an unknown future, another with heartbreaking relationship agonies, another with oppressive health issues. These are the closest people to me in my life, and when they suffer, I suffer with them. Of course. I can’t help it, it’s what we do. Every parent and spouse I know does this.

Today, exhausted from all this self-flagellation, I go to hear Anam Thubten Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist, speak in Pt. Richmond. Hundreds of people come to hear him and talk with him whenever he is around, and it is as always joyful and calming to be there, in silent focus with all those people, meditating in search of the unnamable and the Profound.

In his talk after the meditation, Anam talks about compassion: how difficult life is, how we all suffer, how everyone has the same fears and doubts. How we all would like to find a “special friend” to help us in our difficult moments, and how hard it is to find one. The only way out, he said, is compassion. In the end, that is the only “special friend” you can rely on: the compassion in your own heart.

Afterwards I go up to greet him. My daughter went to hear him last time he was here, and I want to tell him how much his talk meant to her. When my turn comes I sit before him and I tell him that, and the whole time I am speaking he looks at me curiously, like he does when he knows you’re not saying what you came to say.

Finally I say, “Today you were talking about compassion… there are so many people in my life right now who are suffering…” and just telling him that, I get emotional and start to cry.

He cuts me off. “Oh! No. No co-suffering!”

His cheery forthrightness shocks me tearless. I feel like a dog being scolded by his master for doing something bad without knowing better…

“There are so many people suffering already in this world!” he says gently. “I don’t want to add to it by co-suffering with them.”

For a moment I am silent. Of course, it’s so simple! I see all at once, like a flash-forward of possibility, that all I have to do is not go to the place of suffering

Then doubt comes to save me. All very good to say that, but I don’t know how to not go to the place of suffering.

I do know that suffering is not part of compassion. When I was listening to Bach not long ago, the music made me feel such joy and reverence that when my thoughts drifted to my son and his agonies, I found myself for one long, miraculous moment feeling compassion for him without suffering. It was as if the Sacred both amplified my ability to feel the fullness of his suffering, and made me immune to it. I could feel it completely, like never before – but without any fear or anxiety. Instead, all I felt was the most enormous love and compassion…

That was a precious and rare experience. A teaching.

But I did not learn from it. Since then, I’ve continued to wallow in suffering with my loved ones at every possible opportunity.

As if in answer to my doubt, Anam tells me, “My mantra is this: I want to be able to open my heart, so that I will be able to help people.”

He looks at me intently to make sure I got it, and then dismisses me with a bow.

And it hits me: compassion is something I have to do intentionally. Whether I know how to or not, I have to go in that direction, because that is the only direction that brings peace and happiness.

 

As the day unfolds, the dark opportunities whirl into orbit around me. There are so many possible disasters… At first, amazingly, it isn’t hard to ignore them. Anam’s admonishment, “No! No co-suffering!” are fresh in my mind, and when the opportunity to suffer arises, I just don’t go there.

What’s more, not-going-there is not something I have to do – it’s a not doing. Like making a void, turning a blind eye, to the option of suffering.

It’s not so hard – just a matter of choice. I only have to ignore the seductive gravity of suffering. When I am able to do that, I’m in a void – a strange, bounteous emptiness that good things like compassion and love can fill.

It may be easy, but as the day progresses it eludes me. I’m so out of shape – my not-suffering muscles have dwindled to nearly nothing from disuse. I have to get in training.

And I remember the Bodhisattva’s Vow:

Just as all the Buddhas of the past

have given rise to the awakened mind

and continually lived and trained

in the way of the Bodhisattvas,

likewise, for the sake of all,

I shall give rise to the awakened mind

and continuously train

in the way of the Bodhisattvas…

 

Doggedly, I keep trying. Again and again the shadows bombard me.

Sometimes I’m able to the plug on the darkness and face into the brilliant void, full of potential. When that happens all is well. Then, with gratitude and excitement and only a smidgen of guilt for not suffering, I put my life before me, flush with possibility, and sally forth with joy to give my all.

More and more, though, I fail. Then, floundering down into the murk, I pull the darkness over my head like a blanket.

Because that’s what I’ve always done. It’s what I know how to do, I believe it’s the right thing, and I hope it will somehow help.

By the end of the day I am exhausted. Not-suffering does not come naturally.

But I know it’s possible – I just have to persist.

To make it easier, I remind myself of what helps:

It helps to immerse myself in beauty – in Nature and Art and all Sacred Creation.

It helps to give thanks – for beauty, for Life, for Love, for all opportunities to learn.

It helps to remember that co-suffering just adds to the world’s already steaming mountain of woes.

It helps to go deep inside and ask for help: help me open my heart so that I can help others.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on No Co-suffering!