The Need for Peaceful Reconciliation

It’s getting bad now. All over the world. Protests and marches in the streets of New York, London, Paris, South Africa, Berlin, Sydney and many more cities across the globe — all protesting against the incredibly shocking loss of innocent lives at the hands of Hamas and Israel. As I posted yesterday, it’s not just our Palestinian friends we should be concerned with but our Israeli brothers and sisters too. For this has gone too far now and for too long. The radical rightwing government of Israel is endangering the lives and safety and welfare of its citizens through this military offensive in Gaza (they’re fooling no one by attempting to call it defense.) They’re also endangering their economic welfare. The people of the world are now firmly against Israel for what it’s been witnessing; the people of Israel will be the ones to suffer because of it even though it’s the government who is doing it.
 
 It’s also getting bad in the States and online as well. Social media is not just abuzz, it’s aflame. Inflamed with hate speech and vicious arguments and attacks from both sides of the wall. Friends are turning on friends. Celebrities are speaking out, some compassionate, some hateful. (Joan Rivers exemplified true racist inhumanity in comments she made publicly yesterday). There seems to be no truth to this issue other than a lot of innocent people are dying. And unfortunately no one can do anything to stop it from continuing so far. But everybody wants to chime in. This makes sense. It really does. We are being moved so much emotionally that it is affecting us physically. It is affecting our actions. We HAVE TO act. We have to DO something. It feels irresponsible to sit here idly doing nothing while witnessing such inhumanity taking place. And yet there isn’t a lot people are doing except blaming each other or spreading hateful viewpoints and anger. Not helpful.
 
 This morning I awoke to an onslaught of notifications that my Facebook feed was going nuts still, leftover from yesterday. Zeke asked me to step in and delete all the threads, which would be nearly impossible for it’s almost all we’ve done for four weeks, discuss this issue… But his point was well taken: no one is doing anything except making other people angry. It’s sad and completely unhelpful. It was the last thing I wanted to wake up to today. But he was right. A few bad apples spoiling the whole cart.
 
 Hey man. Just woke up. I soooooo did not want to do this today… (Imagine how THEY feel — that’s a luxury they can’t afford over there…on either side…) Still groggy. Having espresso. Saw your name in a post on my phone and immediately logged on here. My apologies dog.
 
 Lord knows I have TRIED to encourage people to NOT be rude or insult others or resort to name calling or hate speech or state obviously erroneous factoids, or even refrain from patronizing remarks like “sorry chief” or “you need to go back to school”. NONE of that is part of diplomacy. It gets us nowhere. I’ve begged for it over and over. Last week I repeatedly deleted someone from posting over and over again all day (he was a persistent fucker) because his words were so vile. And over the last week i have had to unfriend several normally very cool people for going apeshit crazy on my threads over this issue. I really just don’t get why people cannot be rational and civil.
 
 I want so badly for us to be able to discuss things, debate things even, just as we are able to do on Forum or Quora, and just as — even as a small microcosmic representation of, our counterparts are having to do right this very minute in Cairo and Tel Aviv and DC and The West Bank. How are they supposed to broker peace and reconcilliation if we — just regular people with no real bones to pick with each other on social media — can’t even act civilly towards each other? Why does “blame” always enter the picture? Or “hate”? Or racist remarks? Or rudeness?
 
 Arlan was right in that NO one can solve this issue except the two parties involved, ultimately those two people are the ones who are going to have to make peace and forgive and reconcile. But I also believe that it’s going to take many different groups and factions to help; offering support and guidance, and different viewpoints. Just as it took in all our previous battles wars and skirmishes. This is a world problem, as I’ve posted before. This is for better or worse our generation’s South Africa — (Remember: Mandela was imprisoned for “terrorist acts” — he DID resort to terrorism in his 20s due to the ignorance of his youth and desperation. He actually tried to blow a place up. So even the best of us get messed up…) — so I see this as the world’s cause for BOTH sides. Because BOTH sides have genuine concerns and valid points.
 
 We ALL need to step up and step in to end this sad state of affairs. But only if we’re being constructive and blatantly helpful. I am referring both to US here now in the smaller microcosm AND to us THERE in the bigger picture.
 
 For example, I’m going to say it again as I did yesterday: HAMAS IS NOT HELPING. They are hurting. Their cause may have been noble but they chose the wrong method. Period. Violence BEGETS violence. Sure we’ve won in the past before using violence (the American revolution, the Russian and Iranian ones etc…) But Hamas isn’t going to win. And if they did then all our Israeli brothers and sisters would be toast. So THEY need to go. In other words, THEY should NOT even be allowed at the bargaining table. It’s a sham that we are forced to be bargaining with overt terrorists. It’s a joke.
 
 Here’s another one: Iran needs to stop with the anti-Israel platform and speech. Yes we get it. The viewpoint that Judaism is accepted and respected as it is in Iran (VERY respected) BUT that Israel was illegal and not done properly. But that’s the PAST. We’re never going to reverse it. So as long as they take that stance THEY too are NOT being helpful. And so they just don’t belong in the conversation. Anyone who takes a “we refuse to reconcile” or “we refuse to accept reality” stance is not helping. Along with anyone who overtly seems to disrespect life. Or insults. Or is rude. Or misquotes facts. Not helping.
 
 But facts…they help. Opinions and ideas and viewpoints that are new AND compassionate CAN help. IF we’re all willing to give a little, and grow a little, and accept that we can be wrong sometimes, and compromise, then we can fix this. I have learned through the years as a diplomat that one has to be fluid, like a liquid, able and willing to encompass both and all sides to a disagreement; AND willing to honor truth and human life above all things. Everything else gets in the way.
 
 What this means friends on both sides is: those who come on here and ONLY defend Israel and never even bother to acknowledge the incredibly sad and shameful loss of innocent life, ala Joan Rivers yesterday, is NOT helping. You’re scary. And the same goes for those who just keep hammering Israel without acknowledging that Gazans VOTED for a terrorist group to run their little swath of land — they KNEW this might happen. Hell, it was almost a given. And martyrdom — DYING while fighting — is encouraged by some in the Muslim community, i.e. THEY are bringing it on themselves some of them AND it doesn’t help to have a platform that says you want to do away with the other side. Duh!?! How is Israel supposed to feel safe under those conditions? I wouldn’t. BOTH sides have valid points. Both sides are being stubborn aholes and dragging us all through a lot of unnecessary pain. Our job is shine a light on what peaceful reconciliation looks like. Which basically means stop trying to prove the other guy wrong.
 
 My sincerest apologies to those of you who have been decent as we’ve discussed this issue. Blessed ARE the peacemakers. Let’s end this now and move on.

 

 – Posted by The Ambassador using BlogPress on an iPhone 8s Custom

Reflections on Marriage

According to Princess Little Tree, there’s nothing in the world that I haven’t written about in the Transcendence Diaries over the last 12 years. I have no way of confirming that of course, but it has occurred to me more than once that I have been pretty silent on the subject of marriage. That’s actually been a rather deliberate intention. I believe (as do most others) that I already share more of myself with the world than is normal or necessary or perhaps even healthy, but I’ve never minded this too much. I’ve always still been able to walk down the street and get along pretty well in the world despite what I say here or how I say it. I’ve been very lucky in that. So there are certain things — not just for my own benefit but more for the benefit of those around me — that i choose to keep private. One of those things has been my marriage. But I will allow these thoughts to slip out, because I believe them to be semi-important; surely they are harmless enough not to harm anyone or infringe on anyone’s privacy. And who knows, maybe they’ll even be helpful to some.

Princess Little Tree, long time character here in the Diaries and now my wife, just left an hour ago to visit with her brothers in Vancouver, BC — which isn’t actually that far from the Seattle area. It’s a gorgeous city by the way if you ever have a chance to spend some time there, i highly recommend it. By all accounts this is a very good thing for PLT and her whole family. I’m terribly glad she took the time to go.

What I always forget though is how completely lonely and lacking it feels when she and I separate. It’s uncanny. It takes a few minutes for it to kick in… I may be busy running around like crazy multi-tasking, or i might be sitting down just studying or writing, but without fail, this eery quiet in the house suddenly hits me. She’s gone. She’s really gone. Not just off to the store for an hour, but off for a few days. For all the “boy won’t it be fun to have some free time, alone time, quiet time, guy time to do whatever the heck I want to” ideas that we “think” beFORE they leave, that preconceived vision of fun pales in comparison to how much we sincerely and genuinely miss our spouse once they’re gone. At least for me.

Friends used to tell me about this phenomenon all the time… Infinito TOTALLY changed when he met Carlita. Before she entered the picture, Infinito used to be a player. He was a drummer in a rock band… So use your imagination. It isn’t hard to envision what it was like. He was always surrounded by the cutest and prettiest girls. But he never seemed that into them. He always played the laidback cavalier stud. Then he started dating this new girl. A few inches taller than he. that’s the first thing I remember. A real knock out. One day we turned around and while taking breaks at rehearsal the other guys in the band and I would notice that he was on the phone with her, talking in freaking baby talk, saying things like “oh mammi, te amo… te amo, besos… besitos…” He was acting like a different person. Of course we made fun of him. But at the same time it was easy to see how happy he was. I had a feeling he had met the ONE. And sure enough, about two years later, Infinito was married.

Now truth be told I didn’t get it at all, until i was married myself. Marriage, for all it’s ups and downs, is an amazing blessing. And we’ll get to that. But first, to be fair and forthcoming, marriage is also hard as hell sometimes. It’s a balancing act. Yes it’s true that your sex life does change completely. There’s this whole cycle that you go through. When you’re single you can have sex as often as you like pretty much. I mean, I’m speaking from the vantage point of being a singer in a rock band… so my view, my reality may be different than other people; but even still, one assumes that regardless of who you are or what you do, there are always others you can find out there who will share in your desire to do whatever it is that you wish to do in life. So if getting it on everyday is your thing, I’m sure just about anyone can make that happen, rock band or not. But as these very Diaries show in countless entries, that kind of lifestyle gets very old very fast. And your heart starts to long for something more substantial.

Once you meet that someone special, you go through what they call the honeymoon phase. This is the making love 2 to 4 times a day without fail phase of the cycle. If you’re a good match, it’ll last for quite a while. This is pretty much heaven on earth. Especially if you’ve really met “the ONE”. As long as your engagement doesn’t last forever this phase will continue right through your wedding day and well into your marriage proper. Then things will die down a bit after a while. You’ll have your first fight. That will suck. If you’re a man, you’ll realize that you’re wrong a LOT of the time. In fact, whenever she says you’re wrong, you’re wrong. Accept it. It’ll get you through to the make up phase a lot faster.

After a few years, love making — and i hate to say this for fear of scaring away newbies (bare in mind this is only MY take on things based on MY own experiences, so take it in stride, but) love making starts to take a back seat to things both of you deem more important in life. Having kids, raising the kids you already have, buying your first home together, building your nest egg, and generally building up your home and family together. Love making doesn’t go away. It’s just not priority number one anymore. Which is most likely as it should be. You’re still doing it. You’re just not doing it three times a day anymore.

Even in the best marriages, there are times when you’re going to look at this person standing there yelling at you and think “I can’t wait to get out of this hell on earth with this crazy person. I don’t know what happened to her (or him), but they have changed!” But lo and behold, if you widen back and don’t take any of your feelings too seriously (as long as you’re not genuinely being abused), then you’ll do just fine. I have found that the most important things to keep in mind, and practice, are #1, remind yourself of who that person really is, of how much you loved them –oh yeah, did i forget to mention that there will be times when you will actually hate them? Sorry. But it’s true. #2, recognize that chances are they still love you too; they’re just stuck in a creation that they can’t see out of at the moment. Give them some space and time. Personally I find that girls need more space and time than we men do. But that sounds awfully like an over-generalization, so be weary of going there. If you do notice that they need space and time to heal and integrate or to forgive you, give it to them. Don’t rush to make up just because YOU feel good. That’ll just piss them off more. #3, recognize that you’re going to be wrong sometimes. No matter how convinced you are that you’re right, in whatever it is, you may not even see it, it may take you hours or days or weeks to see it, but if you stay open and honest, you will see it. And in that moment it’s very important that you acknowledge that, to yourself AND to your mate. Let them know that you see where you went wrong, that you’re truly sorry, and that you’re committed to not doing it again.

[A note on this: This is an unbelievably difficult thing to do for some people. Since I took the Avatar Course at a very young age, I was lucky to already have those tools from a very young age. I didn’t have to go back and relearn how to do life, because I learned early on how to navigate it with this amazing technology. One of the things I noticed is that when we are in the habit of doing something we label “bad” or “wrong”, it may be very difficult for us to see it. Ever try to tell a person who lies a lot that they lie a lot? Notice how crazy and indignant they act? That’s because they’re in massive resistance to this reality about themselves. I’ve noticed it play out in real time in my own consciousness…. I’ll be brewing about some fight I’ve had with PLT and for a second I’ll get this thought that maybe if I hadn’t have done “such and such” then perhaps we wouldn’t be in this position… but then as soon as I start going there, I feel this major pain reflex swell up within me. That’s resistance to being wrong or bad. So you have to start practicing being honest and open and widened back enough to feel if these things are true or not. If they are, if you really did do such and such and that really is why you’re in an argument with your mate, then you gotta feel it, accept it, try to feel where it comes from, why you do it, get to it’s core, let it go, and decide from that moment on not to do it anymore. Just don’t forget to apologize for it. Just because YOU’ve discreated it and don’t plan on doing it anymore doesn’t mean that SHE doesn’t need to hear you confess it and commit to not doing it anymore. This is important I’ve found.]

If you give all that to her, granted if you’re in the right relationship, there’s a good chance your mate will do the same with you. You begin to trust this process. It works. And before you know it, you’re back under the covers madly in love again. It may SEEM like an impossibility when you’re both caught up in some crazy argument or fight, but if you’re with a good person, it just works out that way. Pretty soon you’re even more in love than you were during your first honeymoon phase. I don’t know what to call this other phase… I haven’t named it yet. Which is funny, because I name everything… But it’s deeper than the honeymoon phase. It’s this unconditional love and trust phase. It’s partnership, but on a very intimate level. It’s a deep unspoken trust. And it’s very very fulfilling and comforting.

Look at it this way. This is the person that you’re going to share a bed with for the rest of your life. Every single night for the rest of your life you and this other person are going to sleep side by side, right next to each other, bad breath and messy hair and all. But none of that matters. Because, if you’re with the right person, you will find that there is nothing more comforting, nothing more satisfying, nothing more caressing to the spirit than this ritual of spending each and every night together side by side.

I assume one has to be in the “right” marriage though. Because honestly, as a buddy of mine, The Poet, and I have occasionally discussed, you literally start missing the person 30 minutes into their absence when they leave on a trip of any kind (if you’re aware they’re going to be gone for an extended period that is…). It still blows me away. Because until this relationship I didn’t have that experience as a reference point. So I doubted those who made such exclamations.

Which leads me to realize how important it is for each of us not to waste even one day with someone who is NOT “the ONE” for us. How will you know? You’ll ask them to marry you. You’ll be consumed with the idea; and with them. Oh yeah, I know, you “don’t believe you need a piece of paper”; you’re not a traditionalist or a mainstreamer. Hah! You’re preaching to the choir baby! Remember? This is the Ambassador here. I not only used to say the same thing and feel the exact same way, I wrote that fucking book.

Then i met “The ONE”. And all that bs flew out the window and I immediately felt, for the very first time, this unyielding unquenchable longing to have children with and get married to this person. Because then, and only then, can you really understand what “marriage” is, or why it even exists. Without that feeling, those feelings, then yes marriage does appear to be “an archaic man-made government mandated tradition to protect women and children and secure a more civil society”. Gotcha. It is all that. For sure. But just wait till you meet the ONE. Then everything changes… Even for the most wild crazy iconoclastic brilliant and bohemian of us on the outermost fringes of society. You’ll want to throw out your list of “why marriage is not for me because I’m too smart/cool/hip for it”, because you will be consumed with making sure that this person is with YOU and YOU only. And the only way to assure that happens is to put a ring on that finger and walk down that aisle. Besides that, you’ll just WANT to. I know it sounds insane. But you’ll just WANT to. You’ll actually start thinking about. You’ll dream of it. You’ll fantasize about how beautiful she’s going to look on your wedding day and showing her off to all your friends and family. It’s a crazy thing, this metamorphosis from bachelorhood to bridegroom. But it’s a great ride.

Until then, it’s all a guessing game. It’s all cafe chats with friends over wine and appetizers about this one and that one and what that first date was like or why you know you should break up with so and so but maybe not this week…. It’s endless. And it’s all a big waste of time. Looking back now i can see, there is no “guessing” necessary. As everyone says, you’ll know. It’s a “lift you up off the ground and toss you around like a tumbleweed in a twister” kind of KNOWing; an “I can’t do anything else but think about and talk about and take actions that have to do with them and if I can’t be with THEM all the time then i don’t want to live!” kind of thing. It really is like that. Not just for rom-com loving, air-headed, romance obsessed tweens or silly romantics. It happens to the best and brightest of us, the staunchest sharpest minds.

I know you’ve heard and read this before, and I know that if you’ve been waiting a long time that you have your doubts. But I promise you as someone who waited a LONG time for it that it is exactly like that. And if it hasn’t been yet, then you just haven’t met the ONE yet. So wait it out. Don’t settle. Because life’s too short to settle for second best when you can have BEST.

Perhaps there is no better way to sum it up than with the words “true love”; maybe that’s why those words and that expression is so commonly thrown around… (though words don’t do it justice and if anything tend to bring it all down, make it much too earthly when in fact it’s quite a spiritually uplifting experience through and through…). I believe it is something — along with true inner-peace and personal freedom (democracy) — that everyone should be blessed with at least once in their lives. For I forget sometimes what a true blessing it is. Until I am reminded, as I was today. So this is my wish and prayer for you, and you and you and you. That this magical mystical true love finds you, if not today then some time very very soon. For there is nothing else like it in the world.

Bouncing Back When Flat — Ed Hale Opens Up in New Book and Interview

Ed Hale Star Guitar promo photo. Photo by Fiona Pepe, Styling by Jenascia Chakos 2013.

Ed Hale star guitar promo photo by Fiona Pepe, styling by Jenascia Chakos copyright 2013.Earlier this year Ed Hale gave an in-depth interview with the website FlyFreeAvatar.com, where he opens up more about his music, business, spiritual and personal life than ever before. The interview also makes mention of the potential release of a new book entitled Bouncing Back When Flat. The interview is being reprinted here for Transcendence Diaries readers in its entirety with permission from the owners. Original interview published on February 1st, 2014 here: Bouncing Back When Flat — An Interview with Recording Artist Ed Hale

FlyFreeAvatar.com recently had the opportunity to get recording artist Ed Hale to sit down for an in-depth interview. This is a project we have spoken about doing for several years, and the New Year seemed like the perfect time to finally complete it. Hale has been in the public eye for most of his life, having released his first album at the age of 17. He is best known as a singer-songwriter and recording artist — as the lead singer of the musical group Ed Hale and the Transcendence, scoring numerous Top 40 hits over the last fifteen years — including classics like “Superhero Girl”, “Scene in San Francisco” and “New Orleans Dreams”. He is also well-known as a successful entrepreneur and businessman, a prolific writer, and an outspoken social and political activist and human rights advocate. He has a reputation for being open and outspoken about his personal life, especially in his popular long-running blog The Transcendence Diaries, which is celebrating its twelfth year online this year. He is refreshingly candid about sharing his spiritual views as well – a rare quality in the entertainment world. Being actively involved in community building and Civilian Diplomacy work with organizations like Habitat for Humanity and Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), Hale has traveled the world extensively for diplomatic, peace and work trips and speaks six languages. Most applicable to this site, Hale has taken all of the Avatar Courses numerous times over the last 15 years and continues to do so on a regular basis.

I

FlyFreeAvatar (FFA): When I first thought about talking to you for this interview, there were two questions that came to mind immediately. The first was about how your music has been affected by taking the Avatar courses. And the second was about all the success you’ve had over the years and how much of a role you think Avatar has played in it.

Ed Hale (EH): Yep. I can see that. Those are the two questions I get asked the most when it comes to Avatar. But that’s TWO questions you know. [laughs]

FFA: Okay so let’s start with your career success. With the band’s last album’s success and the hit singles you had from your solo album, “Scene in San Francisco” and “New Orleans Dreams” climbing the Billboard Top40 Charts, why don’t we start there? With your career success. How much of a role do you think Avatar has played in that?

EH: Well I had achieved success in music at an early age. Long before I took the Avatar Course for the first time. So I don’t want to mislead anyone on that count. But it was short lived. I mean, I was signed, released an album, had a few hits and was touring before I finished high school. And then it was all over before I graduated college! [laughs] But this latest success? I think we could safely say that I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for everything I learned in Avatar; let alone be in Billboard magazine.

FFA: Your early career, that was when you were known as Eddie Darling…

EH: Yes. That’s the embarrassing truth. But you know, when we’re young… we don’t know. We think we know… but we don’t. At the time I guess I thought that was a cool sounding name. But that was such a crazy experience to go through at such a young age. None of it was on my terms. It was all up to other people. Just a very large greedy money-making machine. If they like what you’re doing, you’re in. If they don’t like what you’re doing, you’re out. No compassion, no sense of artistic integrity or guidance. It was really disheartening for me as a young artist. I thought that was going to be the start of this amazing career, but it didn’t last very long. A few years in the big leagues and it was over and I was back in the local club scene.

FFA: But you obviously didn’t give up on music, which has been a hallmark of your career, this persistence. What led you to keep going?

EH: Well I did give up for a while there. I went back to college and got really into that. But it didn’t last long. I just couldn’t stay away from making music. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel comfortable NOT making music. It’s just the one thing in life I enjoy doing more than anything else. Except being married of course! [laughs] The difference was, when I went back into music then, that it was going to be on MY terms. I didn’t feel like I had any control in it my first run-through. So that was one of the many reasons why I took the Avatar Course. I wanted to harness more deliberateness in my life. Not sure if that’s a word… But I really liked the idea of “living deliberately”. [Living Deliberately is the name of the first book by Harry Palmer. Palmer is the author and creator of the Avatar Course and has published many books on the subject.]

FFA: You were young when you took Avatar for the first time.

EH: Yes, I was 21 or 22 years old. Back then that was considered “young”. Now there are kids eight and nine years old taking the courses. It’s incredible. I used to feel like “the kid” around those courses. Now I feel old compared to these kids. [laughs]

FFA: Yes. It’s amazing. But still, 22 is still pretty young to take Avatar. Especially back then when the course was fairly new and unknown. What prompted you to take it?

EH: Well it’s like what I was saying, about the last album, and really all of them over the last ten years… I took Avatar initially because I wanted to feel more in control of my life. I wanted to feel like I was creating my experiences. I could FEEL that what it was about totally vibrated with what I believed personally. I mean, the whole “we create our experiences based on our beliefs” premise… I believed that already. Or at least wanted to. But how do we control our beliefs? That’s what puzzled me and interested me the most. And I learned how to do that on that first Avatar Course; and in the future ones that I took like Masters and Wizards. It gave me the ability to create my beliefs deliberately. So instead of feeling caught up in a large out of control system like the music business, I created feeling in control and confident. And every album since has done better than the last. It’s really been a very positive force in my career. For sure. There’s no arguing about that.

FFA: So do you use the tools regularly?

EH: Yes. Absolutely. I try to live through them… By using them all the time… Like in every moment. After a while, it transcends “using the tools” and just becomes… a way of life, a habit, how you live.

FFA: Have you used the tools specifically about your career? In other words is there a direct correlation between the success you’ve had and using the Avatar tools?

EH: Yes. Absolutely. In terms of using them specifically around my career, I learned from some of the more experienced Avatars out there – and I’m not sure if this is “a thing” or not… But I learned that they might go to a course and dedicate that whole course to just one aspect of their lives, like say their career, or money. Other things come up of course, because it’s all connected, all the different aspects of our lives… but I went to a Pro Course [The Avatar Professional Masters Course] and decided to dedicate the whole course to my career. And it was a truly amazing experience. Doing it that way.

FFA: In what way?

EH: Just the discipline you have to have in order to do that, to stay focused on one thing; controlling your will to be able to do it. And then the variety of tools available to you to explore that one aspect of your life. They offer you so many different perspectives you’ve never thought of before. And the course keeps you on track to really get to the bottom of things. In whatever you’re focusing on. In that case, tackling your beliefs about one specific subject, like your career, from the variety of different angles that are provided to you by using all those different tools. We released the Rise and Shine album a few months later and that album took off bigger and faster than we ever expected. It opened the door for us. Before that, we were a new and relatively unknown band. After that album, we became a national act. The songs were charting in cities all over the country. That was when I first started learning about where all these cities were that we hear about all the time around the country. From the radio station play charts. [laughs] I can’t help believe that part of what helped all that to happen was because I had dedicated that course a few months earlier to focusing just on my career. It was so effortless.

FFA: Have you done that with other areas of your life? Is it something you always do?

EH: No it is not something I always do. But I have done it with other things. But not usually. I did it regarding relationships one year and that was also very successful. I found my soul-mate because of doing that I believe. I cleaned up all the beliefs I had about love and romance and relationships… But usually I just take the courses and allow whatever comes up to come up. And you know, what I notice is that if your attention is on your career, then that’s what’s going to come up for you anyway. So it’s not really necessary. It all tends to work out perfectly if you don’t fight it and you just let it flow. Ultimately it’s your consciousness, no one else’s. You just have to decide if you want to be a victim of it or the master and leader of it.

FFA: That’s well put. So how do the courses affect your music? As an artist?

EH: Well I get that question a lot. And the answer is I honestly don’t know. I know that the answer is supposed to be really incredible and mystical or magical in some way… There’s this expectation there it seems… But honestly, in terms of music, I’ve been writing and playing music since I was a kid, since before I could walk. So if I were to be totally honest, I don’t know what affect it’s had. Freedom maybe?

FFA: That’s fair. Freedom in what way?

EH: Well… I can tell you this. When I first took the Avatar Course and then the Masters Courses, I felt OUT OF THIS WORLD. I had never felt so good in my life. Just like… I don’t know, flying is how I would put it. High as a kite, but without drugs. High on life. [Hale is very animated as he speaks. His eyes are wide and he uses a lot of hand gestures.] I felt SO confident and SO fresh and new and GOOD inside. I KNOW that came through in the music I was writing back then. It gave me a feeling of invincibility and that definitely translated to me having a new-found confidence as a musician and as a writer… to write whatever I wanted to and forget about any of the so-called “rules of the business”. You know? So in that sense, the courses did affect my music tremendously.

FFA: Some of your songs are very spiritual. You tend to write more specifically about spiritual matters than other mainstream rock or pop singers…

EH: So now I’m mainstream? That’s a first!

FFA: You know what I mean, singers in the public eye… most of them don’t write about spirituality as much as you do. Even the ideas of Avatar and Abraham Hicks are referenced. I also couldn’t help notice that you credit Harry Palmer on some of the songs.

EH: Well yeah, [laughs] you get so excited after you first learn all that knowledge. It’s a big WOW moment. Like discovering chocolate or sex for the first time or something. [laughs] But bigger. Just the knowledge is mind-blowing, right? So it’s a given that you’re going to want to share that with people. Just not go overboard with it… hopefully. But if you use the tools on a regular basis, if you practice BEING an Avatar… then you feel like you’re walking on clouds most of the time. Those ideals and principles are embedded in you. Simple things. But profound. So they tend to come out in the lyrics. If I write a lyric that sounds really close to something I’ve read then yeah I’ll give credit to wherever I think credit is due. When I was younger I was writing a lot of songs about spirituality and transcendence and stuff like that and it really did feel like I was channeling the ideas of Avatar through music at times. So I would credit whoever was the inspiration. That doesn’t make our publisher very happy [laughs] because it creates a lot more paper work. But it’s the right thing to do. Harry Palmer’s ideas have been a huge influence on me and how I think… ever since I was a kid.

FFA: Does he know that he’s written songs with you?

EH: I don’t know. [laughs] That’s a weird way to put it. But I’ve never kept it a secret. We’ve never talked about it. I always wonder if he gets these checks in the mail and then wonders where they’re coming from. [laughs]

II

FFA: You’ve also had tremendous success in business, as an entrepreneur.

EH: I’ve tried. [laughs]

FFA: Well you have. That’s an aspect of your career that isn’t talked about as much. You were a successful entrepreneur before you were 30, irrespective of your career in music. And that seems to be a running thread throughout your life, starting businesses and being in business, since you were very young. [Hale started his first company at the age of 20 when he opened up a rehearsal and recording studio. Since then he’s owned health food stores, juice bars, a vitamin manufacturing company, a business consulting company, a record label and a real estate investment company.]

EH: Yeah, for sure. That’s another one of those things that I just absolutely LOVE. Business. Being in business. LOVE it.

FFA: You say that about a lot of things!

EH: Maybe I do… [laughs] I don’t know. I guess I just love a lot of stuff. Hey that’s the Ambassador!

FFA: So what is it about business that you love?

EH: Well I was raised in that kind of an environment, number one. I grew up with my parents owning businesses. So I think that was instrumental in it. And I have just always enjoyed being in business for myself more than working for other people. Though I don’t necessarily believe that it’s easier. I actually think working for other people – especially for a large company – is the easier path to take, for sure. But for someone like me… I just could never imagine doing that full time and long term. Plus, there’s also a real rush you get out of the risky and adventurous aspect of being in business for yourself. Unlimited reward but unlimited risk as well. I get off on that.

FFA: But how do you keep up with it? And how does Avatar affect it?

EH: You know that’s two questions, right? [laughs] I’ve always been fascinated by being in business for yourself. Since I was a kid I always admired those kind of people. Tony Robbins has been as big an influence on me as say, someone like John Lennon. Almost equal. And I also found that I was good at it, or at least lucky in it. So I keep up with it as best as I can. Probably not as well as I could honestly. The Avatar thing, that’s a different story. It helps obviously. I know that. That’s the thing… Avatar helps you with everything. It’s not just one aspect of your life. It’s your whole life that is affected.

FFA: You’ve talked about Harry Palmer and Tony Robbins a lot throughout your career in interviews. They seem to come up quite a bit.

EH: [laughs] Yeah I guess I do. But hey if you’re going to have mentors, they might as well be great ones. And for my money those are two of the brightest minds in the world today when it comes to personal achievement. Even though they’re very different. Stephen Bauman too. He’s more of a spiritual intellectual who keeps your integrity on its toes. But really all of them do that. [Stephen Bauman is an author, speaker and Methodist Pastor in New York City]

FFA: I know your love for Tony Robbins and Stephen Bauman. But in relation to this website and its readers, how does Avatar help with your success in business?

EH: Well to me I think the answer to that question is obvious, but for someone who’s never taken any of the Avatar Courses before…. okay, we can go there… Say you’re experiencing the same challenge over and over again in your business. Everything seems to be going well except this one thing… Or perhaps LOTS of things… You can keep banging your head against the wall over it… Hire new people, recruit consultants, read more books, take more classes, etc. etc. OR you can take a look at the beliefs underneath this problem and once you discover them, you can then DIScreate them. That’s a term that Harry Palmer came up with in the Avatar Course. It’s brilliant. And voila! They’re gone. That challenge will no longer be there. THAT’S how it can help. It’s miraculous. If people have ever seen that movie The Secret… it’s like that. But it’s real.

FFA: You make it sound so easy.

EH: Well in a way, it is. Not all the time. But it isn’t rocket science. It’s a very natural thing. It’s an organic process, just like breathing oxygen. We just have to re-remember it… Discreating limiting beliefs helps us remove obstacles in our life that up to that point seem insurmountable to us. I can honestly say I would not have experienced the level of business success I have had in my life, especially as young as I was, without having that knowledge and those tools. To me it’s a no-brainer. The same with religious faith. Both help.

FFA: Speaking of obstacles, you’ve had your share and always seem to bounce back, which has been an inspiration to many people. What’s the secret? Or does that give away the plot to your new book? [Hale has a new business/inspirational book coming out this year entitled Bouncing Back When Flat]

EH: Besides what I just said? [laughs] I mean that kind of sums it up, right?

FAA: I was hoping we could go a little deeper.

EH: Okay well which ones? There’ve been a lot of them. [laughs] It hasn’t been as easy as people seem to think it has. It never is. Not for any of us.

FFA: A few years ago you experienced a major business setback that left you broke and even homeless for a while, which is what your new book is about. I’ve read some of the interviews about that experience and it’s shocking. But you turned it around. What I’m trying to come to is how you did it? [In 2006 Hale discovered that his business partner, Naomi Whittel (nee Balcombe) (now at Reserveage Organics), had sold one of the companies he had founded, Ageless Foundation Laboratories, without his knowledge to a publicly traded company. Hale found out through the SEC filing. Naturade Inc., the company who purchased Hale’s company, didn’t even know Hale was an owner of the company when they made the purchase, finding out months later. The story has been written about extensively, but Hale has been relatively quiet about it.]

EH: Yeah, that… [This is the first time in the interview Hale becomes quiet, anything but animated.] That’s still a tough thing for me to talk about. But I understand that it’s important and why you think it’s relevant. I’m still coming to terms with it all.

FFA: Well that’s why you wrote this book, right?

EH: Yes. Absolutely. It’s an important story. I know that.

FFA: Not many people can imagine living through that kind of a setback, let alone bouncing back from it. But you did. Rather quickly some would say. And you have had tremendous success since then.

EH: Yes, I know. And I’m very grateful for that. Hence the book. If I can do that, then anyone can do anything. That’s how I look at it.

FFA: I read an interview you gave last year where you did talk about it and it was inspiring. I only ask because the story does have a happy ending. You didn’t let it take you down, but instead you found a way to work your way back to the top. That’s an incredible achievement.

EH: Yes, it did take me down. I mean, how could it not have? One day I was going about my business and living my life, not a worry in the world, and then in one fell swoop everything I had in the world was gone. Bank accounts, credit cards, my company, retirement savings. Everything. Gone. It was the single most challenging thing I’ve ever lived through. For sure. But you’re right, I didn’t let it keep me down forever. I started from scratch and rebuilt. And slowly I was able to rise back up.

FFA: Without giving too much of the book away, how were you able to do that?

EH: Well for one thing, my faith is very strong. We’ve talked about that. I’ve never hidden that. I try not to be preachy, but I also think it’s bullshit, pardon my French, when entertainers keep their faith in the closet because they’re worried about how it’s going to affect their career.

FFA: You’ve certainly never done that.

EH: No, I haven’t. I talk about it when it’s appropriate. It’s important to me and I believe it’s important to a lot of my friends and fans.

FFA: You write a lot about religion and faith in your blog and sometimes sound almost anti-religious, almost like an atheist, which I know you’re not. And yet at the same time you write a lot about being a Christian and how challenging it is. Can you explain that a little?

EH: Well I’m definitely not one of those “100% sold” kind of people. I think anyone who’s really honest about their religious faith is going to be confused about it… and struggle occasionally. Because there are just so many contradictions in religion and spirituality… The difference with me I guess is that I haven’t necessarily chosen a side yet… I’m still open to all of them…. dissecting it all. And I explore all that a lot publicly in the Diaries. [Hale is referring to his long-running blog The Transcendence Diaries].

FFA: I know a lot of people find that inspiring. But you also anger certain groups of people with this “openness”.

EH: I know. And I don’t mean to. What I’m really doing is what I believe we should all be doing if we’re serious about spirituality and faith… questioning, studying, exploring. I’m not trying to make anybody mad or even question what they believe. To me it’s fun. It’s academic. But it also meaning beyond that.

FFA: I think most people recognize that. So your faith is one of the things that brought you through that business challenge?

EH: Without a doubt. A lot of reflection and prayer. And a lot of counseling with mentors. Seeking advice from older people that I looked up to. Also I had a really strong community around me. Family and friends who were there for me. That’s a tremendous asset. Something that you can’t buy. If it weren’t for that, I don’t know if I’d be here today. Because when that kind of thing happens to you, you really start questioning your life. All your effort and hard work and even your beliefs, things that you’ve taken for granted your whole life all of a sudden… you start questioning.

FFA: Like what?

EH: Well like… just everything. For example, you assume that if you work hard and you’re a good person that you’re going to succeed. That’s what I’d ALWAYS believed. My whole life. And I experienced that. Over and over again throughout my life that’s what I experienced. And then when this happened, it was so shocking, that it was hard to put those pieces back together, of that belief. It didn’t ring true to me anymore. Being a good person did NOT equal being successful. I started wondering if maybe that was just bs and perhaps we were supposed to be bad people and that was how to succeed. That was my first gut reaction of course. It took me some time to overcome that idea…. because bad people seem to succeed just as much as good people.

FFA: It’s easy to see how you could come to that.

EH: Right? But here’s the thing. I was wrong. We’re not “good” people because we want to succeed. We’re good people because we believe that’s the best way to live life. You know? My friends and family would call me every day, I mean every day, just to see how I was doing and check in on me. That was a big help. And we would talk about it and little by little they got through to me. I remember this one time I was driving around Manhattan with a friend, Big Mac, I LOVE this guy. He’s super funny, a southern guy. And he had just finished seminary at Princeton… So he is a spiritual guy too…

FFA: You write about him in your Diaries. I know the name.

EH: Yep. I write about EVERYBODY in the Diaries. Much to their displeasure! [laughs]

FFA: I definitely want to talk about that later, because I have a lot of questions about your blog and the reaction you’ve gotten through the years, but I don’t want to interrupt your train of thought. So go on with the story.

EH: Okay… So I was telling Big Mac how I was trying to make sense of God’s plan for my life with making this horrible thing happen to me. With Naomi and the business. That perhaps God was trying to show me a different path to take, rather than all this success and being a business tycoon that maybe God wanted me to be more focused on making the world a better place. And Big Mac, he just looked over at me and said “Bro I could never believe in a God like that.” I’ll never forget it. That was just one of those moments in life you never forget. I was like “What do you mean?” And he said “Ed, God doesn’t make bad things happen to people. God is grace. And love. Who did this to you? This Naomi chick did this to you.” The way he enunciated her name in his southern drawl… I can still remember it… He said “People did this to you man. God didn’t. God is the one helping you. Not hurting you.” I turned around in my seat and I began to cry. Right there in his truck. Because that was exactly what I needed to hear in that moment. I had been so puzzled by it. I couldn’t figure out WHY it happened… I was still trying to make sense of it. But he made me realize in that moment that it didn’t have anything to do with God or God’s plan… it was people. If anything, God is there to help us, not hurt us. At least in his view.

FFA: And is that your viewpoint now?

EH: Yes. Absolutely. That really resonated with me. When he said it. And looking back, still, it totally changed my whole point of view. That’s what I mean by my beliefs were being challenged. I was actually so fooled for a while there that I thought maybe that “God” wanted me to suffer in that way… It’s crazy. But luckily, if anything it made me stronger. And more importantly it offered me a reference point for how to view life when bad things happen to us. That it’s not about blaming God, every time something good or bad happens to us. People were the cause of it. And more importantly so was I.

FFA: How so? How were you the cause of it?

EH: Well that’s the part where I think I got the most out of the experience. Where if there is anything positive to take away from it, I got it. The first thing I did, because I had taken Avatar, was I started looking at my own past actions to see what was there, what had I done, in my life… I started reflecting on my own responsibility in the whole thing, instead of blaming anyone – and trust me it was easy to blame people… it was a horrible thing they did, they broke the law in a hundred different ways, and worse… broke my heart by taking advantage of our friendship… I HATE stuff like that… people like that. But I knew I needed to look for where and how I was responsible… So on the one hand, I saw how we have to be real when it comes to people doing harmful things to us; it happens. We can’t live in a bubble and pretend that there aren’t bad people out there. Because there are. But I also saw that I had some responsibility in it too.

FFA: That’s admirable, but in what ways were you responsible?

EH: Well I can’t act like I did anything overtly wrong to cause it… Sometimes people can make the mistake of over-owning things I think. It’s not like I was acting unethically or broke the law or something… I was a good guy. Same as I am now. But I had been warned that that kind of thing might happen before it did… at least a hundred times before to be honest. It wasn’t like it came out of the blue. I had been in business with Naomi for years. And that was the main thing we argued about, was her always wanting to break the law and me always saying that we most certainly should NOT. And our employees would always be stuck in the middle, between our two viewpoints. She constantly accused me of being “self-righteous” and I just wanted us to play it straight. So I had definitely been warned already. But what had I done about it? Nothing. Sure we had stacks of legal agreements between us that prohibited us from doing those kinds of things… But based on what I’d already experienced with her in the past, I should have known better. I should have taken more action BEFORE all that happened. And I didn’t. Why? Because I was being lazy, yes… or because I was resisting conflict. For sure. I didn’t like conflict of any kind. I love people and I love harmony and I’m all about love and peace, you know? So I just pretended like everything was fine when I knew it really wasn’t. I could feel it…

FFA: You were in denial… of your intuition?

EH: Yes, absolutely. Living in denial. Pretending. I helped to create the whole thing through knowing about the potential for something like that to happen and NOT doing anything about it. NOT acting when you know you should can be just as bad as TAKING an action that’s harmful.

FFA: So you took responsibility for the experience? Did that make it easier to deal with?

EH: Yes, absolutely. It gave me a sense of relief. It enabled me to feel the remorse for my non-actions that might have contributed to it, and other things, and then to move on. What it does is help you feel responsible for it rather than like a victim of it.

FFA: That’s a great example of using what you learn in Avatar in the real world.

EH: Yes. Totally. I think so. That one experience compelled me to fill three whole notebooks with actions from my past that I felt weren’t necessarily aligned with being a good person and to make amends for them. In order to get a fresh start. It led to a lot of self-reflection and taking responsibility for my past. I became a better person through doing all that.

FFA: When you’ve written about the experience that’s what you mean by it also being a positive experience…

EH: Yes. Let’s face it. No one wants to go through something like that. To have everything you own taken from you by other people. That’s a bad thing. The betrayal aspect of it alone is enough to make you feel so discouraged and ungrounded… so unsure of yourself and the world. When someone lies to you so overtly and is doing it from a place of friendship, it can really screw with your mind. But you have to find a way to turn it around and see the positive side of it. And for me the best way to do that was to start looking at me instead of at the others. And to start planning how I could improve who I was as a person… Once again I saw firsthand how our actions in the world can affect others, either in a positive or in a negative way. That’s the least we can do. Take stock of our actions and make sure we are having a positive impact. So that’s what I did.

FFA: That is inspiring. And within a few years you had overcome it and were back on top again with three hit albums, songs on the Billboard charts, and your now infamous trip to Iran… Do you think there’s any correlation between what you went through and the success you’ve had?

EH: No. I don’t. Maybe, I don’t know. I know it inspired me. But only through necessity. Before that happened I was really enjoying life. Taking advantage of how hard I had worked and how successful I had become. After that, I was forced to go back to square one and start over again and rebuild my entire life and career from scratch. It really inspired me to become successful again. I was determined to. So in that respect yes there was a correlation. But I’ll tell you this: no one should ever believe for a minute that they need to endure some kind of tragedy or suffering in order to succeed. That would be a very impeding and unnecessary belief to cultivate.

FFA: That’s a good point to make.

EH: Well if you go and read a lot of the articles that were written when our first album after that experience came out and became successful there is a lot of attention paid to the whole rags to riches aspect of it, “from homeless to Billboard!” became a headline. As if there was a romantic aspect to it. And I can promise you that there is nothing romantic about going through something like that. If you can avoid it, do so.

FFA: Well the story is an appealing and inspiring one, from an entertainment or person of interest point of view. You can see that…

EH: Yeah, I can. Totally. Which is one of the reasons why I wrote a book about it. I mean, I get it. How often does something like that happen to a person? Not very often. It’s more like a movie than real life.

III

FFA: There is another aspect about that experience that I wanted to have you talk about if you don’t mind, because I think it’s important. Ultimately you decided to settle the whole thing with your partner out of court. Yet the case still remains unresolved years later. Why did you decide to do that? And do you regret it now? [Naomi Whittel signed a settlement agreement to pay Hale for the sale of the company in order to render it a legal transaction months after the sale and prevent the case from going to court, but the agreement has never been fulfilled.]

EH: Well that’s more than just one question….

FFA: Okay. Why did you agree to settle out of court? Why didn’t you just go about it in a more traditional business manner?

EH: You mean by taking legal action?

FFA: Yes. Laws were clearly broken. Contracts were breached. It seems like an open and shut case.

EH: Right, I know. And it was. I get this question a lot, especially from other business people. There was a ton of criminal activity revealed. Fraud, forgery, tax fraud, embezzlement, a lot of lying and stealing… You know. Crazy stuff. It was something right out of a movie. Totally unreal and way outside anything I’d ever dealt with before. It’s insane when you think about it. This was a situation where yes, I probably could have played tougher… But for one thing, there’s a good chance that Naomi would have gone to jail if I would have gone public with it by taking it to court. And I was still operating under the misconception that Naomi and I were friends. We had been engaged to be married after all for years. So I still cared about her as a person. Secondly, she literally called me every day for years from the moment I found out what she had done…. Begging me to settle. Even though it may seem in retrospect like such an open and shut case now, at the time, I was still receiving these calls from her every day begging me to settle and not go to court. I felt very pulled. Between my loyalty to her as a person, and to her family… And to doing the right thing perhaps…

FFA: So now you think that taking it to court would have been the right thing?

EH: Well it would have been the more normal action to take under those circumstances…. But also I felt that there had already been enough legal action in our lives. I mean, she had created such a huge mess of legal actions for us already. It was all lawyers and law firms galore… for years. No one was winning except the law firms as they say. But because I had made peace within myself about it, and she was pushing hard for an out of court settlement, I looked at both outcomes… Part of me really wanted to “get justice”. Because in business that’s what you do. If someone commits a criminal act, they deserve to get what they get, right? Justice, to the full extent of the law. I got that. But at what cost to me and my own sanity? And at what cost to my family and friends? They’d already been through the ringer because of what happened. I reflected on it and prayed about it a lot… And it just seemed like settling it was the right thing to do. To put it behind us as quickly and smoothly as possible.

FFA: Plus you assumed that once you settled that it would really be over and behind you as you say.

EH: Yes, I did. Totally. I thought that would be the end of it. The end of “the Naomi saga” once and for all. It happened. It was bad. But the ball was in my court. I could sue and drag it out in court for years, or I could forgive and settle and move on with my life.

FFA: But it didn’t end there. After all that, the settlement agreement remains unfulfilled. Which is what led to the major setback you experienced. So do you regret that decision now?

EH: Yes and no. Yes, because I wish it were over. I regret what I had to go through. And I am sublimely shocked that we’re still talking about it years later. I don’t honestly know how she can deal with it still being out there open and unresolved. But no, because in that moment I feel like I made the most responsible and mature decision that could have been made at that time. Trust me, forgiveness in those kinds of situations is difficult… but it’s the HIGH road. Being vindictive or seeking vengeance, that may be the more common road, but it’s not the high road.

FFA: Yes, as an Avatar I completely understand you choosing forgiveness over revenge. Even though in the end it was a costly decision…

EH: Yes, it was. So far at least. But I’m still giving her the benefit of the doubt. That’s the part that a lot of people don’t understand. At first she swore up and down that she had nothing to do with it, that she was “forced into it by her husband and this pack of evil attorneys” they had hired. I didn’t necessarily believe her… But you know, when you’re close to someone like that… It’s hard to cut the line completely that connects you. There is still love there. And compassion. You want to give them the benefit of the doubt.

FFA: But it sounds like a very one-sided kind of compassion.

EH: Maybe it is… That’s something I wonder about sometimes. Long story short, she swore up and down that she had every intention of fulfilling the agreement, and more than anything she was just afraid. At the time I felt like I was doing the right thing, by being compassionate and forgiving, because that’s what WE do, right? And protecting her…

FFA: Yes, I agree. That’s what we do. But this brings up the question of when is it better to look out for yourself by taking a more Guardian Heart approach? [Guardian Heart is a concept explored in the book Resurfacing by Harry Palmer.]

EH: I know… There’s a fine line between being a nice person or a good person and letting someone take advantage of you… They are two different things. And sometimes we confuse them. Maybe I’ve crossed that line now… I hope not. But I can tell you now, after going through all of that, I understand the importance of the Guardian Heart a lot more now, of not confusing being a nice person with being someone who allows others to take advantage of them. That IS something that we tend to get confused sometimes as humans. I also see the importance of standing up for what we believe in or just being committed to protecting ourselves and our loved ones. I know what you’re getting at. And I am in no way attempting to promote forgiveness as being equal to letting people take advantage of us.

FFA: There is a certain responsibility we have to ourselves and to others in defending integrity and justice for the good of everyone…

EH: Yeah, absolutely. And that’s one of the reasons why I decided to write the book about what happened. It’s not just about the inspiration factor. But more about the responsibility to others. Not just to inspire other people who might be going through a similar challenge, but also to warn people that this kind of thing can happen to the best of us. No matter how nice we are or how good of people we are. No one is immune to it. You have to look out for yourself, no matter how nice of a person you are. But it is how we deal with it that is the true measure of a person.

I remember Tony Robbins telling a story once about how he went through a similar experience in his business life. His CFO was also his best friend and he discovered that this guy had been embezzling a ton of money from their company and it just shattered him; challenged his optimistic outlook for a while. When he told that story, I couldn’t relate to it at all. I was too young. I had never gone through anything like that. But when almost the same exact thing happened to ME… THEN I could relate to it. And knowing ahead of time that he lived through it really helped me. His story and his struggle with that inspired me. And I’m sure there are a lot of people who would be surprised that something like this even happened to me, because I’ve never really talked about it openly before. But I get it now. That responsibility to share it so other people can learn from it. That’s important.

FFA: I believe it is too. Not to spoil the finale of your book, but can you share at least a little about how you were able to rebuild from something like that? Tangible things, actions that you took.

EH: Yes, absolutely. If you can imagine waking up one day and being absolutely flat broke after years of working and having made a ton of money… Going from wealthy to broke overnight. That money still exists, but you just can’t get to it. Someone else now has control of it. You can’t even afford your next meal because your bank accounts have been taken over. Horrible right?

FFA: I find it hard to imagine. I think most people would.

EH: Well me too… Until it happened. After it happened, I wasn’t just broke; I was also extremely disheartened. It was hard to believe in humanity at all. But I didn’t want to become a jaded person. Or cynical. Or believe the worst in people. So I used the Avatar tools to let all those potentially negative beliefs go. I discreated them. And I deliberately created being who I really believed I was: a generally positive and optimistic person who believed in myself and others. I took every guitar I had and walked each one to a different friend’s house and left it there and said “I’ve been hit in a bad way. You know this. I need money for an attorney and money to eat. Here’s a guitar. This is what it’s worth. If you’re willing to help, I’ll leave it here till I can pay you back.” And you know, every friend I had was more than willing to help me out. It makes me emotional still. Because it really showed me how powerful friendships are. I had guitars all over the city in different people’s homes as collateral. And honestly half of my friends didn’t even care about collateral. That was just for me. To make me feel more comfortable in receiving help…

FFA: That’s exactly the kind of thing I was hoping you would share. These tangible actions that you took. I think people will find them very inspiring and informative.

EH: Well yeah, obviously in that kind of situation you have to find a way to get on your feet. Just to be able to eat. The part that hurt the worst is that Naomi and I were connected at the hip for ten years before that. We were engaged to be married for God’s sake. AND business partners for years after that. So she knew that once she did that that I would literally not have a cent to my name, nor even a way to eat. It was astounding to me that someone could do that. But once it happens you have to move on and find a way out of it. So that’s the first thing I did. Then I hired an attorney to help me sort out just what the hell happened. And then I started doing consulting work to bring in money. Business and health consulting. And of course liquidating assets. Physical things… And then I started hardcore trading again.

FFA: You mean trading in the stock market?

EH: Yes. Something I already had a lot of experience with. But besides real estate there’s no faster way to make money fast when your funds are limited. Of course it works in the reverse as well. So you really have to have a strong stomach and nerves of steel. But it was all about taking very real and tangible actions to move forward and start to rebuild. All of this AND still trying to finish recording the new albums with the band at that time and play shows in different cities.

FFA: I remember that. I bet a lot of people wondered why you changed so many things in your life at the time.

EH: Yes I’m sure they did. Because I also leased out my apartment in Manhattan for a while to make money. Whatever it took. Living with family and friends. It was a freaking nightmare honestly. But it was also a tremendous challenge and so kind of fun… When people asked me what was up, I didn’t hide the truth. But I also didn’t advertise it. I just kept moving forward. It was an insane position to be in. But you start from where you are. You start with the basics. You create being happy to be you, and simple things like “I can do this”. “I can make it happen”. “I believe in me”. Things like that. Using the Avatar tools to create those realities. Or whatever “tools” you have available to you. In spite of how challenging things may appear. You do it anyway. And at the same time you announce it to the world. Tell everyone what you’re doing. For me that meant telling everyone “The Ambassador is down but he’s not out! I’m rebuilding the empire!” Perceive it as a challenge, a doable challenge. And set about every day to being real with where you are… but also striving toward bigger things. I truly believed that I had learned a valuable lesson, but that I was not meant to stay down for long. That was not my destiny. I didn’t take all these courses and read all these books to let one major setback ruin my life forever. I was totally committed to rebuilding in spite of that setback.

FFA: When the first song from your new solo album made it onto the Billboard Charts, after going through all that, did it feel like your hard work had finally paid off?

EH: Are you kidding? Yeah. It was amazing! We laughed, we cried. And then laughed some more. A lot of jumping up and down screaming. One of the greatest days of my life. Friends calling from all over the country because they just heard the song on the radio or in their car… Things like that. I think because of the immense disadvantage I had been placed in – and everyone knowing about it…. That’s what made it so much more enjoyable for everyone. To be down like that and to rebuild it all from scratch and then top it off by hitting the Top 40 a few times. That was an amazing moment for sure.

FFA: You really did “bounce back when flat” as you say.

EH: Yeah, it’s hard to believe. But we did it!

IV

FFA: And it didn’t end there. Around the same time, you were invited to be one of only a handful of Americans to visit Iran post-revolution on a peace mission. How did that come about? [Hale visited Iran in 2009 on a well-publicized Civilian Diplomacy mission along with eleven other Americans in leadership positions from a wide cross section of different industries. He represented the arts. He just returned from a similar trip to Israel-Palestine recently. In between he’s also visited countries in Africa, Europe and Central and South America to build homes and community centers.]

EH: I’m glad you asked. Because it’s actually a really magical story in a way. I was at this silent retreat at a convent of nuns…

FFA: You always say these things that sound so outrageous… Like you’re narrating a movie.

EH: Hah! Well I’m telling you, this is what happened. It sounds crazy. But that’s how it went down. I was at a silent retreat at a convent of all these sisters in the middle of nowhere in upstate New York. Episcopalian I think. And you couldn’t talk for like a week. So I used that time to just unwind and decompress. But they had this policy where during meals you could do some light talking… something like that. I met this one sister who was really cool, very hip. And we shared this passion for global human rights activism. We couldn’t really talk that much. But we got to know each other. And at the very end of the retreat she told me about this historic upcoming delegation of Americans who were headed to the country of Iran for a two week peace mission. She said that the application process had expired, but that if I got mine in really quickly that she’d put in a good word for me with the international organization that was putting the thing together. I had been trying to get into Iran for five years. I must have applied ten times and was denied every time. I had already been studying the language, Farsi, so I could speak the language a little bit… That helped. And you know, there’s more, but basically it all came down to me being at this silent retreat in the middle of nowhere that got me into Iran. Sort of. I suppose it was more than that. But that was the original impetus.

FFA: Being in the right place at the right time. It’s fascinating how these little miracles happen in our lives when we’ve put our attention and intention on them.

EH: Exactly! First our attention, then our intention, get rid of beliefs or ideas that are in the way and BAM! Things manifest!

FFA: Can you talk a little bit about your activism?

EH: Well it is something that I am passionate about. I think it’s an easy way to feel good. Because you’re giving back. It’s not all about you. It’s nice to step outside of it being all about us sometimes. A lot of times actually. [laughs. Hale has become reanimated. His eyes have that light back in them.] Every one of those trips will stay with me forever. I hope this is only the beginning.

FFA: And again you started a business around it. But this one was a non-profit. What is the goal of your PeaceWithIran.com organization?

EH: Just that. Peace with Iran. Exactly what it says. I honestly see it as a reality. I see it happening. Maybe not this year. But soon. The alternatives are far worse than the simple act of a peaceful reconciliation between the two countries.

FFA: From your mouth to God’s ears. What was the most important thing you learned from your trip to Iran?

EH: Great question. I’ve written a lot about this already, but I’d say that the first thing that struck me was how genuinely nice they are there and how much they love Americans. That was very much a surprise for me, for all of us on that trip. We never hear about what nice people the Iranians are here in the States. And we also don’t hear about how much they love and admire us here. That’s an important thing to share I think.

FFA: What other areas of activism are you interested in moving forward?

EH: Well now a lot of my focus lately has been on Israel and Palestine… That’s the real hotbed I believe… Even in regards to Iran, it seems to all come down to Israel and Palestine at the foundation.

V

FFA: Before we go too far off into world politics, can you talk a little bit about your new albums? What keeps you motivated to keep making music at such a rapid pace?

EH: Well I tend to write a lot of songs. AND at the same time I tend to have a lot of ambition when it comes to always wanting to out-do what we did last time, artistically. Every time we get an opportunity to make a new album it feels like such a privilege. So at first we just head into the studio to record our quote-unquote next album. It always starts out as a simple process and then it just starts to slowly get more and more complicated. So it’s just me wanting to challenge myself, see how far I can take it I guess. And the fans, their reaction to it…

FFA: So are the album titles official now? The ones that were just released to the public?

EH: Almost positively yes. Welcome to the Rest of the World for one, and Another Day in the Apocalypse for the other. They’re starting to sound really different from each other now. And the songs have been chosen for each. So we can see the finish line… finally.

FFA: So when can people expect to hear the first single or finished product?

EH: We’re not 100% sure, but my guess would be sometime this spring or summer…

FFA: Well I know a lot of people are excited to hear the albums. The last thing I want to ask you is if there was one thing that you could share with people about any of the Avatar Courses, what would it be? As someone who has taken all the courses and continues to do so.

EH: Well that’s easy. And hard, because there’s so much you could say about it. I mean, it’s a HUGE thing, right? I write about it a lot actually. On the one hand, it’s a way of life. It’s a way of being… You learn a whole new way of being, through becoming more adept at feeling and using your intuition… You become more honest and real. More in line with the truth. But on the other hand, it’s also just a series of courses. You know, it is what it is, whatever each person makes it out to be. I guess that’s what I would say about it. That in essence, the Avatar Course is essentially just a series of courses that contain all this confidential knowledge that you sort of already know, way down deep inside, like it resonates strongly when you read it, as if you’ve known it all your life, right? [Hale is once again excited and animated] And yet now it’s been broken down into very easy to understand and doable steps. That’s amazing! No one had ever done that before. I could go on and on… but put it like this: Take all the cool stuff that we’ve read about in metaphysical and new age books, AND all those documentaries about quantum physics and the so-called paranormal, and then turn all that into a nine day course filled with exercises and processes that teach you how to actually do THOSE things. Tools to help you gain more control over your life and the world around you… more personal power. Now do that with hundreds of thousands of other people from all over the world speaking seventy-something different languages! THAT’S what Avatar has turned into now after almost 30 years. A giant collection of the most enlightened or maybe better put the most enlightenment-seeking people on planet earth. It’s the coolest thing happening in the world right now hands down. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world working on being the best they can be AND trying to make the world a better place! Incredible stuff. People always ask me, “Is it worth the money?” And I’m like “Oh my God, no… it’s worth ten times as much.” Talk about a paradigm shift. If someone is looking for a real paradigm shift –something really transformative in their lives – I can’t think of anything else as powerful or noteworthy. At least not yet anyway. Out of everything out there. And I’ve tried it all and then some.

 

To find out more about an upcoming Avatar Course, visit www.Avatarepc.com

To find out more about Ed Hale, visit iTunes or www.edhale.com

 

Finding Home

When you find that special place you call home you FEEL it. No matter how much time passes or how many other places you go or live in your life nor what reasons may compel you to live elsewhere, there is still nothing that does it for you quite like home. For me it was and perhaps always will be New York City. When I’m away and I see it in a movie or a magazine I feel a pulling in the area of my heart. Traveling is one thing. A glorious thing. But all the trappings and accoutrement of a well lit established and stable home environment still fail to fill that void that exists inside us whenever we’re away from our true home. Not sure what it is exactly that draws us so strongly and permanently to one particular locale in the world, but it’s a palpable tug toward earth, a grounding stable reference point that calms and soothes and whispers to the soul…. “you’re home…”

I had that same feeling the first time I hit the ground in Italy. Almost everywhere there, any city. Especially Firenze (Florence). As the Diaries entries from 2003 show I felt it most strongly in the Gaeta/Itri area of central Italy. I posed that it was a genetic phenomenon, because that’s where my mom’s side of the family came from. I traveled all over that country; felt it more strongly in some areas more than in others. I went to ALL the different towns and cities where my family had lived for thousands of years and yet in Gaeta and Itri I felt a very strong palpable sense of belonging… as if it were in my DNA or something, more than in any other towns.

Interestingly, contrarily, growing up in Florida I never felt a sense of home, but the exact opposite feeling, a strong sense of not liking it, not preferring it. Never felt safe, comfortable or at home; never felt like I belonged. Always a fish out of water. As a kid I assumed it was due to being an artist or inventor, that I had some kind of black sheep syndrome that transferred to the entire world, as if in general I just didn’t “fit in” anywhere. Traveled all over the world with my family as a kid and it wasn’t until I went to New York City for the first time that I first felt a sense of belonging or “being home”. It was a huge relief, was very revealing about who we are, who we truly are… It’s deeper than we think or believe or are led to believe. People think that because you grow up somewhere that it’s “home”. But the only reason we live somewhere when we are growing up is because our parents decided to live there, not because we want to. Doesn’t make it home. Home is something we can feel. I am happy for the people I know who feel at home in the town they grew up in. It doesn’t always work out like that.

Now I can say that I have noticed that no matter where I am geographically as long as I am with Princess Little Tree it feels like home. That’s a whole other paradigm. Sure geographically you still either feel a sense of belonging or not; it’s important, more than important. But finding that special someone or someones is even more important in the bigger picture. Having both… well that’s heaven on earth isn’t it?

 

 

The Moment Fishy Became a Writer…

Heard a more than decent song this evening during the ending credits roll of an old TV show I am currently having a mild obsession with, a little something called The Riches starring Minnie Driver and Eddie Izzard. Yes you read that right. Turns out the pair teamed for a one hour drama for the FX network back in ’06 to ’08. Though it only ran 10 episodes per season and only lasted for a season and a half. Seek it out if you’re a fan of either actor. They’re both better great at what they do in it. Minnie really shines. That’s a different story though.

The song started off with the lyrics “the fox… the fox…” I liked it immediately. Wanted to know who sang it. Sitting right there while the credits rolled, I picked up my phone (at this point it doesn’t even matter what phone we use. They all do the same thing give or take…) and Googled “Who sings the song with lyrics the fox … The Riches…” Within less than a minute I discovered the song was by the band Nada Surf, one of the few acts on planet earth I’ve never explored, let alone purchased an album by. With this new found information I then headed to YouTube and ran a search for the song. At least five uploads were available, whether I wanted to hear the original or the band performing it live in concert, there it was. I selected the one that seemed to appear the “most legit” and clicked play, placed my phone in my shirt pocket and went about my business of locking up the house for the evening — all the while this fresh new great song accompanying my every move, the music emanating clearly and cleanly from somewhere within the confines of my clothing. Like a walking jukebox.

When it was over, I hit play again to grab another listen. I also added it to my Favorites Playlist, which not only acts as my own personal music collection now, say goodbye to needing iTunes, but also alerts roughly fifteen-thousand of my closest friends on Facebook and Twitter about the song’s awesomeness and a link where it can easily be found. For free. And again it hit me. Walking around the house to turn off all the lights, the music still blaring out of my pocket, I casually asked my beautiful wife, “Babe we just heard that song on a TV show and had no idea who it was. How long did it take me to find that out?”

“A minute… Less than a minute” she replied as she let Alistair out for the night.

“Exactly. And how long did it take me to find it so we could listen to it?”

“Another minute….”

“And how much did it cost us?”

“Zero,” said she, letting said dog back in the house.

“Yep. The business has changed, changed forever. For better or worse the glory days as we used to know them are truly over for us in this business.”

“You keep saying that honey. What are you going to do about it?”

“Less than five minutes after hearing a song we like on TV and we’re listening to it. And we’re not paying a dime for it. I know I keep saying it lately. I just can’t fully believe it…”

“Maybe you don’t want to believe it…”

“Maybe… I hadn’t thought about it like that… But if 2012 was about anything, it was all about my denial of how quickly the music business has changed… and how nearly every single one of our income streams has dried up in the last few years. I mean, we worked harder in the last two years at making it than I ever have in my entire life…”
She smiled at me and patted my chest, implying I just might be overstating things a bit.

“Okay perhaps I’m exaggerating… the truth is I’ve been working like this non-stop for the last twenty years is more like it… But we REALLY kicked into high gear this year, and we achieved incredible things! Bigger and better and faster and more than at any other time in my career. And yeah we made great money from it… But it’s not enough. And no wonder. Look how different things are. It’s one thing reading about these changes in Billboard every week. It’s another thing to actually see myself doing it… participating in the exact activities that are tearing apart the whole freaking system.”

“Well it’s become real to you now. You’ve switched roles with the audience and now you are seeing things how they see things.”

“Exactly. And it freaking SUCKS. I don’t want to be doing this. Listen to this!” I exclaimed pointing to the music playing in my pocket. This is insane. These guys aren’t going to to get a fucking dime from my standing here listening to their music. And that sucks for them. And their label. And the producer if he’s getting points on the record. It’s all so wrong…”

“Well you could always stop doing it. But you won’t. No one will. Like you said, the business has changed… So have you as a music fan, just like everybody else. You want it now and if you don’t have to pay for it you won’t argue with anyone about it.”

“Yes. Exactly. That’s the thing. See? I don’t MIND paying for music. God knows. How many songs or albums do I buy each month?”

“More than you should. More than we can afford. Especially if you’re only going to listen to the song a few times and never listen to it again. Which is what you usually do when you find a song you like. You’ll probably never go seek out this song again to listen to it now that you’ve heard it a few times. That’s why people don’t want to buy music anymore. It’s not rocket science.”

“That IS the flipping point, isn’t it? The only difference between now and before is that unless a person wanted to sit around and make mix tapes or burn CDs from their friends, which was a royal pain in the ass, people were forced into buying music if we liked it. Now we don’t have to. And that’s that.”

“Honey I’m tired…”

“I know. Me too. What I’m trying to say is that this my love is why I need to start writing,” I said, giving her a hug before she went upstairs to prepare for bed. “More than ever before I now understand that it’s time for me to seriously become that rockstar turned writer we keep talking about.”

“You already seriously are that rockstar turned writer we keep talking about Baby Joon,” she said, her eyes drooping but still looking into mine. “You just need to finish one of the ten thousand books you have started. No amount of writing in the world, no matter how good it is, is going to help us if you never release any of it.”

“I know honey. I get it. I more than get it. It just keeps hitting me in different ways all of a sudden. I mean here again tonight it just really hit me. I need to shift gears fast and start actively focusing on the writing. Like a job.”

“No different than you already do babe. You already ARE a writer. You write more than most writers. AND you can still do your music. But what I don’t like is we keep talking about it and not doing anything about it. I think you’re afraid that it’s going to affect your music career. But I don’t think it will. If anything it will help….”

“Yeah I get that too actually…. you know what it is babe? I always saw me becoming “the writer” later… Like after the rockstar thing was over… you know, when I was older and married and had kids and all that. more like a retirement thing…”

“Honey you are older. I hate to tell you. And you’re already a writer… What are you waiting for?”

“Nothing I guess. I already told you my plan. The first book, When I Was Twenty-One will be completed and released by the end of January. For sure. And while we continue to work on the We Are the Revolution book, I can easily get the Casanova Diaries finished. That one’s already done. I just need to edit it. It’ll be easy. I can do this honey.”

“I have no doubt you can do it. I just want to see you START. And I’m not talking about making your little notes all over scraps of paper that just pile up all over the house… You have to approach it like any other job. The same way you approach your music when you want to get a new album recorded. You’ve got to actually sit and work at it till you finish. And you can still make time for your music. What do you do all day anyway?”

“Write or work on music….” I smiled. “I know, I know. I know what to do. You want to know what my biggest fear is?… Okay, two biggest fears actually…”

“One, what if I am not meant to stop music right now? What if now is not that time?”

“We aren’t talking about you quitting music honey. We’re talking about you working on only one book at a time instead of twenty and releasing them. And continuing to work at your regular job too. Just stop working on so many things at once and focus on one book and get it out.”

“And what if people don’t buy it? I mean what if people don’t buy me as a writer? What if I’m fooling myself?”

“Well you’re never going to know until you try honey. Talking to me about it isn’t going to get you there…”

“I know. It’s the new year. Plan B is working incredibly so far. You know I haven’t missed one day of studying Farsi in three weeks? You hear how good I’m getting?”

“Honey! I was going to tell you that when I came in this morning. I was laughing so hard! You have to be careful with some of the words you are learning. Some of them aren’t polite if you mispronounce them. This morning you were saying a bad word instead of “bowl” but I didn’t want to interrupt you…”

“No. Babe don’t do that! If you hear me pronouncing a word wrong, tell me. You know how hard it is to try to learn this freaking language? There’s no english alphabet. I have to stare at the pictures of objects and just keep hitting repeat over and over trying to learn and memorize it like that because I can’t read the freaking letters… It’s like music.”

“Well you’re good at it. You’re great at it. You’re doing it honey. I am really impressed.”

“I am getting good huh?”

“Yes my love. I’m proud of you. You have no idea how much it warms my heart seeing you practice so hard everyday…. Thank you honey.”

“No thank you for being so patient. I told you I would learn your native language. It just took me a lot longer than I thought. But it’s working out now with my new plan. I’m actually doing it.”

“So now just apply your plan B to your writing. Schedule a time of day you’re going to do it and do it. You’re good at that.”

“I think I’m actually horrible at it.”

“Not really. Not compared to everyone else. When you set your mind to something you go after it more than anyone I’ve ever seen. You know this. We’ve talked about it. You’re going to be teaching me Farsi soon! You just need to approach completing the books the same way you’re doing with learning Farsi or your music…”

“I know. I will. I am. I don’t have a choice at this point. I know it. I have to…”

“Honey I’m going to go upstairs now. Can you make sure all the doors are locked? I’ll see you upstairs.”

“Okay. Yeah….”

For the next hour it’s all I thought about. While getting ready for bed. I made over $9,000 from my music in the first quarter of this year. Just from radio airplay. It was a good year. But it cost three times that to get a song high enough in the charts to where you’re making that kind of money. That’s the catch 22 of the whole damn thing. This is nothing compared to five years ago. Because sales are now almost entirely out of the picture.

But the thing I keep thinking about is all these new indie bands that come out every month. They get a hit song in a movie or a TV show and then Bam! THEY do get sales. So sales haven’t dried up completely. Not for everyone. Frankly I think the conversation should be more about what leads to sales than how they’ve dried up. Because they’ve clearly not dried up for everyone. And sure I may not be buying as much music as I used to, but I’m still buying a ton of it. And so are others obviously. That’s really the key to it… How to stay in that top bracket of the rare few who actually still sell a ton of songs or albums… Second quarter pay outs are going to come any week. And they should be even bigger than first quarter. Thank God. But it’s the sales we are after. How to compel people to not just want to go on YouTube or Pandora and listen for free or play the songs on the radio…

Don’t get me wrong. There is NOTHING like having a hit song on the radio or in Billboard. But there is a very broadly drawn and large line in the sand between those who actually sell music and those who don’t. And that’s where we are waning now that the industry has changed. And I refuse to believe that it’s because we aren’t good enough. I went down the path a hundred times over the last twenty years. Until I finally realized through just sheer quantity and quality of fan feedback that it’s bullshit. It’s an excuse we tell ourselves because we don’t know what the hell we’re doing wrong. So we start questioning the merit of what we do, regardless of how much we like it or think it’s great.

Frankly I think the missing piece, the thing we’re doing wrong, is not touring regularly. Not that any of the Top 40 artists tour very often. Most of them are singles oriented. They DON’T tour. They do these big shows here and there. Morning TV, late night, festivals. We’re getting close to being able to do that now. But we’re not there yet. We need one more big hit. The other thing is that we’re a band. We’re not a Top 40 artist. And bands notoriously tour their asses off. So that’s something else to think about. What’s the resistance? Okay well we know what the resistance is… We don’t have enough money to tour or better put we don’t make enough money from touring to support a real tour. At least not yet.

But what if while I’m taking the time to finish writing one of these books in order to get more money coming in, we continue to work on the album, promoting and marketing, and if there’s a God in heaven or a sliver of luck anywhere near me with this, something will pop that will lead us into an opportunity to tour as we used to. It only takes one. We already know that from past experience, time and time again. What I’m hearing is that I’m just being impatient. Spoiled by how things used to be. The new album has only been out for less two months. There’s plenty of time for it to continue to rise in the charts AND for a song or two or three to get picked up for something that can lead to enough money to support a tour. And demand one. That’s the other thing. The demand… It ain’t easy. There’s no way around that. But it’s fun. Hell, I don’t even believe it’s fun any more. It’s more scary than fun. But it’s my life. That, really, in the end, is what it’s all about.

Okay, so that’s what we’re going to do. Here it is 2:44 am and I’m writing in the Diaries. So maybe that’s something that needs to change. The Diaries are free. Like the music now is. (insert loud laugh here!) We need to turn our attention and the writing towards other things that are NOT free. Other vehicles. We’ll see. This isn’t going to work. There’s no way I’m going to be able to maintain the Diaries AND make music full time AND finish a few books. It’s impossible. Unless I start writing super short blog posts. Which actually might not be such a bad idea. And with that, let us end. Tomorrow we apply Plan B to the writing too. We will add it to the schedule. And we’ll play it by ear with what happens to the Diaries… Until then.

Learning Farsi

Farsi study time. Everyday now since about two weeks ago for at least an hour I’ve been diligently pursuing mastery over this damn language. With an alphabet that looks as beautiful as the world’s finest art, it is hard to fathom, ironically, just how utterly displeasing the sound of the Farsi language is. Worse yet, it is as displeasing to the mouth and tongue to speak as it is to listen to. It’s truly unlike any other language I have endeavored to learn. Not only is it extremely difficult to speak physically, in terms of forming the words properly — plenty of glottel stops and gutteral formations in the mouth and back of the throat, but it’s also completely grammatically confusing. More on that later. 


We’re at the deep in point now and I have to note: attempting to learn a foreign language withOUT learning to read and write it’s alphabet may just be impossible. (UnLESS u just immerse yourself in that country for six months and r forced to that is.) Other than that this is getting harder by the day but I trudge onwards.
I make occasional updates to social media regarding this new endeavor. Freinds have offered a variety of potential solutions to this quandary. Everything from alternate language programs to memory improvement courses. Rosetta Stone is the best program for learning a foreign language out there second only to formal classes IMO. It’s just the first time I’ve attempted to master one with a totally different alphabet. And because I’m NOT in a class (as I’ve been in the prior four I’ve learned) and perhaps due to some slight laziness and fear on my part I am focusing on just speaking rather than reading. A side advantage of doing it this way is that you r forced to hone your listening and memory skills razor sharp. Because you can’t read the letters right in front of you — as one would with french or spanish for example. That’s a plus for the old brain for sure. But at this point where I’ve “milestoned” into Unit 2 and the sentences I’m learning are becoming longer and longer it is obviously becoming increasingly difficult to do it all by ear without being able to read even one letter that’s staring me in the face. Of course it would be the same if I were learning Japanese like James or Russian or any others… (I think u already know I took the easy road to start and learned all the “regular alphabet” languages first way back when (except Romanian — the secret-closet stepchild of the 5 romance languages, because I just feel no desire to learn it). But I’ve run out of those now. So… all that’s left are “different alphabet” languages for me.

As I’m writing all this to you (pardon it’s length) I’m just realizing that I’m really cutting myself short by having chosen this method. I can feel the limiting belief operating :: learning that alphabet is going to be too flipping hard! I’m going to seriously consider discreating this idea and perhaps go back to square one and take on learning to read and write. Sheesh these r just beliefs. Why struggle if you don’t have to right?

And I’ll tell you — on another note — two other things that have occurred to me, 1, connecting with others through social media like Facebook about what’s really going on as opposed to just jokes and links and pix an bs can be very helpful to us in a variety of different areas of our lives. You guys here have taught me plenty and inspired me. And 2, staying in touch w fellow Avatars has a similar effect on us but just amplified by a google. We create a no bs allowed zone so to speak. Because you and Dan and Annie r in this loop it’s forced me to really look at what’s going on. Not just w this but you know, all around I think it’s very helpful and beneficial to us all to be connected potentially on a daily basis.

To Moliere or Not to Moliere, That is the Question

Last Screening: Moliere
A French film from a few years ago. A period piece, full costume and all. If you’re already a fan of the great French playwright and actor, then this is a gimme. If you love dry witty 17th Century salon repartee’ and double entendre — where one’s brain garnered more merit in society than mere beauty, or Shakespearean comedy’s twists and turns then you’ll easily find this film a feast for your ears as well as eyes.

For me it was a bittersweet experience throughout. A dualistic reaction swirled within me, on the one hand pure enjoyment as an observer, and on the other a subtle gnawing at my insides by the loss of the libertine lifestyle i so enjoyed as a single man playing the part of artist above all else in a free world. I am not one to believe in platitudes, let alone recite them, but there is something to ponder about the idea that for every path toward one form of happiness another must be forsaken. Though I do not wholeheartedly believe it to be true, I get the feeling that it’s an idea with merit.

The irony seeps so heavy from even these very thoughts like maple from a sapling, for it is true, even here, in these Diaries where I have spent more than ten years pouring out every thought and feeling I’ve ever had — that I now feel a strong reluctance to do so any longer. Talk about double entendre. This grand irony perching its head above ground through the very format I am using to explore it. Truth be told this has been the case for a few years now. Being married it is nearly impossible. More than that, it would be unfit, unfair, inappropriate. And that’s just the matter of these Diaries. I now understand why as a writer, as artists, we must find other ways to get our truths across without such blatancy that these Diary posts once afforded me. The truths that we are compelled to communicate, to let out, to unleash, still exist; they are in that regard existential. It is an existential need, as vital to the living organism of artistry within as blood or clean air is to the body that houses it.

So rather than lay it bare out on the line as was once so easy here, these Diaries have had to transform into a more innocuous form of prose, less revealing, less personal, hopefully no less engaging or powerful; but more worldly and culturally relevant. The real meat of the personal nature of things must be delivered through other means artistic, such as song or works of fiction or poetry. And indeed we are already in the process of that. It will obviously not be as readily or easily available for consumption as the Diaries once were, but I don’t believe that I am capable of ridding myself of the need to let loose with the truths that illuminate our life while here, the very stuff that gives us cause to remain here, any more than I am capable of living without food or water.

There is much to be gained from a life well contented in marriage and family. More so at least for me than I believe I would have gleaned from continuing the life of a bachelor any longer. But perhaps I say that only because I allowed myself decades to enjoy bachelorhood, an enjoyment I would recommend anyone partake with gusto and all their will and might and relish wholeheartedly before succumbing to that next stage of nuptials and commitment, fidelity and trust beyond measure with another. But if one thinks that they can at the same time walk through the world and among the masses naked open and sincere, baring all and more, and still keep said marriage content, they are kidding themselves. It It would be a cruel practice and require a slow letting go of all respect to even attempt. One that would quickly suck the love out of the heart of the other and leave in its place a profound bitterness.

Think Woody Allen and how he never stopped to consider how his showing his cards to the entire world, every nuanced passing whim of his heart and mind, with no regard for his girlfriends or wives. The joke I always observed was that if you are married to Woody Allen and find him uncommunicative, wondering how he feels about you, don’t ask him, just watch his next movie. He’s telling you how he feels right there. He just never possessed the courage, nor respect or chivalry, to tell you himself and in person. I observed this heartless cruelty in the lives of artists since I was a boy, a cold willingness to put their art above the feelings and trust of their lovers. And for a long time, before I matured, I was under the illusion that this was just a necessary component of being a true artist, a truly great artist. But as with many things we play with in our imagination as children this was an illusion, and an unnecessary one.

Any one who uses art or being an artist to treat those who love and trust them the most poorly has simply failed to grow up. They are no more or less an artist because of it. Their art will never be the better for it, their heart will never allow it. The heart longs for only one thing: truth. Which is why we believe that love is the primary thing we long for the most, for love is the most truthful thing we can experience here. Love feels good. But underneath that good feeling is the purity and purpose that only truth can provide. Raw vulnerable untouched unstoried unscathed untainted just free. The closer we get to it, the more pure we become, a never ending and always evolving metamorphosis into something more pure, more truthful and honest. A freedom like no other. And from that place real art can be created like no other, one that can truly transcend, not just the man himself, or the time and place from which he creates, but from the common temporality of human beingness itself. Timeless art is truth in its purest form, even in fiction.

So it takes a subtle discretion, at least for an artist, to pull it off, bridging the life of the contented with the life of restlessness angst and passion. The art must be disguised, though still be true. It must take on a life of its own, one that is separate from its creator, so the artist is free to live the life he or she is equally entitled to (besides that of an artist), a simple normal contented life of ease and struggle, pleasure and pain, challenges and accomplishments, as any other on earth is. We may not get to play Moliere forever, but I dare say life would be boring if we did; and if we are lucky, we allowed ourselves plenty of years in our youth to do so. There is more to being human than reckless abandon for the sake of the genius of creation. Nobler goals. There is the challenge to master the art of living. Most artists never get a chance to experience that side of the coin. Giving into the myths and illusions we begin to harbor in our youth. But I for one am going to try, while at the same time producing some of the best art and works, in whatever shape or form they happen to come at me in, of my life.

One More Week On the Sidewalks of New York

Last Screening: Sidewalks of New York. The 2001 film by writer/director Edward Burns. I have always had a soft spot for Edward Burns. Besides just the fact that he’s a fellow Edward. There’s something very Woody Allenesqe about him, his love of New York, his casual street realism and story-telling style. This isn’t one of those add to a Pinterest Board to be commemorated forever kind of movies. I’d love to say it was, because I get the feeling that Burns would be a great guy to be friends with, and if we knew each other, in the way I am friends with The Poet for instance, then sure, I’d give this film a two big thumbs up. Just for the sheer fact that they were even able to start and finish an entire movie. I mean, that in and of itself still blows me away. Filmmaking seems like such a gigantic achievement, compared to making an album I mean. That’s my only reference point. It just seems like a giant undertaking. So in that regard, sure, kudos to Burns and company for the accomplishment. But other than that, there wasn’t much here that each of us doesn’t already experience in our own day to day lives. And yes I dig that that’s Burns’ style in general, day to day realism, but I still believe that a really good film should transcend common man’s day to day life.

What the film did do for me though, what Edward Burns films always do, is remind us why we love New York so much. Burns is a real New Yorker. One of those “born, bred and never gonna leave New York” types. Like me I guess except that my relationship with New York has always been more transient, on and off, off and on. My favorite city in America hands down. But for whatever reason, I always find myself here for a while and then gone for a while. Such is the case now. It is true. The rumors. That we’re moving for a while. Not sure for how long. A few months is my guess. At the very least, we’re leaving this apartment and neighborhood. Can’t say I am going to miss it. I’ve never liked this neighborhood.

I’ll tell you one little tidbit of useful data I’ve learned, and there’s been plenty since this grand adventure started. If you want to keep something private, don’t tell a soul. If you really want to keep something completely secret, between just you and you, the key is to not tell one single person. I honestly haven’t told anyone except only those that need to know, like our leasing company, and a few minutes ago the freaking UPS guy confirmed what I had been suspicious of for weeks: everyone is already talking about our leaving here. When it makes it’s way to the UPS guy, you know everyone knows.

In regards to our family and friends, I’ve managed to spend almost three months straight here without flying anywhere else, which is strange for me, since normally I fly in and out and don’t spend more than a few days to a week or two here at a time now, I’ve packed up an entire four bedroom apt and not told one of my friends that I’m leaving. Call it denial perhaps. Or just being too busy. I just can’t bare to talk about it, let alone to tell anyone. I’d rather just go, do what I have to do, and come back in the Spring. We’ll find a new place and go back to bicoastal living. Eventually live here year round. Realistically we have less than two years left till we will be able to live here full time year round.

That was the plan originally. When I first moved here. Remember that? Long time readers will. And for many years that’s what I did. But marrying Princess Little Tree changed that. I knew it would going in. You can’t marry someone and live apart all the time. It just isn’t natural. I just didn’t realize that it would ever come to this. Having to make a choice between here and anywhere else. But life throws us curveballs sometimes. Wherever Princess Little Tree is now is where home is for me. And for now she needs to be in Seattle. Trying to maintain two homes on opposite coasts was challenging. Not just financially. But in every way. God I hate that flight. 12 freaking hours door to door, between our two homes. That’s one of the many things I am more than happy to be saying goodbye to. This neighborhood too. I’ve never liked it. None of us did, when we first moved here. One by one everyone left the apt. Out of the four of us who first moved in together here back in January of 2007. None of us, despite how much we loved the apartment, were too keen on the neighborhood.

It’s weird looking back now. Four of us move in together, into this giant Manhattan apartment, just about six years ago. And one by one we each left. I was the last to hang on. And why not? Where else are you going to find a four bedroom apartment in Manhattan? And for a decent price? Problem was I just could never get into the neighborhood. It’s always given me a sick feeling inside, walking around outside. I know. You could easily jump on the subway or into a cab and be anywhere in less than ten minutes. But the truth of living in New York is that wherever you live, wherever your apartment is, is where you spend most of your time. We don’t drive here. We walk everywhere. Or take subways or taxis. But most of the time, your hood is your hood. And I’ve never felt comfortable here. So when the lease came up for renewal this year and they wanted to raise the rent yet again, this time for $200 a month, it was a no brainer. We’re paying double now compared to what we started paying when we first moved in six years ago. So let’s pack it all up, hunker down out in Seattle where the family is and focus on some building and storing up of resources, and come back in the Spring and find a new place. I’m keeping my office here. So it’s still home.

That’s one of the great things about New York. You can leave for a while, but you never really leave. Your heart stays. The Candyman left New York for over a year back in ’08, when he took that job in the UK. But before we knew it he was back. Catherine Darlington moved to Switzerland for over a year and didn’t even give up her apartment here. That’s how it is. Once you live here, if you like it that is, and most people seem to, you always live here. Even if you leave for a while. The sidewalks of New York are always beckoning. No matter how long you’re gone for, New York is still calling you to come back. New York is still home. From that moment on, you’re a New Yorker. No matter where else you live in the U.S. New York will always feel like home.

So we’ve got a week left here. The apartment is almost entirely empty now. Most of the furniture and belongings either sold or packed up in big boxes, leaning up against the living room wall. I’m right back to where I was when I first moved here all those years ago. Just me on a mattress on the floor with not much else around me. Full circle. I walk around the empty space in the dark and quiet of night and feel a subtle but strong feeling of sadness circling around inside me. This isn’t a choice I really wanted to make. It was, to be truthful, one of necessity; not preferred. But that’s part of growing up isn’t it? Making the hard choices. Doing what seems right. Being responsible.

Don’t get me wrong. I love our home in Seattle. Who wouldn’t? It’s like the freaking Playboy Mansion for God’s sake. But for all intents and purposes I feel at home there about as much as I would in prison. Or Kansas. And I’ve never even been to Kansas. Or prison. Which goes to show just how out of my element I feel out there. The three hour time difference really messes with me too. You always feel like you’re playing catch up with the rest of the world. Really just with the East Coast. But that’s where everything is happening. At least that’s what you’re trained to feel if you grew up on this coast. Put it like this. If you want to watch the news everyday, which I have been apt to do since becoming an adult, you need to tune in at 3PM. Right smack in the middle of the day. Because they show it live, as they should. 6pm here in Eastern Standard Time is 3pm on the West Coast. Talk about weird. And if you want to get up with the rest of the world, which has never really been my thing, in America that is, it’s 6am, not 9am, on the West Coast that is; or you’re going to lose the first three hours of the day. For a night owl like me, that’s nearly impossible, let alone challenging. My whole inner clock gets thrown off. I start feeling lost, like I’m adrift at sea with no one but just me, alone in a little boat at sea floating around in pitch darkness, cold and lonely, fog covering everything but the light from my smart phone. A real sense of not belonging to anything starts taking me over.

So yeah, the whole damn move is bittersweet. To say the least. As I sit here on the mattress on the floor, which I’ve made my home more often than not since becoming a so called “adult”, writing this, I find myself filled with despair and longing. And I haven’t even left yet. I am sure I will feel different once I am home with Princess Little Tree again.

Speaking of PLT, this month marks our tenth anniversary of first meeting each other and falling in love. Crazy right? If you’re a long time reader, or are coming to the Diaries in eBook form and have flown through these pages quickly, over a period of just a few days, then it will feel like just yesterday to you when Princess Little Tree and I first met and this whole adventure first began. Who would think that ten years later SHE would have been the ONE? But as G2 wrote to me a few years ago, when he first heard the news that we were getting married, “Man that’s just perfect. You couldn’t ask for a better happy ending to this story. No matter who else it could have or would have been, no one would have been better than Princess Little Tree if Fishy were going to get married.”

And indeed I did. Get married that is. To her. Of all the girls that have graced these pages over the last ten years…. it was Princess Little Tree all along. One thing I know to be true, something I had to learn through living it I think, is that Princess Little Tree is the kindest, most loving, caring, generous, gracious, sincere and considerate person I’ve ever known. She was back when I first met her, and she still is today. There was a reason why after all those years holding out for the right one, the best one, the only one, that I finally ended up marrying. If not for PLT, there would never have been Fishy getting married. And thus this whole story would have taken a different turn. Who knows what would have happened. But it wouldn’t have been this. And for now this is way better than I could have ever imagined.

So yes, the sidewalks of New York will beckon for the next few months, as I find myself a visitor here more often than a resident. But I have a strong feeling that that will be a very brief and fleeting moment in the life of The Ambassador. New York, like few other things in life, is just too damn special to not have in one’s life for very long.

 

Keep Moving On

I wrote the song “Keep Moving On” (from the SLEEP WITH YOU album) under the most heartbreaking circumstances. It was and still is one of my favorites. Some songs are like that. You just get lucky. Or better put, if you write enough songs, there are bound to be some that come out ‘just a bit better’ than the rest. Of course they’re all your favorite when you’re first writing them. Only time passing can tell you if one day they are bound to truly be one of your favorites or not. Besides having a melody that you can really sink your teeth into, one that appeals to me might be a better way of looking at it, it also had the unique ability to truly inspire me and lift me up whenever we would listen to it or perform it. It is just about the most honest song I have ever written. Nothing was held back, in terms of letting it all out, being vulnerable, laying it all out there.
So now whenever I am in one of those special situations where you don’t have much choice but to ‘keep moving on’, this special little song still tends to pop into my head, and lend comfort to my heart. And so it is with this upcoming move from our beloved apartment here in New York. I have been in this apartment for over five years. I have been in Manhattan for just under eight years. But it was time. Not only do i personally despise the neighborhood we live in here, for it is everything that living in New York should not be like, dealing with the landlord has never been easy. In fact it has always been downright degrading. Something I am not used to. And for those that know me well, you know that I have always operated from the viewpoint that one should never volunteer to keep one’s self bound in degrading situations. Some of the time that decision is ours. And if at all possible, I believe we should do everything in our power to pull ourselves up and out of these places.
There is also the issue of time and money. Princess Little Tree and I have been attempting to maintain two homes on opposite coasts for more than two years now. It is not an easy task to take on. It’s fun. But it is also very taxing on your health and energy. The constant packing and unpacking, flying back and forth, 12 hours door to door from house to the other. And then usually back again a few days or weeks later. It’s been grueling. And financially taxing. The constant pressure to meet all the monthly expenses and then some. When given the opportunity to renew our lease here for another year, something just clicked in me and I intuitively felt that as much as I love living in New York, we had reached that time when we would do better to pare down and hunker into one home only for a spell.
It won’t be easy. New York is home to me. It always has been since the moment I stepped off that plane and my feet hit the New York city pavement for the very first time. I had never felt “home” before that. Not in any town or city I had ever lived. Not in any town or city I had ever lived in to attend college. I always felt like I was visiting. Like an outsider. But not in New York. That first cab ride from the airport, over fifteen years ago, all I could do was stare out the windows with my mouth gaping open looking all around me as if for the very first time I was returning home. And yet I had never even been to New York city prior to that first time 18 years ago. Yet there she was, New York City, in all of her dirt, noise and glory. A spectacular site and smell and feel. Some say they “can only visit but never live in New York City”. For me it has always been the opposite. I can only visit other places, but New York City is where I live. [speaking strictly about the United States here… truth be told I feel even more at home in Italy. Just about anywhere in Italy does the trick. When there in fact, I actually feel it’s “homeness” underneath my skin. It’s cellular. It’s genetic. It’s deeper than even here in New York. But we’re talking about America here, and American cities.]
The decision was not as difficult as I thought it would be. Once begun. The process has been a different matter. More than difficult. Princess Little Tree and I put our life’s blood into renovating and fixing up this grand palace of metropolitan luxury. And it’s been a real shame watching it slowly unravel into just another empty New York apartment. One by one the furniture goes, as happy young couples who’ve just moved to The City stop by to pick up a piece or two. It’s an odd feeling, watching someone drool over something that you thought of as yours not two seconds before as they carry it out your front door. And yet, when it comes to Manhattan living, that’s how it has to be. Storage here is economically prohibitive. And a move cross country… well it is obviously in our best interest to keep the quantity of items we move to a bare minimum.
So all those special little items, you know the one, that piece you picked up together on your last weekend up in Woodstock that would go just perfect in the guest bath, become commodities once again. Something to be priced and then reduced and eventually sold and bought by another. Watching the local handyman take down our light fixtures — something we spent so much time on, in choosing, matching color and style, and installing — was the action that so far, up until this point, hit me the hardest. They have been purchased, by someone fortuitously who will enjoy them just as much as we did, and replaced by inexpensive and generic light fixtures that don’t manage to catch the eye even if you tried. And the same goes for so much more that was once an ocular delicacy here.
One of the many things that a move like this does to the system is reminds one of how transient our lives are here. How utterly impermanent everything is. When you’re younger it doesn’t really hit you. Moving. We move from town to town, even home to home within the same town, and it never manages to affect us much in any way. But when you take roots when you are older… when you begin associating your home with family and friends, with community, then it becomes something altogether different. Palpable loss. And palpable excitement over the potential for newness too. Still in the throes of it. So I will leave it at that. I am sure we will come back to the subject before too long. It’s inevitable.

Last Sceening: The Sound of My Voice — Great idea for a movie. Poorly executed. I am always surprised, still, when I see movies that appear as if the producers have barely put a thought into the story by the time the film ends. It’s as if they get an idea and then get so amped up about making the movie that the story gets left behind; abandoned in place of more concern for making the movie itself. A really good film does not have to be always be Apocalypse Now or The Departed. But they should feel “complete”. Whatever that means to each of us. This film was small. In every way. And simply not finished well enough to be of any concern to anyone other than the film makers themselves.

Which brings us to another one, that was quite the opposite. A movie by the name of People Like Us. Fully fleshed out and complete. Big and yet culminating in quite a small film by the time it reaches it’s denumoi. You’re sucked in emotionally the whole time, and having some fun and being moved along the way. Worth the watch.

 

What’s the Best Men’s Cologne?

What the heck is that you might be asking? Well it’s none other than a random wall in my bedroom in my New York apartment. It just happens to contain my colognes. This is in regards to a recent question I received from a fan in the edhale.com Q&A section, where this guy asked me to recommend a good cologne for him and a great perfume for his girl. So for you, whoever you are, you heard right. This is it. A very personal look into my very own boudoir. Now I know what you’re thinking. There’s no way you can or want to buy all those colognes. Gotcha. A collection like this doesn’t happen over night. It’s a collection. And like all collections, it takes time to get to a satisfactory quantity and quality of whatever one is collecting to feel that juice, that personal sense of joy and pride that comes from building up a collection of any kind. In this case it just happens to be colognes. But I love collecting in general. I’ll freaking collect anything if I dig it. Why not? Life is big. And if we’re lucky, it’s also LONG…. So why not? They’re useful enough things, colognes. I could think of other things less utilitarian to collect…

To avoid you the trouble of having to write in again and ask how many I own, or how many you see here, I can tell you that at present you’re looking at around 240 something give or take. That’s here in NYC. I’ve got a few “special ones” in Seattle as well. So that should cover that question. In regards to what I would recommend to you, honestly I dare say that that would be a very hard question to answer definitively for anyone other than one’s self. After all, the olfactory senses tend to be pretty subjective. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so too is scent I believe.

But let’s say that you’re looking for something a little special, different, unique. After all, if you wouldn’t have asked me and instead just relied on the latest issue of any fashion magazine or cologne counter, you’re liable to walk away with a pretty standard run of the mill big name brand and end up smelling like every other guy. Suffice it to say that I own all the big name brands and small name brands, because many of them are really great. Especially when mixed. And that’s a really good insider tip for you: when possible, always mix and blend. Two or three if possible. Use one on your torso and another complimentary one on your arms and neck. That way, no matter what you’re wearing, you’ll smell damn good, but you won’t smell like anyone else no matter how distinctive that other man happens to be.

Look at this way, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Gucci, D&G, Kenneth Cole, Michael Kors, Boss, Davidoff, Armani, and all the other mainstream brands all make some damn fine colognes. And you can’t go wrong with any of them. But your goal isn’t to just “not go wrong”. Your goal is to stand out among the pack and be the best smelling man in your world hands down. So I’d say stay away from them. The worst thing in the world is to be at a party and have half the place be able to sniff out what you’re wearing within your first hour there. Nah. You want to stand apart from the pack and smell like no one else and still be the best smelling man standing. So if I were you, I’d start with the more exclusive brands, the ones that most people shy away from or don’t even know exist. Go with Hermes for example. They’ve got one of the most distinctive and unique collections of scents for men, AND women, out there. The girls love Terre. It’s very unique. You just can’t sniff through it. It’s that good.

The other two I would recommend if you really want something special and not “right off the shelf” would be anything by John Varvatos and any of Tom Ford’s. These are very special colognes. Pricier. But totally worth it. Very few men wear these, let alone even know about them. And with them there is no need to blend. They’re complex by nature. And just damn fine smelling. The last ones I would mention, because they’re both so incredible I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t would be L’Occitane for men and Aveda for men. Harder to find, but worth it. This is way off the beaten path stuff. You don’t get them from going to a department store. You have to actually go to the stores themselves respectively. Or you could hunt them down on amazon.com and save a little while you’re at it. But those two especially are very unique and complex… still manly, woodsy, yet sophisticated. Trust me, you can’t go wrong if you just stick with the four or five I’ve mentioned here. Each will burn a hole in the heart and memory of any female you happen to encounter throughout your day to day adventures as an international man of Transcendenceness.

In regards to perfumes for your girl… let me think on that. There are MANY. And I honestly think that you need to let your nose be your guide. They all smell good. That’s not the point. The real question is what is going to smell good on your girl, AND how do YOU like it? It could be simple and predictable like something from Chanel. Or it could be one of Gucci’s newer models. Gucci Gucci for example is amazing. So is Lanvin. It’s a classic. But it happens to make my beautiful princess smell downright irresistible to me. And THAT is really all that matters in the end, I’m sure you’ll agree. Happy sniffing. Hope this helps. And thanks for lightening up the content within these walls for a change.

Enslaved to the Loathsome World of Email

I don’t know when we reached the tipping point of this thing. I really don’t. All I know is that one day email was a valuable means to pass on data of extended detail to people through a very quick means, or perhaps a more polite way to reach out to someone you don’t know well enough to call. And it sure as hell beat writing an old fashioned letter for those purposes, in terms of speed of delivery. But over the last few years, people have come to consider email a means of communication all it’s own. Separate from and equal to all other forms. As if by emailing someone it lets them off the hook from having to communicate with someone in more regulated or confirmed manner. Such as a phone call or a text message. When you speak with someone on the phone about something, you can be pretty sure they heard what you said. There’s clear communication there. But lets’ face it, if you shoot off an email to someone in the middle of the day and don’t hear back from them, you have absolutely no clear way of knowing if they even received it, let alone read it.

It’s 12:41am here. Have church tomorrow. So tired from what goes into music videos… Spent ten hours today between hair, makeup, wardrobe and shooting. Must have shot the song twenty times. It’s a crazy world. Point being that even if you do spend all day working, like I did today, you still have to check and respond to emails these days because people have become accustomed to just dismissing their regular communication through shooting out emails to people. I mean, it’s just come to that now. People don’t bother calling or texting you. They think because they’ve sent you an email they’re in the clear. When did it get like that? More importantly, how did we let it get to that? It’s like BAM they shoot off some email as if their job is done, and hell you might have received a few hundred emails that day. There’s no way you can get through them all even if you weren’t working. It’s physically impossible. Unless you’re an octopus. Or a clone of a clone of a clone. At least once you reach a certain level in your career of choice. Which I have now. A few years back. Which basically means that for all the money and success I enjoy, I am forced to endure an equal quantity of copious emails.

(Someone just Poked me on FB. Seriously. Now THAT is irony at it’s finest… LOL!) Now I do have a system set up. For those that wonder how that works, once you reach that level where you are receiving tens of thousands of emails per week or month, I’ve got an assistant or two who are copied on all emails that are sent to me. That’s been going on for about ten years now. More probably. And if something really important comes in they text me a copy of it right there on the spot so i can text them back a response to the sender. Their other job is to just get that number of emails down. Sort them. Filter them. Get the spam out. Get the newsletters out of there. Let me know if anything personal and important arrives that needs my attention. And let me know if anything important in the way of business arrives that needs my immediate attention. And that works for the most part. But there’s just no way in hell that one or two people can handle it all unless that is ALL they do. Which right now we don’t have set up. They’ve got other jobs as well. So a lot of it falls through the cracks. Meaning, that it just hits my box and quickly makes its way to the bottom, beneath that line where you can’t see it, and by the time the moon rises on the horizon there are a few hundred emails below that line just from this morning. Poor bastards want a response. Problem is, I might not see their email till 2014. And that’s the truth.

And there’s just no way around that. I’ve heard people say “Dude, get email on your phone so you can read them while you’re away from your computer.” Yeah, good idea. I’m away from the computer because I’m working. On the phone or in a meeting or actually “doing” something. Last thing in the world a man needs to be doing while he’s doing one thing is have his nose buried in a cell phone trying to read emails. It’s just not appropriate. If you’re working all day… you’re working. How the hell are you supposed to then sit down and spend another eight hours sifting through people’s emails? It’s crazy. But people expect it these days. And a lot of these people are my friends, coworkers, they’ll shoot something out and six months later be like “I think I sent you an email about it…” Makes me laugh now that I’ve vented a little. It’s ridiculous really.

You might not see their email for weeks, months, in my case I’m still catching up on and replying to emails from 2008 this week. I think we took this email thing way too far. Truth is, it’s my humble opinion that if a person sits behind a desk all day and they live in that “email world”, fine. That might work for them. They might “clear” their box every day. Great. They’re life is all about the email. Like people who watch TV. Some do. Some don’t. But you can’t expect someone who doesn’t own a TV to know what you like to watch on Tuesdays at 9PM. Same goes for email. You just can’t expect everyone to be as into it as you are. Your living through emails every few minutes does not mean that it works for other people. People who don’t have desk jobs just don’t see emails every five seconds. And damn me to a world where there’s no Send and Receive button for an eternity, but I think that if you want to communicate something to somebody you should still be expected to pick up that phone and call or at least text them to let them know “Hey man by the way, check your email when you can. I’ve sent you some more details about such and such in an email.” That makes sense. That works.

But the email should not replace regular communication. I think it’s a cop out that people use so they don’t have to follow through with regular communication. “What? Oh dude, I emailed that to you like a month ago…” “Great. Thanks for telling me that now. A month too late.” So here I sit, cross eyed and tired as hell scrolling through emails at 1am in the morning after a full day’s worth of work because a bunch of lame asses decided that they didn’t feel like picking up the phone. The way I see it is this. If what they sent was not important enough to communicate through regular channels then it can’t be that important, knowing that I just don’t have access to email most days.

I don’t know how we got here. But I’ll tell you, it’s a loathsome place. It’s enslaved us all to be humpback desk sitters or little gadget hounds. And i for one love life too much to spend every waking hour glued to some electronic device. I see the ads for “tech geeks”. And I respect their love, obsession, whatever you want to call it. We all have our hobbies. And technology has definitely turned into a near obsessive hobby for many people. I personally love it’s convenience and the possibilities it portends for our continued progress and evolution as a species. But I don’t buy into the fact that we need to become enslaved to it. The life as some call it, la vida, is just way too bella for that.

Ring That Bell! Let the Battle Begin!

Fourth of July 2011. PLT and I had just spent a lovely weekend with Father Bloopy and Flavs. Watching fireworks from their roof, eating a variety of pot-luck home made dishes and sipping equally well homemade cocktails. It was well past midnight when we left their place. Our reservation with the car service that took us there was for 11. But when we called to confirm they were indeed downstairs waiting for us, they said they would be delayed due to traffic; asked if we could wait a half hour or so. We said we understood and hung out some more. By 12:30am we were exhausted and more than ready to go home. The problem was that our car service had decided to not come pick us up. We were downtown, New York City, well within the barricaded streets where no taxis could enter or exit. Stuck miles from home and no way to get there. I will never forget that evening. PLT and I each waited on a different corner of the block attempting to wave down cabs along with fifty other people. There were tens of thousands of people out in the streets all wanting the same thing. To wave down a cab after watching the fireworks that night. I had predicted this well in advance and hence this is why we had used a car service. To guarantee that we would not be in this situation in the middle of the night. But we were. Stranded.
My first inclination was to call them a few times and order a car and then not show up. Just to show them the same kind of courtesy. But Princess Little Tree talked me out of it. Said that I shouldn’t fight unkindness with unkindness. The “two wrongs don’t make a right” argument. So I did nothing but call their customer service department to lodge a complaint. To make matters worse, they don’t actually have anyone working in their customer service department. You have to leave a message on their voicemail system and wait for a call back. I can only imagine what it must be like for someone who has a real problem right there in the moment and needs assistance. That would be a nightmare.
Unlucky for me a few months later I was to discover what happens in those kinds of situations. Against my better judgment
we continued to use this car service. A lot. They already had all of our information and they had promised to never do anything like that again; besides they offered us a deep discount on our next trip with them. Today I needed to go to see the guys at BMG. It turns out that we have a damn good chance of being able to work with Tony Visconti on our next album, the one we are recording now. Our meeting couldn’t have gone better. Better than imagined. Lunch for four hours with the man I literally used to sit and stare at his name for hours as a kid on the backs of all the T. Rex and David Bowie albums. It was an incredible experience. Will be even more incredible once we start working together on the new albums. A teaming of Tony and this band is just about the best of all possible worlds musically speaking. It’s a pairing made in heaven. I cannot think of another producer working today more suited to my music honestly. I have dreamed of it since I was a pre-teen. And he’s as young spry and with it today as he was back in the early seventies. Probably more so now because he’s got all those years of experience; and hundreds more gold albums under his belt. But a deal must be put together. Enter BMG.
So off we rode in a plush black limo to the offices of the world’s largest publishing company. That’s another story. For later. Long story short, I had left my cell phone on the seat and forgot to retrieve it before exiting the car. I realized this in the elevator. When I got upstairs I called the car company. Was immediately told that I needed to speak with dispatch. From them I was told that “nothing could be done” by them after all. All we could do was leave a message with their Lost and Found. This went on for hours. PLT was phoning them while I was on Skype with her. She was getting mad. I was getting mad. Was this not the same car company that we use on a nearly daily basis? Providing them with thousands of dollars per month? One of many sure. But one more than none.  The first thing I did was call my credit card company and cancel the payment I had just made to them. That would at least get their attention.
I’m a strong believer in exceptional customer service. In a free market system it’s just about the only thing that you’ve got above the next guy. For there is no thing as “an exclusive” anymore in this “economically flat world” where anyone can purchase any good or service or manufacturing item for the lowest price and resell it right next to yours in less than a month after you’ve released yours to the public. That’s why big pharma companies refuse to get into the nutritional supplement industry and why they demand to get patents on their drugs. It’s that patent that protects the exclusivity of their product for a short while so they can make some of their research investment money back. Most of us aren’t that lucky in the industries that we are in. Car companies are a dime a dozen. So the only thing they have going for them would be better than excellent customer service. Unfortunately for us our laziness got the better of us and we allowed ourselves to get duped again by simply believing that their egregious mishandling of our reservation (by stranding us downtown in the middle of the night) would never happen again. They had promised after all.
But here we were again, dealing with the same kind of disrespectful and unkind behavior. At just about 7:30 pm they telephoned PLT and told her that they had found my phone and that I could come pick it up. That’s not the worst news we could have received. Trust me, I get that. But the wait plus the way they handled the situation was incorrigibly heinous and rude. No “Hold on just a minute ma’am. I’m so sorry to hear that. Let me see what I can do and get the driver back with the phone…” as one would expect from a company they do business with on a regular basis. Rather they treat you more like cattle or ants beneath their feet, with no sense of propriety or acknowledgement or appreciation of customer loyalty.
Unfortunately for them they had asked me to go pick up the phone at their corporate headquarters. And they wanted to see a photo ID. As if I had magically deduced that someone had left their cell phone in that particular car at that moment in time and here I was with nothing better to do than go get someone else’s cell phone. For what? So I could do what with it? Sell it? In this day and age? These days iPhones are basically engraved with your personal information inside of them. You couldn’t hack out a person’s personal ID from an iPhone if you wanted to. They’d simply disable the phone from Verizon and render it useless. (Or so we are told. Though I hear cell phone hacking and reselling is big in Africa and South America.) They also wanted me to pay them for the fare in cash. This made sense. I had after all just paid them with a credit card a few hours earlier and cancelled it.
Once inside, I was surprised how little security there was. It was as rundown as one of those temporary one month in business telemarketing offices. Generic Staples office store furniture. A stale stench in the room. “OLD” was everywhere. Suffusing out of every crevice of the interior. Everyone we had ever spoken to was right there on three floors. Reservations, dispatch, the so called customer service, who in reality were just two elderly Jewish people, Stars of David around their necks; very likely the owners of the business themselves. Short, poorly dressed, real New Yorkers, strong Israeli accents mixed with a “long time in New York City” dialect mixed into it. Sweaty, uncouth, slow, random, casual. The women held my phone in her right hand. Slapped a piece of paper down and asked me to sign it. Then asked to see my ID and have me pay her for the driver plus the tip. “The tip? You’re kidding right? You’re lucky you’re getting paid at all.” She said nothing. She could tell by the look on my face that I was beyond angry. I was in that realm that exists beyond anger, halfway between rage and crazy. “How much is it?” I asked.
“$48 for the fare without tip.” she said. “Here. Here’s $60. Give me back $12.” Obviously there would be no tipping. She patted her polyester workout shorts as if to imply she didn’t have pockets to carry cash but couldn’t come up with the energy enough to actually say it… she then uttered “Bernie? Do you have change for this?” to her partner but speaking to the air just in front of her. How we are meant to believe that the largest car service in Manhattan doesn’t have cash on hand in their corporate offices I don’t know. But people like this exist. We encounter them everyday in our lives. And if we aren’t careful, if we aren’t diligent, if we aren’t vigilant, we can easily become a victim of their slovingly poor service and careless lack of customer consideration.
The man counted the money out and gave me my change. I put it in my pocket, took the phone from the lady and began to walk out. Right at the door, at the edge of the door, piled up against the wall, were three giant bags of trash. One black one, and two clear ones. I stopped. I did not look back to see what the two neanderthals were doing or whether they were even still there in the little alcove of a room with me. Almost without hesitation I grabbed the first bag of garbage, the largest one that I saw, and ripped it open from the top of the bag. I then turned around and dumped it upside down on the large conference table that was in the center of the room. The woman who had just been helping me stood there with her mouth hanging open. “Sir! Sir!” she managed to get out. And that’s about the only thing I heard her say. The garbage poured out of the bag easily. It quickly became too much for the table and tumbled onto the floor and the chairs that encircled the table. I glanced over to my left and on the wall in front of the table was a dry erase white board. It read “Team _____” the second word being the name of their company.
The slow old man walked in at that moment. He rushed towards me as if his first reaction was to try to stop me, but I quickly jerked my head around towards him meeting his eyes with mine and if there was ever a moment where “he had the look of the devil in his eyes” were true in all the accounts of it that we’ve ever read through the years this would have been one of them. I was shooting fire out of mine. “Don’t!” was all I remember saying. I let the bag fall out of my hands on top of the garbage that was piled all over the floor on the sides of their conference table. I then did a 180 and grabbed the big black bag of garbage that was next up in the pile and ripped it open at the top. I took my right hand and turned the door knob of the door to exit and opened it. I slowly turned around to face the two homunculus and slowly let the bag turn upside down to start shedding it’s contents as well. But this time I was walking. Out of the door, and lucky for me down the staircase that led outside, for as I walked down those stairs a ton of gloriously disgusting garbage poured from this giant black bag all over the stairs.
I heard the man say something to me as the woman was kavetching behind him, but I was too amped up on adrenaline to recognize what he was saying. My heart was beating quickly. I knew I only had a few more seconds to get out of that building before a swarm of employees would come running surely hearing all the noise from the cans and bottles and other garbage items hit the ground beneath my feet. “This is how we treat each other here? This is what you want? Are we to stoop to your level in order to do business with you? This is what you want?” I yelled at the man. His mouth was hanging wide open. For a moment, and literally only a fraction of a second of a moment I almost felt sorry for the old man. He looked helpless, sullen, discouraged. I must have dumped 40 pounds of garbage all over his office and now his entry way and hallway. He did not answer me. So I just continued to walk towards the exit down at the bottom of the stairs letting garbage fall out of the bag to the floor, much of it tumbling down the stairs as cans and bottles tend to do when left to their own devices. When the bag was empty I dropped it and kicked the front door open and exited the building. I walked at a fast pace to the nearest corner and made the turn.
My heart was moderately racing. I was more surprised by my actions than scared or worried of the repercussions. When I was a younger man, as these Diaries attest to, I used to do things like this all the time. It was de rigeur. But it was anger for the sake of anger. The quintessential angry young man and rebel without a cause. But it was misdirected anger. Innocent people got hurt in my process. This caused me to go through a major rethinking that led to what some would call an awakening, a spiritual transformation. I made amends for all my misguided acts of rage and the people who got hurt. I felt true remorse for the terrible things I did. But i believe — looking back now — that in the process I gave up something very valuable, my God given sense of pride and self respect. I was so afraid of doing something out of integrity or hurtful towards another that I allowed myself to be taken advantage of numerous times, always believing that the “meek shall inherit the earth” and that there is a rainbow of goodness awaiting those of us who are good here on earth.
But things have changed in my thinking lately. I have a wife now. And children. I have a wife that I love more than I ever thought possible. And I have seen her get hurt and not be able to do anything about it; she like many write it off as she best as she can; with her only solace being that she “knows she’s a good person.” Lately I’ve been thinking that that’s not enough. After all, we are in the realm of the physical here on earth. This isn’t heaven. This isn’t a perfect world. This isn’t paradise. People like these scumbags at this car service will take advantage of you if you let them. Again and again in fact. And they won’t do a thing about it to make up for it afterwards. It’s some people’s way. How they are. And it is OUR choice whether we take it or not. No one else’s.
Last night I had the unfortunate opportunity to see the documentary “The Koch Brothers Exposed.” I watched in horror at the brutal tactics they employ on a daily basis to undermine the smallest and weakest people among us in order to serve themselves. They’ve literally hijacked the entire republican party in the United States with their money in order to put forth a shockingly small minded and “only for the purely insane” platform that uses fear greed bribery and blackmail to get legistlation and laws passed that hurt millions of people so only they and people like them can benefit. The GOP is just about as far away from “grand” as anything you can shake a stick at. As I watched I seethed.
The Koch Brothers are the men who bought the Tea Party three years ago and took control of it, inserting ridiculously outlandish and stupid goals into it’s platform, which at one point actually made sense: it originally was set up to try to curb government spending so as to control the nation’s rising debt. But the Koch Brothers invested millions of dollars into it and now controlling spending in Washington is just about the last thing on it’s mind. Now they’re all about resegregating schools and neighborhoods. this is true. They have actually done it. Time and time again. Taking away the right of gifted children of color to be allowed to go to better schools that are not in their neighborhood, forcing them back into the ghetto so they can’t get good educations. They have also invested nearly a half a billion dollars into rewriting college text books and even whole courses to take out anything they don’t agree with or anything that is the least bit democratic leaning.
The most ignoble of their actions have been the families who have died in the small towns of backwoods America where they dump their toxic chemical waste from their “Georgia Pacific” chemical plants. Some of these plants have killed whole neighborhoods full of people too poor and ignorant to understand what is happening to them. All of them live within a mile of these chemical plants. All of them died from “multiple cancers”. And none of them have been saved or compensated, let alone even acknowledged that there was something in the air and water that was killing them.
Some of their other most noteworthy misdeeds is this new trend of paying local and state governments to take away “bargaining rights” from workers’ unions. Yes, that mess up in Wisconsin with Governor Scott Walker was their doing. They were funding that project. Walker didn’t care one way or the other. He just wanted the money they were willing to pay him to cut the rights of hard working Americans off at the knees. They’re also responsible for what turns out to be a myth in the United States: that Social Security is bankrupt and going to fail. It turns out that it just isn’t even close to the truth. But they put think tanks together with the sole stated mission to dispel this misinformation out into the public through publications and media appearances. They are also behind “voter ID laws” in 32 states in the country right now that aim to take away voting rights for minorities and the handicapped. I knew there was something afoul to all this voter ID business. I just wasn’t sure what it was or who was behind it. But now we know. One company. A very very large company. Run by two men who are brothers.
Just to be clear, the Koch Brothers are not the only evil monsters among us. They are but two. There are plenty. All around us. The car service I served with their just deserts this evening is just a small example. Banks, credit card companies, financial institutions of all kinds, governmental agencies. Anyone or anything that does not have our best interest at heart or in mind. These are the enemies within. And from this day forward let that bell ring to announce that the battle has begun. For regardless of how many marches or demonstrations we have participated in over the last ten to twenty years, we were only being attacked, but we were not fighting back. And that’s no battle. That’s an invasion. A real battle means that both sides are fighting.
What I am suggesting is a full on war against any entity no matter how big or small who shows us disrespect or malintent of any kind. Be it dumping garbage in their office, or setting fire to their automobiles, pies in the face in public forums, or traps set to catch those dirty rascals red-handed, for every action that is against us let there be another, a reaction that is equally damaging to the perpetrators of said action. Now is the time to fight back. And fight hard. Do not let the idea of karma stand in your way. For they have proven to us time and time again that history writes karma and those who win the battles write history. It’s about time that we the people start winning and writing our own history. No matter how small or helpless you think you are, surely you have a trick or two up your sleeve. Instead of thinking about it or fantasizing about it, now is the time to do it. Take aim and fire. And let’s send these bastards packing and running the hell out of our way.
Our goal is simple: true fairness, equality, kindness, reciprocity, honesty and truthfulness, nobility and justice for all. ALL. All of us. Each and every one of us. So no matter what they say on the TV, in the papers, in the media or from government podiums across the country, let us not believe them until we are actually experiencing these things for ourselves. In real time. In our own lifetimes. Let the battle wage on until every last scheming slimeball with an agenda that is evil, wicked, selfish or greedy, unfair or unjust or even unkind or uncaring is gone from our midst. Then we can get to rebuilding this great world of ours in our own image of what true democracy really looks like. to put it more bluntly, starting right now, this very minute, refuse to take shit any longer. From anyone. Do something about it. Take an action. You’ll be surprised how good it feels. It will surely prompt another. And another. Soon there will be thousands of us doing so. And soon after that millions of us doing so. It is only a matter of time until we take our dignity and self respect back from demons like The Koch Brothers and anyone else who leans in that direction. Prepare tonight and act tomorrow. Remember, they’ve already attacked us; too many times to even count. The only thing that anyone is waiting for now is for us to strike back. And then the battle will truly begin.

Once Again Realizing That It Is We Who Are Creating It All

WOW is all i can say. How i feel. From yesterday’s procedure. The processing I did. Was going to post a simple status update and tweet. But i felt that would be irresponsible. That’s such a temporary place to sit something so important. So transient and temporary. And this… is too good to handle so casually. Better to place in a spot where as many people as is humanly possible can also benefit from it. Though I don’t always believe that a blog entry needs to drag on forever (regardless of what the past ten years’ worth of entries might suggest… Ha!) My God can it be this easy? Well truth be told it doesn’t actually feel that easy. OK let me elaborate on that for a moment so no one gets confused as to what I’m saying with that. YES – the realization of this reality, the reality, the truth itself is easy. But practicing it, making use of it on a consistent basis, day to day, hour to hour does not yet feel that easy. I hope that people understand what I am saying, understand the difference. In other words, what I realized yet again — that it is WE who are in reality creating our day to day moment to moment experiences in this physical life — is an incredible concept, for if it is true, then life surely is way easier than any of us realize. As in EASY. But making use of this realization, of this fact, of this reality, is not that easy at first. You’ve got to get used to it. And accept it. Allow it. And easy into it like a hot bath. And just give in to how powerfully easy it actually is for us to create every minute of the day as we truly desire it to be.
Let me explain. Again it has become ridiculously apparent to me. As it always does. That it is all US. All of it. What we are experiencing in almost every moment of every day, in every minute of the day, from the big to the small, from the most minute and unimportant details to the most profound and important events of our lives, is up to US. It is WE who are creating it. We are creating it all based on the beliefs that we are holding onto.

I don’t have the time to argue with those who don’t yet agree or know or believe this fact to be true. More than 17 years ago, when I discovered this fact for the very first time, I felt a very strong desire or willingness at least to help others see this truth. For whatever reason most people do not like this idea at all. Casually mention it to them and they will immediately go off on some tirade or another. For a variety of reasons that are all entirely unimportant. For whatever reason the idea that WE are creating our reality really ticks most people off. They become very defensive, and offensive. It is as if they WANT to be victims of a life where “things just happen to us” and we do our best to “handle these things”.
But let us forget those people and refocus on those of us who are well past all that and know for the most part — or at least have an inkling of it — that this is how it’s really going down, that we really are the creators of our own realities. For it is US, YOU, ME, who this is aimed at. Let me share the details of what I am speaking of specifically so we have a better record of the event that once again led to this discovery.
As of late I have found myself living a reality that I did not prefer. Not entirely, but certainly around the edges there are things that I would change at the drop of a hat if I had the power to. Enduring certain aspects of my life that feel “out of my control” rather than enjoying all them. Sound familiar? Yes I know. That’s life. As we say. And trust me, up until yesterday I would have totally agreed with you on that; would have totally gone down that philosophically bumpy road with you. Gladly. For there is nothing more soothing than agreement with others. Especially in relation to anything that we do not enjoy.
Truth be told the “aspect of my life” that I am specifically referring to here is finances. Money. Or the lack of it. Of course that particular aspect of our lives is completely relative. Having a lot of money or not is subjective. It all depends on who is talking about it. And we know that. So let’s move beyond it except to say that for me personally, and my beloved Princess Little Tree, we did not feel that we had or were making enough money, or at least not as much as we wanted. And that’s really what it comes down to, i.e. what we want versus what we might be experiencing in reality. If one has risen to the level where they realize that our purpose here on earth (one of them at least) is to become one with our innate ability to fully integrate this life in the physical and control it so well that we can create pure bliss and joy for ourselves in every moment (which in turn enables us to do the same for everyone else around us as often or as much as we desire to), then they will understand that the core challenge of it manifests as a measure of how much of our lives are we enjoying and feeling in control of versus how much of it feels like it is “just happening to us” and “we are doing our best to make the most of it”.
I found myself on the phone with my mom. Sister Mary Theresa is still going strong with her therapy work, helping people all over the world gain a better understanding of all of this. I regretfully admitted to her that I had once again found myself in a situation that felt out of my control, living a life that i was not completely happy with, at least not this particular aspect of it, money and finances. She asked me to intensify my attention on what belief might be the core belief that is specifically creating this reality. I shared some events with her, some ideas that others had told me, some ideas that have come to my own mind as I contemplated this. [For the record she is as knowledgable about and in agreement with Abraham-Hicks as Princess Little Tree and I are, as well as the Avatar materials… FYI] She stopped me mid-sentence and pointed out that what I had just said was a a belief that I should “take out” (that’s new world speak for “discreate” or “let go of” or “release” etc.) I argued that it was not a belief but a reality. Funny right? Because we have already been down this path so many times before and realized how erroneous that idea is (that there are “realities” that are not “beliefs”…) But when we are on the inside of a belief it certainly feels “real”, and hence we just can’t get outside of it enough to see/feel that it is indeed just a belief and not really a hard set in stone reality.
I continued to argue with her, but I wanted out of this reality so badly that I stayed with her. Just kept going with it. I then finally blurted out that after all the work I have done on this reality and all of my efforts to shift it more towards a reality that I prefer and failed (at least in my view) I had come to the conclusion several times that “perhaps it’s just not meant to be.” “That’s it honey, right there” she said. [I’ve not much time now, so I’m going to have to speed things up here.] Now of course I did NOT agree with her. “Perhaps it’s just not meant to be” is an idea, but it isn’t a reality or a belief that I can discreate. This is what I kept saying to her. But she persisted in encouraging me to just lay down and allow her to guide me through “deleting” or “discreating” it. What the hell? I thought. It can’t hurt. I’ll do it. Let’s do it.
And we did. When you work with my mom you go into a trance-like state very quickly. It feels like you are hypnotized, but you are also still awake and able to communicate. She guided me through fully feeling and integrating several of these beliefs/ideas and when I was ready I discreated them. Got outside of them. Laughed. Laughing now. I find personally that I often laugh when I am outside of a belief that I used to think was a reality that could not be discreated. It is a feeling of profound relief. Wow! I was so “out there”… just totally out in another world. Zonked. Hypnotized. She gently suggested I use this newly created empty space to create a primary (a reality/idea/belief that one usually prefers and deliberately creates, or not. Primaries are often created non-deliberatly by us as well. But that’s another story… One can easily Google the words “primaries and secondaries” in order to learn more accuratly what they are better than I can explain here…) I felt into it for a few minutes and came up with a really good one. Simple. And yet a reality that if I created would be AMAZING to experience.
So she hung up the phone and I just continued to lay there, creating the primary. One by one letting the secondaries go, releasing them, discreating them. Then stating the primary again. And again, each time releasing any idea or thought that came to me that was not entirely aligned with the primary. In fact I let go of EVERY idea and thought I had except the primary itself. When you do this all you are left with IS the primary itself, in other words: that reality. [Again, not enough time right now to go into further, wish I could]. Regarding time, it felt like almost no time had passed. Maybe five to ten minutes…? I was floating. Just so high, so easy, so relaxed and at peace. I knew that I had an appointment to film a PSA (public service announcement) that day and that I needed to get up and prepare for it because I was soon to meet the film director. So I looked over at the clock. I had been laying for over an hour. Strange… Wow… Yep, that’s how it always is isn’t it? So I got up.
WOW! Again, that expresses how I feel more than anything else I can think of saying. First off, I felt so light and peaceful. Still do. I mean I just cannot stop smiling right now. And giggling. This feeling. This new-found old realization that it is WE who are creating our moment to moment realities… just as Harry Palmer or Abraham-Hicks have been saying for decades. [Yes there are others who are saying it now. They are all saying it now. But try to remember that that is something that most of them came to only much later in their careers and for most of them out of pure obligation or necessity, for the world/mass consciousness has woken up so much in the last ten years that none of them could but help eventually jumping on the band wagon and admitting that “yes” even they “agree that we indeed are creating our own realities.” Some of them refer to it as “the law of attraction”. This is a term first coined by Abraham-Hicks about 30 years ago. Some filmakers down in Austrailia or New Zealond made a fortune creating a documentary film about it called “The Secret” and in the end didn’t even acknowldge that the teaching was that of Abraham-Hicks. The reason for this can be found by going to YouTube or Google. It turns out that Abraham did a bunch of interviews with the directors of the movie but then once they saw the final product they decided that it did not give the full picture and they didn’t feeling 100% aligned with it, so they declined to allow themselves to be in the movie. It is unfortunate that the filmakers did not at least acknowledge that what they were actually talking about in the movie was the teachings of Abraham…]
So here I was again, totally aware that it was me all along who was creating this reality that I did not prefer. And I’ll be damned if I wasn’t trying everything I could to create my way out of it. But truth be told you’ve got to get to that core belief that is running in the background “on automatic” — the belief that WE are putting there, just not deliberately — and discreate it. If we don’t then what we are trying to do is create OVER a reality rather than creating a NEW reality.
What I noticed all day and then into the evening and then into late night and then into today is how accustomed to this not-preferred reality I had become. I was so totally attached to it that it felt “real” to me, and many of my thoughts and ideas and feelings and emotions stemmed from it. So I kept noticing ideas and thoughts and feelings come up, you know, in my head or mind, or in my heart or chest, and then BAM i would immediately recognize that that idea/thought/ feeling did not align with the new primary/reality/belief that I had created. And that’s the thing. That happens. But you’ve got to be vigilant. You don’t just let those go. You grab them in the moment and discreate them. Using whatever tools you’ve got in your toolbox. (your consciousness toolbox). For me I use Avatar tools to discreate beliefs/ideas/thoughts/feelings that I do not prefer the majority of the time. Primarily because they are the ones that I am the most used to and also for me personally they seem to work the best.
A note about that. See that’s the thing: You have to use tools that actually enable you to REALLY discreate. It can’t be some new age woo woo thing like meditation where you say “I went into a meditative state and allowed the thoughts to disappear” unless they really do disappear as in discreate forever, as in they are gone forever, even when you wake up out of your meditation. You’ve got to use tools powerful enough to discreate realities. For me, the Avatar tools are the best for that. Using the Release Technique or the Sedona Method also works, releasing… letting go of. But it has to be COMPLETELY. It can’t “still be there” five minutes later. You’ve got to literally feel like you are OUTSIDE of the belief/thought/idea/feeling that you want to discreate. If you find yourself thinking about it, or wondering if it is really gone, then you didn’t get outside of it and really discreate it. I have become so adept at using the tools to discreate now that sometimes all I need do is just acknowledge most ideas/beliefs/realities and they discreate. Power. Real power.
But the thing that has really shifted me and blown me away the most over the last 18 hours is how often my mind still falls back on some idea or thought that I am very used to thinking that comes from that other belief that i discreated. I was so used to that reality. But I see how important it is to not only notice every single one of those, but to also acknowledge them and then discreate them. And then I re-state, re-affirm my preferred reality (primary). Again. Right there. In the moment. No matter what else I am doing. It is extremely powerful stuff. You can feel your reality changing. Shifting. Moving. You can feel a difference inside of yourself. How you all of a sudden do not feel or think the same way anymore. You are changed. You are different. You are now operating from this new reality. You are now vibrating this new reality. And see that’s the thing: your life has no choice but to head in that direction. It is a non-doing anything kind of doing something. You don’t go make a list of ten things you can do to create the reality. (you may if you want to and it feels aligned…) But desiring to do so inherently implies that you do not yet feel that you are living that reality. There is a part of you that does not fully believe it yet. You are still waiting for it happen, waiting to see if it is going to create. THAT is also a secondary ( a belief /reality that you is not aligned with the primary that you prefer to be experiencing). See?
Like this: do you need to make a list of ten things you can do to create that you are human? Or that you are a man or woman? No. Indeed not. Why? Because you take it for granted that you are. It is a belief firmly established in your consciousness, in your very nature, in your DNA. When you truly create a new reality based on a new belief you do so with such conviction and certainty that you feel as confident about it being true as your being human or your being a man or a woman. THAT is how real that new belief or reality now is to you. And the big WOW of all of this is that IT IS POSSIBLE TO DO THIS. I know because I just did it. I am now in EXPECTATION of seeing/experiencing the symptoms, results, of this new reality. Why? Because I feel that it is true. I know that it is true. A new reality created in the place of an old non-preferred one. Incredible. (and no, you don’t always have to discreate something in order to create a new something. If you create that you want to have pasta for dinner tonight you do not need to discreate anything in order to make that happen. You just do it.)
The thing that I am most amazed at is how often I am still realizing or recognizing random thoughts or ideas or feelings that come up in my mind that I am so used to thinking that are totally unaligned with my new reality. So i just notice them, acknowledge them, and lovingly discreate them, let them go. Release them. And yes, you have to be very OPEN to do this… For it is not difficult to find one’s self getting emotional over some of them when they pop in your consciousness… But you don’t go into resistance or figuring it out or defensiveness or justifying that idea/feeling/thought. You grab it and you feel it and you permit yourself the right to discreate it. Let it go completely. It’s your right. It’s our right. It’s an inherent God given ability of being human. To create and discreate beliefs/ideas/thoughts/feelings at our discretion.
I have GOT to run. I’ve got a meeting today with TONY freaking VISCONTI, yes THAT Tony Visconti, the legendary producer who I used to idolize as a kid, the one who produced all those incredible T.Rex and David Bowie albums. Incredible. What a life. If you would have told me ten years ago that I would one day get to hang out with or work with Tony Visconti I would have quite probably replied “yeah duh!” And at the same time I would have found it very hard to believe; for when we are young, the people who we relegate to hero status… they aren’t even real to us. We don’t consider them as real people, with homes and wives and cars and lives. They’re bigger than that to us. And yet, in the end, that’s all any of are really… humans. People. Just like us. Believing in myself is one thing I have never had a problem with. And yet… Is that all smoke and mirrors…? Certainly most of it is. There is a big difference between what we want to believe versus what we really do believe and if you want an easy way to discern the difference between the two, just look at how your life is going, what’s happening right now… How things ARE is a much better indicator of what you really believe compared to how you “want things to be”. But for this… For today… it is a very exciting moment in my humble little life. And for all of it, everything I spoke of today…. I am so happy, so blessed, so lucky, so grateful. Quiet amazement. And THAT is how our lives should be in every moment of the day.

 

Occupy Your Home

      Day three without Princess Little Tree. She’s gone to see her parents in Tehran (which under the current circumstances is another story entirely). But I am not worried for her safety. I was unable to accompany her on this trip. It came at the last minute, a feeling we both had after speaking with her father most recently, and in a breath’s notice we decided it was best if she went there at once. Unfortunately it came at one of the busiest times of our current life. I couldn’t imagine working harder to be honest. And thus the trip was out of the question for me. Though for her we felt it was quite necessary. And despite the nation of Israel’s constant threats of violence and “attacks of prevention not retaliation”, though they make our hearts sad and heavy, the situation does not frighten me for her safety. Princess Little Tree is an angel of some sort, born with a subtly glowing halo just above her head, both beautifying and protective.
        And besides, it is in her blood, and I would dare say now through our heavenly bond mine as well. I will never forget something I was told once regarding this subject. Sitting in the hot office of the Minister of Defense in the city of Tehran several years ago, sucking on one sugar cube after another while sipping on the most authentic Persian tea I have ever had the pleasure of tasting, one of our colleagues asked the gentleman if he or the other Ministers in the Iranian government “feared the West”, in light of what the United States and Great Britain were doing in Iraq and Afghanistan at the time (and still are, only they’ve now added Yemen and Pakistan to that list). His response portrayed the long running Persian strength of will as much as it did their even more admirable strength of wit. “As a people, we have been here, in this land, the same land and the same people, under the same name and speaking the same language longer than any other nation of people on earth. We are surrounded by no less than eleven foreign countries and our history is one of constant defending ourselves from foreign invaders and occupiers from all sides. So no my friend, no matter what you may hear on the news in your own country, I do not believe that our people are very concerned with what America says on any given day about us. We have a good life here and we intend to keep it as we always have.” I will never forget his sly and quiet smile, almost a chuckle. The man he was responding to was no less than the editor of a big-time American news magazine. That quieted him up quite nicely. At least for that meeting.
        I already miss her so… Her smile. Her laugh. Her smell. Her presence. But we are busy. More than busy. We are overwhelmed with busy. And that is a very very good thing. When we are young and growing up, this is what we dream about. This kind of busy-ness and business. So no complaints from me. But I still miss PLT terribly. I feel slightly depressed when we are not together. My life has changed so much since we got together this last time and finally decided to make it official… I have structured my life in a way now where being without her for even a day is unacceptable to me. I never thought I was that kind of person to be honest. I guess we don’t really know who we are completely until we meet the ONE and then we understand why others are that way as well.
        Almost done with this newest city street art installation. Nothing big. Just a small token of an action to feel worthy of breathing. Talk about boring and tedious. So much just sitting there filling in each letter of each word with a marker… But necessary. It’s one thing to make a little sign that says “”Occupy” something””. But I just couldn’t and can’t take it anymore. There’s just too much negativity bombarding us from all sides. The presidential campaigns are absolutely nauseating in how low they are willing to go in their lust to “win”. The problem is that regardless of who wins, they will destroy each other so much, and denigrate themselves to the core of their very nature, that being “president” will mean next to nothing. As it pretty much doesn’t now. The way people speak about our current president. Times have changed. I have never seen a presidency so disrespected and dishonored as we have over the last three years. And the one before it wasn’t much better. The worst part is that they are doing it to themselves. I don’t know what is worse, Romney’s attack ads against Obama, or Obama’s attack ads against Romney. Either way, neither of the two men come out looking admirable honorable or respectable unfortunately. And the media plays right along with it, in fact making it all the more negative. It gives one a sick feeling inside. Not exactly inspiring at all.
        Any way we can take an action to tip the scales in the direction of positivity in our world is a good thing. But the problem with “Occupy” for example is that if it’s nothing more than a little sign you’re holding and posting to Facebook, then it’s not really saying or doing much; because to many people that doesn’t even mean anything. I feel like we need to give meaning to the word. More meaning one should say at least. And not to ourselves, those of us who know and understand what the movement is about, but to the world outside the small confines of the movement.

        And this is the same problem many of us have been having with the protest aspect of the movement lately too. Just like it’s Tea Party counterpart, many of them can come off very negative. There’s a lot of anger out there, justifiably so, and many of the participants who show up to these events are there just to express their anger. Nothing wrong with that. Except for the fact that most people do not respond well to anger, nor do they respect it, nor do they take people seriously when they are absorbed in anger; besides the fact that it just adds more negativity to an already negative pool of emotion. If our tool against all the negative things in the world that we want to change is anger, which is negative itself, then we are just adding more of that same negativity to the mix, maybe just shifting it from “greed” to “anger” for a few minutes in the attention of consciousness. But it’s still perpetuating the negative.
        Such were my thoughts last week when I came upon this idea. I decided that this idea I heard a friend of mine promote a few months back — Occupy Your Home, or Occupy Yourself, or Your World, etc. — could actually be tangibly facilitated, as opposed to just being a slogan… not just by taping a little handmade sign to your forehead that says that and snapping a picture, but in a real tangible and visible way. An “any way you can” kind of way, using your actual home. In our case we have 13 windows that face out onto a major highway/avenue in New York City. You get the idea. As I said, nothing fancy. Hence 13 posterboards that just happen to be perfectly cut to to the size to fill our windows. Anyone and everyone can do it. Imagine a world where instead of expressing our anger and dissatisfaction with the problems of the world, we instead promoted the ideals we desire most. Through any means available to us at the time. Even if it’s as simple as hanging up a few posters…
        When contemplating what the message was, that was easy. We all know what the problems are, what we don’t like, what we are trying to change so to speak… So why even bring those things up at all? STOP GREED just promotes greed. NO MORE WAR just promotes war. Well what’s the opposite of greed? Fairness. Justice. Equality. And the opposite of war? Peace. Love. Joy Cooperation. And on and on. Messages of hope and elation. For we all know too well what the problems are. And there are enough of us now working on the solutions. Tomorrow they go up. Of course by covering every window in the apartment, these posters will almost entirely block out the sun and leave me walking around in the dark for weeks, but with this current heat wave, that could be a good thing. ;->
More later.
Love and Peace, Fishy

True Love

Hit me like a ton of bricks on the head. All at once. Just bam in the moment. Watching one of those Ed Burns New York period films. NEWLYWEDS I think. Anyway at one point there’s this woman on the screen, a closeup, just her face. She’s an older woman who’s been married for 18 years who has a son who’s about to go to college and getting divorced.
I’m kicking back watching this movie and staring at this woman’s face, who’s perfectly normal looking, in fact she’s the epitome of plain, nothing wrong with her. But she’s old. Probably mid to late forties. But not bad looking. And she’s talking about now that she’s divorced she’s going to go out with all these men. So as a man myself I’m staring at her and thinking “there’s not a chance I would ever go out with that chick. Look how old she is.”
And then it hits me. I’m married. And to a woman who’s older. With kids even. The Associated Press interviewed us last year for an article about “cougars and cubs” for Gods sake. And yet I totally love my wife. I mean I am madly in love with her. Always have been. Since the moment we met. Kids and all. And I had a strict “no kids policy” the entire time I was a single man. Never even entertained the idea. Not once. Not one girl in 20 years as a single man.
And yet here I am. Married for almost three years. Kids and all. Wanting to have more kids even. And happier than I’ve ever been in my life. And that’s the thing. The age thing. That may matter when you’re watching a movie and you’re in your head and thinking about whether or not you’d be attracted to some strange girl you see on the screen. Same with looks and size and facial or body features or maybe even where the persons from or what they do for a living.
But in real life it doesn’t work like that. And that’s a good thing. A real good thing. In real life none of that matters. When you meet the one you just know. And it doesn’t matter where they’re from or how old they are. You turn around and look at your special someone and you get that feeling inside. Your heart melts just a little bit more. As it always does. And you know.

You know that as hard as we try when we’re single and searching and wondering who are perfect mate is going to be that none of those thoughts we have really matter. They’re almost completely insignificant. You can make list after list. God knows I did. And you can spend hours upon hours at the local diner talking to your friends about it over brunch every Sunday.
But none of it matters. Because when you do meet you just know. Something bigger than your mind’s perceived preferences and qualifications takes over. Sure it’s chemistry in the beginning. But it’s more than that. Way more. And it’s got nothing to do with what’s on the outside. Call it magic. Fate. Destiny. The invisible hand of a mysterious power as of yet undiscovered that brings the two of you together and bonds you in a way you’ve never experienced before. It makes you understand why humankind created the term soul mate.
And I’ll take that any day over a perceived perfect match based on outer shell characteristics like age height weight education religion nationality or even gender. All of which in the bigger picture don’t even really play a role in how you feel about the person once you’ve met and realized how much you love and cherish them.
One might call it true love. And to be fair that’s what I believe it is. And it sure as hell has nothing to do with anything we think it does till it actually happens to us. We just can’t really understand this till it does happen to us. That’s the thing. But when it does… Well then. That’s when we finally get it. That’s when we know.