Songwriting in Your Sleep

A funny thing has been transpiring lately. Something completely unexpected and almost supernatural in a way. If there is any “one thing” that I do well, out of the thousands and thousands of things we do or learn to do or are forced to do while we’re journeying here in the earthly realm — for surely every person possesses such a trait — for me personally, if there is one thing that I do better than every and anything else it is having a natural proclivity to prolifically writing songs and music composition. This is no secret, I know. It is common knowledge. So much so that I don’t even believe the main point of this entry should be to even remotely explore this strange character trait or why it comes so easy to me compared to so many other things. I am sure we have discussed it before here in these pages over the years.

Instead I simply wish to make note of this rather incredible new event that has begun transpiring lately on a near nightly basis. A little backstory…. We just finished recording and finishing over 45 new songs for the “new album”, which we now know will turn into three new albums that will be released over the course of this year. Choosing the songs is always one of the most challenging aspects of entering the recording studio with the guys. For I come in with alphabetized binders filled with thousands upon thousands of songs. Each in my humble estimation as good and worthy as the next to be included on our latest new album. So begins the process of me sitting there singing and playing the guys and the producers and engineers the songs that I have tabbed for whatever new album we happen to be working on and together as a group we semi-democratically choose which songs are yeses, which songs are maybes and which ones are flat-out nos.

Sometimes the decisions make sense to me — often times we go in with a set idea of concept in mind and thus only certain kinds of songs would be appropriate. While other times the group’s decisions about which songs are definite nos disturbs and confuses me. Everyone hears music differently. It is so subjective that it is impossible for one person to even be able to comprehend how another person hears a song let alone why they may or may not like it. And I must admit that at times I even find myself getting hurt a little at how quick they are to dismiss a song that I absolutely believe is “an incredible song!!!” But that feeling is usually fleeting for as soon as the discussion ends I start up another and the process begins all over again — every song carries with it such a special collection of feelings and memories and emotions that it is easy to get carried up and away with it as it was with the last. We will easily listen to a hundred or so songs before we eventually narrow it down to fifty or so. And from there we are all keenly aware that the hard part is yet to come as we have to keep narrowing it down to the ten or so that will eventually be known to be on that new album historically.

With this latest project — lord knows we were very aware that time was of the essence and that we needed to record and release the follow-up to Ballad On Third Avenue as quickly as possible. Ed Hale the artist had never garnered such overt commercial success before and never at such a level as what we were experiencing in that moment. But instead of being disciplined and finishing quickly the project soon turned into yet another large epic battle to not only record a mammoth batch of 45 new songs, but also to create three completely new and totally different sounding albums, AND to incorporate several new innovative techniques into the recording process — using musicians from all over the world to record their parts virtually at their own studios and send them in to our engineers to import the songs into our system — a process that would at the very least create an extremely confusing and disharmonious sound but at best could just possibly create something completely fresh and unique sounding. (Since I am writing THIS post-recording now and we are in the mixing stage, I can relay that it did indeed create an incredibly massive oftentimes muddied even noisy fusion of sound and cacophony at times, this is true…but some of the songs are sounding fantastically unique and innovative in their “sound”, a sound no one has ever heard us create before with more instruments and a wider variety of instruments and sounds than we’ve ever incorporated into our music. Not that it doesn’t still sound like “us”. It does. It has the Transcendence sound all over it… Still basically Brit Pop with a classic rock bent… But the new technique we attempted worked. It is very exciting to listen to. Goosebumps inducing at times even. The mad experiment worked. It’s just taking longer to mix and finish. But the wait will be worth it I believe. )

Needless to say that since all of our attention and focus at the moment and for the next few months if not the entire year will be dedicated to finishing these new albums and then to marketing and touring , the last thing in the world I want to spend any time doing is writing new songs. But what to do when you are able to write new songs as easy as breathing, when it comes that easy to you? You see a guitar, pick it up and bam out comes a song. You sit down at a piano and within minutes I am deeply inside of the inexpressible comfort and pleasure of “new song composition”, completely adrift in it and oblivious to everything else going on around me. Not the most productive way to be when your attention needs to be on marketing and mixing and planning and implementing a new album release.

So when we moved back to New York full-time late last year I decided to store ALL of my musical equipment including all guitars and keyboards in our storage warehouse with our other house items so that way I wouldn’t and couldn’t even be tempted to pick up an instrument and write any songs. For we already have far too many to believe we will ever really be able to get them all recorded. That’s just the hard painful truth of the matter. One that is still hard for me to bare the thought of. Thousands of songs literally equates to hundreds of albums at an average rate of ten songs per album. We’ve done the math. It’s a no-brainer. We will never even come close to recording all the songs that I’ve already written… let alone all the ones that I am destined to still write. In a word, it sucks.

And in that, this strange character trait, this gift as some call it, is (and has always been) both a blessing and a curse. For with each new song that I have composed for years going back and from this day forward I am immediately made aware that one of two not-preferable things will happen: either I am pouring my heart and soul into bringing this song down from the ethers into the earthly realm only for it to sit on paper forever never to be recorded, OR for it to be recorded which instantly mandates that another ten that came before it will suffer the same fate. It is very much like being forced to choose which of your children gets to eat and live a long and prosperous life and which you must starve, knowing that they will surely die never to live a full life or be known by anyone but yourself and never to be known by history.

I’ve played this game with the Divine Force many times before. Refusing to accept the gift and refusing to write any new songs for a while, despite the fact that it is my very nature to do just that more and better than anything else that I do in this life. Sometimes I fear that He/She/It will punish me for my impudence and take away the ease at which I can write a song. But that hasn’t happened yet. Truly I don’t believe that it ever will. For I believe that God knows and understands that I know and understand that my ability to pull these songs out of thin air and bring them to life is as pure an expression of Him/Her/It and their glory more than anything else that I can possibly do or say in this life. They serve through their very existence and how they are brought to being in this world as a glorious reminder of the mystical magical supernatural nature of the Divine Force Itself. My guess is that God gifts every person on earth a special and unique ability such as this as a means to express His/Her/It’s Divinity on earth. Our task is to find what that special gift is and become great at it and share it with the world as a reminder of this powerful connection we share with this mysterious Divine Force that comprises and creates and flows through everything in the known and unknown universe.

But I cannot help but feel impulsively rebellious at times. It is a large task. A time-suck like no other. If I did nothing but sat in a room for 24 hours with a guitar and a piano I would easily be tasked with what I guess would be at least writing fifteen to twenty-five songs in those 24 hours. That’s the easy part…the writing of them… The subtle nature of hearing them come to life in your ears, in your mind’s eye… They already exist… Somewhere else, in some other dimension, and all I am doing is hearing them as they already exist and bringing them down to this earthly dimension so others can hear them. BUT from there there IS still work to do. Flushing out the lyrics. Discovering what THEY wish to be… For they too already exist. Arranging and producing the sound of it. So it is a time consuming burden as much as it is a gift or blessing. But I believe God knows this and accepts that at times I may feel prone to rebel from the obligation.

And such was the case this year as I decided to not bring any instruments with me. And here I have lived now for more than four months without having access to any guitars laying around the house.

But something changed. A few months ago I started having dreams where I would hear these incredible songs — usually it was some random character in my dream performing the song on stage or just sitting there in a room with me and couple of friends or I even hear them on the radio or playing in the air…and then this voice in my head says “Ed you are dreaming. It is you who is writing this song. Wake up and record it NOW. Do not let this song go. Do it now.” So I do just that.

This isn’t the first time this has happened to me. And many other songwriters tell stories of having similar experiences. So I have became accustomed to keeping some type of recorder on my nightstand for just such these occasions. Now I can just use the voice recorder on my iPhone to do this. And so I do. What strikes me most though about this most recent string of new songs is the sheer quantity at which they are coming. Near nightly now. As if God had a leg up on me the whole time and decided “okay then son, if you refuse to pick up an instrument to pick out the songs from the ethers then I will just deliver them to you fully formed in the dreams of your sleep. For that is what is happening now. I hear them fully formed in my head while I am sleeping and I just wake up enough to turn the recorder on and sing them into it. I always listen back to them the next day to see if they are total shite and I was just kidding myself as we are prone to do in our sleep and yet they never are. They are always totally original and beautiful glorious new songs. And yet I have to do absolutely nothing to make them this way. I certainly am not “writing them” or creating them myself. I am simply singing into the voice recorder exactly as I hear it in my dream. It is very close to being almost supernatural. Like channeling. And it leaves me impressed with God’s persistence and ingenuity. And of course with his generosity. I thought I was in control and perhaps had one up on Him, but it turns out that the joke was on me. Truth be told, I am more than fine with this.

– Posted by The Ambassador using the BlogPress app on an iPhone

Love Means Letting Them Go

That time has come, as we all knew it would. But it seemed like only yesterday that we were still a family sitting around the dining table talking about things like “college” and “boys” as if they were mysterious visions of a future far far away. First our oldest went off to college. Two years ago. It was a change to be sure. But it didn’t have as big of an impact as we expected. As the oldest always does she simply carved the path ahead for the young, but the family unit still remained… Things still continued as they always had in the “home”. There are reasons for that. But now two years later we face our youngest leaving as well. Of course Princee Little Tree and I are still in the process of having more children… That’s an entirely other chapter of entries unto itsellf. But suffice it to say that though these are her children biologically and not mine, and I still long to have children as much as I’ve longed for anything, these girls feel as though they are mine. I love and care for them as though they are. And with our youngest leaving us now to venture off to college…. with us here alone in this giant house for the first time, it puts life in an entirely new perspective.

For one thing it amazes me how going through this process makes my going to college seem like just yesterday. All the actions and rituals are exactly the same. It prods into seeing once more that life is indeed short. (No matter my usual assertions that “life is LONG”…. It all depends on the circumstance…) Our family’s time together seemed both long and short. Though we may appreciate having more alone time now, or being able to sleep in, or even the peace and quiet afforded a home without the loquacious rambling of youth, words cannot describe how much we miss her presence; and she’s only been gone for a few days.

For the last 7 days our youngest has been going through something called “rush week” i.e. a detestable series of activities designed to carve out every last bit of individuality a person may have in order that they might try to get into a sorority. If not for the sheer unadulterated joy she is experiencing now that’s she’s gotten “in”, I would proclaim this tradition to be one of the most mentally & emotionally cruel & harmful things I’ve ever witnessed in human society. Number one because it is all so completely superfluous & unnecessary. Yet it deliberately and inherently breeds a blatant exclusivity and conformity; where all are encouraged and intimidated into acting dressing looking and talking the exact same way. It’s the ANTI-Ambassador program. Take the archetype of Ed Hale. Now create something exactly opposite of everything he appears to represent. And that’s this sorority system in a nutshell.

If you’re thinking “Well my kids will never do that”, THAT’S the thing: that’s exactly what WE thought! 3 months ago I would have sworn that we did NOT raise “sorority girls”. I could never see our eldest doing anything like thhis. She is far too unique, bull headed and creative to try so hard to fit into a preconceived box that a group of others have already carved out for her before her arrival. But you just never know… Our youngest for some reason just really wanted this. Why I still don’t know. And don’t get me wrong. I’m not against it. And obviously very happy for her. She seems super happy. I’m just more stupefied, shocked, stunned and a bit horrified by the whole process. She transformed right before our eyes — in one week! Her speech, her clothes, her mannerisms, the activities she now believes to be appropriate. She walks around acting like she’s in the Girl Scouts again. It’s more than odd. And what about the girls who DON’T get in? The ones who are just too different? Too unique? Too non-white/skinny/wealthy/Christian/normal/mainstream/etc? How do they feel? How do they fit in?

Sororities are a very exclusive little niche at otherwise very large universities one soon learns. They claim to pride themselves on “diversity” publicly; but in reality their goal is to breed a small army of exact replicas, little American dolls, each not too different than the one standing next to her. Their schedules are already created for them, from sun up to sun down. So too is their favorite flower, color, music, motto (who has a favorite motto for God’s sake?); their dress and attire is dictated by “what everyone does”. I cannot recall how many hundreds of times we have heard that phrase in the last two weeks. “that’s what everyone does”. And by “everyone” she means only the 80 or so girls who are in her sorority. These are not the innovators of the future. They are the hhousewivces, mothers and worker bees. And perhaps there is nothing wrong with that. I just didn’t think that we were raising one of them.

Lest we forget that all those years ago, for those who remember the Adventures of Fishy series…. Ducky and Madelyn O’Ryan were both part of the sorority system — AND “little sisters” of some dumbass frat –before I got a hold of them in the summer after our freshman year and showed them a new way of looking at life, introducing to them a different way of approaching our college years — a life filled with individuality, self expression, deep contemplation and intellectual yearning. Along with a fair share of hallucinagens, good books and great music. They never returned to the so called “Greek life” again; because instead as intellectuals we explored the actual Greeks and not some contrived fraternal system of autonamatons. So it’s not as if I am unfamiliar with the system. More just stupefied that our little one has decided to tread into these not so dangerous or challenging waters.

For the record I do not love her any less. I will just be happy when this phase has fully left her system.

Yes I must admit that I have been completely shocked and more than slightly disturbed and concerned that this girl, this young mind who I spent so much time with, helping to shape and form into an intelligent self reliant individual, so quickly and voluntarily transformed into the prototypical TV/movie type sorority girl. But then I saw her IN the sorority. At the sorority. With the rest of the girls. They are all SO young. So innocent. So lacking in life experience. She was so happy to be there. Felt so secure and protected. She won’t be all on her own in a big college town. Instead she will have a group of 80 or so other girls — who all call themselves “sisters” –with her along for the ride. And as childish and immature and conformed and group-think as it seemed, it also felt safe fun secure and joyful. As people who love and care for her more than anyone else on earth what more could we ask for her? She seemed truly ecstatic yesterday. She was so excited to show us her new “house” and introduce us to all her new “sisters”…. How could we feel anything BUT joy and appreciation?

It was an experience that yet again reminded me that NO belief, no matter how convicted we are of it, is 100% solid or permanent. Even if it belongs to “I”.

As we rolled up into the driveway this evening after a full day of moving our youngest into her new college home it really hit me how utterly different our lives will be now; both girls now gone for good. At least for the time being. It’s a surreal feeling that slowly creeps up on you. The reality of their permanent absence and all that is lacking in our home now because of it. There is so much you find yourself missing, the smallest and most mundane little things. It feels like a small piece of you has been cut out….even though of course that’s not the case. The Princess takes the occasional break between crying to eat a meal or speak on the phone, understanding full well that the integration of this major transition won’t resolve or go away overnight. She cries and she cries and she cries….

Besides our plans to have more children, in whatever form they manifest, we are both very happy that the girls are so content joyful studious and healthy; one couldn’t ask for more. And we are keenly aware of how blessed we are by their beauty, and their station in life. Their success reminds us that we made plenty of mistakes along the way but must have done a few things right too. Today more than ever we are happy that we’re already completely packed up here and ready to return to New York full-time as soon as the house sells. Today it really hit home. We did good. But our work is done here. It is time to move on to the next adventure. Love. Is an amazing thing. And by her not so subtle absence, we are made very aware of how much we love her.

Cigar of the Night: a Flor De Las Antillas, sun grown wrapper, robusto. Voted Cigar of the Year this year by Cigar Aficionado Magazine, a ridiculously competitive and prestigious honor. Frankly I have no idea how they are able to choose such a label for only ONE cigar now that the craze has come and gone and the field is so over-filled with such an overwhelming amount of better than great cigars. How do you choose? One assumes they just stick with the numbers, as in which cigar had the highest overall rating all year round in their various different tastings throughout the year and from there they aim for consistency. Which cigar continued to rate high at every single tasting regardless of size. Many so called aficionados don’t realize that all those different names just represent different sizes and nothing more. The cigars themselves are the same. Same wrapper, filler and binder and even label. Just a slightly different length and diameter. It always amazes me when you ask a guy what he’s smoking and he’ll say a Montecristo and then you’re like “which one?” and he’ll rattle off something like “it’s a robusto.” Well yeah buddy, I can see that from here. But WHICH Montecristo are you smoking? They make about five different cigar lines. At least. Robusto of course just refers to the size of the cigar. Which by the way nine times out of ten happens to be my favorite.

So what about this one? Cigar of the YEAR! A huge achievement. I’m not sure I’d go so far as calling it that quite yet. I can think of other cigars I’d rather be smoking right now. Davidoff Milleniums are always amazing. Diamond Crown. Opus X. A cuban Cohiba of course but that isn’t fair. And of course the Anniversario by … can’t remember at the moment…but you know the one. Those could be my absolute favorites if I had to choose.

Luckily we don’t though. Have to choose. So on occasion I like to try the new ones. This Flor de las Antillas is strong first off. Yes it’s a tasty sun grown, which has replaced maduro as my favorite wrapper. But this is no Chateau Fuente Sun Grown. It’s just way too strong for that. Too much bite. Definitely an “after a large meal at the end of the day” smoke. It’s smooth — don’t get me wrong — but it’s still pretty harsh compared to other more elegant sun growns out there. It did have a great start though. Very tasty. Raisin. Chocolate. Cocoa. But a harsh finish. All charcoal and tar. Definitely one you put out early rather than smoke till you burn your fingers. That’s something I dislike very much in a fine cigar. It should be as delicious on the final puff as it was on the first. A difficult achievement. And one that this Best Cigar of the Year did not pull off for me this evening. But there is always tomorrow. They rated it a whopping 96! I’d give it a 92. Still damn good. Just not incredible. And that’s “taste and opinion” in a nutshell. No accounting for it. It just is. Up to each individual.

Suicide Solution

The living may not “like” it, but suicide is not necessarily “bad or “wrong”…

I

Hold on to your bootstraps because we’re going to rapid-fire this one, due to the fact that my wife has issued a personal challenge to me to finish at least one of the 22 different books I’ve started in the course of my short adventurous life. I’ve always maintained that “writing” — proper writing or authoring of proper books and such, is “something I will do when I am older”. To me it was enough to take plenty of notes on each and every book that came to me, a discipline that I’ve stuck with diligently for more than twenty years now. I do everything necessary to eventually write the book at some point. Except actually write it. I just always figured that writing was something I would fall back on once I got too old to make music for a living. But for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that making music for a living has fast become an oxymoron due to ever increasing faltering sales and revenue growth in general in the music business; it would appear that “when I’m older” time period I envisioned for the last twenty years or so may have finally arrived to the here-now.

I must admit, I mean it’s only fair, that it does seem a bit odd that some of these 22 odd books that I have completed in various stages and have up to 400 or more pages typed within them — (thousands in the case of The Adventures of Fishy series…) and I have still yet to complete or release one of them. THIS is what so confounds my wife. And I can totally understand her frustration. Especially since I still find time to write in these here Transcendence Diaries on a regular basis. Ahhhh, I’d be a very rich man indeed if I had a nickel for every time over the last year or two Princess Little Tree has said to me “if you would just write the exact same number of pages in one or more of your books as you write in your Diaries every week, then you’d be finished with half the books already! Maybe all of them! So just get to it boy!” And i fully admit that I see the logic in that.

Though you’ve heard me say this before… I don’t just enjoy writing the Transcendence Diaries. I need to write them. There’s something very therapeutic about the process for me. Yes it’s occurred to me more than once that there is probably a lot more money in finishing small to medium sized books than there are in these Diaries… (the fact is there is very little to no money to be made in a blog — especially the kind of non-commercial, not-sponsored one that I demand to run). It’s also occurred to me that there may be something of an “instant gratification fix” to these Diaries that I wouldn’t necessarily be able to obtain from finishing a book. After all, I am able to write these entries in ONE sitting, anywhere from 500 to 5,000 words, and release it all in one go of it. From thought to expression in a matter of minutes to hours. One fulfilling mental and emotional release. No need to ever go back and review or edit or amend. And certainly no concern for readability or demographics or target audience or the potential for publication or other mass consumption worries. It’s a very selfish endeavor, I admit. But again… it’s MY endeavor. And in years or decades from now, when they look back and say “you know there wasn’t one damned thing he DIDN’T write about in all those years in those damn Diaries?!” my ghost, wherever it shall be, will surely be smiling. Maintaining these Transcendence Diaries over the last 13 years has been a thoroughly satisfying process.

But alas it is true. I have promised to complete at least one or more of the books this summer. So I am trying my best to refrain from coming here to whittle away the hours in self obsession. But sometimes I just have to. Right this very minute is one of those moments. And I’ll tell you why.

II

Over the last few days the world of social media has lit up in a way that we have NEVER seen before. It could be because of the subject matter — namely the death of Robin Williams, OR it could just be that we are presently peaking in the social media aspect of the Personal Expression Age. My guess is that it’s a little bit of both. But for whatever reason, social media is abuzz with posts and articles related in one way or another to Robin Williams and his alleged “suicide”. Today I was studying a graph that showed that there were over 5,000 articles a day being released online in the United States related to Robin Williams on Tuesday and Wednesday. That figure has calmed down over the last 48 hours. To a mere 2,000 or so. Still an amazing quantity of information and opinion being created over one subject.

For me personally the most heinous aspect — and there have been many — of this phenomenon has been the number of people who have felt compelled to come on one platform or another and bitch about how “selfish or cowardly Robin Williams is for committing suicide”. I know I know… People don’t have anything better to do, and God bless them for having a platform to express their emotions. Lord only knows how these impassioned feelings would be expressed if it weren’t for social media. Things could be a lot worse. People are FEELING a lot right now and need to get it out. People just want to have a voice.

After all, THIS is exactly what the Personal Expression Age is all about — giving people a voice who never have had one historically and would normally never have one. Lord knows I appreciate that aspect of the Age. I think it’s more than healthy. For ALL of us. Especially for those who would otherwise be victims of those who can’t find any other vehicle for their emotional need to vent. But this one meme, the idea of Williams somehow being wrong or bad or irresponsible or at fault because he decided to choose suicide is really rubbing me the wrong way. For several different reasons, not just one.

Before we go there though, let us first just collectively vent how annoying this new fad of coming onto social media and giving speeches about depression and addiction has become. My God. What an obnoxious craze this is. As if all of a sudden, literally overnight, everybody and their brother is an expert in mental health. I think we can all agree that engaging in an intelligent discourse about depression is healthy for the country and for our species in general. God knows we’ve hit some bumps in the road with it in the past. Remember that whole Tom Cruise and Brooke Shields fiasco a few years ago? But this has gotten way out of hand. All of a sudden everyone is an expert on depression. Shooting out hotline numbers and even their own cell phone numbers, saying things like “I promise I’ll take your call and get you through the night to the next day.” I’m not making this up. I’ve read this more than once. If you’re alive and breathing, surely you too have been reading the same type of posts or similar ones.

Besides just being generally annoying, can we step back for a moment and acknowledge that we don’t even know the real story yet regarding how Williams died? Sure his wife and publicist ran for the throttle in order to control how the story was going to be told. Whose family wouldn’t? Especially when dealing with a franchise as large and profitable as Williams’ is. So they’ve got the whole world discussing “depression” before we even have ample evidence of HOW he died. Yes they claim it was “suicide”… But considering the other options, as non-preferable as suicide is, it surely seems the better option. Better than “he was really high and just screwing around” or “accidental asphyxiation” or “accidental death due to drug overdose”. All of which are perfectly legitimate options still. The truth is we just won’t know until the whole story comes out. And that’s IF and WHEN the whole story comes out, IF it ever does.

Another question that comes to mind is this one: Where the hell was Williams’ wife during those 14 hours that he was allegedly alone in the house? She immediately posted that she lost her “husband and best friend” after his death was announced, and we know that he was in rehab at the time for possibly regressing back to “using”; so what kind of wife or “best friend” goes to bed at 10 PM, wakes up in the morning and leaves the house to “run errands” without first checking in on her husband who’s STILL IN rehab for substance abuse? Especially if they’re “best friends”? And especially if he “was suffering from severe depression” as she is so wanting to make sure the public is aware of?

I must admit that I personally have had a tough time with just the story that she “went to bed in another room and left Williams by himself in his office at 10 PM”. Even that seems strange for a married couple. Especially when one of them is so apparently “sick”. And especially if they are “best friends”. I know my wife and I have never encountered that scenario in all our years of marriage. If I ever regressed in my staying off of drugs you better believe that there isn’t a chance in hell that Princess Little Tree would ever leave me alone in my office at 10 o’clock at night and go to bed without making sure that I came to bed with her. And let’s say that they had some sort of altercation or argument in that moment, as some have suggested — she was mad and went to bed by herself alone and hurt, one would think that she would still come straight to his room in the morning just to see what he was doing or how he was doing, considering that he was officially checked into a rehab facility at the time. ESPECIALLY if he was “severely depressed” as she claims.

Frankly the whole story just doesn’t vibe. Now that we have had some time to recover from the shock of it all, the pieces of the puzzle just aren’t adding up. But eventually I am sure we will learn what really happened. Like many, I personally am not expecting a clean toxicology report. In fact, I admit that I believe that part of me is maybe even HOPING for some substances to be in his body just to make sense of the whole thing… I assume this is just denial on my part. A hidden desire to not believe that Williams was THAT depressed and THAT discouraged… to have gone THAT far. Suicide seems so drastic major and final.

The whole affair seems a bit like Williams’ wife and publicist got together very quickly over the phone to strategically plan HOW they would spin the discussion around his death. And to be fair, they’ve done’ a fantastic job of it so far. The whole country is busy talking about “depression” instead of any of the other details regarding the case like where SHE was, or more importantly where she wasn’t; and why the hell was Williams found in such a strange position? Seated but with a belt around his neck for God’s sake? And we’re supposed to believe this was a suicide? But he was seated?

One would think that if he really intended suicide that he would have implemented a more elegant way to do it, especially someone of his wealth. He could have easily obtained — most likely already had in his possession — plenty of pharmaceuticals to do the trick in a much cleaner manner. IF this was deliberate. So why the belt around the neck? Seated in a chair? Seriously? Suicide? I don’t know… Just seems a bit sketchy. Suicides for people in Williams’ position are usually of the cleaner more elegant pharmaceutical kind. A belt around the neck sounds more like what you me and everyone else doesn’t care to admit: that he was high, got a little screwed up in the head, was just fucking around and next thing you know he stopped breathing and didn’t know it.

But even if it WAS that, how and why would we love the man any less? That’s what gets me about all these self righteous know it alls popping up all of a sudden making all these claims that they suddenly dislike Williams because of how he died. Fucking a talk about fair weather friends. If you WERE a fan, then why not be a FAN now? What’s the difference? Whether he did it on purpose or he was just fucking around and killed himself by accident, either way it’s sad if you’re a fan or even just a compassionate human being.

Let us say that we believe the current narrative. Just out of respect for the deceased if for no other reason. What the hell is wrong with these people coming on social media saying that they “don’t respect Robin Williams anymore” or “will never look at him the same way now” or “his legacy will always be tainted now in my book”. These are all direct quotes of things I’ve read online over the last 48 hours from various people. Some more than others are writing lengthy rants about how deathly tragic the situation is AND at the same time demonizing Williams for choosing to commit suicide. They’ve fallen for the story hook line and sinker AND have now taken to being judge and jury about the ethical and criminal nature of suicide, some calling it “cowardly”, others calling it “the most selfish act someone can take”, and still others claiming that “murder is a crime, so isn’t it just as criminal to kill one’s self?” I am not making this up. Human beings continue to amaze with their short-sightedness, ignorance and arrogance.

Before we go demonizing Robin Williams for “choosing” suicide, we need to first be sure that that’s what happened. But let’s say that we just assume it is, out of respect for him and his family… IF that’s truly what transpired, shouldn’t we examine the finer points of the matter of suicide first? Before we go casting judgment?

Number one, since when did we collectively decide that LIFE, or being alive here in this form on planet earth, was the end-all be-all BEST option for everyone? You may have to step back for this one, but think about it: WE the living only know life, so we choose to believe that “life” is the best of all possible worlds for ourselves and everyone else. But do we really KNOW this for sure? That “life” in this form is the best of all possible options?

If we can all admit that we have no idea what else may possibly lay on the other side of death…. then perhaps everyone would quiet down and contemplate more how Williams and plenty of others were feeling at the time of their “suicide”…. Perhaps they were thinking that life on the other side might be better than it is here. We really don’t know without a suicide note of some kind. We can only guess. And at best we can give the person at least a wee bit of the benefit of the doubt.

Let’s be honest, almost everyone claims to believe in some kind of an “afterlife”. Most people choose to believe in a GOOD afterlife of some kind in fact, something akin to “heaven” or nirvana or “union with God or The Divine” usually. So the question is, what would be so bad about that? What would be so bad about a person choosing to go to heaven a few years early if that’s what they so decide?

Even if someone doesn’t believe in heaven but instead believes in an afterlife comprised of some kind of a spirit world, or an afterlife as a waiting station for reincarnation… all of these different options still present a relatively healthy alternative to suffering here on earth. IF we’re to assume that Williams really committed suicide, then we are to assume he did it for a good reason.

(Unless he was just really fucked up and not thinking straight. Now I know… Plenty of people have been writing long blog posts and articles and status updates about how “irrational people get when they are plagued with the disease of depression” And that may be so. Lord knows I’ve had my share of severe battles with depression through the years. It’s a horrible monster. As if our own mind is our enemy — because no matter what we are doing or what we take, we just always feel “sad” or worthless or devastated or discouraged…. as if life is unbearable and we’d be happier dead than alive. Yep. Been there. More than once. I get it. But let’s give the guy some credit. He was working. He was functional. He was just at an art gallery exhibit the day before hobnobbing with the locals. If he made the decision to commit suicide — which again, is a big IF, who are we to say that he’s irresponsible, selfish, or even “wrong” in his decision? We just can’t. Because we aren’t HIM.)

The truth is we have NO idea what lay on the other side of “death”. So all we’re really doing is lamenting the fact that the person is “not here for us” any longer. THAT’S what’s really going on. We aren’t sad for those we lost to suicide. We’re sad for ourselves. We believe that what they did is “wrong”, one, because we are going to miss them — they cut their own life short and therefore cut the time WE will have with them short, and two, because of the stigma attached to suicide. People still judge suicide to be bad or wrong or sinful in some way. So they often judge people who commit suicide in a negative light. And so too the loved ones who are left behind. As if they have to live in a nasty world for the rest of their lives where everyone is talking about them behind their backs. But truth be told this is ONLY because we are pretending that because we are ALIVE that being alive is the best of all possible worlds, totally forgetting to consider that death may be not only a viable option for some — someone who is terminally ill or in pain for example, but might even be a better place than being HERE NOW. WE just don’t know. Someone who commits suicide –depending on their belief system or religious faith tradition — may hold a belief that life after death may be a groovier place than life here on earth. They may believe that their soul disconnects from their body and floats off to “be with God” for an eternity. And being that beliefs create experience, who are WE to deny them that reality? Just because WE may not believe that? I call bullshit.

In terms of suicide being cowardly, says who? For some it may seem cowardly… IF they are coming from the viewpoint that “life is hard yeah sometimes it really sucks but you just HAVE TO endure it no matter what and if you don’t then you’re a pussy” I suppose. But really…. says who? That may be one person’s viewpoint, but it certainly isn’t everyone else’s. And to assume so is just yet another example of the short-sighted arrogance of many human beings currently walking the planet making life unbearable for the rest of us because they are constantly assuming THEIR viewpoint is the only one and should apply to every one else. Someone else may consider suicide to be the bravest thing one can ever fathom doing. Frankly I have always tended to lean in this direction, personally feeling that suicide would be a terribly frightening thing to do; I would be way too scared myself to commit suicide. It sounds extremely frightening to me. And therefore I do not see how a person would be cowardly to do it. I am unsure as to how someone else could possibly label another person a coward for doing it. It is obviously a major life decision, and like most major life decisions there doesn’t seem to be anything cowardly about it.

 

Now I know that many of the people who are labeling suicide “cowardly” are doing so because they are self-described atheists. It isn’t the absence of a God or creator that is operating here as much as an absence of belief in any kind of afterlife. To them, suicide literally means “the end of it all”, as in nothing left, it’s over, the person is gone forever. They hold a view that after life there is literally “nothingness” or “just ashes” once one passes from these mortal coils. And yes we must acknowledge that there are plenty of people who now who hold this belief to be true. They ONLY believe in THIS life and that’s it. Which is perfectly acceptable if that’s what serves THEM. It just doesn’t mean that it applies to others. Human consciousness is large enough to encompass ALL possible beliefs that human beings can come up with. And even more. ALL of them have the potential to be “true” and possible. The truth is that we just don’t know yet WHAT lies beyond human consciousness once the body ceases to exist. But to those who choose to wholeheartedly subscribe to this idea that they definitely KNOW that NOTHING exists beyond human consciousness in a body, yes, one can see that to take one’s life through suicide may seem cowardly — as it’s a final act that literally leads to “nothingness”. It’s as if it’s “an easy way out” because once you make that final decision and have breathed your last breath, that’s it, the whole kit and caboodle is over. No more pain, no more responsibility, no more struggle or heartache or depression.

But here’s the deal: SO WHAT? So what if that’s what a person decides is best for them? Who are we to declare that they’ve made the wrong decision? After all it’s THEIR life, is it not? Again, I get the feeling that the primary motivating force for those holding this viewpoint is that THEY want the person to stay alive for THEM — regardless of how much struggle or pain or heartache this person may be going through or enduring. They don’t care. They just feel that this other person — the one in pain — owes it to them to stay alive and endure anything and everything just so they can be there for THEM. So in reality it is really the person wanting the person to hang on that is being selfish; NOT the person wanting to commit suicide. They’re thrusting their own views about life onto others because they desire certain people to “stay alive” for THEIR sakes and for THEIR pleasure or happiness, and they’ll do and say anything to try to do this. They’ll tell the person “life is a precious gift” or “you owe it to the ones you love to stay alive as long as you can” etc etc. But these are all just stories, myths, fabrications all in the name of attempting to keep another person alive so YOU can get out of them whatever it is that you believe you’re getting out of them. You’re not really thinking about the other person or what is best for THEM. You’re making their life all about YOU.

So much for the argument that “suicide is the most selfish act a person can make”. Hey maybe it is. It’s certainly major and final. That’s for sure. But if there’s one thing we learn along the path of life out of all the myriad lessons obtained it is that only WE are ultimately responsible for ourselves. No one else is going to be there for us the way that we are. No one else is going to help us as much as we are going to need and have to. No one is going to be there for us as loyally as we are. And NO ONE is going to feel our pain or our struggle as much as we are. It is true, we DON’T have a choice in being born or not. It’s something that is thrown at us indiscriminately without our say in the matter. Then as we’re growing up everyone around us is constantly saying things like “life is such a blessing”, “we should feel so blessed to have the gift of life”…. When in reality, for some, for many millions and millions of people being born all over the world every minute of every day, life is pure hell from the moment they are born till the moment they breathe their last breath of relief.

We have no choice in being born into this life; we try our best to make it enjoyable, or for many just “bearable”. That doesn’t sound like a gift or a blessing to me. It sounds like what it really is. Random obligation of necessity. A spin of the wheel and out we pop and we are expected to not only do well at it, but to enjoy it and even consider it “a blessing”. It’s funny when you start to look at life more realistically. It ain’t as black and white as everyone would like.

With the fact that we had no choice in being born in the first place, no choice in who our family is, or where we grow up or who we grow up with, the one thing we SHOULD have a choice in is when and how we die. And one thing we DO know is that we have fought very hard over the centuries to secure for ourselves a certain level of freedom and liberty. At the very least each of us should be permitted the freedom and liberty to decide what WE want to do with OUR life, or our death to be more exact. That should be one of the most basic freedoms of any “free” society. And in many countries it is. This whole idea that “taking someone else’s life is murder and illegal, so why shouldn’t taking one’s own life be considered murder and be illegal” is a ridiculous non-sequitor. It’s completely illogical. So that shouldn’t even be something being discussed. And it is true that only the greatest of fools are saying it. Suicide is frowned upon in society because it seems to go against our most basic primordial survival instincts. But we aren’t animals struggling in the jungle to keep the species alive anymore. We’ve evolved. We’ve transcended mere survival. In fact one could easily argue that we have evolved to a state at this point that transcends “survival” being priority number one. Perhaps self determinism is priority number one now at this stage in our evolution as a species. And rule numero uno of self determinism surely is the freedom to decide is we want to be alive or not and for how long.

 

Granted, it IS terribly sad for those left behind. That’s a given. It’s downright tragic for them. But see, our presence here is a GIFT to those around us — IF we’re so blessed to have people around us who care for us that much, but it’s NOT a guarantee. Our presence here is not guaranteed and it certainly isn’t meant to be forever. The truth is there’s just no guarantee about anything regarding our lives here, nor the lives of others. So any amount of time we have to spend with those we love is a gift and a blessing. And if one day one of us decides that we are thoroughly finished with being alive here in this form and on this planet, so be it. That’s a decision that only we can decide for ourselves, each of us on our own, in our own way and in our own time.

The idea of Living Wills as an example address this issue squarely and directly. The basic idea of them is that while we’re alive and healthy and fully cognizant we create a Living Will that states what our loved ones should do with us in case we should ever become physically or mentally incapacitated; whether or not we should be placed on life support and for how long etc. These are decisions that are regularly suggested by medical doctors for everyone of sound mind and body to make AND to put it in writing. So if a person does get into an accident and tragically gets put into a vegetative state mentally or is unable to move or function physically, it is THEY who make the decision whether or not they are left for years on a hospital bed hooked up to a bunch of wires and machines, OR if the plugs are pulled and they are left to pass away quickly and quietly in a more natural manner. Everyone in civilized societies across the globe agrees that this is the “right thing to do”. (Whether or not it is, I cant say for sure. I can see arguments for both sides equally. But that isn’t the point.) The fact of the matter is that we have already reached this state of civilized self realization and self determinism. Good.

So why shouldn’t that same person, being of sound mind and body, be able to make that decision in cases where they are NOT in a coma or a vegetative state? Let us say that in the case of Robin Williams that he was just overtly depressed — and again we have no proof of this yet… or, as his wife now implies, that he “recently learned that he had Parkinsons Disease” and THAT was the reason that he decided to end his life early… again we just don’t know for sure — but let us say that he just decided that he didn’t want to live like that anymore… Should that decision of whether or not he lives be up to us? Or up to his family? Or up to him? I’d submit that every time no matter how many times the question is posed that that decision should solely and wholly be HIS decision and no one else’s to make. And the same for every and any one else in the world we live in.

I’m as shocked and saddened by Robin Williams’ death and the WAY in which he went as anyone else. In fact I have been surprised by how hard the news was for me, and the after shock. But I am certainly not feeling any negative feelings towards the man. Not labeling him irresponsible or selfish or cowardly or weak or anything else of that nature. If anything I remain intrigued by the details surrounding the event and especially concerning his decision IF it turns out that that’s what really happened. I am curious as to what he’s presently experiencing, if anything. Did he get to meet the Big Man or the Divine Mother? Did he turn into an angel and is currently floating around the earthly realm caring for those in need and making other angels laugh in hysterics with his latest impersonation of the Archangel Gabriel? If he burning in hell as punishment for taking his own life as the Catholics propose? Is he laying in wait in some strange state of limbo or Purgatory? Or has he already reincarnated and is celebrating his one month old birthday in Korea or Paraguay or Zimbabwe? If so, is he funny? Is he even human? Or is he a cow or a dog or a fruit fly? We don’t know. Truth is, we have no freaking clue. For all we know he could just be dead, done, finished, over, mission complete. Regardless of what happened to the man or where he is or isn’t, that isn’t our business, but only his. And that is what we call a truly free democratic point of view. People need to step off their soap boxes and back away from their homemade pulpits and just allow the man and his work to breathe a little. He gave us so much for so long. That’s the least that we can do in return.

Yours truly, sincerely and very much still alive,

Fishy,
AKA The Ambassador,
AKA Ed Hale
xoxoxoxo

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.

Using Social Media as a Launching Pad as a Creative

I’ve noticed over the last few years that I have been more and more prone to use posts on social media as a jumping off platform for Transcendence Diaries entries. As I was typing the above I remembered that long before the advent of Facebook Tumblr and Twitter, I was already using these Diaries as a means to communicate regularly with people — though it started out as a social experiment in the very beginning, it very soon became a place to vent, keep track of thoughts feelings and ideas, or just keep friends and fans informed of the latest. Very similar to what we use social media for now.

Remember that it wasn’t too long ago that I posted an entry warning people not to lose track of themselves and their potential great works of art or brilliance in social media — that for all its benefits, social media could very well zap your greatest works by sucking them into the limited confines of a newsfeed that quickly disappears forever; for not only does the newsfeed itself disappear quickly — and therefore your potential audience, but people’s attention is also greatly limited when on social media. Notice how difficult it is to elicit a response from others when posting something sincerely important, let alone just interesting; in other words, wanna tell the world what you had for dinner? Fine, do it on Facebook. But if you’re really attempting to say something, best save it for your next book or at least a blog.

That was a few years ago, and for me that was a big wake up call. Noticing that the decreasing quantity of entries here was almost commensurate with the increasing quantity of posts made to social media. It’s an easy trap to get into, with the lure of all that instant gratification one imagines they may receive from all the potential attention they might get out of hanging out and being seen or saying something noteworthy publicly. But it’s a trap, a lifesuck to be sure. I wouldn’t waste a brain cell on it. And yet we do have a genuine desire to connect with both friends and our audience, to not be a total hermit. (And while we’re on it, there’s nothing worse than someone who outsources their social media excursions to some third party hack or organization that promises they’ll “continuously engage with your fans in a meaningful way so that you can keep doing what you do best”. Yeah, we tried it. It doesn’t work. Your fans don’t want to read randomly generated crap from a 22 year old grad student who believes she’s a “new media” mogul nor from an automated meme generator. They want to connect with YOU. And they can tell when it is you and when it isn’t.

For me the solution came slowly but organically and that’s what made it work out so well and taste so good. I noticed that the immediacy of instantly expressing one’s self via Facebook or Quora or Twitter had it’s advantages in terms of the creative spark it elicits in us; there’s a certain excitement in the wow of being able to personally express ourselves so readily and publicly that we really don’t get from anything else in our day to day lives — it does something to our creative juices, inspires us in a way, that we don’t necessarily feel from any other form of personal expression. Not even blog posts. And certainly not working on a book or a screenplay where it may be months or years before what you’re working on sees the light of day let alone someone else’s eyes.

(As hard as this might be for some to believe — due to this recent wave of anti-smart-phone obsession that’s hit the fringes lately, proclaiming that people are spending too much time inside their phones as opposed to being present in the here-now of what’s happening all around them in the real world — some people don’t realize that other people just don’t have a lot going on outside of their smart phones (as sad as that might seem to some… it’s not really sad; it just is…) so being inside their phones is actually more social, more exciting and more satisfying than putting it down or attempting to take one of those new age “technology breaks” that have become all the rage with the Oprah/yoga/vegan/raw foods crowd. They fail to realize that even personal one on one interactions with many or most people in our lives still may not be as exhilarating as interacting with the people we connect with regularly using social media — at least for SOME people. Frankly I don’t as of yet at least see anything wrong with this fact. Sure it’s weird. But so was the car compared to the horse and buggy and so too were talking pictures compared to the silent ones. The point is that social media posting sparks us in a way that almost nothing else does. And that power can be harnessed. Just don’t waste it all there.)

When I feel inspired to post something or comment on something, i do it. I let it rip. No matter what it’s about and even if it soon turns into a five page rambling essay much too long for a social media post. If at the end of it I feel that it’s still relevant or worthy I hit Enter. Why not? It’s better than more pictures of cats and babies. Most of the time it’s fine. Occasionally it’s length or quirkiness (people aren’t used to intelligent social media posts; they’re considered quirky at best, annoying by most) clogs the airwaves and creates controversy and pandemonium. But that’s rare. Usually it just is. As any other post or comment is.

But it doesn’t end there. 99% of the time that post or comment isn’t too far away from what I’d post to the Transcendence Diaries under normal circumstances; or if social media didn’t exist at all. So I simply copy it over. Usually it’s brief, punctuated by hard stops, road blocks and detours that wouldn’t normally exist in a Diaries entry, so I’ll take the time to elaborate on certain points or amend aspects of it to add fluidity, work it a bit until I feel that it’s complete, worthy of being a Transcendence Diaries entry. Usually there isn’t much left to do with it though, other than edit and clean it up grammatically for essay form — and yet BAM there it is, a something where there might have been nothing.

This post in fact was a reflection on marriage. It started off as that at least. But then it occurred to me how often lately I’ve been using social media posts as a launching pad for Diaries entries. Thought I’d mention it. Remind myself and others how important it is to remember not to waste too much out there in the world of social media. Remember that as creators our job is to create. To complete a “something”. A something that can be saved for posterity, saved to enjoy later, saved to review and revisit, saved to inspire or provoke. Think song, album, sculpture, painting. Don’t mistake interacting on social media as creating something. Hell, don’t even mistake it for “doing” something. Unless it’s going to directly lead to something else. That’s the rule.

Social media is the exact opposite of the above named “somethings”. It’s for that photo of you and the crew enjoying lunch or a video of that kid down the block who can sing like Robert Plant, or a quick hello to friends and family when you’ve been too busy to pick up the phone, or an inspiring quote, or to remind people about your latest work of art, or a goofy meme about the Kardashians. It can also be a truly fulfilling means to connect with others in a meaningful way. Remember, people don’t go to social media to read or think or feel. They may WANT to read what you’ve posted (whether it’s your’s or something you’ve found interesting of someone else’s), and they may believe they want to think and feel; but the structure of social media takes over their mentality and squeezes those desires right out of them before they’re even aware of it. There’s just too much vying for their attention particles to warrant them stopping long enough to take IT in. YOU on the other hand have so much more to offer than the ten seconds that most people are willing to relegate to what you’re offering. So don’t waste it there on Facebook or Twitter. Start a blog. Write a book. Record an album. Make a movie. Who knows… You may just change the world.

On Munich: War and Peace in Israel and Palestine

A brilliant day. Princess Little Tree spent most of the day together just enjoying each other’s company; doing things together that we haven’t in too long of a while. I shared some of my current research with her. The A440 versus 432 conspiracy. And a lot of the sacred geometry and ancient knowledge stuff I’ve been studying over the last two weeks. It’s been an intense learning period over the last 14 or so days. We made love. We lounged. Listening to special 580 hertz tones for meditation. Ate a leisurely lunch. Eventually made our way to the gym, where I worked out for the first time in years. It felt very good.
 
 The early part of the day was spent in intense debate on social media regarding this latest skirmish between Israel and Palestine. If i am not feeling too lazy i will post a link in here that gives a full objective accounting of what actually transpired in case you don’t yet know that led to this latest round of bombing between these two forever warring peoples. its a very sad affair. For all involved.
 
 A beautiful soul at Global Exchange, a new organization for me though they’ve been around quite a long time — I’ll be making another peace mission to Iran with them in October — sent me an excellent book entitled COUNTER RHETORIC whose basic mission is to help guide civilian diplomats like myself and activists (or for that matter anyone interested in helping further the cause of peace in Israel and the Palestinian Territories) to have a better understanding how to respond to the most common objections people have to helping the Palestinian people. For every assertion they make — there is no such thing as Palestine and there never was. — they have devised an intelligent and logical and humane response.
 
 The irony? The book was written by a group of Jews in Israel who are completely against the occupation of the palestinian’s land there. Today I really got the chance to use what I have learned in the book. Because the highly emotional hate speech was flying today. As soon as you speak up pro-palestinian in the US, you’re acussed of being “anti’semetic”. Of course I pointed out that Palestinians are also considered “semetic peoples” as well as tens of other races and nations. So that puts an end to that argument. But what they’re really accusing a person of is being “anti-jew”. Perhaps they’re afraid to say it… anti-Jew. They believe “anti-semetic” sounds more scientific or accusatory… Not sure really. Whatever their reasoning, they should just say what they mean, “if you’re pro-palestinian then you’re anti-Jew”. Just because we want equal rights for palestinians. Truth is that most of us who are pro-Palestinian are super compassionate loving people who just want equal rights for all people and we aren’t actually “anti” anyone. As one person commented today in our heated debate, “If the tables were turned and the Israelis were the poor and impoverished Ed would probably be on that side”. To which I answered, “that sounds about right”. At our worst what some of us might be is anti-Zionism as it is being practiced in today’s world. And I believe we are justified in holding that opinion. We certainly have a right to it, at least here in democratic United States. But more importantly, Zionism has been a terrible failure. It’s taken the near genocide of one people to save another people from near genocide. It just hasn’t worked. Not yet at least.
 
 It’s quite a small box they’ve painted themselves into. Stolen land. Tens of thousands (some say more) murdered. And millions now living in refugee camps that look more like concentration camps. No running water, hardly electricity. It’s shameful how these people live. With lush lavish posh hotels ten blocks away in the Israeli parts of the country. If Americans ever saw it, knowing how much money — in the billions every year — we give them of our hard earned income, they would at first be in shock and then be raging mad. It’s also odd when one thinks about it that the US doesn’t give any aid money to Palestine when they’re the ones who actually really need it. They’re the ones living in abject poverty, shit for hospitals, children running through filthy garbage filled streets with no shoes on their feet. And yet billions of our income tax dollars pour into Israel every year. Not because we Americans voted for that… But just because of some back room deals made decades ago that we just can’t seem to get out of. The whole mess is crazy and corrupt.
 
 All we want to do of course is change that. By starting with simple things: access to clean water, remove this wall with armed guards that surrounds them every day of their lives, give them a new home if they can’t give them their old homes back, etc etc. Simple things. But alas I am aware like everyone else that these things won’t happen overnight and they certainly wont happen from a few dozen people arguing about it on Facebook. But the hope I always have is that perhaps even one person’s mind or heart can be shifted in the way of being more peaceful or more compassionate through these debates… and at times i do feel as though i am accomplishing that. At one point in the debate today a girl from Israel compared me to Steven Spielberg in that she does not believe me to be “anti-semetic”, but perhaps just “misinformed” due to Speilbergs making the movie Munich. Since I had never seen the film I figured i better watch it to see what kind of company I am being thrown in with.
 
 Well… Wow. What a great film that is. Highly recommended. But besides that it also brings up many finer subtler questions about morality. In essence it is the story of how the Israeli army and secret intelligence branch Mossad sent a bunch of assassins into europe and the Middle East to kill a bunch of Palestinian men after the kidnapping and killing of 11 Israeli athletes at the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972. Before our time. The whole film is about these five Israeli men hunting down these Palestinian men — many of which had nothing to do directly with the actual killings at Munich. They are ruthless heartless bloodthirsty men. Just do their job. It’s not that they don’t think about what they’re doing. they do. But they approve of what they are doing and they seem to enjoy it. They believe they are serving their country.
 
 It reminds one of any other country on earth presently. Certainly the United States. the rule of the human animal kingdom is “if one of your tribe is killed then you seek vengeanceThere and go kill one or more of their tribe.” that is what is happening in Israel as I type this. Israel is bombing the holy fuck out of tiny Gaza. Randomly killing men women and children, in retaliation for Hamas who is based in Gaza firing 70 rockets into Israel towns and cities this week. Which was in retaliation to a carful of Israelis who kidnapped a young Palestinian boy last week and forced him to drink gasoline and then doused him in more of it and then, yes, lit him on fire. Which was in retaliation for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens who people believe to have been murdered by Hammas. Though they vehemently deny having any involvement in it.
 
 So… therein lay the first big mistake. Instead of burning a poor boy alive — can you even imagine the sheer horror and pain that poor boy experienced in the last hour of his blessed life? — the Israelis should have waited for a formal investigation, found the culprits of the kidnapping crime and put them on trial; showing the world that they in fact do want to be seen as peaceful civilized people. Many probably did their best. But not this one car load of men… So Hamas struck back. And there’s mistake number two. Hamas should have demanded that these men be turned in and be put on trial. Not fire rockets into random cities in Israel that could just kill anyone. But they didn’t. And that’s a shame. Because now there are over 100 Palestinian people dead. And because of who? One could just as easily fault Hamas and those in Gaza who permitted these attacks as they could fault the Israelis who fired back.
 
 Violence always begets violence. Peace is never won through war or battles or violence. There is a point in the movie MUNICH where the mother of the lead assassin tells her son that she doesn’t want to hear what he did while “away on his mission”. Her words, “All we wanted was a home for Jews to live, among other Jews, in safety. Whatever you did. Whatever has to be done. It’s worth it. Because now we have this land where we can feel safe.” He had just been on a killing spree, killing around ten people, some guilty of something — even just thought crimes or plans for crimes, and some entirely innocent bystanders. It really makes one think “is this justification for murder for revenge or safety that countries use so casually a true and valid one? Or is it just more bullshit perpetrated by primitive unenlightened minds?
 
 If everyone just continues to kill when they are killed, or even afraid of being killed or hurt, will it ever lead to the end of killing? Or will it just perpetuate the cycle of incessant killing? The answer is clear to those of us who frequent these pages obviously. But how do we get our fellow humans to understand this fact? How do we get them to rise above this tit for tat kill or be killed mentality? A friend of mine today on Facebook, I am not kidding, has this to say about the Palestinians: “I wish they would just kill them all and send them all to their moon god and let’s be done with it”. Yep. He’s literally advocating genocide of the entire Palestinian race. Just so the so-called Israelis of present time (post 1948) can live in peace and without fear. Sure we understand his motivation for having such an extreme view. The Israelis have not necessarily been welcomed with open arms since they first came back to this homeland of theirs. But why? Because by the time they got back, after almost 2000 years, other people had moved in and had been living on the land all that time. And to them, that land had been home. And that home was then taken from them. For the sake of saving the Jews. I’ve said it before and Ill say it again. It would have made a lot more sense to put all the Jewish people in Germany — as punishment for what they did — we must remember that it wasn’t just Jews who died in WW II, over 20 million Russians died in that war, and plenty of French and English and Americans as well. Surely the Germans deserved to be displaced from their homes more than the poor palestinians. For they weren’t even involved in that war. And voila surprise surprise! BAM their homes gone. Their land taken. And a new people placed on it.
 
 If we study our history well, we can clearly see from using the United States as an example, that the jews who live in what they presently call Israel, which used to be called Palestine, will never feel completely safe until they exterminate the majority of the palestinian people, just as the European settlers did to the native Americans here in the States. There are barely a million of them left here now. When Columbus arrived there were some 100 million of them living in North and South America. But they just wouldn’t let us live in peace, which we felt we had a right to. Why? Who the fuck knows. Because we wore clothes and they didn’t I suppose. But the real answer is because we had larger weapons than they did. And so not only did we get to take the land but we also got to write the history. I am afraid to say it, but that’s the future of the Palestinians if the Jews ever start thinking seriously about wanting to live in peace and sleep safely at night. They’re going to have to wipe them all out like so many of my American Jewish friends want them to. It’s sad to contemplate and discuss. But it’s reality.
 
 Does that make it right? Hell no. It’s entirely wrong. That’s why we fight this noble battle for these people. That’s why they fight. Is there hope for a two state solution where Jews and Palestinians can live side by side in unity or at least in a peaceful separation? Yes, of course there is. And that’s what so many of us are working towards. How will it play out in our own lifetimes? Of this I am not 100% sure yet. Peacefully I hope and pray. But it’s going to take a lot more work and attention and sharing with those who don’t yet understand what’s going on over there.
 
 Must sleep. As always, more later.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Dude, Astrology? Really?

The other day I happened to post something to FB regarding this new reading I got from this new astrologer I discovered by the name of, get this, Carole Devine. Yes that IS in fact her real name. And yes you should definitely look her up if 1, astrology is your thing and you’re looking for a good or 2, you’ve always been interested in it but have never found a good one. She’s mind boggingly good at what she does. Very scientific, honest, accurate, sincere and real. In any case, I make a random comment on FB about it and White Bear, who I have reconnected with over the last few years, as I’ve written about here in the past, makes the comment “Dude, Astrology? Really?” Which is pretty much what I would expect from him. It’s one of the many reasons why I love and admire him so much. He’s very left brained. Logic. Rational thinking. A real go-to person if you need facts and figures and an actual answer to something. Besides the fact that he’s also very lacking in the BS department. He states facts. Along with a modicum of opinion. Which are also almost always thought provoking and interesting as well.

In any case, seeing that it is something that I believe in — to a certain degree (see a previous post about the subject) and only if one doesn’t get carried away with it — I wanted to give him an honest answer. Something that might come in handy, be helpful. Long gone are the days where we concern ourselves with what others think. These are the days of true, free Personal Expression. So I just typed without thought, sharing as much as I could think of in the moment so as to relay to him the what and the why of it. Below is that response.

Dude I can SO see the “not believing in it” side — just as easy as the “believing in it” side. Totally. Because frankly the main access we have to it in the mainstream is through so called “horoscopes” which are just … fun, entertainment, no different than say the billboard music awards or “reading about how to give the best bl*wj*b in Cosmo”. Can’t possibly apply to any one individual, because they can literally apply to everyone. Get it. But the actual science of astrology — as in finding one who has been to school and mastered in it for a few decades = mind blowing. You find a good one and get your Natal Chart done… If they’re good at it, then it’s freaking insane how accurate they are. #1 So that can be tremendously helpful. In just having a better understanding of certain things you’ve “wondered about” for a long time, about yourself or about life in general.

#2 that then gives you AMMUNITION in the form of information that you can then use to discreate/let go of/release anything that you don’t particularly like about yourself or your life — for some reason, hearing WHAT it is and WHY it is from an objective third party really helps loosen the grip, adds some grease to something that may feel “stuck”. You know what i mean… things we’ve “struggled” with for years/decades, or that have boggled our mind since we can remember.

#3 If they’re really good, your SIGN will have VERY little to do with who YOU are… (if they’re not good, then yeah they’ll talk all about your “sign” yada yada yada. But that’s all bs. Might as well pick up Cosmo.) A good one, a scientist, will go WAY deeper and really delve into the deep shiite, in terms of things that you may totally take for granted… #4 so that’s always a hoot, just a blast or #5 might tell you something that is SO deeply repressed or embedded in your subconscious that you’ve never really given it any thought at all until they say it and then BAM!!! you’re like “holy crap you’re right!!!” – which again you can then either keep it or choose to let it go.

#6 Bearing in mind that we are all at different levels of evolution — in this life AND in our collection of lifetimes (only IF you believe in reincarnation or the transmigration of the soul… it may not apply to someone who doesn’t believe in that… for all we know, THEY might actually NOT have multiple lifetimes — this is the secret to it all btw, yep, right here on FB, for free, the secret to it all has been revealed on a cloudy Friday afternoon… but nope there is no ONE truth in the universe of consciousness that applies to ALL people — it’s all up to each individual and what they believe. The universe is large enough to encompass all of the myriad beliefs that consciousness holds. Reincarnation, heaven, hell, turn to dust and die after one life, whatever YOU choose… despite what others may believe… the insistence that “what I believe is the “one true way” is just insecurity on the part of the person who is saying it IMHO). So yes, if we are all at different levels/stages in our evolution in this life and in our collection of lifetimes, then SOME of what they will say “may apply” and some of it we may have already “evolved out of it” (which is how it is phrased) BUT a really GOOD astrologer will even be able to discern WHICH is the case for YOU — whether THAT which they see in your chart applies to you or if “you’re over it” (even though it’s still indicated in your chart, as in “should apply”) But again, i am referring to the REALLY GOOD ones…

So it’s not like “whatever your chart says, so you are”. These are just maps… helpful roadmaps, sea charts. If it doesn’t ring true then it doesn’t ring true for you… Only YOU know if it applies to you or not. #6 Everyone has and uses “different tools” to process and maneuver through life — to evolve so to speak. Some may use pure logic and rational thinking, some may use a lot of emotion, some may use religion and prayer, or spirituality and meditation, some may use magic/witchcraft (which i assert is slightly different than religion… (I’ve tried both)), some may use so-called “self-help” tools such as psychology, psychiatry (and perhaps medication), EST, Life Spring, Landmark ,Avatar, Sedona Method, Abraham, Tony Robbins, Dyer, et al. (I’ve done them all; because i dig researching that kind of stuff…). So as long as the person has SOME type of tool(s) at their disposal to manifest and transition and transform… i.e. a way to manipulate life experiences to their liking…even if it’s just good old fashioned Will Power (which is an often overlooked resource/tool) then astrology can be a great addition to that toolbox. It’s like an “inside look or screening on YOU”.

#7 Once you get through your whole Natal Chart and have good mastery over it, i.e. have evolved out of the bad characteristics of your chart and have increased/taken full advantage of the good characteristics of your chart, you can then move on to having them run a Progress Chart for you — which is where the “celestial bodies” have moved to since you were born until now — as in “your current chart” — this isn’t as much about WHO you are, but more about “what is happening” to YOU now, like this year and next… So it can really help shed light on “what the f*&k happened when one minute I was flying high and everything was going great and then all of a sudden I lost my job and my son fell out of a tree and broke his leg???” or whatever. For each it will be different of course.

#8 But that’s the thing: a truly great astrologer will NOT ask YOU any questions. Instead they will just tell you what the Progress Chart is saying… And if they’re really good, it’s usually spot on to what’s actually happening in your life. And no i’m not speaking of things that are “so broad vast relative” that they can apply to anyone at any time… On the contrary, they’re usually things that are so specific that they either TOTALLY apply to YOU or they’re just not very good at what they do. As in they might say to you: “You’re presently writing a book? With three Virgos? All females? But it’s not a novel…It’s a non-fiction book? Does this make any sense?” And VOI-f*^king-LA, sure enough, at that moment in time I happened to be writing a very large non-fiction book with three Virgos, all female. And you’re like “how the heck do you KNOW that???” And they’re like “I can see it right here…” And if you care about such things, you can ask them to SHOW you what exactly they are looking at that shows them “writing” “book” “with others” “virgos” “women” “non-fiction, not a novel” “helpful or not helpful” “profitable or not profitable”. Because all those things will be present in that chart.

#9 Yes this particular area of science has gotten that good. I am truly awed by it on the rare occasion that i meet one who is THAT good.

#10 BEWARE and forewarned. A really good one is HONEST. They don’t hold back based on “what you may like or not like to hear”. You’re hiring them to hear “what’s up”. Sometimes what’s up may not be always good, as we all well know from living life… So I only recommend astrology to people who are strong brave and have their shit together.

#11 But again, remember, it’s all up to US. WE control it all. (talk about chicken or egg paradox…!!!) Everything that they see, that is there, is only “a potential”. It’s not written in stone. So if you hear something “bad” –something that you don’t prefer, it doesn’t mean that it’s GOING to happen. It just means that “it could happen if you’re not prepared for it and you continue in the same direction you’re currently heading in.”

As in, #12 it’s a damn good way to be prepared and forewarned about things that we might be able to prevent if we only knew were potentialities in the first place.  It gives us opportunities to shift realities that we wouldn’t normally be able to even know about had we not checked out “what the stars had to say”. For all these reasons and probably more, yes, I dig it on the rare occasion that I’m in the mood for it. Which for me personally is about once every five to seven years. I find it helpful.

Hope this answers your question.

 

Moving Back to New York

We knew we would be moving back to New York this fall. This Seattle thing was always temporary. I didn’t mind giving up the bi-coastal living arrangement for a spell because I knew it would be for less than a year, and truth be told I don’t care how many celebrities do it, bi-coastal living is just plain hard. In a million different ways. That 13 hour trip door to door became more and more difficult with each flight. So I didn’t minod giving up NYC for a year. But I’ve also missed Manhattan living more than I thought I would. At the same time, I’ve enjoyed living here. Big house. Plenty of land. I have an axe to chop wood and a hunting knife I wear on my belt, a grill, a woodworking bench, a killer bow and arrow set and archery target, a creek and a hot tub, more rooms and bathrooms than we know what to do with honestly, my own recording studio, a game room and yeah even a media-viewing room with an automatic remote controlled large movie projector screen. Our master bedroom is larger than our New York living room; our shower has two shower heads — one for each of us, and a separate bathtub; our walk in closet is about the size of your average New York bedroom. It’s been a blast re-experiencing what house living is like after ten years cooped up in a tiny apt in New York. But with all the amenities it still doesn’t replace city living. Walking straight out of your front door into a thriving metropolis filled with other people and activities and life in full color.

After much talk and thought and brainstorming we decided that it just wouldn’t make any sense to keep this place once we make the move. So we need to start paring down all of the things we’ve collected over the years. Furniture and knick knacks, all the outdoor stuff, the pool table. Hell, even our beloved ping pong table must go. To live in New York City you have to be willing to live with the bare minimum of belongings. Just the two of us and two dogs; new babies if we ever get so lucky. You give up a lot to live in the city. We’ll keep about one-tenth of the things we own if we’re lucky. Probably less.

Ever since we made the decision, I’ve noticed myself paying more attention to everything. To every little thing. Just now I noticed – perhaps for the first time? – the sound that the rain makes falling on the bay window over the kitchen sink. What a loud but pleasant sound it is. Comforting and soothing. In the pitch blackness of night you can almost always spot the white glow of the moon through the skylight that’s raised over our showers. It just sits there shining this magnificent natural light into the bathroom like a beacon or reminder that it’s the middle of night and everyone in the world is fast asleeP, even if it’s an illusion.

I’ll miss these things. And so many more. I’ll miss this grand palace we’ve learned to call home. Each of us grown so accustomed to feeling home here, to making it our home. Watching the moon set and the sun rise over the Cascade Mountain Range every morning from the eastern facing window in our large spacious office. The giant three car garage filled with abandoned kids toys and soccer balls and old stored belongings you can’t quite say goodbye to yet that seems to whisper “you made it. You’re living the American Dream…” Our backyard with its National Wildlife Federation Landmark status, giant evergreens, wild raspberry bushes and vegetable garden. The giant entranceway with its two large front doors that we decorate accordingly during each holiday season as everyone does who lives in suburban America. It’s been special living here. But at great cost to my career. I know that. It was a sacrifice I was willing to make for Princee’s kids.

But it’s coming to an end now. It’s time to get back to the city and leave our little utopian paradise to someone else. We know that. But It doesn’t make it any easier. Even the constant beckoning of the city and all it’s promise of fun culture adventure and glory still doesn’t soften the heartache as I walk each room taking pictures of things we need to start selling if we’re ever going to get out of here. Nope. This house has been home to us for over four years now. Every nook and cranny of it. Every piece of furniture. Sitting huddled up on a sheepskin rug by the fireplace when we lose power or just for the pure romance and fun of it. Feeling like the man of the house in the traditional sense –going around with my tool belt changing light bulbs and smoke alarm batteries, cleaning out the septic tank. Playing house in a way you just can’t in the city.

Sure these memories will be fond and at the same time seem almost quaint once we’re settled back in Manhattan. I’ve lived long enough to be aware of that by now. New York has a way of sucking you into it pretty quickly. With its whirlwind of excitement and adventure. Besides, home is never WHERE you live as much as WHO you’re living with. As long as I’m with Princess Little Tree I’ll feel at home soon enough. But it’s going to be A strange transition. We’ve gotten used to this slow lazy family centered lifestyle. Home cooked meals sitting around this large oak table and family movie nights. A far cry from the wild nights and hustle and bustle of New York living.

Part of me is giddy inside, already screaming “yay!!! Let’s go already!!!” and a part of me feels sad and homesick for this place and it’s numerous amenities, wondering if it’s really worth it, this big move to the small confines of a tiny apartment in a noisy crowded city… It’s ambivalence I suppose. But a good kind. A healthy kind. Everyday people are faced with much worse choices they have to choose between than these. I know that. Though in the moment I still feel a little pinch of sadness every time we list another beloved item for sale on Craig’s List or eBay.

As always more later…

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

Giving Up Fear for Lent

“Eighty percent of all choices are based on fear. Most people don’t choose what they want; they choose what they think is safe.”

~ Phil McGraw

[Caveat: Like nearly everything any of us utter, the above sentiment is only as true as the speaker and perceiver believe it to be. We’ve established that long ago. Besides the absolute basics — I am. I am here. So are you. There are others here. — everything else is a quasi-hypnotic Illusion (delusion if an individual is not aware and has not examined these beliefs) we pretend to be “truth” at a certain time based on collective mass consciousness agreement (the sun is a god. There are many gods. There is only one god. The earth is flat. The earth is spherical. Etc.)

With that said, it is still beneficial, and fun, to explore the various ideas and beliefs that the lot of us put out there into the space that connects us all. The ideas can then be examined and explored, contemplated, agreed or disagreed with, amended or improved. Conclusions can be drawn. Our evolution is served through these conclusions; through a deeper understanding of who we are, where we are and more importantly who we want to be.

As long as we continue to remember that these are beliefs and not truths, because we are deliberately choosing to believe them in the moment because they serve us in some way, and that they can change when or if we decide to change them, all is well. Problems arise when we or others forget this and start believing that something believed is “truth”. Sometimes big problems, like war. Usually the problems are smaller in scope though, like believing things or aspects of ourselves or others or the world are “real” or can’t be changed or are “just meant to be”. “That’s just the way it is” is the common response, along with a sigh, when we’ve temporarily lost our perspective.

As long as we maintain our perspective, recognizing that — no matter how solid or deep or meaningful or real things or ideas seem to us — they’re still just beliefs, we can explore these things freely and hopefully learn in the process. End of caveat.]

Regarding the above idea about fear being a primary motivator, I am not familiar with the author. But I do tens to agree with it. I am not one for percentage statistics. In the bigger picture they’re only useful short term. Very short term. And only in very controlled environments. Statistics of any kind. So saying something like “80% of…” is a quaint notion; naive. Especially a sweeping generalization about the whole human race; any sentence that contains the word “we” or “most people”.

But in general I still agree with the basic idea of it, the intention behind it. Coincidentally i had this realization several times myself recently. A few times over the last few days. Recognizing after deep quiet contemplation certain decisions I have made whose real impetus was fear of something rather than pure desire for the decision itself. It’s VERY subtle though. We don’t KNOW that’s what we’re doing. Acting out of fear. It’s hidden deep beneath the surface. In our sub-sub conscious if you will. It’s only something we can FEEL now and then. It’s a crazy reality when you think about it. Choosing to do or not do something because we are afraid of something else rather than because we want to do it.

But I do believe we can overcome this predilection through deliberately living more deliberately. Sounds tricky. And easier said than done. And I’m sure it is. But I think the key lies in staying centered, grounded, quiet, in contemplation, at tuning to our intuition as often and as much as possible, and maintaining as close a connection with pure Source energy as possible. That way we are more aware of when we are feeling fear. More aware when we are feeling afraid, and more importantly when feeling inclined to act on it.

I know a girl who used to live in fear. 24/7. You’d never know it unless you knew her very well because she came off so bold and arrogant and bossy. But those are dead giveaways to someone who is afraid all the time. One minute she’d be acting like a tyrannical snobby maniac and three hours later she’d be cowering like a little girl, afraid of what people thought of her or if she was doing the right thing… All fear. But dare to suggest to her that she let go of the fear and make decisions based on desire instead and she would go right back into denial and vehemently deny that there was no way in hell that she was afraid of anything. Which would only push her further towards making the same damn decision she was going to make — regardless of how dangerous or illegal or unethical it may have been — just to prove to you that she wasn’t feeling fear.

That’s what we call fear of being afraid. Of people thinking you’re afraid. Fear of fear. So afraid that you can’t even admit you’re afraid. That’s when fear has for the best of you. Controlling you. Weird right? Yet we all possess this tendency to feel that AND to deny its there. We become so accustomed to repressing the fear that we aren’t even aware it’s there most of the time. Frankly I think it’s genetically inbred in us as a survival tool. But that doesn’t make it a good thing.

For this Lent I thought long and hard about what if anything I would give up, or add in. Adding things can be just as challenging and rewarding as giving things up I’ve found. Prayer more often during each day is the closest I came to finding something that really resonated with me. But after ruminating on the quote above and the realizations below, I think I’ll also add this too as a practice for the Lenten season: stay more quiet and grounded, more in tune with how I am feeling — more in FEEL — and really try to catch and discover each and every time I feel that I might be doing something or saying something even or making a decision based on fear or being afraid. Then take a breath and then decide to NOT do that. Ask myself “what do I REALLY want to do?” And choose to do THAT instead. The goal isn’t to get rid of fear. Fear is a healthy character trait to possess. It can keep us and the people we love alive. But the goal is to not let ourselves make decisions out of fear.

They say “do what scares you the most and you may find that you’re rewarded the most in life”. I’m not much for platitudes. Especially not if they compel people to just go off doing stupid things just because they’re frightened of it. But I see the value in the intention behind this one. And let’s face it, our greatest fears often aren’t the things we usually think they are. Getting attacked by a shark, getting raped, going to prison, sky diving etc. Usually our greatest fears are more about people not approving of us or not liking us or our work or our ideas or actions or failing at something even after working hard at it. These are fears I believe we can wrestle control over and even master.

Will keep you posted. Good creating to you too if you have any plans for a Lenten discipline this year. We’re all in this together. Let’s kick butt! (And remember you don’t HAVE to be Christian to take advantage of this very spiritually fulfilling season of a Lent. Just a curious brave and soulful person who wants more out of life than the usual everyday. If that’s you, go for it!)

Peace Love Freedom beauty Truth Love

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

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

 

True Love Finds the Honeymoon Never Over

It occurred to me a few days ago actually, the question of whether or not the honeymoon phase of new love can last forever, or just how long it does last. The real question in that moment as I pondered was more to the point of just how long does this phase of feeling madly and blindly in love last and once it’s passed what replaces it? Once the stars disappear from our eyes when glancing at our beloved what replaces them? Are we destined to lives filled with a different kind of love than the one that prompted us to commit to this person for the rest of our life in the first place? Is it simply because that kind of dreamy steamy “make love three times a day no matter what” love isn’t meant to last forever? Is that kind of love even real? Does that kind of love only exist in the first place because it is borne from the novelty created by two souls who know each other not and therefore it’s only the newness of the relationship that creates those special feelings?

Or perhaps it’s as some scientists contend, those feelings we translate as new love and infatuation are nothing more than a witches brew of certain endorphins and neurotransmitters swirling about in our brains — see the book Your Brain in Love. Once we get used to the other person, which is bound to happen if we spend enough time with them, we cannot help but notice that those feelings begin to dissipate and eventually they disappear entirely. We still love the person. Sometimes at least. Most people seem to. Or at least approximately 50% — according to statistics at least. Some kind of love still exists. But it isn’t that dress your Sunday best every time you see each other kind of love any more. That’s been replaced with a different kind of love. Or so they say.

It’s a subject I’ve found myself pondering all my life. It was one of the reasons why it appeared to most that I for one would stay the perennial bachelor, never becoming the marrying type. As one good friend, Ducky in fact, noted upon hearing of the news that I had gotten engaged a few years back, “Well I hope everyone in hell is enjoying the cool weather, because it’s surely frozen over”. I’d experienced it more times than I can count, that walking on clouds with stars in your eyes kind of love entering our heart like a locomotive and then quickly leaving the station as fast as it entered. These Diaries can attest to that more than just about anything. It wasn’t something I could control after all. Or so I thought. It just always seemed to happen that way. I couldn’t do anything about it. I was a victim of it as well as an observer of it as a strange and rather cruel phenomenon.

So as much as I loved the idea of a big friends and family get together that lasted all weekend where I’d proudly watch the woman of my dreams walk slowly down the aisle towards me while old ladies and gay men teared up, I’d really never felt compelled to get married before. Only to Cleopatra Ecstasy. And even then I knew as well as she that though we both said yes to our clumsy, hasty engagement, neither of us were in too much of a hurry to set the date of the wedding any time soon. We were ridiculously young at that time. The novelty and excitement of being engaged and all they comes with it seemed fulfilling enough to us. Neither of us were dumb enough to ever fathom even for a second that we’d make a good married couple long term — once the giddy fun of opening all those wedding gifts and setting up a new house together wore off . No, ours was purely an agreement of partnership to build our lives up together to a certain level and once we did (and I’m forever grateful that we were able to accomplish that together) we easily went our separate ways. (Though for the record this in no discounts how much I loved her, or she me I’m sure). Unlike most though, we never allowed ourselves to be fooled into believing that once engaged a marriage must inevitably follow.

But all that changed when one day I found myself so madly in love with a girl that all I could think about was her having my children. What an odd feeling that was. I had always wanted to have children. A large family. Always knew I would. Just never felt the desire to have children NOW. Or THEN. It was always something I wanted in my future. And then all of a sudden it was all I could think about whenever I was with this girl. Laying in her arms or her laying in mine I found myself completely consumed with the desire to impregnate her and take care of her while she bore our children one by one over the years. And because of this feeling I knew it only followed that marriage would surely follow. I of course never pushed the idea, still remaining rather fearful of the long term commitment aspect of the venture. But she insisted that though she was having a blast trying to make babies that there better be a proposal coming around the mountain pretty soon. So we got married.

That girl was Princess Little Tree. Oddly enough a girl I had already known and was friends with for years before these feelings swelled up within and surrounded me. I had always loved her. As a friend. My best friend. And more… Was always attracted to her in a magical way that words could never describe. But that kind of love, the stuff of marriage and children, never entered my mind or heart with Princess Little Tree simply because we both knew from the moment that we met that it was an impossibility. How silly we were looking back now.

We flirted with being boyfriend and girlfriend numerous times through the years only to break it off after a few months each time. This went on for years. Nearly a decade. And then during one of our many on again off again “on” periods we both asked a simple question as we headed for the car to part ways once again as we had so many times before: what if we make plans now, right this very minute, when the next time we are going to see each other again will be? Instead of just saying good bye and not knowing when that next time would be? We reviewed our schedules and realized with some tricky rescheduling we could fit in two days together in about four days from our parting. It would be tricky and involve a lot of flying cross country but we could make it work.

So instead of parting ways in tears only to put the walls back up and the feelers back out to look for “the one” yet again once separated from Princee, we left each other’s presence with the excitement and anticipation in our hearts of knowing that in just four more short days we would be together once again. We began doing that more and more. We made a pact. No more parting ways not knowing when we are going to see each other again. From now we will plan it before we separate.

Our love become stronger. Much stronger. Unbearably strong. So much so that within months I was unbridled with a longing to never leave her side and even if I did I wanted to have children with her. With HER. Children. Now. Not in the future. But immediately. It was as if that was it. I had met the woman who I wanted to mother MY children. And I wanted them NOW. Not later. This was a deeper richer stronger more powerful kind of love than I’d ever felt before. It wasn’t purely attraction or infatuation. It was something I had no words for, because I’d simply never experienced it before.

It’s well past 3am and I must sleep. But we are five years into this incredible adventure together now. There have been times when all i could think about was getting the hell away from her. That’s the truth. That’s relationships. No matter who it’s with. But my heart always comes back. To her. Not just the kind of love we have for someone we are close to and hence the love in the first place. Of proximity. Of need. Of convenience. But that indescribable and magical love. The kind that makes you want to grab the person and hug them and squeeze them and never let go. The kind that brings an uncontrollable child-like smile to your face when you’re cuddling next to them in bed at night because you’re so damn happy to be a part of something so fulfilling and beautiful. A something that brings tears to your eyes from pure unadulterated joy and contentment. From their smell and their touch and their being welcoming you so freely into their space for they too are happy as you are. And for the same reasons.

When you see her she still melts your heart with her beauty. When she speaks in that unique and special way that only she does she still makes you giddy like a high school kid on prom night. You enjoy catching glances of her when she’s not looking. She still brings a rush of energy to your insides and compels your heart to skip a beat.

Perhaps the honeymoon phase never leaves us when we find true love. If we’re smart enough to wait for it and lucky enough to find it. Perhaps it hides sometimes. Takes a break to catch its breath as we all must once in a while. But if we commit to it, my experience leads me to believe that it stays committed to us in return. It has for me so far. So I must admit I find myself pondering this question less and less as the years merrily roll by. And for me that’s something, for if there’s one thing I do, it’s ponder. But this seems to be one of those subjects that necessitates less and less pondering and more pure and simple enjoying.

– Posted by The Ambassador using BlogPress on an iPhone

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

It doesn’t appear that everything always works out for us just the way we want it to. It’s taken me a long time to say thing. Because it’s taken me a long time to think this thought. Only up until recently had it ever occurred to me. It seems to come in waves, good things and bad. Something good here, some bad here too. Never all good or bad at the same time. I remember one period when I was particularly wealthy but all I thought about was how lonely I was. I was obsessed with finding “my one true love, the woman of my dreams”. Then I found that. Now all I seem to think about is our very unsatisfying lack of children or all the various career goals I have yet to achieve. This is an odd phenomenon. Most likely exclusively human.

This imbalance leads to a tendency towards over-compensation or over-indulgence in whatever area where we are doing well in. If we’re lonely but have lots of money, we tend to spend more money than necessary in a feeble attempt to compensate for our lack of love. And vice versa. When I was a young and struggling tortured artist I also just happened to be a playboy. Coincidence? Perhaps not. This only makes sense now looking back at it. I collected experiences with females like a kid collects stamps. Impressed friends and foes alike. Broke records. Did it all. It was easy, and perhaps– it’s difficult to admit now — because it was the only thing at the time that was easy to me, I over-indulged in it as a means to compensate for my feelings of inadequacy spawned by my youth and lack of career achievements.

But regardless of that little realization, it does seem to be the case that we don’t win it all all the time. It’s cyclical. There have been times in my life where I have felt on top of the world in terms of nearly everything, including the love and romance department, but then just haven’t been able to make ends meet financially. Some up, some down. Besides being an interesting aspect of life, what can we take from this? What good can we make from it?

I suppose more than anything it’s a good reminder to appreciate what we have when we have it. Knowing ahead of time that it’s not always going to be coming up roses. Not always going to be peaches and cream. So when we are feeling a little down, it’s important to remember to step back and take stock in the good things around us. It could always be worse. We know that. It could always be better. We know that too. But regardless of those two extremes, how are things right now? What’s going well? Where are we being just absolutely gifted in this life but maybe just not acknowledging it as much as we could be? That seems easier said than done, doesn’t it? But I’m usually pretty good at it.

But lately not so much. What it feels like, looks like, at least from the inside looking out, is that absolutely nothing seems to be working. That’s a hard thing to say out loud. Hard to write down. I’d rather it not be this way. I’d rather everything be going great. But I have reached a point where it’s more painful to pretend that everything is going perfectly than the potential pain or fear of people knowing that I’m not over the moon ecstatic with how things are going. I get the feeling sometimes that it might seem a bit dramatic for me to be talking about things like this… Because I know how much harder other people have it than I do. I do know this. And I know what it must look like from the outside. As if I have it made. So I’m always reluctant to state out loud when I’m feeling as though everything is awful.

It makes me think of Billy Joel actually. I don’t know why him in particular. But he’s come to mind more than once lately. I mean, talk about everything seeming great from the outside. And yet anyone with a passing knowledge of his personal life over the last fifteen years can easily discern that he’s not having such an easy time of it. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be an uncontrollable addict but be as successful as Billy Joel… What are you going to do? Head to local meeting in your hometown with everyone else? I mean, ultimately that’s what it’s probably going to take. But I’m sure it’s not easy. The real question is what led to his being so miserable in the first place? For whatever reason, he’s just not happy.

That’s the thing. We don’t know. And that’s what I mean. The same goes for me. For anyone. Regardless of what we might think about someone’s life from the outside looking in, we just don’t know. We have no idea what makes them tick, and therefore what may have made someone exceedingly happy at one point in life — like say being at the top of your game in your career — no longer adequately fulfills you. Perhaps all you want is your wife and kid back and that’s the one thing you just can’t seem to make happen.

What interests me more though is the creation process itself. To put it simply, lately I have been finding it increasingly difficult to create what I want. Now I know what you’re thinking, what most are thinking. Surely he’s kidding. Boy I’d like to “not be able to create what I want” the way he does! Yes…. But it’s all relative. Trust me. I’m being serious. I’m not 100% sure I mean this, but lately I’ve been starting to feel like I’d give it all up to just have a normal life with a wife and three to four kids. Why? Because those are precisely the things in life that I don’t have? I’m not sure. We’re exploring. I’m talking to me here now. So forgive me if you find it hard to swallow.

Personally I’m just not feeling it. I’m not happy. The wins are rare. And the good times feel few and far between. I am fantastic at making the most out of even the smallest things. Lucky that way. So I’ve survived. But I’m reaching the end of my ability to do even that. Reaching the end-game point, where it’s becoming difficult to make the most out of things. Difficult to find anything to make the most of. Of course that’s right when life can throw you “something real to cry about” so you start appreciating what you have; so I’m reluctant to admit any of this or think about too much; for fear of jinxing myself. I’m not saying I’m not appreciative of the life I have. I am. Immeasurably so. Grateful. Just not happy. And here’s the thing: if we never acknowledge when we’re not happy, when none of it seems enough, then how are we ever going to take the necessary steps to change things? What’s going to prompt us to?

So as much as I am grateful for what I do have, for all the good, the great, the wonderful, it’s time to admit that I am just not happy even a little bit anymore. That feels good. I needed that. I am more than tired of not being able to create what I want. This is something that I am not used to. But it’s a fate that’s been lingering around for quite some time lately. It’s weird. I worked so hard for so long without ever turning around to look behind me, not even to look to the side… just ran straight forward as fast as I could… One day I woke up and realized that I just wasn’t pulling it off anymore. I lost me mojo.

There’s a measurable pattern to all this from what I can tell. For those who are Avatars Masters and/or Wizards, that pattern is going to be very different than for those are not. I’ve been an Avatar Master Wizard for so long now I can honestly say that I have no idea how people survive without that knowledge and those tools. So there’s no way I can address how things work for them. But for me… let’s attempt to dissect the pattern, the chain of events. Put things into an order.

First there is the desire. We get the desire. Either it comes from nowhere/nothing — an external stimuli creates a desire for something in us, perhaps a state of being or a state of doing or just a thing…  OR something in our world directly reflects a reality that we don’t prefer, which immediately (or not) compels us to desire the opposite of that. Then we begin to fantasize about that which is desired. We think about it. We try to feel what it feels like to have it/be it/do it.

For many, it stops there. They get a thought or an idea in their head that tells them that they can’t have that. It’s not realistic. Luckily I have never thought that way. But I know plenty of people who do. So for them that’s the end of the road. BUT…. Sometimes just the fact that they got the idea and fantasized a little about it makes it manifest for them. That’s the way it should always work. Unfortunately for us all, it just doesn’t. Not all the time.

For others, this is just the beginning. We start feeling that which is desired, thinking about it, and we immediately go into planning. We make a note of it. We write it down. Tony Robbins recommends writing it down in a format that lists: the thing desired, the category of life that it’s in (love, friendship, health, etc), the purpose of the desire, i.e. why we want it, and the final outcome — what it will look like. I find this a helpful exercise. Though not entirely necessary all the time. But let’s say we add it to a list, or we start a new project entirely. Listing our resources at hand. Then we create actionable steps to achieve it. Next up, for many at least, is starting to take action.

But then there’s the more advanced protocols. If we’re lucky enough to have tools at our disposal, such as Avatar or the Sedona Method or Tony Robbins or Abraham Hicks tools… or hell even Wayne Dyer’s tools… whatever works for a person… if we’re smart, we set about using these tools to deliberately create what we desire. Nine times out of ten, that’s all it takes. BAM! It shows up in our universe in one way or another. An opportunity arises. The phone miraculously rings. A friend mentions something related to what we have just written down. I can’t recall how many hundreds of times this has happened to me. And I must admit that if I were to die tomorrow, the last thought on my mind would be “wow, what an incredible life I lived. That was just insanely awesome.” So in that regard I’m lucky.

But I’m not going to die tomorrow. I am sure of it. I know when I am going to die. And it’s many, many years from now. So for me personally there still feels like there is plenty to do. I must admit, for it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t, that my life used to operate like the above about 90% or more of the time. Friends and family say that I was born with some kind of invisible band of luck around me. Always falling into the right place at the right time. But lately it hasn’t felt like that. Not at all. I have no idea why. Princess Little Tree says that most people desire much smaller things compared to me. That I’m not acknowledging that the things I have set myself up to achieve are slightly bigger than your average goals. So it might be easier to create say a “new car” than “winning a Grammy”. I get this idea….

But I have always subscribed to the concept that the universe does not recognize the “size” of creations. To a degree at least. (there do tend to be certain desired outcomes that defy the laws of the universe itself that ARE bigger than your usual standard desire. Like for a long time I desired to be two inches taller. I actually created this. Slowly. True story. Everyone noticed it. Measurable. But it didn’t happen overnight. It took about two years. Doctors said it was “nothing really, pretty common. Men don’t stop growing till they’re well into their late twenties, so that explains it”. But what about other more intensely opposed to universal law type of desires, like say “flying” or levitating… These things seem to confound our ability to create regardless of what we do, and in these cases, then yes, the universe DOES seem to notice “the size of creations”.)

But for most things, the universe does not seem to measure size the way we do. The universe does not see a difference between desiring ice cream for desert — a quick trip to Baskin Robbins around the corner will satisfy that desire — versus desiring a million dollars. At least that’s the theory. It makes sense to me. Always has. Creation does seem to be rather blind to what humanity seems obsessed with judging and labeling and categorizing. This is easy to create. This is harder. This is impossible. But aren’t these all just beliefs. Programmed beliefs based on early indoctrination…? But I wonder if Princess Little Tree has a point. Perhaps it is easier to create certain things more than others. I know it is very easy for me to create “watching a great movie right now”. That would be a fairly easy desire to achieve. “Making over ten thousand dollars tomorrow in a few brilliant trades” seems like it might be slightly more challenging a task.

Note: Momentum builds on momentum. So if we’re headed down, rather than up let’s say, the further we go, the faster we go, the harder it is to stop the momentum down. And in the reverse, once momentum begins to build up in life, towards the achievement of something, it does seem to get easier and easier for us. At first it’s just one or two people who are interested. Then it turns into ten. Then it turns into hundreds. Then thousands. Pretty soon the momentum of this movement feels bigger than we are. So there’s something to be acknowledged about momentum.

This is why it’s important for us to remember that what we put out attention on we tend to create. Our vibration tends to create our reality/realities is another way of saying that. Everyone has their own way of describing this same phenomenon.

The hardest thing to do is redirect our attention in a positive direction when we are absolutely focused on the negative, to reset our vibration to a more positive one when we are generally feeling negatively. But if we do not master this ability, we will never be able to master the art of living deliberately and creating that which we desire more than that which we do not desire.

If we have no tools to use to change our state (attitude/vibration), then we are doomed to create on automatic whatever most closely matches our vibration in each moment, whether we want to or not. Thus getting control of the ability to change our state or vibration is key. Challenging yes. But not impossible. Even when things seem absolutely wretched, the only way out of it is to start flooding our system with feelings of gratitude and desire for it — or at least acceptance of it from a place of taking responsibility for it, no matter how difficult this feels — in order to minimize the resistance AND lift our state or vibration up out of despair. From that place we can much more easily create what we prefer.

I do it in a variety of ways; through using Avatar tools, one or more of the many exercises you learn on the courses. Or I might just turn on some great music really loudly and start dancing around and clapping my hands, shouting, pumping myself up. Or I might grab a guitar or sit down at the piano and let out all my pain. That lets it out and I usually end up feeling “better” afterwards. Or I do it by remembering how grateful I am for the simple things in life. For my health, for my family, for love, for having two arms and two legs. For my brain. For friends. It’s usually easy.

But what if no matter what we try we still just cannot manage to create what we want? Even if we can control our state of mind and attitude… What if it’s been years? And still nada. No dice. No creation of what is desired. Initially this leads to despair. Disappointment. A negative state. Down the road, after a lot of this over a prolonged period of time, comes cynicism. The jaded know it all who just doesn’t believe anymore. I’ve been there. Truth be told, that first Avatar Course I took nearly 20 years ago when I was but a wee lad changed all that for me. More than anything what that first course did for me was just allow me a vehicle to let out all my pain and disappointment. It gave me permission to feel sad and express it. It then taught me that lo and behold those feelings (as do all feelings) had a limit. They don’t go on forever. They aren’t infinite. If you feel them long enough, all the way, they go away. They’re gone. They vanish. That was a miraculous discovery. For about a year all I did was just feel everything that was bad in my head and my heart and in my memory and let it all go. Pretty soon there was nothing “bad” left. No sadness, no disappointment, no despair. It was a miracle. Everyone should be so lucky to experience that at least once in their life. From there I was free to feel confident enough — and have enough free attention — to start focusing on creating whatever I desired. They came fast at first. But we’re getting off track.

So, after almost twenty years of experiencing everything almost always working out, I’ve started to experience some hiccups. Try as I might, some things just seem out of reach. Beyond my ability. Regardless of what I do. We’ve all experienced this. This is when we usually turn to creating God, or adopting the beliefs of others previously set down about the existence of said God. This is the foundational reason for the creation of God by humankind. Not being able to understand how or why something in our lives is the way it is and not being able to change it. So we turn to the idea of a higher power at play in the universe that is bigger than we are. Something invisible and yet powerful that is stopping us for some reason. Something that is doing the controlling of things for us, or to us.

We begin to start believing things like “there’s a reason why this is happening”, “I wonder why this is happening like this…” “there must be a reason why this is happening…” God. Force. The Universe. Our higher self. Karma. These are all the effects of not being able to reconcile things not going our way in life, the results of our actions taken not matching our vision. This tends to lead us to actions like prayer. We sublimate our own personal power and give it to an imagined higher force or being who is constantly at work in the universe making things happen or stopping things from happening. This is the underlying reasoning beneath the consoling phrase “I’m sure God has a plan” or “God has his reasons….” Perhaps we find these ideas comforting. It’s better than nothing I suppose. (Not necessarily, but from that particular state of thinking, sometimes it feels that way. More on that in a few…)

Either that OR we run towards more existential ideologies such as “things just happen”, “there’s no reason for anything”, “it’s all just random”, “it’s all luck”. This is the “chaotic universe” idea; quantum theory. If any of this is true, and at this point in our evolution here, no one knows for sure, then we have a better chance of creating what we prefer than if we subscribe to the “there’s a God and he/she is trying to tell me something through this” idea. For if there is no reason for anything and it really is all random and luck, then we can easily shift that random luck more in our favor simply by using more force, more willpower. This leads us towards hoping and wishing. And trying harder. And trying again. Attempting to use force.

Life would be easy if it worked that way. We could literally create whatever we wanted if we could only call up enough force or will or resources. I am not sure which way I lean, if any. To me it appears at times that there just may be bigger forces at play than just pure force of will or luck. It may be a God or an invisible energy force that we presently label “God”, or it may be our higher selves, or it may be a collection of our past selves… little pieces of our soul broken off from us here-now but still operating in the bigger picture of our life. Parallel selves in parallel universes. Or karma. Or a combination of a little bit of all of it perhaps. It may be a variety of things… It may be nothing more than “results are the direct effect of our moment to moment action plus a little bit of luck”. (luck here meaning “random events in a chaotically ordered universe”.) Being in the right place at the right time. Taking the right actions more often than not. Being smart. Harnessing the right resources.

As of now we just cannot say for sure. When we’re down on our luck, we tend to lean towards a belief in a higher force or power of some kind. For me personally, as I have already stated here numerous times over the last ten or so years, I have no choice in whether to believe in God or not. God believed in me. He/She/It found me, perhaps never lost me, and made his/her/its presence known to me in ways that I couldn’t deny. I am one of the lucky ones in that. For I know plenty of people much more religious than I am who have never had what they would call “supernatural or paranormal or divine” experiences that have proven the existence of God to them. So I do consider myself lucky. Either that or just crazy.

The problem for me of course is that because I do tend towards a belief in God — though I don’t claim to know about or understand in the least bit how he/she/it works or why… — I am confounded by my occasional inability to create the things I desire in life. Especially when I seem to be doing everything right AND attempting to harness the power of this God. More to the point, I don’t get why God doesn’t help me create what I want. LOL! It’s funny right? In other words, why doesn’t God answer ALL of our prayers? It seems pretty 50/50 if you ask me. And anything that is 50/50 means that there’s a damn good chance that it’s all just random luck.

Note: Humanity’s view of God has changed tremendously in the last fifty years. Our view of God has turned into more of a loving Santa Clause that just wants to “shower us with favor” as Joel Osteen would say; rather than a mysterious force that created the entire universe. The last thing in the world I want to do right now is head into the whole “God is either all powerful and evil, or all good and not very powerful” argument. This is a philosophical dilemma we call Theodicy. If you like mentally running in circles you’ll explore this topic more. — The Secret — than it is like traditional Christianity. God didn’t used to be this force in the universe that did whatever we wanted just because he loves us and wants us to be happy. On the contrary. He used to be quite the all powerful and scary type who just demanded a lot from us and if we didn’t do it we would burn in hell for an eternity. And yet there was always a bit of love thrown in there just to make it all the more confusing.

If we are to face one and only one thing about God as religious or even non-religious people, it is that we created God a lot more than he created us; at least as far as we know so far. We seem to pick and choose the attributes we apply to him/her/it based on the state of our culture or society. For instance, in the Muslim faith God is certainly not an all-loving Santa Clause who just wants to give us whatever we want to make us happy. But we’re getting off track here. The point is this: as much as that view of God may be appealing to us, and I must confess it certainly is to me, it is only going to turn out to be true to the degree that we believe it to be. The more we believe this to be true about God, the more we will experience this. I for one am not necessarily experiencing this about God. But I keep giving him breaks for some reason. That’s where the “God knows something that I don’t” belief comes in. When we aren’t able to create what we want to in life and we believe in God, then we assume that this God we manufactured “knows what’s best for us” and that’s why “he’s not letting it happen for us”. It’s all a bit childish. And yet many play along with it. Why I’m not sure. I suppose we find it comforting.

One thing is for sure though. We will never achieve what we desire if we sit around and wait for it and never take any actions to achieve it. That kind of behavior, or non-behavior, usually leads to nothing. Nothingness. So we must take action if we want to create something. Writing it down is a good start. Acknowledging it. Then studying it. Studying what it looks like it, tastes like, smells like, sounds like; how it acts. Studying how others have done it and do it. There’s also modeling. Modeling the behavior of others. Then feeling it, feeling what it feels like. Then visualizing it. Seeing it. Seeing ourselves achieve it. And then there are all the Avatar tools… Things it would not be fair to reveal out of context. (Insert any tools or other modalities here that people find helpful to creating that which they desire…)

Yes, the key to the Avatar tools is getting rid of all doubts that may stand in the way. Using the tools to the point where you truly believe that you are either definitely going to achieve that which is desired, or believing without a shadow of a doubt that you have the ability to and are just about to. I find the second option a bit easier. I have never found it easy to “believe” that I have achieved something before I have actually achieved it. Some people can do this. And it occasionally works for them. But not I. If I’m not experiencing it NOW, I just find it nearly impossible to act as if I am. And that’s okay. I’m a bit more rational than that. But again, not everyone is like that. Some people become very good at tricking themselves into believing that they’ve achieved something long before they actually have. And it is through this belief that they then create that reality. I’ve seen it happen. So I know it is possible. It’s the “belief precedes experience” paradigm. Though I believe this, belief does precede experience (most of the time? In a MUCH bigger picture viewpoint?), I usually find it works better for me to create the belief that I am ABLE TO AND GOING TO achieve something, rather than creating that I have “already created it” when I haven’t.

Perhaps the key is that having the knowledge is just not enough. That we have to USE the tools. We have to practice. That the more we USE the tools, as opposed to just possessing the knowledge, the more powerful we will be in our ability to create what we desire versus just random events or even worse, things that we don’t desire at all.

There is another theory about creating reality that states that it is easier to create something when it is in flow than something that is not in flow. A good example might be during the Great Depression it was easier to get a hit song that spoke of the hardships of everyday life than to get a hit song bragging about all the money you have. Being poor was in flow at the time. Watch old Hollywood movies from the thirties. You’ll see what I mean. Actors actually became huge stars playing rough and tumble cynical crooked types that played against the system. Down and out underdogs. It’s the exact opposite today. In today’s world if you want to get a hit song you write about all the money that you have, all the bottles of champaign you can afford to buy and how expensive your car is. You write about these things regardless of whether or not they are true. It’s the old “BE DO HAVE” paradigm. But why? Why are these kinds of lyrics so popular now? Because that’s what’s in flow in modern mass consciousness in Western Civilization. Try singing about making the world a better place. I’ve been doing it for twenty-five years. Sure I’ve had my fair share of success. But nothing compared to if I were singing about booze chicks clubs and fast cars. Saving the world, making it a better place IS becoming popular. It’s starting to trend now. But singing about it hasn’t quite become “the thing”. Maybe it never will. But the point is there. Creating in flow with the bigger picture seems to work better than creating against what’s flowing.

There’s more. Much more. But enough for now. One way or another I am going to find a way to turn things around. And I will make notes here along the way as to how it’s going and how I do it. One last thought occurred to me. What if we just aren’t meant to get everything we want? What if there are benefits to not getting everything we want? See? Now THAT my friends is a belief. And if I really do possess that belief… then that is exactly what I am going to experience. Can’t say for sure if I harbor that belief of if it’s just something I said. That’s the thing about not being able to create what we want all the time. We start grabbing at straws. Looking for reasons why. And the truth is there is no “why”. We just haven’t created the belief that we can create it yet. 9 times out of 10 that’s usually all there is to it. This young man needs to use his tools more often, get back to practicing. Enough is enough. That’s what I’m starting to conclude from this little exercise. Will keep you posted.

 

 

Celebrating Lennon


Nelson Mandela wasn’t the only public figure to pass away into the great unknown this week. Legendary singer songwriter activist and artiste extraordinaire John Lennon also made the journey just yesterday in fact when a crazy schizophrenic shot him down right outside his apt on the Upper West Side in Manhattan. Only it was 33 years ago. But that doesn’t make it hurt any less.
 
 
 All weekend I thought about it. It kept bubbling up in the back of my mind. John died this weekend didn’t he… so the thoughts went. I sure do miss him. I’ll never forget that day. We were just kids that day. Little kids. Too young to even really get it. We had already been into the Beatles. That’s how we all came together actually. Me and Toad and StuGuru an Juliet and the rest of the crew. We were all in the so-called “gifted” program at school, which meant that we never for to see the rest of the student body at except at PE and during lunch. We were basically what would be considered the nerds of the school. Major geeks who enjoyed things like Academic Games, Debate Club and Chorus. (Our chorus went to all state that year. My very first television appearance. Was standing on the top row of the bleachers and in the middle of “the sun will come our tomorrow” my foot started to itch. I went to scratch it with my other foot and my shoe fell off and made a huge thud when it dropped to the floor. On live TV. The first of many awkward moments).
 
 
 One of the things we all seemed to have in common was our love of the Beatles. They were an old band. Classic rock. Totally not hip or cool when we were growing up. Which only added to the allure of our obsession with being so different than everyone around us. Outliers. We had this quasi-Beatles fan club which consisted of no more than the lot of us spending all of our free time doing nothing but talking about or listening to the Beatles. That and stamp collecting. Like I said, we were nerds. I didn’t actually become “cool” till high school. And frankly the jury is still out on that. But the Beatles and our love for their music and culture and history bonded us in a special way. To the point where we are still friends today.
 
 
 Of course back then we were just into the early and middle stuff. Hadn’t progressed into the later years. Sounds funny now, but back then, at our age, the music of the later Beatles era felt and sounded “scary” to us. Especially the White Album. On especially courageous evenings during sleepovers we’d turn off all the lights and turn the white album on — only vinyl back then. Cassettes existed but you knew better to not go there. We’d sit in the dark with flashlights and listen to all these epic dark and languishing songs with their stream of consciousness drug-inspired lyrics. It seemed a frightening world to us at such young ages. But an equally appealing one as well.
 
 
 Less than ten years later three of us would be acting the parts out in real life when me and Toad and The Grey Wolf started the band Shattered (Broken Spectacles) and StuGuru started Lobsters and Walruses. As in all bands we subconsciously sparred for who was Paul and who was John. Both of us wanted to be John. Though I was the more obvious candidate, being slightly more of bad boy than Toad ever could be, coming from a broken home, being in constant trouble at school and with the law, and just never having the beautiful voice that Toad had, just like Paul. It’s funny now. Because Id give anything now to be Paul. Now that I’m older. But the Lennon comparisons still are heard now and then from fans and critics. Have never heard or read a McCartney comparison. And for whatever reason the older I became the more obsessed and in love I became with Paul and his music.
 
 
 With that said though, it is still John who tends to influence me more as an artist and as a man in the world. As I’m sure he does to lots of other artists around the world. This is an aspect of being an artist that draws a very clear line in the sand between the real and the pretenders. Entertainers have hits. They have gold records. They may even win Grammys. Hell they do every year. Artists may never reach any of those achievements. But they influence. Like Lou Reed. His is an influence which has spanned five decades and spread to every country in the world. For other artists. But most people only know one of his songs — “walk on the wild side” — out of a forty year career. That’s classic. That’s an artist.
 
 
 John Lennon was the same way. He never did things by the book — at least once he finished with the whole mop top selling out phase of his career. Which no one can blame him for because without that phase he may never have “made it” and we’d never have known his music. He wasn’t around during the indie revolution when everyone and their brother could record an album and pretend they were a receding artist no matter how bad they were, as things are today. You had to sell out if you wanted to actually reach the point of making a record and getting radio airplay.
 
 
 But after that phase — by Rubber Soul I’d say — john was just off on a tangent doing whatever the hell he wanted to. Not only as an artist but as a person. For a lot of us john’s personal life and his non-musical antics inspired us as much as his music did. The activism, the drug busts, the candid truth telling to a fault, the living in a glass house allowing all of his faults foibles and idiosyncrasies hang out for all the world to see. It would be hard for me to ever try to pretend that John didn’t have a huge influence on me. Deeper more profits and more transparent than even Bowie or Lou or Bolan because I got into him at such a young age that the influence was never conscious. It just became a part of who I was and evolved into. I’m saying this now as it’s occurring to me. Have never thought about it before. But it seems true. I never tried to be like or do anything like John Lennon. It was and perhaps still is more like he was a father figure who just rubbed off on me the same way a father does to a son. Never having a father of my own John and Paul played that role vicariously, simultaneously trading places at warp speed depending on what mood I happened to be in at any given moment. Then BAM! 20 years later and I’m a man myself. People say “you remind me of John Lennon” and it never even occurs to me that it could be true because I never deliberately copped John the way I did admittedly with say Bowie or Lou or Marc.
 
 
 Now that I’m older it really hits home how much we have missed by John not being around all these years. We can only guess what his musical output would be like now. Or what it would have been like over the last 33 years past. He was just getting started again when he was killed. That first new album in over five years (Double Fantasy) was an amazing in regards to the John songs in it. Even the Yoko songs were good.
 
 
 As well I often wonder what his social and political ideals would be like. I’m sure he’d be proud of what society has turned into in terms of how popular social and political activism have become. Even with more mainstream types. I wonder if he’d ever turn toward less peaceful more violent means of activism if he knew what we know now about how wicked the powers that be have become. But then again they were pretty bad already In the 60s and 70s. And he resisted those urges back then. Which is one of the reasons why I and probably many people like me still do. No matter how angry or embittered or resentful we feel sometimes. That’s just one of the many many gifts he offered the world simply by being born and being himself and doing his thing. If we’re going to take anything from John and his legacy, it should be that: to remember how utterly profound it can be if we do absolutely nothing other than be ourselves.
 
 
 It’ll never not be “sad” today. Because we will never not miss him and never not mourn his early passing. But there is plenty there to celebrate as well.
 
 
 – Posted by The Ambassador using BlogPress on an iPhone

Trying to Get to Israel Through Prague

It’s Monday I think. Or Tuesday. Honestly I have no idea. Last time I was able to post here, we were stuck inside of the JFK airport in New York. Since then, Delta Airlines has flown our small group all over the planet in it’s quest to get about 18 of us to Israel. Evidently one flight got cancelled. The one we were on. And ever since then, they just haven’t been able to get us all there. I’ve been on Twitter DM’ing with various different Delta Courtesy staff who are there for just these kinds of situations, but they can’t believe what we’ve gone through. They just keep responding “Can’t customer service at the gate help you all?” How in the world do screw-ups like this happen? An entire group of 20 people just abandoned in strange cities all over Europe? Crazy indeed.

So guess where we are? Nope, I can’t tell you what day it is, for I have no idea. All I’ve seen is airports and more airports for days and days now. But I do know where we are. Prague! As in the Czech Republic! Indeed. I know. Some of us that is. Others are in Dusledorph. Or Berlin. Or Amsterdam. We arrived a few hours ago. Good thing is that Delta had the foresight to fly us First Class due to the fact that we paid top dollar for non-stop tickets to Israel and non-stop is definitely NOT what we’ve experienced. I’ll tell you one thing: flying First Class makes all the difference in the world. Words don’t do it justice. They treat you so well you’d never want to fly any other way. The problem is that they just don’t have enough First Class seats on most airlines. I try to upgrade every flight I’m on, but there’s just never any availability. And no wonder. Between the all you can eat and drink gourmet selections and the hot washcloths every hour and the more than roomy cozy seats and the top notch service, it makes flying more than bearable, it’s almost downright enjoyable.

Long flight. But we made it. How the hell we ended up in Prague I’ll never know. This is one city that was never on my radar. I’ll tell you that. I’ve never even thought about the Czech Republic truth be told. This is a first for me. I usually don’t travel anywhere without having a valid reason to go and studying the hell out of it’s language and culture. But not on this trip. We’ve just been picked up and dropped here. Absolutely NO plan as to how they are going to get us to Israel. And there are already three or four from our group who have been there for days.

Was able to sleep a little bit on the plane. Due to the weird unexpected circumstances of the whole situation it was hard to relax and get some sleep. Due to the time changes, I have no idea what time it really is or how long I’ve been awake or even what day it is. Probably Monday. Or Tuesday. Not sure. Most of us have never been here before. So we are headed into the city proper to just check it out. Delta has no idea when we’ll be leaving. Before we headed out, I went up to the customer service counter and politely asked if we could be supplied with a club to relax in. She said that one could only use the club if one had a first class ticket booked and informed me that we had no tickets booked at all. “Well who’s fault is that?” I exclaimed. So instead I said, “You know what, forget a club. We’re exhausted. Give us a few hotel rooms while we were there.” The lady, who was Czech — they’re all pale-white and blue eyed by the way, very beautiful in the classic European style — was shocked by my request. But I simply stated the truth: there are 18 of us in total. We’ve been split up and we’re all over the map right now. Those of us here in your lovely city left our respective homes three or four days ago for a non-stop flight to Israel and here we are in Prague of all places! And still in the same clothes we were wearing four days ago. No showers. No bed… I mean, come on… Do the right thing here and give us a few hotel rooms. Lo and behold, she did. Thank God. I am nearing total exhaustion.

But first it’s off to see Prague. Two of our fellow travelers had just been here on vacation a year ago. So they actually know the city pretty well. In order to get into the city from the airport you have to take a tram for about a half hour, then get off and onto a subway, then get off and onto a bus and then get off and onto a trolley. Yes a trolley. God only knows what time our bodies think it is, but in local time it’s Monday morning. Or Tuesday… Not sure. The city is grey. It’s winter. We’ve driven through some very industrial areas. You definitely feel the old world here. The looks on the faces of some of our fellow travelers on the subway and bus were very weary. There is a sense of being left behind here. I have not studied Prague or the Czech Republic much, so I don’t know anything about it. I can’t speak about it. I was just floating basically. All I really wanted was to sleep. But I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity. How often do we get a free day in Prague with nothing to do but sight-see? SO off we strode.

singer Ed Hale in Prague, Czech RepublicGetting to know the group better. Good little group. Young and old. The youngest person is about 27 years old and the oldest person is 93 or something crazy like that. Everyone else is sort of in between, mostly older people. In their fifties and sixties from what I can tell. All of them dedicated peace makers and vitally tapped into making the world a better place. This little jaunt into Prague is a much needed and welcomed distraction from what so far has been a hellish experience.

No complaint about the people here. They’re all certainly nice enough. As in many European towns, there are many tourists here. From all over the world. Prague evidently has plenty of history. We saw a gazillion castles and cathedrals, as you do in all major European cities. But there’s a certain smallness to everything here. Small streets. Small little villages. And everything is very very old. Why? Because it is old. As Americans it is something we are just totally NOT used to. two thousand year old castles and houses… It’s exhilarating, fresh, thought provoking. I saw the word Kafka somewhere, and then again. And was then reminded that THIS is where Kafka, the Kafka of my youth, was from. Went to see the little house and print shop where he lived for a while. That was awesome. Totally unexpected. You have to love these kinds of fortuitous chance encounters that life throws your way now and then. It could have been much worse. This was very special.

The Sprite in The Czech Republic is the strongest most sparkling I’ve ever tasted. Just as Sprite in Brasil is much sweeter than in The States, after some years of traveling one begins to realize that all is not always as we assume it is from the narrow confines of where we call home. Even universal absolutes — such as the flavor and character of your favorite soft drink or food shifts and differs depending on where one is in the world. I will never admit that it’s all in my imagination. I am a Sprite connoisseur, and I’m telling you that it’s just the strongest and most sparkling here in Prague that I’ve ever tasted. You can’t ask anyone because they’ve never tasted anything different.

Another thing you notice is that there are little beer shops everywhere, bars is what I guess you’d call them. Beer seems to be quite popular here. And there are also a ton of little coffee bars everywhere. You can stop on a walk to grab an espresso just about every few blocks. That’s nice. Price? About .75 cents converted to American dollars. Starbucks would never make it here.

IMG_1123The Czech people are staggering in their reserved politeness; at least in the presence of Americans. This is not France, Italy or Germany where they’d just as well prefer to have you never visit, let alone inconvenience themselves by conversing with you in English. In Prague at least nearly everyone we encountered spoke English. Or tried. This is no longer a rare occurrence. Most people of civilized nations speak English as a second language from the moment they enter elementary school. It is usually the Americans who are the least multi-lingual amongst their human brethren. All the Czech people we met at least attempted English. And they were all very nice.

The architecture was insanely ornate. Elaborate. Fancy. Big. This was once obviously a very wealthy city in Europe. As I said, not planning to come here, I just don’t know anything about it or it’s history. Would like to return with a little more planning. It’s quaint as all hell. Plenty of history. Nice enough people. Still can’t get over this dark eerie “land that time forgot” feeling that seems cast upon the place… But perhaps that has to do with the whole Cold War and the old USSR… That’s what it seems like.

We ended up at a very old restaurant, about twelve of us, everyone just wiped out tired. Many tried goulash for the first time. I had wiener-snitzel and sour kraut. And an ice cold beer. It was better than delicious. Perfect. On the way back we were walking along this promenade, a very long bridge that most will probably know the name of, for it’s evidently very famous. It was just like New York. There were tons of artists and vendors along the way both to your right and left, just sitting there ready to sell you some trinket or paint your portrait for a few bucks. Next to them every few yards was a musician of some kind. A clarinet player here. A guitarist there. An opera singer a few yards down from him. I was in the middle of a semi-deep conversation with The Javelin and I hear this familiar music. Sounded like Dixie Land jazz. But with a European feel to it. My eyes go wide and The Javelin asks “What is it? What do you hear?” “It can’t be” I say, rushing toward the music.

IMG_1131We fast-walk a few hundred feet and there on the bridge with the river behind them is this band featuring a very old and weathered looking washboard player that the guys and I were just watching on YouTube a few days before in the studio in Seattle. Couldn’t believe it. How on earth??? Well, let me explain. I wanted to add washboard to one of our songs on the new album. But we had no idea how to play the washboard. So we googled “best washboard player”. We ended up on YouTube watching all these videos that people had posted from all over the world of this one band. Evidently this one guy, a very old man with a long white scraggly beard, is world renowned for being one of the world’s coolest washboard players. Now truth be told, while we were watching the videos we didn’t even pay attention to where this band was. We were just analyzing his playing style and trying to learn how it’s done. But he was fantastic. He plays with all these thimbles on his fingers and thumbs. IN almost every song he takes a solo for a few seconds. It’s a very catchy rhythmic sounding instrument. If you would have asked me ten minutes later “where is that band with the washboard player from?” I wouldn’t have been able to answer you. We knew it was in some strange not very common European town. And here I am a week later taking an unexpected leisurely stroll on a bridge in Prague and bump into the exact same band. Tried speaking with the guys when their song was over but they didn’t speak a word of English. So we managed to snap a few pictures with them just to show the guys. Wouldn’t believe it unless there were a picture attached to that story.

It’s about midnight now. Another four of us from the group managed to jump onto some flights into Germany to one day hopefully arrive in Tel Aviv. The rest of us are still at the airport. Some are asleep on their suitcases on the floor. We were told to go clean up at the hotel the airline provided and come right back here. Which we did. In case they could fly us out. Most of us will not be flying out anywhere tonight. So it’s back to the hotel. God only knows when we’ll ever get to Israel. This has been one hell of a ride. But hey, today wasn’t half bad. What a trip indeed.