So You Want to Be A Dreamer?

OneGreetings, Dreamers!

Today I wanted to tell you about  a new project I am working on.  This is something that I have given a great deal of thought to, and I have been asked by my friends and fans to discuss the philosophy behind my Waking Dream series.

The philosophy behind the Waking Dream is much more than a simple dark fantasy adventure story.  I truly believe that we all have the ability to change the course of our reality.  Dreamers are the ones who have that ability, and anyone can become a Dreamer, you just have to learn how to do so.

So, in response to all these questions from interviews, friends and fans, I am beginning a new project to be released at about the same time as the next book in the series, The Unkindness.  This book will be called The Little Book of Dreams – Libellus Somnium, and it will be a non-fiction view of a new philosophy I have formulated called Mism, the Merger of all Isms.  (Taoism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Communism, you get the idea).  You can read the abstract at this link, and my view on creation.  This is only the beginning.

The book is targeted to those who want to lead a more peaceful and meaningful existence.  This is not to say that I have perfected my implementation of Mism in my life, but that is because we are not, and cannot, be perfect.  Perfection is a myth, and a fruitless pursuit.  We will always be learning, experiencing and evolving.  But, I can say with profound certainty that we are eternal spirits.  The body you inhabit now is just a vehicle.  It allows you to experience the world, and experience the universe.  When it is broken, you fix it.  When it completely fails, you abandon it and get a new one to continue your journey.

Many people believe that there must be some specific purpose to life.  There is and there isn’t. You create your purpose based on what you want to experience.  The only innate purpose to life is to live and create the universe.  We are all responsible for taking care of ourselves and one another, because we share a Oneness with each other.  We all affect one another, therefore we are inexorably linked.  My action causes your reaction.  Reading this article will invoke thought, negative or positive, and that demonstrates the connection between us.

I always start off my blog posts calling you Dreamers, because those who read my blog are Dreamers, or want to be.  And the more people I draw in, the more we can share intellectual discourse on how best to reshape our world.  So writing The Little Book of Dreams will simply be a compilation of all that I have learned and infused into my life, as well as the stories and novels that make up the Waking Dream Universe.

I also believe in the Weirdness.  That may sound strange to you, because it is just my word for magic.  Do I believe that magic exists?  Not in the Tolkien way, such as fireballs, wizards and dragons.  I believe that each of us possesses an inherent ability that super-cedes conventional physics and what we perceive as impossible.  I have seen and experienced many of these abilities in other people.  Nothing is impossible — somethings just may not be probable, as we have learned through quantum mechanics.

At the core of Mism, we must understand that to completely understand ourselves and the universe, we must merge all of our disparate ideas into a cohesive framework that allows science and religion to coexist and explain each other.  We would remove the distinction between the two and label it a philosophy of life.  A Philosophy of Everything, if you will.

Now, you are probably asking yourself, who is this guy to tell me anything?  The answer to that is very simple, I am the sum of everything everyone living and dead has taught me.  And you are the sum of the same.  I did not create this by myself, all of you have contributed to this idea, in one way or another.

Finally, you are probably asking, why would I bother to write this all down.  And you are free to agree or disagree with me.  But I am writing this down, because it takes just one thought to make a change.  Look around you, look at the state of the world.  Is this the ideal world you want to live in? Do you feel that the right decisions are being made?  Do you have fear for the future?  Are you concerned about what we are leaving our children?  Have you lost your way?  Do you know what you want out of your life?

I am going to give you my perspective on what truly matters, and hopefully in the process, I will learn more about you, so that I can improve myself as a person, and in turn make the world a better place for us all.

Have a wonderful day, and I thank you for listening to me babble, as always.

Michael

Exploring Humanity (Part 1)

FearThis is the first part in a new series of blog posts.  In my previous series, How to Change the World, I talked about just basic things we could do to change the world and make it a better place.  As I read through the series, and in observing people on Twitter and Facebook, I realized we need to explore ourselves before we can even grasp the concept of fixing the things around us.  Today, I will begin with fear, as that seems to be the root of all the problems we face in our world.

Fear is one of the most basic human emotions.  It is the thing that keeps us alive, allowing us to avoid perceived dangers, and causes us to withdraw, hide, or run.  If you just watch one hour of news, its easy to see that there are so many things can be afraid of.  But the question arises as to whether we should be afraid.  There is a fundamental statement which we must all remember — we will all die one day.  There is no avoiding it — nor should we.  And if we spend our lives worrying about it, we never have time to enjoy what time we do have.

My friend just died, as you may have read in my previous post.  He was only 48, only 5 years older than myself.  Two years ago, my Grams died, and she was 92.  When I was 1-year-old, my twin brother and sister died after only one day.  There is no pattern, there is no way to predict it, and there is certainly no way to avoid it.  All of us have been exposed to death at some point in our lives.  A friend, a pet, a parent, a sibling, a spouse, a child.  It happens.  And each time we do experience it, it fans a burning fear in our chest, wondering if we, or someone else around us, will be next.

If you take a long hard look at what you fear, you’ll probably find that it all leads back to avoiding harm and death.  None of us like to suffer or be in pain, and we certainly don’t look forward to death.  I know many people who live in constant fear, and I can tell you from my perspective, they are not at all happy.  It’s not easy to release fears, especially the deep seeded ones.

I am here to tell you that you can shed your fear.  I used to live with a legion of fears, and then one day, I decided I would not allow it to control me anymore.  I don’t know what the catalyst was.  I just woke up one day and realized that I was reclusive, withdrawn and aggravated with the world.  I just stayed with my family and my small circle of friends.  It’s easy to become disheartened.  We turn on the news and someone is killing someone, or we are involved in war, or we see horrible acts of violence against our fellow humans.  It’s okay to be concerned and careful.  But fear eats away at the soul.

It was only when I shed my fear that I was able to live.  And when we shed our fears, and realize that its unnecessary and unavoidable, we can start to look at the world around us with a renewed sense of hope and do it. Changing the world begins with changing ourselves and humanity.  Look at those around you, learn from their fears in order to address your own.

So tonight I leave you with this one question: What do you fear the most and why?

Don’t just read it, think about it and answer.  Sometimes speaking it out loud, will allow you to confront it and end it.

Oh! I Think I Might Be Enlightened!

*dramatic pause*

Nope, just heartburn.

It’s not easy to become zen enough to attain enlightenment, whatever that may be.  I have activities I perform every single day because they bring me inner peace.  I love to cook, so the first thing I do each evening is stop at the story and purchase something to make for dinner.  I just pick when I get there, whatever looks appealing.

The second ting I do each night is open a bottle of some variety of Pinot Noir — which goes with everything — and begin to architect my dinner.  Spices, Meats, Veggies.  (Potatoes are always included),  The act of cooking allows me to transition from being a data geek by day — father, husband, author, illustrator, guitarist and scholar by night.

The spark of enlightenment, which is now fleeting, is in that finding our own zen activity really is the key to a good life.  We all have it.  I can really be anything — knitting, sowing, working in the yard, reading a good book, listening to music.  But the idea here is to recognize that its your therapy and pursuing it, within reasonable boundaries, and allow it to center your own existence.  The thing you find most appealing does define you as a person.

I mention all of these things because it is just a gentle nudge towards focusing on what really matters to you.  But what’s more is the fact that if we all enjoy our zen moments, we might find that there’s no reason to be at odds with one another.

Have a wonderful evening, my friends.

The Unkind Update III

Greetings Dreamers,

I just wanted to give you a status update on where we are with release of the books, and the progress of Book II The Unkindness — for those of you who had the opportunity to read the first edition of Devlin.

Tentatively, we will be releasing the illustrated version of Devlin in Late August or Early September.  After that we will be releasing the illustrated version of Immoral Memories with an additional story and illustrations on Halloween.  Soon after — assuming my creative streak continues — Book II The Unkindness will be ready for January of 2014.

The Unkindness is coming along much better than I expected and I guarantee, you will be shocked at the end of the book.  New characters will be revealed, the identity of the immortal traitor will be revealed, and the world will be changed forever.

For those of you who haven’t had a chance to visit http://wayoftheweird.com you might want to take a chance to read the stories there.  All of the additions to the Libellus Somnium are there, and I have been blogging the new stories of The Crier at Twilight on a weekly basis.  (Sometimes daily because, well, you know how the voices in your head do sometimes)

I’m getting the final edits for Devlin next week, so we will be on our way to getting the book out to reviewers before the release.  If you are a dark fantasy reviewer, blog or otherwise,  and have a large following on twitter or your blog, feel free to contact me for an eBook version as soon as it becomes available.

The Weirdness is coming!

These Things Happen :: Reblogged From Way of the Weird

One thing I have realized is that it is exceedingly hard to Awaken — let alone becoming Immortal. I’ve added all the information from the Libellus Somnium to this site as a reference, and as I get more information from Laertes and other Immortals, I will post it for you to read — time is of the essence.

You really need to pay attention to how you use your Weirdness, once you’ve discovered it. Boy, did I find that out the hard way. I tried to exert my will over a Sleeper the other day, and didn’t realize that he was carrying a concealed weapon. Long story short, I’m okay and it was only a flesh wound — stitches itch like crazy though. I did find out that I can run like the wind when necessary.

You really should take some time to read the Libellus, because if you have stumbled upon this site, you are indeed a dreamer. The act of reading the Libellus may actually awaken you, and you’ll realize that you have a role in this just as much as the rest of the Dreamers. Or, you can simply ignore the things I am saying and move on with your life, blissfully unaware that the end is coming and just ride out the storm. But I wouldn’t advise it. A transformation is never fun. Remember the Black Death? Well that decimated the world population by as much as 30%. Do you think that was an accident? It was the first biological warfare attack on the world populace by none other than you know who, the Shadow Lord. He did a pretty good job with it too, just didn’t count on immunities and such.

We don’t know who is behind the current transformation, because it’s not happening on its own, it’s happening because someone wants to decimate the world population for reasons I don’t really understand — though Laertes and Arthur are trying to bring me up to speed. When the Beast left me, he took some of my memories with him. But we have two candidates, Gabryal and Deakin. Deakin Droon is out of his f-ing mind, and Gabryal is just as ass. You’d think that after living for like 3 or 4 thousand years, he’d get over it already. Nope, just made him more angry.

And now that he’s found away around his Banishment — what happens when you irritate the rest of the Immortals — and has returned prematurely, so he either has help, or he’s been planning his craziness for a very long time. So you really should be wary at this point.

I’ll leave you to ponder all that now. I’ll talk to you soon.

The Crier

Editing Complete for Waking Dream: Devlin

After a full day of editing, adjusting, formatting and various other things, I have completed the editing of the Waking Dream: Devlin book.  It will be submitted to the CreateSpace and various eBook outlets tomorrow, and it should be available for sale by Friday.

This is a full length novel, and the first of 9 about the Waking Dream Universe.  You can read a synopsis at this link.

You can also pre-order a signed copy of the book at this link.

The struggle for the control of reality has begun.

Weirdness

Where’s your will to be weird? – Jim Morrison

Previously, I hinted at a concept I like to call “Weirdness”.  It is one of the foundations of my entire philosophy, because all of the things I have studied in my life always have a certain aspect of weirdness.  There are so many concepts that align with my view of Weirdness, but each of them has a slightly different slant to its meaning.  I’ve tried to take all that I know about these other concepts and synthesize it into a lucid and intuitive concept. 

Beginning with Einstein who coined the phrase “spooky action at a distance” because of the concept of Quantum Weirdness.  Quantum Weirdness, in its most simple definition, is the fact that when we try to apply the physics of the macro world to the subatomic world, all the assumptions break down.  This can be illustrated by a rudimentary understanding of atomic structure.  An atom is made up of nucleus, which is orbited by n-number of electrons which inhabit various “valances” of the atom.  They are constantly moving from one orbit to the next, either closer or further away from the nucleus.  This is weird because it basically “teleports” from one orbit to the next, without traversing the space between.  Imagine driving your car in a three lane highway and you want to change lanes.  Instead of putting on your blinker and gently drifting into the next lane, then the next, you put your blinker on and you are suddenly in the far lane.  Your car appears to vanish then reappear.  This is where reality breaks down.  And if we can’t apply the laws of physics evenly to all aspects of reality, what does that say about our understanding of reality? 

But Weirdness is something more than just inexplicable actions happening at the quantum state.  We must define it as something more attainable and understandable.  So the next stop on our journey is Tao.  Anyone who has studied Tao knows that it cannot be classically defined.  It is the eternal force that binds the universe with order.  But, that is not its only definition — it is an abstract view of the force that allows for existence.  To my mind, I equate this with Weirdness because it is the foundation for reality, similar to the Quantum Realm which defines all of the fundamental objects from which our universe is created.  Tao is also the path, or way — but not to suggest that there is a prescribed path, it is the path you create for yourself.  We can also describe Tao with other abstract concepts we’ve seen in both theological, philosophical and fictional writings — the Force, the Field, Dark Energy, the Holy Spirit, Karma, Chi and God.  We all sense in some way the existence of a fundamental force or energy that powers all of creation, or enables creation and existence.  All of these concepts relate in a similar fashion.

And now on to Weirdness as I’ve defined it — our innate ability to impose our will on the fabric of the universe and manipulate reality.  More simply, it is raw “possibility”, because at the most fundamental level, anything is possible.  And when I say “anything is possible” that does not mean that “anything is probable”.  It is only when we exert our inherent Weirdness that the probability increases allowing something to become manifested.  We can see this at work every single moment of my life.  Who would have thought 100 years ago we would be typing on a machine and sending our thoughts directly from our brain across the world instantaneously for everyone to see?  Who would have thought 100 years ago that we would be planning trips to Mars for settlement?  And who would have thought 100 years ago that we would be able to emulate the power of the sun in the form of a bomb?  All these things would have been considered impossible, but through years of research and exertion of human will, they have come to pass.  The ability for our consciousness to conceive of things that have not existed before is one of the most fundamental displays of our Weirdness.  Our ability to dream and make our dreams reality.  Projecting our inner minds on the world around us.

Weirdness doesn’t just end with our manipulation of the physical world.  True, it is amazing that our brain can communicate, at the speed of light, with all our limbs — our fingers to move effortlessly to our will to type on the computer or play a guitar — but what else have we not unlocked in our own potential?  We can leap beyond the realm of common reality and try to hone our skill of Weirdness to accomplish things we’ve not truly realized.  We have collectively decided what is normal and what is weird or strange — through centuries of self-imposed oppression.  We have imposed rules about what is acceptable thought or practice — such as abandoning magic and alchemy and paganism.  We have created the devil to keep our unconscious minds in check, and disbelieve things that do not fall into dogmatic doctrine.  If someone exhibited a “weird” ability, such as telepathy or telekinesis, we labeled them as a witch or possessed by the devil.  We have actively oppressed our frontier of possibility, and we are not quite sure why.

So the term Weirdness is that inherent strangeness to existence, the things we do not readily understand about our universe and ourselves.  It is Weird to us, so we cannot accept it as a part of daily life.  But this weirdness exists in us all, but it is a skill that must be practiced.  There are many ways to achieve this, and the answer is rolled up in many different manifestations of the same concept — Meditation.  When we enter our dream state, we are in form of meditation, where our mind is free to think and explore what it wishes, unhindered by the eternal influences, the common reality.  It is the dream state that empowers Weirdness on a subconscious level.  But in order to fully realize the power of the Weirdness, we must learn to draw it out of our dreams and apply it to the world around us.

I have witnessed some many inexplicable things in my lifetime, that I must believe that we are capable of much more than this empty existence of working, acquiring, sleeping and dying.  We should not need a sack full of cash to enjoy the splendors of life.  We should be able to just be wherever we want to be, and see whatever we want to see using only our will.  There are people who can leave their bodies and visit far-away places.  There are people who can see things that the rest of us cannot see.  There are people who can read thoughts.  There are people who can move things with their minds.  And these are small feats in comparison to what we could truly achieve if we unlocked the flow of our own Weirdness, unabashedly and confidently. 

All of us have a Weirdness within us, most of us oppress it or never talk about it.  Only you can know for sure, though because we are all One, if One of us is Weird, we are all Weird.

So I leave you with this question:  What is your Weirdness?

The Need for Zen

Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes. – Alan Watts

Being Zen is probably the hardest and easiest thing one can do.  It is hard because we live in a world full of distractions;  we are distracted by people, gadgets, news, wants, needs and general chaos around us.  It is easy because Zen means just to be; don’t think about it, contemplate it, analyze it, or decompose it.  And Zen can just a moment, or your entire life.  It’s really up to you but its easy to just set aside a single moment a day to experience it.  Once you’ve done this, you’ll want to do it all the time. 

I have a few moments a day of Zen that I have now become accustomed to.  I’ve incorporated it into my day ritualistically, but not in a meaningless way.  Each day at around 4:45 I make dinner, I have always loved to cook, and it is dramatically different from what I am doing most of the day, which usually involves technology to some extent. 

Before I begin, I go to the grocery store and start at the produce aisle, looking for vegetables that look particularly appealing that day.  I especially like looking at the peppers because the shapes and colors are pleasing and soothing — bright reds, deep oranges or soothing greens.  Next, I head to the meat aisle, looking for what I’ve not had in a few days, what’s on sale.  I usually choose meat that goes with the day of the week.  Early week is chicken, mid-week is usually pork of some variety, and the weekend, especially Friday is steak day — though this is subject to change.

After I’ve chosen my meat, then the next crucial aspect of the meal is the wine selection.  I reserve my wine selection for the type of meat and spices I’ll be using that evening.  Since I am not at all fond of white wines, I choose among the reds: Pinot Noir for chicken, Old Vine Zin or Malbec for Pork and a Cabernet class for beef.  Again, this is subject to change depending on my mood.

Once I am back in the kitchen, the first thing I do is open the bottle of wine and pour it violently into a decanter so that it oxygenates quicker and let it set while I get the rest of the ingredients together.  I really enjoy choosing the herbs I want to use, usually fresh or recently dehydrated.  Prep work usually takes me about 20 minutes and once that is done, I have that first glass of wine and the cooking commences.  I usually have the pans going on the stove, and more often than not, the meat is cooked on my grill which I run all through the year.  Grilled meat as such amazing flavor and it is hard to get the same flavor from fried meats, depending on the recipe.  I spend my time just stirring, flipping and spicing, not really thinking about what I am doing, letting the food taste the way it wants to taste, with my gentle nudges in the right direction.

Then of course, the last part of the ritual is to finally eat what I prepared with my family, and watch their expressions as they taste what I’ve made, take feedback on what they do and do not like, and work to improve it.  There is nothing more satisfying that people enjoying what I have made, not from a sense of pride, but from the fact that I’ve shared my Zen moment with someone else, and in effect have given them their own Zen moment.  Cause and effect.

What is important to remember is that Zen is about you.  You cannot truly make someone Zen, they must want to be Zen.  Zen is not a lesson, it is an experience.  You can no more push Zen on someone than you can force them to remember something. It is something one attains through their own actions or non-action.  Zen is Zen.  But what does that mean exactly?  I find that my excursions into a Zen state of mind are usually not known to me until they have passed. While I am in a state of Zen, the last thing I am thinking about is “Hey! I’m Zen!”, it doesn’t work that way at all.

Zen is not a religion, it is the act of being.  It is that state your mind enters, where you are focused only on the task at hand and you are simply experiencing it, feeling it, enjoying it, living it.  It is a state where all the other cares of the world leave you, allowing you to shrug the weight of the world, if only for a brief moment, and allow your soul to do what it enjoys doing. 

My hypothesis has always been that if everyone could find and recognize just one Zen activity that they enjoy, the world would be less stressed.  So many people I know are always on the go, and rarely find time to enjoy their lives. I know so many people who are always doing, but never experiencing what they are doing, more concerned with what other people think, what they do not have, what others have, their jobs and their wants.  We pile this stress upon ourselves, with little to no release until eventually everything explodes into something dreadful.  My Zen cooking each day allows me to shrug off the stress of my day, things that may have upset me on the ride home, and/or things I have to deal with in my personal life, such as home, finances, health and family.  My Zen moment is for me, my little gift to myself each day, reminding me there is more to my life than petty worries. 

Life is a struggle, there is no way around it.  If you have no money, you struggle to get more. If you have lots of money, you struggle to keep it.  If you are sick, you struggle to get well and if you are well, you struggle not to get sick.  This is what drives us to experience the world.  If life were not a struggle, we would all sit blissfully in a field staring at the sky wondering what the purpose is.  The purpose of life is to live.

So when your day seems particularly rough, and you go home at night, think to yourself what will take your mind off of it.  We as a race need Zen more now than ever before, but it does not need to be all-consuming in your life, or cause you to stop doing other things.  Zen is so elegant because it can be incorporated into any type of life and religion.

Zen is Zen.  And You are You.

Change – Promised Yet Always Undelivered

Man’s yesterday may ne’er be like his morrow; Nought may endure but Mutability. – Percy Bysshe Shelley

Back under the frayed quilt of politics we go, listening to the heads bobble and talk.  Every single candidate heralds a change.  Change in taxes, change in jobs, change in our way of life, change in our dealings with other countries.  Words Words Words!  We never change, and it’s because we are resistant to change.  We feel change is unnerving and uncomfortable.  But the reality is, everything else is in a constant state of change.  It is a fundamental principle of the universe. All things change, and fight as we might, we cannot stop it.

I bring all this up because I’d like to start a new movement.  I don’t want to sit in a park and complain about the haves and the have-nots.  I don’t want someone to give me something for nothing.  I don’t want to protest. I don’t want to war.  I just want to commit to bringing about change, for better or worse.  We must change, and when I say “we” I mean every single living being on this planet.  We cannot continue forward in the manner we have been conducting ourselves.  We must find new ways of bringing about a global change, because if we dont the planet will do it for us — as it has countless times before.

A recent study I read, found here, has some extremely interesting and compelling arguments about the current state of the Earth’s Geomagnetic poleshift, which has already begun.  For those of you unfamiliar, a geomagnetic poleshift is the natural process of the magnetic poles, both north and south, moving from their current position to some other position on the planet.  This is caused by the constant churning and spinning of the molten iron that makes up the Earth’s core.  The magnetosphere is the most important aspect of the Earth’s geomagnetic processes because it is greatly responsible for reducing the harmful particles that are constantly stream from the Sun to the Earth.  Think of the solar winds as a very hot hairdryer, and the magnetosphere as a hat.  If you take your hat off, your head will get really hot if pointed at the same spot for too long.  But if you keep the hat on, the hat absorbs a great deal of the heat, allowing your head to get warm, but not too warm. 

The Earth’s magnetosphere becomes very weak when it is in the process of switching.  This means that we will received larger amounts of harmful solar radiation than normal, and this has detrimental affects on the planet, such as increased volcanic activity, bizarre weather patterns, increased earthquake activity and even social impacts as all living things on the planet are attuned to this magnetic field.  There is no question of “if” this will happening, it “is” happening now, and I think if everyone stops for a moment and looks around, you’ll realize that things are changing on the planet, but we are too absorbed in our petty lives and differences to see the forest through the trees.

There are so many other reasons for us to begin entertaining a Movement of Change.  The gaps between the middle class and the upper class are growing at alarming rates.  Wars and discontent breed and fester like a global virus.  We have become lazy.  We have become greedy.  And all the while, we have run ahead foolishly without pay attention to the cliff up ahead. We must begin now, and all of us have a responsibility to get the word out. 

As humans, we crave social acceptance, but also want to remain individuals — there is nothing wrong with that as long as we keep in mind that we need balance. However, we should not only do things for social acceptance, because that is not the “right” mindset.  We should do things that make us feel good about ourselves, yet also improve the world around us.  For instance, one very small thing that we all tend to forget is the simple principle of causality, or cause and effect.  It is at work every single moment of your day.  Everything cause you initiate has some sort of effect.  I have seen this principle at work when I am at my office.  I have seen how one person’s mood, particularly a bad mood, slowly affects everyone’s mood.  One simple word said in anger, can cause a chain reaction that eventually spreads like wildfire from the office, to the gas station, to the restaurant and finally back to one’s home.  Thinking that your mood is your own is a foolish assumption.  Each of us is a ripple in the pond of spacetime.  So one form of change is to be more cognizant of how you treat others daily, and how you are treated.  If someone is in a bad mood, it is always your choice to be affected, or try to reverse the process.

But this is something we should all know, and we do, we just allow other things to keep us from being sucked in.  I have found that when I wake up in the morning and remind myself, “People are going to try to affect you today”, I am able to remain in a good mood all day, despite how people act towards me.  It is so easy to get frustrated.  But also, I have to constantly remind myself of the things that truly matter, and the things that are truly a problem.  When I start to feel myself fall into a melancholy state, I stop and say, “Hmm, is this really a significant problem?”  and more times than not, I find that what I was worrying about was really quite silly.  This is not to say that there are not real problems in the world, and we are all facing difficult times.  The only way we can change the world is to focus on the things that really are a problem.

It’s no surprise that we are so upset all the time.  Just watch ten minutes of the news and you’ll see how we are constantly and relentlessly bombarded by bad news.  Here’s a neat little experiment you can try for yourself — next time you are watching the news, count the number of “negative” stories you hear versus the “positive” stories you hear.  When I tried this, I found that for every 5 or 6 negative stories, there was only 1 or 2 positive stories.  Also, the negative stories were much more emphasized in dramatic, for example one negative story was a triple homicide and the only positive story was a local restaurant opening.  Bad news sells so much better than good news and for the life of me I do not understand why. So it makes me wonder, can we really ever trust any of the stories we hear on the news — is our world really this depressive?  I don’t think so.

So how do we change all this?  First we have to start with ourselves.  From now until November we are going to be bombarded with ads, debates, speeches and road shows centered on the Presidency.  We’re going to hear all sorts of promises that will be broken — yes, they are always broken.  We want to believe, and they know we want to believe, so it all comes down to who is more of a “glad-handed-dandy”.  In the end, it is painfully obvious that the politicians we elect are only interested in one thing — status quo.  So we have to begin by taking a long hard look at ourselves, are we reflected in the mirror of our own politics?  Yes, unfortunately we are.  But the good news here is that we can break that mirror and get us a whole new way of looking at ourselves.    Its time to vote “none of the above”, because we dont’ have any good choices this time around.  Let us stop praying for someone to save us and focus on saving ourselves.

In my opinion, change starts with me and it starts with you.  After you read this, be nice to the next person you see — tell them you value them as a friend, buy them a cup of coffee, tell them a joke or anything you can think of.  I guarantee the rest of your day will feel great because you’ve started an effect, that while fleeting, will travel far and wide.  Its more than “pay it forward”, because you’re not just anonymously doing something nice.  Do something nice because you want the world to be better, not because you’ll get a pat on the back.

We have so many erroneous views of one another as we have been told for a very long time that one person is better than another person for any number of reasons.  No one is better than anyone else.  We all come into the world the same way, and we will all leave the world in the same way.  All of us are scared and worried about things to come, and the uncertainty of the future.  We are all the same at the most fundamental level.  So really, the only thing you need to know to live a good life is to remember – I am you and you are me.

Let’s fix it together.

 

Happy Last New Year!

Come on baby, don’t fear the reaper.  We’ll be able to fly. – BOC

Many apologies to my regular readers for my recent extended absence.  The holidays are one of the few times of year I actually take a long vacation and today is my first day back into the work week.  I wanted to take a moment and wish everyone a great new year, this being 2012 — the end of the world countdown beginning. 

Seriously though, having watched “Apocalypse Week” on History Channel 2, it has given me some interesting insights into just how pervasive this idea of apocalypse actually is.  It is astonishing that there are so many people following this as if there is actually a countdown to December.  I have talked to people who are seriously worried about this, and are wondering what they should be doing.  There really is nothing one can do to avoid an apocalypse, especially when you don’t know what the apocalypse entails.  So what could actually be occurring?  There are so many opinions on this, as varied as there are people in the world.  Here are a few of my favorites:

  1. Galactic Alignment:  Around this time, though this is highly debated, the earth, sun and the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy will cause havoc on the earth.  While it is well-known that alignments do cause a gravitational anomalies, it is not known whether the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way would have any significant effect on anything, let alone destroy the earth.
  2. Solar Maximum:  This is a very realistic, though not necessarily catastrophic theory.  The sun does go through a cycle of activity that lasts roughly 10 to 12 years — not a 20 year Mayan cycle.  That being said, 2012 thru 2013 is the most activity the sun has been in a few decades, and we have been seeing a great deal of solar flares and CMEs from the sun.  We also know that a solar flare can cripple electronics, as it did in 1859 with the telegraph services and in 1989 with the ‘Quebec Blackout’. 
  3. Pole Shifts:  The Earth periodically shifts its magnetic poles, which is a function of the dynamo at the center of the planet.  This can, theoretically, be caused by a solar flare, or other anomaly.  We have not ever experienced a pole shift, so we have no data on how that could actually happen.  While we know that the poles will shift at some point, and it will cause serious issues for life on the planet, it is not at all cyclical, and is not something that starts on one day and ends on another.  Pole shifts take thousands of years to complete.
  4. Planet X:  This theory is preposterous.  It states that there is a planet on a collision course with the earth that will destroy us all, similar to the idea of Wormwood falling from the sky.  However, any object as large as a planet would already be visible in the night sky.  It would have to be moving at superluminal speeds to suddenly appear this year and destroy us all. 
  5. Nemesis Star: This is one of the more interesting theories I’ve read.  It states that there is a brown dwarf star which is the binary twin of our star.  This is very plausible, and worthwhile to investigate for many reasons.  The first is that brown dwarf stars are very dim and hard to detect against the full backdrop of other farther yet brighter stars.  The second is that the majority of stars in the universe are indeed binary stars, meaning there are two for every solar system.  I find this even more interesting because if there is indeed a binary star, and if its orbit is highly eccentric or elliptical, it could indeed swing in closely to us, causing gravitational disruptions, or cause other objects to be deterred from their normal course. 
  6. Enlightenment:  As I try to be more Zen, I think its important to mention the idea that 2012 will usher in a period of enlightenment, though there is no scientific evidence to suggest such a thing has ever happened.  But, what makes this interesting is the growth of our current global network.  Could our interconnectedness through vessels such as Facebook and Twitter assist us in finally overcoming our differences, and have an ‘A-ha!’ moment as to how we all need to live in peace and harmony?  It would be nice, wouldn’t it?  But it’s probably not very likely.

These are all very interesting things to consider, but why are we considering them at all? There are so many other civilizations that were just as advanced as the Maya, yet we do not collectively spend nearly as much time obsessing over their doomsday predictions.  And having said that, the Maya didn’t really say it was a doomsday, but a time of great change.  We follow their doomsday prediction because they were amazingly astute in their understanding of astronomy, able to achieve amazingly accurate calculations with very primitive devices, compared to what we have today.  But we must also remember that at night, they did not have TV, computers, phones or even books.  All they had was their eyes, the campfire, and hours of laying on their backs gazing up at the stars.  We have polluted our skies with light to the point that we only see a few of the stars and planets with the naked eye – but if you’ve ever been to a place far away from any city or town, you know that the skies are filled with them and they are absolutely beautiful and worthy of reverence.

So, today I’ll end by saying this – there really is nothing more or less you can really do about a nebulous prediction about the end of the world.  But you can live this year better than any other you have in the past.  Live like the end is near by cherishing those around you.

Happy New Year!