DREAMWalker Group
Where creativity and spirit converge

 

 

 
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DREAMScene
The Newsletter of DREAMWalker Group A little bit of everything for somebody.

2008 Issue #7 (November)

Note:  Issues of DREAMScene may contain adult content and are not intended for readers below the age of eighteen.  DREAMWalker Group and DREAMScene do not necessarily agree with the ideas expressed herein.

In This Issue

 

  • Articles / Columns

Arts Community

 
  • Seeking Submissions

Disability Community

  • Seeking Submissions

GayLesBi Community

 

Literary Community

Recovery Community

Seniors Community

Seeking Submissions

Spirit-Guided Community

 

Transgender Community

Regular Features

   

Book Reviews

  • Seeking submissions

   

Fiction

  • Seeking submissions

Poetry

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On This Site

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Related Off Site Links

  • Got young ones who want to publish?  Visit Kids Can Publish University today. Kids can view articles from other young writers, enter contests, and more!!

 

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Buy books through Amazon.com

Help us to prosper by buying all your Amazon.com books through our site. In turn, we pledge to give 40% back to the community (see Pledge to Share Our Prosperity below).

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Mission of Creativity

DREAMWalker Group is a collective of inspired individuals who are dedicated to the idea that if one person sparkles, a group of people are brilliant.

As proprietor of DREAMWalker Group, it is Michael Walker's desire to express a deep sense of gratitude for all the good that has entered and continues to enter his life. To do this, he has created a site that offers free web profiles to creative people and provides a "one stop" venue for creative information and creative, spirit-based support. Insofar as this is a free site, he is also hopeful that this site will eventually become self-supporting. To make this a possibility, visitors to the site are encouraged to buy at least one item a year through the Amazon.com and other affiliate links.

NOTE: Profile pages can include the following information (or more):

  • Contact information (website and email, if desired)
  •  An historical listing of published books (current and out-of-print)
  • An historical listing of published CDs and tapes (when possible)
  • Cross-links to other subject-related books and authors at DREAMWalker Group
  • Links from author's book directly to Amazon.com (the money we make, currently about $400 per year, helps pay for the maintenance of this free site.

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Our Pledge
to Share Our Prosperity

DREAMWalker Group is a free site.  We believe that charging creative people for their profiles is unwarranted. It is our primary purpose to give back to this brilliant, inspired, and inspirational community for all the wonderful things they've created and continue to create.

Insofar as giving is good; receiving is also a nice thing. As is the maintenance of a standard of living that is conducive to happy creativity. So as part of its mission to give and receive, DREAMWalker Group hereby promises the following:

To give back to the community a full 40% of all additional money earned over and above $100,000 via DREAMWalker Group. (We haven't decided how best to do that just yet, but it will no doubt be in the way of several scholarships or prizes to current and future brilliant, creative folks and to supporting the literary/artistic community in other ways.)

***

To recap:

Once we pass the $100,000 mark (per year), DREAMWalker Group will give back to the community a full 40% of all additional money earned via this site. This means that:

  • Out of every additional $100,000 earned over the initial compensation of $100,000, DREAMWalker Group will give back $40,000.00 to the creative community;
  • Out of every $1,000,000 earned, DREAMWalker Group will give back $400,000.00; and
  • Out of every $10,000,000 earned, DREAMWalker Group will give back $4,000,000.00. Etc.

Who will benefit most from this?

NOTE: Profile pages can include the following information (or more):

  1. The brilliant, creative folks who continue to get free publicity and exposure via this continually growing and popular website.
  2. Their publishers who can run free ads at the site once they agree to provide cross links to DREAMWalker Group or free advertising in return.
  3. DREAMWalker Group's proprietor (Michael Walker). Possibly freed from the burden of working a day job, he'll have more time and money to use in maintaining this site.
  4. Amazon.com Out of 351 referrals in 2007, DREAMWalker Group earned $304.12 and Amazon.com brought in a whopping $5,756.71). Just do the math!

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Added Brilliance

March 1, 2008, we added profiles for the following brilliant people*:

to be added

*Note: some profiles may still be under construction.

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Quick Links

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Visit Us

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n

Welcome from Dreamwalker

Namaste. Welcome to the seventh 2008 issue of DREAMScene — the electronic newsletter of DREAMWalker Group.


 

  1. We're so sorry to be so dreadfully late with this newsletter.  We really DID intend on it being a September issue.  Then, what with life moving all around us, September turned into October and October turned into ... well, you can imagine.  Most sorry and we'll try not to let this happen, umm, again.
  2. Whether or not you decide to use our Buy Direct Bookstore, let us know if you have a book coming out soonwe'll , list it at our Coming Soon to DREAMWalker Group page. (Once it's released, we'll move it to our New Releases page.)
  3. Wonder who's been added to DREAMWalker Group recently?  Check out our Recent Additions/Changes To Our Site page.

Michael Walker

Proprietor

writer_mike@yahoo.com

Miss an issue of this newsletter?  Click here to view old issues online.

***

We hope you'll enjoy this issue and anticipate more frequent updates in the future!

Michael Walker

Proprietor

 writer_mike@yahoo.com
 

Missed an issue of this newsletter?  Click here to view old issues online

 

Stay informed!
Receive DREAMScene Newsletter!

Write us today at dreamwalkergroup@me.com.

 

 

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Noteworthy at DWG

 

  • Remember that DREAMWalker Group is broken into numerous creative "communities" —  which more jaundiced folks might like to think of as "market segments."  Each community, in turn, is broken into topics of interest.

    For a list of all general topics of interest, go to the General Community. For a similar list of topics related to other communities, go to that specific community*.

    To date, the communities include Arts, Disability, General, GayLesBi, Literary,  Recovery, Seniors, Spirit-Guided, and Transgender.

    Feel free to email us and offer suggestions for new topics or topics related to your own avocation or genre.)

    *Note that a topic may be under construction.
  • Our DreamTeam consists of three very talented folks who help make DREAMWalker Group the magical place it is today.  They are:
The DreamTeam

Proprietor

 Michael Walker

Editorial

  Catherine Groves
Michael Walker

Layout & Design

 Michael Walker
Wayne Price

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Interconnecting through blogs.

  • This month  Robin Reardon continues her Blog — a series of installments using logic and facts to prove that the only thing wrong with being gay is how some people treat you when they find out. The Case for Acceptance presents the thinking behind Reardon’s second novel, Thinking Straight, about a gay teen who is sent to a Christian de-programming center to straighten him out.

    In the eighth installment of this open letter to humanity, Robin Reardon will continue examining the relationship between religion and homosexuality. See why references to “homosexuality” (a word that didn’t exist until 1869) can’t have applied to today’s gay experience, and read about the shifts between “then” and “now” that render the Bible’s teachings pertinent to its time, but not ours. (Read the introductory installment from April 2008 on Reardon's Blog and find out what a faggot-bag is and where it comes from.)

  • Check out J. W. Thomspon's group, Writers and Readers Unite at Facebook (http://www.new.facebook.com/group.php?gid=69073710111).  This is "a place for authors and readers to come together" where authors may post about their new books and readers may post review or comments.

  • Richard David Kennedy's blog, The Portfolio — a repository for writers of all genres — continues to thrive.

    Says Richard, "We've got some brilliant people here — not a joke!  And I, for one, am always looking forward to seeing some really creative, exceptionally good stuff. This isn't about `politics, rules and regulations, or personality favs.'   It's about writing and a place to express and share your work with others who really do appreciate the work of kindred souls.  And you never know just who may be reading what is being posted here. Food for thought."

***

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By Catherine Groves

Catherine Groves is the Editor of Christian*New Age Quarterly: A Bridge Supporting Dialog, a journal of interfaith dialog, ministering to — and celebrating — the spirituality of both traditional Christians and New Agers, in an atmosphere of mutual respect and goodwill. To learn more about Christian*New Age Quarterly, write to C*NAQ at PO Box 276, Clifton, NJ 07015-0276 or visit christiannewage.com.

 

DREAMScene readers may recall Catherine Groves’ “Assumptions in the Nexus,” which forms the basis for “A Tale of Two Lenses,” from the August 2008 issue of DREAMScene.

It’s not what you think or feel, but what you do.

Funny you should ask. For my October-December 2002 “Through the Editor’s Eyes,” I offered “Assumptions in the Nexus,” a piece that explored the core “tenets” — for lack of a better word — shared by Christians and New Agers, assumptions that give rise to a vastly similar perspective. And taking it one step further, I ventured that while these assumptions seem self-evident to the believer, they are not self-evident to all, myself included. Still, I wrote, I would choose to adopt them as my own if only I could. As I worded it then, “This way of belief gives meaning to the troubling times, lends hopefulness and optimism to even the ordinary moments of routine.” Simply put, these assumptions promote a healthy, wholesome, joyful lens through which to view the world.

In response, N.M. Landaiche wrote that he would be interested in “what beliefs I actually live,” rather than the “more hopeful lens” through which I’d prefer to orient my life. In short, he asked, “What view of the world do you have and how would you characterize that particular lens?”1 And I pondered that question, intending, at some point, to write an editorial in response to Mick’s interest.

That question took a fresh turn in the spring of 2003, mid-April to be exact. You see, we had a new addition to our family, Luke, the sweetest puppy one could ever hope to find. Rescued by a shelter, Luke joined us just a few days before Christmas 2002.

Now, Luke is a true mutt in every sense of the word. Nobody can quite figure out what breeds he has in him. Shepherd, definitely; schnauzer, probably — but that doesn't account for all his characteristics, chief among them multicolor fur splaying out in every wayward direction and a heart of gold. Did I mention clumsy? The most perfect — the sweetest — dog in this world is also a bit of a clod.

On the evening of April 13, 2003, I turned in early. After all, 5:30 am on a Monday morning comes much too quickly and I needed some sleep to face the workweek ahead. The scene in the next room, I’m sure, was angelic. My teenage daughter working at the computer; all twenty-five pounds of little Luke asleep on her bed. Suddenly … thud! Instantaneously, Elizabeth and Luke dash into my room. “Mommy, Luke fell out of bed!” Half laughing over his tumble, half concerned he might have hurt himself, she stands off to the side as Luke leaps onto my bed and bounces up to my head. I open a groggy eye, check him out, realize he’s fine, and beg both of them to let me get back to sleep. She calls him and loyal little Luke goes galumphing toward her. And for the briefest moment, all those twenty-five pounds of sweetness shift to that one paw that lands squarely on my open eye.

To make a long story short, after the emergency room, after the many ophthalmologist visits, I was left with an abrased cornea, which — me being me — didn’t heal anytime soon. As weeks turned into months, I saw the world, literally, through a perceptual lens with a scratch — a bit blurry, a bit clouded. Yes, I knew enough about what my world looks like to function through my day — but what I knew the world looks like wasn’t quite what I was seeing.

I have some hesitancy describing the conceptual lens through which I see the world. If, as I wrote in “The Chameleon and the Whirlwind,”2 my depression blacks out the light of God in my life, then the lens I live with is flawed. I find myself crying out, as did the father of the boy with a dumb spirit, “I do believe, help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:23). Wanting the “more hopeful lens” is therefore not quite wishful thinking. Rather it’s an affirmation of what I would be better able to embrace were I not depressed.

While what I choose to believe, an act of decision and will, remains stable, what I actually believe is subject to considerable change — even fluctuations throughout the day. Hunger, fatigue, or the stress of the most ordinary of days is enough to affect that conceptual lens, at least for me.

It’s not what you think or feel, but what you do. This realization has become a guiding principle in my life, so much so I’ve set the words afloat on the desktop of my computer. What I think may change — and what I feel can be as capricious as the colors of the chameleon — but what I do is telling. I can better observe my deeper inclinations by reflecting upon what I do.

We are, after all, more than our intellect, more than our emotions. Our inner self often seems motivated by a flow of purpose other than what originates in our heads or moods. A certain identifying impetus keeps us steady in our character, despite the more fluid and readily self-seen thoughts and feelings we experience. So, as I see it, what of ourselves we glimpse through interior self-study can often miss the fuller picture, a clue to which lies in what we do.

So, what are the beliefs with which I ordinarily live, rather than long to live? I would say I do believe in God and that God is good. Yet the actuality of God is not self-evident to me and I do not always find believing easy. As Scripture says, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent” (John 6:29). Yes, I can attest to that statement: to believe is work.

Sometimes it even seems that God is at work within me, invisibly, hidden from my awareness — God doing the work of believing in God, so to speak. After all, I do manage, beyond myself, to stay fast on the goal of faith. Perhaps it is akin to, “For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself pleads for us with unutterable groanings” (Romans 8:26).

And believing is work I’ve embraced. Even my dreams are often fraught with prayer. Amazing how easily my dream self turns to a deep and faithful prayer life that my waking self rarely attains! Still, my waking discipline does include bible study and prayer. Of one point I am convinced: unless one devotes daily time to pursuing the faith, the minutes and hours will drift away into the more mundane activities of our routine.

I would also say I believe that “Creation or All That Is, is neither whimsical nor random in its function, but unfolds according to an inherent pattern.3 While my “more hopeful lens” would cast the glow of beneficent intentionality upon that inherent pattern, what I actually believe is a bit more prosaic. Much of nature, even much of human nature, follows an innate order. Put good soil, ample rain, adequate sun, and healthy seeds together and one has reason to expect plants will grow. If dark clouds gather and flashes of lightning closely follow the thunder, it makes sense to grab an umbrella and listen for the first drops of rain. Observable patterns run through much of life, but that does not necessarily indicate an intelligence or intentionality overseeing those patterns.

Certainly, I used to believe not just in these, but in all of the premises my October-December 2002 “Assumptions in the Nexus” suggested were core. Believing them flowed naturally and unbroken from my faith in God as an actuality.

And it would seem that if we believe in God’s existence — and that God is good — the rest of the premises would fall neatly into place. Still, as illogical as it may be, I have become rather agnostic to the remainder of those central assumptions. Even if I do not actively disbelieve them, neither can I affirm them as anchors in my life. In short, I just don’t know.

Does life have a purpose? True, logic would seem to dictate that if God is and is good, life has a purpose. Yet I am stunned by how meaningless life often feels to me, sufficiently stunned to find that inherent logic baffling. I can’t seem to travel the distance from believing in God to accepting the actuality of a purpose when life often appears so riddled with senselessness. Indeed, contrary to the notion of an unfolding divine purpose, any vaguely discernible hint of intentionality can seem to me almost as if designed to thwart each nascent hope for meaning.

Nevertheless, I do hope for a purpose, even if that purpose is, by its nature, forever beyond my grasp. I would choose to believe in a purpose. But that’s a bit different from assuming it unquestioningly. And it’s sufficiently different to change the sight I now see, apart from what I might choose to believe.

More than merely disregarding my sense of meaninglessness, to truly believe I would need to allow my choice to believe to wholly undo what I feel, what I see, what I think, what I now apprehend. Paradoxically, were I to follow that route, once the process was complete and the undoing done, the beliefs thus engendered would work to change that lens through which I comprehend — thus making what I would see an unbroken flow from the belief assumed. That all-changing effect I have seen time and again: indeed, I have come to realize it is the very nature of belief. Once one travels far enough down the path of a belief, one’s perspective melds to accommodate the truth of the belief.

It’s one of those patterns in life, much like the expectable development of a plant from a seed. The appearance of a belief’s truth becomes increasingly self-evident to the believer the farther he or she journeys into the belief. Initially, one spots particulars — ideas, events, facts and theories — that support one’s belief, while overlooking conflicting information. But as more and more substantiating evidence is observed, and as the implications of one’s belief expand in range and familiarity, all of life begins to “fit” with the belief. Especially those belief systems that have a well-developed, broad theology can fit or bend most every tangent, most every counter, into the system itself. Hence, even findings that might suggest contradictions to a nonbeliever work to further validate the belief system to the believer. All is filtered through the transformed lens melded to the belief.4

If that is so, how come I seem so wholly unable to make the transition between choosing to believe and fully empowering that choice such that it changes my lens, once more making all core tenets flow unbroken from the first? Why the short-circuit in my belief process? I suspect the author of Hebrews hit it on the head, though from a different angle: “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, who have both tasted the heavenly gift and became partakers of the Holy Spirit, who have moreover tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come, and then have fallen away, to be renewed again …” (6:4-6). Simply, as I touched upon in “That Sigh of Peace,”5 at a certain point I met face to face, quite abruptly, with facts which proved false the assumptions underlying my beliefs. Ironically, these facts and I collided in the midst of my pursuing my faith — so unexpectedly, so suddenly that I just had no time to duck. Stunned, and still seeing my world as it appeared transformed by my beliefs, my beliefs were nonetheless cut off at the knees.

That was many years ago. And, gradually, my conceptual lens reconfigured itself. To be grounded again entailed, however, an unfortunate tradeoff: the joy and light that came from believing as I once did.6 Now I find it impossible to transit back, to allow the process of believing to begin all over again. How, after all, could I believe the same things, after having seen that it was the nature of belief itself, rather than the veracity of my beliefs, that convicted my heart the first time — and that, similarly, it would be the nature of belief, rather than the inherent truth of the beliefs, that again would make the beliefs so convincing?

It’s not that the beliefs I once held are necessarily erroneous — they may be true, they may be false. In any case, whether true or false, it was the process of belief — the inclination of the human being to fall ever deeper, ever more inextricably into seeing the truth of his or her beliefs — that made my beliefs believable. How, then, after having experienced such a collision with the power of belief— as my beliefs, severed from their foundation, suddenly crumpled — can I see else but the process, else but the lens? As I put it in “Assumptions in the Nexus,” “I’m still seeing the lens itself instead of the world as it appears through the lens.” And, perhaps, rightly so.

Given that I am agnostic to the idea of an intrinsic purpose to life, the rest of the core tenets are moot. That the purpose will come to fruition, that each of us can live in accord with the purpose — these beliefs pivot on the assumption of a purpose. Without such a premise, they are irrelevant.

It’s not what you think or feel, but what you do. If my thoughts and emotions vary as easily as the colors of a chameleon, if I can better observe my deeper inclinations by reflecting on what I do, perhaps the answer to Mick’s question lies less in interior self-examination, more in the “doing” of my life — more in the witness of the outer than the inner.

I live as if there is a purpose and that purpose is good. I work hard, striving to do most everything to the best of my ability. And the choices I make are based not so much on pleasure, reward or gain, but on evoking something deeper, something of intrinsic value. Why else would I produce Christian*New Age Quarterly?

Especially in regard to C*NAQ, I work as if there’s an unfolding future, always looking to put into place in the present what I hope will result in the days to come. I work as if toward some unknown of deep value — again, not monetary, not personal, but sufficiently worthwhile that I plow now. I work as if what I do is significant enough to be worth that work, despite slim reward today. If I do that, if I work as if toward a future fruition, might not that belie my claim to agnosticism in regard to a purpose which will come to pass?

I live as if aligning my life to an often-undefined standard, as if there is some sort of “inherent good” that I might at least look to as a compass. Never would I hold myself up as an ethical model, but, for me, that’s not the point of upholding a standard of ethics. As I see it, ample enough are the intrinsic reasons to embrace a personal integrity, an orientation which proves itself useful, rather than a code adopted merely for the seal of consensus. And so, I value and hope to abide in honesty, diligence, productivity, respect and sensitivity toward others, while attempting to contribute positively to the world we share. If I strive to fulfill what I see as an inherently wholesome ethical discipline, how does that essentially differ from believing “each of us can live in accord with the purpose”?

You see, I am not all that certain that the focus of my conceptual lens accurately captures the faith I live. I’m not convinced that what I actually believe, rather than what I wish to believe, can support a meaningfulness to life that I really hope is there! But, when all is said and done, the impetus of my life may be far less reflected in what I think and feel, far more told in what I do.

What if faith is a bit more complicated than it, at first glance, appears? What when beliefs and thoughts don’t mirror our actions? What when some form of blindness, some thorn for the flesh or paw in the eye prevents us from seeing as we might truly see? Then we might have to look elsewhere to decipher our faith. As said James, “… and I from my works will show thee my faith” (2:18). At very least, that might be a good place to start.

1“The Letters Library,” Christian*New Age Quarterly, January-March 2003.

2Catherine Groves, “Through the Editor’s Eyes: The Chameleon and the Whirlwind,” October-December 2003.

3Catherine Groves, “Through the Editor’s Eyes: Assumptions in the Nexus,” October-December 2002.

4See Catherine Groves, “Through the Editor’s Eyes: That Sigh of Peace,” Christian*New Age Quarterly, January-March 2000.

5Catherine Groves, “Through the Editor’s Eyes: “That Sigh of Peace,” Christian*New Age Quarterly, January-March 2000.

6See Catherine Groves, “Through the Editor’s Unknowing Eyes,” Christian*New Age Quarterly, July-September 2000.

© 2008 Christian*New Age Quarterly. All rights reserved.

Reprinted with permission, “A Tale of Two Lenses” was originally published by Christian*New Age Quarterly 16:2 (April-June 2004). For more information on Christian*New Age Quarterly, write to Catherine Groves, Editor at PO Box 276, Clifton, NJ 07015-0276 or visit christiannewage.com.

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DREAMWalker Group topics related to this article:

 

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By Ralph Miller

Ralph Miller has worked with people from all over the world in an experiential journey which he calls Heart of the Initiate as a way for people to remember their "authentic selves".

We are now within five years of the fateful December 21, 2012 date which is ostensibly the day that a radical change will occur on the planet, possibly even a catastrophic change. I recommend reading my first article on this subject entitled, The 2012 Problem (see June/July 2008 issue of DREAMScene Newsletter which discusses the difficulty in pinpointing a singular date as a hinge point for some great transition.

Rather, I believe the December 21, 2012 date to be a symbol that exists as an extraordinary irony. Any particular date is a man created marker denoting the concept of a point in time. If you consider that events could happen before a date or after a particular date, then our concept of ‘time’ would also by implication denote the passage of time. I find this ironic since the great transition or evolution we may be approaching surely has to do with complete renovation of our time consciousness or even the eradication of time itself. It’s quite likely time is easily eradicated since it really doesn’t exist in the first place! Time is a notion or a perspective. It is not a tangible thing unto itself. Time is the result of our habitual observation of things and events, and how we have learned to mark their existence or occurrence.

In any event December 21, 2012 is the date that the ancient Mayan calendar comes to a conclusion. This end of a great cycle in Mayan prophesy coincides with similar prophesies of other indigenous peoples like the North American Hopi. The great angst people across the globe share about the condition of humankind and the planet itself suggests that a rapid transformation and change could happen. We are like the animals that can sense the storm coming and head for cover. It may be unavoidable.

In speaking about our collective angst I am referring to a plural consensus that exists across almost all national boundaries, that is a concern about dwindling resources and about what seem to be insurmountable environmental and political problems. It would seem that humankind goes from one crisis to the next. We exist in a constant state of alertness awaiting the next news of a new war, or rocketing costs of living, or the currency we use to buy things dwindling in its value. The Al Gore film, An Inconvenient Truth was hugely successful worldwide, and has galvanized mainstream thinking around the idea of climatic change due to carbon emissions.

We recently heard that the world’s human population will reach 7-billion by 2012. Population is now growing so rapidly that there has been a four-fold increase in just the last 100 years! When graphed this growth is termed exponential or asymptotic and the trend line is kind of J-shaped.

Population growth occurred at a constant rate for 10,000 years (A in the graph below) until the Black Death swept across the European continent and resulted in a decline of one-fourth of all humans on earth. Then during a relatively short period of only 62 years, the Guttenberg Bible was printed in 1455, Columbus sailed to the West Indies in 1492, and Martin Luther put forth his 95 Theses in 1517. Thus you had the printed word, the dawn of the age of discovery and the Christian reformation occurring almost simultaneously.

If you consider that the commonly held belief of the time was that of a relatively small flat earth; the journey of Columbus changed humanity profoundly. This was also a time approaching the end of a 1,000 year period of the dark ages where all earthly authority was subject to the church, and so Martin Luther’s act of defiance revolutionized all human authority almost overnight. The dark ages were a time when almost all people could neither read nor write; there was no need of it. The dawn of the printed word exploded radical change in human experience allowing people for the first time to obtain information in a brand new way. These great transformations occurring almost overnight brought the conclusion of the dark age and ushered in transformation of individual and group consciousness with such speed that those people’s notion of their ‘humanness’ and even their ideas about their cultures were forever and profoundly transformed. The world was never the same again.

This astounding change of human thinking and consciousness transformed human culture on the planet and literally increased the ‘carrying capacity’ of human civilizations. Our confidence as a species expanded. We knew we had made a breakthrough to a new day! Then the further cultural efficiencies achieved during the period of the industrial revolution during the late 18th century have allowed human population to increase even more rapidly, resulting in exponential growth for the last 250 years (B in the graph above).(1)

A few years ago I read an article that suggested that around half of all the human beings that have ever been born are alive today. This idea has spread and been taken as fact when it is simply not true. Regrettably, I think I have made reference to this erroneous information in lectures I have given. What is true is that enough information exists to calculate that roughly 106.4 billion people have existed since the dawn of man say 55,000 years ago. That means that 5.8% of all the people who have ever been born are alive today.

In any case the 5.8% percentage is still astounding to me. The collective human consciousness that is embodied in living, breathing human beings presents the possibility I believe of a group or collective responsibility or karma that is drawing us to a conclusion and transformation. When the Black Death concluded on the European continent in the 14th century the remaining human population at the time also held a collective karma that catapulted humanity into complete transformation just 100 years later. People of the time had no idea of the enormous change that was just around the corner.

I believe that as we approach 2012 we are experiencing a sort of Karmic compression. This compression is a speeding up of the rate that consequences of our actions become manifest in our lives. Referring to consequences; I mean both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ consequences. They are only the result of our actions or of the energy we put out. Our intentions of service to each other are quickly forming into projects and cooperative ventures which are readily accepted. When this happens, we are experiencing our intentions becoming manifest. In like manner our karma knocks us back when we become self serving and arrogant.

Instant karma's gonna get you
Gonna knock you right on the head
You better get yourself together
Pretty soon you're gonna be dead
What in the world you thinkin' of?
Laughing in the face of love
What on earth you tryin' to do?
It's up to you, yeah you!

John Lennon, 1974

This principle of Karmic compression is important as we approach a time of great change because it will teach us that we are connected to everyone and everything. The great illusion and the great lie that we have been led to believe is that we have been separate from each other. When you act in a way that is unkind to another, and you very quickly receive an echo of your unkind act coming back to you, you then soon begin to realize that you and the person you were unkind to are the same. There is a synapse in our experience of ourselves and our experience of others that is closing.

I suggested in my first article about 2012, entitled The 2012 Problem, that our notion of time itself was going to go through a dramatic shift. Perception of time as we are accustomed exists in viewing each moment as separate to every other moment. In other words, we have become accustomed to experiencing time itself much in the same way as we do any other people, or things. Every part of time is separate from every other part of time.

Just like those people in the 14th century we now have very little understanding about what is ‘just around the corner’! Something really incredible is about to happen!

If in a relatively short period of time, a brand new ‘meta quality’ will be added to the consciousness experience of individuals, then the relevance of future or past events will fall away and the relevance of the clock will fall away. The consciousness we are adapting to is beyond any benchmark previously established. Human consciousness will come to exist inside a new holographic knowing. It will exist in the stillness of the present moment. This is a change over in consciousness that will forever transform who we are as human beings.

The renaissance period of the 14th to 17th centuries will mirror exactly another great revolution of consciousness we are now embarking on. We are standing in the doorway of a brand new renaissance; a brand new confidence.

The Kogi Indians of northern Colombia have a concept of consciousness called Aluna. They believe in a point of reference that is within us or an inner dimension where from that point time itself ceases to exist as we know it. In the Aluna dimension everything that is in the past and the future exists together with the present moment. The Aluna dimension is a real place; it is a real point of reference that exists in all of us. Perhaps it lies dormant in many people now, but like an unused or vestigial organ, it is a perception, that once awakened, becomes alive and prominent.

When Columbus made his journey even the skeptics had to take notice; commonly held truth changed … for everybody. This dimension of timelessness is real. Inevitably we will all awaken.

While the greatest percentage of humanity exists in post-modern consumer cultures, there are small numbers of indigenous Indian cultures like the Kogi all over the planet. These cultures have survived for millennia and most of their cultural values remain the same today. There is a deep connection among indigenous people with the earth as the source of life. They view the earth as the giver of life and sustenance. They live in harmony with nature. They will not put a spade in the ground to plant seeds without first making an offering or a prayer of appreciation to the earth. They know that who they are came from the earth. They view all living creatures as equal to themselves.

This connection to the earth is the recognition that all things and everything is connected. Many have lost this connection to this oneness or source; their waking minds are habituated to the notion of separateness. As human consciousness is transformed the perception of the unity of all things, the interconnectedness of all things emerges naturally.

In fact every cell of our bodies does come from the earth. Even ‘man-made’ materials are really just compounds that were first taken from the earth and re-shaped into something ‘man made’.

When we view the world as our domain to dominate and indiscriminately take from and plunder, we have forgotten that we came from the earth. We have fallen asleep in an illusion where we are separate.

The earth provides us with a perfect life support system. Our planet provides air to breathe; water to drink; animals and plants for food. Who knows what a perfect human diet is. We try to employ the use of superfood plants like Açai in our workshops. Certain foods like Açai can literally supercharge our bodies. Surely the plants provision of a ripe fruit, ready to eat, hanging on a tree for us to pick is nature’s definition of a fast food drive up window! I suspect that much of human diet evolved around priorities like food preservation and supply and not necessarily eating the most healing and nutritious food. The plants give us ready to eat food to nourish our bodies.

But plants exist in a much more complete (albeit sometimes forgotten) relationship with humans. There are a whole assortment of other plants that, being medicinal in nature, give us healing for the infections, illnesses and maladies of the body. Many of today’s synthetic drugs marketed by pharmaceutical companies are created as synthetic facsimiles of a medicinal plant source.

Still other plants exist that are healers of human souls. These plants are the shamanic plant teachers and have been used for millennia by people like to Kogi to enable their perception from the Aluna dimension. How fitting it is that we of the civilized world turn to indigenous traditions in order to comprehend and endure another great transformation of our very humanness.

I feel great hope for the future of those who open their hearts and minds to the great change that is upon us!

1Adapted from Population Reference Bureau (1984) World Population: Fundamentals of Growth, Population Reference Bureau, Washington, DC

© Ralph Miller 2003, 2008

Read our interactive brochureHeart of the Initiate offers tours to Brazil where they help people make sacred inner journeys through an intensive workshop experience. Their Brazil workshops incorporate shamanic ceremonies using the ancient plant teacher, Ayahuasca. Please check our their website! For more information on their healing retreats, please visit www.heartoftheinitiate.com.

***

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By ellen m. george

ellen m. george gives her observations from an evening with Lisa Williams.

Some were skeptics. Some were desperate. Some were curious. All came expecting the unexpected...

Lisa Williams was 'discovered' by Merv Griffin. He helped her get her Lifetime show, Life Among the Dead, and many of us became fans by seeing her great personality during readings and on the street spontaneous readings.

There came an email with Ms. Williams' newsletter. I usually take my time reading it, but this time, I looked at it then - and she was coming to Atlanta soon! I got online and booked tickets for my Mom and me -

We lost my Dad three years ago. It was hard, but what loss isn't hard?

We had seen and spoken to some psychic mediums - one in a circle of Light (séance) and the other (and most marvelous experience) on a phone reading. Dad is a very strong spirit! He has made his presence known to us very shortly after he crossed over that he was ok. Many experiences followed, and still happen. It is a cool feeling to know that crossing over isn't so far away, and our loved ones are as close as a whisper...

We went to the Performing Arts Center. It is a massive center and there must have been 1500 people waiting to have some communication with their loved ones.
There she comes out onto the stage. Lisa Williams is a stunning woman, beautiful skin, funky hair, fuller figure in a beautiful outfit. She was ready to roll!

She communicated with ten spirits, taking as much time as the bereaved needed and spirit could have - What she said was both sad and funny - A young woman who'd lost her husband didn't expect it when her husband in spirit through Lisa was 'describing' himself...er, in explicit ways...and telling her how he used to come up to her in a very different (but funny) way. Lisa spoke to several spirits who had a common link of overdosing on drugs. Very hard for the two families to hear, but they were able to understand what happened and it had nothing to do with the family, but their need for drugs. Lisa spoke with a family that had lost a father, as well in the same accident, a family friend. In came a young man who told his parents he was on a motorcycle without a helmet and was carrying a bowling ball in his backpack. (!!!) When a car next to him swerved, the bowling ball came up and bashed him on the head as he crashed.

Very impressive. She was kind to the families of spirits and consoled and hugged them - it was wonderful to see a personality out in the audience talking to the people involved, not caring how much time it took. Spirit needed the messages relayed. The most critical needs were chosen, it seems.

My Dad probably said to the others, 'Go ahead. They already know about me and they know I love them. Talk to your family.'

If you believe, or even if you don't want to participate in an event like this, an evening with Lisa Williams will enlighten you, your spirit, and make you want to know more.

We are all on a journey of learning - Each person and spirit has a lesson to learn and teach. Lisa Williams is helping the dead have their voice.

© Ellen George, 2008

Previously published in AuthorsDen.

***

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Anyone for DUI? (Part 2)

By Rich Goscicki
Rich Goscicki is the author of Mirror Reversal (2007), described by the writer Philip Zimbardo as "... a unique contribution to popular psychology and science fiction by platforming a torrid tale of one woman's descent into the depths of human misery on a solid understanding of basic principles of social science. Fast moving, sometimes riveting in its narrative, Goscicki's fascinating story-telling updates Catch 22 and Orwellian concepts in a novel illuminating the dark side of human nature."

In no way am I condoning or advocating drinking and driving.  In the fashion of the great Czech writer, Franz Kafka, I wish only to portray what happens to the individual under Draconian, police-state conditions.

-- Rich Goscicki

(Part 2 of 2 Parts)
See DREAMScene August for Part 1.

You’re in jail, but it’s not all that bad. Remember when you almost got busted in your hippie days? Could've done some real time then... Remember? That cop caught you red eyed and red handed with a half ounce of African grass, right in your overcoat inner pocket. What an irony that with all the stuff I did in the '60s, that I'm in jail now 40 years later for doing a lousy six pack of beer.

It seems like yesterday... it must have been May, 1969 — the days of the Electric Circus, Dylan, Woodstock and Timothy Leary. We were across the street from the Plaza Hotel by the Central Park wall at the corner of 59th Street and Fifth — right by the horse carriages. A wonderful farm smell pervaded the air as the doorman opened limo doors for chichi guests returning from a night on the town. Kelly Stiles and I were smoking a joint, waiting for John Donley to get off from driving his Hanson Cab around the park. It was prom time and Daisy had to trot around the 15 minute bike path a lot of times to earn her oats.

What a beautiful time it was — spring, NYC in the deep night, 26 years old. Kelly was one of the most beautiful girls I'd ever seen. Looked like Ingrid Bergman trying not to cry in that great scene in For Whom the Bell Tolls, as Gary Cooper tells her that he'll never see her again, that she had to be brave, that she had to do the living for both of them. Makes you want to cry just thinking about it. Kelly had short brunette hair, though — only difference. She had that same angelic, child's face and graceful athletic body. She loved me deeply. The passion of youth is life's sweetest memory.

"Oh, Mr. Bozlicki, I can't believe we're here smoking this weed together; it seems like yesterday that I was in your biology class. Remember that silly uniform the nuns made us wear? I didn't even feel like a female. We were just obedient little clones." Her voice was feminine and sweet; she passed me the half smoked joint. "I can't get out of the habit of calling you Mr. Bozlicki; don't forget I had you for algebra and trig too... you were my teacher for three years."

"And now you're a fashion model on 7th Avenue, strutting up and down the catwalk and pouting wistfully, flaunting your yearning hazel eyes with 'eat your hearts out, boys!' And every guy and lesbian in the audience gets turned on. Now you're making more money than all of us."

"Human pin cushions; that's what I am. I've got to change clothes about 10 to 12 times a day. It's tough work. They don't pay us for nothing."

"You learned what I taught you," I responded, without letting any air out of my chest. "Hey, look at the squirrel staring at us in that oak over there. Think he smells the smoke? D'ya think squirrels get high? Make sure you blow the smoke over the wall so the squirrel gets a whiff and not somebody walking down the avenue."

"Oh, who cares? It's one o'clock in the morning in New York City. Anybody offended by a little grass is home in bed by now."

She unbuttoned my scruffy suede overcoat and snuggled her torso close to mine to capture some body heat from the chilly NYC breezes. I can still feel her firm cupcake-size breasts pressed upon my chest, as she wrapped her right arm tight around my waist and pulled the left half of my warm coat around her shoulders. Her steady andante heartbeat reminded me of Beethoven’s Moonlight. "I owe you so much!" she continued in the most sensual voice I've ever known. "You’ve changed my life. I was seriously thinking of becoming a nun, imagine. My Uncle Dominic almost had my parents convinced I should enter the Carmelite order. If I were in Mr. Plenari's Bio class instead of yours, I'd probably be wearing a habit right now."

I can still picture the catch me if you can, smiley, confident look on the squirrel's face; the grass helped me concentrate with the eye of a telephoto lens. Holding an acorn smugly in its forelimbs like a child propped up by the elbows in front of a TV set, the squirrel dug its hind claws securely into the trunk of the oak tree. I pointed to the old tree about ten yards away.

"That's a red oak, Kelly, genus Querus. The white oak doesn't have such pointy leaves. It's easy to tell the difference: the white oak has round, lobular leaves. The other American species is called 'live oak,' like the ones in Gone With the Wind. They're found only in the South — much more sprawling. Some are even shaped like a human brain, with the trunk of the tree simulating the human vertebral column. If people only realized how close we are to that tree at the biochemical level, the earth wouldn’t be in such peril now. We’d leave the Amazon Rain Forest alone. Remember? Did I ever teach you that in bio class? Humans should have a deep love for oaks, because there's a good chance that we evolved from Dryopithicus, the 'oak tree ape.' That's what Louis Leaky's proconsul was, the parent of all the great apes. We feel comfortable and happy just being near oak trees. Gibbons, their closest living progeny, were actually heard singing love songs to their mates. This may be why music sounds so soothing to us. But a lot of paleontologists believe Ramapithicus was the parent hominoid —"2

Dropping the roach by our feet, Kelly began gently kissing my neck and I could feel the heat of passion rushing through our arteries.

I tried to continue undistracted, "Plenari taught bio class from the point of view of Creationism. How about the wasp that paralyzes its grasshopper prey, then lays its eggs in the abdomen of the helpless creature? We don’t know the level of consciousness of the grasshopper, but does that sound like the work of a Beneficent Designer? What a joke. Any bio teacher who doesn't teach evolution is a phony. To teach biology is to explain the story of evolution, period. We grew out of the planet just like that squirrel over there. The atoms that make up our bodies were once parts of exploding stars. We’re so lucky to be what we are. If the dinosaurs didn't extinct exactly when they did, mammalia never would have radiated into the vacated environment. If people could only realize how wonderful it is to be human, how lucky we are, we'd all be living for this life — like John Lennon says. People wouldn't treat each other so badly, wouldn't waste so much time; we'd live to have fun and appreciate the fact that we're ephemerons, like mayflies. Remember what I taught you about mayflies, when we studied entomology —"

"Screw the mayflies," she interrupted again, pressing her youthful breasts closer into me, looking into my eyes with burning passion. "What did you teach us about sex? That's what I forgot. Tell me again."

"That we’re custodians of our genes. That genes control much of our behavior. And genes function only to replicate the information they carry. There could be ten billion people by the end of the century and our genes would still be urging us to procreate more. Genes don't care about the individual and they don't care about the species."3

"And what about the place of sex in our lives?"

"That sex is the greatest trade off in the history of the planet. If sexual reproduction didn't evolve, and asexual reproduction continued, we wouldn't have to die. Nature sacrificed the individual so the species can vary from one generation to the next, so life can adapt to the changing environment. Being we have to pay just a high price for sex, our very existence, we should enjoy every second of it. Next to our career and family, sex should be the most important part of our lives. Orgasm is the only moment in our lives when the ego dissolves into the collective subconscious and we feel God like euphoria, what the Buddhists call satori."

Kelly passionately grabbed a fistful of my shoulder-length hair and turned my face toward her hazel eyes. "Oh, Rich, take me home this minute and fuck me while I still have this glorious high. I love you deeply; you've done so much for me. You've taught me so many wonderful things, you've made me a philomath. Once we reject organized religion, love of learning and hope for humanity is all we have left.” She averted her eyes toward the red oak. “You know, the girls at work think I'm weird because I'm reading Oedepis Rex during lunch. Here Sophocles was an Athenian general during the Peloponnesian War and still had time to become one of the world's greatest playwrights. You know how tough you had to be in the Greek army — and he was a general. Now, they think I'm strange because I make the time to read his plays. I think they're strange for knowing so much about TV sitcoms and movie stars, and so little about Sophocles.”

I can still feel her moist breath on my cheeks, as I focused on her Ingrid Bergman lips. “Remember the verse from The Merchant of Venice you were in last year? Tonight is such a night.”

I picked up on the tread and tried to speak as softly and sweetly as I could out of respect for the beauty and melodic flow of the verse,
The moon shines bright: In such a night as this,
When the sweet wind did gently kiss the trees
And they did make no noise, in such a night
Troilus methinks mounted the Trojan walls,
And sigh’d his soul toward the Grecian tents,
Where Cressida lay that night.

For the moment she was my sweet Jessica, as chilly Manhattan breezes nipped at our ears. She followed,
In such a night
Did Thisbe fearfully o’erstrip the dew,
And saw the lion’s shadow ere himself,
And ran dismay’d away.

The words flowed so easily; I remembered the lines without trying,
In such a night
Stood Dido with a willow in her hand
Upon the wild sea-banks, and wav’d her love
To come again to Carthage.

I knew I couldn’t out-night my exuberant Kelly,
In such a night
Did Kelly seduce the naive Rich Bozlicki to Astoria
Where she sucked his dick, till he came with sighs of sweet ecstasy.

Right then... the timing couldn't have been better. I'd forgotten about the joint Kelly dropped on the ground minutes before. A flashlight glared in our eyes, and we squinted trying to see what the hell was going on. The fall from the sublime to the contemptible only takes a second.

There was one of New York City's Finest with the callous grin of a Cheshire cat ravishing a mouse in its claws. A close shaven, crew cut head was sticking out of an impeccably clean police uniform, scanning Kelly's lissome body and peering into her eyes, looking for redness so he could be sure we were the ones who dropped the roach. His collar appeared a little tight, so his face flushed pinker than his hands. "Well, well, what have we here? You two haven't been smoking dope, have you?"

"Oh no, Officer," I came back as strongly as I possibly could with a half ounce of ganja in my inner coat pocket. This is one of the few instances in my life when I felt justified in deliberately lying, yet angry that I had to sacrifice my personal integrity. To tell the truth would've been unforgivably stupid. To say: "Oh, yeh, Officer, of course we were smoking this great grass. Care for a toke?" would be a reply an inveterate masochist wouldn't make. Answering the question truthfully would mean the bureaucratic hassle of a lifetime. The point is: the laws of New York State are not only making criminals of its citizens — there’s more the two million souls wasting away in jail as I speak — but even contemptible liars. If they locked up every person in the state that ever smoked a joint illegally, there’d be more people in jail than out in the streets. In the state of Georgia it's illegal to have oral sex, even with one's spouse. A couple with a natural and healthy sexual desire becomes criminal and deviant by fulfilling a natural, victimless, harmless and pleasurable need. The laws make hypocrites of its citizens as well.

This was a tiny bit of marijuana by my standards — grass that I use for my own private religious purposes, because I feel physically closer to nature. It helps me realize the squirrel and I are in the same class of vertebrates, mammalia. In the most basic religious sense, I believe that humanity is an outgrowth of nature — at the atomic level. I am what I am because the universe is what it is. Humans evolved to fit a niche of nature, and I appreciate and enjoy this fact. And this prick, this defender of morality, who probably likes to go to hockey games and smack his kids around so that other kids won't smack them around, by law has the right to assume that I’m a criminal and that I'm going to sell the stuff. I'd just as soon sell my Richard Tucker- autographed libretto of Aida that I waited hours by the Met stage door to acquire. Catholics worship a man who was executed as a criminal, kneel down to kiss rotting bones and sacred rings, and drink symbolic blood —  not just transmogrified wine, but through the miracle of transubstantiation, real half human blood! — and I'm considered weird, because I like to get high and swim sans bathing suit in the great Panthalassic Ocean where all life began.

Just that moment, as I squinted painfully in the intrusive beam of light, John, who had brought Daisy back to the stable on West 87th Street and had finally gotten off from work, came jauntily strolling down Fifth to the scene of the crime. He spotted Kelly and me trying to keep our composure, with the police officer leaning over us and nervously rapping his nightstick in the palm of his free hand. John stood there, a full 6’6,” wearing a Civil War overcoat that General Pierre Beauregard would've felt comfortable in when he started the Civil War, tawny hair parted in the middle down to his shoulders, lumber boots, and John Lennon, round brim, rose colored sunglasses at night. Knowing he was clean, he lumbered up to the cop and smiled beguilingly: "C’mon, Officer, do we look like the type that would be smoking grass on Fifth Avenue in the middle of the night?"

The cop jerked his head back, as if he'd just received the painful communication that he just lost his favorite gun. He looked down at the simmering roach a yard away from my shoes. "All right, you two, get lost... right now," he demanded, nodding to John and me to take off toward the 59th Street Subway Station, as if he knew we lived in Astoria. With the grass in my pocket I could do nothing but obey, but John protested, "You don't have authority to make us leave our friend."

"Shut up, or I'll run the three of you down to Chambers Street right now. You'll wind up in the House of Detention before the night's over. I just want to talk to the young lady a minute."

"Come on, John," I urged with a cowardly tremor in my voice. I knew we could walk off, then watch to see that nothing happened to Kelly. We could always call the police, if the prick tried anything. At least we'd be away with the incriminating evidence.

When we got to the entrance of the subway, we turned around to observe the cop approaching Kelly. The Crusaders of Baldwin of Flanders, who massacred in the name of God thousands of defenseless civilians of Jerusalem during the First Crusade, couldn't have looked more lustful than this cop, as he approached my sweet darling.

"What's a nice attractive girl like you doing out this late with a worthless bum like him?" He nervously kept tapping his nightstick against his thigh, like a kid who had to take a desperate piss. He seemed to be putting on a coquettish demeanor, as if to say: 'Come on baby, why don't you get yourself a real man?' Can't you see he's nothing but a no good hippie? You oughtta be out with somebody more respectable, more manly."

"I'm over 18. You have no right to be giving me advice. That bum happens to be my former science teacher in high school. He's taught me everything from the trigonometric identities to the evolutionary radiation of early ape-men during the early Pleistocene. He's taught me knowledge your grandchildren will never learn. So, please get out of my way and don't try to stop me. My father's a lawyer; you better have a more substantial charge other than that lousy roach on the ground that anybody might have thrown."

Kelly determinedly slipped through the free space between the park wall and the cop, ran over to us, and we embraced like we had just scored the tie-breaking goal at the World Cup. John whistled for a cab and the cop stood on the corner, scratching his head with a bewildered look…

The dull brown rectangular slab of concrete was still there. All I could do is stare helplessly and reminisce with the dreams of an old man. I am a fly trapped helplessly in a spider web of red tape; I thought I was a butterfly! Twice these upholders of the law and morality have broken into my life's most sublime, wondrous moments with their glaring lights and sirens. At last, they finally got me where I belong for my heretical beliefs. Maybe grass does congeal the billion and a half neurons of my fabulous brain, like eggs on a frying pan.

NOTES

1This is a line from Francis F. Coppola's movie, Apocalypse Now, describing the conditions in Viet Nam at the end of the war.

2Hominoid: The term refers to the great apes plus the hominids, our early ape-man ancestors including the Australopithecines and the early humans such as Homo habilis and H. erectus. Proconsul was a hominoid.

3This event happened 17 years before Richard Dawkins’ illustrious and important book, The Selfish Gene, was published in 1976.

(End of Part Two.)

© 2008  Rich Goscicki. All rights reserved.

 —

See also Rich Goscicki's interesting talk on The Endmeme on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Dbg9CB6hp4

 

Rich's website is mirrorreversal.com.

***

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Addiction   Autobiographies, Biographies, and Memoirs   The Twenty Questions - Does Drinking Cause You Problems?  Gay and Lesbian Communities   Franz Kafka   Law   Maharishi Mahesh Yogi   Humor   O. J. Simpson   Recovery Community   Recovery Programs and Issues

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A Foreword to the book Drugs and Culture: New Perspectives  (Drogas e Cultura: novas perspectivas)

Edited by Beatriz Caiuby Labate (Bia Labate), Edward MacRae, Henrique Carneiro, Maurício Fiore, and Sandra Goulart — Researchers of NEIP (Interdisciplinary Group for Psychoactive Studies, http://www.neip.info)

 

Note from DREAMWalker Group:  This book is currently only available in Portuguese and is not available at Amazon.  We will provide updated information once we receive it.

Culture, the State, and the Different Uses of “Drugs”

Gilberto Gil, Minister of Culture of Brazil Juca Ferreira, Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Culture

Translated by Brian Anderson
Revised by Matthew Meyer

Over the last few years, we have witnessed a healthy maturation of academic research and study of the use of “drugs” in Brazil. Anthropologists, sociologists, historians, physicians, lawyers, economists, and many others are revealing novel facets of this everyday phenomenon that frequently makes its way into the headlines. The book Drugs and Culture: New Perspectives represents a synthesis of this broad intellectual movement, which offers a biopsychosocial approach to the study of “drugs” — a movement engaged with a polemical topic and its inherent paradoxes; a movement that aims to stimulate a public debate more conducive to the ideals of pluralism, diversity and democracy that define our country. We feel obliged, therefore, to highlight some of the policy implications of the conclusions set forth in this book.

To begin, it is necessary to piece together some observations of how the Brazilian State previously dealt with and has been dealing with this phenomenon. The State intervenes and determines a “drug” policy by making use of two fundamental and inalienable powers: regulation, which is sanctioned by legislative mechanisms, and accountability, which follows previously determined penal norms. We acknowledge that the juridical actions of the State have been guided by the principles of the International Narcotics Control Board, fruit of the 1971 UN Convention. Due to the historical context in which they were formulated, these principles disregarded certain cultural idiosyncrasies of the Latin American nations. For example, they do not recognize the cultural traditions of the Indigenous and Afro-descendent peoples, above all the ritualistic and cultural uses of certain psychoactive substances (such as ayahuasca and the coca leaf). By disregarding such singularities and ignoring diverse cultural contexts, one ends up treating distinct cultural understandings in a stale and undifferentiated way; one also becomes incapable of distinguishing the implications of different types of drug use. The Ministry of Culture, therefore, can and should grant more visibility to the cultural dimension and affirm the right of the Brazilian peoples to engage in the shamanic rituals and in the Indigenous and Afro-descendent expressions that require psychoactive substances for their manifestation, and the religious fests that spring up out of our vast cultural diversity. The uses of psychoactive substances in religious rituals still suffer difficulties, in Brazil and many other countries, in obtaining legal recognition.

The law n. 11.343/06, which regulates Brazil’s policies concerned with “drugs,” and which was directly influenced by the aforementioned UN Convention, still does not recognize the cultural uses of certain psychoactive substances tied to rituals, nor does it contain provisions for differential classifications and penalties for the traditional uses of “drugs.” In a word, today’s legislation does not take into account certain cultural singularities.

Exactly how we should differentiate between consumption – whether individual or collective – and trafficking has yet to be completely established. The absence of such a distinction results in the uniform treatment of all users of psychoactive substances, independent of their use habits and cultural contexts, with moral and legal distrust. We need to demarcate in a more attentive manner the relationships between use, consumption, trafficking and the individual rights of Brazilian citizens. Maybe we should rethink and reconsider the relationship between the State, drugs, and individual rights. This may well be an indispensable step towards the maturation of public policies regarding “drugs.”

Despite the growing recognition of the relevance of studies and research that emphasize these cultural aspects of the use of “drugs,” there still persists a tendency to attribute more legitimacy to studies on the topic that are developed in the realm of the health sciences such as medicine, pharmacology and psychology. The social sciences tend to be taken into consideration only when they are applied to the study of crime, drug-trafficking, urban violence or poverty, and they are devalued when they deal directly with the question of “drugs” and their cultural uses. The incapacity to deal with the complexity of the “drug” phenomenon and this choice of a unilateral treatment influences the political arena, where the impoverishment of the analyses and the absence of socio-cultural considerations in the conception of public policies directed by them are obvious.

The Ministry of Culture (MinC) supports the incorporation of “anthropological” understandings of psychoactive substances, an approach centered more on attention to the behaviors and the symbolic goods awakened by the diverse cultural uses of drugs. Since 2004, the MinC has recognized the crucial role played by culture and its contexts in the construction of the effects produced by “drug” use, on both the individual and the social levels. We choose to play a proactive role in the elaboration of current national policies on the matter, demanding, for example, a place on the National Anti-drugs Council (CONAD) and participating actively in its deliberations while always pushing for an emphasis on harm reduction.

The book Drugs and Culture: New Perspectives expresses a valorization of the role played by the social sciences in reflections on the topic of drugs and, in parallel, seeks to relate these analyses to an extensive collection of discussions. In this way, the articles that comprise the present book approach the use of this type of substance in diverse cultural and historic contexts. They indicate that, far from being a mere link in the chain of violence and crime, the consumption of “drugs” has forever been a part of various spheres of human life, being tied to religious phenomena, movements to construct (or reconstruct) the identities of social, ethnic, generational and gender minorities, and even to esthetic production. In the book, scholars coming from different disciplines and research trajectories focus on the socio-cultural scenarios that surround the use of drugs. In this way they show how moral and cultural factors play a decisive role in the constitution of patterns of consumption that regulate or structure the use of every kind of “drug.” The book avoids a simplistic view and instead shows that the topic of “drugs” should preferentially be approached from a multidisciplinary perspective since its comprehension involves the consideration of various aspects, including the pharmacological, the psychological and the socio-cultural. This is done, however, without claiming the title of ‘most relevant’ for the social science perspective and without dismissing the risks and the biochemical complexities of the use of these substances; rather, the book creates more room for multidisciplinary reflections in today’s discussions about drugs.

We stand in the court of cultures – all of which stem from the enormous diversity of practices, representations, symbols and arts that inhabit Brazil. For better or worse, “drugs” comprise part of our culture, or better yet, our cultures, and hence cannot be understood apart from them.

This book serves as a call for more attentive reflection on the various uses of drugs by different peoples. This diversity of the use and consumption of drugs is a mirror of our own cultural diversity. Our researchers and our legislature should, in some manner, take into consideration the cultural dimension in order to craft public policies that are more efficacious and more adequate for our country today.

© 2008 The Federal University of Bahi. All rights reserved.

***

DREAMWalker Group topics related to this article:

2012   Alternative Medicine   Anthropology   Ascension   Ayahuasca   Cosmology   DMT   Entheogens   Gaia   Meditation   Metaphysics   Native American Experience   New Age   Pineal Gland   Plant Medicine   Religion & Spirituality   Psychedelics   Psychic Research (Psychism)  Spirit-Guided Community   The Soul

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Alexander the Great Welcomes Rudolph Nureyev into Heaven

By Perry Brass

Perry Brass is the author of numerous fiction and non-fiction books, including Carnal Sacraments: A Historical Novel of the Future, The Substance of God: A Spiritual Thriller (Finalist, 2003 Lambda Literary Award for Science/Fiction/Fantasy/Horror), and the Chronicles of the Planet Ki series.  Check out his website (www.perrybrass.com).  Perry's writings are also available at Urban Molecule.

Contact Perry at
belhuepress@earthlink.net.

Alexander the Great Welcomes Rudolph Nureyev into Heaven

Alexander: I have waited
two thousand years for you,
and now you are here. I would lay
all the world at your feet,
I would slay armies for you
if you would only dance.

Rudolph: I cannot dance.
I am crying too much.

Alexander: But why
are you crying when I
have waited so long for you?

Rudolph: I am weeping
for my life. For the end of dance.
For the art that I had to leave,
which is more painful to me
than any act of destruction.

Alexander: Come, allow me
to take your hand in mine.
To hold your strong hand,
your waist, your feet — your feet
that are splintered and mashed
and bleeding I see. I gladly kiss
them as I would gladly kiss you
and lay myself at them — at you,
a messenger of art more lasting
than death. More real than life.

Rudolph: How have you known
I am here? I kept my illness
a secret, to keep it from becoming
a Roman circus: full of greed
and grotesquery.

Alexander: Your death rang out
through heaven and woke me up again.
It pitched adrenaline into my veins,
testosterone into my soul: gladly
would I raze cities for you, Rudy, and name
plains for you. You are not Russian
but Greek. You are not Greek
but human.

Rudolph: I think I can now
get up. I hear this lively music
somewhere off. Down in the orchestra
they are playing it. There will be
no rehearsals, only performance.
I hated rehearsals.

Alexander: Yes, it’s like drill.
It means nothing for a soldier.
Only preparation. The kill is
everything, when we finally
are glorified. In that moment
we are raised to heaven —
as I was raised higher
and higher, elevated —

Rudolph: Oh, yes. I remember
scenes like that. Me flying up
with the scenery.

Alexander: No, I am talking
of the real world and you
are only talking of art.

Rudolph: Which has brought me
here to you! which reduces generals
to dust. . . .

Alexander: I concede. But still
you are young here, ‘though I died at only
thirty-two, after conquering
half the world.

Rudolph: But I conquered even more
if you read my publicity, only to be
conquered by a disease I could
never speak of publicly. That turned
my death into a whisper, and me
into a ghost.

Alexander: But you are not so now.
You are handsome. More exotic,
mysterious, thrilling, wilder
than I ever dreamed, and I did
dream of you — oh, how I did,
wanting you to awaken me
from a sleep I could not explain,
a sleep within a sleep;
a dream within a dream.

Rudolph: And in this dream
am I still young and dancing
with Margot Fonteyn? And in
the dance have I become art again,
to live forever as long as memory serves
it? (Alexander nods.) That is my wish.

Alexander: I recognize you, Rudolph.
I see you as my twin and pair,
the man I have lost and was meant
to be with — you. You’re so darn’d sexy,
and I recognize this, too. I told
Plato you would come and he has
arranged a banquet for us. We will
lie on couches and kiss and eat,
young men will come and sit
at our feet and marvel at us,
and we will stroke their heads
and talk.

Rudolph: This is fine for you,
but it would only make me lonely.
I need applause. I need to go out
and dance. I need to conquer the world
again.

Alexander: But that is why
I’m here, Rudolph. I will clear
away a place for you. I will bring
you all the peace I can. I will arrange
the music and the stars.

Rudolph: Yes, good. The stars. . . .

Alexander: And in the end
you will know what I have learned:
that peace does not conquer all, but wisdom
even wiser than death does, when the heart
is opened to the silent wisdom —

Rudolph takes Alexander's hand,
then says: . . . Of grace.

the end

March 20, 1998
Bronx, NY

© 1998, 2008 Perry Brass. All rights reserved.

***

DREAMWalker Group topics related to this article:

Arthur C. Clarke   Brooke Shields   Creativity   Gore Vidal   History   Homer   Literary Community   Mary Renault   Military   Myths & Mythology   Politics   Religion & Spirituality   Technical Writing   Vicky A. Shecter   Writers & Writing   Zbigniew Herbert

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By Tamara Wilhite

Tamara Wilhite  is the author of Humanity's Edge, Geronimo Redux (PDF Edition), Natural Talent (PDF Edition)” and Sirat: Through the Fires of Hell. She is also an engineer and the “IE in IT” blogger for the Institute of Industrial Engineers.

Note from Tamara: 

After popular demand for these titles - and readers asking "How can I get these titles without Amazon Kindle?" - I'm now offering these titles IN PRINT.

  • "Amazon Kindle Publishing for Idiots"
  • "Writing Marketing Tips From Eric Enck and Tamara Wilhite"

Cost is $2 with SASE or $2.50 without SASE.  Send check or money order and be sure to state which title you want and mention that DREAMWalker Group sent you!

Tamara Wilhite
2024 Oakmeadow St.
Bedford, TX 76021

"If you just get it on the internet, it'll get it sold!" That's the promise of many internet marketing gurus, but it is rarely the result. How most internet marketing gurus are ripping off people is by charging exorbitant fees for services and tasks many people can do themselves. And often, can do for themselves for a much lower price.

  1. Internet marketing gurus rip offs include listing your products or books or services on free bulletin boards or cheap auction sites. This is something you can do yourself. Some sites even let you list events such as product demonstrations, book signings, and meet the inventor night. If someone offers to promote your product or service, be sure to ask "Where?"
  2. If your product is listed on most mainstream retailers, even general users can add keywords and indexing phrases. If you hit the limit on index words or key words to the listing, ask a few friends to help. It's cheaper than paying a marketing guru to hire people to do it for you. Don't get charged for indexing your product on your website or on listings where the product or service is for sale.
  3. They may create a website using the same software packages that those most people can set up themselves. The even greater rip-offs are when they also charge for uploading the site or hosting it, when free web hosting services already exist.
  4. If they are charging for adding content to your website to increase hits, you would be better off creating your own content. This can include a "blog by the product inventor," "words by the company president," or "how it's made" segments. You might even want to consider doing your own podcasts for any of the above blogs or interviews.
  5. Before you get charged for putting product ads on some of the popular video sites, create your own account on those same video sharing sites. Then upload your own "great new product" or "super service now out" ads. It may not be marketing gold, but it doesn't cost a fortune, either.  And who knows? It may start a word of mouth firestorm on your product or service, without costing some cool cash.
  6. Internet marketing rip offs include charging you for distributing "promotional samples" or "product demonstrations." You can promote your own products and services by offering free product samples and demonstrations without an internet marketing guru's help. Consider any public gathering that will let you attend, or offering your services or products to a charity in return for publicity. For a greater return on effort, get video of the product and by-stander comments for free promotional tidbits and
    testimonials.

How most internet marketing gurus are ripping off people is by charging for services and actions that you don't have to be a computer guru to do. Try a few do-it-yourself marketing tricks like those above to save some money.

There are legitimate web marketing services out there, from creating a
professional website to polished web banner ads. However, if the service offers to charge you for things you can do for free or cheap, go somewhere else.

 —

For technical assistance in doing an Amazon Kindle conversion, setting up Amazon Search Inside for your books, or interviews and presentations to groups, Tamara can be reached at: sirat@wilhite.homeip.net

© 2008 Tamara Wilhite. All rights reserved.

***

DREAMWalker Group topics related to this article:

Creativity   Literary Community   Nonfiction   Nonfiction Anthologies
Technical Writing  
Writers & Writing

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Just Ask Gail — A Column by Gail Fonda

By Gail Fonda
Gail Fonda is an online freelance writer. She graduated from Kent State University's School of Journalism, and has been writing on a variety of subjects over the past 30 years. When she discovered the world of the Internet, she found she could be more selective in her writing choices, as opposed to being "assigned" stories to write about. Keep reading her column every other month at DREAMScene to find out what's ahead!

Attractiveness

Let's face it. What we all want is someone who appears beautiful, at least at first sight. Whatever age you may be, or wherever you're searching for the right person, be it over the Internet or elsewhere, what a person looks like tops the list. That cannot be escaped. So all of you out there, if you're single, want to look your best. You can only do so much with what you have, however. You can lose weight if you want to and if you have the desire. You can start an exercise program and change your eating habits. You can check with your beautician as to the proper haircut that fits your face.

You can visit a store clerk and ask her or him what suits your body type if you want to improve the way you dress. You can look in the mirror and ask yourself a question, "Am I happy with what I see?" If the answer is no, you can make some changes and corrections. You want to appear clean, well-groomed and as fit as possible when you are out there trying to meet Mr. or Miss Wright.

Yes, we've all heard the stories that you have to be accepted for what you are. You can't really make yourself into a completely different human being. But there is always room for improvement in all of us. We all have faults, not just in our physical appearance, but in our attitudes and our behaviors. I'll get into improving your attitudes another time, but it's only common sense that when you are out in the dating world, there is competition, unfortunately.

We all wish we could just sit back and do nothing and some wonderful person will fall through the chimney in the living room (sort of like Santa Claus) and provide you with this perfect person. I had a friend, named Becky, who used to say (we worked together at a job years ago), "I hope when I get home from work today, this message will appear in a letter today: "will you marry me?"

I was kind of wishing the same thing myself, each day, at the end of work, that it would be that simple. My knight in shining armor would just somehow appear on his white horse, gather me up in his arms, inform me he'll love me until his dying day, and I'd never, ever have to worry again about being unloved or lonely. Wishful thinking, but not realistic.

The truth of the matter is, you have to sell yourself out there in the real world, just like you have to sell yourself in order to get a job, to get good grades in school, to get asked out for dates in high school and college, or anytime, for that matter. I am not a competitive person at all.

I don't like to compete with other people for a better paying job, a higher social status, or even how attractive or unattractive another person happens to be. But I know I am kidding myself if I think that situation doesn't exist. I know MANY people who have never married, starting from the age of 35 to even up to age 75. And they have told me they simply couldn't find the 'right person.' I think there are many possible 'right' people for you and for everybody. But it does take effort, nonstop effort.

You can't ever give up searching for the best possible match for yourself. Think of it this way, if you can. When you get out of school, you have to do something with your life to be able to support yourself, unless your parents plan to financially support you for the rest of your life. That's great if that's your situation, but most average people don't have that choice, not even close.

So.....you have to either search for a job or start working in your chosen profession. If you find that your choice doesn't work out, what do you do? You must continue to pay the rent, the car payment, and it's still important to eat. So if a job doesn't work out, you start looking for another job, there really is no choice in the matter.

The same holds true for finding romance and a compatible partner. If you thought you had the right person, you were physically attracted and it seemed to work out for a length of time, then, suddenly, something goes wrong and that person is out the door. And you're hurt. Of course you are.

I will tell you many stories of my painful romantic interludes. I was devastated. But I picked myself up and starting looking again, just like when your job doesn't work out. I think that human beings need each other to make life worth living.

Finding the right mate is as important as finding a niche in the job arena. You'll never stop looking and working for the right mix. Enjoy the ride. Don't complain! Keep improving yourself, the dating process is fun and you learn what you don't want as well as what you DO want.

Goodbye for the moment!

© 2008 Gail Fonda. All rights reserved.

***

DREAMWalker Group topics related to this article:

Aging   Culinary/Food   Diets and Dieting   Fashion   Fitness and Exercise   Health   Inspirational Themes   Love   Marriage   Relationship Issues   Romance Fiction   Self-Help/Self-Improvement   The Internet   Women's Issues

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Bulletin Board
Calls for Submissions, Literary Contests, Help Offered,
Help Wanted, and Publishers Seeking Authors


(We can't list them if you don't send them!)

 

Appearances and Book Signings

Calls for Submissions

  • 2009 Magic Carpet Ride Mentorship
    Tamara Kaye Sellman, director of MRCentral (www.mrcentral.net) announces the opening of the 2009 Magic Carpet Ride mentorship application period.

This mentorship, an innovative one-on-one creative writing program, is the first of its kind to provide specialized instruction, direction, and motivation specifically for a writer of literary magical realism.
 
The purpose of the Magic Carpet Ride mentorship is to assist a promising magical realist writer from anywhere in the world in the completion of a polished manuscript by the end of the session which may then be actively submitted to potential publishers.

Postmark deadline for receipt of all application materials for the 2009 mentorship session is October 31, 2008. Email deadline for receipt of all application materials for the 2008 mentorship session is midnight [Pacific time], October 31, 2008.

For more information, visit www.angelfire.com/wa2/margin/MRCentral/mentorship.html or write Tamara Kaye Sellman at magicalrealismmaven at hotmail dot com.  (Note: Tamara is on her annual summer hiatus from June 20 through September 21.)

Help Offered

Help Wanted

  • For a book, Lynda Exley, ambassador, award-winning journalist and editor at the SanTan Sun News, is looking to interview traditionally published writers (not self-published) who were either published younger than 17 years old or they have an inspirational story to tell about how writing as a youth led them to their current writing career. Writes Lynda, "If any of your authors fit this bill and they are interested in being interviewed for the book I'm compiling, please have them email me a brief letter about themselves and include titles of published works."  Lynda can be reached at Exlent@aol.com.
  • Film producer sought by author Tracy B. Evans — to turn Fatal Kidnapping into a horror flick. It's a mystery novel with a twist never seen before.  Email Tracy at tracybevans@gmail.com.

Literary Contests

  • Swell, a quarterly online journal of original writing focusing on LGBT themes, is pleased to sponsor a fiction contest. The electronic publishing arm of NewTown Writers, a Chicago-based writers salon, SWELL (www.swellzine.com) aims to reach beyond the traditional boundaries of the printed word, exploring the limits of form, structure, and content, while giving a voice to emerging writers.  Prizes to be awarded: First Prize: $250, Second Prize: $100, Third Prize $50. 

When?  Entries will be accepted electronically between May 15, 2008 and September 30, 2008. Submissions will only be accepted via email.  Winners will be announced in January 2009.

Click here to review the complete Swell fiction contest guidelines.  Questions?  Questions? Contact newtownwriters@yahoo.com.

Publishers Seeking Authors

© 2008 DREAMWalker Group

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