Who Runs the World?

Who runs the world…CEO’s, Congresspersons or Citizens? Daily I read about companies that will cut corners to make a profit that cheapens the quality of the product we purchase. Additionally, corporations manufacture products that are harmful to the environment and/or the killing of animals (inhumanely). Concurrently we will hear about a Congress that will blindly, (not to our knowing) pass a bill that promotes such actions legislating corporations to take the unethical, although legal, path. We as citizens do what? Buy the product on the shelf because it is inexpensive.

Global warming, climate change, hybrid cars, recycling, farm factories, sweatshops, the mysteries of what is actual organic products, ethical treatment of animals, oil companies; how is a citizen to make a change? The answer is simple but not easy. We must consult nature first. The earth will not lose. The earth will heal herself. Climate change is apart of our global history long before man was on the planet. Citizens can only affect change now, government will follow the masses if the masses stand up, corporations will follow the dollar if we as citizens spend our money ethically.


5 Thoughts

Right Wing Conservatives: What do they conserve?
Liberals: What do they liberate?
Somebody's pollution is someone else's profit
Sustainability leads to impermanence (I tossed that in for the Zen crowd
out there)
It is "thou shall not". Not..."Thou should tell other people what to do". (This one is for the Christian people out there)



All photography & artwork on this site is licensed under a creative commons licensing: Please feel free to use and distribute the photography & artwork in accordance with the licensing


High Culture

Societies needs to be in love with the world more. Our true nature is self, life, spirit and art that is our “High Culture”.


Contemplative Writing

A meditative raw, rambling phrase, some may say it’s a contemplative writing.

-Composition is my passion; art is anything that is taught through repetition and where nature is always performing for us. Nature is our teacher and life is the repetition.

In reading I enjoy when the main character is on a journey, an expedition that even the writer does not know where the character may go. Call it self-reflective or self-denial; however my passage through this life is a mystery. In times of global warming, mortgage payments, parenting and thankfulness for all the blessings, I get lost in the requiem. I find myself taking comfort in the writer’s process and hopefully the story unfolding will guide my narrative as well.

What is comparable in blogging, music and photography is that I do not know where the completed project will land. Optimistically, my creative process may be a gateway of light for others to follow. From my past readings I remember this passage, (not sure of the whom or the what, so please forgive me) “The killing of the shadow or the ego as some call it is a noble deed, but the giving up on enlightenment to service others is the only deed”.

Sitting down to write this I do not think that my ego is dead or that I have passed on enlightenment to serve others. My ego is not big enough for me to say that I killed it, and if enlightenment came-a-knocking I am out the door. Nevertheless I like the thought progression of a life of service to others.

Photo of the Week - Longing

Habitually I do not title my work, principally because I do not desire to influence your viewing of the work. Who am I to tell/ask you what to think about my work? With that being said this particular photo fills me with a sense of longing so I decide to name this photograph “Longing”.


5 Question Interview Series with Joe Perez

In the blog world few writers evolve into more than just blogging. Perez is one of them; his self-reflective writing has captivated my daily reading for the last couple of years. Joe Perez is the author of the blogs Until, GS&C, and Whole Writing. His fourth coming book, Soulfully Gay, will be published by Shambhala/Integral books this May. Joe has graciously agreed to be part of my 5 question interview series.

If readers are to come away from Soulfully Gay with something, what would you want it to be?

Soulfully Gay is a story about my life over 14 months. I spend lots of time telling you the story and very little effort at trying to say, "this is what it all means." So it's not a conventional memoir. If readers come away from the book with anything, I hope they will try to make sense of the book for themselves. I hope they will wrestle with its questions and work through its puzzles. I hope the gestalt, the whole story with its twists and turns and surprises, sticks with them in an enduring way.

How did writing a book that you knew would be read so closely by your blog audience compare with writing the blog?

Well, actually when I was writing the book I didn't know I was writing a book. I was writing a blog, a column, and keeping a journal. Much of Soulfully Gay actually was blogged, my first blog, The Soulful Blogger, which I kept over 14 months. The book is the combination of blog, journal, columns, and memoir (plus help from the editors in
making everything flow together). The book reads in a very blog-like fashion that will be very familiar and comfortable for any of my blog readers. What makes the book different, really, is that it tells a story (like a novel or a screenplay). A story that even to this day
I've never told publicly outside of the book.

Can you expand/explain about your Whole Writing blog and art of whole writing?

I'm dribbling out the Whole Writing method on the blog, so I don't have anything really sophisticated to offer at this time. What I'm doing is focusing on the practice of writing and sharing everything I know about how to fine-tune this ordinary practice into a supercharged method for expanding one's awareness and changing one's life. There are many good ways to write, just as there are many ways to spend an hour in a gym. Just sheer repetition in doing something will eventually pay off with results. My goal is to present Whole Writing the way a good personal trainer presents the best, most effective techniques of a full-body workout. I'm asking: how can we get the most out of writing to aid our self-awareness and meditative consciousness? My answer is, it starts with what's worked for me and what I've found in my research so far. I've incorporated the best stuff from other writing methods and added insights from Integral Theory. Eventually I'll get to the point where I can explain it fairly simply, but maybe like meditation or working out it will take more than just a good explanation. I think it might be easier to sit down with someone, write together, and show them how the technique works than to blog
this stuff.

Your life seems to be a journey that is totally expressed by blogging: Do we know the real you or do you keep a private life that is not told to your readers?

That's a tough one. Many bloggers self-consciously adopt a persona and they blog from that space. This helps keep us sane because unless we can always write about stuff that nobody disagrees with there are a lot of sharp words flying around. I haven't done that consciously, so I think I'm writing the "real me." But I definitely do keep parts of my life behind the curtain. Some parts of my life that I kept behind the curtain a few years ago (like my struggles with HIV disease) I'm feeling increasingly comfortable writing about in front of the curtain. But it's work and it takes time to get more and more transparent (and to know when to pull up a curtain).

As a reader of blogs, it's always a good idea to remember that the other bloggers are just as flawed as you are. Just because someone writes 500 words about "10 healthy foods that I really like," doesn't mean that they don't pig out on pizza, carry 20 pounds of excess weight, or struggle with a food addiction, etc. Often people write about the areas of life that most trouble and perplex them. That's true for me at times, I'm sure.

What inspires you? How do you stay motivated?

I'm a classic Virgo in this respect, so I don't need much to inspire me. Having work I love, faith, and trying to be a better man is enough. Not very sexy, I know. The idea of becoming more "spiritually evolved" doesn't do anything for me; in fact, I'm rather averse to trying to change myself fundamentally. I'd rather just be open to experience, wherever it takes me.

As a writer, I'm also motivated by recognition and the desire to make an impact. No writer is motivated by the thought that some day 37 people will read his book. All things being equal, I hope lots of people eventually read Soulfully Gay. I do fret sometimes that the world of the chattering classes and the respectable literary magazines will completely ignore my book or, worse, totally misunderstand and misread it. I'm prepared for those possibilities, really. Expecting it, even. But it's fuel for the soul when people I respect and admire do get something valuable in my writing and it makes a difference to them.


Therapy in Music

This is written by Pontify a new friend from Zaadz. I had to share this, it is poetic, true, and a gift to the reader. Enjoy!

There is a therapy in music that somehow is connected to me within my essence, the part where matter stops. I can’t describe it but I know that not many people understand or share it. I don't understand it. I come home every night, sit down with a guitar and close my eyes.....I'll strum something, sometimes just a single string... I focus in on its resonance and as the sound dissipates, so does the world and my troubles, the weight I carry. Then,
like a black hole.......suddenly there is nothingness. O' the purity of this nothingness. Absolutely nothing but me and the still humming note in my mind telling me that, if nothing else, music resides in my soul.


On Reading - Essay

Soft chair, pillows placed accurately, table lamp turned on, wine glass filled with a 2002 Napa Valley cabernet, blanket across my lap, and I open the book. Holding a book brings me to a state of calm, knowing that my intellect will be forever altered by the process that I am about to begin.

Reading is a transcendental, hypnotic occurrence for me. Getting lost in the pages of one of my favorite writers is a dream-like gift. The ability to sit still and simultaneously be transported to a new world all at the same point in time is one of my utmost delights. Reading has prepared me for more than just educating or entertaining myself. It has given me confidence in that there is more to myself than I can convey.

I explore my worldspace when I read. The written word has no behavior of its own but it influences my etiquette. The memory of the written word leaves only fragments in my mind; however it creates my outlook on culture and nature. The core of my spiritual faith has been constructed from the written word. But still, they are only words. Words hang out in the eternal bliss to be picked at and raised whenever needed. Reminiscing sentiments with the capability to heal or attack; choose carefully what you read. Words can not die.

Previous to the written scribes there were words of influence, detestation, love and death; mysteries of the beginning and the foretelling of the end. Stories that have been passed down for generations to create this time we live in today. “In the beginning there was the word and the word was good”. (Gen) “I am what I am becoming” (Exodus). Words are what we are becoming; words are the birth of our future selves.

I was not much of a reader in my youth until I had a philosophy professor who spoke the sentence “I do not trust people who do not read”. I would not call this a blanket- statement or even a correct view, nevertheless at that time it meant a lot to me and it was the spark-of-passion for reading for me.

The art of reading takes on a dual journey. First is the adventure of the story, and second is the story that continues with me throughout my odyssey. Truly a novel idea.



Current Reading: Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
Music: River Dawn: Piano Meditations--music for relaxation, yoga, massage, healing by Catherine Marie Charlton
Mood: Fuzzily
Sounds: Tea pot whistling as I write.
Smells: Tea – yep I put the coffee down
Sights: Snow filled tree tops
Temperature: Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaCurrently: 31°F Partly Cloudy
Thoughts: The art of composition is like a character in a novel. The journey beings and only the path will unfold the story line.

Un-Winter of Winter

Today is the end of the un-winter, winter in Pittsburgh; it is actually snowing outside. This typically would not be much of a thought to write about however this winter Pittsburgh has been experiencing 60degree-plus weather conditions. The non-occurrence of winter has been a little depressing, not Prozac depressing but blue, out of tempo depressing. People who live in the Northeast are conditioned internally and externally to go through the change of the seasons. Autumn without the shifting of leaves, spring without the blooming of flowers, summer without blistering heat, winter without the blanketing snow, we look forward to communal events of winter. The heightened emotions that go along with winter, gazing out the window, hot chocolate, warmth of a fireplace, are all enhanced when it is snowing outside.

Build a snowman, drive safe, and say a prayer of thank you for this season of life.


Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

In 1986, the United States first observed King's birthday as a national holiday. Today, officials urge the public to remember King by participating in service projects in their communities.


Expand your Compositional Skills

Expand your compositional skills; Admit your limits and look to other things.

I See Time

When I look at this photograph I see time. The hands of time moving too fast, I fear that I will not slow down enough to enjoy the occasions that were given to me. Societies and current culture tell me that moving fast is moving to be fruitful, productive. Moving slow is slothful, lazy (surprisingly – the song my father used to sing to me rings out in my head; slow down you move too fast you got to make the moment last). My role in this point in time is to nurture the moments, Mother Nature took her time evolving man to this point in history and I shall take my time raising my daughter. I will enjoy this lucid time.

Art is only Art if it Communicates

The obligation of art is to generate a stage of reflection when the viewers peer into their own mind. A state of timelessness or subtle dreaming ought to take place. Mood, stillness, speculation will drive the inner emotions. The exterior behavior will create the need to share the art with others. Communally the art should take its place in the viewers’ culture, architecture, world space. The role of art in society and nature can compel devotion from its viewers to originate and sustain a better world.


5 May 2006 Florence, Italy

5 May 2006 Florence, Italy
A little out-of-focus (or action blur you decide) nevertheless I definitely caught a moment. Strong coffees, good wine, slow cooking, undeniably I long for Italy, and I need a vacation.


Nature Essay

Seven a.m. Sunday morning and I’m getting prepared to go out for my second hike in two days: A rare treat for me. I am an advent lover of the outdoors and all things Mother Nature but as of late, time has not permitted me the gift of enjoying the wilderness. Right boot on, left boot on, lace pulled tight, I pull over a thin but warm micro-fiber-technology fleece shirt. Not sure when clothing achieves the singularity point where micro-technology blends with the common fiber to create this super thin, but incredibly warm piece of clothing, but I am thankful for it.

Kiani, my dog, races franticly around me with the anticipation of being out in the woods. Kiani is an original breed, I prefer to use the term pure-bread since she is the purest thing I know, but officially she is a mutt. When somebody asks me what type of dog I have my answer is forever “Happy”, I have a happy dog, 100% pure love wrapped in fur. Kiani represents everything good that I ever studied on theology, Zen, Christianity, spirit…she has been my greatest teacher. Ok, I’m gonna say it; Kiani has a Buddha-Nature. Yes, my dog is more enlightened than you. That may be confusing to some of you especially if you have ever met her. Characteristically Kiani runs around all hyper and crazed, immediately wanting you to pet her and rub her belly. But what do you think you would do with your Buddha-Nature? What’s better than a belly rub?

Car on, dog in the back seat, no coffee, no camera: Today I see, not document. I often wonder if photographers practice the art of seeing. Seems like a silly question “Do photographers practice seeing?” Seeing is the job, but the question is, do you/we see? Do we look to the left, to the right, to the sounds, to the smells, to the touch, of what is present?

I drive past a farmer’s empty field, icy fog blankets the ground and thick sunbeams break through the clouds as if they were an upside down crown. The sunbeams, mixed with the icy fog, create a silhouette that blackens the trees in the foreground. Damn, wish I had my camera now. That would be the last time I saw the sun that day, it sunk back behind the clouds for the rest of that day.

Walking into the woods I experience the silence, no vibration, no movement, the air is still. I notice my own breath and heart beat, then a thunderous flock of ducks whisk by as if out of nowhere. Trees rustle as the last of winter’s dead leaves fall from the treetops, I step in mud. Trail is muddy and mushed-up from all the mountain bikers enjoying the path. Kiani is in all her glory racing around the muddy trail, I imagine it as a giant slip and slide for a dog. I stand unaccompanied, engulfed with the eternally present understanding that I am no greater than this tree I am standing next to and that I am as great as this tree standing next to me. I walk with appreciation and speculate if the wilderness has gratitude of me.

I observe a great deal of moss living on fallen tree trunks, life from death I think to myself. Lacking the understanding of nature-science I wonder how moss can live on a dead object. The colors of the two blending make for a dramatic juxtaposition of colors and textures. Brown, tans, yellow of the tree bark mixed with the wet blended greens of the moss with hints of white glows and reflects off of each other. Next I hike up the trail to the ridge top, not quite a summit but still a good trek. This is a good place to rest.

Sitting on a non-moss covered log I see the white tail of a deer, then another tail and another tail. Deer heads start popping out of the low brush; I am resting in the herd’s nest. I count 15 deer and then some distant noise startles them and they start dashing off in the same direction. This is what I call the “Yes of the Blessing Moment” I was present and in the herd of a deer pack. They had no fear of me, or I of them, most expectedly since this preservation of wilderness has always been a sanctuary for no hunting. What a wonderful experience I had to be part of the herd if only for a moment; no judgments or fear, merely being one in the instant.


Meditation Plus David Lynch

Transcendental meditation plus David Lynch and you got my interest peaked. I am no fan of David Lynch's movies except Twin Peaks (I know - Blue Velvet, but I just don't dig it) - (Mulholland Dr. Go see Stuart Davis for a review on that film) but I am an immense fan of listening to his talks or reading about his works. Wired magazine has an extended interview with him where he talks about his own personal relationship with meditation and how it fits into his creative world.

Personally, I share David's view on meditation - to expand your consciousness. The more I meditate the less I understand the entire process but feel complete by the practice. I compare it to a spiritual practice in which you move from a legalistic view to a grace-filled view, to a communion experience, to a mystic state of being. With that being said I am no Buddha or enlightened being, but the clarity and focus of emotional wellness that I experience is an exceptionally fulfilling feeling.

Meditation and the creative experiences is almost certainly different for everyone, for David it is digging deeper into the ever expanding pool of pure consciousness. For me (I am still searching for the pool) it is more like, working on the foundation of your skills, you can't play guitar if you don't pick it up. A better example, you can't hear the world if you don't sit down and listen. In concluding, meditation is oxygenating your body it is the nutrition for your body and mind: In case of an emergency breath and smile.


Resolute to my Resolutions

To be resolute to my resolutions...that is the question? Preceding years I have been faithful to my New Year's resolutions, I have meditated and practiced yoga for two/three years with steady improvement. I have maintained this blog and my health for the last year. I have increased my technical abilities in this ever-expanding digital world; this year will not have such a strong focus on that in which it did last year. (Thank God)

Now, this year 2007, what shall I resolute to do?

-Write two essays a month in conjunction with this blog.
-Use the book "The Elements of Style" while writing this blog.
-Document/create a black & white photo gallery of city nightlife.
-Stay true to yoga, meditation and macrobiotic diet.
-#1 declaration of 2007 is to be a good husband and father.

2007 Reading List

Transformations of Consciousness by Ken Wilber
Back on the Fire: Essays By Gary Snyder
He Who Hunted Birds in His Father's Village: By Gary Snyder
Passage through India: By Gary Snyder
Soulfully Gay: by Joe Perez
Welcome to Oz: A Cinematic Approach to Digital Still Photography with Photoshop By Vincent Versace
The Integral Vision: By Ken Wilber
Sex, God, Rock 'N Roll: By Stuart Davis
The Solomon Key: by Dan Brown (if released in 07?)
The Elements of Style: by William Strunk Jr. (this book will be read/used all year – I know it about time)
Popular Woodworking magazine subscription and about three past years worth of Fine Wood Working magazine given to me by my Father

Whole Writing

Joe Perez has a new blog - Whole Writing: I am personally very excited about his new blog because it fit perfectly with my blogging goal for the New Year. Write from my higher self: “The Whole Writing blog is a resource for anyone and everyone who wants to be more fully creative, original, and integrated.” In keeping with the serendipity flow Joe has even use some of my photos (see here, here & here) on his new blog. Thanks Joe… Until