Monday, December 9, 2019

Twas the month before Christmas






I’m not a real fan of Christmas, especially now that I found out that Jesus was a Pisces and not a Capricorn. Yes, according to my sources, the Christ Child was born in spring, not in the middle of winter. Which, for me, makes a lot more sense. Nothing against Capricorns, but water signs tend to be a lot more spiritual… if they’re not too drenched in sex, drugs, or rock and roll.


As early Christians migrated up into Northern Europe and brought Christmas to the Germanic peoples, the celebration was influenced by the practices they employed for their winter solstice holidays. Eventually, the Cristian faith incorporated the old traditions like the mistletoe, tree decorating, evergreen wreaths, office parties, and egg nog. Probably to alleviate the boredom, fear, and depression that are so prevalent in these bleak months over here on the dark continent. And so the world has come to believe Jesus was born a few days after the Winter Solstice.


No wonder nothing seemed to fit once I hit puberty. I always thought Christmastime had to do with getting more presents than anyone else on the block, all about me, me, me.  Now I find out it was meant to bring light and warmth into this terribly dark time of the year. Not just for me, but for everyone.


When I first moved to Bavaria, some 40 years ago, I was enchanted how differently the socialistic Germans celebrated this special time of the year. Oranges, tangerines, and a few nuts for the children on the 7th of December, a party with a few presents for the adults on the 24th, then two days of lounging around trying not to fight with the relatives. Now, the frenetic, capitalistic way of celebrating Xmas has taken over. The department store decorations are on display at the beginning of October; the Christmas carols are blaring out of the loudspeakers enticing customers into the stores to give out ever more money; millions upon millions of turkeys are huddling in the shadows fearing their inevitable slaughter.


And, for what? Right after the holidays, the same sense of fatalism, disappointment, and depression take over, and we’re right back to where we started. I say, let’s take the Christ out of Christmas and only keep everything that brings peace, joy, and light.


For those still hooked into the buying presents theme, please contact me via my email address. I would more than love to take them off your hands… but only the really expensive ones. I have enough trash from previous Christmasses to last for the next twenty lifetimes!


Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Murphy's Law


Murphy’s Law:

"Anything that can go wrong will go wrong."


And it did.



It is the second premiere of the Bayerische-Rauhnacht since it was dug out of the crypt where it had been laid to rest 13 years ago.  I had been relentlessly training my body for 11 months hoping to make this year’s performances better than ever before. 


But it wasn’t meant to be.


From the minute I walked out the door of the apartment until the curtain came down after the last song everything that could’ve gone wrong did go wrong.


That for which I had been training and keeping myself in good repair for over a year turned out to be the bitterest disappointment since I’d joined the troupe 23 years ago.


To make matters worse, the audience turned out to be the best we’d had in the past 23 years.


And, as if all my mishaps weren’t bad enough, no one else in the cast complained of having made even the smallest of mistakes. To whom can you bitch when you’re the only one who has something to bitch about?


 ?????


Had Big Al forgotten I had sacrificed my well being by taking a giant leap outside the comfort zone last year?


“That’s why it’s called the comfort zone, my boy. Because everything outside it is not comfortable,” He said later when I took the time to meditate.


Piss. And I thought everything would be coming up roses for the rest of my life.


“When you step outside the comfort zone, your life becomes livelier, not easier,” He continued. 


Oh.


Finding that out, I reneged on the threat to quit the production and take up permanent residence on the couch in front of the television set.


And, thank Al I did because the next night went sooooo much better. The public was just as and the only mishap was, once again, the premature loss of my wig. But, having had a long history of dealing with the loss of my hair, I was hardly dismayed.


Only six more performances to go, hopefully with a new wig!


Tuesday, November 19, 2019

What Now?


So, what now?


A year later now and I’m asking myself what I have gained from this giant stride outside my comfort zone.


Certainly, I’ve discovered I’m a stronger, more capable person than I ever thought a 69-year-old version of my puny self could ever be. I always assumed that once over 60, the body would decline as well as the mind. I’ve proven to myself this isn’t necessarily true. In some respects, I am even better than I was 40 years ago. For example, I can do the splits and stand on my hands. But that's another story.


The journey:


 The effort I spent on the cardio machines this last year at the gym has really paid off, though not as completely as I thought. I Imagined the work I put in would get me through the dance routines with hardly a huff or a puff. Wrong. Although I don’t feel like I’m going to piss my tights for lack of control, I’m still heaving when the curtain comes down. But the time it takes to recuperate has lessened remarkably. In less than three minutes, I’m sitting in front of my makeup mirror craving a cigarette. 😉


With the newfound stamina, I was even able to put an extra movement or two in the routines. Last year at this time I was thankful not to hear the sirens of an ambulance during the last number.

Which means I’ve finally been able to drop the fear that my drawn-out dancing career will end in cardiac arrest.


Another plus point: now, when I inadvertently refer to myself as an old man, it comes out like a joke and not an excuse for my declining energy level. ;-)


And finally: that I survived and improved both physically and mentally has given me the courage to bite off new projects. Granted, none of them are as harsh as this one, but still a lot more prodigious than getting up off the couch and going for a pee.


On the other side, I’m still wondering how I’ll feel when the music dies out after the last performance this year when I will be that much closer to 70. At the moment the outlook is good.


Granted, unsurfaced fears are still standing in line waiting for my attention, but their voices are subtler than they were last year; as different as Charlie Brown’s phobias to Edgar Allen Poe’s.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Nine miles outside the comfort zone




Little wonder people retreat more and more to their comfort zones when they get older, even though they may know: real life is happening outside its borders. Beyond this place of comfort lies experiences waiting to be discovered, circumstances that quicken our spiritual growth, a reality that allows us to be far more than we are allowing ourselves to be.



Piss. You’d think it’d get easier with age.



Lying on the floor in front of the couch watching TV is so satisfying on so many levels, none of which is very invigorating. Shopping is another item which promises a lot more than it delivers. As frustrating as it sounds, stepping outside your imagined boundaries is the only way to get a glimpse of your true grandiosity. I guess the old adage: no pain, no gain, really does apply.



Boo. A hot soak in the tub sounds so much more inviting.



A born dancer, I ended my career 13 years ago at the age of 57. Not a difficult decision that was made for me when the last curtain came down on the show I’d been dancing in for 10 years, a yearly, one-month tour through the bowels of Bavaria. A small show with me as the only dancer, two actors and a five-man band of Bavarian rock musicians.


You can imagine my surprise when the phone rang last year, almost 12 years after the group disbanded.


It was a journey out of my comfort zone into a world of fears, anxieties, and debilitating mind fucks I never knew existed.


Here’s the story:


 

Since I committed to doing the new production of the Bayerische Rauhnacht, (Ghouls Night Out, Bavaria's Harsh Winter Nights), more fears have surfaced than in the past decade. And, why not? The process from beginning to end has blown my comfort zone to smithereens. From the first day, a horde of uncomfortable situations and fears appeared.  (What are fears but unhandled dross, imagined blocks to experiencing the Light of our true virtue? And, the only way to remove those imagined barriers is to acknowledge them and let them go.


 First and foremost was the fear my aging body wouldn’t live up to the demands I’d be placing on it. After all, I’m 68, four years older than my deceased grandfather. Heart attacks happen in this age group.  Imagine going into cardiac arrest in the middle of one of my dance numbers. Aside from the possibility of death, I can’t imagine anything more embarrassing. Or, what if the muscles in my legs give out in one of the dance combinations I’d executed with ease twelve years before? Would someone be there to drag me off stage? Or, horror of horrors, what if I found out someone in the audience wondered why I hadn’t hung up my dance shoes decades before. Nothing more pitiful than an artist beating the dead horse of his career.


Even if I did get through the physical exertions, who’s to say what tricks my mind might play? For instance: what if I had a blackout in the middle of one of the numbers. I mean, twelve years ago I had no trouble remembering where I left the keys after I came home. Two weeks ago, I finally found them in the refrigerator. Twelve years ago random objects weren’t disappearing and then reappearing as they do today. Sad but true, my memory like my eyesight seems to have taken off for happier hunting grounds as of late. Especially when I need it the most. Like, when I am trying to remember my best friend’s name, find the perfect word in one of my writings, recall the second half of a yoga routine I am offering my students. My photographic memory is a thing of the past. What, then, would happen if I had a blackout on opening night, left running around the stage like dingbat in Bedlam?


The rehearsal dates were getting closer and closer.



Although I’d trained regularly both with weights and yoga these past twelve years, since I’ve committed to the production, I’ve taken my work out to a new level: getting my heartbeat up to 140 and keeping it there a half an hour, pushing my lungs to their limit three times a week, sweating like a popsicle at the beach, all in the hopes it would make the routines easier when the time came along.


The day after the first rehearsal, I was horrified to find myself heaving at the side of the stage, unable to gulp down enough air to quiet my racing heart.  Despite my efforts on the treadmill at the fitness studio, my stamina, as far as my breath was concerned, was in the bucket. Would three days of rehearsals be enough to better the condition enough that I could take my bow on my feet and not on my stomach?



As if all these worries and fears were not enough, my husband started coughing two days into rehearsals. Which meant, it was only a matter of minutes before I came down with the same illness, whatever it was. Since we both reached older age, the pattern has been: he comes down with something, two days later it’s my turn… which would be opening night. As it was, I could hardly catch my breath after one of the numbers. With a cold… well, that was something better not thought about.



And then, it was opening night…



…and everything went fine.





A Course in Miracles says,



The presence of fear is a sure sign that you are trusting in your own strength. The awareness that there is nothing to fear shows that somewhere in your mind, not necessarily in a place which you recognize as yet, you have remembered God and let His Strength take the place of yours. The instant you are willing to do this there is indeed nothing to fear.



I wish I'd remembered that a couple of weeks ago!


To be continued…

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Entering the golden age is best done in style.


Entering the golden age is best done in style.


Amour Propre: some call it vanity; I call it self-esteem. In this day and age when we’re living longer, retaining a bit of panache is essential if you want to continue on with any sense of self-worth. After all, if you’re not proud of yourself, how can you expect others to keep in awe of your fabulous being?


What got me thinking this way was a recent encounter with an elderly gentleman I saw on the street the other day.  His entire being reeked of old age. Rusty hairs tumbled out of his nose and fought for space in his ears, a powdery stubble patched his pallid cheeks, what hair remained on his head was unkempt and greasy, his eyebrows as bushy as unsightly as two overweight caterpillars. The faded shirt he wore fit him where it hit him, way too large for his boney body. Pleated at the waist, his khaki pants were stained with, what looked like, the sauce of last week's supper. Vapors smelling of scorched rayon and urine trailed behind him. Hunched forward as if carrying the weight of the world, his dulled eyes had the resigned look of someone on his way to meet the grim reaper.


The saddest thing of all was, I knew this man was just as old as I am!


Before you judge me for judging him: I didn’t really see this man on the street at all. You see, he is the main character in my own worst nightmare, an ever-present image of what I would look like if I simply threw self-care to the wind and gave up caring about what I looked like.


 So, I have made a vow this won't happen to me now that I'm dancing along the silver-lining of maturity. I am doing my best to keep up my outward and inward appearances so people and spirits continue seeing me in a positive light, still responding to me in a positive way, still acknowledging my existence.


Whether they are or not, is inconsequential.  I think they are and that’s the important thing.


One of the big secrets I discovered for my happiness now and forevermore, was learning to love myself. Hard enough in my youth, getting more and more difficult as a get older. So, why should I make it next to impossible by presenting a sloppy, run-down rendition of myself to the world around me?

It's what's inside that counts.


As a kid, I often heard people say, ‘You can’t judge a book by its cover.’


I believed it.


Until the Kardashians came alone.
Let's face it: the world has changed. People do judge books by their covers. So, in the present age, I’d be a fool if I thought the old adage still applied. The truth is, in a world of the rapidly decreasing attention span, the first impression better be a good one or no one will stick around to read the book.


 You say: I shouldn’t be so concerned about what other people think of me.

I say: I know I shouldn’t, but until I’m enlightened, I still do. So, when someone looks at me on the street, judges my book by its appearance, and gives me a smile or a nod for my efforts, it makes me feel good and, when I feel good, it’s so much easier to love myself.


Outside of all this, I think the whole resistance to keeping yourself in tip-top shape has a lot to do with leaving the confines of your comfort zone, (where, we all know, life is really happening).




We all know the story: It's so comfortable not to have to shit, shower, and shave every morning. (Well, at least the last two!) It’s also a lot easier not to bring up thoughts about what you’re going to wear before you go out to buy a six-pack of beer and a bottle of Tequila. Eating healthfully and/or looking your best is not always easy.
Keeping up a good appearance means leaving the comfort zone for a few minutes.
Smiling at people on the street and sitting up straight when you meditate means leaving it for longer and longer periods of time.
Doing a daily yoga routine, going to the gym, or trying to forgive assholes are all so far away from the comfort zones as love from fear. 

Again: Life is happening outside the comfort zone.


But just think about how much more fabulous you will feel when your vehicle is washed, waxed, and smelling like auto-freshener!
Please don't wait until your vehicle is so run down you have to get it towed away to the junkyard. Waiting for a new car can be more tedious than fixing up the one you have. Believe me! I've done it... 17,360 times. (Give or take a few incarnations.)

Monday, October 28, 2019

Another Vagus Strengthener


Another Vagus strengthener

Here’s the gist of the exercise:

Inhale: Hold after Inhale : Exhale: Hold after Exhale

Here’s the exercise:

Begin with this ratio: 6:0:6:0 (inhale 6: no retention: exhale of 6: no retention.) Repeat the process 4 or 5 times until your lungs become accustomed o being under control.

Then try this ratio: 6:0:8:0 – (repeat until it becomes easy, or, 4 or 5 times.)

End with: 6:0:8:2 (which means you hold the breath for 2 seconds after the retention)

Then just sit with your eyes closed and feel whatever comes up for you.

Try not to overdo it. Remember: you have the rest of your life to get it under control.

Later on in the day, repeat the exercise, and, if you feel comfortable and want to go on,  can increase the time you retain the breath on empty lungs like this: 4. 6:0:8:4.

If that feels comfortable for you, continue for 4 or 5 minutes.  Stop and take a look at how you feel.

Repeat.

Finished!

Whenever you end any pranayama exercise, sit in silence for a few minutes until your normal breathing pattern returns.


Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Lengthen the exhale




Breath is life. Without it, the body would disappear down the drain faster than a breakfast of muesli and coffee. It’s possible to live for weeks without food, less without water, but only minutes without your breath. (Unless you’re a yoga master, whereupon you probably won’t be reading this blog but eating muesli in the Himalayas.)


How you breathe is often a reflection of the way your life is running at any given moment.


A full and gracious inhale images our ability to open our arms to what life has to presents us.


A smooth and extended exhale mirrors, not just our ability to pass on the bountiful gifts life has given us, experiential proof that letting go is the secret to an effortless and bountiful existence.


As Sam’s Son has often told us: Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.


Same with the breath: Make the effort to completely clear yourself of all the air in your lungs and watch how effortless the inhale becomes. Visual proof: when you drop a rubber ball, it dribbles, rolls, and comes to a stop. On the other hand, smash it against the hard floor with all your might and it springs effortlessly in the other direction, proving a very valuable insight into the cosmic law of giving to receive.


Kid yourself not. There is a definite correlation between the way you breathe and the way you’re living your life. Both in a positive and a negative sense. Is it surprising to see that Paul Bunyan has a chest like a keg of beer, or that the cross-legged, nail-biting, conspiracy theoretic living in the cellar of his mother’s house smokes 300 cigarettes a day?


Short fast breathing bordering on hyperventilation (sympathetic response or the fight or flight reaction to a threatful situation) is a sure sign of stress, and you know where that leads. Deep relaxed breathing (parasympathetic activation: the rest response that occurs when we feel free of threat or danger) is the best way to out bodies and minds back into harmony. Both have their roots on opposite sides of the Vagus nerve.


Research has found that slow, rhythmic, diaphragmatic breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system and increases healthy vagal tone.


That being said, I think it’s definitely time for us to start learning to breathe out; difficult in today’s society where everyone seems so intent on amassing great wealth, scared to give anything away less they be deemed a dupe. Time to recall it is truly better to give than receive because in the giving we open ourselves to effortless reception of what the Universe has to offer. 


I like to remind my yoga students that much of what happens on the yoga mat serves as splendid metaphors for what goes on in our lives off the mat. Our breathing patterns are the perfect example.

Beginners find it hard to focus on their breath for more than a couple of seconds. Not surprisingly in today’s society where most individuals have an attention span shorter than a goldfish. A recent study found that the average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds to eight seconds today. (Probably why only 3 people have come this far in the article! :-))  In comparison, scientists believe that the goldfish has an attention span of nine seconds.


Again, the secret to a life with less stress, less anxiety, depression, bought of feistiness in old age, etc., lies in our ability to let go which we can improve by learning to breathe out.


A simple yogic breathing exercise:

Lie or sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight. Watch your breath for a minute or so until it evens out. Then: inhale for three seconds and exhale for five or six until your out-breath is double so long as the in-breath. Continue for five to ten minutes. In time, up the ratio to 4/8, four in and 8 out, counting ever slower as your skill increases.
This has an incredibly calming effect on your parasympathetic nervous system.





Friday, October 18, 2019

Vagus


The Vagus Nerve


Hard to believe I’ve been rummaging around the body for so long and never busied myself with this fascinating nerve.



I’d heard about it, though, but the name turned me off, somehow. Vagus. How uninspiring. Although it is spelled the same in many different languages, it’s pronounced differently. The American side of my brain first thought it had to do with some gambling affliction, pronounced, as it is, like the word Vegas. After my move to Europe and saturated with a totally different way of pronouncing things, I thought it imagined it had something to do with a woman’s genitals. 
  

The fact is, it is a wandering nerve, (the name having the same root as the word, ‘vagabond’),  and has its origins in the heart.


My interest was piqued when I chanced upon an article that claimed that by stimulating the vagus nerve could drastically reduce inflammation in the entire body and allay the symptoms of arthritis.


Although I feel often enflamed, I have no telltale symptoms of arthritis. Nevertheless, I thought it might be a good read and supply some valuable info for the blog.


I was right!


After further research, I was astounded to find that by stimulating the vagus nerve and increasing its tone one is able to treat a wide variety of brain and mental health conditions, including: anxiety, Alzheimer's, migraines, depression, tinnitus, alcoholism, autism, anorexia, personality disorders, addictive behavior, failing memory, bouts of festiness in old age, MS, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Wow! Stimulating the Vagus could be the missing key to keeping the body forever young! I’m thrilled to inform you we are definitely into something wonderful here.


Studying a few of the techniques of how to get this particular nerve into working order, I was, alas, a bit disappointed as I realized I had been doing one of the most important exercises for the past 50 years in my yoga practice and probably won’t be up for any real changes. But who knows? Perhaps my myriad of personality disorders might disappear.


But not everyone has had the good fortune to have such an intimate relationship with Hatha Yoga so, for those who are interested in arresting or banishing any of the aforementioned symptoms, I will be describing the technique within the next few days, so, stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Sam and Sam's Son


Hoorah! The decision has been made. Henceforth, I shall be referring to the Big Guy in the Sky as Sam, (pronounced: sahm), a simple joining of the Sanskrit words So Ham: which means I AM, but doesn't sound nearly so stalwart. (The alternative was Al, short for Almighty, All-encompassing, Almen, or Al Mundy, but the name Al conjures up too many pictures of a used car salesman.) (In my opinion, anyway).


I wanted to call Sam’s Son 'Prince Charming,' but too many women (and not just a few men) might want to meet Him for the wrong purpose if I used that name, therefore I am calling Him: Yeshua. I asked Him and that was the answer He gave.



And, just why is this ‘new name’ stuff so important to me?


First off, so I could get rid of all the clutter and shudder the old names have gathered over the years.


Another reason, (and a very important one), is because I need to remember I did not create my Self; my small self, yes, but not my big Self. Sam did; that Power which is over me and in me, but not of me.

Ever since the New Age mongers told me I created my own self, I’ve felt more than anxious. If I could create me, I asked myself, it followed that I could also destroy me. Not a nice thought for someone who has fucked up so many thing since the time he was born. Thus, the idea my eternal existence was in my own hands had me screaming and cursing at my friends and acquaintances every chance I got. Either that or caused me to revert to socially approved drugs. Both, not a good idea.

Sam’s Son cleared this up for me, telling me it was only my small, ego-self I could create, not my eternal, indestructible Self.


Another thing. Before the advent of Sam and Yeshua, I felt Jesus and God were always looking over my shoulder when I was engaged in some nasty activity, i.e., fantasizing about sex or surfing the porn channels on the internet. This is no longer the case. Au contraire. Sometimes I even feel Sam and Son are encouraging this shady behavior because They know: naughtiness is a byproduct of guilt and, as we all know, sex without guilt is boring. And boring doesn’t make happy. Sam and Sam’s Son know: the fastest way to break a bad habit is not by abstaining but by doing it until you O.D.; i.e. until it doesn’t bring you happiness anymore. Granted, with this line of reasoning it might take lifetimes to clean up your act, but that’s where reincarnation comes in handy. We’ve now have all the time in the world!


Another thing I have to remind myself about is, I don't have to find my way Home by myself. Sam knows, I’ve tried and failed miserably. I no know I am in the company of One who has already made the journey and knows the road better than I do and is all too willing to guide me. And, Yeshua is more up to date about my needs and purposes than JC of old who hung out with fishermen and tax collectors. With Yeshua, I feel like I have acquired a straight boyfriend, someone I can rely on when the going gets rough, someone who really loves me, who doesn't judge me, who would never think about sleeping with me.


Last but not least: Have you ever notices the older you get the lonelier you tend to feel? It makes sense. You spend your entire life honing your circle of friends down to the point where only two remain: you and your mother, who, incidentally, isn’t alive anymore. The circle has morphed into a dot... a very small dot... way outside of the circle. Not that we no longer feel ti be a part of the whole, we wither away with anxiety.


Being a pariah from birth, this realization came a bit earlier to me than to most. I learned at a very early age that isolation, the feeling that feeling of being separated from the tribe, is the base of almost every anxiety that goes boom in the night. Coming up now up against the last few laps of the Marathon of life, you realize: I'm born alone and Idie alone. How anxiety-ridden is that for a thought?
So, if for no other reason than one's own sanity, the idea there is a Higher Self is essential in this journey from womb to tomb.



At first, this name changing stuff felt a bit sacrilegious to me until I asked myself, ‘Is it the name that is holy of the thing it represents?” After all, a rose by any other name still smells as sweet. (Unless it’s one of those new hybrids that don’t have any smell at all.)

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Still looking for a new name for God.


The task of finding a new name for the Almighty is more daunting than I first imagined. Added to that, I realized His image isn’t that much better.





Not only does the name God bring up all the bloody atrocities committed in His Name, it also has too many sharp edges and blunt sides when you say it. The name ‘God’ has been too saturated with blood, cruelty, and rough consonants to conjure up the images of Peace I need when I close my eyes and meditate. That soft-breeze flow across your agitated mind I expect to find when uttering the Name of the Most Divine is totally absent. 


After posting yesterday’s article, I reviewed, once again, alternatives. 


The name, ‘I AM,’ lost it, I’m sad to say. After all, it’s English, and just because it’s the preferred language throughout the world, doesn’t mean it’s the best sound for the Name of the Almighty. Also, before you know it, someone would contract it into “I’M” and started a whole new religion. And, a new belief system is not the purpose of this search. We already have too many of those.


So, once again, the names from yesterday and a few more to boot.


French: "Dieu" is poetic but toodifficult for a lot of people to get the tongues around. 


Spanish: "Dios," sounds kind of cheap, (but I think that has more to do with my programming, as I was raised on the border to Tijuana and was unmercifully bullied as a kid by the Mexican immigrants).  


The Italian "Dio!" starts out just as blunt as the previous two but it remained, nevertheless,  the name of choice a lot longer than the others. Then, I remembered how the Italians use the name of Dio in vain even more than the Americans. Bad enough to use the term, ‘Gawdammit,’ when the toilet overflows, but and often so abstract you can’t even understand the connotation. Two phrases come to mind: ‘Porco Dio!, (Pig-God) or ‘Dio Cane!’ (God-dog) when someone cuts you off in traffic? I just don’t get the connection.


So, I continued my search.


Back in the 90s, "Brahman," was my Name of choice. That stuck until the word ‘yoga’ began leaving a bad taste in my mouth. I mean, when yoga mats started selling at over 100 dollars and yoga pants even more, no matter how pleasant the sound, I realized Brahman no longer served purpose.


I also considered using the word "Om," as a name to conjure up His glory. Then I realized that "Om" is sound, not a name for the Almighty. Same thing with "Peace, Love, and Bliss." Qualitative, but only symbols of the real McCoy. 


Other names for God and their denominations that went through my mind:


As I said earlier, "Yahweh," was a pretty good alternative for a time with it's open vowel sounds and lack of hard consonants. But then I remembered Yahweh was the name of the deity who killed all those first-born sons back in Egypt! That atrocity alone killed the image. 


‘Allah’ was a nice alternative to Yawah, sounding enough alike you’d think They were brothers.  It also has a lot of that "AH" sound, which really tends to open up the heart area. Alas: Allah has gotten such a bad rap ever since 9/11 that it's going to take years to get the dirt cleared off those syllables. Another thing about Allah: He’s never had his portrait done. The closest I’ve is an Arabic scribble that is just a little too abstract for my tastes. I understand the intention behind this, (graven images, etc.),  but, let's face it,  humans need something visual to bow down to. 


 ‘Baha’ from the Baha'I faith. Alas, my Southern California upbringing brought up too many images of Silver Stream trailers and cheap, fish tacos just south of the border.


El, from the Hebrew. Too, too macho, amigo.

Elohim  - Mormon. Too cute and cuddly, somehow. I need a father figure, not a little brother.


So, where does this leave me? 


I need a name, a sound the provokes an image full of love and beauty and no jewelry. This word should conjure up pictures of a clean-shaven, heavenly Father with a countenance that draws me back into His loving arms, not something that pushes me in the other direction. 


Pim? Alois?


I have to admit, I'm stuck. 


Next Week's Topic: We also need a new name for Jesus Christ! Again: it's the sound it makes when it comes out of your mouth,  made even harsher by the yogis who scream it out every time they fail at some new yoga pose.



    






Wednesday, October 9, 2019

I am


The Name of the most High




I think one of the main reasons for atheism in the western world at this time has to do with God’s name.

In my opinion, the word, “God,” is too hard, too short, and too butch.  

Americans bitch and moan at the guttural sounds of the Germanic languages, claim everyone sounds like they’re coughing up phlegm when they’re saying even the most tender of endearments like, “I love you!” “(Ich liebe dich,” (German), “ Ik hou van jou,” (Dutch). or “Jag älskar dig,” (Swedish). I agree. All those uvulars and pharyngeals should be saved for swearing, not for serenading.

And yet, we’ve reduced Infinite Spirit, Supreme Being, the Big Guy in the sky to Gott, God, Gud, have made the tone of His name sound like an ice-cold fist in the face when He’s invoked.

Brahman.

 Don’t you just love what your lips do when calling up the ultimate of Hindu gods? A two-syllable sigh filled with soft ‘ah’s, curvy and seductive B’s and M's.  

Allah.

Notice how the name opens your throat, softens your tongue, and quiets your mind.

Even the Hebrew name of God, “Yahweh,” or, “Elohim,” correctly pronounced, leads you through cool pastures and quickens your soul when you utter it.

But, “God?” A little too close to “Claude” to get me feeling religious when I say it in prayer.

And the romantic big three: “Dieu,” “Dio,” “Dios.” So much more romantic than God, even when you’re using His name in vain, which the French, Italian, and Spanish often do. Still, if I were the Almighty, I’d find it a lot easier to forgive them than their Northern cousins when they say it. Wouldn’t you?

Actually, I think the best way to invoke the Infinite Spirit is by heeding the sound of your breath, saying nothing at all. This is probably why the early Hebrews were forbidden to utter His name; not out of fear of getting a cold fist in their faces, but because they instinctively knew that giving Him a name would reduce what He is to something He is not.

My favorite name for the Divine Don, comes from the Bible, in the book of Exodus:

“And Moses said to the Almighty One, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The Creator of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

The most Holy of Holies said to Moses, 
I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.'"

I am.

Sounds nice in any language, right?

Except for German, Dutch, and Swedish.
"I am what I am and that's all that I am, I'm Popeye the sailor man!"



(Who'd have ever thought he knew it?)

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