Monday, June 28, 2010


I am so happy today for my friend and teacher Meredith,  who has just put up her first blog:

She is a remarkable spiritual teacher and guide who has been reluctant to put herself out into the blogosphere. I can relate very well to this hesitation and I look out on you all and see an abundance of talent and ability that is covered up and hidden.

The writer in me was hidden for years and years. I always knew he was there, and he would venture out from time to time to lay down a few lines, then he would quickly scurry back to the security of some dark and secret place. I was keeping it all to myself, and now I see that I was not only cheating myself, I was keeping myself from you. I have been guided in the last months to realize that it is a grave error to hoard you gifts. When they are shared with the world, that action stands to bring you personal joy and abundance.

What an amazing thing it is to make yourself available to whatever is blowing your way. For me, my hidden personas could not fully emerge until I had undergone a radical opening. The opening made me so vulnerable that taking the next steps did not seem so scary.

It bears repeating here, that at the time I was feeling so enthused about emerging as “the writer” and feeling confident that I had finally realized my true self, I met with my teacher, Mark Pope. He leaned across the table and said tenderly, “You know, John, the next one you’re going to have to wake up from is the writer.” I leaned back in my chair and thought to myself, “Oh shit!” Because I knew in a flash that he was right.

“The writer” is not who I really am. But I had fixated for so long on that goal, that when I had achieved it, I thought I had arrived. Now it is just a funny story. When I understand who I really am and stand in that truth, “the writer” is available to me at any time. He is not an elusive mystical persona; he is an aspect of me that I can utilize. He is the hammer, but I hold the tool in my hand. Every realization is another opening.

And just when I think I cannot be any more open, something else shows up and points me further down The Road to Find Out. This last week I participated with some beautiful and masterful teachers in what they called Shamanic Breath-work. I had heard about the process and frankly was a little frightened of the practice. The work involves placing yourself into a trance state, and I was not sure my active mind would let me go there.

They instructed us to practice the breath up to the point that we were surprised. And I wondered, “Surprised by what?” I found out. The months of work I had done in Sedona prepared me for this moment, just at this time. I went into the altered state quite easily. That was the surprise! And I journeyed. I flew through the air, I swam in the ocean like a fish, and I even tunneled into the earth and was reborn as a tree. I don’t remember encountering the element “fire” but when I came out, I felt like the whole experience could be called “standing in the fire”.

I was brought out of the trance by a soft heart-beat drumming and the gentle voice of Linda Star Wolf:.  I was reluctant and slow to return. At the end of the process my body had become quite heavy and felt like it was sinking into the floor.

But I was brought back by the soft touch of my co-journeyer, Meredith, who welcomed me home with an embrace. I was overwhelmed by what can only be called divine love for her and all the others in the room, most of whom I didn’t even know. “You, the white-haired guy in the black shirt, ‘I love you.’ And the couple from Cornville, ‘I love you too.’”

Today I praise the summer, and embrace the joy and fun that the season promises.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Today, my body is a jumbled mess of sensations and vibrations. I have the post partum feelings of birthing a novel. I have the stimulation of all the synchronistic encounters I seem to have daily within the magical city limits of Sedona. I have the pure joy of spending time with friends who seem to know my soul and who reveal themselves to me without shame. I have the bottomless well of surprising and transcendent experiences.

Today it all adds up to ecstasy and bliss, and I am of no use to the world, so don’t ask me to look under your hood or to untangle your illusions. Praise God, I am of no use to you today!

And I don’t know where this writing will take me, because I am sitting down with no plan, no preconceptions, and no agenda.

I said I would say something about the men’s group I frequent, so let’s do that. I have mentioned here before that a critical movement in my own spiritual awakening was the experience of what might be called an emotional break which led to an opening. The form that delivered the opportunity for breaking appeared to me as a woman, and that is fully consistent with my past patterns and history with women.

I told my friend and teacher that I had a history of giving too much and giving in too easily to the will of women in my life. She said, “Yes.” So I asked, “Can you see that?”

And like the fragile flower that she is, she delicately replied, “Ray Charles could see that!”

I knew she was being sarcastic, because Ray Charles is . . . dead.

So it is fitting and appropriate that a woman showed me where to break. But when I needed a safe place to land; a place where I could put my opening on display without fear. That was provided by the men in my Sacred Circle, the gratitude circle I attend on Saturday mornings. I had permission to be vulnerable there, because so many of them had opened already and showed their soft underbellies, something men are conditioned to avoid at all cost in our culture.

It bears telling, that the women in the circle were the ones who first showed us the advantages of being open and defenseless. And being men, we quickly co-opted the practice as our own.

So that brings us to the small group of men who have just started meeting on the deck of Mark’s cabin on a jagged bluff overlooking Oak Creek. The 360 degree vistas are of rolling, high-desert tundra, mountains, and endless sky. We grill meat, and tell off-color jokes, and belch and scratch our asses when they itch. I said I wouldn’t tell about all the swearing, or the farting, or about peeing off the side of the deck. So I won’t.

It seems that although we are men who are attempting to embrace our own feminine energy, the adage still holds true, that “boys will be boys.”

We also played flutes and softly beat a drum. We sat quietly and absorbed the blessing of the setting sun, and we watched the stars come out, one by one. We marveled at the brightness of Venus, and discussed the movement of the planets, the stars and the constellations. And I thought, “All these gentle men.”

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Tower Card - It's the End of Your World

I am in a writing workshop this week giving birth to the second novel in the Tarot Series, and it is trying to come out breech.  My lovely niece just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, so she might disagree that my process is similar. The first book will shortly be available in both hard copies and as an E-book, so I am going to print a small sample here, so you can get a taste of the style and the content.  These are the very first paragraphs of the book:


This is the story, the journey of Adam, who here will move from deep sleep to blessed awakening. He is me – but he is another seeker. Like me, his whole world will need to fall into shambles before he can become his true Self.

It started downtown on the plaza – it was a fundraiser for the town museum. There was a scattering of homemade booths selling baked goods next to the farmers’ market. She, Cherie, was busy as usual making the rounds. She would chat up every wealthy person – man or woman – she could spot. At some point she would laugh and throw back her head full of thick yellow hair, laying her hand softly on the arms of silver-haired gentlemen who would delight at her touch and her attention, cementing her into their memory next time they wanted to buy or sell a house. Or, they would send her their friend from the city who needed a wine country retreat and who expected to be treated with due deference.

She would not surface for hours, and the husband, Adam, would be reduced to amusing himself with looking at fresh Bing cherries and tables of pottery. At one point, when she had completely focused her attention on another, Adam saw his opening and pulled away from her considerable gravity.

He was moving to the center of the plaza when he noticed a small child, a little girl about three years old, looking all around for what must be a missing parent, just on the brink of tears. Adam conducted a quick search of the area looking for any potential owners, and then he squatted down to engage the small being. She was a cherub with beautiful red curls falling over her eyes and onto her red tinted cheeks. She was on the edge of exploding. He said, “Where is your mommy?”

At the word “mommy” she roared with overwhelming fear and desperation. He had kicked open the floodgates and now the tears and wailing poured out. Adam was quite startled by the sudden show of emotion, still squatting, and afraid to touch the poor child, but wanting to comfort her. He held out his arms to her, hoping to lift her to some official table where they would be able to locate the mommy. Suddenly, the mommy was over him, hovering, like a raptor. She swooped in and swept the screaming child into her arms. Mommy quickly transported the tiny being out of reach, glaring at him with eyes full of fury and reproach.

A small crowd had gathered around the spectacle and Adam finally rose to a standing position, the onlookers still gazing at him with suspicion. He brought up both his hands, palms to the sky, and said, “What?”

He escaped the mob before they could gather torches and pitchforks and continued his move to the center of the plaza looking for a refuge. “What’s that, a chair?”

Monday, June 7, 2010


Today, I am on day six of the “Master Cleanse”. I am taking the cleanse to prepare myself for the upcoming writing workshop where I plan to write the whole first draft of my second novel. This will be the second in the series of “Tarot” themed books, and it is currently untitled.

When I heard about “the cleanse” I looked at my calendar and saw that I had exactly ten days to the retreat, and the recommended time for the process is ten days. It felt just right, so I started immediately. My diet is limited to pure water with fresh lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper. I can also have unflavored water and herbal tea. No food, no coffee, no caffeine at all, no beer, no wine, no hot dogs.

Yes, it is extreme – and extreme is exactly what is called for. My friend is also doing a cleanse and we are giving each other support and encouragement during this time. She explained that this should be approached as sacred ceremony. We enter this experience with reverence and respect. We are witness to the body doing what it was built to do. We are witness to the symptoms of detoxification. It is a wonder to behold.

This process forces me to go into myself. There is time freed up from eating, and food preparation, and thinking about and planning meals and snacks. Now is the time to go inward; the pieces that need to be noticed will rise in my awareness and now will be the time to give them my attention. If there is one predominant purpose for this fasting, it is for the gaining of clarity. I need that for my writing, and even more so for my living.

I won’t say that every moment so far has been painless; but right now I am not hungry, my mind is clear, I feel calm and at peace. The world is vivid; the sun graces the lawn and the tree tops. A bunch of daisies outside my window have just opened this morning, to promise me my daily delivery of grace and rebirth.

We are all in the process of being transformed. My process is aided by frequent visits to the creek. It has been transcendent to sit on the smooth sandstone and dangle my feet into the clear, cold, cleansing flow of water. I have set there with a friend and the most profound moments have been the silences between speaking.

We have seen a pair of young Golden Eagles dancing in the tree tops. We have watched the wild ducks and ducklings ride the quick water. We have watched the sunlight play on the surface of the undulating flow, causing a myriad display of impossible colors and textures. We have sensed the presence of unseen beings floating through; we have merged with them and recognized our unity, our oneness.

I am reminded of the story of the Buddha, who dangled his foot into the stream and was overtaken by the sudden understanding that his stretch of water was connected to all the water everywhere. In an instant he sensed the river into which the stream emptied, and the delta and the ocean, and all the seas and oceans and rivers and streams that were connected to this water. He sensed the swampy headwater of this stream and the mighty mountains that fed the flow. In an instant, he was connected to all that is, all that has been and all that will ever be.

So I will return often to the creek to plunge my feet into the everlasting. And I will take its lesson that now it is critical to stay in the flow of spirit. I will push off from clinging to the stable rocks along the water's edge, and cast myself into mystery and adventure and the sure push of divine love.