rites of passage: newly edited and slightly tweaked.

My grandfather’s property was seven hours from were we lived, in Minong, Wisconsin. A town of dirt roads, dive bars, and ample pine-wood forests. A journey by car made traditionally once a year at thanksgiving. The time of year when families come together— for us, A time when professionals abandon trade and get back to nature. A time for fathers and uncles to forge men from boys. Its hunting season in the woods.

My grandfather’s property stretched across three-hundred plus acres of tree farm and natural forest. His soft and sandy driveway leads, past his log-cabin house, across a vast stretch of land—spanning fish farm ponds, natural lakes, and utter nature entrenched in season. On leisurely strolls across the forests one could come across an array of wildlife never seen in our own home towns. Garden snakes sneak across the trails, beavers grace the cold damp beaches, and white-tailed deer drink from pounds where no one sees.

All the men of my family have, in their own way, faced the coming of age trails of the modern day hunter. All young men must understand the trials that lay before him, if he wishes to learn the way of men, of the hunters.

First, he must bare witness to the gore of a slaughter in the bloody process of making venison meat that takes place in my grandfather’s barn. If he can recall the story, describing what carnage he has seen ,with lucid description—especially while his sister has a chunk of the venison on her fork, inches from her mouth—if he can describe it with that sense of lofty pride, he is battle-hardened. The young man must show the most extreme caution and respect in the presence of the powerful hunting rifles that the men of our family possess, he is vigilant to his caution . A young man proves himself and he waits. he waits for an invitation. An invitation to accompany a man and a rifle.

Lying in a guest bed in the drafty basement, I awoke to what I recognized to be the solitary sound of a grandfather clock singing its morning praise. Long and deep notes, instructing the morning light to step to its deep and wise melody. I looked up to see my uncle gathering some clothes out of a duffel bag. “Hey Nick, do you want to go? an early hunt?” I knew this invitation was of prestigious nature, and would only be offered once—I would not refuse it.

It was a cool Wisconsin morning, thick dew on the grass, stodgy humid air filing our lungs.

Two of my uncles and my older cousin were up and walking from the house with us. We whispered across the air, respecting the silence of the morning. Two groups were formed; one uncle, one nephew. each group was two men, one rifle. We set off on a circular path that surrounded the woods. I felt like a predator. my pray had materialized with the morning-dew, and I must find my encounter, else it dissipates into the air which birthed it.

Me and my uncle Scott made our way down the path along the lake, trudging our way across the trail towards a fox hole where we would sit and wait, testing our capacity for patient breathing.

Through the woods my uncle would point out critters that had not yet spotted us, and plants that I would have otherwise not noticed. He was a true woodsman. My family showed a respect to nature that was next to spirituality.

We stepped in line, and I followed command like a small soldier.  I eyeballed the gun more than I thought was respectful. I was attracted to it. its patterns came to life on the butt of the rifle. paths of woodgrain lines ran down from the stock and away from the trigger, and I saw creatures running down the lines–running from its power, running with no where to escape. the gun had a persona to it, like intent, and it began to frighten me, like it might betray us once we found ourselves deep enough into the woods. I began to wonder about the purpose of our mission.

We got to our Fox hole—a large dugout cavity in the earth that sat atop a hill, over looking a valley of grass that came at the edge of the deepest part of the forest. We sat comfortably in the orange clay, settled softly against the earth over looking our small kingdom of nature. We sat for a long time in silence. Now and again, he stared down the scope of the rifle, scanning the bevel where grass met trees. My stomach began to fizzle. Nerves were mounting up in my throat, and I knew I could not stop what was coming. I knew that the power of family heritage, legacy and a sacred right of passage had brought me to that place in time, but would it allow me to stand by and watch the blood of the innocent be spilled?

While I sat meditating on my thoughts and convictions, I was interrupted by a shift in focus that drifted across the air and lured my eyes back into nature. I must have felt her presence from across the many yards down into the valley. There in the middle of the grass, standing independent and beautiful, was a rather large female white tailed deer—a doe. She was elegant and majestic. It was clear that she had not noticed us, or the rifle that was staring her down. The fear began to melt me into a puddle inside the fox hole. The silence turned to  drawn in suspense. no one moved, and for a second I searched the land for motion to make sure the earth still spun. Why had my uncle not taken a shot yet? I looked over at him and for the first time since the doe appeared, he looked up at me. With very slow movement he leaned back and began to pass the rifle to me. I took it hesitantly. “I—I don’t think I can do it Scott, it’s a mother deer.” I stammered.

“We don’t kill the doe.” He stated with a half grin. “Just thought you might want a better look.” All of my fear melted down and settled in my body—cooled in my blood, it forged it self into a memorable conviction that would resonate into a strong ideal later in life.

With the rifle in my hand I checked the safety and choked up on the weapon, propping my face against the scope. I could smell the blond stained wood. I scanned the valley finding her once again from a new perspective. I was awe struck by the gentle magnificence of the beautiful creature. Her silky coat looked soft and touchable. I reached out with my left hand pretending to pet her. Her head was down sniffing or chewing at the dewy grass. Her gaze drifted up in my direction, and for a moment, I felt as if our eyes connected and I saw through her fierce awareness. Not long after that moment, she made her way back into the depths of the forest and we climbed out of the hole and back on the trail towards home.

Hunting has faded out of importance in my family. I will have most likely been from the last generation to be subject to this as a right of passage. Although in many ways I feel I failed the test that November morning, I gain something stronger than a passage into man hood; I gained a respect for nature and new found convictions about the respect for life.

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Published in: on July 14, 2008 at 4:55 am  Comments (7)  

The Giggles perception… a look at heaven and hell

Explore with me—let us be the philosophers of this new age of unenlightened humans. Let us be the diplomats of consciousness.

I would like to explore the ideas of heaven and hell. I often ponder and converse about the ideas of God— often with the deepest of modern philosophers, only to be inevitably duped by the limits of infinity, but always enlightened, even if in the slightest. Today I would like to embark on a new idea. Explore the ideas of heaven and hell—or rather present an ideal. A theory if you will.

First we need some givens—some communion of excepted truths (even if these are not “given excepted truths” to your daily journey and spiritual life, but for nothing more than the sake of exploration).

Let us give a name (or symbol) to that little mysterious flame that we all too often refer to as consciousness. Let us use something familiar to modern philosophy and spirituality, although debatable itself, and call it the soul. What is important to note about the soul? Well, we do know that we more or less accept that this is the piece of us that is, well, aware of “us”. It is undeniable that the soul, as we will now call it, is some how connected to that intertwining, systematic lightning storm, embodied in a piece of meat, that we call our brains. If one was to question this they would need look no further than the simple phenomenon of ancient to modern psychedelics. Mother-Nature, in what ever form she exists, has had locked in the depths of science and chemicals psychedelic reactors that allow us to explore the depths of perception, and unlock some of the secrets of reality. Or as it may be, sedate our selves into “vegetablism”. The consciousness connection—the missing link between our embodiment, and our soul… the tangible elements of this life that can change our emotions.

Many a scholarly man has explored and written about the depths of their experience with psychedelics. True mad men such as Ken Kesey, the psychedelic politician of the 60s fascination with LCD, profound writer and astonishing pupil of life, Aldous Huxleycreator of such best sellers as Brave New World and psychology/philosophy essay The Doors of Perception —this list of philosophical explores of awareness would go on and on. The most astounding and telling side of the story of psychedelics is not its ability for it to change our perception of our environment, but (for the purpose of my point) it is its undeniable ability to make us feel some thing that, from the ancient times of Aztec shamans, to the time of modern recreational use, is profoundly and indisputably spiritual

Next let us define the simple concepts of heaven and hell (as I guess is the point of this piece). For all purposes of credit were credit is due, the concepts of heaven and hell are quite specific to the Judeo-Christian religion. It is a very easy to grasp concept, is it not? The greatest reward, inverse to the deepest accountability. The ultimate garden of pleasures and bliss, verses an eternity of your soul burning in a pit of burning red agony. For the Judeo-Christian concept heaven is the reward of the repented Christian who has except God into his life and asked forgiveness for his vast gamma of sins. Hell is the permanent purgatory for the soul of the un-repented sinner who has rejected God in his life. Most importantly we must note that in its current excepted idea, it is exclusively thought of as pertaining to the after life. Unlike its similar counter part in such eastern religions as referred to as a state of enlightenment or nirvana

Now let me tie some of this together while trying not to lose any validity or credibility… here we go…

For those of you that have ever experienced the spirituality of something that came from a pure tangible form (psychedelics being a most notable form of this) —for those that have ever experienced the madness of losing grips with the basic concepts of reality—or even a moment of emotional takeover. Your blood pressure sores mixing the hormones of your brain, stirring with the madness of the chemicals that make you tick. It’s a leveling experience to feel your self lose control on what ever level you may experience it (or a truly beautiful one, if it is the pleasant spiritual type of losing control that we are referring to). Either way we must let this be the evidence that our brains and or autonomy have a deep rooted stronghold on our souls. Some have made the point that our brains actually have many mechanisms, actual walls in our understanding, that protect us from ultimately losing control of understanding or surrounding reality. Time is the perfect notable for this point. Anyone that, through the help of psychedelics, on what one might call a “bad trip”, has ever lost the concept of time (or at least the ability to understand it) knows the importance of this primal understanding in quantum physics. I am sure there are many of these barriers that we would love to be able to break down and explore in an attempt to further expand our minds and spirits—but we also must accept that some of these barriers are necessary for having a productive existence on this planet.

Bringing us to our final philosophical cliché topic; what comes of our souls after we die?

What does come of our souls? We no longer have that piece of meat that holds our mind together, that seems to root us kindly in reality… those walls that hold our mind on a narrow path of perpetual productivity on earth. So what happens to our awareness of our selves individually if no longer trapped in an individual? Can we suddenly become aware of everything? Would we become exclusively aware of nothing? Of course these questions are more than likely infinite, and for now unanswerable. But I beg of you to ask a question with me… what of our specific state of consciousness upon being relieved of our vessels of flesh? What of the woman that lives her narrow existence, never questioning her depths, only obsessing of things social and trivial—things that will no longer exist to her ability to understand or effect. What of the man that puts all of his vast mental power into ownership and power of objects in a world he will eventually lose his roots, his base, his awareness of? Would there souls be able to handle the release into an awareness of everything (or nothing)? And if so, could you not call losing grips with the world around you, but not losing your ability of consciousness, for the rest of infinite eternity hell? And what if on the other end of the spectrum of “human spirituality”, if you could leave this limbo that we currently call existence, utterly and completely prepared to transcend your body… could you not call a release from your walls, and a plunge into intangible bliss and understanding, heaven?

Published in: on July 13, 2008 at 3:33 am  Comments (6)  

RED DOOR

I peered through the jagged hole I had just made in that hideous red door. Behind the dangling splinters of broken wood I saw my sister’s face. Our eyes connected with a jolt cold understanding.

With worried strain in her voice, my mother began listing specific directions to be followed in her absence, as she was leaving for the day. before stepping out into the sweltering summer day she gave us a long list of simple tasks and daily chores, “Most importantly” she added, “what ever you guys do, absolutely no fighting!” Her long winded command fell on deaf ears as my sister and I continued lying about, watching TV, and doing nothing in a lazy preparation for the day.

The sultry summer air settled thick in every room of the house, irritating every sense, curdling good intent into malice. I was seeking refuge from the blistering sun on what would have otherwise been a perfect day. I had rollerblades fastened tightly around my feet as I had been in and out all day, currently waiting for my core temperature to reach a level where I could become active again.

While relaxing in my living room, meditating into a state of cool down, the vicious onslaught of my sister’s mental warfare began in the form of worthless name calling. a sister’s sinister declaration of intent, a declaration of war. Walking by the living room, trying to look busy, she would drop an insult or shoot a dirty look. I was feeling utterly Zen and unaffected, but I could not help but take note of my sister’s foul mood and venomous projections.

Realizing that the relaxation of central air was to affectionately comfortable to abandon, I got up to put in a VHS tape. My sister had just entered the room and I swiftly grabbed the remote to protect my control over the TV. I put in the tape I had been obsessing over all week. A compilation of professional rollerbladers showing off their best tricks to the sound track of their favorite music. My family had been subject to it’s content, and my commentary on their moves, all week. My sister was openly opposed to my decision, leaving her two choices. Leave and give up control of the room, or stay and continue her psychological warfare. Staff Sargent Sister was just getting started and the blitzkrieg was just over the horizon.

Before I knew it I was locked in a classic sibling war of remote control versus TV buttons. my temper was rising. She muted it, I blasted it back on. She changed inputs, I quickly changed it back. I was beginning to boil. I soon realized that this was a skirmish I would inevitably lose. Not because the remote was an inferior weapon, but because she had caused the interruption of my blissful relaxation, as was her only goal. To her surprise I hit the power button, cutting my loses and abandoning the fight. I could feel her scowling eyes burning a hole through my back as I rolled across the hardwood floor, Rollerblades still on my feet, and made my way outside.

The fight was wisped away from my conscious mind by the pure jubilant freedom of the day. back to being a kid, escaping General sister’s onslaught once more. My friends and I skated to some of our favorite get away spots hidden around the neighborhood, enjoying our youthful independence and defining summer break.

The activities once again inevitably over heated us, and we were forced to regroup for lunch and cool down at our respected houses. Skating home proved an exhausting feat. My stomach growling through my sweat stained shirt as I scaled the hills that lead to my street.

Reaching my drive way felt like the triumphant end to an epic journey. Hot, hungry and tired, I was ready for the nourishing tranquility of my house. I was now aware that I was a week army low on supplies, and my enemy would now I was coming. It was a tight spot to be in.

I rolled around to the side door that would lead into the kitchen, planning to fix my lunch. I opened the screen door and griped the inside knob. It was locked. Something was suspicious about the locked door, but I remained mostly unperturbed as I rolled around to the front. As I approached the large red wood grain door, I remembered that my father had painted it just a couple weeks before the beginning of summer. There was something he liked about the look of our house, tan bricks and a bright red front door. It looked course and rough to me. I put my left hand against the burning red wood for balance and grabbed hold of the copper knob. The contents of my stomach melted into my blood stream. This door was also locked.

I began to ring the doorbell incessantly, utterly un-amused by this breach in security. I rapped and pounded on the door with an angry fist but got no response. It soon occurred to me in a fleeting moment of clarity, that this was more than likely the work of one blond haired war lord that resided inside, railing her troops and giving her words of death or glory to an imaginary fleet. I began to ponder whether I was actually better off on the outside, not having to face the malevolence of her forces. But I could not let her win; I would not let her hold such power over me. Sure enough the General soon peered her taunting face through the window of our living room.

“Britt, you better open this god damn door or I’m gunna kick your ass!” I commanded.

“Really?” she asked, with joyful glee in her tone. “Seems unlikely from out there Nick…”

I could no longer control my self. She was winning. I pound again on the door with both fists. This only made her laugh as It threw me off balance. Staring at that enraging red door, my thoughts were steam. I was hot and bothered. The sun was forging me into a vessel of feral rage. I felt like a bull ready to charge the curtain in my sister’s hands. She was the matador ready to strike me down with steel the moment my frenzied emotions took control.

Suddenly she disappeared from the window. I thought for sure the game had gone on long enough, she had won and now she would end it and let me cool off; spare me from having to wave the white flag. When she reappeared she was holding in her small evil fingers my beloved skate video. the one I had tortured my family with and fueled my summer ambitions to spend my days on wheels. “She wouldn’t.” I mumbled to myself.

Before I knew it she had peeled back the top of the VHS and was pulling out long strands of ribbon tape. I had never seen such an appetite for destruction. Her eyes were fixed on her work as she pulled apart my sanity inch by inch. Blinding white rage consumed me. I was ready for this to be over.

I took aim, zeroing in on the innocent door deciding the best place to make entry. With a bursting crack my fist made its way to the other side of the door and I was turning the metal lock allowing myself entry. It was an entry more fit for an action hero.

I stepped inside. My heart was logged in my throat. I looked first at my sister, then at the carnage of my fallen tape. When I looked back up into my sister’s cool blue eyes I could tell all our rivalry was neutralized by the terror of our impending doom. My sister’s mouth opened slowly, her eyes fixed on the hole in the door. “Mom is going to kill us…”

I realized that her words admitted her own guilt equal to my own obvious fault. I picked up the unraveled tape and began reeling in the loose ribbon. My sister began gathering fractioned wood, red on one side, brown on the other.

Standing together in our limelight of punishment hardly softened the blow delivered from our parents, but changed the nature of our relationship as siblings forever from that day on.


Published in: on June 28, 2008 at 6:42 pm  Comments (7)  

the rib that was removed from society

What i believe: we are inevitably intertwined and dependent upon one another.

One man thrust upon solitude will digress into survival instincts and an id based exsistance. Its almost disappointing to realize, but we don’t actually know anything we only repeat things that we have heard. Our brains logic can than put things together like basic math passed into words. Through this simplistic principal we begin to realize that we are dependent on the family unit, the society, the basic communion of man in order to progress as a race.

I then ask you… why do we suffer from these governing bodies of capitalism, nationalism, and an over all system of living based on fear and consumption. We have lost sight of bettering our selves as one race of people and individualized our pursuit for advancement. We our over come with greed and hunger. Through elevating our standards for what survival is, we have become a materialistic people who will run this earth dry of its resources… And worse alienate one another to the point were will we no longer exist for any purpose but to survive.

the answer is simple “all you need is love”

love for one another people.

Published in: on April 23, 2008 at 4:28 pm  Comments (10)  

back by popular demand!!!

so i know i bosted about how i could go into such detail discribing my ego… well heres the thing, i have a simple analagy that will sum it up much better than my …’s and run on sentences ever could…

plain and simple my ego is the coolaid man! Big, red, and manic as hell… This big red sugary drink is willing to burst through the wall of your house just so he can show you what he’s made of! with a slide of glass and wink of eye he fills you with sugary goodness! “OH YEAH” he exclaims as he peirces your house… it would seem that his madness is un-stopable.

What we forget about our friend the coolaid man, is that he is made entirely of shatterable glass… and that picher is some kid’s mom’s…

Published in: on April 5, 2008 at 1:09 am  Comments (8)  

there are always coments and never questions #2

this was, well in response to a coment on my blog… i think it helps explain things…

in response… im actually quite sure i could talk myself out of an ego(if you question this ask me about it sometime)… i dont have a deffinition of said spiritual guides but i dont think anyone can avoid it… but thats the whole point of the blog… you cant avoid it but you can use it for powers of good-specificly powers of modivation. thats what i mean by turning demons into minions…

but the trick to it is most people probably dont realize when there ego accomplishes some task of great triumph…

and this exactly where i am trying to use this revalation for self improvement(increased wisdom)… i some how feel that if i become more aware of my egos power of good, i will be able to increase that overall power and my effect on myself and the world around me…

Published in: on April 2, 2008 at 6:59 am  Comments (7)  

my anthem

I have wished nothing more than to grab you by both your shoulders and crash our realities like two worlds colliding… It stemmed from a feeling, a need to feel understood and to better understand… but i came to see it much more simple as an obsession of ego. An overwhelming desire to look at me through your eyes

This began to fester in me uncontrollably questioning my self on this desire… I wanted to over come it and be rid of the feeling all together. It was filed under the folder marked “needs attention-self improvement”. I would never be so simple as to think that i could rid my self of an ego altogether… but simply of this selfish egotistical desire…

In exploring this ideal we cant help but take a deeper look at what the ego is and how it comes to be. From birth we are not brought into this world with an ego… its simply inevitable. Our eyes open outward upon the world, not inward upon our selves… we experience a mothers reaction to ones self before we are aware of our self… we soon feel our basic needs and then become aware of ones self… naturally the nurturing of a mother can only seem intertwined with the way she feels about us… hence the ego is born…

But upon closer inspection I am beginning to see it as a gift… so long as it can be controlled this natural desire can be my anthem… you see speculation would show that the human spirit striped of its ego will simply put, digress…

self improvement is a dangerous game with multiple turns of redirection… what i have learned through this you ask? that some demons you wont be free of you just turn them into minions…

Published in: on April 1, 2008 at 6:09 am  Comments (6)  

there are always coments and never questions… and this is life…

at nineteen i moved in to the vacant room of an apartment with a part time dealer and a full time philosopher and his girl friend…

six months later i moved into a seven bedroom house with some party animals from work and a girl i had been dating for a couple of months… i had the master bedroom…

in 2007 while talking with some chums at work something truly amazing happened… articulating my pointless point with the most elaborate hand language, i some how trapped a fly out of mid air between my index finger and thumb… i had him by his limbs exposing his entrapment for the world to see… the conversation halted with a loud silence. we all stared at the miracle trying to decide what had happened… and for as many things as could have been said… no one said a word…

sometimes our expression take on a form similar to that of a child… we can raise them to be exactly what we want them to become. we can tell the world what they will become. but they have there own free will and they will in the end exercise it. when it comes to expression the free will is that of the reader, viewer, and interpreter… and we intake it. let it inspire, and maybe even change us. but in most cases our coments out way our questions…

Published in: on February 14, 2008 at 6:18 am  Comments (7)