‘Writing’:

“9 Tips to Creating Healthy, Happy New Year’s Goals ” Hugnation 12.25.11

1) Avoid goals that make you feel stressed or guilty.
2) Go towards things you want, not away from things you don’t.
3) Express it in present tense.
4) Make sure you believe it can happen.
5) Include things you are already doing.
6) Make sure it feels good!
7) Allow for magic outside your control.
8 ) Align it with your higher self.
9) Let go of attachments.

Happy New Year!
New Year’s Eve is pretty uneventful from space. There is no cosmic “click” when our calendars expire. The passing of Time is an allusion. Time simply is. We humans experience Time as a present moment streaming along an imaginary timeline, preceded by a past and with a future ahead of us. All we ever experience is the present moment, but our big ol’ brains allow us to remember and create elaborate stories of how we got here and where we are going.
That being said, it can still be helpful to use arbitrary times on the calendar as plotting points of a journey. Like longitude and latitude coordinates that – when a line is drawn between them – gives us a sense of space.
This space between calendar points is time.
So when the calendar notifies us of a milestone, it is fun to check in and see where you stand on your journey.
Are you on track? In alignment?
Are you uncovering the script inside you? Or following a script given to you?
Are you being pulled from your heart? Or pushed by your mind?
Are you making choices from Love? Or Fear?
As we analyze where we are come the end of December and where we want to be in the New Year, it can be tempting to make a list of Resolutions.
This instinct can be good… but it is critical that you craft your statements and sentiments with care.
And before we even get started, lets use be use the term resolutions lightly. Resolutions sound way too aggressive. NATO and the UN make resolutions. They are like barbed wire fences in idea form.

Here are 9 Tips to Creating Healthy, Happy New Year’s Goals

1) Avoid goals that make you feel stressed or guilty.
Resolutions are not your opportunity to chastise yourself for things you meant to do but didn’t.
People often list the things they wish they were doing better at. There is an element of guilt to things like “Hit the Gym at least 3 times a week.” If the idea makes you stressed, try reframing the idea with a similar intention like, “Honor my body’s ability to thrive and be active.”

2) Go towards things you want, not away from things you don’t.
That which you resist, persists. Mother Teresa said she would never attend an Anti-War rally, but would consider a peace rally. Going to war with something means all you attention is on that thing!
The key is to create a future that is warm and inviting and creates an emotional gravitational pull towards it.
Rather than marching away from your fat thighs, walk towards your strong legs.
Instead of
“Stop eating crap. “ Try, “Be conscious of how I fuel my body.”

“Find good-feeling thoughts and good-feeling manifestations must follow”
Abraham (Esther & Jerry Hicks)

3) Make it present tense.
Rather than set a list of rules that you need to follow, try to visualize a future that makes you happy.
See yourself in 6 months.
Jacob Glass teaches something he calls “The Lunch Game.” You agree with your lunch partner, in advance, to speak in the present tense as if it was 6 months from now. Don’t get caught up in the “how,” just speak as if obstacles have been resolved and decisions have been made.
What are you doing? Who are you spending time with? What is your job like?
Allow yourself to feel this future as if it was happening now.
This same technique is a great way to articulate goals.
Write your “resolutions” as joyful statements about your life.
“I am doing yoga most mornings and then going for a short walk. I make a point to appreciate the plants & flowers along my path.”
“I finished the 1st draft of my novel and am thrilled with the ideas that have emerged.”
“I am spending wonderful time with my family and enjoy the growing bond with my parents.”

4) Make sure it is something you believe could happen.
You don’t have to have any idea *how* it will happen. But you need to believe it is possible. Could you be living in a new amazing apartment in 6 months? Then visualize it! Could you be living on a space station in 6 months? Save that dream for another list.

5) Include things you are already doing.
Give yourself some credit! While it is nice to look at the year ahead, don’t be so quick to discard the year that just past. You have done a million wonderful things; take credit for a few and use the momentum of your path.
People like to use the phrase “Turn over a new leaf.” But you have a massive root network that deserves your respect.
Some examples:
“Continue habit of reading each night before bed.”
“Deepen my relationship with my parents.”

6) Make sure it feels good!

If a goal makes you feel bad, it will not create good results. More importantly, in terms of time spent, the path is 99.9%. Arrival at the destination is a fleeting moment. The way you feel while you are on the path is EVERYTHING.

As Abraham (Esther & Jerry Hicks) said, “The main event has never been the manifestation, the main event has always been the way you feel, moment by moment, because that’s what life is.”

If “Get fit for swimsuit season” makes you feel bad, try, “Feel good about my body at a pool party.” Or “Feel my body getting stronger.”

7) Allow the goals to contain magic beyond your control.
Some of the biggest accomplishments in the next year could be the result of serendipitous events beyond your will. Feel free to include things that you can’t actually make happen. Like, “Discover new hobby I become passionate about.”
This is helpful if there is a goal you find daunting.
For example if, “I have submitted my manuscript to 5 publishers” gives you a panic attack, try, “I have met several people who love my ideas and are helping me submit my manuscript.”

8 ) Align it with your higher self.
If your goals are in alignment with divine ideals, then you have the momentum of the Universe on your side.
“Get thin,” is ego driven. But “Increase my body’s health” is in service to the larger forces of thriving, nature & the cosmos.
If you can’t find a way to make the goal in alignment with higher ideals, drop it. And make room for goals that define you as a vessel of love and compassion.

9) Let go of attachments.

Set goals, then let go of your attachment to them.
Goals are just an excuse to get into motion. We use our best judgment and the above ideas to craft good goals, but we need to recognize that our perception is imperfect.
If you have an intention to get a job teaching, but once you start taking classes, discover that there is a more exciting opportunity, don’t be afraid to change direction to get in more direct alignment with your Flow.
Maybe you were confused about the intention of a goal, or maybe you were inspired towards a goal simply to get you to start down an unexpected path.
It could be a way for your higher self to trick you into going down a path you lacked clarity on before.
Remember when the Oracle told Neo he was not the One? He stopped trying to be the One, and so was able to act in intergirty and step into his role from heart, not mind.

Bottom line: Goals are enhancements, not fixes. Everything is perfect as is.
Resist the temptation to beat yourself up.
You are always mid-way on the path. The key is to celebrate the direction you are in and take tiny steps towards re-alignment with your truth.
Let the vision of your goals be an enticing treat with a gravitational pull that lures you towards it.
Make sure it feels good.
A joyful Now is the best map to a Joyful tomorrow.
As Abraham says, “You cannot have a happy ending to an unhappy journey.”

May you continue to spread your light and recognize the gift you are to the world. Thank you for being YOU.
Happy New Year!

Namaste.
-John
Dec. 27. 2011

This topic was discussed during the Hug Nation brodacats on Dec. 27. 2011.

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NOW & Imagination

It is hard to know where to focus our attention in this attention deficit world of pop-up ads, video billboards, and sign flippers on every corner.
It can be maddening. If we view life as something that we take a seat for and passively receive – then we are in for a frenzied ride that we have no control over.
But once you start to understand how your brain works, things are much simpler.
There are only 2 things you can put your attention on:
1) This NOW moment.
2) Your imagination.
The Now is the real visceral experience you are always having. The sensations. The visuals. The infinite richness of the universe right now.
If you are not experiencing the Now, then you are in your imagination. Whether an fantastic imagined future or potential outcome to the workday – or a memory of transgressions of yesterday – they are all generated by the imagination.
This understanding is critical.
It is critical because it helps us to understand that the imagination is a tool – and we control where it takes us.
Until we learn to discipline our thoughts, it is easy to believe that we are at the whims of our thoughts. But what we think and whether we believe those thoughts is absolutely in our control.
Without discipline, our imagination tends to pull to the dark. Our mind likes to wander to negative places of doubt, fear, & anxiety.
Fear is imagination used negatively. The future is just a story – so what is the benefit of telling yourself a story that is stressful?
People will argue that it is important to face reality. Many people who seem pessimistic actually self-identify as realists.
And as simple as this is, I don’t want to sound simplistic. There is a value to considering negative futures. The squirel who doesn’t consider a cold winter will fail to store enough food to survive til spring.
But the key here is subtle: The squirrel can imagine a pleasant future where he has plenty of food to last all winter. Then he can take action in the Now to ensure that he is headed in that direction.
Or he can imagine that he will not collect enough, or that his stores will rot or be stolen. The action taken in response to the second scenario is identical to the first. Both require collecting nuts today.
But the first squirrel does so with cheer, the second does it with anxiety.
Now this is an unfair metaphor because the squirrel doesn’t have the same cognitive abilities of a human. A human has an imagination. It is our great evolutionary gift – and curse.
We can look at tracks and imagine where an animal has been and where it is going. We can look at a field and imagine what the of rainfall it gets and what it would look like with rows of wheat. We can even imagine a combination of tastes we’ve never tried and have an idea of if it would taste good or bad.
Let’s try this: Imagine biting into a crisp dill pickle. Can you taste the briny saltiness? Now imagine biting into a candy cane. Do you think the two tastes would compliment each other well? I’m pretty sure they would not. But have you ever tried that combination?
Now imagine the sound of a loved one’s voice who has passed on. Can you hear it in your head? Can you feel a trace of emotion as you experience them in your imagination? Do you feel warm inside?
Now lets take a second and consider the difference between a memory of your cat, and seeing your cat walk by.
I heard Sadguru Vasudev, an Indian mystic, instructing his followers. He said where do you see me right now?
Many pointed at him. He said again, “where do you see me?”
He was trying to demonstrate that nothing is seen except for within the processes of the brain. Light is reflected to the eye, which processes an image upside down, the brain then flips it and sends it to other parts of the brain to be experienced.
The imagination can – essentially – send an image a sensation from one part of the brain to another to be “experienced.”
So we return to this awareness that there is just Now & imagination.
On the drive to work, we spend some of the time in the Now – focused on traffic and weather and other cars. And we spend some of our time in imagination – focused on the day ahead, the night before, and memories brought up by the song on the radio.
While imagining, An untrained mind may step out of the now and cycle through thoughts of their boss, angry about a tardiness that has yet to occur.
A trained mind can summon pleasant thoughts of a child’s morning smile, an upcoming vacation, or a boss thrilled with our recent performance.
In both cases, the drive to the work is the same distance. It takes the same time. Functionally the commute was identical. But one is stressful, the other is joyful.
Okay, but lets make it more interesting. Lets say there was an accident, you are late, and people keep cutting you off and driving on the shoulder to get ahead.
My tendency is to go straight to “YOU ASSHOLE! DO YOU THNK THE REST OF US AREN’T IN A HURRY, TOO!? DAMNIT. I SHOULD HAVE LEFT EALIER & TAKEN THE BYPASS. NOW I’LL HAVE TO DISRUPT THE MORNING MEETING, EVERYONE WILL STARE AS I FIND A SEAT…”
As my imagination conjures up this potential future, I actually feel the awkwardness of entering in the meeting in progress. My muscles contract and my stomach churns. I can feel my face heat up as I imagine the guy on the shoulder thinking, “So long sucker!” as he speeds 4 car lengths ahead.
But none if it is real. I am not late, yet. The meeting has not started, yet. The guy on the shoulder may be rushing to the hospital to donate bone marrow and save a life.
And yet, I used my imagination to create a painful Now.
Shakespear’s Julias Ceasar has the quote: A Coward Dies 1000 deaths, A hero dies but once.
Meaning that if we allow Fear to drive our imagination, we will experience the pain of imagined futures every time we think of them. On that drive to work we could die a dozen deaths as we continually imagine walking into the meeting in progress.
But the hero holds the reins of his fear. It is possible that entering the meeting will be horrible. But the hero experiences it just once – in the Now.
And life will teach us over and over – that the deaths we imagine are generally far worse than the ones we eventually endure. The embarrassment is less, the anger is less, the disaster is less.
Over time we can practice noticing where our thoughts are. Are we in the Now? Or in our imagination? If we are unhappy, we are most surely in our imagination. And if we control our imagination, can we steer our thoughts to something more pleasant? Or at least a more pleasant perspective of the same situation? Maybe imagine a better outcome or reaction?
I rmember seeing an interview with “Sulley” the captain the landed a plane on the Hudson River. As lights blinked and the system fell apart, he spoke of giving zero thought to possible disaster. He spent every second available thinking about a successful landing. Was disaster possible? Yes! Were there things that could go wrong? Absolutely! But the outcome is not helped in any way by worrying about those possibilities.
He kept a level head, landed the plane, and saved many lives.
We may not have a wing on fire and lives at stake, but every time we allow imagined thoughts to make us suffer – we die a death of a different sort.

If we are not experiencing the Now, we are in our imagination. And if we are not enjoying our imagined thoughts, we need to be critical of them and steer them to a better place.
Practice having the courage to be optimistic. Practice having the mental discipline to live as a Hero.

-John Halcyon
Dec 6, 2011

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Pain vs. Suffering

Have you ever seen a toddler fall down?

A few things can happen.
1) The kid can bounce right back up and continue on their wobbly way.
2) The kid can become aware of the pain in the body part that they bumped and start crying.
3) The kid can fall and then look around to read people’s reaction. If they see concerned faces, they start wailing. If they see no signs of alarm from the adults, they pop-up and play.

In number 2, the kid feels pain and reacts to it.
In number 3, the child is in the process of learning a story about injury, obstacles, failure, & nurturing. He looks to the world to know how to react and learns a story of suffering.

I have seen parents pick up a stunned toddler who just SMACKED his head and greet the child with smiles and applause. The kid, trying to figure out what story to attach to the sensations, was confused but did not cry.

I can remember being a kid and being so caught up in the act of suffering that I forgot why I started crying. My pain was the momentary embarrassment of being scolded by my parents. My suffering was the elaborate story of unfair parenting and being misunderstood. The pain was momentary. The suffering indefinite.

***

People often use the terms “pain” and suffering” interchangeably. But there is a significant difference. Pain is the inevitable physical hurt caused by a situation. Suffering is the story we attach to it.

Pain is the aching & itching from a full leg cast. Suffering is the thought that we can’t play all summer.

Pain is the feeling of loss when our loved one is no longer next to us. Suffering is the story of how we will never get to watch a Dodger game together again.

Pain is the sensation on burned skin. Suffering is the thought, “I can’t believe I was so stupid to grab that hot pan.”

Pain is something experienced in the Now. Suffering is brought from the future or past into our Now.

One you have control over, the other you do not. Pain is something that must be managed, endured, and healed. A broken leg, the loss of loved one, a burnt hand. You cannot “positive-think” your way around the pain of those situations. But you can become aware of when you let your mind slip out of the pain and into suffering.
Am I dwelling on a story that makes me feel bad? Am I feeling guilty, stupid, hopeless, as I imagine the consequences or cause of this scenario? If so, pull back and analyze your thoughts. How much of this is inevitable pain, and how much is optional suffering?

It is never the circumstances that cause suffering – it is our thoughts about them. As Shakespeare says in Hamlet, “there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

And what generally causes suffering is the thought that “things should be different than the are.”
I should not have a broken leg. Grandma should not be gone. I should not have a burnt hand.

Think about any frustration or suffering in your life. Can you see how your feelings are not caused by any physical situation, but by your thoughts that things should NOT be that way?

Byron Katie’s teaches that we must learn to love reality and question the thoughts that cause suffering.

“If you fight with reality,” she says, “You will loose. But only 100% of the time.”

You don’t suffer because you lost your job. You suffer because you wish you still had it.
We are trained through our socialization intricate stories of what is fair and what is unfair. What we should not stand for and what is cause for righteous indignation. What we deserve and what we don’t.

People will fight for years in courtrooms and cut off family ties because they feel so strongly that things should be different. Things are unfair. “I shouldn’t have to.”

There is a line in “A Course In Miracles” that says, “Would you rather be right? Or would you rather be happy?” How quickly this question can snap us out of rut of suffering.

Often times we drive ourselves crazy wishing things were different. Believing that things should not be as they are. But reality simply IS. And wishing things were different is the very definition of suffering.

On the contrary, seeing the perfection in the now is a surefire recipe for Joy and gratitude. How dramatic a shift that can be in one’s life without changing a single thing.

This is not to say that you don’t take action and work to affect the future. If it begins to rain, it would make sense to grab an unbrella. Loving reality doesn’t mean sitting in the rain and letting yourself get soaked. It just means you don’t cure the lousy weather. Weather cannot be “lousy.” It simply is. Our only choice is to accept it or suffer.

I have begin answering the benign question, “How’s it going?” with an enthusiastic, “Perfect!”
Often checkout clerks will light up and be surprised by my response. “Fine” or “good” is the accepted response. But “Perfect?”

My reply is usually something like, “What is the alternative? This moment is as it is. I can acknowledge that nothing in this moment is ‘wrong,’ or I can suffer wishing it was different.”

I couple corollaries to remember:

1) Accepting reality does not mean do nothing to change a situation. It means that you accept the reality of the Now and take your next step from a peaceful place. Grab an umbrella, take a painkiller, call an old friend, update your resume, pick up litter, or do nothing and be still. Be free from your story of suffering and act from a place of clarity.

2) All thoughts are not bad. You don’t need to question ALL thoughts. Only the ones that cause you suffering. Thoughts can be the source of Joy, contentment, and satisfaction. Focus on the thoughts that bring you pleasure, question the thoughts that make you suffer. Simple.

Whatever your Now looks like, practice seeing its perfection. Because, remember, what is the alternative?

-John Halcyon
11.15.11

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11.11.11

The numbers on a clock only have meaning because we give them meaning.
There is no galactic timepiece that “clicks’ when a second passes or cosmic chime that sounds on the hour.
But these numbers are tools to help us measure.
So as our calendar displays this glorious string of elevens, it is a perfect moment to check on our internal stopwatch.
All special dates – birthdays, new years – and especially 11.11.11 – are lap markers on a track. Nothing changes in the terrain – we keep running around our endless cycles. But we can put a pin down during those times so we can check our progress.
”At this moment in my journey, where do things stand?”
“ Is the wind at my back?”
“ Am I headed in the right direction?”
“Do I need to recalibrate? Adjust my speed?”
“Am I too clumped up with the pack? Too far behind? Am I leading or following? If following, then who?”
And most importantly,”Am I chasing something? Or am I continuing around the track because I love to run?”

May your journey be even more gorgeous and filled with Love.
See you on the track.

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Paradox of Humanity

The paradox of humanity is that we must be bound in order to be free.

We have unlimited options, but must limit them in order to function and make sense of the world.

For example, the human mouth can make an infinite number of sounds, but we must confine our voice to specific sounds in order to make words and communicate.

The social contract is all about this idea of taming the chaos. When we agree to certain “confining” ideas, we allow ourselves to grow in other ways. We agree to drive on the right side and stop at red lights so that we can vastly accelerate our motorized travel and remain safe.

The process of socialization teaches us the scripts of our culture. We learn to chew food with our mouths closed, lift the toilet seat to pee, and exchange paper currency for goods. We learn that the color of an apple is called “red” and the crisp, fist-sized fruit is called “apple.” We rapidly gain an intricate system of definitions, rules and patterns that become the story that we live in. We stop seeing these agreements as “rules” and just accept them as “the way the world is.”

Imagine seeing the world as toddler does. Without experiences and explanations of things, the child would experience shapes and colors and motion and sounds. Very quickly the human mind begins to learn what things mean, and so begins our shift to a symbol-based experienced of the world. We stop seeing white blobs on blue and instead see “clouds in the sky.” In truth, we actually still “see” white blobs on blue, but we immediately register it in our mind as the symbol we’ve been taught. Life as a mature human is usually experienced in this way – not really *seeing* an image, but instead immediately seeing the symbol we know that image to represent.
Alan Watts described meditation as the process of learning to experience the world again. Meaning that meditation is intended to help us practice getting back to that first-hand experience of sensation – before we convert it to a symbol. Try to hear the sound without defining what it is. Try to experience a sensation on the skin – without imagining the cause of it.

Introductory art classes are less about “how to draw” and more about “How to re-learn how to see.”

This symbol-based experience allows us to quickly make order from the sights and sounds of the world. Our brain can then take the symbols and process the meanings in exceptionally complex ways. We can take colors in the sky, temperatures on the skin and the numbers on thermostat and decide that “It may rain today, I will bring a jacket.” This conclusion could be from personal experience, or more likely, lessons taught by parents.

But the system of symbols and conclusions gets much, much more complicated. And much more esoteric. And much more disconnected from actual experience.

Take economics or politics for example. These systems are contructs of symbols of symbols of symbols FAR removed from actual experience. They fall more into the “social contract” realm than of any core truth.

The social contract “truths” are anything but absolute, yet they are presented as so. The status quo story of the day becomes our socialization and is reinforced by our parents and teachers.

This is not done with malice. Just like driving on the right side – these societal stories are passed on in order to make order of the world. When we bind ourselves, we can be free. With a system we understand, we can move within it much faster. We can take things “mundane” things for granted and not spend time deciphering every detail or symbol.

The challenge comes when we loose track of the fact that this story of “the way the world is” not an absolute. History shows us how the symbolic worldview changes with scientific and cultural shifts. And anthropology shows vastly diverse systems for making sense of the physical world.

One of the exciting things of the Occupy movement is that people are collectively becoming aware of the scripts and stories that we live under. More importantly they are learning that there are alternatives. How we get from here to there is another matter, but the becoming aware that there even are alternate scripts is huge.

People are questioning the electoral system, taxation fundamentals, and the monetary system. As Hollis Doherty said in her TedX talk, “Money is not the law of gravity.” It is merely system of rules that we collectively have accepted – whether knowingly or not.
When we start to question and understand ALL of the systems that we live within, we can begin to see who we really are. And begin to glimpse true liberation.

This is not to say we should shun or reject these systems, symbols or scripts. As stated, these binds allow us to be free. But we must question them so that we understand and consent to their intention.

What gets scary is when we begin to understand that elements of our current worldview are not a product of pure cultural evolution, but are the carefully crafted product of marketing and propaganda.

Diamonds were not a girls best friend until DeBeers told us they were.
Apples did not used to keep the doctor away.
Greed was once considered a sin and Socialism was not always an evil word.
The very concepts of ownership, family, death, and self identity are culturally symbolic agreements – not absolutes.

What we think of as “The World” is actually an exceptionally complex story. Intricate systems of symbols within symbols within symbols. This story can be thought of as a game. It has objectives and it has rules. And there is nothing wrong with playing the game, enjoying the struggles, and relishing the triumphs.

But there is massive freedom with the perspective that this is a consensual game. The rules are not absolute.

It may *feel* like we have to have a job, a home, good standing and good credit…but that is simply the rules of the dominant story.

Believing that the Western definition of financial success is the only way to happiness is as silly as believing that there is one true way to reach heaven.

That isn’t to say that the game of capitalism isn’t a great one. Or that you shouldn’t strive for success within that game. There is nothing wrong with getting sweaty and dirty as you drive for victory in your weekend soccer league. But if you forget that you are in the league for fun, you are missing the point.

***

There is a vast difference between the things you truly experience – and the things you experience via their symbols or story.

Love = experienced.
Freedom = story.

Doing what feels right = experience.
Doing what you think you should = story.

Living in a story via symbols is not wrong. In fact It is mandatory. It is part of the paradox of mankind that we must embrace. But understanding that you are choosing this story can make all the difference.

***

One of the core rewards of travel is stepping into scenarios that do not follow the story and symbols that you “know.” Being in a new situation that you can not take for granted forces you notice the reality of things. Your brain actually sees reality instead of just registering the symbols. Of course, this experience is short lived. Very quickly you “know” what the foreign sidewalk height is, how the coffee is served, and how to catch a taxi. But this window of true awareness is a precious gift – and one we can practice in our daily lives.

This is one of the reason why Burning Man is so transcendent for people. When you remove all of the existing patterns and expectations, you are left with raw reality. Every little detail becomes something you notice – and the world feels bright and new. Patterns that always felt like “the way things are” suddenly feel unnecessary. The symbols and scripts we settled into are absent, and we have the experience of a traveler in a strange world. Or a human experiencing reality without the symbol filter.

According to the scripts and patterns we are used to, having a beer for breakfast and then letting someone draw a mustache on your face with a sharpie is kinda crazy.

We hear often the importance of “stopping and smelling the flowers.” Why? We know what the flower smells like. And there lies the crux of it. There lies the point of life: Experience the universe.
It is so easy to get caught up stories. So easy to get caught up in the past and future. The what if’s and why not’s. But when we are caught up in future possibilities or past regrets, we are not present for the Now as it is happening. When we know the story, we stop actually watching it.

The challenge of human consciousness is staying in the game enough to appreciate the excitement of it, while staying connected to the deeper Truths of love, harmony and connection.

Love the player…and love the game. It is ALL a gift.

-john halcyon
nov 8, 2011

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Turkish Bus Stop

I took a semester off of college to travel through Europe with my friend Eric. We ended up spending two months in Turkey. When you give yourself multiple months in a country and minimal destinations, you experience “going with the flow” in whole new ways.
One day we decided to buy a bus ticket to a city about 5 hours away. And then get off somewhere in the middle.
I don’t remember the name of the town we stopped at but I remember the experience.
The town was not along tourist routes and had no ruins or guidebook claims to fame. We may have been the first Westerners to visit. They were certainly entertained by us and impressed by where we came from.
“California!? Baywatch!?” We were practically celebrities.
We enjoyed tea with some locals and then were taken to the local high school where an English Class was underway.
The class practiced their English as we played Question and Answer for about 20 minutes.
At one point a child asked me what I studied in school.
“Psychology” I answered.
The room was puzzled. They turned to the teacher for help.
I said again, “Psychology?”
The teacher looked a little embarrassed. I went to the chalk board and wrote out, “Psychology.”
“Oooooh! “P’Sycology!” She confirmed, pronouncing the P.
“Yes, P’sycholgy!” I replied. And we all moved on.

Later in the trip I was talking to a man with very good English and Psychology came up again.
He had no concept of the word. When I tired to explain it to him, I was stumped.
Are you familiar with Freud?
“No.”
Hmm. Well, you know how sometimes when you do something, you have motivations beneath the surface that you may not be aware of?
He looked at me like I was a crazy person. I quickly realized how much my worldview was influenced by the ideas of a subconscious and the concepts of basic psychology.
What a massive idea this is: That your thoughts are not infallible. That “what you think” is not nearly as clear as it may feel.
Looking back at the 20 years since that coffeehouse conversation, I can see how much of my path has been about exploring the “P’sychology” of my everyday thoughts.
How much of “who I am” is a result of socialization? And how much of “Who I am” is something deeper? How many of my reactions are scripts? And what percentage is genuine?
Sometimes when I struggle with my thoughts I remember those months in Turkey. I remember that understanding the way we think is an exceptionally elusive goal. In fact, “knowing that I can not know for certain” may be the best we can do.
And even after 20 years of study, I often feel like that man across from me in the tea house. And I remember that when it comes to getting to know who you are, all of the study, labels, and books are pale substitutes for getting off a bus in the middle of nowhere.

10.31.11

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“Why Pink?”

Hug Nation broadcast about “Why Pink?”

And a blog entry about the same thing:

Taken in 2000. Featured in "The People of Burning Man" book http://thepeopleofburningman.com

“Why pink?”

It is the question I get asked most often, after, “What are you doing in the women’s bathroom?”

I first embraced pink as an intentional confrontation of male stereotypes. It was an anti-macho statement to reject defined gender roles. It was an attempt to chip away at the ridiculous notion that you can judge a book by its cover.

It began with pink clothing at Burning Man, but seeped into my default world, and eventually the color of my hair. I’ve been some degree of flamboyantly pink for over 10 years.

Pink at SXSW 1999

Because of the pink, I also get asked alot, “are you gay?”
I have a few ways I like to respond, but none give a straight answer. (pun intended.)

If it is an honest question, I usually say, “I don’t like to box myself into a category of straight or gay or bisexual. I’m just ‘sexy to the core.’ And I’ll sleep with whomever I feel a connection with.”

The reality is that 99% of the time it is women who give my shivers and tickle my insides. But politically, I’m bisexual.

When someone asks in a more attacking way, I say, “I’m very flattered, but I’m not available right now. I’m in a wonderful relationship. And unless we’re potentially going to hook-up, I can’t see how my sexuality is relevant.”

When the attacks are meaner, I have to bit my tongue and not share the sexual escapades that this “faggot” has been privileged enough to experience… in many ways *because* of his comfort with his feminine side. I just practice being defenseless.

Pink has been good to me.

I can still remember the fear I had when I was a kid. The thought of being called “gay” was terrifying. I would have said anything, worn anything, and acted in any way to make certain that my sexuality wasn’t questioned.

Shazbot!

It is for this reason that I avoid answering “Are you gay?” with the quick dismissive, “no way!” that I practiced as a child. Nobody should feel like answering an honest question about who they are is a admission of something negative. There should be no “right” answer to that question.

Who could possibly think this stud was gay?

Through the years, pink took on much more meaning for me. Pink has all the love and affection connotations of red, with none of the aggression. This makes it a perfect color to represent hugs, and so it became the theme color of Hug Nation.

During a talk about Pink with my grandpa one day, I also realized another unifying aspect of this color: We are all pink on the inside.

Just this week I learned a NEW reason to love pink. I was shown this cool little video explaining that there is actually no such thing as pink light. It is a combination of a little red and a little blue. The color spectrum ends on one end at infa-red and the other at ultra-violet. The place where pink might go is actually the band between the colors that contain ALL the other waves of the universe: Gamma waves, microwaves, etc.

So all this time pink has also been representative of all things unseeable in the universe. Wow.

Having pink hair had another unplanned effect: It became a moat. Without speaking my appearance would instantly repel or attract people. I wasted no time with people who were close-minded or uninterested in connecting with someone outside-the-box. At the time it drew people in that were bolder or different.

It instantly labeled me as someone without a traditional job or mainstream values. It became a filter – or walking ice breaker.

(You can find Splat! in Walgreens & Walmart)

People sometimes think the pink hair is evidence of my social nature, but often the opposite is true. I use it as a crutch to hide my shyness. It protects me from having to approach people, and shelters me from rejection. By the time you have crossed my pink moat, I usually know that you are outgoing and accepting.

The last 2 years I have shaved my head and gone brown (my natural color) for several months. The experiences have been powerful. The switch has allowed me to step back into using the color as a tool instead of a crutch. A cape instead of a mask.

during a pink-break

And as festival season has now finished, I’m ready to be brunette again.

This time I have a new reason for shedding the moat. I want to connect more. I want to be the change I want to see in the world in a more personal way.
I want to look more people in the eyes more. I want to smile at more strangers. I want to be a stronger force of love in the world in my day to day life and my interactions with fellow human beings.

I set out on this task and realized that I felt a bit confrontational at times. Perhaps having a pink mohawk is not the best uniform for this task. Not everyone wants to make eye contact with someone who has intentionally cultivated an “outsider” appearance.

Perhaps it is time to look more “monk” than “punk.”

taken during a pink break in 2009

I have some fear about loosing my plumage. I like feeling different. I like making a statement before I say a word.

But hopefully I’ll make a statement now with my loving eyes and friendly smile.

I’m sure I’ll be pink again in the future. But occasionally you have to turn off the porch light so that you – and others – can see the stars.

-Halcyon
Oct 25, 2011

taken Jan 2010

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“Not to be Believed”

“Not to be Believed”
I entered Heaven.
Of course, nothing like Heaven as it is painted. But I’m sure any description of Heaven could have existed there.

What I saw was a perfection of color pattern and sensations. Most things were made of segmented “bricks” of colored light. Not uniform in size, but fitting together perfectly, like the scales on a snake.
Every part of this heaven world moves incredibly fast and my mind can barely register- in fact if I try to focus on something specific in the rapidly moving scene, I get the message, “you don’t need to DO anything. Just receive.”
All shapes are rounded and geometric. Everything moves with precise fluidity – like robotic octopus tentacles. Lot of gold and white light. At times I – or parts of my body- are submerged in the color/light/liquid. There is a gravity that makes me feel held down…I want to relax every muscle and surrender fully.

It feels like everything is perfect. Perfection in sound. Perfection in visual delight. Perfection in sensation.

It is though some higher consciousness – with a creator’s understanding of my brain – has taken control of my synapses. I am experiencing pure delight in every way – and experiencing some sensations that I didn’t knew existed.
Something akin to a body orgasm + the feeling of swallowing a big gulp of water while thirsty + the elation of winning the 50 yard dash in 6th grade.

I feel as though my body is motionless – yet I am moved quickly around. Like I am being carried by this light. Like a living conveyor belt of liquid, translucent gold.

This first portion of the experience is beyond mind. There are no lessons or teachings that my human brain can grasp. It feels more like a peek at something. Perhaps a preview.
Perhaps it is like a divine, “Now downloading, please wait” graphic as deeper awareness – beyond conscious thought -flows into me.

Later when I have more control of my mind, I try to process, I find myself puzzled: Does this experience exist solely in my mind? Or is this experience trans-dimentional? Was that an internal or external experience of the divine oneness? In the end, it does not matter. Whether it exists within the cosmic DNA of my physical being, or in some other portion of the unknown universe – it does exist. Even as an idea = it does exist. And if it does exist, then the boundaries of the universe must be redrawn.

***

The intense portion of the experience ends rather abruptly after 10 minutes. But is followed by a longer period where the memories are vivid and my perceptions and thinking are coated with the golden bliss. Like my mind and body are covered in a lubricant of pure light and love.

The thoughts that run through me seem to bridge the 2 worlds. I keep my eyes closed and speak. What I share to others in the room has nothing to do with my experience in the light…but is influenced it.

I see the beauty of the human experience. In contrast to the perfection of the golden light, the human experience has a perfection, too. All the sorrow and trials and love and elation are perfect. The highs & lows of human roller coaster are a different part of perfection. The perfection of duality. Pure love – heaven – golden bliss – is, well, perfect. But it could get boring.
And in all the Universe, I would guess that the human experience is among the least boring.
So, as the All-One, non-dual, cosmic consciousness, why wouldn’t I spend a few millennia experiencing the gorgeous drama of humanity?

Just as we can delight in a horror movie…
Or enjoy the joy and frustration in a child’s soccer game…
Or happily work towards the success of a project for work…
We can enjoy the game of life.

Being human is all about participating in these small human dramas and letting ourselves feel the tension of it. We enjoy it because you know it isn’t truly “real.” We know that it will end.

But any of these things can be horrific if you forget that you have taken on the experience by choice.

We can enjoy all the struggles of our human lifetime – knowing that they, too, will end. We allow ourselves to fall into the experience so that we can feel the intensity of it.

*** Innocence Lost ***

Socialization is the process of being taught a worldview. We are indoctrinated to believe that the culture – not anything internal – is the source of our happiness. Our jobs, our status, & our bodies are what is important.

This is taught.

A child doesn’t require the guidelines of socialization to seek their bliss. As they grow up, they are given layers of beliefs that cover up and stifle the divine heartsong.

This isn’t done with malice. On the contrary, we do it with love. Parents, teachers, & preachers all feel the responsibility of teaching a child how serious it all is.

At some point, we cross the threshold and go from following our heartsong to following the rules and trying to fit it. (or perhaps NOT fit it – but usually as an act of rebellion – not by following our heartsong.)

This is the moment we bite the apple and leave the garden of Eden.

We begin to care what others think. And, unfortunately, the “Other” in our society is A zealot with faith in the Commercial World. Things like the correct brand of shoe, job title, and the ideal % of body fat become the guideposts on our map.

*** Maps ***

But some things must be understood about maps:
A map is not the landscape. You can not understand the Grand Canyon by studying a map of it.
Following the ten commandments will not make you happy or get you into Heaven. Any sacred teachings – whether religious or cultural – are just maps trying to point us to joy. They are fingers trying to point us to the moon. But as the Buddhist say, “Do not mistake the finger for the moon.”
This is especially important because of the second thing to remember about maps: They are not infallible – they contain all the innocent misunderstandings and malicious misleadings of those who made it.

Maps should always rank second behind our inner truth. Our inner heartsong. Our divine light. There is a tiny metal filing inside us that – when we tune into it – feels the gravitational pull towards Source.

Towards compassion. Towards love. Towards service.
Towards an awareness of being connected to all things.
Towards an awareness that Joy is the only guidepost to trust.

All maps. All external faith. All well-intended teachings.
Everything of the world must be seen as a finger pointing to the moon.
But it is the iron filing inside – and the pull it feels towards the moon – that is our ultimate compass.
Among all the distractions of the world, the gravitational pull of the moon seems miniscule. And without practice, it may seem to not exist.
But along your path you will meet people who feel that pull with absolute certainty. You will know them by the walk they walk and the peace in their eyes. Do not accept the words they say as truth – words are just maps. Let them be as helpful as they can be – and no more so.
This includes these words you are reading now.

The Buddha said to mistrust all teachings. He had the right idea. Or maybe he didn’t. Listen to your heartsong for the final word.

*** How ***

The process of amplifying your heartsong – and by that I mean the map as I see it – is one of Gratitude, Surrender, Acceptance, Love, and Service.

It starts – and continues – as a process of looking critically at your existing worldview. At first you may not know where to look because it feels the “The way it is,” But I assure you it is only a map so ingrained in you that it seems like truth. Start to ask, “Why do I want to do this? Why does this anger me? Why am I judgmental in this instance? What would be the risk of being more compassionate or generous in this moment?”

*** Media ***

Turn off your television. Remove advertising from your life as much as possible. The goal of advertising is to trick you into thinking that a product or service will help you towards the moon. And in order to do so, it must convince you that you are off track. You are not thin, rich, or clean enough.

Entertainment is not evil. But most marketing is.
Make no mistake, media is not your friend. And with the way that corporations and media are so intertwined and consolidated, the sophistication by which we are fed this misleading map is intense.

*** Baseline **

The world is amazing. It is filled with so many miracles that we stop seeing them. We adjust our baseline to think triumphs like running water and peaceful streets to be taken for granted.

Make primary goal re-adjusting your baseline. Reset your set point so that you can find joy in the common place. I assure you that bird song, blade of grass and sleeping baby you walked right by are as amazing and god-affirming as the grandest spectacle. Don;t let the media steer you into believing what they think is amazing.

Make gratitude lists. Share examples of gratitude with friends, or strangers.

*** Practice ***

Maybe you live in the woods, growing your own food with fertilizer made from your own excrement. If so, how are you reading this? Turn off the Computer and get back to your farm!)
But most of us choose to live – to some degree – in the modern world.

And by doing so we must work hard – and consistently – to fight back the tide of false maps. We must turn away from misleading media and turn towards our heartsong. We must spend time with books, lectures, people, sticky notes, meditations, yoga, nature, & lovers that remind us of truth and amplify the gravity of the moon.

Thank you for being an amplifier of my heartsong. Thank you for being a part of my journey and so many others’. Thank you for being your beautiful, perfect self. Thank you for growing into your divinity at your own perfect pace. Thank you for having patience with yourself and others. Thank you for having the courage to go within and trust yourself over all things external – especially these words.

I Love you.
Namaste.
-Halcyon , 10.21.11

Appendix 1: “Parts of my practice”
**Hug Nation archives
**Hug Nation live broadcast every Tues @1 & 6 pm PST
**Jacob Glass’s Happiness Boot camp.
**Halcyon’s Recommended Books / Lectures

Appendix 2: Buddha Quote
“Don’t blindly believe what I say. Don’t believe me because others convince you of my words. Don’t believe anything you see, read, or hear from others, whether of authority, religious teachers or texts. Don’t rely on logic alone, nor speculation. Don’t infer or be deceived by appearances.”
“Do not give up your authority and follow blindly the will of others. This way will lead to only delusion.”
“Find out for yourself what is truth, what is real. Discover that there are virtuous things and there are non-virtuous things. Once you have discovered for yourself give up the bad and embrace the good.”
– The Buddha

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Freya & B.

Freya & goddesses
Her transformation began weeks ago.
After the first day of Eve’s workshop I could already sense a shift in B.
Every Sunday for 6 weeks is a big commitment – but the commitment to the process was far more impressive.
The workshop was about discovering the goddess within through a process of study & dance. Finally culminating in a performance.
Each woman chose a different goddess from a different tradition.
B. choose the Norse goddess Freya early in the process. Freya called to her and quickly began to grow inside her.
It was such a gift to see B open up to her inner power over the following weeks.
She made costumes, selected music, and scripted an interpreted dance to tell the story of Freya.
But what opened inside B. was much more than a connection to a myth. It was a connection to her own power. A connection to Source.
2 months ago at Burning Man, B. & I did an interpretive dance performance. We were both nervous, but it went beautifully.
Last night’s performance was entirely different.
In fact, the term “performance” doesn’t fit. The women were not performing for an audience. They were channeling an experience – and allowing us to witness.
I don’t want to cheapen their displays with description – but they were amazing. I was humbled and inspired. As with previous Soul Voice performances I’ve seen, the feminine power shared was so raw and real – it transcended sexiness. They were erotic in a spiritual way. Our culture is so hung up on suppressed sexuality that we rarely see the sacred purity of feminine sexuality.
The dances may have involved female bodies – but they channeled divinity.
As I was pulled into the swirling energy of each woman I occasionally had the thought: These women walk among us?! How blessed life is.
B had shared with – many times over the last few weeks – her performance plan. I was impressed. She was so confident and grounded in the bold direction she wanted to go. I tried to be supportive as possible – to her process and her performance.
When it was her turn, I turned on the video camera and nervously watched her begin. 15 seconds in, the music stopped. the music had a technical problem. I about died. Helping her edit her song was one of the ways I had tried to help…and it looked like I may have ruined her night! The intimate crowd began to Om to fill the silence as B & Eve figured out the music challenge. A minute later, B began again.
I turned off the video camera.
I opened my eyes and heart.
And I saw the most beautiful woman I have ever met become something divine.
I feel so honored to have been allowed to witness such an evening with such a group of people.
Thank you Eve. Thank you, Freya. Thank you goddesses of our community.
Thank you, B. for all the magic and all the mundane.
I feel so blessed to share my heart & life with you.

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Burning Man 2011

This was my 14th Burn. Here are my reflections.

more sticker designs

PART1 : THE JOURNEY

This year’s journey started perfectly for me – with my RV breaking down.
The Hugmobile was sidelined with vapor lock just blocks from where it met the same fate last year. San Bernardino is apparently the Pink Bermuda Triangle.

But as dedicated students of Surrender, we rolled with it. We spent the day parked outside a drug dealers house and sweat through a 110 degree afternoon that was far hotter than anything Black Rock City would muster up later in the week. (To be fair, I’m making an assumption about his occupation based on the frequency of short, drive-up visits.)

Brandi gently mocked me as she fanned herself, “I saw a video last week where someone said that Burning Man starts the minute you get in the car.” Yep, nothing quite like getting your own words thrown back at you.

At one point the home owner came outside, eyes glazed and paranoid – to ask us for ID. I don’t blame him. I’ve seen enough TV shows to know that when a weird van parks in front of your house for an extended time, you are probably under surveillance. But by the time we had pulled away we had shared a six pack and been invited in for dinner. Burning Man had indeed begun.

When nightfall hit, we tried the 83 Winibego, again. Unsuccessfully. So AAA towed us back to San Diego. The exact same tow truck driver. The exact same 3 hour route. Exactly 1 year later. “Happy Anniversary!”

DSC00021

This year, there were no cargo vans available for rent in San Diego. So our crew of 4 scrambled to find a solution. We ended up sending our bikes up with friends and squashed what we could fit into (and strapped to the top of) 2 SUV’s. There is something
poetic about taking all of the items you’ve painstakingly organized into RV drawers, shelves and closets and then sweeping them roughly into black plastic bags. It’s like a organizational dust storm to jolt loose any last hold on expectations.

We drove all day, stayed the night in Reno, loaded up on supplies, and made it to Black Rock City one day behind schedule. But we were in good spirits. Saturday arrival is still well within the “Early Entry” period for large camp & art setup.

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When we arrived at our address at 9:30 & Esplanade, I was reminded that our actual journey began months ago. The shade structures had been assembled by our first arrivals, but our plot of land looked like a hurricane path. Boxes, bins, tarps, clips, lights, sculptures, and all manor of materials lay strewn about – ready for assembly. We had spent months planning, buying, and creating pieces of our pink oasis. Now it was time to see if the pieces would fit together.

It would be misleading to describe the setup process as “work.” It is more like setting the table for the dinner party of your life. You know the food will be amazing. You know the guests will be delighted. You can barely contain the excitement in anticipation of it all coming together. It is a shame that so many people show up for only the last few days of Burning Man… because it it the first few days – when everything is being built – that is the most magic for me.

Screen shot 2011-09-10 at 2.17.13 PM

While the city is being built, there is a special camaraderie. There is a pride as we all give our skills and brawn to create Utopia out of the barren desert. But there is also a humility – we are all of service to the larger ideal. We are all small pieces of something great.

PART 2: CAMP

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This was the second year of Pink Heart. While there are many groups of friends among the 85 of us, we are a diverse group. Most of us were drawn to the idea of the camp, rather than the group itself. Many of us met for the first time on the Playa. One of the mandatory camp requirements (in addition to financial dues and 2 pink pillows for the dome) is to write a heartfelt & vulnerable introduction. We all share who we really are. Not what we do – but who we ARE. And who we are becoming. It makes the road to Burning Man one of heart opening and connection. By the time we meet each other in the flesh, we already have a bond of the heart. Of all the things that I did as camp leader, this is the thing I am most proud of.

HUG by Dylan Akre

We came from England & all over the US. We were white, black, gay, straight, rich, poor, vegan activists & bacon lovers.

We spent much more energy this year on our private space & camp kitchen – with a mattress, couches, and tons of seating. It was almost always full of dusty smiles and drooling nappers. Often it was more active than our Esplanade public space. The camp meals were new this year and far more bonding than I expected. Seeing loving bonds grow between campmates as the week wore on was a beauty beyond description.

We had a 200×300 foot plot, and our gift to Burning Man was our frontage. We had huge pink shade structures. A plush-filled pink dome. Pink fur couches. Spires. Metal sculpture. A Water Bar with iced cucumber water…and until we ran out, coconut milk ice cream.

The camp mission was to facilitate an environment for heart opening-moments for the people of Black Rock city. Shade, comfortable seating, a view of the playa – and simple gifts of cold nourishment during the hot days. We wanted to be a lighthouse for body, mind and spirit. A place to recalibrate physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Burning Man 2011 - Rites of Passage

From the reactions of visitors, I think we did an amazing job. I know I felt wonderful in our fuchsia oasis.
Not only was the camp plan realized beautifully, but the individual efforts of Pink Hearters added to the magic in unexpected ways. Christian’s efforts to get the coconut milk ice cream were inspiring. Shawn and her husband made beautiful wooden heart pendant necklaces that delighted so many. And Rob’s remote controlled “Robot Drinking Fountain” was, quite simply, spectacular.

IMG_0088.jpg

PART 3: EXPERIENCES

My year was much less about wandering into adventures, and more about executing plans. (Or at least as much a “plans” can exist in Black Rock City.)
The camp, itself, was a big one. But so was my Tuesday night performance, a legal wedding, a Hug Nation & the Pink Ride.

Cocoon performance

On Tuesday night I performed “Cocoon.” My first every attempt at producing, choreographing, and dancing in a public performance. I always talk about how Burning Man is such a supportive environment that it allows you to express your quieted creative impulses. This experience allowed me to walk the talk – and stretch into some uncomfortable – but beautiful – places. Having a partner who encourages fantasies to be expressed, not to mention help them manifest, is one of the greatest gifts I can imagine.
Brandi & I rehearsed once in the default world, but the whole performance had a single rehearsal – on the night of the performance. I am truly blessed to have such amazing friends who brought their talents – and calming energy – to performance night. This was truly a rite of passage for me and I am forever in debt to everyone who – literally – made a dream come true.

Paul & Jawan's wedding

The Friday wedding was gorgeous. We arranged camp chairs into rows so that Jawan could walk the “aisle” in her gorgeous gown (with trail.) The guests, including the groom’s parents and favorite aunt, hummed “Here comes the bride” as we all stood.
Their vows brought me to tears. The groom’s mother shared loving words. But the highlight of the ceremony was when it was disrupted. Twice I had to stop the service because loud art cars were rumbling past with blaring beats. And twice the ENTIRE congregation stood and danced during the “disruption.” This was the moment I will remember most from this year’s Burn. A young couple, about to start a life together, stood nervous and excited. And when faced with a huge obstacle in their plan, they embraced it. They didn’t furrow their brow and wish things were different. They rolled with it and danced. May we all live like this…happily every after.

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Tuesday’s HugNation and Thursday’s Pink Ride were highlights – not just of the week – but of my life. I felt so connected. So in the Flow. I took my time and shared stories. I cried. I opened my heart. I received so much love back. I probably had more hugs than any other days in my life. I missed the “Who What Where” cutoff, so my events were not publicized. Everyone in attendance had to know about it in advance or make significant effort to be a part. The crowds were large, intimate, and amazing. After I spoke on thursday, as we all got on our bikes, I addressed the pink-clad crowd. I told everyone to say or think loving words and compliments at everyone we passed on the way to center camp. That ride was indescribable. I looked behind me to see 50? 100? more maybe? Tons of people dressed in pink, showering compliments. There was a visual and spiritual ripple of love trailing behind us. I had the thought, “I could die right now,” without a trace of morbidity.

THE LESSONS:

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Surrender is always a huge part of my Burning Man learning. While many lamented the car trouble of the Hugmobile, I saw it as a bon voyage gift from Grandpa. “Before you get to the Playa, let me make sure you REALLY understand the importance of surrender.” So many of my well-made plans evaporated with the vapor lock. I was in “float more” mode long before hitting the dust. Couldn’t be more perfectly timed.

I heard the term, “FOMA” (Fear Of Missing Out) lots this year. I had to face that fear quickly and decided that much of my energy this year would go into the camp needs, hosting the camp, and connecting with visitors. I could have been a better delegator, but in the end, I couldn’t have been happier with my choices. I missed out on more than ever. But I received in the most profound ways, too.

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“You can’t be liked by everyone.” I know this intellectually to be true, but it was the hardest lesson to embrace this year. Although 99% of my interactions this year were filled with gratitude and Love, I fixated on a few people’s perceptions that were less-than-favorable. I heard 3rd person that I was called arrogant & selfish by some and accused of creating a “cult of John” by another. Unfortunately, I never found out who in my camp was sharing those thoughts. I became self conscious in my camp’s private area – never knowing who of my campmates harbored negativity towards me. The knowledge affected my experience more than I would have liked. I doubt I would have changed my behavior much. I was deeply connected to my role of Service, and if that path rubbed people wrong I was – at least intellectually- okay with it. When a different person shared their frustrations to my face I was deeply grateful. They said, “I don’t want to make you feel bad, but….” I thought about their feedback, considered my motivations, and replied sincerely. “I don’t feel bad. Thank you.”

PANK!

Finally, I was encouraged & inspired. Such a huge part of my life consists of isolation and interaction via a digital terminal. I get emails with wonderful words, but the energetic jolt from a hug and eye contact is infinitely more powerful. I met people who not only read my book, but loved it! People that had bought many copies as gifts and one firefighter who read a little every night before bed. I met people who credited me with bringing them to burning man…which had then transformed their life. I met met people who felt their lives were happier and more joyful because of my influence. I met people who said I saved their lives. As I type this, I realize they are all just words, again. But something clicked for me. My work & passion had touched people in significant ways. I heard people speak about me as I have spoken about my most significant teachers. If my life of joyful service can have that impact, then my path is right. Then my insecurity and small thinking is not just a personal issue – it is impeding the divine that flows through me. I feel inspired to write more. To reach higher. To connect on a grander scale. But not as a quest for fame – from a role of service.

THE FUTURE:
andie grace

Jake & I have about 3 Terabytes of video footage and audio interviews from the week to go through. I fluctuate between immense excitement and being overwhelmed. I have a vague idea of what I wanted to create… but the Playa circumstances allowed what it allowed. Perhaps all this footage is just the beginning. Perhaps it was just a learning exercise. Or maybe I’ll find a way to tell the stories I want to tell and share the magic that has transformed me. That continues to transform me. At the very least, I hope I can convey the gratitude. Gratitude for every participant who is a part of the magic. Gratitude for the circumstances that allow me to participate in body, mind, and spirit. And gratitude to everyone who receives and supports my personal path of growth, expression and connection.

Thank you. I love you. Namaste.

-Halcyon

p.s. I’m also excited about the future because of the beta launch of a new social network I co-founded, Anybeat. It is built on Burning Man principles and lessons of community learned on the Playa. It is a huge project with huge potential. If you read this far, you can use this special invite code.) See you at Home.

Anybeat Bio

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