Monday, February 04, 2019

Do you believe in Ghosts?

I will tell this exactly the way it happened. Since it happened only moments ago this could be considered contemporaneous memorializing.  
I was sitting at the dining table with my iPad looking over lots of social media well wishes for my friend David Wylie who passed away yesterday. The sky was grey as waves of rain passed through the area.  I admit to feeling sad considering what seems to be an unusual number of friends who have passed away in the last year. 
Suddenly the French door to the patio flew open with such force I was afraid the glass had broken.  As I checked it out I was hit by the gust of wind that had blown the door open. It felt like some unseen intruder was attempting to force their way in.  The first person who comes to mind when I am experiencing something strange is Harry Anderson.  Without even thinking I said out loud, “Come on in Harry.” The wind continued to push against me.
Since David Wylie had just passed I said, “Oh,  and you too Roomie Goober Wylie. Come on in.” 
I then remembered  all the people in my life who were on that ethereal side of existence and I began to invite them all in.  “The door is open, Mom, Dad, Bob, Paul, Bradley, Mary, Joyce, Gerry come on in.” 
It seemed like an endless list of friends as I remembered those who had passed on recently. The wind continued to gust through the door until the last name had been spoken.  And as blustery as the wind was, it stopped. The wind chimes slowed and the smell of new rain filled the void and I shut the door.  I tried to remember if I had left the door ajar the last time the dogs went out... but couldn’t remember, it blew open very hard. 
I sat back down and woke my iPad from its sleep to see a picture of David “Roomie Goober” smiling back at me.  I looked away toward the den with an unfocused glaze thinking of all the departed friends and family I had called by name just the moment before.  There was suddenly a very loud buzzing sound as all the lights in the house dimmed. The dogs began to bark in fear.  Before I could even wonder what it was there was a flash and a boom that knocked all the electricity off leaving a very eerie silence. The only sound was a quick beep to let me know the security system had gone to battery power.  
I immediately thought that lightning struck the house so I ran outside to see if I could confirm it.  I saw my neighbors running out of their houses as well.  They confirmed they had experienced the same thing. The entire block was silent without electricity.  One neighbor said she would call the LADWP to report it.  In the middle of the wet street I walked to a neighbor a few houses the other direction.  He said he had been looking out the window and before the loud boom he saw a transformer spark with a blinding blue light.  I asked which transformer, and he pointed to the one at the corner of my property... the one I was standing under at that moment.  I jumped off the wet street into my yard for safety but also to call the LADWP.  I had my cell phone in my pocket, dialed the number but my phone was dead.  
I went back into the house to make sure  the computers were unplugged so they would not be damaged by a surge when the power went back on.  To my surprise it was already back on.  My son and his girlfriend, visiting from out of town, were bolted out of their room and were wondering what had happened as well.  My youngest son also showed up after working a shift and heading back to his house.  We told him our version of what happened and I set about checking the wifi.  I thought it had been knocked out but after a brief investigation  was working fine. It didn’t even have to reboot.  
I still could not make a call on my cell phone, so I used my land line to call LADWP.  After a couple of long waits on hold the girl said, there had not been any outages reported nor calls about service interruptions in my area.  All was normal, but she said if the power goes out or if I spotted a fire to call the fire department, have a nice day.  
The rain stopped and the clouds thinned to lighten up the mood.  Everything was back to normal except my cell phone service.  Perhaps our nearest cell tower had been affected.  Comparing my phone to the boys cell phones,  iPhones on the same service contract, theirs seemed to be functioning normally. Only my phone was not able to make or receive a call.  
I did everything I know to do, to a non working cell phone, the apps and the wifi were working, but there was no cell service... at all.  The bars would show full strength I would try to make a call and it would not ring.  I watched the top menu of the phone flicker from full bars to “no service”.  I tried to call my cell number from another phone, land line and cellular, I was able to leave a voice message but nothing went through to my phone.  
By this time I had cancelled my lunch plans and decided to take a trip to the Verizon store to see if they knew what was wrong with my phone.  As I was getting ready to leave my phone pinged, then pinged again.  I saw that I had two voice messages.  They were the ones I had left as a test a hour before.  The phone was suddenly in perfect working order.  
It rained hard for a minute, the sun came out and puffy white clouds framed a crystal blue sky. Our latest rescue dog immediately wanted to go outside and sit in a ray of the sun that was shining on the step of the door that flew open. He stayed there for quite some time, oh and the name we gave him is Harry.


Now I know that none of these things by themselves are particularly spooky, unusual nor or they a sign of anything.  Things happen and a case could be made that they are all generally related.  It’s just that they happened when my mind was on my friends who have made a transition to the other side. 
But... 
I have seen the movie “Poltergeist” way too many times.  I’ve seen what happens in that movie when they invited the other side into their house.
I am drawing no conclusions.... it is just the timing of everything that is “odd”. Or as the little blonde girl said...”They’re here...”
As you were,
Jay





Monday, January 21, 2019

Blood Moon Sunday - Blue Monday



I have never particularly tried to hide the fact that I suffer from depression. It runs in my family, particularly on my Mom’s side.  In those early days it was virtually dismissed and ignored by most of them, even the sever depressives. At least I have become aware of the potential of the problem and have tools available, chemical and therapeutical, that can help me manage.  I accomplish it fairly well and have learned methods to cope with it, but that submarine is cruising so close to the surface I can always see the periscope.  This comes as a shock to some friends with whom I have contact only when my moods are under control.  I rarely let my guard down in public or any social situation.  But that is enough of telling tales out of school.  

Because I was born between June 22 and July 22, I am a moon child by astrological birth. Even before I knew what depression was I associated my moods with the phases of the moon.  I knew just enough astrology to  erroneously think that the moon was to blame for my shifting feelings. 
So last night when there was to be a lunar eclipse, I associated it with my recent bout of anxiety. To make the event even more spectacular it was to be a “Wolf Blood Moon”.  I am not sure where the Wolf name originated but the blood comes from the color the moon takes on during the time the sun’s light reflecting off the surface is being shadowed by the Earth.  That color is red, which is the slowest moving wave of the spectrum. Partly out of curiosity and mostly out of distraction from my depressed mood, I decided to turn this eclipse into a ritual of observance.
When I turned to my StarWalk app last night to observe the position of the moon I realized the “Wolf Blood Moon” was occurring in the middle of my zodiacal sun sign, Cancer.  The symbolism was all there: my happiness, the fullness of the moon, was being diminished and turned to blood by the darkness, my depression,  by the shadow Earth.  And all of this was happening inside the very crab shell of my birth.  
Several years ago my sister gave me some Tarot cards of Lunar design, patterned after all things of the moon.  Last night, during the period of lunar redness, I took the deck outside and spread them face up on a flat rock in the front yard to be bathed in the mystic orange of the moon. (Note: I am almost sure that in one of my lives I was a Druid.  Elemental ritual comes almost instinctive to me). The ritual helped, it is always good to be pro-active during times of depression, anything to stay out of the squirrel cage of the downward spiral.  Ritual or not, what is wonderful about and eclipse is this: three hours after the moon starts to radically change its shape and color, it is back in full radiance. I went to sleep looking forward to the daytime when I could cast the Lunar cards and see what influence the Wolf Blood had on my Tarot reading.
As I woke I breathed a sigh of relief because I had made it through a cosmically symbolic depression and I was still here.  No sooner than I had turned on the radio to get the weather the DJ said,
“Well it is January 21, 2019, the third Monday in January known as Blue Monday. Psychologist say that the third Monday in January is traditionally a depressing day for most people.  They sight the full onset of winter weather, the length of time from the holidays and the seeming endless days til Spring.”  It seems that today is the day that everything catches up on North Americans to push their moods to the max.  With that in mind I’m sure  I need to wait at least another day before I do that ritualized Tarot reading for myself.  
All of this is to say, if you are feeling the least bit down about anything today... blame it on the moon, blame it on the calendar, blame it on your team losing, blame it on the cycle of the universe... just know one thing:  (it is what I am telling myself today). This too shall pass. As the moon begins to bleed and grow smaller we know that it will come back, it will be bright again. The night will become the day and sadness will become happiness.  In other words: 

As you were,
Jay





Wednesday, January 09, 2019

On Death

Let me say at the beginning, this narrative is not for everyone.  It was pointed out to me yesterday that one should write as if writing to one person. I have taken this to heart and here it is.  The personal audience for this missive will know who they are and why I am writing it.  To anyone else who is squeamish reading about death, dying and religion; maybe you should check out another blog.  I suggest  Chip Martins - Chip off the block  and you can thank The Dale Brown for making it available.
That said, you have been notified and metaphorically clicked the box that agrees with TWIAS “terms of agreement”. 

Rather than watch television speeches last night I went to Happy Hour at Larsens (my favorited neighborhood hang) with some dear friends.  The conversation wandered around every topic except politics. It eventually settled on “Death and Dying”.  One of my friends admitted to being afraid of the process and ultimate results of their own death.   In an effort to belay the fears of my friend I found myself expressing my own inner thoughts about the subject. The one thing that I am NOT afraid of is my own death. I wanted to re-express my feelings in “hard copy” to remind not only my friend but myself.  
It is hard to even mention death without touching on religion.  It is, however, the third rail in any discussion.  Death has been around a lot longer than any religion. People have been dying and seeing things die around them much longer than there have been savior surrogates.  Death has been a reality long before there were philosophies to even attempt an explanation.  To my thinking religion was created mainly to deal with the idea and result of death.  
My friend was raised Catholic.  I was raised Methodist, so most of what we know about the “afterlife” is a concept embraced and drilled into us  by the practitioners of these philosophies. And none of the people telling us how to get to heaven have ever experienced it before.  So what we have been taught about life after death is no more valid than what we know about Santa’s North Pole headquarters.  For my thinking, none of the Judo-Christian stories about heaven, hell and how you get there, make any logical sense. If there is only one thing I believe regarding Omniscience, it would be this: it operates absolutely.
To contemplate what happens after death you have to think about what we are when we’re alive. I do not believe like the “right to life people”  that life is created at conception.  If life is created when a human sperm and a human egg come together... then we should worship the sperm and the egg since they are capable of creating a human soul that lives forever.    Logic and science tell us that energy can  be neither created nor destroyed it simply changes form. I believe that is absolutely true of human life as well.  We “were” before this body and we “are” after this body has worn out.  The body is a vehicle used by our consciousness to explore the a physical universe.  It is the same as driving a car we use to get around.  A car is controlled by a human, but it is not the human.  Same idea with a physical body.  
Rather than a soul, I like to think of my identity as “consciousness”.  I believe my consciousness was around before I took over this body, and it will be around after this body wears out.  When my consciousness no longer embraces a physical body or relative universe it exists in a state of Absolute constant. In the state of Absolute, consciousness (man) and Omniscience (God) are codependent.  One can not exist without the other.  Omniscience is all knowledge (God) and consciousness (man) is the acknowledgement of all knowledge.  Knowledge can not exist without the “knowing” of its own existence.  Therefore God is always knowing and Man is always acknowledging, eternally. 
Why we need to be here on this level of human existence will not be dealt with in this blog.  I have my own theory but I have only a short time on this soap box.  With this writing I am only trying to explain to a friend that death is neither the beginning nor end of  life. As a caterpillar changes (dies) in one form the Butterfly appears (is born) in another form.  They are the same and they are completely different they are one but unrecognizable to each other.  I do not believe that a caterpillar can only change into a butterfly because a butterfly who lived 2000 years ago died “for” all other caterpillars.  
That is “mystory” you may feel differently... someday we will all know the truth. 
As you were,
Jay

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Looking Back

I have been writing this blog since 2006.  It was a daily contribution for several of those years. It started out as a memorialization of my adventure with “Jay Johnson: The Two and Only” as it ambled its way to the Helen Hayes Theater. For a while it seemed like so much was happening surrounding me and the show that it was impossible to write about it all.  That New York adventure culminated in a Tony Award and I received positive confirmation on the “writing” of the show book. 
Thirteen years later, after a year  defined by the number of good friends I’ve lost, I have developed a weird kind of writers block.   I realized after almost a life time of introspection that I am at heart a story teller.  In fact we are all story tellers and even describe our past as History (to be gender neutral Thestory). We look around us and take possession of the thoughts, dreams and ambitions with which we want to be aligned.  Some are better at expressing “thestory” than others, but we all have a tale to tell.  I have tried to figure out what is causing the block and I have come to the conclusion that it is not a problem with writing.... it is a problem of inspiration.
Ultimately it is not ones ability to structure a story that causes a writers block it is a failure to see the story unfolding in your life.  Over the past year I have unconsciously overlooked so many things to write about it would fill a blog for the next 13 years.  It is that block.  It’s as if my  grief has calcified into an obstacle that obsures my reason for writing.  I was telling my story to the very people who are now gone.  I still have things to write about but no one to tell the story to. It is like preparing to do a show in a theater that is empty. 
Knowing this does not help.  In fact giving reason to a problem makes the problem real.  I have been told I should just think of those who have departed as still reading the blog. However, since they are no longer on this plain of existence, they already know what I would be saying,  so why go to the trouble? (Note: I have a similar problem with prayer.  How can I presume to tell Omniscience something it does not know, nor can I suggest a solution Eternal Knowledge would not do without coaxing. Who is man that he would attempt to inform Infinite Knowledge of anything?)
A story teller needs a listener, a show needs an audience and an artist needs patrons.  Although art is created for its own sake it  only transcends when it is acknowleged.  I have a garage full of personal journals and old sketch pads which will all be junk to recycle when I leave this plain.  The question of whether any of it is art or just the raw material to make something else is moot. 
This is a new year and my resolution is to get back on the writers horse and try to ride it again.  I have no idea where the ride is taking me nor even if this horse is truly trained.  I’m just tired of being afraid to get out of the barn and see what is out there.
Here is a parable that seems appropriate.  
There is a man who builds a house on a hill  to have a 180 degree view of the ocean.  He loves this view of God’s handy work and finds peace and happiness each time he looks out his window.  One night there is a huge earthquake.  The house is built on a rock and other than some minor breaking of fragile glass items the house remains sound and intact.  As day breaks the man looks out his window to see that a large mountain has pushed its way out of the ground and towers above the standing hills.  It totally obscures the ocean view he once had.  The peaceful and beautiful view of the ocean he once enjoyed standing at that window is now gone. 
The man was religious and looked to his Bible for help.  He finds this verse which seems to be perfect, Mark 11:23 “22“Have faith in God,” Jesus said to them. 23“TrulyI tell you that if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and has no doubtin his heart but believes that it will happen, it will be done for him. 24Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
The man begins to pray that this mountain obstruction to his happiness be ‘lifted up and thrown into the sea’.  He prays this way every night and every day when he wakes up the Mountain is still there.  He believes, he asks, he prays but the mountain stays in place but every day the man expects his prayer to be answered.  
One day as he wakes to look out the window he sees that the mountain is still there.  He notices how the sun casts a shadow of ultraviolet blue on the side  which seems to move and make room for the beautiful glow of the morning sun to burst on the lovely green grass. The mountain is so majestic and strong while at the same time soft and engaging.  The man felt happiness and peace in this beautiful view.  It was the answer to his prayer.
As you were,
Jay 

Saturday, November 10, 2018

What is the Truth?


Knowing that we humans only see part of the light spectrum, it is logical that other vibrations bombard us as well. Feelings are sometimes stimulated by frequencies or vibrations that do not register consciously.  I think there must be a frequency for the Truth that humans can feel, vibrating somewhere near their hearts.  I have always assumed this metaphysical  pulse vibrated and stimulated everyone in the same way but that assumption is under scrutiny.

As a matter of clarity and openness I will admit I believe TRUTH is a quality/synonym for God, but I wish to avoid any discussion of  religion.  Religion is the great divider of the Human spirit, especially today.  Although the world could probably come together with a concept of Spirituality, Religion materializes the abstract with human rules that have nothing to do with Spirituality. I have never believed an Omnipotent, Omniscient Being would require anything of a material nature to be acknowledged. But as stated earlier, this is not to be a discussion of Religion. I am just word smithing the absolute Spiritual concept we call Truth.  

The search for “TRUTH” in the name of Truth itself is the only thing that separates man from animal. The journey for Truth is a spiritual quest to find that constant, recognizable, accepted frequency felt by consciousness that is True (Absolute).  Our language is filled with images connecting frequency and  Truth. Metaphors like “felt right” or it “rings true”  and “clear as a bell” suggest a vibration or frequency for Truth. Unfortunately we have only words to explain the Truth and words, at best, are inadequate. 

I think the average person can distinguish Truth from Falsehood if they feel rather than think.  The problem is these feelings are subtle and can not be felt when bombarded with stronger negative vibrations.  It is akin to trying to hear someone talk in a loud room,  the mass of negative vibrations drowns out the tempo of Truth. Today more than ever ideas that pose as the Truth circulate the globe with electronic wireless speed.  It is easy to miss that frequency of the Truth in the pollution of erroneous vibrations.  It would be like trying to hear Brahms Lullaby played at the same moment and volume as gangster rap. Loud and threatening always trumps quiet and safe. (Symbolic verb choice acknowledged) 

No one is trying to feel the Truth nor are we even listening.  We engage in dialogue only to state our own opinion,  prove ourselves right or just to counter punch.  There is no way to distinguish the Truth if you see the messenger as Liberal or Right Wing, Black or White, Rich or Poor or just see them as “other”.  Truth is quiet and strong, Lies are loud, big and empty.  Truth is absolute, Lies are temporary.  I am continually baffled by people who, for the most part, are dedicated to living the Truth but support a leader who can be proven over and over again to be a liar.  

Thanksgiving is in two days.  The Truth is, I am benefactor of so many wonderful blessings I will forget to be thankful for the simple things I take for granted, even the freedom to write this essay. If the continuing fearful rhetoric has drowned out our ability to “feel” the Truth then we need to change our receiver to find the frequency of Truth.   
Happy Thanksgiving.
As you were,
Jay








Thursday, October 11, 2018

Life is NOT like the Movies


There was a behaviorial experiment that involved mice.  An ordinary group of mice that were getting along very well together,  were bombarded with constant irritating stimuli.  Select frequencies of sound, unpleasant to rodents, played loudly in the lab. The bottom of the cage where the mice lived was electrified and the mice would receive a non lethal shock at various times.  There was no change in their feeding schedules, they were well nourished in a common cage.
The constant irritation and unpleasant stimulation took a toll on the mice over time. They became aggressive and fought with each other but not over territory nor food which was plentiful and accessible.  With constant agitation and no let-up  the mice were driven to kill each other.  Think about that for a moment. 

Because most of our culture and mor├ęs come from the mythology of our stories, we are accustomed to having problems solved in a reasonable time. Not real problems... story problems.  A half hour comedy is about the average time we will stay focused to resolve a story.   We want to see Heroes redeemed and villains punished quickly.  It’s a happy feeling when the universe balances itself even though the universe is imaginary. That’s what a happy ending IS.

But life is not like the movies. Or is it.  Unfortunately today that line is being blurred as our modern day life is being covered like it was a movie.  Technology is everywhere. Everyone has a camera with sound and video filming life happening and it is being broadcast to millions instantly. Most of our day is spent being recorded either privately or publicly    Today Sheakspear would probably write, “The world is a MOVIE and all are mere players.”   

So we have a reality show star as a President.  It would appear that his sole purpose is to create drama with himself at the center.  There are villains and heroes in his drama but there is no end.  The 24/7 wall to wall political coverage is unrelenting. It is constant irritation with no hope of slowing down or stopping.  Like the mice in the experiment, this constant state of stress causes chemical and psychological changes in our physiology as well.

The mice had no way to control the stimulation that made them aggressive.  We humans do have the control and we are intelligent enough to understand that the stimulation is adversely affecting us in the same way as the helpless experimental mice.  Science has informed us that we must cut down on the consumption of irritating stimuli. However, the same group that denies humans play a part in climate change will also deny the viability of any science they disagree with including this one. 

Here is what I propose.  A DAY WITHOUT POLITICS...especially any story, punchline or outrage that involves the ringmaster of incompetence, Donald J. Trump.  Admittedly a single day will not do much.  A week, a month or, please God, a year would be enough to show a definite correlation between Trumps manic desire for attention, and violence.  Let’s shun and ignore Trump.  As a classic narcissist Trump, does not care about being President, he only craves the attention he gets as President.  Not giving him any publicity much less the attention he lives for will upset him “biggly”, and while we are accomplishing that good deed we will absolutely be healthier for it.  

It is a pipe dream that the US press would or could ever ignore Trump and members of his Reich for a day much less any longer.  But I can ignore him for as long as I want to.  The television also has an off switch, and I can set my iPhone to ignore “notifications”.  I can forego Facebook for at least a day, and recover a portion of my sanity. 

I choose November 22, as the “DAY WITH OUT TRUMP”.  That happens to be the anniversary of the assassination of John Kennedy.  Nothing symbolic about the day, it is just a date that I will never forget.  I can think of no day in my lifetime that changed politics more than that single day in history, so it is relevant. 

I am not starting a #daywithoutTrump and have no real desire to go viral with this idea. Trump has become, to those who hate him and love him, an addictive habit as hard to quit as any drug.  There is no way the country will go cold turkey to quit him.  As for me, I’m going to give it a try.  I might lose some of my manufactured hate and be able to think of good things for a change. 
As you were, 
Jay

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Halloween ZEN



It is officially Halloween season, although I saw Christmas decorations for sale at Macy’s today,  can we please celebrate my favorite holiday before we have to think about Christmas.  Halloween is exactly one month away.  Perhaps with all the division in our country right now, we can forget our differences and all come together for Halloween.  

Halloween is a great holiday.  Perhaps it is not so much an official holiday as it is more of a custom or cultural tradition.  Whatever Halloween is, it always occurs at my favorited time of year.  I have done more than my share of thinking about Halloween.  Ventriloquism and Halloween are forever linked in my mind and life as a performer. (If you own a Theremin , you should play it now. It would fit the mood. ) 

With a lot of study and several decades of Halloweens in my past, I have come to a steadfast principle for humanity.  

There are only two kinds of people in the world, Those people who love Halloween, and those people you shouldn’t associate with.   

Who doesn’t like some aspect of Halloween?  They hook you as a child.  You dress up... and strangers  give you candy just for repeating a simple chant. My traditions for Halloween are particular and well ingrained in my habits.  

Halloween (for me) is gothic horror and dark magic,  not Casper the Friendly Ghost- Halmark card-cute. My apologies to all you who like to dress up like fairies and princesses. I prefer sensual vampires and mystic sorcerers.  But this darker slant on Halloween does not mean that everyone must celebrate the season my way. That is the best thing about Halloween, every person is free to celebrate in any way as much or as little as they wish.  There are no religious requirements nor family togetherings required. Just candy.


There have been some ugly things going around all media's particularly social, lately.  But it seems we can’t agree on what is ugly and inappropriate. It depends which side you are on.  I have contributed to this cesspool of negativity, so here is a picture to celebrate Halloween season.  



As you were,
Jay