What’s in a drone?

I had seven people come to the didgeridoo class last class, a record high. I don’t want to make too much of it, but there does seem to be an increase in interest in the instrument. Many people are learning to play to alleviate their sleep apnea because the circular breathing needed to play the instrument exercises the muscles at the back of the throat that tend to collapse during episodes of sleep apnea. I sometimes wonder if the high numbers of people who have sleep apnea could be a wake up call (so to speak) and an incentive for more people to learn to play the instrument and get that vibe into the world. The didgeridoo vibe is such an antidote to the high levels of anxiety that is rampant these days in this culture.

I believe we have taken headiness, linear thinking, logic, mind chatter to its apex and that more of the same will not get us where we need to go. Some people’s response is to want answers and they are often led by the most uncompassionate voices out there. Maybe instead we could learn how to empty out, listen, quiet ourselves, live in don’t know, and to allow room for wisdom to be heard. I am convinced that wisdom does not come from more and more information or fancy ways of arranging that information.

Aren’t you tired of being the only “rational” beings in the universe so that it falls on our shoulders to fix everything? Aren’t you tired of trying to control every damn thing? Maybe we could go back to the blank slate, to stillness and start over without the idea that we need to know everything. All we really need to know—and this has been proven time and time again—is that we are all connected and what happens to you affects me and vise verse so that some version of the Golden Rule must apply. And that we are all connected to the rest of the natural world and to all those who have lived and all those future beings on their way here.

So ask for help. Get very quiet and listen. I won’t be writing for a few days since I am going on a silent retreat in the woods. See you when I return!


Photo by Judy Chew

September 11

I am away from the internet so I won’t be able to post this until I return but I wanted to write it anyway. I remember on the 10th anniversary of 9-11, I said that I was glad ten years had gone by and that maybe now we were far enough away that we could think of the metaphoric meanings of the event instead of get caught over and over in the horror.

That the twin towers could be seen as a figment of our culture’s imagination that has led to believe that we can get as far away from the earth as possible and do our business around the world from that precarious position. That they were twins, could be seen as the way we have divided up the world into two’s—mind and body, male and female, right and wrong, us and the natural world, win and lose, day and night, life and death, me and you, white and black… And that we divide and then conquer with elevation of one side over the other, holding one side down, making it wrong, dirty. And they both go down and we have a chance to start from ground zero, a blank slate.

Strangely, when we look at it this way, it does not matter as much who did it—just that it was done and that we don’t have to repeat the mistake. We haven’t seen the end of this emergency call, this 911. We can only begin to see its meaning as time goes by and we can look back on it with less acute pain. Birds flying into the mechanisms of war and commerce, and killing 3000 humans at once and traumatizing and a city and a nation.

Whatever happened to humility? We have so many religions that teach us that humans do not know it all and yet our culture acts as we do. Where is the room for divination and mystery? We write off ancient indigenous wisdom as superstitious and ignorance and then go on about our lives, controlling, dominating, predicting, controlling. We Know so much and yet we don’t even know What the Robin Knows (see JonYoung.org) . What if we acted out of knowing our place in the world, in the natural world, such that our behavior was modified by what we heard and saw around us, so that we kept balance in that world—not splitting everything up into twos, but keeping everything whole and holy?

The following is from the novel I am currently working on called Here After. It is a quote from an Aboriginal character from Australia: “Americans believe that we Aborigines are superstitious and ignorant. Primitive. But we know something they don’t—that ceremony and ritual are to keep us humble so our big brains do not do everything they are capable of without consulting the rest of the world, the ancestors, the animals. We have ceremonies because we do not walk alone.”


Words, Words, Words

After watching many of the speeches at the conventions, I feel like quoting Shakespeare:

“Truth, sir, I can yield you none without words; and words have grown so false, I am loth to prove reason with them.”

This comes from Twelfth Night which incidentally I saw performed last week at the Hyde Street Pier at Fisherman’s Wharf in SF. It was a fabulous performance that I highly recommend. We followed the troupe around as they performed it, starting with a scene that takes place after a shipwreck. The actor literally walked out of the Bay! Though it can be cold (bring layers) and more standing than some would like (bring portable chair), it is well worth it. Beautifully done by a troupe called We Players, and so unique. If you have any visitors in town, do find a way to get them there. It plays into October on Friday and Saturday nights and matinees on Saturday and Sunday. The evenings are steeper in price since they include some food and drink. Sunday matinee is when you can come and pay less. For info, click here.

The clown has some great lines like the one above and there is gender bending and farce and lots of reflection on the human condition. Comedy, my friends, so that we do not cry. And even though it is not Hollywood, it all works out in the end.

Maybe silence and art are key now. I have decided not to go to a conference on eco-feminism that will feature the work of Marti Kheel, my good friend who died last November. Philosophy was once my way and now I find it cold and uninspiring. Going to the conference seems like a step backwards for me. If only the words led to somewhere outside the words but they tend to be self-referential, an exclusive party where nature, ancestors, spirit, mystery are not invited. For me in so many ways (ironically, just as I start a blog–joke’s on me), words have grown so false…


I am a founding member of the Bay Area Daré, a monthly sacred gathering for peacemaking and healing that convenes in East Oakland. It is open to anyone (BayAreaDare.com). The council question this past Sunday was “What are you listening to and what are you doing in response to what you hear?”

I spoke about how I wish I was listening to the green ants sing–this is something Aboriginal people could do and maybe some still can. Green ants are particularly tuned into the electromagnetic grid of the planet and by listening to and watching them, the Aboriginal people could also align themselves electromagnetically. To hear them sing, though, you must get so quiet, quieter than you have ever been before. I am practicing listening to the smallest voice in the natural world (check out Jon Young).

I talked Sunday about how whenever I hear people on the left or the right who carry a certain frenetic energy in their demeanor, I cannot listen anymore. I know they feel an urgency to speak, but that very energy makes it impossible for me to listen. Maybe I am now listening more to energy than to words. Or energy first, then words.And there are energies that I would rather not entertain in my field and many that I invited in readily.

I’d like to open it up to anyone out there who is listening. What are you hearing and how are you responding?

Along somewhat related lines, I am helping to support a new move about play called, “Seriously:a movie about play.” See a clip here . Emma Goldman, a serious activist said, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” I think the green ants are singing and most likely dancing. Let’s generate that kind of energy in our world!