Wednesday, 2 October 2013

More Extinction Please

Read it here or listen to it here

My travels have taken me past a two recurring themes - Dinosaurs and Octopi. I’ve seen lots of both in lots of places. I suppose when you travel with one you tend to notice the others around too. And that’s Hairy the Eighth - my orange travel pal – I am talking about not the Gherkmobile my old green Subaru. Which as you can see here, has acquired a lot of “Houding”* but is still of this century so NOT a dinosau. 

* Houding – Afrikaans word meaning (by my definition) the act of ‘being wood’. Sort of what wood does. But it refers to having cool character, a bit like Jeff Bridges’ The Dude and not like Keanu Reeves’s acting.

I did feel a little Jurassic in my ways when I stayed at the Earthships ( in Taos, New Mexico – super extraordinary. Why am I (and the rest of the planet) still so reliant on fossil fuels? It was incredible to see an alternative way of living. These houses are the embodiment of my visions for my own fantasy home. Not only are they superb for the planet by way of sustainability, off the grid but still on the web, they’re houses with sexy curves, a colour pallet I appreciate and in a climate that gives me so much energy. I came for 2 nights and stayed 5. Many thanks to Mme Jedellicious for ensuring my journey included these inspirations.   

Anyway along the way I also encountered these old dinosaurs. And found myself wishing that all of their kind were extinct. And that wasn’t a ‘real’ wish – that is, my telling you that doesn’t mean it won’t come true! Because one day it will, all the world’s tanks will be as fossilized as these.  

Near the Earthships, I met a young man (Shann) on the bridge over the Rio Grande (scene of previous adventures on the film Paul in 2009) selling crystals. We had a very nice connection and I had dinner with him and his girlfriend Rio at their house in the middle of nowhere yet randomly near a beautiful Buddhist Stupa… some of his final words to me was suggesting that one might increase one’s fuel efficiency by strapping a double-terminated crystal to one’s fuel line. Given that I have just driven 7000 miles and have another 1000 miles to go it seems a super appropriate moment (in the interests of Science) to test such a theory and get a side-by-side comparison. Consequently I really do remain In Pursuit of Magic. Crystal Magic!

I’ll write a full report, as unscientifically as I can, and submit in the days to come.

Much love

Doctor Lobster

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Magical Note of Compassion and other news

Listen to it here

While cycling the streets of cool East Village in the boiling New York City summer, I had to make way for a surly, growly, muttering, hard-nosed junky-nutter making his belligerent way across the street like some hell-bent alcoholic Taliban, determined on unpleasantness. Alarmed by his negativity I gave him a wide berth. 

Beyond him on the far side of the street were 4 emo NYU students, 3 girls and a guy. Only recently of this world and young enough to still know everything - just kids, just hanging. As I passed them I heard the girl closest the street, slightly separated from the herd, declare, tearfully, “He’s ruined my day”. Something about wanting to right an injustice popped in me. I looped around and cycled straight back to them. She backed away from me as I came closer, very cautious she was, once bitten twice shy for sure.

I halted and asked “I could not but overhear, did you say he ruined your day?” pointing at the Nutjob, who was at this point ruining a cyclist’s day further down the street.

“Yes” she said
“Totally” the rest exclaimed.

To which I cheerfully replied - “Well I am here to change that and reverse your unfortunate fortune. I have here a thing almost unique.”

And pulled from my pocket my wallet, and from my wallet a folded bill.

“I have here a –“ -  “2-dollar bill!” finished the lone male in the pack.

“Yes – it is and legal tender too. But see here, on it is stenciled the words ‘In Pursuit of Magic’. And you can have it. Hopefully it will make your day”

She, with dropping jaw, “Can I keep it?”

“Of course”, I said as I cycled off, “Changing the world one smile at a time…” and on my way I went. I’ve done this sort of gifting thing a few times and feel its best to give the gift and begone so the gift remains just exactly that, free from any other expectation or conversation. That they may just marvel at the arbitrary and funny nature of life’s vagaries and what comes from hanging on the streets of New York.
As I left they stared and laughed and I felt good for being a random act of kindness. Until I remembered what compassion is really about and that while my time was well spent with these few it would’ve been better spent had I given that magically transformed note and charitable action to the grumbler who is clearly in a far worse way and knoweth not the harm he does himself by harming others.

Yes of course such an attempt may’ve ended badly for me but this brings to mind the decisions we make in life. What we choose to do, the meaning we bring into our lives. The things we find worthwhile. One of the hardest things in life is not to be seen. To be ignored. Living in solitary confinement on the streets of the city. It is a brutal thing. Aside from execution, solitary confinement is the worst punishment our society can think up. So giving a person on the fringes of society time and attention serves us well in our own attempt to find equanimity with everything. Helping yourself by helping others...

 And on a completely different note here is some news... 

That all happened in NYC recently after my many weeks in Montauk. All of which were very well spent giving attention to words, waves and the steady stream of amazing folks that wander through one’s life.

But now, dear Reader – you find me in holed up bandit-like in Spearfish, South Dakota en route across the USA to LA via Burning Man. I have already aided in the digging up of a dinosaur bone, suffered a front differential leak, covered 2000 miles through 10 states (minor brushes with the law in 4 of them), broken ribs instead of bread with an old friend and her family, written love in light, run around Devil’s Tower and as soon as I send this I am off on a hike to who knows where but I bet I’ll see something exquisite in this pleasant land!

Devil's Tower (seen in Paul!)

Devil's Tower Up-close

Devil's Tower Close-up

Plastered up for transportation

Yes it’s been a dream of mine to drive across the States. And that’s the thing about dreams. If you have ‘em, it’s a great idea at some time to turn them into a reality. Then the Universe can do things to you far beyond your wildest imagination! 

Hey ho, let’s go… me, my Gherkmobile and an Octopus, In Pursuit of Magic! Go West Young Man. Go West. And a bit South…

Love and light

Octopus trying to get attention

Monday, 1 July 2013

Changing the World - One Smile at a Time

One Smile at a Time (that sounds like Once upon a time... good way to start this particular tale)

Read on or listen to it here.

I haven’t written a lot lately. And sometimes it has been said to me that I don’t seem to write that much ‘news’ about my life when I do. This time I will as it’s partially a mission statement.

Emotions are things that happen to us. They arise and either stay or go. I don’t choose to feel love, gratitude, jealousy etc. Either I do or I don’t in just the same way I never chose to like avocado’s more than capers but I do - oh so much. Thankfully one does have some ability to temper our responses to our emotions but we can’t control their occurrence within us.

I have a lot to be grateful for. And while reflecting on my day-to-day life recently, I was struck by the relative scarcity of spontaneous upwellings of the gratitude emotion within it. This bothers me. Why aren’t there more? Am I taking things for granted? Is it a ‘not so subtle’ consequence of an old pattern of always seeing the negative in a situation? Or a more subtle response to me trying to maximize or improve a situation and thereby not accepting the beauty inherent in the moment?

One manifestation of this is my apparent inability to consistently remember to give thanks before ingesting something. To say grace if you will. Such a simple thing to do and such a good reminder of Gratitude but I just forget and forget again while rushing ahead to scoff the wares in front of me.

But when I think of people smiling out there in the world because of something I did then I do feel good and grateful.

So I can conclude that I’d like to positively affect the lives of people - ideally in fairly large numbers. And that means putting a smile on the faces of a lot of people I don’t know.

It is generally easy to make someone smile. Smiles are free so for the most part people are quick to offer them. Yes, there are false smiles and folks smile while confused or upset or just to be polite. All of that is fine. It’s not for me to reason why – I just get a warm fuzzy whenever I do make someone smile.

To succeed in entrepeneurship one has to sell or provide a product to many people one has never met, never will meet and barely have anything in common with. Similarly I want to create the hope in my life that I have added a smile to the dial of many-a-folk I just won’t ever know.

To do this I have to increase my creative output and acquire a broader audience through a product. I have actually met each of you that I mailed this to. Please don’t begrudge a desire to go broader and send missives into the further reaches of wider humanity so that I can believe that I have caused many more smiles than I know about. And as a result feel good myself!

Here is what I am doing. Taking time off from doing VFX on movies in order to write more.

I am in Montauk on the Eastern tip of Long Island, New York State. I have rented a 3-bedroom house with friends Warwick, Patricia, Darren and Deia plus their kids Zoe and Leon. They’re largely there on weekends and I’m largely there all the time. I will be here for most of the summer, ending it by driving across the USA to Burning Man. 

My hope is to spend a lot of time writing, some time surfing and a bit of NO-thing.

I’m planning a routine in order to provide some structure so I don’t treat it purely as a holiday. Also life is what happens to you while you’re busy making plans. So make lots!
Here's the routine:
* Breach the surface of this world from the Ocean of Slumber
* Write my free-flow, mind clearing, dream-catching Morning Pages
* Stand on my spiky Veda mat to invigorate and aid a rapid awakening
* Meditate purely on my breath and the sensations present in my body
* Do a spot of Neuro-linguistic programming in the form of ‘Recycling’
* Handwrite the acquired set of positive affirmations into my visual diary.
* Sacrifice something to the great Stomach we all live to serve
* Do some exercise. 
* Write, write, write
* Then and only then check my email before writing again.

And if I’ve been really good… then I can check the cricket scores.

Those images are 3 consecutive days from my meditation rock - varied!

I’ve mined a lot of experiential ore over the years. Now is the time to smelt it and extract the precious bits so that something of delight and use can be made and shared with the world.

Man has long yearned to turn base metal into gold, so I’m seeking to turn base experience into literature. Drawing it from myself may prove tricky with all the distractions modern and traditional I allow into my life. I hope I do. This is an honest attempt at providing meaning to my existence.

It’s taking aim at it being a book. My working title - the same as my blog - Mountains & Valleys. Doctor Lobster’s Practical Guide to Equilibrium in the Innerverse. 

It has a fable part, a theory part and an appendix of fun and challenges. Maybe.

And even if it all ends up the literary equivalent of karaoke at least I will have given myself the opportunity to live life and do more of what I’ve said I wanted to do. 

Much Love

Doctor Lobster

If you’re gonna be a cowboy, ride the waves and cross the states, you gotta have a horse so to aid my quest I’ve joined the dark green sexy car brigade ala David, Jonty and Domenique. Huzzah!