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Envisioning the Future You Want

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Daily Blog

The Darkness

     I’ve become practiced in prayer. That wasn’t part of my plan. It isn’t a residue of my design, but instead is a lucky spark of light of which I’ve become a tiny part.

     What kind of town is this? It’s both a blessed and cursed place full of unique artists and crippling expenses. There’s a darkness that lives here that is deeper than night, more horrible than death. It rears its head in surreal moments of tragedy and steals our peace. It is a murdering force, a mental illness that knows no bounds, that respects no god, that fears no fate. It was there in the senseless mutilation of Shannon Collins by a mentally ill man who fell through the cracks in the system. It was there in the horrific murder and rape of Maddy Middleton by an emotionally disturbed teen. It is there in uncounted and untold crimes against invisible people hated for being homeless or immigrant.

     There’s no easy explanation for these types of darkness. There’s no apparent cure. There’s no given way to understand. All we can do in the face of this insatiable malevolence is to pray and shed tears.

     Tonight, I will pray for my friend Robbie who has suffered a major stroke and is in the hospital at Stanford in the ICU. His stroke was not a result of this darkness, but it brings it to mind because he has long been one of my sources of light, one of my bright spots. His humor, his ability to bear witness, to welcome people who were different into his life and work has been an inspiration to all who have known him.

     Today is a day devoted to love, and so I will pray with all the light of love I can find in my heart for this man’s soul and recovery.

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Hungry for Love

Thinking about the #WaterProtectors on this day dedicated to love, during the Hunger Moon-the coldest month of the year in this hemisphere. Only through our desire to respect the environment will we overcome the significant challenges we face. Now is the time for renewable energy. Now is the time to let go of fossil fuels. No more pipelines. No more tar sands. Solar, wind, hydro and bio-energy are more than adequate to fulfill our energy needs. Now is the time. Let’s make a change. Barney had this idea that if everyone on the planet thought the same thing at the same time, then anything could happen. I believe it is true. We’ve never been more divided and we’ve never had more reason to come together.

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Power Like Water

The Oroville dam is about to bust. Somewhere near 180,000 people had to be evacuated, but that is just the start of the problems. People are losing their homes and there’s no telling how far that water will spread once it is set free. Water is like power is like money. It flows freely and seeks its own level. It is only with major acts of engineering or natural acts of geography that it is ever stored in one place in large amounts. So many of the tragedies we see today are actually symptoms of deeper problems, of engineered imbalances. Building border walls is like building nuclear power plants is like building dams: all bad ideas with consequences nobody wants to experience. Meanwhile, here in little ol’ Santa Cruz the morning was preceded by flash bombs and helicopters. Was it a raid in the planning for 5 years designed to arrest truly violent gang members, or was it a raid on immigrants without the right legal paperwork?
One day, sometime not too far away, this cave will collapse. It kinda makes you appreciate it more when you think of that.

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Creativity and Media

 

Surface Tension part 1

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Vintage Stories

The Blues are back. Santa Cruz is one of its unlikely new homes. How do these things happen? How do cultural scenes coalesce? Bigger than the sum of its parts, a cultural movement is the product of people who will it into being. JJT.15.April.2016.blog-6Big Jon Atkinson is a large part of the reason why the Blues is prominent in Santa Cruz, these days thanks to Larry Ingram, owner of Aptos St BBQ and Mission St BBQ. Larry is the huge force behind this development, bringing Christopher “Preacher Boy” Watkins, Big Jon Atkinson, and a deep pool of legendary Blues talent on board. Larry has live Blues music in both restaurants 7 nights a week from 6-8. Big Jon and Larry have been JJT.15.April.2016.blog-7My last two art exhibitions have had the Blues as part of their theme, explicitly and implied through tone. The first was a series of experimental paintings with poems that was entitled “Pogonip Blues.” It was a series inspired by the idea of the Blues expressed visually and with words, in response to things that were happening around the world and here in Santa Cruz. The next extended series I worked on was entitled “Dark Fields, Bright Spots.” The Blues have historical roots in the US American South, but they speak to a universal spirit of resilience in the face of uneven odds and challenging times.JJT.15.April.2016.blog-8

Remedies for the Body

There’s a lot to think about, these days. Being thoughtful is usually considered a good thing and in an age of phone-scrolling zombies all too rare. Mindfulness, we mainly agree, is a technique that everyone could use a little more of. We can’t forget about the body, though. Sometimes, it’s ok to let go and let the body have its time at the wheel. That’s one of the goals of meditation and one of the effects of beer; freedom from mental slavery.JJT.15.April.2016.blogPhysical discipline is also a path to freedom. Every kinetic form has its own unique ways of getting the body to grow dominant during the time of practice. It’s not just about building the body in a pleasing form, but attuning the mind to the body and giving the body control in relation to the mind.JJT.15.April.2016.blog-2Medical Cannabis is truly a panacea. It helps with so many things, including: building a strong appetite, creating restful sleep and providing pain relief. Training and living in the contemporary world can be enhanced by this medicinal herb.JJT.15.April.2016.blog-4

What You Eat

There is so much more to food than meets the eye. Food is an expression of culture, of life itself. Food is about connection. Arctic Char, for example, is a fish related to Salmon and Trout. It is loved for its flavor and chosen for its sustainability. This fish was served at the Cremer House and it came from Royal Hawaiian Seafood.JJT.Blog.1.April.2016-5JJT.Blog.1.April.2016-6JJT.Blog.1.April.2016-7

Blue Roots

JJT.ASB.19.March.2015-7Blues music is a world music. Its melancholy theme of unrequited love is felt by people from all walks of life. The power of the Blues is to turn depressed feelings into beautiful sound and to transform feeling through the alchemy of music.JJT.Alabama.Mike.MSB.18.March.2015-16JJT.MSB.15.March.2016-5JJT.MSB.15.March.2016

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