Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A MEDICINE POEM

03.08.12

I am sad because most people are self-absorbed.
Because no one really listens to cries for help and later wonder why their “loved” one didn’t reach out.
I am sad because my country – my heritage – no longer works.
Because materialism in my lifetime equates success.
I am sad because Mother Earth cries and too few listen and comfort her needs.
I am sad because as Robert Heinlein said: “I am a stranger in a strange land.”
I am sad for all naive humanity who choose leaders that failed humanity.
I am sad because our planet is polluted and poisoned.
I am sad because I am a human being living in an inhumane world.
I am sad because people are starving needlessly and suffering unnecessary disease.
I am sad because corruption is acceptable in high places and the inner sanctum of global society.
I am sad because WAR and nuclear bombs are still heralded as weapons of peace.
I am sad because generosity and kindness are rare qualities.
I am sad because love is not celebrated as the antidote for hate and depression and loneliness.
I am sad because not enough people smile back.
I am sad because saying “I Love You” is suspect and has an agenda.
I am sad because waters of our oceans are filled with human consumer excrement and primordial life dies.
I am sad because we as so-called civilized nations are uncivil.
I cry tears for ancestors who knew better and lived pure lives for sustainable hope.
I cry because my tears must flow to cleanse wounds of my soul.
I am sad because my brothers and sisters are wounded and cannot see or feel their wounds.
I am sad because
I am sad because
sadness so prevalent.
Now I weep for all nations, all peoples, all sentient beings, wolves and birds and creatures of Planet Earth.
I am sad yet hungry for change so few become empowered for masses in right action so sadness dissipates and happiness prevails.
I AM HAPPY because I know and feel my aliveness and I am living life.
I am happy because happiness always prevails over sadness.
I am happy because everything is possible and all our dreams can be realized.
Our world can be unified and has unlimited, boundless conscious potential.
I am happy because happiness is contagious.
I am happy because many people love me unconditionally as I do them.
I am happy because I am me not a design model of social conditioning.
I am happy because I take time to listen to birds singing and revel ecstatically in sunrises and sunsets.
I am happy because I accept life as an opportunity to grow.
I am happy because I smile inside myself and don’t take life too seriously.
I am happy because everything is perfect even though many perceive some imperfection.
I am happy because I work up this morning to celebrate another day.
I am happy because I have love and songs of life to share with everyone I meet.
I am happy because over very existence is miraculous.
I am happy because I have friends who love me and I love them equally.
I am happy because the sun rises and sets.
I am happy because I can dance down the street and not care what others think.
I AM HAPPY – ecstatically – because I am not sad.

How Safe is Mexico?

03.08.12

Last week I went to Zipolite Beach for several days. Zipolite is a small pueblo on the Pacific Coast nine hours south of Acapulco. There are no police, stop signs, street lights and only one paved (brick) street. It is quiet and laid back. The beach is clothing optional and probably 50% beach goers are naked. You can get a basic room directly on the ocean for $10 nightly. Meals are fresh and cheap. People come from all parts of the world and everyone has a story. I met Kim laying in a hammock beneath a palapa. She’s from London and books big name rock bands. Now burned out on cold weather and big city hassles, she had been kicked back at Zipolite for two months. Her plans are to stay in Mexico and build her booking business out of Mexico City so she can live a more laid back life in no rush, no fuss pueblos like Zipolite in between bookings.
So what is all the big deal in the American press about violence in Mexico? True immigration and drug issues are serious United States internal problems. Also true are accounts about turf battles between the narcotic cartels and federal law officers, especially along the border towns in Texas and Arizona. Yet when you look at statistics, the murder rate in Mexico is about equal to the U.S. if you discount combatants in drug wars. Yes, sometimes innocent and unfortunate bystanders get caught in the crossfire, but violence is pretty much everywhere in the world.
I have lived off and on in Mexico for more than 10 years and I feel absolutely safe. I tell people that “I fly over the bullets” that predominate the border towns to arrive at my destination in the tropical mountain village of Tepoztlan where all the streets are cobblestone and the main job for police is directing traffic on the narrow streets.
Putting the violence more in perspective, in 2010 more than two-thirds of U.S. cities were more deadly that Tijuana, Mexico, in muders per 100,000. Tijuana, hown as the city most affected by the cartel wars, recorded 7.2 muders per 100,000 people. New Orleans, Baltimore, Detroit and Washington, D.C. had in excess of 15 murders per 100k.
Crime happens everywhere. Even Mexicans avoid certain border towns.
I expect there is a political and monetary agenda for all the press bashing about Mexico. The U.S. government is trying to stymie international travel. Keep people at home and the money stays. And people don’t discover there is another place on the planet where the cost of living is considerably less, education and health care are superior and people are not consumed by media fear and propaganda.
So come join me south of the border. Life is good!

Gift of Validation

11.09.09

We know intellectually how important –  and difficult — it is to follow our dreams, path and convictions.  Those ever looming questions we ask:   Who Am I; What is My Purp0se, are usually repeated throughout our lives.

We also learn from early childhood that what we TRULY want is unobtainable.  Our dreams are easily buried or dismissed through rationalization.  Following our dreams takes courage because in the path of dream realization come many defeats.  Part of the process.

I feel as though I march to the beat of my own drummer as Henry David Thoreau urged in his writings.  Most recently, despite huge obstacles presented in the adversity of our global economy, I persisted and now my book “Stress Rx:  103 Prescriptions for Overcoming Stress and Achieving Lifelong Happiness” is in print,  audio, and getting increasing attention.

I can accurately say that writing the book and seeing it to publication has been one of the most stressful experience of my life.  Asked  how I survived all the challenges, I tell those who  ask that “I took my own advice and re-visited my book frequently, applying the prescriptions.”

Validation comes sometimes out of the blue.  Last week I received a telephone call from Kathy Donovan, who explained that I had been in her thoughts for 22 years since she first took my creative writing course in the spring of 1987 at Miami-Dade Community College.

“You walked into the classroom barefoot, in jeans, and sat cross-legged on the table at the front of class Indian style.  You opened my mind and impacted my life at a time I needed a positive influence,” she said.

Kathy talked about how I took my class to the Cameo theater on Washington Avenue to experience performance poetry and recalled things I had taught about altruism and truth.

She reminded me about the popular “Bad Poetry Night” with author Dave Barry as a judge I organized on Lincoln Road Mall and she regaled me with anecdotes I have long forgotten, but were deeply meaningful to her.

She left Miami to finished her undergraduate degree at American University in Washington, D.C.  Taking a creative writing class, she chose me as her topic for a writing assignment about someone who had been a major life influence.

We talked for a long time and Kathy touched me deeply when she said:  “Professor Riley, you never really left.  Any time you want anyone to tell you how wonderful you are, just call me.”

I’ll treasure those words more than any corporate salary could have swayed me into their ranks and out of the classroom.  I had already done corporate before and opted to pursuing my dreams that include teaching others how to follow their dreams and let go of fears in the process.    Kathy said she was enabled to do just that for herself and now is back in school at Converse College pursuing her MFA.

Yes, I admittedly am a hopeless romantic and incurable optimist.  With all the negative commentary we are constantly bombarded with about global problems, I see this  as an exciting opportunity to heal long avoided wounds and move in the direction of higher consciousness.

Kathy Donovan took the time to track me down and validate my decisions that have been filled with discovery and insights not gained otherwise.  For this huge gift, I am proud and forever grateful.

We have spoken once again since that initial conversation and plan to meet after the New Year.

To follow and manifest our dreams should never be “too late” for anyone.  As for me, I’m just getting started.

fear, halloween and daily life

10.28.09

I write and think a lot about FEAR.  So debilitating.  Think about everyone you know and what you talk about.  Usually it has to do with “what might happen.”  Job loss, relationship breakups, global disasters, disease issues, going to the dentist.  Oh, yes.  The latest.  Swine flu.  Silly me.  I forgot about Swine flu.  The latest global fear for all.  Not to mention a destroyed economy in Mexico because…”swine flu” and kidnappings and murder when the reality is narcos versus federales on U.S. border towns like gunfight at OK corral do their thing.  They shoot each other, not tourists.

About Swine flu.  We already have been told, although no one seems to listen, swine is less virulent than our usual flu seasonal malady.  FEAR.

I have a blog thought I’ld like to pass along to you.  Maybe, just maybe, you are a patsy for propaganda.  Suggestion:  Take personal responsibility.  Nothing for granted.  Who is disseminating this information about spraying your nose with some unknown swine flu potion.  (Back in the 80’s, it was cocaine.  At least a known substance ).

FEAR!!!  Of being alone, not having enough, dying, aging, foreclosure, a broken surfboard, holiday get togethers.  AHHHHHHH.  Holiday get togethers.  Talk about mental breakdown.

As a part-time therapist, most clients come because they want to get off the FEAR treadmill.  Life seems to be spinning around with no direction.  This feeling of not knowing where you are going and lacking purpose equals FEAR.

Hear me out.  I’m not making light of this FEAR phenomenon.  In fact, I am quite serious because like you I deal with it also.  Confronted fear this past week.  Actually, just an hour before writing this.  Ok, I know you want to know my story so I will tell you.

I’m on an island in the Exumas.  A basic research island with only a three person staff here.  On weekends everyone leaves except one intern.  This 700 acre island is pristine.  Has elevation and rocks and coral sandy beaches.  Mostly it is scrub and rock.  Yet the view is perhaps one of the best anywhere I have ever been.

So you are isolated.  VERY ISOLATED.  Does this make you want to be here or freak out?

So I’m walking along this path with chameleons scurrying across my pathway and ultimately walk carefully, mind you, over the coral rocks to this incredibly expansive beach with no one, I mean there is no once else around,  I’m on an island, and the water is emerald green rolling in from the ocean,  and there is a slice of late afternoon.

What a golden opportunity.  ONE with coral pink sand, unlimited expression of beach, total privacy, Caribbean sea as clear as sky.  Thoughts about possible sea urchins, sharks, rip tides vanished as I took off my clothes hanging them on a branch, and dove with abandon into the ocean…fearless.

This was not just a frivilous act…it was sanity.  I know enough about potential currents.  The beach was friendly.   A long stretch of white coral sand.  Spectacular.  Frollicking in the waves, I felt strong and complete with life.  What could have made it better?  A female partner to share the experience and make love on the beach.  Of course.  Not happening  this moment.  Remember, I’m on an isolated island.

But this was the time.  Fear reared its ugly head challening me to do what I did…or run away.  I chose the ocean, now, I could be swept out to sea, I thought, and I knew in my heart I was safe and didn’t wish to relinquish the experience I would have if caught in fear.

Go for it.  Halloween is a fun time.  We get messages so we freak out to overcome our fears.  Enjoy the holiday.  More importantly, know Halloween is one day to enjoy our fears in a pretense kind of way.  Life goes on.  No room for fear.

fear and stress release

10.25.09

I just spoke to my Mom.  She is 89 and moving  to a smaller apartment.  Too much furniture and change isn’t necessarily easy for anyone.  I reminded her that her new location (across the street in Hendersonville, NC) is brand new, friends in current building have already moved, she gets three meals a day rather than one, and there is less maintenance.  Put in another perspective, I reminded her that I lived on a sailboat for 15 years and now in 650 square feet on the beach.  Space, I told her, is relevant only to our belief system.  Smaller, for you, I said, is better.  She listened.  Heard the merits.  Bigger is not better.  Sometimes smaller is neither, but in this case yes.  Her life will be more simplified.  As Henry David Thoreau said from his 15 x 15 cabin in Walden Woods, “Simplify, simplify.”

That is one reason I lived on a sailboat for 15 years.  Uncluttered lifestyle.  Bring on something new, let something go.  Stay close to who we really are rather than become cluttered with junk in life.

As I write this, I am interim island manager in the Bahamas for two weeks on a 700 acre pristine piece of paradise.  When I arrived Tuesday aboard a 20 passenger turbo prop landing in Georgetown, Great Exuma, the plane was bouncing like a bronco bull and zero visability as our Bahamas greeting was a tropical storm.  One passenger locked in fear animatedly aired her fear not able to see the ground.  She loudly offered to share tequila she had somehow smuggled aboard and flush faced doused her gullet.

We react to fear in different ways.  We also have options to our reactions.  Stress is universal.  Stress is everywhere.  How we react determines the outcome.  On the plane I simply closed my eyes and enjoyed the turbulence.  My treat, like a festival ride,  was a woman’s terror.

I thought about my Mother’s reaction to moving.  More than that, I thought about how we have to adapt every living minute to our very being.  Every breath is new life.  A sudden unexpected pain might bring an anxiety onset.  We have the ability to adapt or become victim to our own resistence to change.  The latter is fear.

My advice:  Go along for the ride.  You don’t have a choice anyway.  Give in to the moment.  See it as special.  Ride the ferris wheel of life.  Take a deep breath when fear rises and release breath and fear.  And if you find yourself on an isolated island in the Bahamas, take off your clothes, run naked on an isolated beach, and shout praises for just being alive.  No fear, MON.

 
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