Sunday, January 30, 2005

Dancing your Tush Off in Seattle

Seattle is a dancers’ paradise. There is so much dancing go on in this town

that you might just wear your socks out inside your shoes!

The best place to get an overview of all the dance is to visit the Dance Resources

webpage of the Seattle Folklore Society (SFS),

(please join SFS, very noble cause)

My favorite dance venues are

Sonny Newmans Dance Hall ( ) Greenwood

Dance Underground ( ) Capital Hill

Living Traditions ( ) Ballard

Century Ballroom ( ) Capital Hill

Waltz Etc ( ) Shoreline

Each of these places offers both dance instruction and dances to a variety of taped and live music. You will find tango, swing, Cajun/Zydeco, waltz, blues, salsa, meringue
and much much more at these fine smoke-free locations.

Every year over all four days of the Memorial Day weekend is FOLK LIFE, where you can dance yourself into rapture – huge Contra dances (500 people dancing together on one floor!), Tango, Baltic, Swing, Waltz, Blues, Ethnic dances of many kinds –
Cuban, Indian, Irish, African, Israeli and more. DO NOT MISS IT!!!

One unusually rewarding form of dance is called Ecstatic Dance, held at Dance Underground on Wednesday nights 7:30 and Sunday mornings at 10:30am. Founder Mary Anderson has built an amazing following. Dance is free-form, improvisational and the music is a hypnotic, mesmerizing mix of World music. You can dance by yourself with others or even in a group, playful and FUN!!! $8

In Seattle dance halls are rapidly re-emerging as the place to socialize and have a wonderful, safe and energizing place to get to know new folks and deepen connections with regulars.

If you are married or a couple please be aware that most dance places have a dance etiquette of
changing partners. This doesn’t mean that you can’t dance several dances together. It just means you should be aware of other dancers and sometimes let your partner dance with others.

You will find it very worthwhile investing in a pair of good dance shoes like

Capezios. For a list of dance shoe resources go to

(my favorite is Centerstage in the University District)

I commend the Dance community for creating a truly sweet, sustaining and invigorating collection of dances.

Enjoy dancing yourself happy!

Calm in the Middle of Emerald City

One of the greatest challenges for each of us is how to create

a sense of refreshing inner peace while living in the middle of a busy, turbulent city.

So how do I stay calm in the middle of Emerald City?

#1 Close your eyes and take three deep breaths, several times a day.

#2 Take a walk and feel your whole body as you walk,

Give your self permission to move your body any way that feels

good while you walk, swing your arms out and above your head,

spin around, walk backwards, improvise your walk to be a kind

of dance with your own inner child/joy/spirit.

#3 Find a panoramic spot, sit and gaze for half an hour.

Along Magnolia Drive, Lincoln Park, Magnuson Park, Discovery Park South Meadows,

Green Lake, Myrtle Edwards Park (for you downtown workers!), Golden Gardens park, Alki, Ravenna Park, Carkeek Park, Laurelhurst park


#4 Best places to meditate in town

Rose Garden next to Woodland Park Zoo (50th and Fremont Ave.)

Galer and 15th Ave. overlook Capital Hill

anywhere in the Arboretum

most of the above parks

NE corner of Green Lake across from little island

walking path to water at Center for Urban Horticulture

Luther Burbank park Mercer Island far west point

a cushion in your favorite room

#5 Call a trusted friend and ask them to stay on the phone with you for

3 minutes of mutual hallowed silence.

#6 Keep a CD of your favorite spiritual music and play a cut once a day,

especially as a reward for reaching a work milestone.

#7 Lie down, full body on the grass and watch the clouds move.

#8 Close your eyes and visualize a happy event.

#9 Hug yourself – switch arms and do it again

#10 Meditate in the Gompa at Vajralama Buddhist Center

67th and 24th in Ballard (between Noon and 4PM)

#11 Dance at Ecstatic Dance Seattle @ Dance Underground

#12 Relax your entire body and say inside your mind, “I surrender”

#13 say “I’m exactly where I want to be” three times

#14 yaWn, St r e t c h, shake all over like a WET DOG!

#15 remember someone you knew and loved who died, thinking

“How fortunate I was to know you!”

#16 buy a single flower and hand it to the first stranger that smiles at you.

#17 take off your shoes and walk barefoot

#18 somewhere where nobody is around SCREAM AT THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS

(lighthouse point at Discovery Park!)

#19 pet a cat, some soft fabric, with permission, somebody’s hair.

#20 sing one of your favorite songs (on-key, off-key… whatever)

May you have moments of exquisite inner peace each day.

Friday, January 28, 2005

The Perfect Touch

doesn't exist, so improvise, sing when you walk down the street,
scat, tap on different textures, greet inanimate objects,
compliment young people who wander around talking to themselves,
"Way to dialog!", do something a little unexpected, overhear a conversation
and join in, initiate, hug, rub, encourage, MARVEL!,
plant edible fruit in the city, make a map for the homeless to go fruit collecting,
play with different species, climb trees, take photographs in your neighborhood,
kiss street signs, lose your predictability like Seattle weather,
lose your mind and find your happy heart, strolling, whistling, snapping,
zamzooing in Emerald town.....

Saturday, January 22, 2005

A Tsunami Called Faith

there is another kind of Tsunami

striking way deeper than our shorelines.

Call it “faithlessness”,

it knocks us about violently

every day,

crash, we find a new job,

another wave -- a new lover,

once again, another place to live,

wave after wave strikes us and we



to crumbling bars –

new diet, exercise, therapist, vacation, self-help book,

yoga, meditation, love project…

what if you let go, completely?,

as you will with your last breath,

what if this tsunami was the greatest love of all

come to take you home?!

We grieve so deeply for the actual dead of a tsunami,

because we do not know where they’ve gone!

Our faith is not strong enough to believe they are


We scream and wail for them from our ignorance.

We help the traumatized survivors with superhuman

vigor (as we should!).

But under all the carnage, hurt and devastation,

something is scouring the ocean-bottom of our


People who could barely look at one another, now

leaping into each others arms??!!

After the tsunami settles and the rebuilding is done

like the silence after the monastery bell,

will we fall back asleep ?????!!!!!!

Will we remember how to close our hearts again,

with business as usual?

A tsunami is striking our most intimate shores

every day,

against all reason,


let go,

give everything you have to others.

The floating wreckage is evidence enough.

Our carefully tended separateness

will not be tolerated.

Wake up to the illusions of

nations, walls, cultural and individual identities!

Swim together

in a way never thought possible.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Mourning before Inauguration

Though I accept the political process of my country and I wish
George W. Bush absolute success in brandishing compassion, lovingkindness,
peace and economic recovery through sustainability practices (alternative energy,
mass transit, organic farming, small family businesses, community services,
non-polluting, renewable fuel transportation, bicycle lanes, electric-assist bikes and
scooters, tool sharing, home garden produce, voluntary simplicity, service/product barter,
disincented military-industrial complex and expanded "green" business)

I hereby register my protest of the Inauguration based on the illigitimacy of the Iraq war.
George Bush should be summarily impeached for this action and all funds currently being spent
on this fiasco should be curtailed immediately. I have never heard the courage of Jimmy Carter to wage the equivalent of war on OIL CONSUMPTION. In the last four years we could have developed whole fleets of high mileage cars, outfitted thousands of homes and businesses with energy efficient lighting, appliances, installed millions of kilowatts of solar and wind energy, insulated, reduced consumption, and reduced our thirst for foreign oil (which drives our "National Interests"). Big oil and big carmakers have had no shame backing the killing of innocent Iraqi citizens and children.

The smokescreen of "Moral" committment that carried George Bush to the presidency is absurd. With the world population soaring and a virtual third Crusade taking place between the Christian and Muslem peoples, it is ridiculous to site abortion and gay marriage as major priorities of the President. Peace is our number 1 priority, with economic prosperity based
on environmentally sensitive development number 2.
America is rightfully seen by the rest of the world as an arrogant, rich, overpowerful nation
abusing its powers and using up the worlds natural resources while dictating
moral and political processes worldwide. We have degenerated from the worlds saviour in WW II to a hostile, self-conceited empire driven by a small brigade of greedy, racist, right-wing radicals. We have not signed the Kyoto Accords yet. We have lost any threads of hegemony taking leadership in energy policy, family planning, empowerment of women, environmental restoration, diplomacy, sustainable forestry, fisheries, farming. It is shear ignorance to continue growing tobacco (a proven cause of cancer) and to avoid the large scale development of hemp, which could provide amazing benefits for our economy, in fuel oil, extremely durable clothing fabric, food and many other products.

General Eisenhauer warned us back in the 1950's about the military industrial complex. Today
it runs almost 20% of the economy. We need to get out of the WAR business. The cold war ended and suddenly we had new enemies. How long will it take the American people to wake up? The military industrial complex is in the business of fabricating paranoia and wide-scale fear. And the humongous defense budget and now Homeland security are heading us toward the same bankruptcy that plagues Russia. We can literally spend ourselves poor and destitute by keeping to this path.

The answer is prosperity based on people learning to work together and create an America that is strong economically. We need jobs, manufacturing jobs, home-based businesses, small family farms, neighborhood businesses, we need to produce instead of overconsuming.
We are running a dangerously large debt that is being financed by other nations and has the potential to ruin the American dollar on international money markets.
The short-term answer of our current administration is CONQUER, control the oil fields, make the oil ours and subjugate anyone who gets in our way. We base our whole democracy on the
right of SELF-DETERMINATION, (read the Declaration of Independence George W.!) and
what did we do in Iraq? The propaganda that we were liberating the Iraqi people from Saddam Hussein is hogwash. The Bush family is totally in cohoots with the Saudis. When Saddam Hussein took his army into Kuwait, he scared the heck out of the Saudis. They wanted him deposed, they wanted their oil fields kept safe and they bought the Bushes to accomplish this.
I didn't approve of Saddam Hussein and then again there are hundreds of governments that torture and kill their dissidents and because they do not have oil we don't bother "liberating" their peoples.
Plainly we have lost touch with the world since the mountain of fear that has buried us since 911. Europe is unifying and Asia is growing. Africa is suffering terribly at the hands of AIDS and policies that hamper their traditional ways of life. We are not displaying maturity and
skillfullness in dealing with a profoundly changing world. Our educational system has major deficiencies and we are frankly being outsmarted and outcompeted by countries like China, Japan and Germany.
How much longer can American companies relocate their plants to foreign soil (eliminating millions of American jobs) so that we are buying products that shifts money permanently abroad and into the hands of overpaid CEO's? We need to create a balance of trade and
that means we must be a producer.

Join me in wearing black tomorrow and protesting the dark policies of George W. Bush,
I say PEACE instead of WAR , solar energy over the blackening effects of Oil,
conservation, energy-efficiency and sharing instead of
blatant consumption, pollution and debilitating waste.

Pray for light, for awakening, for the empowering of our people and practicies that can bring
sustainable prosperity to US and simultaneously to the rest of the world.
Live simply so that other beings may simply live.
Blessings and Love to you.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Beyond Grateful

just returned from a month sojourn on the South Island of New Zealand.
deleriously beautiful, Able Tasman, Golden Bay, Glenorchy, Routeburn and Copland tracks, Stewart Island, Akaroa.
amazingly grateful to have shared the intense and easy creativity with my beloved Laila.
may our love flourish and be blessed with more magical adventures.

i will publish the spectacular photographs on a slide show at my web site (

highlights: the helpfulness of New Zealanders, especially at information centers where it was one-stop booking for everything, fresh tasting water, air, soothing birdsong, meeting international travelers at backpackers and on the trails, Welcome Flat meadows, Vudu cafe Queenstown, Whariki Beach, flexibility and acceptance as
unpredictable changes occurred, hot chocalate/soy chai lattes, NZ accent ("what's the wither today?"), picking up hitchhikers in love, pounding abalone meat ("powa") on second floor deck of South Sea Hotel Stewart island and watching it fly off and land just barely missing people below, exploring Stewart island in a fine misty rain, talking to a fiesty Kea, drinking Dark Horse beer in the Mussel Inn and reading poetry, playing flute duets in meditation hall at Shambhala Backpackers, meditating in Chandrakirti Buddhist temple Upper Moutere, first bite of lamb at Fox Glacier cafe, outdoors in warm sunset, first swig of Merlot to wash it down, eucalyptus/clove massage oil and inspired hands, having and using hiking poles, good equipment, a light 4.0 digital camera (Nikon),
being adopted as Uncle/Aunt by Sabrina (9) and Alec (7), shopping in Queenstown, long hours of daylight, the purple and green forests and trail rock, river water (Kangaroa/Copland rivers) the color of dolphins' laughter.

I must say, if you do anything in your life dream a dream as big as this one and go for it with all you have. Rumi says "Gamble everything for Love". I agree there's no other way.