Seasonal Reflections

Inter-generational love

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Am delighted to be making some deep connections with amazingly conscious young men in their 20s and 30s: a whole new generation of wonderful relationships.
When I was exploring gay life in the 1970, older queer men were generally quite unattractive. Aside from their physical aging, they were generally quite emotionally unhealthy as well. I now realize this was a result of the terrible oppression they encountered in the years Gay Liberation, which really began in the early 70s, just as I was “coming out.” They were often bitter, cynical, jaded and plagued by low self-esteem, which was painful to see.
So it’s a happy surprise, now that I’m in my 70s, to experience young men drawn to me, not despite my age, but because of my maturity. Inter-generational friendship and love are becoming quite common among queer men. In part that may be because we are somewhat rare: so many of my generation were wiped out by the AIDS epidemic in the 80s and 90s.

This summer, Ziji and I celebrated our shared August 7th birthday: he turned 32, and I 73:
I find hanging out with young people helps me stay young…or at least be in denial of my actual age 😉


Personal/Planetary Transformation: a conversation with Dr. Deepak Chopra [excerpts]

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” There’s no solution other than a true understanding of consciousness—and a longing and desire for personal transformation. I don’t think there’s such a thing as social transformation. If a critical mass of people are going through personal transformation, that will automatically heal the environment, heal the rifts in our collective soul, heal disease, get rid of poverty, cure AIDS and malaria. Mosquito nets and drugs won’t do that. That’s because consciousness is the ground of being that simultaneously differentiates things into perception, what we see out there, and differentiates into cognition, our knowingness, in our moods and emotions, our personal relationships, our social interactions, in the environments that we create around us, and in the way we interact with the forces of nature.

We shouldn’t be calling something the environment. That’s a total misperception because that says there’s a biological organism, and then there’s an environment. But the biological organism and the environment are two reflections of the same thing: consciousness. Those trees aren’t trees; they are your lungs. If they don’t breathe, you won’t breathe and if you don’t breathe, they won’t breathe. The rivers and waters aren’t just rivers and waters; that’s your circulation. If they are polluted, so are you. And if you are polluted, so are they [laughs]. The air is not just the atmosphere; it’s your breath. The earth is not just the ground over there; it’s your physical body. Because you and the earth recycle [one another] all the time. So unless you have an emotional and spiritual relationship with your extended body, which you call the environment—the totally wrong word—there’s not going to be any healing. And for that shift in perception, you have to have a shift in consciousness.

” Thinking mind and body is dualistic. There’s no such thing as a mind-body connection—they are the same thing. There’s no such thing as a biological organism and the environment—they are the samething. In fact, there’s no such thing as me and you. The whole idea that you exist as a person is a total misperception of reality…

There’s no such thing as a person, you know. Personal identity is provisional, impermanent and constantly transforming. It is totally transient. Just to even have the idea that I exist as a person allows me to then see other people as persons. And that, of course, is the beginning of all the problems.

” Personal identity is transient, impermanent and provisional. I mean, I’m not the same person I was five years ago—physically, emotionally, intellectually. Nor, hopefully, do I have the same personality.”

Waylon Lewis of a conversation with Dr. Deepak Chopra

Vancouver Pride 2011

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The clouds parted just as the Dykes on Bikes roared down Robson!

Even after nearly 40 years of Pride Parades, I still get choked up at the site of all of us out strutting our stuff, celebrating the diversity of our sex/love lives.

Vancouver is a Queer-friendly City!Other personal highlights:

  • Large contingents of the Vancouver Police and Fire Department being out and proud in their uniforms and vehicles: a dramatic contrast from the  SF parades in the early 70s, when the SF police would grudgingly guard the parade route, barely concealing their animosity. Now a new generation of law enforcement folks are happily marching with us in solidarity.
  • The same with our national icon, the RCMP, in their traditional red surge.
  • All the float affirming  human rights in many forms.
  • Realizing most of the people marching had not yet been born when I experienced my first Pride in SF in 1972.
I keep being amazed, delighted, and deeply grateful that the times really are a’changin’.

High Flight

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Today, remembering a poem that touched me back in my aviating days, I was even more moved to learn that the author, John Gillespie Magee, composed it as a 21 year old RAF pilot just months before his death in combat during the early days of WWII.
I am struck by the seeming paradox that we humans are capable of using technology to experience both the sublime and the savage in us all.
May we learn to choose more wisely.

High Flight

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of—wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air….
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark nor even eagle flew—
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

Beyond words…

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On this Fathers’ Day and Summer Solstice weekend, as we move from the mental airiness of Gemini to the watery depths of Cancer, this aphorism speaks to me:

“Words and thoughts are limited and relative,

while truth is without limits.

Words find their truth in the heart of silence,

and thoughts when they arise from the depths of non-thought.”

Master Taisen Deshimaru

Chanting for Peace on my 65th

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On Friday, August 7, I will join friends and loved ones near and far to chant for peace.

Please consider joining us in spirit sometime that weekend by setting aside some time to be quiet with yourself, and/or with others, to pray, meditate, and visualize world peace.
I will be thinking of you with love as I do the same.

I have a life-long yearning to promote peace. I was a child of war, conceived unintentionally just before my father shipped off to Europe, and born 2 months after D-Day, where he was part of the landing on Normandy beach. My dear mother, who never planned on motherhood, found herself pregnant and fearful that she might never see her husband again. He did make it home 18 months after I arrived, and was a life-long alcoholic — to try to forget the devastation and suffering he must have witnessed, which I cannot begin to imagine, as they fought their way to Berlin. On the day before my birthday every year, the world remembers the horrors of Hiroshima. I was part of the US War Machine in Vietnam and saw the futility of war firsthand.

Since my 30s I have found yoga, meditation, and kirtan to be extremely beneficial in promoting peace of mind and opening the heart. When my ordinary mind quiets through these practices, and my heart opens by chanting these ancient Indian mantras, I feel a deep connection with all beings. I believe, along with Eckhardt Tolle, that it is essential for human survival that we all cultivate practices that lift us beyond our separate egos. We can promote outer peace as we each discover it within our own hearts. I find it a delightful pleasure to chant with other kindred spirits.
Thank you for joining me!

Autumn Equinox update

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As the sun crosses the Equator heading south…the season of balance of light and dark.

Chris and I are just back from an adventure in New York City and Ireland. For me, it was a retrospective: revisiting my childhood roots, sharing them with Chris, who had never seen NYC [“It’s like Toronto on steroids!”] Ireland was about exploring ancestral roots: both my dear mother’s parents emigrated from Ballybunion, County Kerry.

Now how Oyrish is that I’ll be askin’ ya!


NYC is kinder and gentler than I ever remember; younger and more vibrant. It feels more integrated: African-

Americans seem overall more prosperous and a part of the middle-class fabric. Martin Luther King’s “Dream” is becoming reality for many, though not all.

Ireland feels ancient, gentle and soft. Dublin is both Old World and New. The skyline is low and timeless; streets are bustling with Europe’s strongest economy, thanks to IT. Downtown felt oddly familiar, easier to stay oriented than NYC where I grew up, and quite comfortable. Like the rest of the EU, it is now an amalgam of many cultures. It was comforting to see so many Irish faces that could be kin, and also sad to see the cultural roots of my family’s alcoholism. The pub is still the focus is Irish social life, and Guinness is the staple beverage. The puzzle: How can you cross “Publin” without passing a single pub? Answer: go into every single one! That’s a bit of black humour: the late night streets are a messy drunken brawl. But rural Ireland is truly pastoral. The guest house owners were wonderfully motherly and kept immaculate homes, helping me remember my dear mother’s wonderful ways. Most memorable moment: the morning we landed, we wandered Dublin streets, and stopped into Christ Church Cathedral. Sitting in the stone stillness with organ softly playing, we both had tears well up: the prayerful presence of a thousand years’ devotion was quite palpable, and wonderfully grounding in this timeless land. The very best part of travelling away from Vancouver for me is coming home; I love living here! After this holiday of looking back to my roots, I am looking forward this fall to adding a new skill to my professional menu: Personal Life Coaching, which I began studying and practicing early this year. For twenty-five years I have been enjoying helping people lead healthier lives with relaxation skills, yoga, meditation, and holistic massage. Now, in addition, I will be facilitating people making positive changes in their lives through focussed explorations of their desires, values, and creative inspirations. The profession of Life Coaching is still fairly new, and is based on recent insights in psychology and neurology, which build on what I learned twenty years ago doing my Master’s in East/West Psychology. Because it is usually conducted by phone, I can coach people anywhere. I hope you’ll look at and tell anyone you think may be interested.