TAO TE CHING MASCULINITY

Again and again

Men come in with birth

And go out with death.

One on three are followers of life

One in three are followers of death

And those just passing from life to death

Also number one in three.

But, they all die in the end

Why is this so?

Because they all clutch to life

And cling to this passing world.

I hear that one who lives by his own truth

Is not like this; he walks without making footprints in this world.

Going about, he goes not fear the rhinoceros or tiger

Entering a battlefield, he does not fear sharp weapons

For in him the rhino can find no place to pitch its horn

The tiger no place to fix its claw

The soldier no place to thrust his blade

Why is this so?

Because he dwells in that place

Where death cannot enter.

© From Two Suns Rising

A Collection of Sacred Writings.

Soundtrack: Pat Metheny|Toots Thielemans

© Always & Forever 1992 | https://youtu.be/wcAkEl6AV5Y

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MAY DAY 2019 …

Born harshly, like a strong hammer – predetermined to strike constantly, seeking justice and reaffirming identities. Hands were opened and extended, arms offered strength & empathy – he waited, and waited. Echoes from long struggles would remind him to be careful, not everything is what it seems, a little voice kept repeating. His father before him had been born tough as well – around cats and dogs in the neighbourhood, hard breads, and bitter harvest – a childhood of shaken earth, broken dreams, and shattered promises. Indifference walked by; hot asphalt melting, men and women behind the plough – people at a distance, steering, childhoods disappearing – walking over the stones. They persevered, harsh faces, serious talks, wanted to be someone – painfully barefooted – internal shame because other kept falling through the cracks and kids were forgotten. They look to the old guard – and a new regime takes over – what would happen now? A poet in the corner observes – for sometimes they had celebrated hope, felt as if they mattered to political leaders, policymakers and the choir of civil society voices. Could the old union be counted upon? Is the food bank in the barrio the new statistical unfolding – does “cutting red tape” could also means falling further behind? Hard to tell; his wife and kids were now looking at him, worriedly wondering …

Leo Campos A. ©
Edmonton, AB (Canada)

Soundtrack: https://youtu.be/DwrHwZyFN7M

Fast Car, by Tracy Chapman © ELEKTRA Records

AFTER SILENCE (for Rachel Carson) …

By Neil Gaiman © | Seasons on seasons. The spring is signaled by birdsong coyotes screech and yammer in the moonlight and the first flowers open. I saw two owls today in the daylight, on silent wings. They landed as one and watched me sleepily. Oh who? they called. Or how, or how who?Then they leaned into the trunk into the sun that shone through the tight-curled buds, and vanished into dappled shadows never waiting for an answer. Like the sapling that buckles the sidewalk and grows until it has reached its height all of us begin in darkness. Some of us reach maturity. A few become old: we went over time’s waterfall and lived, Time barely cares. We are a pool of knowledge and advice the wisdom of the tribe, but we have stumbled, fallen face-first into our new uncomfortable roles. Remembering, as if it happened to someone else, the race to breed, or to succeed, the aching need that drove our thoughts and shaped each deed, those days are through. We do not need to grow, we’re done, we grew. Who speaks? And why?

She was killed by her breasts, by tumours in them: A clump of cells that would not listen to orders to disband no chemical suggestions that they were big enough that, sometimes, it’s a fine thing just to die, were heeded. And the trees are leafless and black against the sky and the bats in fatal whiteface sleep and rot and the jellyfish drift and pulse through the warming waters and everything changes. And some things are truly lost. Wild in the weeds, the breeze scatters the seeds, and it lifts the wings of the pine processionary moth, and bears the green glint of the emerald borer, Now the elms go the way of the chestnut trees. Becoming memories and dusty furniture. The ash trees go the way of the elms. And somebody has to say that we never need to grow forever. That we, like the trees, can reach our full growth, and mature, in wisdom and in time, that we can be enough of us. That there can be room for other breeds and kinds and lives. Who’ll whisper it: that tumours kill their hosts, and then themselves? We’re done. We grew. Enough.

All the gods on the hilltops and all the gods on the waves the gods that became seals the voices on the winds the quiet places, where if we are silent we can listen, we can learn. Who speaks? And why?Someone could ask the questions, too. Like who? Who knew? What’s true?And how? Or who?How could it work?What happens then?Are consequences consequent?The answers come from the world itself The songs are silent, and the spring is long in coming. There’s a voice that rumbles beneath us and after the end the voice still reaches us; like a bird that cries in hunger or a song that pleads for a different future. Because all of us dream of a different future. And somebody needs to listen. To pause. To hold. To inhale, and find the moment before the exhale, when everything is in balance and nothing moves. In balance: here’s life, here’s death, and this is eternity holding its breath.

After the world has ended; after the silent spring into the waiting silence another song begins. Nothing is ever over, life breathes life in its turn. Sometimes the people listen; sometimes the people learn – who speaks? And why? … © Neil Gaiman | https://youtu.be/JbUz3XxAy4Y

LAST SUPPER …

I am a man of many imperfections; fallible. Yet, I had thought what while struggling with the challenges of aging, keeping healthy & dealing with the uncertainties of the “gig economy” and “income vulnerabilities” I was still worth of being loved. A close friend kept telling me “of course; you are” – he is a good man, with seemingly an infinite well of love and kindness … Sometimes I wonder though. It’s funny how our subconscious plays games with our realities, or what we perceive as “reality” – today you are up, tomorrow down and in a week from now, you may not even remember your name.

No matter my fears, constant worries about how fragile it all seems to be, the scary thought of a new surgical procedure coming up, I confess, I still love, debate, sometimes sing, play my guitar, do some creative writing, seek more work, prepare a basic meal for my loved-one, be present (at least virtually) to my friends as a “pastoral worker” so to speak, and enjoy the simplest of walks, indeed, the surprising ice cream flavours of a popular antique mall, while remembering kids, former lands, my childhood, toys, times with less uncertainties, holding my spouses’ hands to keep me grounded in the here and now.

[There she goes; planting her aguacates –
remarkable how these seeds can in fact growth in this northern latitude – I listen
to her voice, see her smile, then watch in wonder her playfulness with the
soil. She is no doubts an alchemist of some kind.
]

Corn; sweet potatoes; camotitos; salsas; taquitos; agua de Jamaica. I enjoy all of these – with deep gratitude, as if it was the last supper; maybe the sunset for my time is near – who knows; creditors may push me over the edge, irremediably falling. Mail arrived yesterday – official forms, timely I noted – OAS|GIS. Indeed; macho man has long disappeared; today he enjoys green tea and the gentle, passionate political|cultural conversation with friends sharing a meal at home, or going to the art house cinema to see a magnificent film such as ROMA, or just watching my loving spouse being a hostess of the highest caliber. I must say I have always thought of her as a healer of sorts – sometimes I call her my fairy, “duende”, in Spanish. She smiles; I know her grandchildren will see what I mean.

© Leo Campos Aldunez

Edmonton, AB (Canada)

Album: https://youtu.be/8q-HCzDA32E

By: Peter Pearson © A Blissful Journey

LIGHTING up MY WORLD …

· It was around articles of clothing – some iconic, that all begun. Sweaters crammed with scarfs, intricate patterns; patterns of simplicity, combined bodies of many stories, familiar blends and interlocking seasons. Transformation.

· Advantage winter; colors suggesting new starts, natural wools, sharp tones – long and winding stories of fairies, spirits and the occasional angels, clean, surfacing mystical trees and the nearby sacred grounds of the death. Winter can be painfully cold, or surprisingly mild, and when that is the case, life seems to feel lighter, friendlier. Illumination.

· Some of our favorite places have become antique shops – in fact, we live not too far from a few, and when the weather is gentle, the sky clear and sunny, they become one of our weekly walks of discovery. Fascinating journeys to treasures of lore, curiosities & memory lanes, anywhere between yesterday and 100 years plus. Manifesting.

· She is familiar to me now; her shawls, gloves, warm hands, reassuring me the air is fresh, breathable; our heritages as transparent as new. Lighting up my world from season to season, her presence inspires me to be a gentler man.

· I am trying hard not to disappoint her or our ancestors. They keep a close eye on us, I know. I pray our treasure hunts and journey of discovery continue; for, there are many “antiques” shops around – that’s where the accommodating invisible worlds awaits – and, honestly; we are just beginning.

© Leo Campos Aldunez

Edmonton, AB (Canada)

Music: Mama Africa Mixer ©

Mix: https://youtu.be/c6PqY2vLuBc

TODAY > Here & Now | By Robin Sharma

TODAY > HERE & NOW | Today is a gift. The past is an illusion and the future is unknown. And so, I am leveraging this day to express my talents, elevate my genius and serve the world. When I feel afraid, I continue. When I am criticized, I persist. When I face a wall, I overcome. When I am tired, I rest. I now understand, that all great pursuits demand unusual focus, deep devotion and uncommon hope. If world-class was easy, everyone would be doing it. And so I commit to the process. Knowing that each day is my life in miniature. And as I craft each day, so I construct my life.

Today this day, I am kind.

Today, this day, I radiate optimism.

Today, this day, I go the extra mile.

Today, this day, I do work that wows.

Today, this day, I celebrate my loved ones.

Trivial pursuits never dilute my attention. Energy vampires never steal my time.

And old disappointments never dim my fire. I am a lion, not a sheep. A leader, not a follower. A victor, not a victim.

This day is all I have.

I’ll elevate my Mind-set.

I’ll calibrate my Heart-set.

I’ll iterate my Health-set.

And I’ll recreate my Soul-set.

So that I model possibility > today.

So that I exemplify audacity > today.

And so that I’ll walk with dignity > today.

This is my day. Now is my time. > today

By Robin Sharma ©

EL PESCADOR de la PRIMAVERA …

1. EL VELO | Alguien aparecio en uno de sus últimos sueños luego de una odisea clinica seria, de gritos y lamentaciones; de mascarillas de papel
cubriendo las huellas de pasos, senderos y laminas accidentales. Parte de sus rutinas – en la epoca – consistian en diez pasos de avanzada y veinte de
retroceso. Decia la vecina; sabe caballero? Usted tiene una amplia gama de problemas que van desde la piel, su pigmentacion, su presion sanguinea, la
oscuridad de sus nubes. Para serle franca; hay algo que tampoco esta bien en su cabeza! Ditto.

2. VIGILIA | En una de esas caminatas por el Barrio Chino descubrió que habian otros perfumes e inciensos mas alla de lo estrictamente farmaceutico. Asi, perfumería y farmacia hicieron eco de sus dolencias y de las variantes sociales que le acompañaron los meses post-operativos. Pero de que se trataba todo esto? Y cual era el proposito de las máscaras de papel? Mire su cara, dijo la chica de la panadería – se ve un tantico triste; que le pasa? – si, repondio; un momento duro, varias semana de convalecencia, de batas de algodón y zapatillas activas para sanar las heridas. Recuerdo que he caminado mucho; en mas de alguna ocasión especial, ella me dijo “refuerzo semanal” y la otra enfermera enfatizo la rutina de cuidados. Hableme precavidamente le dije a la directora de servicios medicos; quiero un tónico que me cuide y sane; después me pondre la máscara, en el caso de que algo falle; deseo re-encontrar al menos mi voz.

3. DESPERTAR | Hay variedades para todas las necesidades – hay tambien cansancio, piel opaca, ausencia de luminosidad, te veo las arrugas – y luego te relajas, descansas – pero pasas sin embargo noches sin dormir. Tuve la suerte de cambiar de escena; la mano generosa de un amigo me dio la primera oportunidad de levantarme – mis bolsillos vacios resistieron la dura embestida. Fue asi como en una tarde de verano la conoci especialmente sonriente – su perfume unico y singular me hizo sentirme como una causa noble – aun deseable, alguien de ciertas alturas.

4. EL PASEO | Quizas – me dije, aun no sea completamente minimalista, la ultima generacion a precios especiales, ni tampoco desechable. Me gustaria salir contigo a caminar un ratito – te interesa? Ojos profundos, una presencia de luchadora infatigable, asi ella se transformo en una vision de amantes de lo sano, de lo bueno, lo genuino. Quede un tantico perplejo, porque habiendo casi recien salido de una odisea clinica seria y en pleno proceso de curacion/tratamiento, al conocerla y saber su nombre, su trayectoria y su arrivo a mi ciudad, pues, deje de sentirme como la última generación de perdedores, indigente o un beneficiario de la caridad social.

5. ANDANTES | Supe entonces de que con ella no todo estaba perdido y que podria sobrevivir otro crudo invierno – en su momento justo – sonreirle a la primavera. Cual es su nombre? me pregunto uno de mis amigos mas cercanos; Carmencita, le respondi, una vison magica, melodiosa. Todo pareciera ir con ella mas allá de mis desvelos, incluso del año 2020. Me gusta su estampa, sus alturas y los aires frescos que trae consigo. Es genuina; leal. Te digo mi estimado amigo – la quiero – ella es mi primavera y ahora, pues, todas mis estaciones.

© Leo Campos Aldunez

Edmonton, AB (Canada)

Theme: Smooth Jazz at Midnight ©

Listen: https://youtu.be/iEwicM3RrG0