May 012017

A dear client recently mentioned to me that one of the worst things about being single and aging is the absence of touch.


Approximately a decade ago I picked up a random book at the Florida School of Massage, it’s title was simple enough: “Touching” and I was struck by how large the book was for such a simple topic.  As I dove into it I was completely blown away; it became one of those books that I recommended and referenced many times and that defined a moment in my life.
I recall the author, Ashley Montagu, mentioning research showing that infant mammals deprived of touch (but still fed) quickly died.  I recall him describing how gestures we often consider to be affection (such as a mother dog licking her pups) do so much more such as engage the digestive system and stimulate vital neural responses.  Touch influences our physical development, our emotional development, our cognitive development… it helps us both know ourselves and know our surroundings.  Oh, and what is largest human organ?  Our skin.

As infants we are, hopefully, touched all the time.  We are tickled, carried around, cleaned, snuggled, massaged, rolled around, thrown up in the air, hung upside down by our feet, raspberried, and many more forms of touch.  There is numerous research on the positive effects of touch on newborns and on the negative effects of the deprivation of touch; and even though I think that information still needs to be emphasized I actually want to point to the later stages of life.
You, as a single adult, how many times were you touched today?  What was the context and content of that touch?  How much of it was for a positive reason and had positive effects?
And you, the adult in a relationship, how many times were you touched today?  Touched by your partner of 5, 15, 40yrs?  Touched by your kids?  Touched by a friend?  And in what way did it affect you?
When was the last time you were touched in a way that moved you deeply?

I am not writing an article here, just wanting to invite your thoughts and to share mine.  I’ve grown to understand that there are several things in life for which we cannot correctly use our reasoning mind; for those things we need to use other ways of seeing.  The Franciscan priest Richard Rohr says there are 6 things which we cannot have “any honest notion of” by using our reasoning minds, those are: 1- Love, 2-Death, 3- Suffering, 4- the Infinity or Eternity, 5- God, 6- Sexuality.
We need to use reasoning to figure out the total costs involved on a trip to the grocery store, we need to use reasoning to drive our bicycle or car, we use reason even to read a book or watch a movie (though at times we can find ourselves emotional at a particularly good moment in those).  But then we end up defaulting to reason when we do other things such as non-business communication, or when we look at Nature, or think of God, or have sex, when we ask ourselves if we love someone, and when we try to empathize with someone, in those occasions we cannot accurately understand the situation by using our reasoning brain and we really should be using our hearts.
Our reasoning mind tells us that we can easily survive without touching each other, we do it all the time, yet I believe that when observed with our hearts it is an evident truth that we are lacking in touch.



Some references:

Touching – Ashley Montagu

On Being (podcast) – Richard Rohr with Krista Tippett – April 13 2017

Apr 242017

Dante Inferno

I’ve read Dante’s Inferno, en el mezzo del camino… but, in my opinion, he had always gotten one thing wrong and that was that hell wasn’t spinning.

Until recently I would have described Hell as {insert here the details} but it is spinning, constantly spinning, everything is going around and around and there is a constant sense of both being completely disoriented and nausea, the two working together to keep the participant rolling in crashing wave after crashing wave of physical and mental agony.
Until recently I would get dizzy after running in a circle twice while chasing my 3yr old teacher; with that dizziness would come the beginnings of nausea and that cold sweat and the sense of being overwhelmed by discomfort.  So it is with joy and great surprise that I find myself whirling and spinning on the spot, each morning, for 10 minutes at a time!  As I observe the contents of my room passing by me over and over and faster and faster until blurring speeds, and as I stay aware of my breath and my posture and my turning feet I am constantly and repeatedly amazed at what is happening.  How can this be?  And simply: WOW!

This feels like a door that had always been locked shut and kept in the shadows has been unlocked and brought into the light.  I’m excited to open it and explore.

Apr 112016

Meditation is a process of elimination.

Sitting in meditation is a simple process of noticing what is there that you do not need, letting that go, and moving on to the next layer.  Amazingly, it seems that there are infinite layers (or at least very many) and so the process never ends.

Sometimes I have a sense of getting better at the process and getting sparser in layers but that is an illusion because it may come about from noticing that the layers that are shed are subtler and subtler and yet just the next instance a huge layer comes into view and I am astounded that I hadn’t noticed it before.


Jan 042016

2015 is behind us

I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks but I have been producing content and actually posting it on my Facebook page.  I’m excited to post some of those updates here as well as get my videos page up to date.

But firstly I wanted to share a few pictures of the latest art I made first this past Christmas.  IMG_0881IMG_0884IMG_0878IMG_0880I’m reminded of the quote:

It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there.
― William Carlos Williams, Asphodel, That Greeny Flower and Other Love Poems: That Greeny Flower

Art is poetry and seems to be undervalued in schools and our everyday life.  Sure there are poets and artists but we are all poets and artists and need to care for that part of ourselves… or we too may die miserably from that absence.

I made this feather inspired on the style of beading that is found in Native American art; it was made for my daughter who has Native American blood.  The 4 colors red, blue, yellow, green represent both the 4 directions as well as the four elements in her family in this home (though she has a much larger family); I wanted to weave those 4 elements to indicate how they are all deeply bound together.  The feathers are owl feathers which, from what I am told, are not traditionally used by Native American culture for ceremony but my daughter found them and has wanted to honor them for a long time.


Dec 172015

Screen Shot 2015-12-12 at 12.08.11 PMI want to focus on showcasing the brain structures in relation to the brain’s Ventricular System.  In this series of posts and videos I will be considering the Ventricular System to be the main central landmark of the brain and showing the various brain structures in relation to it.
Here is the Medulla Oblongata, the first brain structure one encounters when passing upward through the foramen magnum.


Dec 112015
Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 4.26.35 PM

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 4.26.35 PMSpent part of today playing with colors and textures for representing the different parts of the brain.  Particularly working on the tentorium cerebelli and the cerebellum.  I may make the ventricles more water-like too.

What do you think?

Dec 102015
Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 5.50.24 PM

The more I thought about this jump that I have made from showcasing individual bones to showcasing the ventricular system the more it makes sense in terms of my larger goal of dissecting the body and presenting the relationship between bones and brain (and spirit).

You see, I had thought I would transition next to the sections of the brain that are in closest contact to a particular bone such as the Sphenoid and thus progressively work my way inwards; this is generally how brain anatomy has been taught (to me).  However, the brain is an extremely complex structure not just in function but also in form.  Studying brain anatomy is a huge field of research and we have still much to understand.  So I feel that, as is the case with learning your way around a new city, we need to start by the main landmarks.  We have the walls of the city, those are the bones, those are a key landmark now the city itself is made up of grocery stores and the city hall and the post office and the individual living houses AND running through the city is its waterway.  It seems to me that it makes much more sense to give directions to someone based upon the internal landmarks rather than the city walls.

“The grocery store is 50 meters north from the 4th cistern”.
“From the main gate follow the stream south and you will first pass by the bathhouse then you will come to the city hall and afterwards you will see the church on your right”.

For when we are studying or living in the city we can quickly forget about those all-important containing walls but we never forget where the closest water-source is.

And as such I have completed the video on the Ventricular System and completely justified myself to myself as to why my innate intelligence chose to showcase the Ventricular System next. :)


My invitation is that you watch this video and that you practice closing your eyes from time to time, maybe pausing the video at key moments, and take into your mind’s eye the image of this waterway that exists within you.  Continue this practice until you have a good sense of the shape of this waterway and until you can sit in meditation posture and replay the video within your mind’s eye.
Once you have accomplished that major milestone then allow yourself to feel the sensations arising from the Ventricular System within you.  For some it may be helpful to relate this system to an area of your brain that is spacious and flowing, thus feeling the flowing nature of the ventricular system.

In my next post I will expand upon the Ventricular System to highlight a few other key aspects of its shape.


Dec 022015

I’ve been focusing on the ventricular system this week. 0350

What a fascinating and beautiful system it is. 0839

Deep within our brains.  1436This system is sometimes discussed as being a thing in itself and sometimes referred to as the gap in between things.

2011So curious.

2967It is easiest to focus on what we can see and touch but then to focus on the spaces in between and notice that they are no less important.

3996In meditating on the ventricular system we meditate on the spaces in between.
Some meditations are focused on the bones, feeling into the shape of your frontal bone and sensing the sensations that exist in that area.  Frontal bones, temporal bones, sphenoid bones are akin to trees and sand banks.  For the ventricular system we are sensing into the rivers and streams that run between those trees and those sand banks; the waters that touch one tree and then flow to the next and the next and the next.

Message-carrying waters, and cleaning waters.

Nov 302015
Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
che la diritta via era smarrita.
Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the right path had been lost.
- Dante (of course)
0759 0909 1026
In the middle is the journey.  Sitting between the apparent beginning and the apparent end.  And though they too carry importance, those stagnant tips of the the rope, it is in the middle that.
Making the ends transparent we peer into the middle where we get lost and lose all hope of return.