Either - Or

I'm no genius when it comes to sociology, but I suppose I've learned a few things about life and human nature during my time here. I mean, you can't really be a character-driven author without taking a few notes along the way...


What's In a Name?

Many years ago (26 to be exact) my mentor, Maestro Frank A. Salazar, the founder, director and conductor of the Ventura County Symphony (where I served for six years as his assistant) told me he’d reached a place where he wanted to de-clutter his life. It’s hard for me to imagine, but he was the age I am now. Well, I’ve found myself at the same place. To this end, I feel the need to de-clutter even on the most personal level, that is, with my name...


California Dreamin'

I admit that I'm totally digging my California Gold Coast Dreamin' blog these days. That's probably due to the fact that I'm currently planning a trip to the tri-counties area, where I spent the first 49 years of my life, in September.

I've been invited by the organizers of the Thousand Oaks BandTree Festival to cover the event, BandTree IV, and even help out with the promo, so I'm looking at this as a business trip as well as a brief, much-needed homecoming...


Tower of Power, Lennon Style

Wow, look what a friend just posted in Facebook! Do you remember a couple of weeks ago, I made a post about some Lps I bought at Tower Records in Hollywood? Well, here's a video of a Tower telly advert made by John Lennon.

What a find!


It's All Your Fault!

The Blame Game
by Ken McLeod
Buddhadharma Magazine
Summer 2012 quarterly issue

Blame is refreshing, because it is so unambiguously a reaction. You don't have to think or wonder about it. As soon as you see you are running the blame game, you know you are in reaction. Stop right there. What's happening?

Clearly, things didn't turn out the way you expected or wanted. You are frustrated and disappointed, and you can't tolerate those feelings. You don't want to feel this way.

You have a story about what happened, but that story is immediately suspect because in it, you are the hero. You use logic and reason, the opinions of others, support from friends or colleagues, to bolster your story. You are right!

But remember, when it comes to blame, reason is a weapon you use when you do not want to acknowledge your anger. Or, depending on your predilections, you turn it around--you still have a story and you still have a privileged role, but this time, you are wrong. It's all your fault.

To counter this pattern, the first instruction is to lay all your problems, everything that is wrong in your life, at the doorstep of one pattern: wanting things to be different from what they are. Blame is a wonderful reminder here of how deeply you want the world to conform to your expectations.

The second instruction is to meet whatever arises. Don't avoid it, internally or externally. When things turn out differently, meet that situation, not the one you wanted or expected.

One last point. Blame is a form of mind killing. It reduces the complexities of a situation down to one emotionally charged point. It blinds you to the role of other factors. It provokes reactions that lead people to act against their interests.

Thus, when the blame game is running, stop. Stop right there. Step out of your story. Step out of your judgments. Step out of your obsession with who's right and who's wrong. Step out of your racing mind.

Take a breath and meet the world you are in.