Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Great Example

She was always consistently kind in a non-patronizing, heartfelt way. To a group of scraggly young musicians calling each week for her son, she was the message giver, the one who coordinated the communication for our gatherings and jam sessions. She never judged us on our less than wholesome appearances and sometimes radical outlooks. She knew that someday, the men would emerge from these youthful passions and become the persons most needed by the universe.

The consistency of her kindness and good nature was all the more profound do to the backdrop of her continual overcoming of a chronic illness. The sunshine came through and there was never a mention of this daily battle in any conversation I can recall. Her focus was on life, her family and her purpose. As a retired professional, she always carried that ordered, clean aesthetic into her life and bearing and showed this ratty looking keyboard player an example of maturity, nobility and caring without any lectures or ego. She just was this great example and I immediately respected that about her. She endured so much physical discomfort, but none of it shone in her talks with us. If I didn't find out from her son, my friend, I would never have known as her love for life and cheerfulness outshone any of the underlying issues. She prayed for me when I was hit with head and neck cancer. The amazing thing is, she didn't have to do any of this, but she did.

With her passing Monday, I celebrate her life and what she stood for. My love and prayers are with the family and I will always carry her wonderful presence and memory with me. It is people like this that makes life show what true living, love and motherhood is all about.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Pushing the River

Trying to get too many things done or too many things coming at you simultaneously can create a lot of stress. The mind naturally tries to organize all the new data and stimuli flying at it and does so remarkably well up to a point. At some juncture there is an overwhelming amount of things to do in a very short amount of time with limited resources. What we get is a stress load of epic proportions. All this does is take you away from your internal language and off your path. Or does it? Can you really lose your 'self' in times of stress and anxiety? Will your workload spilling off your desk and out of your cubicle really erase your true purpose?

In both corporate and private business I have seen folks on opposite ends of the spectrum. There are those who thrive on stress and those who buckle and are crushed by it. That's the way we human beings are, very limited and limitless. The people less affected by stress have come to an inner strength that fortifies them and those who cave have not yet found it in the measure they require.

To answer the question “Can you really lose your 'self' in times of stress and anxiety?” I would say, depending n what that stressor is determines the outcome. Read ~ wild tiger pouncing on you or spilling coffee all over your report the boss wants in 2 minutes is all relative, one will likely kill you and other will not. It is my belief that if the 'self' is part of the conscious awareness and rooted in life (not fear or worry), that you can never really lose it. If you operate solely with the external as the only reality, life is more like suffering than living. You are just pushing the river. Nothing you do will ever be good enough and you never have enough or are not worthy enough to have it. Happiness will be in some future time and not in this moment. You wait for some future timeframe for life to be better. If your self' is aware and conscious (not just thinking or believing you are conscious) then the present moment is where your root is, where your being can observe circumstances in the present moment occurring objectively. Root Natty root. Everyone has their own internal and external approach to life's stress. It can, for some of us, be an unconventional path to enlightening our journey.

I love the reply from artist CarolC of Compasswebworks posted to the Psiplex post “A Language Alien to Yours” aticle below: “So what is a creative to do....well compromise of course!! Work the left brain to put food on the table, and squeeze as much right brain time in to satisfy your creative urges, your passion. Voila!”

Amen CarolC!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Language Alien to Yours

Performing tasks outside of your natural path, talent or skill range can prove to be quite uncomfortable. For example, working as a freelance graphic designer full time before my battle with cancer, I had a variety of fun and not so fun projects. There were great clients and there were the inverse bunch of folks with whom I parted company as fast and as cleanly as possible. You can tell when you are involved at your highest level of awareness. Your mind fires off creative sparks that completely solve the problem in an elegant, creative fashion that is virtually no effort at all. The window of the creative universe opens and in comes the rainbow of ideas, art and life connection that makes the project soar. At his high level of doing, all hurdles are removed to the goal, like in the first Matrix movie, you realize, 'there is no spoon' and you are communicating in a new language.

Conversely, when a project arose that involved above average conflict, misdirection, misinformation, ego, conflict and confusion, it was as if the project was speaking in an alien language. Creativity was blocked or shoved in a corner, fear of this or that outcome from the client's overlords threatened each advance and the entire project went into slow motion against a backdrop of a hard deadline. Not fun. We humans tend to believe that a rigid set of structures and rules are necessary for achieving these hard deadlines and that an aggressive approach will get the job done. It's like the project managers are on some bizarre personal jihad to get their impossible deadline while the fiery whips of their bosses lash them for more speed.

As any creative can tell you, this is not the recipe for success. What I have found in creating graphics and electronic music, writing poetry and creating anything in general is that the best language is your internal language. When you connect and release possibilities to the great creative spark that is life and our universe, many good and unexpectedly good things happen. Whenever an opportunity arises for creativity, I find that it is a natural process. I get excited and desire to create something from just brushing against the idea of creating something. The process of letting it form is the joy and the end result ain't too bad either!

The journey and path to your purpose in creating is one of joy and discovery. All you have to do is want to play, kind of like when you were a kid. Become a kid again and enjoy playing with no boundaries, no rules and no limits. You can hone the raw material of this process to fit the requirements of your creative project, but always keep it in your own voice, your own language of the creative.

Let me know what your experiences are in your creative journey!

One Love

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

You're Anemic

My last checkup at the ENT revealed that one of the effects of the cancer treatment has been that I am now anemic. What it means in real life is that there are certain characteristics of anemia that have to be dealt with on a daily basis. Anemia, simply is that the number of red blood cells is reduced to the point where an iron deficiency takes place. The resulting effect is a series of symptoms that can interfere with your day from manageable to crazy. A good ten step check is from eHow and is titled 'How to Know if You Are Anemic

The tough part for me is that with the hemiglossectomy, regular food is out. Anemia can be managed well with a careful diet full of iron rich foods. At this point, I still use the PEG tube for about 98% of my nutrition. What I have been doing is adding a liquid iron supplement to fortify the nutrition enabling the management of the anemia. The more I heal up, the more nutrition I will be able to take by mouth and start picking up weight and strength. Looking forward to picking up some energy and doing some more music.

In the meantime, I have a link from my SoundCloud music post called Sun Halo which is an edgy minimal, glitchy summer sun jam. You can hear Sun Halo by clicking the play button. Would love to hear other electronic music from others! Leave a comment and enjoy!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Updates in the Psiplex Blogosphere

There is a new mobile version of Psiplex for handhelds which is handy if you are on the go and want to catch up with the latest Psiplex posts. You can get a mobile account for your own blog at MoFuse for free. MoFuse is offering their former paid version for free! It took me about 8 minutes to setup (mileage may vary) and is a neat way to experiment with getting your blog to mobile devices. The 8th comment to this post will receive a free design GIF header 200 pixels wide x 30 pixels tall for their free Mofuse mobile account. The header is a lightweight 4-6 kb which goes on your mobile web page. This may help folks who want a nice eye-catching, easy to read header. I'll just need the title you want and font style you want along with your preferred colors. As you can see from mine, there isn't a lot of space for a busy logo or pics, but a good, solid, readable font will do wonders on a complimentary, high contrast background. The GIF will be e-mailed to you so please provide a working email address that is not full or has a voracious spam filter. I don't send out e-mails or newsletters, so you don't have to worry about getting spam jammed — not interested in sharing your email with anyone, just want to show some love.

On the fun and creative side, Ars Technica has an article about the new Apple iPhone 3G app that is a virtual band from Moo Cow Music. Better than playing a mindless game while you're waiting at the airport or on the metro, composing music is fun and you can show off your new jams to your friends. Who knows, you could become an iTunes star!

Discovered NPR has a music section worth checking out called Music Interviews and Profiles which has some lesser known but excellent interviews with artists other than mainstream and top 10. Their World Cafe is also worthy of attention. Lots of good unexpected morsels to explore.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Clarity and Clouds

Watching a documentary style program on travel to Jamaica, I was struck by one of the segments of the program dealing with one the island's most popular exports. The interviewer was questioning a prominent living, former world renowned music legend (non-Marley) about his current lifestyle, past successes and beliefs. The former legend responded that he had found a new career in helping his people in Jamaica to understand their history and to embrace the endemic belief system that had now become his focus and passion. I followed his career for awhile in the early 1980's, as he was a dynamic voice in the growing world music and hip-hop communities, he just was never a top artist in my book. I was with him until he explained that this particular brand of worship was 'set aside' for a very specific group of people.

I was stumped at how any belief system that would help one to see truth and a life and power beyond this world would be 'set aside' for only a specific set of circumstances. Perhaps I had not encountered this aspect beforehand about a religion that supposedly embraces all, but I was amazed at how it struck me. It certainly caused me to reflect on the fact that when we set up a belief system, we fill it with all our good as well as bad. I contend that being connected to infinite love and peace is for all of us and not a set of methodologies that fool us into believing we are eternal. Battling cancer, I have found that it is so very important to discover where you are with life. Equally important, it is good to find out sooner or later what and where your path is. It is also is a relief to know that a lot of ambiguities and conflicting dialogue are a part of daily life. We all are trying to get to a state of love and learning. Some of this process is getting it right and getting it wrong with life happening in between. Partitioning love is not possible. You either have love in you or you don't.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Who You Think People Think You Are

It is surprising to realize how much our thoughts toward people, events and ourselves create our reality. It is also surprising to think that we can have such monumental change in our lives by realizing how we think about ourselves which returns to us experientially in everyday life. The constant state of impermanence and change makes endeavors a moving target. Acceptance of this concept makes it easier to understand why things are or are not.

Recognition of impermanence and all of what we know of life passing into different states then passing makes some people artists and some madmen. Against this backdrop we formulate a mental image of ideals and perceptions that become us, others and the world. We think ourselves into being by internalizing the world around us. This is done by pulling in influences that build our self amidst a biological and chemical foundation that injects traits and behaviors from ancestors we may not know. Chance and probability combine with the verities of physics to produce the artist's or the madman's reality and behavior. Then, it just is. Deductive, fact-based scientific fact and a nodding heroin delusion exist proportionally in real time and carry the weight of reality to each experiencer. How we conduct our thoughts determines our reality and becomes the behavior we project into the world. This is the self that has your birth certificate and face along with your conceptualized personality.

What are you making up about yourself? How does this view of yourself reflect in others? How you think people think you are is a part of your self identity as much as you thinking how you will 'be'. Wether a perspective is quantitative or spiritually intuitive, it all outputs as a type of image that is our self for ourself and others. The personal importance of these factors is manifested and displayed in our interactions with the world and on the big screen of our minds. Off the big screen, are you really the person playing the roles on its endless loop of thoughts and emotions? Is there more than the definition you and others have given that face in the mirror you call 'me'? We unfold or are folded up by the blocks we can't seem to get past. We soar when we glide past blocks to the peaks of our ability.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Attention Span

People tell me stories
I am not interested
Large crowds mobilize in frenzies
I want to be alone
Driving on the freeway
Makes me tired and driving
vibrating nonstop texting
is incessant like noise
Like noise is an argument
I am out of my garden
Back through noise to
my attention-less non-being
being not ~ being better
quiet again, breathing again
in my garden

Monday, July 14, 2008

Suffering and Consciousness

There is an article posted Monday at RealitySandwich from Sam Michael called Kung Fu: Preparation for Armageddon which is a really thoughtful. I Liked the direction of the post. His quote of Dostoyevsky's "Suffering is the origin of consciousness." is interesting for the article.

I'm believing consciousness allows suffering to impact consciousness rather than suffering being a creator of consciousness. Consciousness reflects stillness, presence and peace as well as external events that involve thought and the outward manifestation of life as in the physical world. There may be the thought that suffering is an origin, but consciousness had to be in existence to even recognize suffering. My 2 cents, yo.

I welcome your comments!

Sunday, July 13, 2008


CarolC of Compass Webworks has a beautiful piece called Delatta she composed in Compass Webworks Fresh Flash Friday (FFF) inspired by Ching Theory.

Based in Ontario, Canada, Carol brings a wonderful insight and adventurousness to her blog which is an exploration of art and all things creative. It is fresh, natural and original in ways that make me smile and marvel at the power of art and an inspired artist. I strongly urge visiting Compass Webworks to get a serving of your own inspiration and rich flavor of creativity and art. Carol's Gallery is a great way to get a feel for her artistry.

I am deeply honored and grateful that Carol would be so kind as to hear the track and be engaged by the creative spark to produce Delatta. I am smiling so hard my face hurts!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Pain Management

The main focus this week has been on pain management and will continue to be so for the next several weeks. Visited the ENT specialist for my one week checkup. Still pretty ugly in there but I am where I should be for this stage of healing. I heard a couple of cause of concerns on the path report but it is too early to tell the difference between what might be and what is based on the swelling and prior neck surgery. I will have to go in for regular checkups to keep an a close watch on any developments of tongue cancer re-growth which is 10 kinds of nasty.

The pain medication I am using a combination of a pain killer and Tylenol to reduce inflammation and swelling. I take this through my PEG tube about every 4 hours and it is definitely helping. I just don't want to depend on it for too long. The last thing I want is a drug addiction. Managing the pain means getting better nutrition which will promote healing. Also planning on resuming a gentle bit of walking early in the mornings to improve circulation and prevent muscle loss. The morning walks are a good time to meditate on life and its purpose. Time to get back in the saddle!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Everything is Speed

A bit wobbly and weak this morning, but on the slow road to recovery. The swelling on my ankles has subsided and the general anesthesia-induced lethargy is dissolving. The after effects of most of Thursday's surgery is subsiding and a somewhat normal thought process is coming round. Many thanks to all my family, friends, associates and supporters for your kind words of encouragement!

With cancer diagnosis and treatment, everything is speed. The rapidity of cancer cell growth is wicked fast. The best hope is a fast track to your doctor, oral surgeon, ENT or regular physical to monitor any changes in your body. You have to be on alert for changes but not in a state of constant suspicion or panic - use common sense. For head and neck cancer, being aware of changes to your tongue, tonsils, neck, lymph nodes, nasal passages, eye area and skin is critical. Speed in determining the prognosis and treatment cycle often means the probability in successfully beating cancer.
There are many resources available, some of the few of which are:


Cancer Compass Information

The Cancer Compass Message Boards - where you can find out about various cancer

The American Cancer Society - You can find out about community resources and more

A great article on combining radiation and surgery for head and neck cancer patients

A man by the name of Brian Ankner is fighting tongue cancer and has a blog with photos available at

Send along your comments suggestions and stories via the comments section (click on the text link 'comments' to add yours). All are appreciated!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Tongue Cancer Operation

Thursday, July 3rd was my hemiglossectomy (excision of part of the tongue). The operation went very well under the skilled hands of the Surgeon, Dr. Jackson and his team at Northside Hospital in Atlanta, GA. The procedure went so well in fact, I was back home resting on the 4th by 5pm. Nothing like being home to recover from surgery in your own environment.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the cancer on my tongue was very aggressive and sneaked past the chemotherapy and radiation therapy to surface again just one month past those treatments. Like in December, 2007, the symptom was a really painful, caused side effects and appeared as an alien-looking white ulcer on my tongue. See more about oral cancer.

Initially, after 3 weeks post radiation, I was genuinely feeling strong, putting on weight, going out out to a local coffee shop with my mates and eating eggs and drinking a wee bit of coffee. All felt well and I was really in recovery mode. Then by the 4th week post radiation therapy, I was starting to get fatigued again, my lymph nodes were swollen, my tongue was swollen and the alien invader on my tongue showed up. It was really, really large (at least to me) and stopped me from eating immediately. Had the nerve to be all white and shiny. Big honkin' white Frankenulcer that peered back at me in the mirror and freakin' hurt like hell. Fortunately, my PEG tube was still in place and I was able to get nutrition through nightly tube feedings that kept my strength up and weight from plummeting.

With that, the symptoms were causing me so much distress, I immediately made an appointment to see the Radiology Oncologist, the Chemotherapy oncologist and the ENT Surgeon. The biopsy taken on Tuesday, July 1st was sent to the med labs and on Wednesday, July 2nd, I was doing all the intake for the surgery for Thursday the 3rd. It was all so fast, but with cancer, you have to move fast. I would be happy to answer any questions about the procedure for anyone who needs the info. You can e-mail me direct at grfx303@gmail.com and I will get back with you ASAP.

Wanted to pass along the spiritual, physical and mental preparation I experienced so this may be of use to anyone going through complexity like this. I want to give you a no b.s. response. Life is too short and too precious to b.s. people or oneself. We as a people are all really wanting to be told the truth and be fed with the truth. Anything else is a cruel diversion. Although I promise not to belabor you good people with any religious schlock, I will pass along what works for me. I just do not believe in prescribing to a 'religion' as a practice for the life or death matters that we face. Alright, here is what I connected with since going into the doctors for my cancer on July 2nd. You don't have to do as I do, but at least you can peer into the process and clock it.

Core belief for me is that yes, Virginia we do have a spirit which I call my consciousness. This consciousness, for me, is the real “i”, some call it our soul. Cool. In other words, I do not sincerely believe I am my birth certificate, my name, my title , my cancer or the roles I play as a graphic designer and electronic musician. They are an external identification. The “i” that is my consciousness is connected to life everlasting and cannot not be so. It is the eternal being part of my human + being. My human part is a mechanical function which eats, farts and has an automatic system for digesting food and circulating my blood. I didn't have a whole lot to do with the spirit getting here, and thus I believe that since I am here in this container I have a purpose. This purpose is tied to the rest of the energy here in the form of other human beings and all the wonderfulness and shittiness that is on this planet. I have no particular powers, nor do I totally know some of even the smallest of reasons why this is so. It is just my human experience. I do respect all beliefs and wisdom. I am open to all wisdom and truth that lay on my “i” consciousness without wrinkling or staining it.

That said, I prepared for the cancer operation knowing that my human body will follow the destiny of all living things and will perish at some point. Not a whole lot of cause for concern as that is what happens to life forms on the planet. I also was extremely comforted by the fact that my energy would return to where it came and I do not have to worry about that in the least. Next, I made sure that I was not angry, vengeful or had any hate left in me for anyone, anything or any purpose. Those things rely on mental images and a movie playing to show your thought process you were wronged. The past, if doesn't contain love or a purpose for now is not useful, so I got clear on that. Next, I made sure that I had no resistance to the now, the present moment I operate in and the operations affects on my family, loved ones and “i”. Got clear on that. Next, I realized that what will be got to be. To me, only learning to give love and receive love presents the lessons needed to live. All the good stuff in life begins with love and continues with love. The more giving and the less getting, the more chance to find true purpose. If my purpose here is needed, here I am, if not, my energy returns to the main energy source. I placed my trust in my connectedness to the greater almighty and let it ride.

I tried to be like water, non-resistant and flow around things I didn't understand or maybe would have a hard time controlling. I let go a lot of emotional baggage and became locked in the present moment to observe my thoughts and emotions about the cancer operation that removed part of my tongue. What gave me peace is that through suffering, we often come upon our true life purpose. If I approach that with love and consciousness, I can be of some use to others, If I choose to be a victim, become pitiful and petty or even a 'cancer patient', I cannot serve my purpose. Again, just me talking, you gotta figure this out sooner or later in your situation. All I know is that the more negative crap we attach to our external human, the title, the roles, the ego who has a name on a birth certificate or drivers license, the more life just plain hurts. Through this series of events, I have come to accept that the only time we have is now, the present. The past s gone and the future is going to be a present moment. I can serve by being aligned with my present moment, the purpose and the service I can freely give to others. In this, I have great joy and great peace. I hope to provide love to folks on their way to and coming back from their own pilgrimage. I also hope to learn from their experiences and wisdom.

Of course there will be rough days ahead, of course there will be measures of disappointment and all the other things that befall us here on planet earth. I will continue to be a student and learn, pass on what I find and love as much as I can.
You are welcome to comment- everything accepted and acknowledged!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Creating Space for Healing

After waiting for the CT scan results to come through, the hours passed and time crinkled into a single moment. At the ENT's office I got the official word that the results were positive. Good news, it hadn't spread. Apparently the cancer is still flaring up on my tongue but is gone from my neck. I am about to undergo a procedure called a hemiglossectomy or excision of part of the tongue. This can include removal of half the tongue. Despite the treatment started back in December, 2007, the cancer became very aggressive, tricky and resistant to the chemotherapy and radiation therapies. This procedure is an attempt to isolate and remove the growth. Looks like the opera and competitive eating careers could be on hold.

So what advice can I offer to others who are facing a medical event like this? The best and most sane advice I can give is to be at peace with the decision, don't resist by putting an added story to the fact. Don't create anxiety, but create a space for healing around the event. What will be got to be as Bob Marley stated. Is cancer or any disease the real you? Is the definition of your body the real you? Hint: The real you is not the body, nor the disease. Contemplating these questions will involve a lot of searching. For every individual, this is going to be different. believe me, having an internal positivity toward any situation is going to help it along. There is less chance for resistance, both internal and external that can snag on the path. Fair, unfair, anger, pity, tears will not change what has to be, neither will a false sense of bravery or toughness. My focus is on the healing, not the labels put on the condition or the variables surrounding it. It is part of my experience on this planet. Good? Bad? It just is. Up to me to find that as useful and welcome on the journey. I am surrendering resistance and welcoming wellness, peace and healing. At some point, I'll eat a plate of hot barbecue wings in your honor!

Needless to say, the blog will be coasting for a week, but will be back on track soon.

One Love


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