Table of Contents

Writing

The nature of this project. Anyone reading these stories (if anyone ever does) would be justified in thinking they're my work. I write in first person as much as possible to make it clear this is not teaching. What I've done and how I live is not recommended for anyone else, at least not by me. But I'm not the writer or author as those words are commonly used. The best word I can come up with for me in all this is scribe: I write something that's been given to me to write, using my skills to make it as pretty as I can but always double checking my work with the real artist. I am not the artist here. Leela is.

Reclaiming my past. Writing these stories under Leela's close supervision, aiming for brutal honesty, is an important part of the work I do to make progress with love. I keep coming back to these stories, digging deeper, inviting the klieg light of wisdom to reveal hidden aspects of my past to me. I need to keep coming back so I can wring every drop of wisdom out of my life. I missed out on so much of my life: all those years I was under the influence of drugs, weak and forgetful. All my memories are still in there, and now that the fog has cleared I can begin to reclaim them, gaining wisdom from things I did and things that happened to me decades ago. I also need to keep coming back because the more progress I make the more I can bring to the project of writing these stories. I can feel my past growing in me now, feel its richness and depth increase. I've also begun to feel things about my deep past, about the uncountable number of lives I've lived before, lives where I was addicted to gambling and drugs. Lives spent struggling with mental illness. Reclaiming my past enriches my present, and opens up my future to new possibilities.

Using my gift the right way. Writing always came easy to me. It was something I loved to do. I was filling notebooks with creative writing by the time I was 12. The short story I wrote in Elaine's class was good enough that she typed it up on her own time so I'd keep working on it. In Tallahassee I used my writing skills to get my foot in the door to a successful career as a planner/evaluator. I needed to do that to prove to myself I could. The theme of my adventure in Boulder was TH wanting my writing skills. He wanted me to work on the project of writing up his teachings. I got lots of attention from him. He invited into his inner circle for a while before my fall from grace. Later on he invited me to move to The Land on the Arkansas River near Salida with four other writers. Those eight months were my happiest days in Harmonizing. When I returned to writing as a career in Seattle I was again successful but I burned out after a few years. Writing as a career was great the first time around, and it got me special treatment in Boulder, but then it became a mistake I needed to make.

New jobs. When I first landed in Seattle I was determined to do work that wasn't just writing. Mark, a fellow refugee from The Community, helped me out with that right off the bat. Within a few days of my arrival he talked me into coming with him to the Good Shepherd Center, where he and a handful of volunteers there were doing prep work in the runup to the annual Tilth Organic Harvest Fair. He recruited me after I volunteered that I was a calligrapher. I made informational and directional signs to guide people through the fair and designed a calligraphic logo that was used for years. It appeared on a big cloth banner and scads of long-sleeved t-shirts. Every now and again I see one of those shirts, now over thirty years on. Mark bequeathed me his job as fair coordinator the following year, a part time job for six months of the year. I did that for three years. Mark also helped me get a job working produce at Larry's Market. As one of my fellow produce workers put it, There's nothing like getting up at four in the morning to put your hands in cold water for five hours. Jeff Fairhall was one of my fellow volunteers. He also hired me for a number of non-writing jobs over the next couple of years.

My one great gift. But writing wouldn't leave me alone. Mark also got me jobs writing ad and promo copy for both Larry's Markets and PCC, and a volunteer gig writing for In Context. On my own I found volunteer work writing for the local Sierra Club chapter. Not writing is just not an option for me. Writing is my one great gift, a skill I developed early enough that it helped form me into who I am. I can't possibly keep away from it. The gravity of that gift is far stronger than any thoughts, ideas, or plans I might have in my pretty little head. Plus, my non-writing jobs didn't pay that well and had me getting up at ungodly hours. I wanted more money and a saner schedule. So when the opportunity to do professional writing appeared, I jumped at it. One night at a dance, made loquacious by booze, I rambled on about job woes to a sympathetic woman I was dancing with. Much to my surprise she said she might have something for me; that's how I hooked up with Sandra. She was an attorney, and one of her clients was a timber company. A consultant had prepared an environmental study and it needed editing. I'd only ever edited health and social service reports before, but editing that consultant's study was just a matter of learning a new vocabulary. No problem. Bring on the dioxins and furans!

Party girl. My edit blossomed in two directions: the consultant hired me because he had lots of reports that needed editing, and Sandra and I hooked up. She was hot, and there'd been chemistry between us from our first dance. After I got hired we went out to celebrate at a dance, then headed for a pub, where we ate, drank and got looped. We had a booth, where we got very cozy and started making out. We closed the place down. We were parked in opposite directions. She offered to drive me to my car. As we were heading to her car she suddenly dropped to her knees and started giving me a blow job right there in the street. No one had ever been that sexually forward with me, not even Ilse. I followed her home and we started seeing each other.

Leading her on. Sandra was a successful attorney with some fat clients. She was a quietly staunch Republican, which made it even hotter, like I was sleeping with the enemy. She was lavishly generous with me. When we went out she always treated. One weekend she whisked me away to her vacation condo on the water in Oregon. But her condo seemed arid and sterile. Lifeless somehow. That was my first hint this wasn't right for me. We also started having friction about dance. I was a much better dancer and got impatient. It got to be an issue between us. But the underlying issue was just that I had never fallen in love with her, while she was clearly crazy about me. I'd just gone along for the ride, enjoying the perks of a rich girlfriend. All that finally got to me. I felt like a fraud, a faker leading her on. So I broke it off.

EVS. After my successful stint with the consultant I got on the roster at a temp agency specializing in technical writing and editing. After several placements where I didn't fit in, I got placed with EVS. I hit it off with them, and they hired me away from the temp agency. I became their assistant editor. While I was working at EVS my brother Tim died. That affected my ability to think straight for several months. I flubbed a big assignment I was working on and my boss the editor had to take it on. This soured my relationship with EVS, but I bumped along there, something of a pariah. In 1999, staff from EVS split off to form a new company, Windward Environmental, and I split with them as their editor.

My decade at Windward was the aughts, 2000 to 2009. That was the decade of my marriage mistake. I got married March 26, 2000, famous in Seattle as the day they imploded the Kingdome. Not the greatest augury, eh? My divorce became final in February 2009. Working at Windward was great in the beginning. Everyone was charged up with that intrepid we can do anything beginning energy and I was something of a golden boy. The first few years I earned big year-end profit-sharing bonuses from the partners. But halfway through that decade I began to tank. Going back to a writing career had become another mistake I needed to make. Editing a technical report had become torture. I had classic burnout symptoms. Attempting to edit a report made me anxious. It was mild at first, but it got worse and worse. I also developed physical symptoms, wrist pain like carpal tunnel from mousing. I switched mousing hands, but then started to get the same pains in my left wrist. I didn't know which way to turn. I was making good money, and I was terrified at the prospect of losing my job. I had made progress surrendering to Leela but only for internal matters, like improving my meditation and losing weight. I was still a long way from the kind of surrender it was going to take to rely on her for financial support. I was stuck, miserably treading water, not knowing what the hell to do. The Windward partners solved my problem by letting me go.

The Windward offices were in Lower Queen Anne, and working there gave me a new neighborhood to explore. The parks, alleys and stairways of Queen Anne Hill make it a walker's paradise. I started spending my lunch hour walking and exploring. Sometimes I came to work early and/or left late so I could have more time to walk and explore. Queen Anne has dozens, maybe hundreds of dead ends where you can continue on foot via staircases and trails. Kinnear Park and the nearby greenbelt were like a home away from home. I made more and more use of it as things started going south at home.

Kinnear Park was the scene of a sweet connection that was an important milestone for me in many ways. Bryn was a dance friend from Waltz etcetera. My wife had lost interest in dancing. She taught the pre-dance class with me then left, so I was no longer in the glare of her watchful jealous eye. Bryn and I could dance together a lot more and our dance connection blossomed. In retrospect it's easy to see Bryn was my only friend at that point. We started meeting in Kinnear Park on some of my lunch breaks. In the early years of my marriage I'd been utterly unable to keep any secrets from my wife, a residue of isa in Tallahassee. After Leela spoke to me in 2006 a lot of things started changing deep inside. The first big manifestation of those changes was my new diet. The second was with Bryn. As we were sitting there on a park bench one day I leaned over and kissed her, and she kissed back. That kiss opened the floodgates. After that our lunch dates were pretty much makeout sessions. One day as lunch hour was drawing to a close I said Let's go to your house. She was delighted. We started meeting up at various campgrounds around the state on my weekend trips soon after that. I had no problem keeping my secrets, and I blame it all on Leela.

Writing websites. Soon after I had my come to Jesus moment in 2006 I started writing websites about my spiritual quest. These websites marked the first time I'd used my writing skills for myself since childhood. I've written more than a half dozen websites, starting with one about the simple pleasure of being. Those old websites are gone and good riddance. They were mental creations, and thinking is unreliable. Especially when it comes to making progress with love; I know from personal experience. This website is different. Leela's in charge. I muscle test every word, every tiniest edit to make sure it's right. To make sure I write what Leela would have me write, and not some preposterous mental fantasy I thought up.

The real teacher. Those early websites helped me process stuff from the past, especially traumas caused by TH. These stories are different. This is well on its way to becoming a mature work of art. That's because I'm getting better at getting out of the way of the real artist and simply assisting in the process. This work is both fabulous and nerve wracking. Leela is exquisitely helpful and relentlessly demanding.