Monday at 5:35 pm EST, I'm on the red oak floor of the library, backed up against a rolled futon. The tasty afternoon sun slices across the keys of the laptop, flooding my left eye with light. I can still see enough to type. Just outside, the lake is surging and vocal. Perhaps the last warm day of summer, an easy day for swimming and dreaming. One cricket continues to saw away; could be the last cricket of summer. Season Three Summer Vacation is almost over, an episode left, perhaps two.
I'm going into that lake soon, the inspiration for this episode, Daughter of Godcast Episode 108, Water. Each swim a surprise, another waking. Emerging from a night of sleep or a quick nap, that's one waking. Swimming is waking from waking. A coming into consciousness even when our eyes are already open.
Water symbolizes the tao, the flow of fullness we can tap into at any time. Getting into water reminds me of myself, what I mostly am atom-wise but also imaginatively.
What's been striking about making Season Three summer vacation is my talking about nothing at all really. No moviemaking history, no production reportage. Every week, whatever bobs to the surface, free. With the sun flickering through willow branches, cricket chirps and the lake talking, this could be considered a perfect summer moment. More eternal unfolding on planet Earth, friendly and so fine. I have nothing to say. Which could be the perfect podcast.
Speaking of nothing, how about cultural transformation? Is the United States of America ready? Can we unplug the Empire from the cozy cockpit of the Death Star? The '60s, Occupy Wall Street, Standing Rock... now what? The dude in the white house isn't an anomaly, he is the perfect president for our times. A living mirror, reflecting what we so adroitly avoided seeing for decades. America the constipated. America the impotent. America the chickenshit. He could wake us from the nightmare of convenience. Maybe. America's greatest president ever, just in the nick of time.
I'm more of an Earth man than an American man. From space, there are no borders and we're all in this together, bits of the divine. But I didn't incarnate in Antartica or Argentina, I chose to make my mortal debut in New York State and eventually settle in Michigan. And because I am an American and a big fan of free speech, AND a white heterosexual male, I can say whatever shit I want about America with zero repercussions. That's freedom! I also have a sacred obligation to talk shit about America on behalf of all those whom my tax dollars have traumatized and terminated.
The big bad corporations aren't bleaching the coral reefs, the mean old military–industrial complex isn't bombing babies, nope. If you're an American like me, then we're the culprits. The multinationals and the weapons dealers are just trying to keep us Americans supplied with plush toilet paper and cheap plane tickets. We demand a lifestyle that the rest of the planet pays for — oceans, forests, animals, people. If everyone on Earth lived like Americans, we'd need five more planets. That's why Donald Trump is showing up in our experience: He's our wake-up call. Is he enough, or do we need to have things get even worse?
Back in 1984, Ronald Reagan was an awesome inspiration, but I had my decisive breakthrough with George W. Bush, way back in 2003. Clinton and Obama were also helpful. A bevy of clacking man puppets. Crystal clarity, thanks to them.
As I learned about the authentic America, I railed and chafed, not knowing what to do. The goal was to feel better, but initially I thought action was what mattered. I carried out experiments, and these helped. Eventually, I found practices that reflected my yearning for joy, for ahimsa. At first glance I might seem like most other Americans, but I live a lifestyle that's radically, deliberately... gentler. My ambition is to eventually share the excitement and connection I've discovered, perhaps a gaggle of podcast seasons from now. Sufficient for this episode to report that there is a way to live lightly on the earth, feel balanced and blessed and still be based in the United States of America.
Cultural transformation is not a top-down phenomenon. Donald Trump may inspire, but he is, after all, just a guy in a big orange clown costume. A culture is what WE are, you and I, every danged day. Civil policy may or may not reflect what we want collectively; the only change I can count on is the change I choose for myself. Be the change you want to be in the world. Gandhi may not have said that exactly, but then there wasn't Twitter back in 1948. I've noticed that whatever I choose to focus on, I experience. Can this scale up to an entire nation?
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in our philosophy.
Shakespeare, Hamlet First Folio 1623
Sure. Why not? Je pense, donc je suis. I dream, therefore I am. Not Descartes, exactly. Je rêve à ce sujet je suis.
That's Episode 108, Water. Daughter of Godcast, Season Three, Summer Vacation. One practice that sets me apart from most Americans is my weekly podcasts. As a listener/watcher, you belong to a teensy tiny subset of humans on Earth, the first to hear about the coming culture. You're on the leading edge and not because I am so amazing, though I am. Because you're taking the time to be reminded how amazing YOU are, every week. I am just a guy wearing a genius-creator-sex-God costume, a cat-loving, water-worshipping, polyamorous, wilds-expanding yada yada whatever… meanwhile, YOUR metaphysical closet is overflowing with the best disguises ever. You get to choose. Whoever you decide to be today, hello!