Café Communication

The value of truthfulness.

March 20, 2019

A liar no longer needs to feel that his lies may involve him in starvation. If living were a little more precarious, and if a person who could not be trusted found it more difficult to get along with other men, we would not deceive ourselves and one another so carelessly.

But the whole world has learned to deride veracity or to ignore it. Half the civilized world makes a living by telling lies. Advertising, propaganda, (politics) and all the forms of publicity that have taken the place of truth have taught men to take it for granted that they can tell other people whatever they like, provide that it sounds plausible and evokes some kind of shallow emotional response.

-Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island [1955]

Humbly, we are asked to keep the flow real between what is taken in and what is let out. We have only to breathe to remember our place as al living inlet. Experience in, feelings out. Surprise and challenge in, heartache and joy out. In a constant tide, life rushes in, and in constant release, we must let it all run back off. For this is how the earth was made magnificent by the sea and how humankind is carved upright, again and again, by the ocean of spirt that sets us free.

-Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening [2011]

There is something in me that knows what to do. It not only knows what to do, It impels me to act upon what It knows. This very acceptance flows forth into action through me. Always there is an inner, quiet, persistent confidence, a nonresistant but complete acceptance, an inward flowing with the stream of Life, knowing that It carries me safely and surely to my destination and to the accomplishment of every good purpose.

-Ernest Holmes, Science of Mind [2001]

We are guided continually. We choose to follow what is good, and right, and just.



Straws into waves.

This Artist Turned Thousands of Plastic Straws Into Stunning Ocean Waves

Plastic straws have become one of the great scourges of the ocean, and in a massive installation by artist and activist Benjamin Von Wong, they’ve been transformed into majestic waves with all the verve that entails.

The “Stawpocalypse” features green, blue, and black straws for water, clear straws for the surf’s froth, and yellow straws for sand. Von Wong came up with the idea after learning more about the problem of plastic waste in the world’s oceans. He wanted to create a dramatic scene that conveyed the scale of the problem.

“Numbers, statistics, and facts hit the mind, but art has the potential to hit the heart,” Von Wong told Global Citizen. “I personally see my role as an artist to give people convenient excuses to talk about the problem.”

Love laughs.

March 19, 2019

But love laughs at the end of the world, because love is the door to eternity; and, before anything can happen, love will have drawn her over the sill and closed the door, and he won’t bother about the world burning because he will know nothing about love.

-Thomas Merton, The Sign of Jonas [1953]


March 9, 2019

 “WGRE first went on-air April 28, 1949 as the first FCC licensed educational radio station.”

DePauw University

WGRE: The First 50 Year Anniversary [2009]



March 8, 2019

“Today, we stand at a crossroads: we can continue to live by the blade, risking global annihilation, or we can rediscover the partnership ethic and spirit of co-operation, and use the chalice to transform our culture and our future.” 


Riane Eisler

“Some books are like revelations, they open the spirit to unimaginable possibilities. Eisler proves that the dream of peace is not an impossible Utopia.”

-Isabel Allende

“Until I read books like Eisler’s I assumed men ran churches because men run everything…now I realize it goes a lot deeper than that; it is a matter of male mana threatened by female magic.”

-Katherine Whitehorn, The Observer

‘Hold fast to hope.’

March 6, 2019


‘Survival Math,’ Is A Memoir About Growing Up Black In Oregon

‘NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly talks with author Mitchell Jackson about his second book, Survival Math, which details the calculations he made to survive as a young black man growing up in Portland, Ore.’

MITCHELL JACKSON: He knew that we – you know, we had an issue, and he pulled a gun on me and was like, are you looking for me? And in that moment between my answer and him asking the question, a lot of thoughts went through my head.

KELLY: Mitchell Jackson thought about whether he could get away, whether there were any witnesses, whether he could survive a gunshot wound, what he should say to make sure he walked away alive.

JACKSON: I ultimately said, no, I’m not looking for you and probably ended up saving my life because he did murder someone not too long after that. So I took that kind of calculations and then asked myself, well, there must be some men in my family or others who also had to make those calculations.

KELLY: Calculations that he calls survival math. That’s the title of Mitchell Jackson’s new book. It’s his story, his family’s story. The opening chapter describes how he started dealing drugs back when he was 14 or 15 years old.


JACKSON: Yeah, my novel, “The Residue Years.” But I was also a little frustrated with the way that reviewers and other readers were portraying it as if I was just telling a story and there was no kind of craft or art to it or intellectualism. And I was like, oh, well, I know how to force a reader to kind of confront the way that my mind works, so I’m going to put these in essays.

And then the other thing is I want you to know that there were a community of people in Northeast Portland that struggle but ultimately are survivors. And a lot of us are thriving. And so that’s really important to me because I – when I ask – tell people I’m from Portland, Ore., they say, oh, my God. Like, I didn’t even know black people live there. And it’s true, really, because we’re only, you know, 2, 3, 4 percent of the population, but we’re a community. And I think that we deserve to have a kind of public persona.

KELLY: This is the predictable question, but what would you tell 14, 15-year-old Mitchell Jackson if you could go back and talk to him?

JACKSON: I would tell him, hold on. It’s going to get better. I don’t know if I would take back the mistakes that I made because you take back one mistake and I’m not here speaking to you right now. But I do think, you know, you have to hold fast to hope, especially in moments where you think it’s close to hopeless.

Songs to be sung.

March 3, 2019

‘Daring to enter, we are humbled to discover, again and again, that the act of living itself unravels both the answer and the question. When we watch, we remain riddles to be solved. When we enter, we become songs to be sung. When life feels far off, remember that a flute is just something hard with holes until it’s played. So, too, the heart. In this way, the life of every soul waits like sheet music to be played. What good are we if never played?’ -Mark Nepo


Blessed are you God of the universe.

You have created us, and given us life.

Blessed are you, God of the planet earth.

You have set our world like a radiant jewel in the heavens,

and filled it with action, beauty, suffering, struggle and hope.

Blessed are you, God of Aotearoa New Zealand

in all the people who live here,

in all the lessons we have learned,

in all that remains for us to do.

Blessed are you because you need us;

because you make us worthwhile,

because you give us people to love and work to do

for your universe, for your world and for ourselves.

  • A New Zealand Prayer Book/He Karaikia Mihinare Aotearoa. (1989).  p.142



March 2, 2019

[Remastered for the film, Roma.]


I was a wing in heaven blue

soared over the ocean

soared over Spain

and I was free

needed nobody

it was beautiful

it was beautiful

I was a pawn

didn’t have a move

didn’t have nowhere

that I could go

but I was free

I needed nobody

it was beautiful

it was beautiful

and if there’s one thing

could do for you

you’d be a wing

in heaven blue

I was a vision

in another eye

and they saw nothing

no future at all

yet I was free

I needed nobody i

t was beautiful

it was beautiful

and if there’s one thing

could do for you

you’d be a wing

in heaven blue

and if there’s one thing

could do for you

you’d be a wing

in heaven blue

and if there’s one thing

could do for you

you’d be a wing

in heaven blue 

A new world yet seen.

The Silent Life.

The world of our time is in confusion. It is reaching the peak of the greatest crisis in history. Never before has there been such a total upheaval of the whole human race. Tremendous forces are at work: spiritual, sociological, economic, technological, and, least of all, political. Mankind stands on the brink of a new barbarism, yet at the same time there remain possibilities for an unexpected and almost unbelievable solution, the creation of a new world and a new civilization, the like of which has never been seen. We are face to face either with Antichrist or the Millennium, no one knows which.

-Thomas Merton, 1957


Pride goes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18


Hope within the hopeless.

March 1, 2019

Richard Rohr, Center for Action and Contemplation:

“Without a Shared and Big Story, all humans retreat into private individualism for a bit of sanity and safety.

Perhaps lack of attention to the [ancient] Mystery can be seen in the way we continue to pollute and ravage planet Earth, the very thing we all stand on and live from. Science now appears to love and respect physicality more than most religion does! No wonder that science and business have taken over as the major explainers of meaning for most people today (even many who still go to church). Christians did not take this world seriously, I am afraid, because our notion of God or salvation didn’t include or honor the physical universe. And now, I am afraid, the world does not take [this] seriously.

Hope cannot be had by the individual if everything is corporately hopeless.

It is hard to heal individuals when the whole thing is seen as unhealable.”


February 23, 2019

“The brain & the mind are useful tools, but the heart is where your real thinking comes. When I read about the political & environmental state of the world…it’s all going to hell…maybe hope in the world is some irrational thing we’ve got, but we’ve got it anyway.”

-Jon Castle

Lifeboat: “Dedicated to all those who perish in search of a better life.”

Jon Castle, 1950-2018

Lifeboat is nominated for the 2019 Oscar Short Feature Documentary

“The closer you get to a problem, it’s not just a mass of people…you separate into individual expression…dealing with them as people…then your heart starts operating more than your head and your tells the truth when you listen to it.”

We can awake.

February 21, 2019

We live in an age of bad dreams, in which the scientist and engineer posses the power to give external form to the phantasms of man’s unconscious. The bright weapons that sing in the atmosphere, ready to pulverize the cities of the world, are the

dreams of giants without a center.

Their mathematical evolutions are hieratic rites devised by

shamans without belief.

One is permitted to wish their dreams had been less sordid!

Thomas Merton, Emblems of a Season of Fury

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

-Naomi Shihab Nye

Vibrations of a passionate relationship.

February 17, 2019

“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”

[Virginia Woolf, 1882-1941]


Ursula K. Le Guin:

For old people beauty doesn’t come free with the hormones, the way it does for the young… It has to do with who the person is.

But all the same, there’s something about me that doesn’t change, hasn’t changed, through all the remarkable, exciting, alarming, and disappointing transformations my body has gone through. There is a person there who isn’t only what she looks like, and to find her and know her I have to look through, look in, look deep. Not only in space, but in time.

That must be what the great artists see and paint. That must be why the tired, aged faces in Rembrandt’s portraits give us such delight: they show us beauty not skin-deep but life-deep.

[Maria Popova]

[Helen Keller surrounded by a group of young dancers at Martha Graham’s studio, including Graham herself. (1954)
Image: Perkins School for the Blind Archive]

The Constitutional clock is ticking.

‘From today forward we are living in Constitutional time. Which news organizations will rise to the moment?’
-Jay Rosen, NYU


[A basis of democracy that encourages citizens to actively participate in social processes.]


‘Democracies rarely collapse suddenly, with tanks rolling through the streets out of a blue sky. It’s a slow death of a thousand cuts to rights, norms, the rule of law.

The groundwork is to turn the people & leaders against institutions of democracy: the free press, political opposition, independent judiciary & law enforcement, the truth. The infallible leader is the substitute for all of it.’

Garry Kasparov
Human Rights Foundation

25th Amendment

The 25th Amendment, proposed by Congress and ratified by the states in the aftermath of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, provides the procedures for replacing the president or vice president in the event of death, removal, resignation, or incapacitation.  The Watergate scandal of the 1970s saw the application of these procedures, first when Gerald Ford replaced Spiro Agnew as vice president, then when he replaced Richard Nixon as president, and then when Nelson Rockefeller filled the resulting vacancy to become the vice president.  Read more from the Congressional Research Service…

“The greatest need of our time is to clean out the enormous mass of mental and emotional rubbish that clutters our minds and makes of all political and social life a mass illness. Without this housecleaning we cannon begin to see. Unless we see, we cannot think. The purification must begin with the mass media. How?”

-Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander [1968]


Circle of connection.

February 14, 2019

“The entire universe is about connection and relationship…from the smallest atom to the galaxies and everything in between. Sin (missing the mark) and evil (false awareness) emerge when we try to stand outside of that circle of connection.” 

-Fr. Richard Rohr, Center for Action & Contemplation

St. Francis, while looking at the stars one night:

If these are the creatures, what must the creator be like?”


Make a difference.

February 7, 2019

Each one of us can make a small but critical contribution to the future by taking care of the present now-each in our own unique way-ethically, lovingly, together with others where we work, wherever we can make a difference. It is a great adventure, a radical act of sanity & love.

-Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D.

Dr Kabat-Zinn is a scientist, writer, and meditation teacher. He is Professor of Medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Apostle to the Apostles

February 2, 2019


Thinking of a time continuum.




The number of years a false narrative used by Pope Gregory to depict MM as a woman plagued with demons, lust, and prostitution. When the church named her the apostle to the apostles in 2016, being witness to Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, it was 46 years (1969) after Catholics retracted the moniker of prostitute. Yet, to this day, so many still generally believe Mary to be a “fallen woman.”


“Myths which are believed tend to become true” (George Orwell). Myths are difficult to reframe, too, regardless of retraction.


I deeply question the veracity of the New Testament, knowing…learning…about political narrative at that time, decisions made on inclusions/exclusions based on motivations of church leaders. I have difficulties reciting particular creeds knowing how they derived. I recently joined a local Episcopalian church, Emmanuel. Although progressive, it is still conventional in worship, and follows traditional liturgy. The leader of the vestry, Mother Lea, fills my soul with her spirit and contemporary, liberal and grace-filled rhetoric. She is truly on fire for community and connection. Her first sermon at Emmanuel centered on MM, “Three years together and she never left his side.”


Father Richard Rohr, Center for Action & Contemplation, continues to refer to Jesus’ humanity and the radical action/compassion component of his journey, an idea Richard teachers in his daily newsletters. And Mary, for me, personifies this. It gives hope that we, as part of various church families, can start to incorporate Mary’s contributions. I think of Cynthia Bourgeault’s [The Meaning of Mary Magdalene] suggestion that Passion Week begin with Mary’s anointing of Jesus, and, again like Cynthia makes mention, doing this simply by including the passages in the Canonical Gospels of the NT, not needing reference to the Gnostic gospels, or Gospel of Mary (although I would absolutely include).


A beautiful film released in 2018 is now available on DVD, although, not in the U.S. Mary Magdalene, with Mara Rooney as Mary, and Joaquin Phoenix as Jesus, is exemplary. I was able to order a copy…long wait…with only one being available. When it arrived, I discovered my DVD player wouldn’t adjust to the ‘region change’, being from a different country, however I was able to make the adjustment on an old lap top and view it on that device after changing the code.


The film touched me on a deeply beautiful emotional level. I think it is because…all I can surmise…is that the writers, both women, were able to capture Mary’s essence and her connection with Jesus in a way other disciples did not have, or could not understand. Jesus, in the film, claims to Mary that she will be his “witness.” Mary shares with the disciples after Jesus’ death: “the world will only change as we change.” It is a message, understanding, of Jesus’ most profound teaching that is often missed, or re-defined in contemporary Christianity. Mary: “the kingdom is within…we have the power to lift the people.” (My personal belief.) In the film Mary asks Jesus what it feels like to know God as he does and his response is tender and touching: “No one has ever asked me how it feels.” 


In the film when Jesus speaks of courage, I thought of Cynthia’s reminder that the root word for courage  is ‘cor’, or heart—”to speak one’s mind by telling one’s heart”


I loved this film on so many levels…writing, history, pacing, editing, cinematography, direction, costumes, score, acting. I know I will return to it again and again. I hope you get a chance to see it. This is a message needing to be heard.


The movie was to be distributed in the U.S. by Harvey Weinstein’s Company. After the fallout, the release was put on hold. Some kind of strange symmetry that it was Weinstein who kept Mary Magdalen’s message from being released in this country. Some articles I’ve read recently suggest the film may still have a theatrical release in the U.S. Another of Weinstein’s films, The Upside, was finally released recently, after a long delay. So there is hope this film will have a wider audience here.


I recommend this book as a companion piece.


“You embrace what deceives you. Consider these matters, then with your spiritual intellect […] Find contentment at the level of the heart, and if you are discouraged, take heart in the presence of the image of your true nature” (Bauman, Bauman & Bourgealt, 2008, p. 66).


Team Human

January 29, 2019

City Lights Book Store/San Francisco

“Right now, I’m reading a galley of Ghost Work: How to Stop Silicon Valley from Building a New Global Underclass, by Mary L. Gray and Siddharth Suri.”

What are 3 books you would you never part with?

  1. Robert Anton Wilson’s Cosmic Trigger
  2. Marshall McLuhan’s Understanding Media
  3. The Tanakh

What writers/artists/people do you find the most influential to the writing of this book and/or your writing in general?

David Lynch, Timothy Leary, Aleister Crowley, Karen Armstrong, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Buber, Emmanuel Levinas, Mircea Eliade, Howard Rheingold, Frances Moore Lappé, Karl Marx, W.E.B. Du Bois, Terence McKenna, Fred Turner, Zeynep Tufekci.

“Find the others. Restore the social connections that make us fully functioning humans, and oppose all conventions, institutions, technologies, and mindsets that keep us apart.

Our values–ideals such as love, connection, justice, distributed prosperity–are not abstract. We have simply lost our capacity to relate to them” (p. 211).

Harnessing wide-ranging research on human evolution, biology, and psychology, Rushkoff shows that when we work together we realize greater happiness, productivity, and peace. If we can find the others who understand this fundamental truth and reassert our humanity―together―we can make the world a better place to be human.

[Named one of the “world’s ten most influential intellectuals” by MIT, Douglas Rushkoff is an author, media theorist, professor, and documentarian who studies human autonomy in a digital age.]

Rushkoff’s talk at City Lights Book Store in San Francisco…1.29.19…will be recorded for a future podcast.


‘Flowers for brains and permanent sunshine.’

January 24, 2019

“Fuck The Rain”

I wanna lie down here in your arms
And just die
Can I live
Long enough to be alive
With a bleached out heart and a broken smile?Flowers for brains
Permanent sunshineI wanna hold you
Pieces and prayers
And disarm
Can I live
Long enough to be believed
With a bleached out heart and a broken smile for the win?
Flowers for brains
Permanent sunshine
Fuck the rain
All that pain
Everything is fine
Can you stop?
Can I be alive?
Process all the doubt
And think
The numbers go in
But they don’t go out
On timeFlowers for brains
Permanent sunshine
Flowers for brains
Permanent sunshineFuck the rain
Everything is fine
Can you stop?
Can we be alive?
Processing the doubt
You think
That the numbers they go in
And they don’t go out
On time
‘Cause you’ve got flowers for brains
And permanent sunshine

Flowers for brains and permanent sunshine


Guitar solo by John Mayer. Album scheduled to be released on April 19th.

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