CHICKEN SLAUGHTER

I slaughtered a chicken today. Cut off its head and plucked it clean. Eviscerated it. Bagged it. Tagged it and will probably be involved in the process of prepping, cooking and eventually consuming said bird. 

I've never killed anything so ceremoniously and deliberately before. It felt right. Not in a violent or morbid way. In a visceral way. I eat chicken. I've watched documentaries and read articles about where my food comes from but this experience trumps all of that. I feel connected to this process. I feel like I should either stop eating meat or start killing what I'm gonna eat more often. I think of all the super processed meat that gets shoved through car windows and into human bellies with total ignorance of how the animal lived, how it was raised, how it died or how it made it into that convenient bite sized shape. I fed this chicken. Gave it water. Helped to wrangle it up. And placed it in the kill cone. When I wrapped the palm of my hand around its warm face and pulled the neck taught the chicken went calm and I said a kind of silent prayer. Then I slid the sharpened blade edge through feather and skin where it was met with some slight vertabraic resistance before running clean through to the other side and leaving my balled fist bloodied and holding one severed chicken head.

Hand bloodied and chicken twitching I felt something shift. It was powerful. It felt old world. It felt ancient. I'm not a fan of killing. It's not something I take joy in. But I do revel in taking part in something that I feel is my birth right. I do enjoy learning how to survive if this whole thing collapses and I need to feed myself. I also can't say enough about the importance of feeling connected to the food I eat. I'm so grateful for this experience.

 

both the singularity and the vacuum. all and nothing at all at the same time. as is life. as is love

TWO TWO TWO

I've always had a connection with the number 2. It's always kind of been my lucky number. My Dad's too, it's his birthdate. Well, 22 but really it's just a 2 repeated and more powerful. And that's how it's always been for me. I think of 2's as sort of like bars on a cell phone. The more 2's the more powerful the path or the moment. It's kind of like a compass. When I see 2's I know I'm where I need to be. I never really shared this. I feel like some sacred shit should just be noted and you should move on. After a while it becomes routine and I'm like; "ok, good...I'm where I need to be."

Like alot of that kinda esoteric reinforcement I stopped listening at some point. This trip...this journey...this new life has tuned me back in to that hum.

The first time I looked at my phone after having my gear robbed it was 2:22AM. Hmm...a quick pause from the sorrow to acknowledge that this is probably where I need to be. Even though I didn't like admitting this one. It's like yoga or psychotherapy whereas the places that hurt the most are probably exactly the places you need to go to. It's like psychedelics. Sometimes it's wondrous and easy and sometimes you just want to shut it off. You don't wanna see your bullshit...thats what a bad trip is. There's no such thing as a bad trip, really. It's just that you're not ready to see where you're fuckin' up. Ok, a nicer way would be say you're not ready to see how you're not loving yourself enough. So for me the 2's arent always a sign of good things but a sign that there is meaning in this moment. For whatever its worth, good or bad. The more 2's, the more meaning. Like I said...I usually keep this stuff close to my chest. But what just happened to me bears repeating.

It's day 15 on Maui. It's hot. It's been two days since my gear got robbed. I had been sleeping on a picnic table for a day and a half. Because when you sleep on a picnic table you don't sleep. You kinda just lay there and contemplate the absurdity of the whole thing. I started to develop a fever and a killer headache. Body aches too. That night my good homies at The Velvet Lounge passed around a bucket and raised some funds for me. Around 9:00pm (3:00AM NY time) I got a message from my boy Ryan that said he had deposited the money into my account. Man, I'm a lucky dude.

Until now I had four bucks in my wallet, an increasing body throb, fever and a headache that wouldn't quit. I planned on sleeping on the playground tonight. (The ground is made of this super soft marshmallow type rubber for the kiddies. And it's a dream to sleep on.) I couldn't do it. I was paling out, done or 'pow' as they say here...I was pow. I needed a bed. I needed rest. If I was going to continue this journey I needed to be 100%. I'm googling hostels and nothing. The bed and breakfast opens at 8:00am. I thought maybe I'd tough it out there til then. Nah man...I was pow. I didn't wanna spend the cash from The Lounge show on a hotel room but this was definitely about wellness. I found the cheapest hotel I could find. A Days Inn about 2 miles up the road. I geared up and walked.

Seeing the emerging Days Inn sun logo over the horizon was like seeing the morning sun after 10 days of nights. Sweaty and breathless, I checked in, showered, flung my throbbing carcass on the bed and got the best 8 hours of sleep I'd ever had. I woke up rested and refreshed but the fever and headache were still there. Stay another night and rest? No way. Not worth it. Time to move on.

I needed food. Nothing around for miles but these resorts. Fine. "Coconut ahi please." And water...lots of water. I get to talking with the waitress. I tell her my story. Where I'm from, the robbing, etc. She gives me a tip on a secret beach a few miles up the road. "you can definitely put up your tent at sundown and no one will know you're there. She brings me my check - probably half of what it should've been. So cool. She wishes me luck and I gear up and bounce.

I walk to the edge of the highway and stick out my thumb. People are real good about that out here. Don't think I've waited more than 10 minutes for someone to stop for me. After about 6 minutes someone stops for me. A late model pick up with NRA stickers on the windows.

After some hunting we find the beach. The NRA boys wish me luck and I head down to the shore. Shit. The place is pretty raw. No facilities, no power and it looks like it gets pitch black at night. I realized I wasn't prepared to camp here. My headlamp and flashlights were in the bag that got ganked. I was so beat I just took off my shoes and walked the beach wondering. Wandering. There's about 4 more hours of sunlight and my phone is dying...I need a plan...but first a nap ; )

I'm laying on the beach with my sleeping bag as a pillow. "c'mon universe....what's next?" A friend hits me up on Facebook and says that his friend has a spot somewhere in Lahaina where I can kick it. So funny. I just left there. Im about an hour south. I muster up the energy, gear up, walk to the top of the highway and stick out my thumb.

I'm out there for like 3 minutes and a white Mercedes 550 SL whips across the lane and pulls over in front of me. If you don't know what a 550 SL looks like google it...I'll wait...now google me. Actually just look at my Facebook pictures. Googling "clarity" will just return a bunch of hippy art and eye JPEGS. This car is like a roller skate. And in keeping with that analogy I'm Yokozuna's foot. (google Yokozuna) At first I didn't even realize he was picking me up.

"Really?" is all I say to dude. "Get in, Haas!" he says and pops the trunk. This dude is maybe in his mid fifties. He's wearing a straw hat and a Hawaiian shirt turned inside out and unbuttoned completely. He's got a goatee and skin like brown leather. I remember all this because I immediately started taking notes as I got in the car.

Deep Purple is blaring "...smooooke on the waaaater..." we shake hands and he guns it. "Here, light this thing up!" He passes me a half smoked joint and a lighter but this fucking lunatic is doing 90 in a 55 with the windows down. "I just got this thing three days ago! Weeee hoooo!!"

So what do I do? What would you do? I finally get the joint lit, hit it and shout "weeeeee hoooooo!!" right along with him. "There's a hundred!" he screams over Tom Petty as we jerk and swerve into oncoming traffic to pass a Mustang that's already doing a precarious 70mph.

"ok...all right, so this is where I die. Seems legit. I'm going out with a bang."

"you're good, Haas! Don't worry about nothin'! I don't smoke meth no more."

hand to god. those were his words.

We're chatting as my knees press against my chest and the dash and my head scrapes the moonroof. "yea, I won the lottery a few years ago." he continues.

"oh yea? sick! what'd you collect?"

"probably shouldn't tell you that."

"ok."

"..."

"..."

"... a hundred and thirty five million!"

"holy shit, dude...good for you, man. Is that when you stopped doing meth?"

"shit, no, that's when I started! bwahahaha! "

So we're talking and I'm telling him my story and how my shit got robbed and how I had real good people back home looking out for me. He's not going as far as I need to go so I tell him to drop me at a bus stop and I can swing it from there.

We get to the bus stop and shake hands...he wishes me luck and says something about seeing each other again and it being a small island. I tell him to be careful in that thing and I get out of the car...it was kinda like when you twist open one of those biscuit containers.

"hey, Haas...c'mere." He digs his sun soaked hand into his front pant pocket and pulls out some cash. "take this. and good luck to ya."

I grab my bags and shake his hand and thank him tremendously. I just shove the crumpled fiat into my pocket. He skids away, fishtailing from the bus stop. I situate myself, put my bags down and look at the cash he gave me...a single, a single, a twenty, a hundred, another hundred. $222.

ROSIE AND THE WHALE BLESSING

I'm packing up my gear, heading toward whatever's next for me out here. A woman approaches me and asks my name, she introduces herself as Rosie. A small and charming, glowing waif of a woman. She asks my story. I talk to her about detachment and meaning. I tell her about quitting my job and driving cross country and then flying to Maui. I tell her about heart opening and that I really believe in becoming what we project and how I just want to become love in as many ways as possible.

She asks if she could give me a blessing...a whale blessing. I accept. I close my eyes and she begins; "I want you to remember 18 million years ago when you first got here..." I start to tremble immediately...I understood what she meant. She's holding my hands and guiding my breath. We're praying together. It's incredibly powerful. She asks if I would accept on offer of protection...a divine shield. I accept. I feel a force field wash over me. Intense. Big. Powerful. "Mother Maui called you here for a reason...and I'm here to remind you of your purpose. It's the same purpose that began with the whales..." I wish I could remember every word but that's not important here. I was able to receive her wholly in that moment.

I'm thinking of the whale tattoo on my arm. The one that John Liegey drew. The one shaped like Long Island. It must be 3 or 4 years old now. I'm finally owning it. It makes sense. A tattoo shaped like a whale shaped like where your from becomes so much more meaningful when you leave where your from. "It's where I'm from." I tell people.

She reminds me that if I keep my heart open the universe will continue to show me her magic in my waking life as well as in my dreams. I recall last night...that trippy astral projection event or whatever it was. I'm trying to make sense of it. She tells me to stop trying to make sense of things.

I'm sitting on a picnic table with my eyes closed holding hands with a stranger and I'm crying as she's pouring this unconditional love jug into my heart. I'm just filling up with love and a recalibrated sense of purpose. "you're gonna be amazing. people are going to listen to what you have to say."

A few exercises in tuning into what feels good and what feels bad. "think of good...now think of bad...now good...now bad." She reminds me to remember what each feels like and to how to listen to my heart when deciding which way to go. "you'll be provided for. you're gonna do just fine."

This is probably the most powerful experience of this journey so far. Rosie is amazing. And what I loved so much was how she wasn't all fluffy and hippy dippy but gave me a real grounding and palatable blessing that is still coursing through me.

She sang me a song. We hugged. I started writing this and she came back to offer me a tuna sandwich for the road. I'm gonna go have lunch with Rosie. I'll see you guys in the next town.

PULL THE RIPCORD AND FLY

It was this time last year that things began to change for me. It's when the shift became palpable and the beauteous hum grew loud.

I've been flirting with transformation my entire life. Trying on my higher self one article at time but being sure to always stay rooted enough in the comfort to feel safe. It was around the end of 2012 when I started to see how absurd the safety was, fear as comfort, safety as sorrow. I began to wedge my fingers between the outer layer of flesh coating my fluorescent lit, drop ceilinged reality and the wild underbelly of my higher self - my true self. Through meditation and yoga and solid honest relationships and creativity and meaningful moments and art and psychedelics and love I slowly started to peel away the impediment of that murky outer layer to reveal the outer space of the inner me. All the glowing cosmic potential of my personal galaxy.

By the spring of 2013 it was as if I was caught between worlds. One foot in the dull thud of homogeny and the other in the glorious hum of infinity. I was getting somewhere.

It was around this time that I climbed into a Subaru with my best friend and charted a course from New York to California. We had just come out of a weird space in our friendship where we hadn't really spoken for a while. Lack of communication leads to lack of communication. It's so unfortunate when you lose gaps of time with good people because of what you weren't able to reconcile within yourself. I was looking forward to being crammed in a car for a week with my homie. We had some lost time to make up for. And boy did we ever. We picked up right where we left off and have never looked back. I'd go to war for him. That's my brother.

That ride across the continent healed our relationship and while that's a very romantic sentiment it wasn't much of a surprise. Our roots ran deeper than our wounds. You can fix most surface beefs by just locking two people in car together for a few days. I kind of hoped for and expected that outcome. But something else happened along I-80 that I didnt expect.

There's all kinds of names for it. Waking up, being reborn, coming into your body, etc. For me it was like being alive for the first time. The open road, no commitments and a wide open and vast land mass I had barely seen until now. This was the juice, man. I was alive. I was reborn...and I wasn't going back.

My dad has been a driver all his life. Tractor trailers and limousines.  It wasn't until this journey that I finally understood the attraction. That glorious transient energy. There's magic on the open road. There's every bit and piece of you along that highway. This felt right. This was home out here, man. This was the juice.  This is where I needed to be. Open and moving. With no concern for the destination because it was inside the journey that I arrived. It was like riding a lightning bolt. It was like sitting lotus position in the eye of a storm. All the whirling trappings of existence around me and I'm calm in the center of journey.

That was it. That's when I knew I needed to travel. I needed to get up, get out and get moving. I saw all that time behind my desk as time lost. There's too much to look at in Montana alone. And what about all those beauties in NorCal? How'm I ever gonna find meaning in those honest interactions at an intimate open mic night when I'm pushing 70 hours a week through my love filter. I was clogging up. I needed out...quickly.

That drive from NY to Cali in the spring of 2013 was so impactful that it rocked me to my core. It jarred me. It disturbed something in my marrow.

When I got back from  that trip and went back to work and back to paying rent for a space (albeit a dope space) that I was just existing in month to month I started to lose my mind. I saw everything for what it was and it drove me mad. I got real depressed and fell into a really dark hole. I needed to get out. I needed back on the road. My heart hurt.

I had been seeing a shrink for about six months before this. An amazing woman. I got real lucky because this was my first attempt to start getting at what was going on inside of me. The darkness that followed my return from Cali wasn't new for me. I'd been wrestling this monster my entire life. But this time I had a silver arrow for his ass. I had an amazing and compassionate therapist that helped me to put somethings into perspective and listen deeper to that hum I mentioned earlier. It wasn't about slaying my monster. It was about holding his hand. And she taught me how to walk with him. And not a minute too soon. I was bad. This was one the darkest places I had ever been. I wanted out.  I wanted to kill myself but I didn't want to die. Does that make sense?  It's what I told the nurse at St. Catherine's when I checked myself in. " I don't wanna live but I don't wanna die."

It's my opinion that the closer you get to figuring shit out the more chaotic and real the pain is. Darkest before the dawn...that kinda shit. And it served to be true because after a few months of dark muck I pulled the ripcord and bounced. And I've never looked back. Through travel I've gone on to create some of the most stunning and breathtaking dawns following my dark. And it isn't over. The monster is still with me. For me he's a yeti...idk it's just how I see him. But the monster still wants to fuck me up some days. He's also an 8 year old boy so he's not disciplined and lacks focus but he's also a fucking yeti so he can rip my heart out. And I have to keep just trying to hold his hand and not wrestle him when he flares up and attacks. It's a constant practice.  It never stops.

Fuck around and try to hold your yeti's hand and wind up on the shore of a tropical island...in a tent...writing about it.

AIRPORT HAND GRENADES

I'm sitting in the airport at 1:00am awaiting a 6:45 flight to LA. A woman in her sixties that appears to be very well kempt approaches me and motions toward the outlet that was wedged between my bags and the chair. I move my bags to reveal the outlet, she plugs in and promptly sits on my bags. Hrmph. I pull my stuff from beneath this woman's oblivious ass so that she can have the chair. I noticed her over stuffed lips as she sat on the edge of her seat waiting for her phone to charge as if she was fueling her SUV and the top-off was imminent...just hurried and tweaked and tense and wound real tight.

I'm hurling lightning bolts of judgment at this lady. Just chucking daggers of hate like; "look at this privileged bitch." And before I know it I'm enshrouded in this tar-like muck of frustrated contempt while contemplating the audacity of her entire existence. 

The moment passes. I get distracted or whatever it is that Buddhists call the 'worldly winds' when, in your mind you travel from emotional space to emotional space. I suddenly find myself in a new moment not even thinking about the lady until she reappears behind me and to the right talking on the now presumably juiced up phone.

She's weeping. No, she's sobbing. No, she's balling. This woman is crying that kind of deep wounded cry that takes your breath away. The kind of cry that has you hiccuping and snotting and convulsing. She's body crying. And I can tell she's trying real hard to keep it together so this isn't some needy show. This is real. She's broken.

My heart sunk for her. Our realities are so different in this moment, but I've cried like that and chances are I'm probably gonna cry like that again real soon, so I began holding space for her. I almost turned around to acknowledge her. I wanted to comfort her.

Within moments my relationship with this woman darted from one side of the chart to the other. I started thinking about how gross it was for me to have flung those hate grenades at her atop whatever pillar it was I thought I could stand on and judge from.

She's not a bitch. She's broken. She isn't being inconsiderate, she's fucked up and she's mustering whatever sanity she can to get it together enough to just be in this airport and make this phone call. And me and my arrogant sanctimony shove her into this dark judgment cave. What a dick.

We need to practice displacing judgment with compassion and shave the ego down to a less jagged pill. Myself included. I don't like the way it feels when I'm found trudging through the judgment swamp. It's gross and counterintuitive. It distracts us from the real work of creating love.

I've been doing this practice lately of living my life from this objective 3rd person view. Like some 'Being John Malchovich' shit. Just letting myself be whoever it is I am and do whatever it is I do but paying attention and adjusting accordingly. Even when I'm not being my best self (especially then.) There becomes this added dimension of consciousness that allows you to see what you're up to and maybe even why. It caused me to pause and consider how I was being a jerk to this lady and wasting my life force in some cosmic crack house called hate. But it's practice. I'll probably throw another hate grenade at some point but I'm becoming more aware of those moments and eventually I'll be able to start putting the pins back in and launching a fluffy rainbow love balloon instead. 

I know. The fluffy love balloon line is cringeworthy and disgusting and you're judging me for it. So start with that.

 

PIVOT TOWARD LOVE AND MEANING

In the last year I've seen dozens of good people throw up their hands and make a sharp pivot toward a more meaningful and inspired existence. More and more people are waking up and leading with their heart and tuning back into the hum of wonder that propelled us as children. 

It's a bold and courageous move, it can be terrifying and lonely and uncertain, but amidst all the chaos and noise there is one promise of solace that is guaranteed...and that's love. If you project love you'll become love...everytime. That sentiment is so simple that I wish I could dress it up to sound less fluffy but it's so real. I don’t care if you worship Jesus or Buddha or Krishna or if you pray to a sock puppet or if you don't believe in anything at all, if your intention is pure and your heart is open you will create a reality of love so palpable that it will be unrecognizable to the rest of the muck in the world. 

To all my soldiers of light yawning and stretching in this new dawn, I feel you, I love you and I hold space for you in my heart. We're not alone.

 

SAY GOODBYE

Saying goodbye. Humans hate that shit. I know because I'm human and I hate that shit. When I was younger I avoided goodbyes like the plague. I can't even list how many endings I avoided or spaces I walked away from because I didn't have the courage...or whatever that thing is that bubbles up inside of us when things end. Lately it's been different. As I get older I try to confront all the shit I used to avoid and saying goodbye is definitely one of those things. It still stings kinda but it also kinda swells. I feel like wrapping things up builds character. I feel like its a higher moral ground and we're better for it somehow. It feels like perspective. I feel like it lends meaning to your relationship with the thing that's ending.

We're funny, us humans. We love holding on. We hate letting go. We view goodbyes as a certain kind of death and who doesn't spend their day avoiding death, right? If something in your life is ending (or if something needs to end) take time with that thing and honor the truth in it. Whatever that truth may be...it's a part of you because it was a part of your life. Take the space to look it in the eye before walking away. Take the breath to say goodbye. I believe it gets us ready for whatever's next.

Thankful for all the beauties in my life. I feel a deep sense of brotherhood and sisterhood with so many of you and I'm just so truly grateful. If our paths have crossed in this life chances are I've learned something from you. For better or for worse. Chances are we've planted little seeds together and you should know that sometimes when you're not around I return to our garden to reap what we've sown. So many gardens. So much fruit of love dangling from our trees. So many varieties. 

To all the freaks and lovers and extroverts and timid folk. To all the weirdos and shoulders and crooks and drunks. To every inside joke and ephemeral laughter. To all the art and song and sun. For every moment that seemed mundane until wringing its true meaning out later on. To every sleepless night and shared epiphany. To every microphone and stage and basement and street corner. To all the whirling winds upon our fleshy boats as we sail around this place...big time love and gratitude for peppering my world with such honest love.

This is for you. And you too...I love you