Standing in the garden, fear at first sight, but immediately washed away when he realized she was not out to get him. Maybe it was the candy corn shirt that put him at ease. Or maybe it was the fact that she smelled exactly the same. Softer spoken than he remembered, but he was not about to think she had changed rather than it being some fault of his own memory. “Would you like to get something nice to drink?” she said. Of course.

And isn’t it strange how Everything can Change and yet things Feel the Same. Isn’t it strange that time speeds up and stops and starts. And leaves are falling somewhere even if they aren’t here, and rainclouds are drying up for months at a time even if they aren’t here. There is a Taking Apartedness that is frightening about Fall but in the shadows Meaning resides in an empathic quietness which calms him enough that he can look beyond the Splittedness, or see through it. Meaning is needed to survive this experience called Time, which in one’s native environment, he now realizes, is extremely Felt and pertinent.

His friends, joyful, endured overbouncing/overswaying taxi rides to faraway hometowns to partake of holiday nhom [cakes], special to the time of year, be it Pchum Bun or Chinese New Year or Khmer New Year. How had he not appreciated what it must have felt like to feel the turn of a season with those visits, the anticipation which filled them at rejoining Familiarity? Now he finally knows, recollects.

October, if not properly balanced, bears a kind of Weight that can crush the unexpecting, but in those anticipating Their Arrival it will carry them through barren trees and empty fields all the way to rooms with fireplaces and Christmas lights and sweet and savory things to eat and Loved Ones close by. But that balance must be respected and fastidiously observed.

He says, “To have returned so soon would have denied me the time I needed to recognize and partly restore my Self; I did have the sensation that I had been assimilated, enculturated, and only by flailing in a wholly foreign sea could I separate and regain my Self… I cannot say if it is an Absolute Truth that every one must love their Self, but for some of us it may be that to be healthy and to be loving to Others, one must also keep and love the Self. With this, I acknowledge that I am at least a thousand lifetimes away from Enlightenment.

“Don’t take this to mean that I don’t love you. I have been completely transformed by knowing you, and by your Knowing. The watermark is subtle but fixed. I carry new traditions into this my next life, but so, too, do I carry the old. Here, I can realize the value of honoring both. May they fortify me as I step across, swallowing the rise of fear inside of me and trying, still, to be Open.”


Forget, to Let Go

May 28, 2014

Early Autumn chill with frosted shining leaves

dazzling garnets nesting in the green

Beautiful beautiful

haunts the World

the Hidden Things dance unseen

beautiful they dance

to the song in my heart.

Su Su Su

May 23, 2014



“Stand behind the sky and look forward…”

The First Time

May 17, 2014

Last night we drank the ayahuasca.

Our guide, Adrian, had brewed it himself. He is from South Africa, and I think he is in his late 20s, early 30s. He’s taken ayahuasca at least a dozen times, himself. The first time he did it was in Taiwan, some four years ago. When I said I didn’t know much about drugs, he said, “It’s not a drug; it’s a medicine.” He is definitely right about that.

He had four bottles, two for me and two for Eileen. The first set was only about a quarter full. The second set was a little over half full. First we drank the quarter-full bottles, and waited 25 minutes. We were supposed to try not to throw up within those 25 minutes, but neither of us needed to, anyway. Eileen said she felt like gagging because of the drink: the texture, taste and smell. It didn’t seem bad to me. It was bitter and pungent, but it wasn’t bad. It was, I thought, green, but later it turned out it was brown. It was quite thick and grainy.

After 25 minutes, we started drinking the half-full bottles; we were supposed to drink them a bit at a time; a third and then a third and then a third. Adrian said, “If you can drink half now, that’s fine too.” I drank half.

Within 5 minutes I felt it in my body. I felt like I could feel moving through my veins, a bit warm,  a bit like a tingling. After 5 more minutes, I started to get a lagging sensation. Things started to get trails on them when I moved my head, like the ghost trail of a mouse cursor when you draw it across a computer screen. After 5 more minutes, I felt the need to throw up; I couldn’t resist it. I went to my bathroom and threw up. It wasn’t bad; it was not so painful nor unpleasant. I thanked the ayahuasca for taking it easy on me. That is as easy as it would get.

I went back and sat down. “Can you try drinking some more?” Adrian asked. I took another sip. By now I felt very strange, indeed, like my body was humming. A short time later I felt sick again and only made it as far as Eileen’s bathroom. I threw up many times. I was nauseous and it was exhausting. I sat down on her bathroom floor and rested, feeling quite bad. I don’t mind throwing up so much as I mind feeling nauseous; the nausea was the worst part.

After some time, I don’t know how long I was sitting there, I noticed a strange buzzing sound: quite audible, continuous. I thought someone was running a machine outside, like a weed whacker or something, but it was a sound without breaks or pauses. I almost asked the others what it was. I don’t know how much longer I sat there but eventually Adrian asked me if I would like to come back in the room. I said yes, but I needed his help. He helped me get up and I’m glad he was holding me up, keeping me from tipping over. Everything had those laggy visuals on them and it was quite disorienting. They had turned the lights off, which I had no opinion about. I laid down on the floor with a pillow. The buzzing sound grew louder and louder, until I finally asked, “Do you guys hear that?” “Hear what?” “The buzzing sound. It is very, very loud.” “No, we don’t hear anything.” “Oh, okay… Just checking…” Adrian suggested I follow the sound. I could see myself look behind myself in my mind, looking for the source of the sound, but I couldn’t get out of my body and I couldn’t move.

I don’t know how much time passed, but then I was suddenly seeing a lot of things. It was extremely fast and extremely intense. My thoughts were all over the place, it seemed, and I couldn’t control them, but I didn’t want to. At first I thought I was just having a very elaborate, intense dream, but I was not asleep. I became aware that I was being shown these things, and I sensed that I was being shown them by three beings. They were guiding me. I was watching, in third person, a series of situations. They looked very real and were intense in their detail. They feature people and places that I was unfamiliar with. Each of these situations was a test, and as I watched them I became aware that I was supposed to solve each situation. I have no recollection of the details of each situation, each “problem”, nor how I solved them, now. In the beginning they guided me, step by step, through the solution. After I solved the first one, the entities gave me their approval, “Good job.” Then we moved on to the next situation. These entities were distinct but of the same…source? They were genderless, but I got the distinct impression that one of them was male, and when they spoke, they spoke with one voice, and that voice seemed, to me, to be male, but it was not important.

At some point, during this time, I think, I sensed Adrian moving. In my mind I saw him get up and come over and crouch down beside me. He was wearing different clothes; they were long-sleeved and dark. He put a hand on my shoulder. He was exuding a great compassion towards me. I opened my eyes, but he was not there, he was sitting across the room from me, leaning against the wall; I think he was wearing no shirt? I felt myself drawn back in.

They continued showing me situation after situation and they were coming faster and faster. I knew I was not understanding what they wanted me to understand. They were showing me how to solve each situation, but I was missing something. They told me that the solution was very, very simple, so simple that I could choose to see it if I wanted to. I wasn’t sure what they meant, or what to do. The problems seemed very complex and needed time to fix them. Then I got sick again. Adrian brought me a bag. I have no idea how long I was taking these tests, but Eileen was no longer in the room, I became aware at that point. After I threw up, I said, “I don’t know what they want me to do.” Adrian was immediately attentive and he asked me some questions, but I can’t remember them now. I told him I was being shown things, and had to solve them, but I was missing the solution. The solution was very, very simple, and the same for all the situations, but I couldn’t figure it out. He put a hand on my foot. It felt very warm and very real. It was a strange sensation. I still felt sick. “I’m going to try again,” I said. I laid back down and was drawn in again.

The situations continued. I wondered why I was seeing them in third person. I especially wondered this when I saw myself in some of the situations, responding to them very emotionally. Some of the situations were happy, some terribly sad (I saw myself sobbing), some made that other me angry and some were frightening. But I felt…very little. I felt disconnected, an observer. I became aware that this was intentional, that there was a reason they were showing them to me like this. I pressed on.

The situations were so fast and so close together and I began solving them faster and faster, but that thing I was supposed to be understanding still wasn’t sinking in. Eventually I felt sick again. I sat up and threw up so much, I was practically choking up only bile. I couldn’t believe there was still anything in there. As I was throwing up, the tests continued. They were happening so fast that they made the vomiting seem slow. I was seeing them even as I was sick. They were pressing me, but not in an unkind way. “I’m trying,” I said. And I was. I laid back down.

And then a strange thing happened. Suddenly I understood the solution they were trying to help me see. I was looking at a situation, trying to figure out how to solve it, when I realized that it wasn’t real. The instant that I realized it wasn’t real, the situation solved itself before my eyes. The entities seemed very encouraged by this, and they encouraged me. “Good.” They showed me more and more, and it went even faster and faster as I realized each one was not real, and each solved itself. I also realized, quite happily and peacefully, that we were One: they and me and what I was seeing were One.

All through this “test” phase, they would periodically draw me back up, encouraging me to take breaks. Then we would go again. During these times, I would sometimes open my eyes or become aware of outside sounds. Sometimes I saw Eileen moving around the room. She seemed to be wearing her hair down and she seemed to be walking without putting her feet down. She was moving much faster than her feet were moving. Also all through this time, I became aware that I was making lots of sounds. Some of them were short moans, some were sighs, some were sounds of recognition, I think, when I figured something out. At one point when I was very deep, I was jerked back to reality when Adrian put some water down next to me. I must have startled him too. “Sorry,” I said. “It’s okay,” he said. I became aware, at times, that people were going in and out of the room. I think Adrian went out to check on Eileen a few times. Once I heard them having a conversation, but I don’t know about what. Eileen was laughing. She sounded really happy. Then back inside, back down I went again.

Once I realized that the situations weren’t real, things seemed to slow down a bit. Things became easier. I got sick again and went back down. I started to look at all the situations in a similar way. I was a bit disappointed that I wasn’t experiencing them firsthand, but they explained to me that I wasn’t because if I had been, I would have been experiencing the very intense emotions I was witnessing. This satisfied me; I trusted them. Later I realized that they were doing their very best to keep me focused, to reduce distraction. They knew me very well; they knew that if I felt those emotions, I would be extremely caught up in them, maybe to the point where I couldn’t keep progressing, and there was limited time. I also realized that this was partly the purpose of the buzzing sound; the outside, “real” world had become full of sounds: people, animals, machines running, other things I couldn’t describe. If I had become more curious about them, I would have been extremely distracted. The buzzing sound covered those other sounds quite effectively. I also became aware that there were at least two other sounds. They joined the buzzing one by one. I realized that, together, the three sounds made sense. Individually, they seemed quite unpleasant to listen to, but together, they formed a strange harmony that made sense. I realized it was another way of communicating with me, because when I would “get something right”, the harmony of sounds would raise in pitch and frequency, a way of telling me “good job”. They were very encouraging and immensely patient. They knew exactly how much I could handle and when. They were very very compassionate to me.

A bit later I became aware that they were tugging on me, I think on my consciousness. It felt like they were trying to lift me out, or up, I’m not sure. They wanted me to move on, I think to the next frequency. I was reluctant, “I feel so sick,” I said. They tried to entice me by saying that Eileen was already there, that I could and should join her. I wanted to, but I just couldn’t bring myself to. I felt so sick. They stopped tugging. A bit further on they told me I needed to drink some more. “Oh, please, please, I can’t, I feel so sick, so sick,” I begged. The begging was unnecessary. “Okay,” they said simply and with complete understanding.”Maybe next time.” “Oh,” I thought, that was simple. There had been a sense of urgency, because in order to go on to other things I would need to maintain the connection by drinking more, but when I said I couldn’t, the urgency disappeared, and we finished working on what we had been working on.

At some point Adrian left. I was aware of him getting his bag and leaving the room. I didn’t want him to leave, it was comforting having him nearby, but I was also aware there wasn’t much he could do. I felt grateful that he had been there before.

I understand why he left now… It had been hours. At least three.

I was shocked when I called to Eileen and she came and told me that. I thought maybe 20, 25 minutes had passed. I couldn’t believe it.

I went in for about another hour, but the most significant things had already been done. I did get sick again, and then slowly it started to ease off. I started to feel disappointed that I didn’t go to the next part, where Eileen was, but they assured me that it could be saved for another time, that I had done exactly what I needed to. Eventually I stopped hearing them with such clarity. I fell asleep.

When I woke up, I was no longer so clearly psychically connected to them. I can’t say that they left, because they are always around. I have always known this, and I knew it before and I know it now. But being connected to them so clearly through ayahuasca was so nice. If I had been less sick, I would have been able to appreciate it more. I know they are looking at my mind now as I communicate this; I know they know I am grateful to them and I feel that they are very loving and compassionate towards me and towards… Everything? (It’s strange, but the things they showed me that were true are very certainly true, but they also don’t want me jumping to conclusions. I guess they want me to be open.)

The last thing I realized was, they are not God. There is no God.

I am god, they are god, everything is god, together. Individually we may be god, but it is much more important that we are god together. God is not about power, I think. God is about connection and life and love. All of us together are god. All of us. This is really important.

I have a lot of hard work ahead of me. I have some ideas of things I need to do next, but I will have to be dedicated if I want to make progress. I understand that it can’t be like before, with the energy, in church; they were very careful to stay away from powerful emotions with me. They wanted me to gain a spiritual and psychic understanding. But if I don’t feel  it, I don’t easily devote myself to it. I think they want it that way; they want me to work towards understanding, not just to take their word for it, not just to take the easy path. I guess this is faith, this trying to move forward without a guarantee or assurance. But I do have their encouragement.

Thank you. And I will be in touch. But you already knew that.

I’m hoping to get some clarity on any of the following…

My relationships– with my mom, my dad, my brother, my friends, my previous partners, my future partners. How are these things affected by the past, as I suspect they are? What can I do to improve them?

My Self– things about myself that I don’t understand, things I might be lying to myself about, things that I should try to improve about myself, things that are positive about myself.

Other people– is there such a thing as collective consciousness? I believe there is, but how can I understand it? Can I access it? How am I connected to other people, how does my energy affect theirs, how does theirs affect mine?

The World– not just people, but everything else that makes this World what it is. Do I have a place in it? Should I worry about it? How can I tap into the consciousness of the World?

The Universe– where does it come from, what set it in motion. Is order an illusion? Is everything actually in chaos?

Love, Truth, Oneness, Freedom


These are some things I want to know about.

April 24, 2014

Letting Go

January 1, 2014

It seems strange to me that I most often remember this blog when the year is changing. Not that I always write in it at those times… So it goes.

As you know, I am not one for making new years resolutions. Nevertheless, I feel there are some promises I must attempt to make and keep for myself. They are simple, but will be very difficult to fulfill…:

First: Be open. If i am to learn anything about myself, or anything at all, i must be Open. i think this Expanding has begun already, but i hope it will take me to new heights this year and every year from here forward. Admittedly, i’m scared, but “fear is a friend whose misunderstood”, which leads me to…

Second: Be brave. Don’t be afraid of others. Don’t be afraid of yourself. Don’t be afraid of the New. Of the Old. Of the Known and the Unknown. Or of Fear. Perhaps i don’t known what fear is, but i intend to try to understand, this and else. Which leads me to…

Third: Let go. If i am to be open, i must let go…of much. i must let go of my anxieties and fears, my desires and hopes, in order to understand them. i must let go of my expectations. i need to be flexible, which is always a challenge for me… i need to learn to bend. if i can let go, i think it will help me gain perspective on what i really Need and Want, that it will help me understand my Self better…and maybe others, to some degree, as well.

Finally: To Know is to Love. i don’t know if this is true, but regardless of how well i come to know myself, i intend to love my Self better. i am an infinite spirit in a finite person; if i do not love my Self, how can i love anyone else? How can i love the Universe? Therefore: Love Thyself.


Every day i must remind myself of these simple koans, meditate on them, and do my best to live up to them. i will start right now by saying,

i love you.

Cloud Atlas

December 31, 2012

Things are often late in coming to Cambodia, especially movies. So by the time I picked up Cloud Atlas at the Night Market, I’d already heard a fair amount of reviews– though I always stopped them short of plot-spoiling even a tiny bit. I can’t stand plot spoilers.

Cloud Atlas

First Impressions

This was a movie about slavery. And simultaneously, freedom.

Through various times past and future, through the interconnected lives of many characters, the story plays upon the theme of standing up for what is right…even when we think we lack the courage.


Buildings; landmarks;

the tower where the composer awaits his lover

the satellite at the top of the mountain


Journeys; climbs

Overcoming great odds

Dark vs Light

Succumbing to fear

Resisting fear, even when we lack bravery


the marginalized

race; gender; sexual orientation; age; socioeconomic status;

the Other


fighting back against insurmountable odds

a drop in the ocean… “Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?”

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies

November 14, 2012


I’ve always been a pretty good student. Well, that may actually be a slight understatement. I am. such. a. nerd. I mean, I have a PhD in molecular biology for God’s sake. I learned pretty early on that schoolwork was something I just got. Trigonometry? No worries. Advanced American History? Check. In high school, I was in Science Olympiad AND History Bowl. In college, I only stopped calculus when they somehow worked in a 4th dimension (that insanity does NOT make sense). But for everyone, there’s something. There’s some achilles heel. For me, it wasn’t organic chemistry or P-chem (yes it was. P-chem is not okay); it was spelling.

Now, please keep in mind that I WRITE FOR A LIVING (I’m a medical writer), but spelling man, it’s rough. Alphabetical order made me cry in 3rd grade–no, really, I cried AND my teacher sent a note home to tell my…

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March 10, 2012

Seasons come and seasons go.

The sweeping piles of dusty blue clouds backdrop the open airport fields. Scoldingly, lovingly, they remind me of my temporal nature, and I call back to them,My loves, my time here is drawing to an end, but for fear I cannot lift my head to look beyond. Wither will you carry me?

Playing coy, they hurry on without reply.

To the assumptive eye, Kampuchea has merely two seasons, or rodow; it’s a fact, however, that there are countless seasons here, their edges patching into one another in a way that those assumptive eyes will never see. My Younger Self belies me, even as I tell quote Descartes to her, Question Everything. She wants to believe that it’s her own original thought, and yells back at me: Don’t believe it just because the pundits, the professors, the presidents said it! Rumify your understanding of the Universe!  Then she calls me an ignorant bastard and retires to her room to pout.

Rumify, indeed. Ways of Knowing have become blocked, clogged, for me. Phaedrus’ lateral thinking can move me out for a time, but the ultimate progress is when I recognize, even in a brief nanosecond, that i am a Way, and so are all the entities which fill the mattered Universe.