Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Here's what I'm wishing for:
For those who have no food, those who are starving, I want you to find access to healthy food beginning today.
For those without water, I'm praying for rain for you, enough rain every day to keep you healthy, and not too much to cause flooding.
For those who are physically ill, I'm singing for your recovery.
For those aching from loneliness, I hope you meet a friend.
For those with broken hearts, I wish you a glimmer of love to ease your pain.
For those suffering mentally, I pray for sudden and wonderful clarity.
For those suffering spirituality, I sing for balance for you.
For those suffering from the horrid effects of war, I pray all of the war machines just stop functioning and people realize they're no longer needed.
And for all of you, I hope/sing/pray that your life suddenly fills with absolute joy and laughter, and the strength to deal with hard times.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Ayahuasca Dreaming

A new magazine publisher in Italy read the Italian version of my book, Ayahuasca in My Blood-25 Years of Medicine Dreaming. She wrote to ask if I would permit her to pull a few excerpts, and if I would also give her 500 new words on Ayahuasca. No pay as they are new. I said okay. This is what I gave her. I hope it resonates with a few of you and if you are in ayahuasca groups and it does, please feel free to share it.

The medicine vine rises high above me, so broad she looks as wide as an oak or an elm tree. I look up at her and ask her to bathe me in her essence. The sap begins to flow, pouring down on me, covering me. I feel the change begin. In short order my imagining of the vine as a huge oak will be replaced by actual visions: Some of them will be remembrances of things I’ve done or things that have been done to me: Mostly bad things, hurtful things that I will get to revisit and relive, sometimes several times in the course of just a few seconds. They will sear me. They will frighten me with my own callousness. Why did I treat someone that way? Why did someone treat me that way? They are painful to relive, but the medicine is urging me to let them go, to release them. They are dead weight hanging on my heart and soul, bearing me down. Remember that I did them and don’t do them again: Perhaps I lied to a lover, knowing it would hurt her when she discovered the truth but I didn’t have the courage to tell the truth. Perhaps I was not generous with a stranger when I had ample opportunity to be generous, yet still acted selfishly. Remember the memory, commit to being a better human next time, but let the guilt go. The lover I hurt has already moved on; the stranger has no recollection of me. Relive it, then vomit it out, hurl it into the ground, allow the medicine to eliminate it, allow the medicine to make me lighter, someone who can move more freely in both the medicine world and daily reality.
   And once cleansed, the medicine, the ayahuasca lays me down, immobile, and imparts a dream. It won’t necessarily be what I want to dream, but it will certainly be what I need to dream. It might be of human suffering, horrible images of pain and anguish, shown me to steel my back to doing my best to prevent that kind of suffering in the world; it might be of dancing flowers encouraging me to share their joy with everyone I meet. It might be a glimpse of other planets, other beings, other spirits; it might even be simple answers to questions I’d never thought to ask. 
    Once, while I was going through a terrible end of a marriage, terrible enough that my children, our children were being badly affected by the pain and acrimony, the medicine whispered: “More joy, less pain”, to me. I took weeks trying to reason out what that meant, how to work that into my life. And then it came to me. Every time an argument arose between my ex and myself, I was to work at creating more joy and less pain. If I wanted to fight and knew I could say a phrase that would set her off, I had to bite my tongue and say something completely different, something nice instead. If she wanted to fight and pushed a button that would cause me to roar back in anger, I had to bite my tongue and either ignore it or find something to disarm her instead.  It took weeks to learn how to do that, and I failed many, many times, but once I got it, that was the end of the anger, the end of the acrimony, and the beginning of the healing of my family.
    Ayahuasca didn’t solve my problems then, and she never will. But she pointed me in a direction that, if I worked hard at it, would allow me to solve my problems.  That is ayahuasca healing, and that is ayahuasca dreaming. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Follow Up to "Name Caller" Trump

In a follow up note to my last post here, I wrote this--and I know I was shouting, so put ear muffs on, okay?:

Some people I know are saying "Give Trump a chance." Not like he or the Republicans ever gave President Obama a chance. Well, I'm watching and gave Trump 72 hours. That is the end of his chance. Here's what I say:
Hey, people! Stop! There is no giving this asshole a chance! He's got Ku Klux Klan in Bannon running his show. He's got a number one guy for Supreme court who wants to imprison gays. He's got a vice-president who thinks gay conversion therapy is how to handle LGBQT issues and that no abortions are allowed--and he even includes miscarriages--without a formal burial. He's picking Jamie Dimon to run one end of the economy, and Mnunchin, who has been charged with racist lending policies, to run banking. He's got a retired general with serious Russian ties to be the head of National Security Administraton. He's got Cory Lewandownski saying he's grateful that the FBI's Comey interfered with the election and credits him with glee with turning the election. He's offering John Bolton, who wants regime change forced on Iran, as his number one choice for Secretary of State. He's got a coal mine owner who's had a lot of his miners die in mine collapses and explostions pegged for his Secretary of Commerce. He's got a guy who wants to eliminate the EPA in charge of the EPA; He's got a guy who wants to eliminate the Consumer Protection Bureau to head the Consumer Protection Bureau, which, despite tied hands, has returned $12 billion to 27 million people bilked by bad business practices, including the freaking shame of the Wells Fargo Bank. He's got a person for education secretary who says that only Creationism can explain the world as we know it. He denies Global Warming. Are you guys paying attention? This is surrounding himself with the worst of the worst--I mean, there is not a 90 IQ among them--because, as Trump says: "I like to hire dumb people because that makes me the smartest person in the room!"  Trump says he wants to carpet bomb Isis, make friends with Assad. No. NO forgiveness, no space. Trump is an idiot. He gets no quarter. Get rid of him now. And if the Electoral Collage did it's job, it would lose him next month. It's job is to avoid a populist idiot from becoming president. I hope they are paying attention.

which got a lot of attention, some of it quite angry. One fellow even asked me if we could make a bet: If nothing really happens in the next four years, he would win; if something bad happened, I'd win. This was my response to that, with a little less vociferous tone of voice, thank goodness...

Well, we'd need to agree on "nothing really happens" just to start, before we could even begin to think of betting whether or not this administration will be disastrous. With a Republican House and Senate, for instance, there are going to be a lot of federal and then a couple of Supreme Court justices put in place. Skewed anywhere but dead center and fair--no political Scalia's please--those decisions will have a huge effect on our future. I don't believe there will be much more wall than there already is, but the pathway to citizenship for Dreamers might be blocked. That would be awful. Any continuation of the fear engendered by P-E Trump and his legions would be generally disastrous for the country. So if the criteria for "nothing really happens" only means there is no nuclear war or no actual civil war, well, I wouldn't go along with that. If "nothing really happens" does not include leaving Obamacare alone or improving it to single payer, or does not include leaving Social Security and Medicaid/Medicare alone--except for raising additional funds and disbursing more money, well, I couldn't go along with that. If "nothing really happens" does not include improving rights for women--including vastly expanding birth control and abortion availability, along with good sex education in schools; and if it does not include widening the embrace of LGBTQ people in every aspect of society, then I could not go along with it. If "nothing really happens" does not include raising taxes on the wealthy and closing loopholes that allow the very wealthy to avoid paying the fair share the rest of us pay in taxes to keep this all working, then I couldn't go along with it. So I'd be willing to bet, but there would need to be parameters on how we define "nothing really happens".

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Some people say President-elect Trump won because...

Some people say that President-elect Trump won because he's a street-brawler. In fact he's not a brawler, he's a name-caller and that's all he's got. From trying to tear down Senator Warren to his crazy birther take downs of President Obama, to his work with the slew of other undeserving Republican nominees for president, all he ever did was name call. And then push buttons: Get rid of them gays! They want your guns! The illegals are living like kings! Bring the Jobs back! I'll raise taxes on the wealthy! We'll build the best wall! We will pay pennies on the dollar for our debt! We will never touch your Social Security!
    And now, 10 days after he's been elected by nearly half the voters who got around to voting, he's put together a transition team that will try to unravel social security and medicare and medicaid--you know, the things we pay for with every pay check we ever get, even after we're 65-years-old. And he's backed down on the Wall idea. He does want to deport 3 million illegal alien criminals. Good luck with that: Even if they existed, and they don't, except for the misdemeanor of entering the country illegally, the local cops would get them if they knew who they were and where they were. It's not like the police throughout Texas are hiding 200,000 dangerous felons, or the cops in LA are hiding another 43,000. But even if you did find them, it costs minimally--if you don't send them to a private prison first--$10,000 per person to deport them. 3 million people comes to $30 billion. Not chump change.
   Okay, so for those of us who knew he was wrong, we won't be surprised; hopefully we'll be ready to educate people so that we can raise our voices to our legislators to stop the worst nonsense, like eliminating the EPA in an effort to go back to grey skies in perpetuity again. For those who believed his bombast, well, you're gonna take it hard in all likelihood. And no matter what jobs he produces you'll still never get to stay in one of his hotels, lounging around a golden pool.
   And what bothers me about the people who believed President-elect Trump had any real message was that they didn't see he was a name caller, not a street brawler. Name calling was apparently enough to get them to sign on the dotted line. Is that who we, as a people, in the USA, really are? Go for the easy kill rather than work at things to improve everyone's lot? Are we gonna cheer when national forests are further opened to drilling and our precious rivers are running in oil spills and our trees are cut even further back? Will we go wild when some LGBTQ kids get bullied out of school and some of them bullied into suicide? Will we get any joy out of marginalizing huge swaths of the population, denying women the rights to their own bodies, keeping people we helped make refugees from coming here because they wear hijabs?
   If that's who we really are, I'm disappointed. I always thought the people in the USA, rural and city alike, were, in the end, a fair bunch overall. I thought we sneered at the gutless wonders (yes, name calling myself here) in the KKK, not cheered them. I hope I'm right and the majority of the people decide to be decent and push back, through legislators both R and D, to demand equality for all and things like clean air and water. We can do it. We just have to decide to do it.

Having one of those mornings...

Having one of those mornings where I am totally embarrassed by my behavior last night. For some reason, I got dead drunk on wine. Had a lot, but it was over the course of several hours, during which time I worked quite a bit, cooked up a storm (salmon for Chepa; chicken breasts for the girls; chicken legs for the dogs and pork chops and sauerkraut for me and anyone else who showed up), and so did not think I should even be high, much less dead drunk. But there I was, losing my balance in the bathroom while I brushed my teeth, and there I was this morning, seeing a couple of drunk-posts I made on fbook. Yikes! The moral certitude! The abject idiocy! I wanted to crawl under a rock and die! But it's too late, of course: Once you write 'em, you own 'em, and you can't return and replace them. Oh, my, I have not done that in a long time. I know not to get near a computer if I'm high, but then last night I was dead drunk and it probably seemed like such a good idea. Oy, vey!
    I hope all of you woke with a much cleaner taste on your tongue than the bitter, angry, what-a-fool-I-am taste that I'm still trying to eliminate.
   Peter Gorman, 65-year-old wise man and idiot, all in one package!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

I Have Been So Alone...

I have been so alone since Madeleina returned to Tarleton University and got her own aparttment in August. She stops by for a couple of hours once or twice a week, but not to be here, just to shower. And Chepa has been working at a local factory--good for her--and doing as much overtime as she can get. Italo is working 1-9 PM, so I don't see him except at his daughter Taylor's soccer games. Marco has taken to calling me on his way to work at 5:30 PM, which is cool. He's old enough to make sense and be enjoyable to talk with for 40 minutes (I do not want to hear his critique of me, thank you!).
   But this week, because of Chepa's overtime, I had to pick up Sierra, Alexa and Taylor Rain, my granddaughter every day from school. I made them Burgers one night, Chicken Wings the next, Baby back ribs the next, Chicken thighs and rice the next, and then Chepa got off early yesterday, so I did not get to treat them to pizza.
   When Chepa came to pick the girls up, she had her own food: One night I made her a prime rib with onions/mushrooms/balsamic vinegar sauce; another night Shrimp with veggies in a Chinese sauce of Sesame Seed oil, ginger, bok choy, scallions, oyster sauce. Another night I made her a seafood soup: Shrimp, fresh oysters, crayfish, calamari, scungilli (previously frozen) in garlic, tomato soup with fresh tomatoes, celery, cilantro, black pepper, paprika, achote, organic vegetable broth.
   Two days ago Italo said he wanted to stop by after work, about 10 PM, so I made franks and beans, one of his favorites: Smoked jowl bacon with garlic, onions scallions, avocado oil, add pure beef Ballpark franks, sliced into circles, add three kinds of beans, add cilantro, ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, five or six slices of regular bacon, then bake for 45 minutes at 325. It's really good.
   Last night I made hot sausages, onions, red and green peppers and tomatoes in seasoned garlic, then added half a bottle of organic tomato sauce and topped with fresh mozzarella cheese and baked for 45 minutes.
   Tonight I'm making stuffed Poblano Peppers: Garlic, onions, scallions, lean ground beef, basmati rice, previously cooked, cilantro, achiote, black pepper, sea salt, diced Roma tomatoes, and when near finished, took off heat and added shredded sharp cheddar.
   That was all stuffed into cleaned out Poblano Peppers that had been par boiled to soften them up. They're baking now. In 15 minutes I'll take them out and add a homemade Chile sauce to give them some spice.
  I might not eat that. I'm in the mood for a salad and that's probably plenty. Though I do think I'll try the stuffed peppers because they sound and look so fine!
   Bon Appetit! everyone.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

President-Elect Trump

Well, I'll get over it. I can't say we'll survive, because the president elect will have the full backing of the House and Senate behind him and probably the power of the Supreme Court to back him up. Not good. The Republicans have already tried to eliminate the ACA, to privatize Social Security and Medicare, decrease taxes on the wealthy again, keep the minimum wage stagnant, eliminate a woman's right to choose, disenfranchise minorities and a host of other rotten things. Top that off with Trump's promised wall, deportation force, refusal to back NATO if partner countries don't ante up, refusal to allow Muslim refugees to settle here, punishment for women who get abortions, general misogyny, anti-minority invective, Climate Change denial, elimination of the EPA, and whoa!!!! We might very well be heading into a shitstorm. And that's if he doesn't carpet bomb the Middle East or let loose the nuclear warheads.
   So I'm not happy. I thought Hillary, who has been unfairly flogged by the right for 24 years--ever since she had the audacity to propose health care reform--would have made a very good president. She's come around on issues with which I disagreed for the most part, and given some back up I think she would have expanded the work President Obama has done, which has been socially wonderful, if financially conservative. Now we'll head in the opposite direction again and in four or eight years, the Dems will have to come in and rescue the economy, the country, and possibly the world.
   Good luck, everybody.

Friday, November 04, 2016

New Drug War Follies Column for Skunk Magazine

Well, I've just turned this in. I figure it will be published around the New Year, so that's what I wrote it for. It's the 97th column I've done for Skunk since its inception. Very cool. I love having my column. So here it is:


Well, we’re about ready for a new year, aren’t we? What do we want? Peace, Pot, Prosperity, Health, Climate Change Fix, End of Hunger, End of Hatred, you know, the usual cool shit.

By Peter Gorman

Happy New Year! And thank god it’s here. Man, those of us in the lower 48 were raked over the coals by that freaking election! If it had gone on another week we might have seen mass suicides just to get away from it all.
   But that’s behind us, thank goodness. Now we just have four more years of same old, same old. Or we get lucky and everything comes out beautifully! Maybe if we all smoke a bowl, hold hands and sing Kumbaya we’ll get it done. Yeah. Keep dreaming. This is the real world and it sucks. People get hurt by other people tens of thousands of times a day. People kill each other for no freaking reason ten thousands of times a day. Greedy people keep food from hungry people millions of times a day. People enslave people over large parts of the world. People bully people in all walks of life. Man makes climate change and we are not together on how to get it fixed—with some people still not believing in it and probably half the world’s population never having heard of it. And people still go to jail for smoking freaking marijuana!
    None of that is likely to change, but we’re allowed to dream it when the New Year comes rolling in. We’re allowed to imagine what it would be like if the new year really brought a clean slate with it and we could start building the real world most of us would like to inhabit, instead of the world we’ve somehow fashioned in a reckless way. Hell, we invented nuclear weapons! Nuclear weapons? What if those same scientists were working on something positive and not a weapons-system? They’d have probably come up with something equally spectacular but something that came without the temptation to melt people.
   So I’m dreaming a little bit. I’m dreaming that sick people find healing; that those close to crossing over find peace; I’m dreaming that those with broken hearts get their hearts filled again with love. I’m dreaming that every person about to shoot or machete, or knife another person suddenly realizes that they don’t have to do it and then lay down their weapons. I’m dreaming that stressed out moms and dads stop taking it out on their kids or dogs. I’m dreaming that we all realize how much food we throw away and then find a way to get that food to people who are hungry. I’m dreaming of decent people coming together and realizing that we could change it all in large parts of the world in just half-an-hour if we could agree that everyone has worth. That bad kids weren’t born that way, they were shaped by pain or fear. That having more than your neighbor doesn’t make you better or win you any prizes. That bullying people only makes the bully small in the long run. That thieves don’t really need to steal, they just need to ask for help.
   I’m dreaming that law enforcement, all over the world, comes to recognize that its job is to help people, not just enforce laws. I’m dreaming that we quickly realized that solar power can work almost everywhere and help put the brakes on climate change. I’m dreaming of people loving everyone the way they want to be loved.
   I guess I’m really dreaming about John Lennon’s Imagine.
   The problem is that nearly everything negative starts with fear. Not fight or flight, those are important impulses. When a tree is about to fall on you it’s a good instinct to move before you die. No, I’m talking about the kernel of fear that we all seem to have. That fear—fear of not being big enough, strong enough, fast enough, good looking enough, worthy enough, successful enough—does not like to be exposed. The fear itself has a fear of being recognized and so it covers up. It covers itself in resentment, in anger, in aggressiveness. It masks itself in pride and arrogance. It shrouds itself in the lie of being better than other people.
   And it’s that resentment, that anger, that aggressiveness, that pride, that arrogance, that lie of being better than other people that allows us humans to do the horrible and wretched things we do to one another. It allows us to have wars, allows us to justify incarcerating more than 2.4 million people in the U.S. alone without hardly a thought that what many of those people need is love and respect and learning their own self-worth—something that doesn’t happen in our prisons today. Those negative embodiments of fear allow the people in power to make laws to put pot smokers in jail or to take away their homes and children—they only do it because they’re afraid of the pot smokers. But why? If they could see themselves for one minute as they truly are, they would realize that they’re not afraid of the pot smokers, they’re afraid of their own value and are covering that fear up by creating a class of people worth even less than they are—at least politically.
   We, as a race, cannot continue to be divided and ever hope to reach our potential. When we spend half of our lives proving we are better than the next guy, we’re losing all that time to making this world a better place. Somehow, something must occur that makes all of humanity take pause for a minute. Something that gives us a few seconds to hit a reset button on our hearts, accept that we have the fear, and then exuberantly let it go.
   Yes! I’m afraid that I’ve never been as fat as I am and I’m fat because I drink wine and I drink wine because I’m afraid to admit I’m getting old. But why on earth am I afraid of getting old? That comes with the price of admission, if you’re lucky enough to make it to old age. But there’s that fear that you are no longer strong enough when you’re old—and I know about that fear. Maybe I’m afraid that I cannot fend for my family any longer, or that my grown children no longer need me. SO WHAT? I have friends and the people I protected will protect me should I need it. Better yet, in the world I’m dreaming about, I don’t need protection because other people will not become predators in order to hide their fear of being inadequate.
   So it’s a new year, and we’re all allowed to dream. And I’m dreaming that the fear in each and every one of us gets somehow remolded into hopefulness, into the ability to accept who we are with joy and to spread that joy around until it touches everyone and those machines of destruction can be beaten into plough shares.
   And if that happened, it wouldn’t mean that everyone is happy every moment. Stubbing your toe or breaking your arm is still going to hurt. But it might mean that as a race we begin to recognize one another as fully equal partners and can begin to eliminate hatred and greed and resentment and replace them with respect, love, and understanding. That would certainly put us on the road to working together and seeing what the real potential of the human race might be if that happened.
   Hey, I know I’m dreaming. But I like this dream.
It would all be funny if people weren’t dying and the prisons weren’t full.