My Brand of Fantasy Magic

…isn’t really fantasy at all. Magical realism, perhaps?

I recently re-watched Constantine (starring The Man of One Face: Keanu Reeves), where the protagonist spends his life fighting to keep the balance between heaven and hell via magical relics, know-how, and insight into traveling to hell and back. He’s dark, brooding, quippy, and so self-destructive he’s dying of lung cancer. It’s a delve into what I consider magical realism: people, many people, believe wholeheartedly that the ability exists (even if it’s only for one person) to… insert random miracle here. Be it travel through hell, talk to the dead, turn water to wine, transform into a totem-animal, talk to rocks, converse with ancestors long dead, see auras, dowse, possess another person/animal.

A lot of people don’t. And that’s cool. A lot of people pursue religion as a form of self-government, so instead of spending the time to understand themselves, they look to religion: “This is bad (according to the Book), so I won’t do it.” It also kills multiple birds by creating a community of similar-thinking people, which reinforces the feeling of “this is right.” Which is cool. That’s what certain governmental bodies do. And we’re governed by many circles, be it personal, family, friends, religion, spiritual (separate from religion), communal, work, local, federal, world. And that’s just what I pulled off the top. This is a digression and I’ll stop it now. I’m trying to show how this also holds its own forms of power: any single one of these bubbles could specify “this is bad” and a person follow it simply because, well, someone says to. Even the “personal” circle. Which in itself is a form of mind control.

I had a simple purpose when I began writing twelve years ago: have fun, connect with people, share my thoughts. It’s still the same purpose, albeit a little evolved. My thoughts developed into something a little stronger: magic is real. Some magic is real. Not all. Magic Missiles and two hundred foot orc giants with enchanted tree trunks for armor isn’t. Science keeps trying to say it has all the answers worth knowing (while people touting Science as the new religion also try to say, like a marijuana enthusiast, Science has ALL the answers), but it doesn’t. Neil deGrasse Tyson recently said, “That’s what’s so great about science. You don’t have to believe in it for it to be true. It exists without your permission.”

Mostly.

I know enough about Science to know the importance of “observable” and “human fallacy.” I’ve been reading about human beings having more than five senses. More like nine. Pressure, balance to name two. It really doesn’t matter how often Science revises what truths it accepts as fact. What matters is it’s always changing in its definition, always updating its databases.

Next, to define science into two subcategories: hard science (physics for one) and soft science (psychology for two). I know too many well-meaning Science worshippers who put it all together. Soft sciences, the stuff our thoughts are made of, the stuff of our dreaming, of our extra-sensories, of our deeper knowledge, of our abstract pattern recognitions, is very wide open and mostly unexplored, despite the 100 or so years we’ve had to study it. Why? Unobservable. Or, difficult to observe. Assumptions based on calculations and patterns of tests.

Magic is a soft science. In fact, eventually, all that “magic” will fall into some sub-sub category of either a sense or quirk of one or two chromosomes in some errant mutative family line (or, you know, something a person develops through meditation and a proven set of practices). Since our realities are subjected to the extent of our senses, there is nothing–absolutely nothing–to say I can’t dream another person’s dreams, for example. Or travel a place constructed wholly of peoples’ thoughts, over time, like a great big living world placed overtop our own. Or fight constructs of modern religion with sheer self-certainty alone.

We all give off energy. That’s a fact. We exist because of it. Byproducts of processes going in in our bodies. We can’t see it. We assume the effect of said energy release is negligible to our surroundings simply because, since we can’t see it, it doesn’t exist.

I find a new awakening going on, in this culture. In this society. A long, long time ago, during the time of the birthing religions (200 BC to, say, 1000 AD), the understanding exploded of a second, third, and perhaps even fourth sublayer above the Real. This is the stuff of the new old religions. It is the backbone. Now that religion is failing so many people of this time of “Scientific Certainty,” they’re turning to Science and Atheism. Which is cool. They do their thing. As long as they aren’t killing in the name of Neil deGrasse Tyson, it’s all gravy.

The New Reformation, I guess, comes. Or a Second Enlightenment. I’m only sorry I don’t get to know it fully.

So the magic I use in my writing comes from a deep place, a sub-tonal to the writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and the Gitas, and the Books of the Dead, and whatever else. It comes from a constructed place–a governing place similar to those I listed–where the reality is multi-faceted, science is currently too short-sighted to involve itself, and energy talks with the voice of long-dead preachers. The magic I use is energy, plain and pure, built up on the shoulder-plates of imaginative thinkers and socio-pariahs like Einstein and Twain and Jung who, in another century (or life), would be heralded as prophets or even gods.

My brand of fantasy magic comes from the coupling of intelligent thought and passionate realization, of fever dreams and deep stillness. My brand of magic is the extent of the human condition, of spirituality that exists for itself, of ripe power sieved through governing filters. And that’s just in the reality.

In my writing, it collects the results of What Ifs and runs tests until the pattern is undeniable in its repetition.

Sorry. Magic is a lot of things. For me, it must stem from reality. It must stem from science and its branches are religion. Its fruits are you and I, the readers and writers, and it’s more than simply an axe-like tool. It’s a whole undiscovered place, like a continent with slightly different rules. It’s a way of breathing. It’s a way of bleeding. It’s a way of interaction.

It’s so. Fucking. Sexy.

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Stop Being Scared of Vegetables

Momma said eat your greens. Mashed potatoes? Handled. Steak? Already gone. Applesauce? Done and done. Asparagus? Nope. Broccoli? Nope. Peas? Nope nope nope. Salad? At least you can drench it in Ranch dressing.

Red meat shouldn’t be the staple of every meal. “Lite” meals shouldn’t consist of two chicken breasts wrapped in bacon, or a fistful of ground beef carved up to fit in a burrito.

…I’ve been trying to find “perfect meals.” All-in-ones that taste perfect and are incredibly healthy. The kinds of foods you look at and say, “Yeah. I can eat that,” even when there’s that green stuff on it. A perfect meal, for example, is a hefty salad with a single serving of baked chicken, lots of sunflower seeds, a few crispy onions, and an oil-based dressing. Why would I call it a perfect meal? Because it is.

4 oz of steak is a serving. How many steakhouses even offer 4 oz unless it’s a “healthy choice” or “lite choice” menu item? None I’ve been to in my entire life. 1 chicken breast is a serving. Serving sizes are so much smaller than Tyson or Longhorn Steakhouse wants us to believe. It’s smart to give you four servings of meat on a single plate and charge you 4x the price of a single serving for it and hope nobody catches on: it’s called good business. But it isn’t good health.

Lettuce isn’t marketable, so you’ll never find a Texas Greenhouse or an Outback Saladhouse. Ruby Tuesday will always be the fifth pick down a line of commercial eatieries.

Always eat your greens. Always have more greens than protien and you’ll live a healthier life. In fact, some simple advice is this: skip fast food, skip an upended Atkins-style carb-free diet (yes, a diabetic is saying this) and go green. No joke. You’ll shed pounds like an onion sheds tears, and you’ll be so full of energy you won’t know what to do. Maybe actually play football instead of eating cheetos and salsa.

A popular show on Discovery called Dual Survival pits a barefoot hippie on steroids against an ex-marine survivalist to see which style works best in what situation. They trek across the globe seeking some of the more inhospitable biomes to showcase their abilities. Not surprisingly, the hippie forages for grubs and greens while the marine hunts red meat. Given this is a “show and tell” survival show, producers trap pigs for the big burly man to catch and kill just to give the watcher an example of what to do.

Every time the hippie shows up with a bowl full of food, the ex-marine scoffs and fire-hardens his spear: vegetables don’t make a meal for him.

It should.

We Americans have this mindset that meat is the center of a balanced meal. Or maybe just the ones in the Midwest. Yet obesity and diabetes is skyrocketing. Huh. Good red-blooded, God-fearing carnivorous meat-eaters are the salt of the earth. I can’t disagree. If it works for them, great. But I don’t know of a heavy meat-eater that doesn’t have rumbly jowels and a swollen stomach that prefers to watch football than hike a mountain trail. It might be my inexperience showing. I don’t know.

What I do know is spending three years with a vegetarian that was once fruititarian has opened my eyes to an alternative lifestyle. So many people (like the ex-marine) are terrified of not getting their huge flanksteak for dinner. Their body, of course, wants meat. Does the body NEED red meat? No. It needs protein, but not nearly as much as one would think. Does the body NEED the nutrients in the greens? Yep. And you can’t ever get too much. In fact, if you go without red meat for six months, you’re disgustingly sick in the bathroom after you eat three pieces of bacon. Believe me. I’ve been there. And I had to relearn that lesson several times. The body runs differently on white-meat diet.

Fowl meat is healthier than red meat. Fish and seafood healthier than that. Not saying you should give up on the red wine, but healthy living comes from less red.

That being said, if you want to live a healthier lifestyle without working any harder, cut out the red, put in the green. Just like a stoplight. Green means go.

Simpler is usually better. Simplest is best: all vegetarian works wonders, as long as you find ways to incorporate non-meat protein in your diet.

 

~x

Simple vs. Easy

I love simple. I’m a complex person (or at least I’d like to think I am), but I love simple. I love organized, straight lines. I love start-to-finish projects. My writing style reflects complexity. My lifestyle reflects simplicity.
I want to get one thing straight. Simple isn’t always easy. In fact, over half the time, simple is difficult. The stress that sometimes accomodates keeping life simple through relationships, food prep, and even worship can make the effort seem pointless. It isn’t. It’s delicious.
Media overloads us with pointless information. This isn’t news to anyone. Food fills us with wood pulp, refined and overprocessed synthetic materials, hormones, and chemicals. Again, no news here. As a society, we condone extroversion over introversion, we wear our lives on our sleeves, and are trained, through media outlets, to ignore problems and push forward. Quiet is wasted space. The bottom dollar seems to rule every aspect of our lives.
Two words for that. Bull shit. Capitalism is not condusive to self-growth. So for the sake of this blog, capitalism is a wasted word.
Enter all those mystical hippy/Eastern spiritual practices that accompany the idea of zen and inner peace. Why does this carry such a negative connotation? It shouldn’t. It’s enjoyable.
Fixing the complication of media life can be as simple as turning off the TV or spending a few extra bucks on something truly healthy, like free range chicken instead of main brand, real green beans instead of canned, or removing the daily/weekly/all fast food from your diet. On a side note, Taco Bell’s “ground beef” is under siege: the FDA says because it’s over 60% plant product (soy), it can’t be considered ground beef. Huh.
Back to simple vs. easy. I took the easy way out. Last January (2011) I was diagnosed with diabetes. I was a healthy person growing up: model extrovert, soccer player, actor, basketball, baseball, tennis, golf, Boy Scouts. I was active, vibrant, social, but I ate terrible. As I grew older, and I got a little lazy, I stopped beign so active, and instead of drinking regular fluids and food, I went entirely to a diet of soda and processed food. I’m not talking about diet soda. I’m talking about regular old Dr. Pepper. (Diet soda is worse: aspartame is like nicotene. It dumbs me down to being nearly unable to think, gives me headaches and surprisingly makes me so ravenous I could eat a whole chain of McDonald’s.)
I didn’t gain weight. In fact I was the thinnest I had been since high school, because I was eating so few calories. But I was weak, and drinking/eating the way I did destroyed my pancreas. I wouldn’t be diabetic if I had handled myself differently. If I had taken the simple way out, and not the easy one, I would be a healthier person today.
I feel blessed to be diabetic. Why? I’m forced to eat properly, healthy, and eat foods in moderation. My portion sizes are smaller, my junk food intake is obviously much reduced, and I’m filled with energy.
Simple is best. Always. I’m not saying complicated isn’t enjoyable, or wrong, or evil. I love complicated and complex. I’m saying simple is best when it comes to living your lifestyle, managing healthy relationships, and contributing to your mental health.