Monthly Archives: December 2012

Dec. 31 , 2012

Dec. 30

Posted this morning on Facebook:

My writing style is defined as “asserting opinions in a doctrinaire or arrogant manner.” It’s called Opinion Writing; editorials are the main form of this highly dogmatic genre. That said, don’t forget my blog is out there, arrogant, frequently offensive, and undertaken solely for my own pleasure.

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Enjoying enormously being at Peter’s casually elegant house in the hills overlooking Kingston, Jamaica. The wind has blown furiously since early morning.

It’s very nice to have seen several social classes’ lifestyles here in Kingston. Today I return to Cass’ house right next to the Downtown “Parade” area, in Fletcher’s Land. I honestly can’t say I prefer one lifestyle to another. It’s like this for me everywhere I go: all the different ways of living have something wonderful about them.

My name is Karen Ann Marie Marguerite John Hankison Hawes Boswell. My mantra is: “That doesn’t bother me.”

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Dec. 31

At the Kingston airport, waiting for my 1 pm flight to T&T (Trinidad and Tobago). I got here three hours early. Noisy house last night at Cass’ (night crowd of music fanatics) and I couldn’t sleep. On the bright side, I was able to leave at a decent hour after a cup of tea and nice chat with Yvonne (whom I absolutely adore). Walked down King Street to the Park, ate a few tangerines from a food stand, went to Mother’s for a beef and cheese pattie; then, I went to the print shop above Woolworths’s and got the crucial “onward ticket” printedt: from Mexico City to San Antonio, Texas on March 5. My money came in a day early so I could buy it last night.

My New Year’s Resolution is to take better care of myself. I have to protect my heart. I’ve been looking for my ONE True Love throughout my whole life. I am (as I have said) a true believer in this…still. But the Spirits will have to take over: I am through giving each guy who I feel may be my Soulmate a chance. I’vedone it enough. “What’s love got to do with it?” Nothing. I may not even LIKE my Soulmate; he could be an unevolved soul and/or a young, naive, egotistical man. Maybe I’ve met him, maybe not. I am past caring ; I am over trying to find him; I’m letting go of the search. Let go, and let God, as they say.

I would love to find that my Soulmate is a guy I really like, but he is CRAZY about me! He constantly pursues me, but he never “achieves”me. He never gets me. Not in this lifetime anyway.

The nice, young man at Jamaican immigration asked about my plans after T&T. When I gave him my itinerary, he said (in a most kind and loving manner),  “Why do you want to put yourself though all that?” When I told him (“I love to travel!”), he was happy for me and encouraged me to go on and be happy.

The police/military equation (who are the good guys? How much do they get paid?) is different everywhere I go. In Jamaica, the police are bad and the military are good guys. In Brazil (Cass’ new CS guests, Marcello and Fabio, are from Sao Paolo), it’s the opposite. (I may have gotten these backwards.

Yvonne Brown, my friend and Cass’ “girlfriend” was really hurt and angry yesterday. She came to Cass’, but he was off with a gal from French Guyana whom he is bedding down with for four days. Yvonne asked me about this and about a gal who was here the other day (and ended up in Cass’ bed); Cass lies to her about these women and certainly wouldn’t approve of Yvonne having lovers on the side.

Some of the Jamaican men I have met (as well as those men who admire and emulate these men) talk endlessly about RESPECT and sing righteously about PEACE and LOVE. Unfortunately, they know nothing about any of these things. Give all these guys a few dozen years to mature and learn the lessons of love, and then we’ll see who these guys are and how they treat the people who love and care about them.

Yvonne told me about women in Jamaica. Many (most) are still not independent, and the men use them shamelessly. Women are still living traditional lives: taking care of children, houses, and men; men are denying the women equality and liberty, but giving themselves all the pleasure and freedom they want.

There’s no welfare for single moms here in Jamaica; there’s no social security for old folks. A woman with little kids who is dependent on a man is really up shit creek anywhere, but especially in a culture like this where men expect to be free and superior to women.

A woman Downtown said to me: “We (Jamaicans) don’t take things seriously.” She meant this in the most serious, critical manner. Jamaicans are becoming serious about their culture (or perhaps they always have been).

I went walking around Cass’ neighborhood yesterday with Marcello and later with Fabio. We talked to people and bought beers in a bar; Fabio played a little soccer and discussed the economy with some men. I was stoned and relaxed; an enjoyable time! Jamaica is very much a street culture.

After our walk, Marcello (who is an upper middle-class Brazilian) said to me, “What was that man saying to you?” I had forgotten (stoned!). “Were there double meanings?” he asked. “In this neighborhood,” I said, “everything has a double meaning.” This is true among the poor; I know this from my Dad (who was raised very poor in Berlin, Germany), from my ex-husband, Hank (also raised poor in southern Ohio, USA), and from my own experiences after my 1974 divorce, when I chose to hang out with poor people on the streets of several California cities. The underclasses are skilled in the double entendre because they are the most likely victims of crime (from the police and from their neighbors) and social repression.

A police car cruised by us as Marcello and I were walking around Cass’ neighborhood, drinking beers. I stopped and spoke to them. “How are you doing?” I said.” Is everything OK?” They said they were fine and asked if I was passing through; I said yes, I was. Marcello asked me if this question about passing through was motivated by prejudice (eg., are you a Gypsy and going to be gone soon). I don’t know how these police men perceived me, so I wasn’t really able to answer him directly.

I have questioned many times whether loyalty to the masses of poor (and other groups of) people precludes talking to the police in a friendly manner, and I do not believe it does. Compassion has no boundaries, and certainly not all police men and women are prejudiced against poor people or racial minorities in their areas. I am certain that some of the neighbors who saw me speak to the police suddenly developed a negative attitude toward me. I am not a social worker who has to adapt her life to the perceptions of any special interest group; I am a traveller, and I talk to the police for my own well-being and the well-being of my group: Gypsies. It doesn’t hurt to respect people and cultivate friendly relationships with local authorities, as long as they don’t want anything from us (eg. loyalty, service, money, information, etc.).

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Chickens freely wander the backstreets of Kingston, Jamaica. In Puerto Rico, a free chicken was a great surprise to people on the street, and they tried to find out who the escapee belonged to.

My CS host, Peter, told me Jamaica has more churches per square mile than any country in the world. (That’s a statistic, he said). And right next to every church is a rum bar and a gambling joint. (Not a statistic.) 50% of Jamaicans believe in the Obeah religion; it’s African (like Voudo). They use oils for every possible thing (luck and blessing) and candles.

from Wikipedia:

Obeah (sometimes spelled Obi, Obea or Obia) is a term used in the West Indies to refer to folk magic, sorcery, and religious practices derived from West African, and specifically Igbo origin Obah is similar to other African derived religions including Palo, Voodoo, Santería, rootwork, and most of all hoodoo. Obeah is practiced in Suriname, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, Guyana, Barbados, Grenada, Belize, The Bahamas and other Caribbean countries.

Obeah is associated with both benign and malignant magic, charms, luck, and with mysticism in general. In some Caribbean nations, Obeah refers to folk religions of the African diaspora. In some cases, aspects of these folk religions have survived through syncretism with Christian symbolism and practice introduced by European colonials and slave owners. Casual observation may conclude that Christian symbolism is incorporated into Obeah worship, but in fact may represent clandestine worship and religious protest.

During slavery Obeah was directed against the European slave masters. However, with the rise of Christianity, Obeah is considered a taboo, and the term has pejorative associations.

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Jamaican greeting: press thumbs together. There are subtle variations and meanings involved in this greeting.

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I am interested in the subject of remittances since Tricia, my CS host here in Port of Spain mentioned it to me.

(from Wikipedia:)

A remittance is a transfer of money by a foreign worker to his or her home country.

Money sent home by migrants constitutes the second largest financial inflow to many developing countries, exceeding international aid. Estimates of remittances to developing countries vary from International Fund for Agricultural Development‘s US$301 billion (including informal flows) to the World Bank‘s US$250 billion for 2006 (excluding informal flows). Remittances contribute to economic growth and to the livelihoods of people worldwide[citation needed]. Moreover, remittance transfers can also promote access to financial services for the sender and recipient, thereby increasing financial and social inclusion[citation needed]. Remittances also foster, in the receiving countries, a further economic dependence on the global economy instead of building sustainable, local economies.

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Exerpts from Jamaica-Gleaner.com (Jan. 12, 2012):

ON REMITTANCES iNJAMAICA

The Jamaican people may be many things, but not fools, and in a time when the world is indeed a global village, most Jamaican families have some member living in a First World country, and exposed to information and behaviour patterns coming from the developed world via these personal contacts, cable television and the Internet.

There is no definitive source to determine the size of the Jamaican diaspora. Many claim that there are as many ‘Jamaicans’ living outside Jamaica as is the current 2.8 million population. However, statistics provided by the Migration Information Source and the Planning Institute of Jamaica for the periods 1970-2008 indicate that 915,371 people emigrated from Jamaica to the US, UK, and Canada. This, however, does not reflect those entering these countries legally but remaining illegally, those entering illegally, and others immigrating to other countries.

Remittances account for approximately 15 per cent of Jamaica’s GDP and are the main barometer of the impact the diaspora has on Jamaica. According to Bank of Jamaica statistics, remittance inflows were US$1.598 billion for the first 10 months of the 2010-11 fiscal year. The focus now is how the country can get some of these remittances into an organised programme to serve the productive sectors and contribute in developing Jamaica.

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And another exerpt from Jamaica-Gleaner.com (April 9, 2012):

Remittances pick up as recession rebound continue

In line with World Bank predictions, remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean have strengthened as economies continue to recover from the global economic milieu which peaked during the two-year period, 2008 to 2009.

In Jamaica, remittances crept to their highest calendar-year level in a decade last year, according to the Bank of Jamaica in its December 2011 remittance report, with more than US$2 billion in inflows to Jamaica.

And, inflows have continued to increase with remittances to the island in January improving by four per cent, compared to the corresponding period in 2011. The greater portion of inflows in 2011 was due to improvements in inflows through remittance companies.

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Dec. 29, 2012

Dec. 28

Left Sunny’s Birdsucker area home, had Blue Mountain pressed coffee at the cafe, took buses up here to a wealthy enclave overlooking Kingston and the harbor. Birds, trees, swimming pool, a few drinks (beer, rum and Pepsi), and Hagen Das coffee ice cream (pilfered from freezer) later, I’m luxuriating in the depravity to which I’m (despicably) accustomed.

It’s Peter Abrakian’s house. He’s a Couchsurfer. Party tonight. Did card reading: spades and diamonds (both 10s = families of warriors and moneyed people), balanced/aided by hearts (the 7 = take a chance on love) and clubs (the 10 = creative family). Peter’s a director, film-maker; party here tonight. Two nights here, then back to Cass’ house.

I stopped at the post office and mailed Bob Marley-stamped post cards back to the U.S. Printed out my T&T ticket at the shop next to Western Union upstairs from Woolworth’s on King Street (by Parade and St. William’s Grandpa’s Park [aka Sir William Grant Park]).

I am reveling in the pastoral setting up here above the helter skelter of the city. The noisy and almost preemptive birds make me feel safe and protected.

pre·emp·tive
 [ pree émptiv ]
  1. done before others can act: done before somebody else has had an opportunity to act so as to make his or her planned action pointless or impossible
  2. intended to prevent attack: intended to eliminate or lessen an enemy’s capacity to attack
  3. discouraging further bidding: in bridge, being so high a bid that it discourages further bidding

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I’m just sailing along, after watching about twenty-five episodes of “Keeping Up Appearances” over the last two days, feeling like: a.) I’m changing, growing, and definitely for the better, and b.) all is well.

Dear Peter has Shakespeare’s 29th sonnet on his kitchen wall.

When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf Heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featur’d like him, like him with friends possess’d,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least:
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
from sullen earth) sings hymns at the heaven’s gate:
For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings
That I scorn to change my state with the kings.

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Goats and dogs are running around parts of Kingston; the goats around Sunny’s area (Birdsucker, near Barbican) aren’t even tethered, just freely wandering the grassy areas.

Cars are on the left side of the street in Jamaica, British-style. Fundamentalist Rastas live up in the hills. “Yah, Mon” is what everyone says. On Christmas Eve day, on one particularly busy section of Downtown sidewalk, unruffled hairdressers created fantastical hairdos on the heads of young women seated on high stools.

Carib People still exist; Sunny saw one on a bus or something. She couldn’t stand not knowing for sure, but she felt awkward striking up a conversation with the distinctive=looking man. In the end, she just asked him, “Are you a Carib?” He said he was.

from Wikipedia:

Carib (/kærˈɪb/), Island Carib, or Kalinago people, after whom the Caribbean was named, are a group of people who live in the Lesser Antilles islands. They are an Amerindian people whose origins lie in the southern West Indies and the northern coast of South America.

The people spoke either a Carib language or a pidgin, but the Caribs’ regular raids on other groups resulted in so many female Arawak captives that it was not uncommon for the women to speak Kalhíphona, a Maipurean language (Arawakan). In the southern Caribbean, they co-existed with a related Cariban-speaking group, the Galibi. They lived in separate villages in Grenada, Tobago, Saint Lucia, Dominica and St.Vincent.

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I added this to Facebook today:

I forgot to include questioning my sexual orientation among my experiments. Yes, I dabbled briefly in lesbianism. Just enough to be able to say, with the certainty born of hands-on experience, that it’s not for me. My cup of tea includes a third leg.

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Dec. 29

The party went on until about 4 am, and now, before 8 am, Peter and his date, Renee (Jamaican living in Toronto) are laughing in the bedroom. “Sleep is for the weak,” Peter said. He’s a theater person: actor, director, lighting, etc. He lives for it!

I went to the party for a few hours, and it was fun. A DJ mixed the music which was reggae, but not hard-core. Light reggae and pop music, I’d call it. No ganja–a young, professional crowd. Lots of alcohol and friendly people. Chicken, pork, rice, bread and macaroni. Lots of birthday cake left over.

My new mantra is: “That doesn’t bother me.” Amazing how much it helps. Even a few months ago, I couldn’t tolerate loud music and people partying into the wee morning hours; now, it’s fine. That doesn’t bother me! I got this mantra from my teacher, Paula Bussi, who said that to me when I told her I thought I had lice. She’s a gem.

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I’m an opinion writer. A piece of opinion writing is also known as an editorial.

ed·i·to·ri·al

[ed-i-tawr-ee-uh l, -tohr-] Show IPA

noun

1.

an article in a newspaper or other periodical presenting the opinion of the publisher, editor, or editors.
2.

a statement broadcast on radio or television that presents the opinion of the owner, manager, or the like, of the station or channel.
3.

something regarded as resembling such an article or statement, as a lengthy, dogmatic utterance.
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Yeah, my writing is definitely lengthy, dogmatic utterances.

dog·mat·ic

[dawg-mat-ik, dog-] Show IPA

adjective

1.

of, pertaining to, or of the nature of a dogma or dogmas; doctrinal.
2.

asserting opinions in a doctrinaire or arrogant manner; opinionated.
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dog·ma

[dawg-muh, dog-] Show IPA

noun, plural dog·mas or ( Rare  ) dog·ma·ta [dawg-muh-tuh] Show IPA .

1.

an official system of principles or tenets concerning faith, morals, behavior, etc., as of a church. Synonyms: doctrine, teachings, set of beliefs, philosophy.
2.

a specific tenet or doctrine authoritatively laid down, as by a church: the dogma of the Assumption; the recently defined dogma of papal infallibility. Synonyms: tenet, canon, law.
3.

prescribed doctrine proclaimed as unquestionably true by a particular group: the difficulty of resisting political dogma.
4.

a settled or established opinion, belief, or principle: the classic dogma of objectivity in scientific observation. Synonyms: conviction, certainty.

Dec. 27, 2013

Dec. 26

A quiet, warm, Wednesday morning here in the Birdsucker section of Kingston. Boxing Day. I’m planning to move on to my next host, Peter, on Friday. He’s even farther away from Downtown Kingston! Luckily, my flight Monday isn’t until 1:05 pm so I’ll have time to get to the Airport from Peter’s house.

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From Wikipedia:

Boxing Day is traditionally the day following Christmas Day, when servants and tradesmen would receive gifts from their superiors

The exact etymology of the term “boxing” is unclear. There are several competing theories, none of which is definitive. The European tradition, which has long included giving money and other gifts to those who were needy and in service positions, has been dated to the Middle Ages, but the exact origin is unknown. It may come from a custom in the late Roman/early Christian era, wherein metal boxes placed outside churches were used to collect special offerings tied to the Feast of Saint Stephen, which in the Western Church falls on the same day as Boxing Day.

In Britain, it was a custom for tradesmen to collect “Christmas boxes” of money or presents on the first weekday after Christmas as thanks for good service throughout the year.[3] This is mentioned in Samuel Pepys‘ diary entry for 19 December 1663.[4] This custom is linked to an older English tradition: Since they would have to wait on their masters on Christmas Day, the servants of the wealthy were allowed the next day to visit their families. The employers would give each servant a box to take home containing gifts and bonuses, and sometimes leftover food.

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Sunn brought me two boxes of left-overs yesterday from two Christmas meals she went to. Yum!

I discussed Megan’s abuse of Sam with Sunny today, and my reporting Meg to child abuse authorities in August of 2011. I asked her opinion on going to Boulder in April to try to see Sam. She agrees that it’s a good idea, providing I don’t push Meg. I will just let her know I’m there and that I’d love to see her and the kids.

My plans for the first half of 2013 are shaping up and are based on the K.I.S.S. mantra: “Keep It Simple, Stupid.”

January 16 to end of month: Venezuela, Colombia by bus to Rachel’s in Santa Marta.

February: enter Panama; buses up to Mexico City.

March: fly from Mexico City to San Antonio, Texas (cheap ticket); bus to New Orleans.

April: bus to Boulder; to East Coast. Seth and Noelle’s baby born. Sam’s is 10 (17th).

May: fly from Boston (?) to Dublin, Ireland.

June: Appleby Horse Fair in England (go from 5th-15th).

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Drank rum punch all afternoon, listening to reggae on GrooveShark, and told Sunny all about the problems (15 years’ worth of abuse) with Meg. I cried a little. She counseled me; Sunny said it takes time, let go, all will be well.

Posted this on Facebook:

TO MY NEW FB FRIENDS: I am proud to be an American Warrior Woman. I’ve been fighting since birth: born “illegitimate” and called a “bastard,” put up for adoption, my adoptive family was hated (Germans in post-WW II America), world-traveler as a child (exposed to “alien” traditions!), Autistic, eleven colleges over 40 years (off and on) before getting my BA in 2001, CONSCIOUSLY experimental—breaking social taboos (adultery [hubby started this off], tried prostitution in my late 40s), intentionally downwardly mobile (I chose poverty, hanging with the guys on the street, spare-changing, single/unwed mother on welfare), 37 years of raising my kids, found my birth-family (they’re rich, status-conscious, and/or fundamentalist Christians, and they can’t accept me). Plus a lifetime of “educating” bigots of all kinds (racists, sexists, etc.). Yah, Mon, so don’t give me any shit; I won’t put up with anything less than your respect. Be Cool, Dude.

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Dec. 27

Sorrel is a fruit drink to which we add DG white rum here in Jamaica. Sunny, my current Kingston host, makes her own and gives it to friends as a holiday gift.

Sorrel Drink

INGREDIENTS :

  • 1 pound sorrel
  • 2-4 oz. ginger
  • 2 quarts water
  • sugar
  • wine (optional)
  • 8-12 pimento grains

Shop Now for Jamaican recipe ingredients & seasoning in our online store.
METHOD:

  1. Wash sorrel thoroughly, using the fingers to lift it from the water.
  2. Put into stainless steel container.
  3. Scrape and wash ginger. Grate and Add to the sorrel. Add pimento grains.
  4. Boil water and pour over sorrel.
  5. Allow to stand 4-6 hours. Strain.
  6. Sweeten to taste and add rum to taste.
  7. Add optional wine.
  8. Serve with ice cubes.

Read more: http://www.jamaicans.com/cooking/seasonal/sorrel.shtml#ixzz2GGKp4Cqe

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Ackee is a local fruit that we can pick off the trees. It’s the national fruit of Jamaica. I’ve had it cooked like a pudding with “saltfish” (codfish). Delicious.

ACKEE

The ackee, also known as achee, akee apple or akee (Blighia sapida) is a member of the Sapindaceae (soapberry family), native to tropical West Africa in Cameroon, Gabon, São Tomé and Príncipe, Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.[1]

Flower

It is related to the lychee and the longan, and is an evergreen tree that grows about 10 metres tall, with a short trunk and a dense crown. The leaves are pinnate,[2] leathery, compound, 15–30 centimetres long, with 6–10 elliptical obovate-oblong leaflets. Each leaflet is 8–12 centimetres long and 5–8 centimetres broad.

The flowers are unisexual and fragrant. They have five petals, are greenishwhite[3] and bloom during warm months.[4] The fruit is pear-shaped. When it ripens, it turns from green to a bright red to yellow-orange, and splits open to reveal three large, shiny black seeds, surrounded by soft, creamy or spongy, white to yellow flesh—arilli.[2] The fruit typically weighs 100–200 grams.[2]

The scientific name honours Captain William Bligh who took the fruit from Jamaica to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England in 1793 and introduced it to science. The common name is derived from the West African Akye fufo. The term ackee originated from the Akan language.[5]

The fruit was imported to Jamaica from West Africa (probably on a slave ship) before 1778.[6] Since then it has become a major feature of various Caribbean cuisines, and is also cultivated in tropical and subtropical areas elsewhere around the world.

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Lee “Scratch” Perry

Lee “Scratch” Perry
Background information
Birth name Rainford Hugh Perry
Also known as Pipecock Jackxon
The Upsetter
Born 20 March 1936 (age 76)
Kendal, Jamaica
Genres Reggae, dub, ska, rocksteady, drum and bass
Years active 1960s–present

Lee “Scratch” Perry (born Rainford Hugh Perry, 20 March 1936, Kendal, Jamaica) is a musician and producer who has been influential in the development and acceptance of reggae and dub music in Jamaica and overseas. He employs numerous pseudonyms, including Pipecock Jackxon and The Upsetter.

Early career

Perry’s musical career began in the late 1950s as a record seller for Clement Coxsone Dodd‘s sound system. As his sometimes turbulent relationship with Dodd developed, he found himself performing a variety of important tasks at Dodd’s Studio One hit factory, going on to record nearly thirty songs for the label.[1] Disagreements between the pair due to personality and financial conflicts, a recurring theme throughout Perry’s career, led him to leave the studio and seek new musical outlets. He soon found a new home at Joe Gibbs‘s Amalgamated Records.

Working with Gibbs, Perry continued his recording career but, once again, financial problems caused conflict. Perry broke ranks with Gibbs and formed his own label, Upsetter, in 1968. His first single “People Funny Boy”, which was an insult directed at Gibbs, sold well with 60,000 copies sold in Jamaica alone. It is notable for its innovative use of a sample (a crying baby) as well as a fast, chugging beat that would soon become identifiable as “reggae” (the new kind of sound which was given the name “Steppers”). From 1968 until 1972 he worked with his studio band The Upsetters. During the 1970s, Perry released numerous recordings on a variety of record labels that he controlled, and many of his songs were popular in both Jamaica and the UK. He soon became known for his innovative production techniques as well as his eccentric character.

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Alpha Boys School in Kingston is where Ska (pronounced sk-eh here in Jamaica) music started.

ALPHA SCHOOL

Alpha Cottage School (often referred to as Alpha Boys School) is a school on South Camp Road in Kingston, Jamaica, run by Roman Catholic nuns. Established in 1880 as a “school for wayward boys”, it became renowned for both the discipline it instilled in its pupils and the outstanding musical tuition they received.

School band

The school has had its own band since 1892, originally a drum and fife (musical instrument) corps, and later a brass band, following the gift of brass instruments from the Roman Catholic Bishop of Jamaica.[1][2] The school has been credited with influencing the development of ska and reggae.[3] Notable music instructors included Lennie Hibbert, Eric Deans and Sister Mary Ignatius Davis.

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Damien Marley

Damian Marley
Background information
Birth name Damian Marley
Also known as Jr. Gong
Born July 21, 1978 (age 34)
Kingston, Jamaica
Genres Reggae, dancehall, hip-hop, reggae fusion, ragga
Years active 1996–present
Labels Tuff Gong, Ghetto Youth International, Universal
Associated acts Bob Marley, Ky-Mani Marley, Ziggy Marley, Stephen Marley, Julian Marley, Nas, Bobby Brown, SuperHeavy, Guru, K’naan, Cypress Hill, Rusko, Skrillex

Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley (born July 21, 1978) is a three-time Grammy Award winning Jamaican reggae artist.[1] Damian is the youngest son of Bob Marley.

Damian was two years old when his father, Bob Marley, died; he is the only child born to Marley and Cindy Breakspeare, Miss World 1976. Damian’s nickname Junior Gong is derived from his father’s nickname of Tuff Gong. Marley has been performing since the age of 13. He shares, along with most of his family, a full-time career in music.

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Sunny brought home some beef “patties,” popular, little, fried cakes (like the crab cakes I get in New Orleans). I brought home DG White Rum (a “Q” or flask) and more Calypso Jack rum mix. I hung up some clothes out on the deck, surrounded by ackee and other plants and trees, and I looked down into the small, bubbling creek below. I fed sardines to the gray and white cat who lives outside Sunny’s backdoor. He came in through the “grate” (outer door), and I threw water at him. I love him, but he can’t come in; Sunny and I are both allergic to cats.

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Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 2012

Christmas in Jamaica. Street parties and music all night long and into the morning. Reggae and traditional Christmas songs.

People press their thumbs together here when greeting each other. This is probably just among a certain crowd.

It’s not so much about presents here, I think, but neighborhood partying on Dec. 24. Today, Christmas Day, is about family. Tomorrow, Boxing Day, is about public concerts, etc.

The doves are huge here in Kingston. Big ring-necks with loud, full voices. In San Juan, Puerto Rico the doves were small and brown.

Drinking Calypso Jack Rum Punch, and thanking my lucky stars I’m not trapped in some house in snow country with a bunch of people I don’t like. Ha ha. The windows and doors are all open here, sounds of Christmas are coming from the various houses in this little middle-class suburb of Kingston, and I’m very happy to be here at Sunny’s friendly, peaceful, harmonious home.

I am drinking rum punch–Sunny’s gone out for Christmas Day lunch with friends–and a big trash truck is making its way, thorough the neighborhood. It approached our apartment building infinitely slowly, its horn low, almost as though the truck is groaning. People come out to their gates and, with a little conversation, hand over their small, plastic trash bags to a young man who throws them up onto the truck. Up there, another young man (whose shorts hang over his underwear, well below his butt) stacks the bags onto the truck bed, making sure they won’t fall off.

I am undoubtedly witnessing the usual Tuesday trash pick up (which doesn’t stop just because it’s Christmas). Jamaica is so small, and the people are so peaceful and neighborly to each other that I can imagine them appreciating this slow parade of the trash truck as a satisfying and unobjectionable part of the Christmas ritual.

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I am tweaking and fooling around with dates and peregrinations on the rest of this Caribbean and South/Central American trip. I am realizing that I don’t take trips; I let trips take me. I don’t  impose myself onto trips or places or people; I let “the road,” the place, the people decide what’s next.

I’m on this journey to see what life brings me, as Benoit “Hompaya” Hansen said. From now on, I’m consciously changing my style, forgoing my rigid, detailed, day-to-day planning in favor of looser, braver, messier adventures.

After getting stoned, Sunny and I walked uphill for about a mile up to Petrina’s house (she’s a lecturer in art history at the University). We had a lovely  dinner and more rum punch with Wesley (from the US; he knows Ned well!), Pet, and Joan. A good day!

Dec. 24, 2012

“Let’s see what life brings us,” Ben said to me yesterday as I was leaving Cass’ house. Yeah. That’s the best attitude to have.

My name is Karen Ann Marie Marguerite John Hankison Hawes Boswell, and I’m ready for whatever life brings me.

At Sunny’s lovely, peaceful, little home in leafy Barbican (in St. Andrew, right outside Kingston). She is exceptionally easy to get along with, a really nice person who THINKS. Sunny, like most Jamaicans, has a lovely, slow, quiet, sweet way of talking that is so appealing to moi. It’s the way they talk in New Orleans. Delicious, sensual, and warm, their voices surround me with love. “Are you OK,” is a common question, and these people mean it; they want to know if you are indeed alright.

The little flat has a back door that opens into a big sunny area, down steps to the old (empty) swimming pool and clothes line, and look over the railing to a little creek and lots of trees and grasses growing. Beautiful, especially after being in cities for 7 weeks.

The Soulmate relationship: it’s not all about me. It’s a natural concern about the welfare of my spiritual Other Half (one who is as real to me as Me-mySelf).

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ON THE DIVINE CONSORT

(…the root philosophy of the tantrik traditions.) There is no Shiva without Shakti and yoga is a realisation of the unity of all things. That is not to say that everything in tantrik texts is figurative; many describe practices which are said to bring about this realisation.

It is also important to remember that legends and stories within the tradition may be intended to appeal to parts of the human mind which are not solely connected with logic.

(from ShivaShakti.com)

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Saying Good-bye in my mind to my most recent possible-Soulmate: Ben. Whether or not the idea of One Eternal Soulmate is true doesn’t matter; it’s true to me.  it works for me. And now I have to let go of Ben completely and say to myself, “Have a good life, Ben!”

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Christmas in Jamaica is Dec. 24,, 25, and 26th (Boxing Day).

“Look into the Book of Life, and you will see that there is a light far, far away.” (song on the radio in this leafy suburb of Kingston)

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Yes, I am a writer. But I am sick to death of mentally reframing all my thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations (visual, audio, etc.) into words. To do so reduces the experience for me.

I am so glad to have passed beyond valuing people for how their bodies make me feel. Those early years were difficult because I was blinded by my libido; ultimately, my narrow view was self-defeating, leading me nowhere.

I judged men by their bodies.  The primary question I asked myself was: What kind of pleasure would that body give me? This was an offensive position*; I felt that if I judged men first, their negative view of me wouldn’t sting so much. (*Based on the theory that “The best defense is a good offense.”)

Secondarily, my limited perspective was based on my past sexual experience: a big dick meant physical pleasure. Physically, I did need a man with a large penis to bring me to vaginal orgasm; nevertheless, I was chomping at the bit for years, knowing I was on a path that limited me and others. Now I see people in a “larger” way by acknowledging their spiritual existence. Namaste: I bow to the Buddha in you.

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Maroons

Maroons (from the Spanish word cimarrón: “fugitive, runaway”, lit. “living on mountaintops”; from Spanish cima: “top, summit”) were runaway slaves in the West Indies, Central America, South America, and North America, who formed independent settlements together. The same designation has also become a derivation for the verb “to maroon“.

(from Wikipedia)

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Cockpit Country

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Cockpit Country
—  Geographical Region  —
Cockpit Country is located in Jamaica

Cockpit Country
Coordinates: 18.2952094°N 77.6953125°W
Country Jamaica
Parish Trelawny
Named for Topology reminiscent of the shape of cock fighting dens.
Time zone EST (UTC-5)

Cockpit Country is an area in Jamaica specifically Trelawney which provided a natural defensive area used by Maroons to establish communities outside the control of Spanish or British colonialists.

Cockpit Country is pockmarked with steep-sided hollows, as much as 120 metres (390 ft) deep in places, which are separated by conical hills and ridges.

In the southwest, near Quick Step, is the district known as the “Land of Look Behind,” so named because Spanish horsemen venturing into this region of hostile runaway slaves were said to have ridden two to a mount, one rider facing to the rear to keep a precautionary watch.

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Accompong: A nation within a nation

By Vicky Baker

Published Mar 31, 2004

It’s Friday evening in Accompong, a small town nestled in the craggy hills of Cockpit Country, West Jamaica. We’re huddled around a flickering television screen in ‘Flashy’s Shop’ watching the evening news. The shop-come-bar is no more than four metres square, with empty shelves apart from a few bottles of Guinness and some tinned vegetables. Set back from the rest of the town on the hilltop, with glassless windows opening on to the clear night’s sky, it is the ideal meeting place for locals to relax, play dominoes and conduct ‘reasoning’ sessions (Rastafarian philosophising).

Despite his gold tooth, owner Flashy isn’t very flash, not like your typical money-motivated small businessman. (“Pay me later. No Problem mon” is a phrase I hear again and again.) Halfway through the evening he leaves his patrons/friends to mind the premises and invites me for a walk around town, “circling” he calls it. We pass other shop/bars similar to his, with one or two patrons chatting over the counter, and many other groups on similar nightly strolls. It’s barely eight o’clock, but with little street lighting it seems much later. A circuit of the whole town (population 1,000) takes less than half an hour. It’s a typical rural Jamaican community – apart from the fact that it is exempt from government rule.

In 1739, after 76 years of irregular war, the Maroon slaves signed a peace treaty with the British giving them semi-sovereignty over 1,500 acres of land. The Maroons promised to end all hostility and, controversially, to return any future runaway slaves. The land became Accompong and 265 years later the treaty still stands. The town is run by an elected ‘Colonel’ instead of the government, residents don’t pay taxes, there are no town police and yet it’s almost 100% crime free. The state can only interfere in the case of a capital crime and Flashy tells me that there has only ever been one major incident – an attempted gun robbery by an “outsider”.

As late as the 1980s, the town gates were kept locked and outsiders had to seek permission to enter from the Colonel. But times are changing. Residents have seen the benefits of tourism – social and financial – and now visitors come and go freely. A small museum has been constructed in the town centre, showcasing excavated relics, traditional musical instruments and details of ceremonial practices, and local guides are happy to conduct tours through the wilderness to the Peace Cave, where the treaty is believed to have been signed by their founding Colonel, Cudjoe.

Read more: http://www.jamaicans.com/articles/primearticles/0404_nation_within_nation.shtml#ixzz2FztEXOoM

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Dec. 22, 2012

A CELEBRATION OF LIFE AND LOVE!

From the intense experience of spending a few nights sleeping next to a man without touching him, I realize that all my experiences with men so far have been practice for the reunion with my Soulmate. I am working toward reuniting with my eternal partner.

This belief can be found in ancient Hindu texts. It is personified by Shakti and Shiva in an eternal act of sexual penetration (with her sitting on his lap, facing him). It is called the Divine Marriage, and it is usually a union with God. However, some fortunate people in each lifetime find their partners in physical form. This is what I believe will happen (or has already happened) to me.

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Right now, I am working on staying in my own head instead of trying to get into my partner’s head. I have always attempted to blend my consciousness with my lover’s consciousness simply because I though that’s was what one did.

Mind-melding is a recipe for losing oneself. It immediately eliminates ME (the person my Divine Other will recognize as his Eternal Partner). And it eliminates ME from my own consciousness. My Soulmate and I are effortlessly ONE. There is no work to do to achieve the state of union (except work on oneself as an individual).

My life is ruled by my imagination, my intuition, my thoughts, my feelings, and, of course, my physical sensations. Thanks to these states of grace, I survive, physically and psychologically, to make my way through my life. If I give myself away to my partner, then I have given away my power, my inner lioness, my spiritual strength. Then, I am  truly lost for I have surrendered my precious Self.

“If you believe in things you don’t understand, then you suffer.” (from a song) This is true; the Eternal Soulmate is such a belief. It may not be true, but I’m going to give it all I have. I am a True Believer.

I don’t care who reads my thoughts about love.

According to the One Eternal Soulmate belief, one doesn’t “pick” their Soulmate. He/she is just yours or he/she isn’t. I think Soulmates recognize each other based on their current level of spiritual development; the more evolved they are the more likely that they will find and know each other.

I believe Soulmates are at the same level of spiritual development. Soulmates are evolving together through life, even though they have been temporarily separated.

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Yesterday was a big celebration of life. Some people took the ancient Mayan Prophecy so literally that they believed the world would end. It didn’t end, and I felt unusually happy to be alive!

I asked the guard at the park in parade (i.e., the whole park area) between both ends of King Street, “What is the name of this park?” She replied, “Saint William Grandpa.” Sunny (my next CS host) told me it’s actually “Sir William Grant Park.” I was hearing the patwa (patois). It will always be Saint William Grandpa Park to me!

Today I’m going over to Sunny’s house and leaving the boys in the band. It’s been fun, but now I gotta go. I miss Ben already; with his winning sincerity, sincere compassion, and ego-less humility, he stole my heart.

I would love it if Ben were my ONE LOVE, my spiritual Other Half. But it’s not a choice; it’s an eternal union. Soulmates like this have been ONE from the beginning. In fact, there was no beginning: this mystical union always was, is now, and will be throughout all eternity.

I would like it to be Ben because he is such a truly GOOD person. I love him for that, and many other people will also love him for his inner beauty. I know my Soulmate is that beautiful.

If you truly love someone, you wish them all the good things in life: love, happiness, autonomy, family, friends, pleasures of all kinds, creativity, joy, perfect contentment, nirvana (or full spiritual awareness), health and well-being, total self-expression, and complete freedom.

“We are ONE, but we’re not the same. We have to carry each other, carry each other.” (from the song ONE)

If Ben is my Soulmate, we can’t be “together” as a couple in this life due to the 40 year age difference. Whoever my Soulmate is, we must each pursue happiness on our own. If it is Ben, the reunion will have happened (at Cass’ house in Kingston, Jamaica). And, if it’s not Ben, it will be someone who is coming to me soon. I know this, and I will wait for him.

Perhaps after all, my Soulmate is Jeremy Birkhead, who awakened my consciousness though a six-week long mystical experience fifteen years ago in Ventura, California.

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I am on The Beauty Way of the Navajo, with Grandmother Spider weaving the web of the world every day. My teacher and guide (in the flesh) is Walking Thunder, Dine (Navajo) Medicine Woman from Two Grey Hills, New Mexico (Ferlin Begaye’s hometown). I trust Walking Thunder (Juanita Peters), and I know she will guide me to my ONE LOVE, to peace, and to the right way of living (i.e., what’s right for me).

Whoever my Eternal Flame is, I know he will appear (now or later) without me taking any action whatsoever. If I have already met him, he will appear in my life again, sooner or later. No worries; no striving; no searching; no trying.

I trust Ben to always tell me the truth; he brings out the best in me; and I can be my REAL Self with him. I will pray to St. Jude, expect a miracle, and, no matter what happens, I will Be Happy!

A few weeks ago, I saw my Soulmate in a dream: he was very young, thin, not short but not tall (medium height), and blond. A very different look than I have usually gone for in men during my life. Ben is rather like this.

Recently, I also had my first conscious dream of flying. I was a bird.

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Juanita Peters (Walking Thunder) is a traditional Dine (Navajo) medicine woman and one of the few women now practicing this art. She was born in Shiprock, New Mexico, in 1951 and grew up on the Navajo Reservation at Two Grey Hills, NM.

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SAINT JUDE

The Apostle Saint Jude Thaddeus is “The Miraculous Saint,” the Catholic Patron Saint of “lost causes” and “cases despaired of.”When all other avenues are closed, he is the one to call upon, and his help often comes at the last moment.

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Ladyhawke

Ladyhawke is a 1985 fantasy film directed by Richard Donner, starring Matthew Broderick, Rutger Hauer, and Michelle Pfeiffer.

A thief called “The Mouse” escapes the dungeons of medieval Aquila, setting in motion a chain of events that may save or destroy a beautiful woman and a brave captain.

The two lovers are doomed to lifelong separation by a demonic curse invoked by the corrupt and jealous Bishop of Aquila: by day Isabeau is transformed into a hawk, while at night Navarre becomes a wolf.

Imperius, the monk who betrayed them, has found a way to break the curse, but only if he and the Mouse can get them back into Aquila to face the Bishop.

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Could it be true that My One, True Love is a predator (tiger, lion, wolf) by night, and that I am a bird (hawk, eagle, vulture, raven) by day? And that, therefore, we have been separated and longing for each other throughout many incarnations?

If so, I know we can break the curse, WITH HELP from the Powerful Spirits surrounding and protecting us and from some special Others  (some Sentient Beings in physical form). Perhaps the curse has already been broken.

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A female musician from New Zealand, home of the Maori, calls herself “Ladyhawke.”

Winter Solstice, Dec.21, 2012

Dec. 20

Yvonne is washing Cass’ hair over the sink in the yard. The dogs are barking at two new young musicians enter the yard. Jordan is back from the hospital, and thank god he’s OK after being stabbed with an ice pick. Ben is on his computer, working on his video with Cass. More of their music is playing outdoors where the people are gathering.

Two of the kids came back last night; the car broke down, and they couldn’t get to their mom’s house up-country. Andreen got to her mom’s though, and today Kaycee and Jello took the bus to their mom’s. A new musician arrived from Japan, someone who has been here before and Cass was so happy to see him. This cute guy brought a picture of himself with Cass in case Cass forgot him (which he didn’t). And another French guy is coming. I moved my stuff out to the kids’ room again, but then Ben said he’s already slept with this French guy, and “it’s always better to sleep with a girl.” So, I’m back in the double bed. (And nothin’ at all is happening there.)

On WWOZ radio, steaming live from New Orleans, Cyril Neville & The Uptown Allstars’ “Just For The Funk of It”: ..she’s too old to be havin’ so much fun (…she’s wise).”

Dec. 21

I am learning many things about myself; one thing is that I like having a partner. I function and feel better when there is someone “by my side.” I knew this from going out in public with someone vs. going out alone: when I’m with someone else, I am much more relaxed, friendly, out-going, and happy. Even in bed with Ben (and we don’t even touch all night), I enjoy it more than sleeping alone. It helps that I like and respect Ben; he brings out the best in me because he’s kind, generous, and compassionate. Of course, sometimes, it’s just best to sleep alone.

The dogs are almost ever fed here at Cass’ house. Same with the cat and the bird. The cat can wander and scrounge and hunt, but the others are caged (in the yard and in a home-made birdcage). I’ve been tending to the dogs a little, cooking them eggs and buying them canned fish. yesterday Yvonne tried to find a place downtown that sells dogfood, but for these poor Jamaicans dog food is an almost unheard of luxury item (or just plain ridiculous). So we never found the dog food store, and I wonder if it really exists.

I am staying here at Cass’ until after Christmas. I find it a very congenial environment. Very creative people who like me and leave me alone to do my own thing.

I am learning who I am (generally very happy and contented, funny and like to laugh, like to have fun and socialize, like to be alone, love music and being online and just walking around a new place). I am learning to not push the river, to wait, to sit tight, to expect the best (but be prepared for the worst), to stay positive, and to love others.

I have to focus on my own life and taking good care of myself, making myself happy. That’s first. Then, love others; this brings me joy.

And my work: travel and writing. Yah, Mon.

All kinds of reggae guys are here today (and one woman reggae singer was here last night). It’s a rockin’ scene. I found a little shop on the corner near our house where a nice woman sells stuff; I like her and I buy canned fish and juice (soda) from her. Her house must be there, and the shop is just big enough for me to step in and look at her goods. Nothing fresh there; I have to go further downtown to get that stuff. The woman said, “Thank you for supporting me.”

I just went down to the Downtown market, and it was packed with Christmas shoppers. Bought veggies from street vendors; got a Red Stripe beer (local brew) and drank it as I walked home. Some uptight people seemed to give me the evil eye, but the market women said, “Hey, look at grandma with a Red Stripe. Hey, Mama, you should a’ got me one.”

Fed the dogs some canned tuna. No can opener here (and they don’t want one); Cassafaya (Phillip) or some other guy opens everything for me with a big kitchen knife.

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Relationships: A Mature Love

I used to be someone whose emotions were really controlled by others and by outside circumstances. Not so today; I am the captain of my own boat. It’s a little sailing ship with a nice cabin: a kitchen and a few bedrooms. It can be kept warm and dry. I don’t know much about ships.

My happiness can not depend on anyone else. It has to come from and originate with me. It’s an “internal locus of control” (as I learned in psychology class). I and only I control my emotions. Only I control my life. My happiness is not “situation-dependent.” I can be happy when things are going badly or going well. It’s just a matter of interpretation.

I would like a partner who has a really good heart, a sense of humor, is an optimistic, positive thinker, is not jealous (he has faith in me) and tells the truth. I would like to be the same way.

I want to be kind and compassionate. I need a better sense of myself as an independent, free agent in the world. I am someone who is able to function alone out in the world and not get lonely; at the same time, I absolutely adore the idea of having a loving partner. I have been in partner relationships (all short-lived), and I was very happy. I got so into the relationship and my “Other” that I neglected myself. This doesn’t have to happen.

I picture my partner and I as being free of each other (eg., travelling) part of the time, and being together part of the time. We can have other lovers, but we are a couple, and we can accept the truth about each other’s private lives because we want each other to be loved and be happy.

The key is to find things (including people) you love and love to do. (If you find people you love to “do,” that’s good, too. Ha ha.) That’s what makes my life worthwhile, and that’s what keeps me sane and free (as in, autonomous and independent). It’s crucial for me to never force my values, beliefs, and standards on other people and never to let others put their values, beliefs, and standards on me.

Realistically, in order to keep my Self intact, take care of myself, and be able to focus on my favorite areas, I need to make my “practice” detachment from my partner. I don’t mean a cynical refusal to commit or feel or care; passion is the essence of relationship. This is a truthful approach because while, in my heart and soul I am totally committed to my ONE LOVE, that kind of love will eat me up if I let it. My mind must remain free.

I think self-preservation is the essence of Buddhist detachment (letting go, emptying out). I am working on myself everyday. When I stop doing this, I go crazy and my life turns to shit.

I have reactions I have learned and are not me. And I have reactions which are honestly me. My life seems to be a continuous parade of adjustments and arrangements to replace the former with the latter.

For once in my life, I’d like to let a man love me for who I am without falling all over him, falling at his feet, and putting him above me. I can be  true to myself and not fear losing his love. Why did I ever think that being real would drive off someone who truly loves me? It’s just the opposite! The ONLY thing someone who truly loves me wants is the real me. This is the truth, and I’m getting ready because I know my true love is gonna find me. And when he does, I’m gonna let that man worship and adore me. I’m gonna fuckin’ love it.

I’ll let him know I love him, but I’ll keep my head; I’ll keep my freedom; I’ll keep being real; I’ll honor myself. I won’t fear losing him. If he really loves me, he will stay. I don’t have to be his slave, and he doesn’t have to be mine. It’s like te song ONE says, ‘We’re ONE, but we’re not the same. We have to carry each other, carry each other.” It’s about taking care of each other, not giving up who we each are as individuals.

I used to get lost in men and in my”relationships” with them. But these were never real relationships; they were sex fests, self-indulgences,  ego trips, exercises in masochism and self-sacrifice, and always completely soulless encounters. They always had deep karmic overtones for me, like I was paying some ancient debt or fulfilling a promise or embarking on a mission.

“Have respect for others so you can respect yourself.” ~~from a Ben Hompaya (Hansen) and Cassafaya song

Letting go is the only way to preserve love. If you love someone, you let them go. Only I can stay so close to myself and not get burned by the flame. Not everything can be shared. Everyone has their private side which no one else will ever penetrate. That’s just the way it is, and that’s part of the divine mystery of life.

The Divine Marriage is the union of the two that are one. But my own private universe is just that: private. And it will always be so.

I ask myself, “What do I need?” And “How can I get these needs met?” Focus on that.

I don’t question my needs or my emotions. They are mine. They are inviolate.

Stay cool, like jazz (not hot, like rock n’ roll). And ENJOY.

Cool Runnings.

in·vi·o·late
 [ in v ələt ]
  1. unaltered: not subject to change, damage, or destruction
  2. kept pure: kept pure, untouched, or unblemished

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RECIPE FOR A BROKEN HEART

1.)     Do not seek revenge.

2.)     Sit tight. Wait. Have faith.

3.)     Laugh… somehow.

4.)     Life, love and the blues. It’s what’s for supper.