The REAL Purpose of Meditation – To Be Able to Call Upon an Almost Mythical Calm and Poise in the Midst of Raging Storm All Around You. My own personal story recounted from tonight.

You know that you are becoming more centered when the following happens to you and you quickly gather your things up and go on your way as if nothing crazy occurred:

I was riding home tonight on my bicycle, listening to my MP3 player, nice gloves on, and a leather jacket; my usual satchel slung across one shoulder and riding along my right hip.  I had a grocery bag of stuff (a black t-shirt, a pair of white socks, a bagel with cream cheese in a plastic baggie, and a 24-oz bottle of spring water *un-opened*).  It was swinging from my right handlebar, as I was singing to one of the songs on my MP3 player…maybe Chicago’s “Look Away”, when a very strange and sudden series of events pulled me out of my goofy bliss.

The front tire locked up, and I rose up in the air, powerless to stop from being smashed down to the pavement of the parking lot of this liquor store, nor from sliding across the gravel on my palms and the meat of the underside of my forearms.  Luckily, I had several layers of jackets covering those arms, and thick gloves.  As all this was happening, I could feel that the front wheel was torquing around to the side and becoming inverted, which was causing the bike to kick out to the side, pulling my feet one way, and my head, the other.  Part of me was calmly observing this, and commenting, “Oh, that’s interesting…but I wonder why the front tire stopped in the first place? – Did I hit a rock?  I didn’t FEEL a rock.  Couldn’t have been a rock, then…”…this inane, insanely calm voice in my head just kept going on and on, as if it were merely watching a fascinating movie.  The other part of me was far less collected -“Oh shit, Oh SHIT, what do I do?  Slam on the brakes?  Cover my face?  My hands are still on the handlebars!  What if I break my neck? Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit!….”

How it’s possible for a person to have two conversations going on in their head, simultaneously in such circumstances, is beyond me; but there I was, and then there I was, plastered on the ground, probably all of three seconds later.

What’s amazing, is how after about 5-10 seconds, after initially thinking the worst, my mind immediately bounced back, surveyed the damage – no broken bones, some scrapes, but nothing too severe, and the bike seemed ok.  When I got up, the MP3 player had slipped from my pocket and was lit up while dangling near the ground, being supported just by the strength of the ear buds still crammed in my ears and the slender cables attached to them.  I carefully put that MP3 player back in my pocket – a different song was playing now, “Big Baller, Shot Caller”, and I was jamming out to the lyrics and dancing a bit as I gathered my stuff together.

The plastic bag was completely torn to shreds and I immediately spotted the culprit….those pair of socks had somehow wedged themselves on either side of the brakes on my front tire.  The bag must have swung forward, got sucked in and then the socks must have gotten grabbed by the forward-moving tire, and then the two together, become like brakes, themselves, when those socks pinched down between the top of the fork and the tire.

I noticed that it only took me about 7 seconds to come up with a solution as to how to carry the rest of my stuff back home:  I snatched the t-shirt, stuffed the rest of those things in between the layers of fabric, (front and back of shirt) like a pocket; then tied the short sleeves twice…in an overhand knot; then an underhand one, in order to tie them securely.  I wrapped the bottom of the shirt around my hand and let it dangle down off of my right handlebar – this time, though, making sure that it didn’t swing into the path of the tire.

What’s really amazing here, is that this is real-world evidence that my mediation practice has practical benefits when it comes to staying calm and centered in the middle of an unexpected crisis.  Now different people may have varying notions as to what a crisis means to them; but for me, it was a sudden, very dangerous problem that created another issue immediately afterward; and I feel that I handled it with a tremendous amount of grace and clear thinking, all things considered.

To me…this is the TRUE power of meditation…giving you space to stay calm and in control of your emotions and thoughts, even when faced with the unexpected and the frightening, and possibly traumatic.

I have been diagnosed with PTSD from both childhood stuff, and from a stint in the United States Marines, as well as, about 5 years living on the streets through each winter.  This single event – (the abrupt being thrown from my bike right after I had been nestled warmly in thoughts of easy safety and security) – should have triggered my PTSD; and possibly even should have turned me into a basket case; yet it did not.

Often times when people meditate, they cannot detect the transformation occurring within themselves.  They may think that nothing is happening and that this meditation business is a complete waste of time.  But if they would stick with it – then, in time they would learn that it might be one of the single most effective methods of reversing lifelong behavior patterns and harmful ways of reacting, and all the extra emotional baggage that comes with going through an ordeal.

My first exposure to meditation was when Master Lenchus, in our Shotokan Karate class, had us kneel, and bow our heads down until our foreheads touched the floor, and close our eyes while he prayed something in reverence to the four elements, Earth, Air, Water, and Fire.  This seemed a very odd thing to do, but it’s what I remember.  When I was younger, I couldn’t figure out why he would make such a fuss about this particular practice.  I mean, I was here to learn how to fight, right?  How the heck was closing my eyes and breathing in and out and not moving a muscle gonna keep me from getting my ass kicked in high school?  I just didn’t get it.  And I wouldn’t….for years to come.  But what Master Lenchus taught us by example in that dojo, planted a seed in my young heart, and a question in my young mind….”What’s all this meditation stuff really about?”

Over a period of years and years, I kept coming back to that one question over and over again, until, one day, I decided to try it.  And even though, in the beginning, I started and stopped and started, and kept up that pattern for years – I eventually gained the self-discipline to stick with the practice and, today, it is an integral part of almost every day for me.

Today, I have a very deep and meaningful meditation, which helps relax my body and mind, re-energize my spirit and heart, and bring great focus and clarity to my goals in life.  But the most miraculous thing I can say that this meditation practice has given me, is a re-wiring of the neural pathways in my brain and my body, and a short-circuit of the past fight-or-flight reactionary impulses which have consistently led to doing the wrong thing and bringing strife and misery into my life over and over again.

I feel that I have gained great understanding, wisdom, discernment, empathy and a sense of detached non-judgment of others.

And so it is with great gratitude, I say this:

“Thank you, Master Lenchus, for taking the time each and every day that we went to that dojo – and instructing us to slow down, be silent, and be still, in order to show us how to meditate.  You showed by example and by consistency, that this was very important to you, and should be for us.  I don’t know where I would be, or what kind of man I might have become, had I not met you.”

David Lee Madison, Jr.
~Nate – street name
~KnavetheMage on Twitter
~ZenNinja
~Nate Love
~Dreamweaver
WordPress – Synergy, KnavetheMage, suprememasterjedi
Copied from my WORD documents in Boulder, CO
Sunday, December 22, 2013 – 22:38

 

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“Break the Mold…Be Yourself – Be Bold”

This is an article I came up with when I didn’t want to write; AND it CAME from writing something really silly.    I was in a bad mood, with low energy; but I knew that I needed to write something, because I had set a promise to myself that every day I would write SOMETHING.  Here follows that silly bit of writing, which over a period of two days…(about twenty to thirty minutes each day), produced the main article:

I don’t want to write right now.  It doesn’t feel ‘right’; but that’s my anxiety.  That’s me playing a trick on me to keep me from becoming free.  It’s like the 5 – Tibetan Yoga that I didn’t want to do.  Maybe I felt that I didn’t have the energy to be authentic to gain anything from the experience.  Maybe I felt that to be me was not enough at that present moment and I wanted to avoid the discovery of not being enough, typed out in black and white.

 

And Here is the writing that followed from the stream of consciousness, above:

I’ve got this mantra…just created it today that goes like this:  “My Anxiety is just an energy not easily defined.  Yet I will transform that energy, in time, into the energy of my desire.”

We all come against ourselves.  This is the true test:  Not what one does to us, or what the world does to us.  The true test is what we do to ourselves.  When one comes against one’s self, they have a choice…to push on, or to retreat.  Coming against one’s self, is actually pushing against what is NOT one’s self – pushing that aside to discover what IS one’s self.

I am pushing against the non-creative, non-writer, perception of myself.  I’m pushing against the perfectionist who is too scared to move ahead, for fear of making some irreconcilable mistake.  I’m pushing against entrenched beliefs, structured into entire paradigms, which control every waking decision I make.  It is hard to do this, because it takes venturing forth in unknown territory where ANYTHING might happen.  That can be frightening; but it can also be exhilarating.  It also takes a bit of faith – that you will be ok, even if something goes wrong.

We grow up in this world, and here in the United States, anyway, we are shipped off to Kindergarten, then Grade School, Middle School, and finally High School, before going off to a college, University, or a trade school.  This is the traditional model.  And along the way, it is drummed into us all through this process, that mistakes are bad, collaborating with other people is bad (when it comes to tests and quizzes – which by my standards, in the real world…equate to projects) and it is extremely important to memorize or store up a bunch of facts and figures.

The APPLICATION of that knowledge doesn’t seem as important, as the accumulation of it (to our institutions of learning).  And then, creativity is discouraged when those teaching us ask, “Well, what is the right answer?”  Often times, in life, there are a number of right answers; and most times, that answer depends on who is asking and what their perspective is.  So, we are taught to get very good at guessing what someone else thinks is the right answer, but not what WE think those right answers might be.  We are taught to move away from trusting ourselves; and instead, are penalized if we don’t put that faith in someone else.

No wonder, when trying new things, we are afraid to commit any energy or much of our time to it.  I mean, what if we get it WRONG?!  That’s the worst thing that could happen, according to what our schools have been teaching us.  So, if we don’t have a ready-made set of rules for success or getting the right answer…a lot of us will steer away from anything that might smack of not being in that particular familiar style of textbook-multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank; but-only-choose-one scenario that we’ve all become so accustomed to.  It takes real courage to break out of that and become our own voice, our own seekers, and, ultimately, our own masters!

Oh, at times, we will need a mentor or a teacher; but their job is only to share with us a possible way; not to try to cram their whole theory into our heads.

Search for any of the great teachers in life; and you will find something perhaps startling…they all tend to ask many more questions while teaching, than facts.  It takes way more intelligence for a person to be led through a particular path of inquiry, and to make their own connections and ‘aha!-s’; than it does to simply remember some facts and figures.  And, it makes the learning become personal and ingrained, because the insights which the student comes to, is arrived at through the drawing from their own, unique life experiences.  I’m fairly certain, that to learn, one must have some kind of an established framework.  If the teacher simply hands over the answer, how likely is it that the student will work to pull together connections from their past knowledge in order to make new connections?

So go out there and be bold; and try new things.  You might be surprised to see who you could really become!

“My Jar Analogy as a Basic Blueprint for Understanding Key Success Principles”

“My Jar Analogy as a Basic Blueprint for Understanding Key Success Principles”

I have often thought that the concept of the rate of growth and desire to speed up that growth, could be best illustrated by the analogy of a tiny man or woman in, and at the bottom, of a jar when they are born.

 

Below, I will attempt to examine this further:

 

The jar is a metaphor for the set of conditions and circumstances we are born into.  The bottom represents the time and place of our entering this world.  The small person represents us, as we learn and grow and apply what we know and have learned.  The sand or clay represents challenges and opportunities presented to us on a daily or even more frequent basis.  The stones simply represent bigger opportunities or challenges.  The lip of the jar represents the point in time when we are able to get past our set of circumstances, thought patterns, or habits.  The outside of the jar represents the rest of the Universe or almost limitless possibilities waiting for us to grasp once we learn certain lessons and achieve certain applied skills.

So, imagine a man trying to get out of a jar; but the only tools he is given is that of gradual grains of sand or clay being dropped into the jar from above.  One would think that it would be much faster if you put a bunch of stones in instead, as stepping stones.  That is the solution that seems to come to mind quickest, once we become impatient for things to change in our lives.

 

In order to do that, though, we have to build from the bottom – up.  We have to create with what we were originally given.  Take a poker player for a moment – the best ones, I’ve been told, are not necessarily the ones with the best hands; but the ones with the best strategy and know how to read people and circumstances and to even bluff at times.

 

I know that I’m mixing metaphors, here, but if you stay with me for a bit more, where we’re headed may become more clear…

 

So, there you are: a tiny man or woman, at the very bottom of the jar (at birth).  Life begins tossing in grains of sand or grains of clay.  If big boulders dropped on us, they could instantly kill us.  Now, imagine that we can let this stuff continue to fall on our heads, and bury us alive; or we can somehow make room and step on those grains,(skillfully spread around and stacked upon one another), once they make it to the bottom of the jar.  We begin to do this, and soon, we are standing on a nice foundation that we’ve even managed to smooth out.

 

Now, let’s say that as time goes on, we decide that we’re no longer satisfied with these itty-bitty grains of clay and want to move faster in our life; so we beg for huge boulders again.  Besides, getting smashed in the head, what happens if we have actually been able to build with these boulders or stones and now are leaping merrily up the mountain?  What happens if we miss-step and fall all the way back down to where the sand or clay is?  – We get battered and bruised along the way down.  We may even die while smashing from rock to rock, until we finally cease our descent.

 

Yet, we haven’t discussed the other dynamic going on, here.  Eventually that little person grows into a bigger person, stronger mind, will, imagination, knowledge base, and sets of skills.  If we take this into account, as well, then, we see that our rate of success can merge almost seamlessly with our rate of growth.  And when I speak of growth; I’m not just referring to going from a child to an adult; but am including the things I mentioned above, as well.  Eventually, when you’ve gotten big enough, you will be too large to fall into the cracks of those stones.  In essence, your person or soul or life power/personal power will be big enough so that you will actually NEED larger sized grains of sand/clay; or even stones.

 

1)  Please leave a comment or tell your story, or just give an example from your own life, if this resonates with you.  All are welcome!

2)  AND – if you know how to get rid of the annoying hidden characters which keep showing up at the top of my blog, from Microsoft WORD – help!

 

And thanks for taking the time to read my blog!

 

David Lee Madison, Jr.

~Nate – street name ,

~KnavetheMage on Twitter

 ~ZenNinja

~Nate Love

~Dreamweaver

WordPress – Synergy, KnavetheMage, suprememasterjedi

Copied from my WORD documents in Boulder, CO

Saturday, December 7, 20139:32

 

An Essay I wrote for a possible massage school grant. I was homeless at the time and was turned down because of that.

An Essay I wrote for a possible massage school grant.  I was homeless at the time and was turned down because of that.

 

Good morning, Jill! – I know that we spoke on the telephone twice, now, and I just want to say how much I appreciate this opportunity, and even though you’re a busy girl…you’re gonna transform this world by doing what you do.  Way to go!

Ok…on to the essay –

This essay is designed to answer the four requirements which I was instructed to follow over the phone. – It’s bare bones for those who need to get the information quickly.  Actually, it’s fairly long – so I’ve broken it down into the four elements, outline style, first.

1)  Why I need the Full Scholarship to the Berkana Institute of Massage Therapy

I’m homeless, living on the streets, in the cold, being chased by police for trying to sleep and my health was severely affected right after my mother passed about one year ago.
I don’t have the funds to pay for this scholarship and the money that I was going to use to pay back the loan that I took out for my previous massage school is in default.  I car broke down, and then started getting ticketed mercilessly no matter where I tried to move it to, in the city of Norristown, Pennsylvania.  In the process of trying to protect my car and get it fixed, I called a tow truck and had it put on a lot.  Living on the streets, I somehow lost the information for that tow-truck company and therefore, also lost the massage table and books which were locked away in the trunk of that car.  That car had been bought with a thousand dollar gift from my dad and his girlfriend.  I have still not been able to pay him back and I intend to, as well as all the other monetary gifts they have given me throughout my time on the streets.

I intend to pay back people who I borrowed money from, a few years back when I was asking for money on Pearl street.  I have their names, numbers, email addresses and the amounts that they donated, written down in the back of the journal which I’m currently typing into my lap-top – another gift from my father (the lap-top).

I want to be self-sufficient.  I have a lot of people counting on me to get my act together, and when I do, and ONLY when I do, will I be able to pursue all those other dreams of mine, which involve life-coaching, writing a few books, opening a balance-training center, learning Aikido and teaching it to people in the prisons and the jails.  And opening some kind of training center for kids – to combat the dumbing down of our ‘education’ system – of our children.  This is only the tip of the iceberg.  I have many more plans!

2) Why do I desire to do this?  What would motivate me to take the road of physical touch to achieve what I need?
Several reasons.  But at the top of that list is a visceral need to be in tune with other people.  A very close second is extreme compassion for those around me.  I don’t tend to see color.  I still see gender a bit as a separation, sometimes, but I strive to work on that.  I believe that I was born with the gift of being able to not judge people.  This allows people to be real with me and open up in ways that they simply can’t with most.  I have experienced so much pain and emotional trauma from numerous causes, over my life-time, thus far, that I can relate far better than most TO most.  This puts me in a great position to hold a space of healing for those whose time has come to do that.
I am super-sensitive to sounds; in fact, vibrations of any kind, I tend to pick up on – and I need a way to ground all that out…otherwise I would be a nervous wreck.  It’s even in my astrology; if you believe all that.  I do.  As the MONKEYs say….”I’m a believer!”.  I am highly aware of things in my body, and colors, and the way that people walk and what they say and what they really mean, and how much of that they want people to know that they mean.  I meditate like a person possessed, because I love it so much.  And nature brings back to the divine side of life, yet anchors it in deep respect for the mathematical precision of our precarious position.

3) Where will I do my 100 hours of free massage?
The homeless population.  I know it well, because I am a member of it – have been for about 10 years, now.  I know a lot more of the psychology behind being homeless, than – I dare say – some college professors would.  I live it.  I have thought endlessly on changing it.  I have tried to and been unsuccessful – both, for myself, and others.  This will be just one more way that I can do something to motivate, to inspire change.  Even if all I do is relax some muscles – having carried a back pack for years and having experienced all the strain, pain, and cramping that comes with that, myself – I’m happy to alleviate that for a short time in others.  But what I hope to do is find a way to sustain this healing process, so that it goes farther than just a feel-good massage, and has long-ranging benefits which span the physical, emotional, and mental balance of my clients and friends.

4) Commitment to the program and being an exemplary student.
I’ve done this before, while homeless, holding down a job, and battling with issues of low self-esteem.  I’ve come through the Marines, and on my own took correspondence courses in both leadership and finance.  I took three hundred dollars of my own, hard-earned money and went to a community college for psychology.  At the end of the semester, myself and one other student, out of a class of about 28 or so, were the only ones to be excused from taking the exam, because we were deemed to know the material so well.

When I was going through massage school, we took a class I liked very much called, “Psychology of the Body”.  At the end, the instructor came up to me, when I asked for feedback on how he thought I was doing, and he said, “You could have taught the class”

I’ve struggled through foster homes, being placed in Special Education classes for my unusual behavior as a child.  I’ve taken the Armed Services Battery Test and scored one point below the best possible score, when going into the Marines – a 98 out of a possible 99.  If you were to change that out for an SAT score, back then, anyway – people have said that I would have been within like 20-40 points of a perfect 1600.  I don’t say this, as much to brag, but as to point out that I AM intelligent, and I HAVE overcome many obstacles that even more intelligent or well-connected people than myself would have been hard-pressed to overcome.

I have a mentor.  I have a life-coach.  How many people do you know, even if they make those New-Year’s resolutions, actually keep them?  How many people do you know who have taken reading for improvement to the next level and have APPLIED what they have read.  And much more than all that…how much do you think someone desires something, when they take the time to search out a mentor and keep a relationship growing with them?

And last, but not least – I am a life-long learner.  What I mean by this, is that I undertake the responsibility of my own education, even when I can’t afford ‘proper’ education.  I have read extensively in the field of Self-Improvement, Leadership, Chakras, Spirituality, Body Language, Wealth, Success, Body-Mind, Yoga, Martial Arts, Writing, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Biographies of Successful people, the Bible, maintenance, construction, massage, Chi, History……..the list goes on and on.
I am no stranger to doing what it takes on a consistent basis, to move forward.

And that concludes my brief essay.  If you are feeling ‘froggy’, then you can read on to get a much more in-depth look at the answers to the questions you gave me.

Next I’ll go more into detail on my life story – how I got to where I am today, and where I plan to go from here on out.  Thanks so much for taking the time out of your schedule to review the application and this essay.

Why do I need this?

Who could need it more?  That’s the question I ask.  I’m currently sleeping outside in Boulder, on Church property, trying to avoid the cops who like to go out at night at disturb homeless people from their much needed sleep, and then give them a $100 ticket for “camping”.  I would go to a “warming center” – a place which is dry and warm, where you lay on the floor for the night – but it seems that it’s not cold enough to warrant a “warming center”.  Maybe their funds are low, but, wait, that’s strange because I distinctly remember them receiving even more funds this year – much more than last.  I would go to the Boulder Homeless Shelter, but I’ve been “consequenced” for an extreme 90 days (the rest of the season), because I asked to go to the bathroom (number two) after seven o’clock while standing outside their gates.  Two people told me no, and when I got upset – I had to go bad – they threatened to call the cops and told me that I was going to be “consequenced” for three to five days.  I raised my voice; didn’t swear; but I did mention that what they were doing was inhumane and I could understand that they had policies, but there was no written policy that said I couldn’t go to the bathroom after seven.  There was another place to go nearby – the local stripper business next door.  I didn’t want to pay exorbitant fees for drinks I couldn’t drink anyway, just so that I could go to the bathroom.  I wasn’t in the mood to see a show – I just needed to perform a human function – and since the people who were running the place are human beings, I just assumed that they would understand, having had a similar problem, probably a thousand times themselves.

I also need to get off the street for medical reasons.  Last year, I begged off work for an indeterminate amount of time when I discovered that my mother, in Illinois, had cancer and was in stage 4.  I was the only one willing to go help her.  I did.  In the process, Colorado got me one more time for failing to yield to an emergency standing vehicle – simply put – I didn’t move over from the far right lane to the left lane when passing a state cop who pulled over another guy for something else on I-70.  The cop wrote me a $100 or so ticket in pencil and when I got to my mother’s apartment; it was smudged.  I did my very best to pay that ticket, getting hung up with the whole phone tag red-tape, and finally decided that I needed to direct my attention to getting my mother her VA benefits.  This never happened because of more red-tape.  By the time I turned my attention back to the ticket – it was too late, I received a letter in the mail, informing me that my Colorado License had been suspended.  It has taken me ONE FULL YEAR to take care of this – all without any resources other than myself and a friend.  I did so, even when I had a job, by borrowing five dollars from a number of people for the $95 re-instatement fee, by promising to not only pay each back, but to pay them two dollars more.  I have since done so.  Shortly after I came back to Boulder, my mother passed on the night of my birthday.  I held all that in after a good cry in the parking lot, sinking to my knees.  It was all I could do to keep it together enough to call my father and let him know.  But because I continued to sleep in conditions that were harsh; where some diseases were easily spread by crowded conditions; sometimes back out in the cold; carrying around all this guilt and anger and remorse, over-layed by the thickest depression — Because of all this, the stress eventually won out over my immune system and dragged it down far enough to where I contracted MRSA Staph Infection.  Within about seven days, I was dropping my keys, walking very slowly and stumbling with a throbbing headache.  There was a sore on my left shin that was getting progressively worse.  At first, everyone thought that it was a spider bite.  Eventually, we found out different.  When I finally drummed up the courage to go to the hospital, I was dizzy and a red streak had threaded it’s way from the super-infected and inflated spot on my lower leg, all the way up to just near my groin.  This is very bad news.  This is mere hours from the infection getting to the heart – then it’s all over.  When I went to the hospital – I was told that I had about 24 hours to live.  Had I not come to the hospital, I would have died the next day about that same time.

My need is to get off the streets.  Once you are there, it is extremely difficult to get off.  There aren’t a lot of places to wash your body, especially your feet.  If you don’t do this within just two days, the skin on your feet begins to peel away and infections creep in.  If you have to carry several packs all day, for, both, the fear of having it stolen because you don’t have the money to afford storage, and because during your day you need access to some things; then your body begins to break down.

It protects itself by clenching up.  But over time, the muscles never have a chance to relax and extreme exhaustion results very easily from not having any energy reserves – they’re all tied up in holding your body armor in place so that you don’t get hurt.  The sad irony is that you get injured far worse despite the good intentions of this bodily safety mechanism.  Over an extended period of time, other problems arise:  Here are just a few…tingling in the feet or fingers or arms or legs from blood restrictions and nerve crimping on a daily basis.  If you’re not careful, then you’ll carry your heavy load, the same way all the time, and if it’s off balance just slightly along your spine, then your body tries to compensate by over-using some muscles and not fully using others.  Your whole musculature begins to weaken and break down.  You never have a chance to change your pace.  That slow-plodding pace keeps your heart from getting a chance to exercise the way it’s supposed to.  I don’t know about you, but if I had a bunch of packs on and I could never set them down, I wouldn’t be able to run, or skate, or bicycle, or dance, or do martial arts.  I could go on and on about the dietary restrictions due to not having the money to choose what is healthy; but I’ve beat a dead horse here.

My need is great.  I need stable housing.  I need a place to lock away for my own privacy and silence.  I need a place where I have no fear of being woken up and charged with a crime for trying to get my required amount of REM sleep.  I want to be disease free.  I want a place to shower, meditate, cook my food, clean my clothes, blend my healthy mix of vegetables so I can remain in good working condition so that I CAN work to support myself.

Next is my Desire…WHY do I want to do massage?  What motivates a guy like me?

Again, the answers are many-fold.  But let’s start with important times in my life:

About age 7, I’m trying to look into the eyes of my father’s mother – she’s sitting in a wheelchair, and she’s staring through me.  She was here moments ago.  “Why’s her hand all cramped and claw-looking like that”, I’m wondering to myself.  I’m scared of her for some reason.  We’re at a funeral, and she’s maybe in her forties or fifties.

My dad divorces my mom and leaves me with Nadine for the summer – his girlfriend.  He comes to pick me up and now he’s got a new wife.  He met her in a car accident.  Just a few years down the road, and we’re all yelling.  JoAnn – my step-mom is yelling at me to be quiet; I’m yelling at her that she’s not my REAL mom and she can’t tell me what to do.  Dad’s yelling at us both to please, just get along for once!  She’s had brain damage.  She’s had the front part of her brain removed.  I’m about nine, and she’s trying to mother me.  She’s doing a terrible job and it’s only going to get worse, because what happens next, is that she will begin to revert back to the emotional and logical state of a child.  Figure about five years old.

I’m in my twenties; just got out of the Marines.  My very over-weight step mom is trying to position herself to flop into our easy chair.  She misses and hits the floor of our apartment…hard.  She’s just had a stroke, and will have 3 more in the same region of her brain.  This will eventually kill her.
Within a few months, my dad is working on his Nursing degree, and he discovers that he has Multiple Sclerosis.  Only this time – it’s progressing much more rapidly than it ever did with my grandmother.  I’m about 27.

My dad moves in with his girlfriend.  He’s now bedridden, and this woman with diabetes and seasonal disseffective disorder is trying to take care of him.

I’ve been working for Aspen Media Market Research – calling people at their homes and businesses to get them to re-up on their magazine subscriptions.  I’ve saved up for a beater car.  I’m lying on the floor of a friend’s who’s letting me stay at her place.  She’s an addict, and this situation is rocky at best, but I need a place to stay so that I can keep this job.  I’m in the process of figuring out what my next step is when my Aunt Sherry calls me up.  Sherry – “You’re mom’s got cancer.  Just wanted to tell you.  You’re the only one who can really do anything for her, or will. – what are you gonna do? – Are you gonna go see her?  I remember when I took care of both your grandmother and your grandfather.  I’m glad I was there for them.  I’m not going to lie to you – it was one of the toughest times in my life, but I’m glad all the same.  We were able to talk about things we hadn’t discussed for so long, and I found out so much that has helped me.” -(My aunt is over-weight, and has degenerative neck disease, where the cartilage in between her vertebrae are dissolving).

I’ve driven up to go see my mom.  I find her in her apartment.  This white-haired, 4-foot, nine-inch lady answering the door suspiciously is MY mom?!  That night, she goes from bad to worse.  I can’t stop her from coughing.  I put her in all kinds of positions – trying to relieve her pain.  She’s moaning and every few minutes she pulls this pink, rectangular, bucket thing off the carpet and tries to spit into it.  She manages to just kind of get some drool to come out.  She’s freezing and there aren’t enough blankets.  I tell her I’ll turn up the thermostat.  “NO! – I can’t AFFORD that! – the bills, the bills….they’re raping me!  They don’t care.”  I tried to sleep, but in the morning, I awoke to my mother, naked and clawing at the carpet in our guest bedroom.  I looked into her eye, horrified to find that my mother was no longer there…no – there she was…and THERE.  But her eyes; they were like an animal’s – an animal in pain and scared.  She was scared of me.  She didn’t trust me.  I did my best to give her a bath.  I struggled to put on her jeans and a sweater.  I told her, “Mom – you’re sick.  I need to take you to a hospital.  It’ll be alright…they’ll know what to do.”
“NO!  No, no, nononononoooo!”, she pleaded.  I picked her up, opened the front door and walked down the hall, carrying her and knocked on her neighbor’s door.  I didn’t know what to do.  He jumped into action and called an ambulance.  I picked her up once more and began walking down about twenty or so steps.  She blacked-out in my arms before I got to the bottom.  The ambulance came and took her away.

What would motivate me to practice massage or energy medicine or any of the healing arts?  Compassion, and seeing a need.  Knowing that I was called to do this, and that I have gifts.  I’ve had gifts to soothe people even before I ever went to massage school back in Pennsylvania.  I took $300 out-of-pocket psychology course at the Pottstown Community College, and come time for the exam, my professor told me, “You don’t need to take the exam.  You’re exempt.”  When I took, “Psychology of the Body”, during my Swedish Massage Schooling, my African instructor approached me and said, “You have a real gift.  You could have taught that class.”

I feel called to something much bigger than myself.  I feel called to serve and to implement changes for the betterment of society.  I feel called to starting several businesses and utilizing that money to help the homeless get housing, and struggling students get grants and scholarships to those studies that so sing in their hearts.  I feel an overwhelming need to impact this world on a visceral level. 

And I can best do this by bringing myself through my challenges and into alignment and resourcefulness.  I have the will to succeed against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, and have done so numerous times before.  Each time I learn something, but now is no longer the time to be the sword which is being smelted and hammered and folded thousands of times over.  Now is the time for me to take all I’ve learned and apply it to become self-sufficient, so that I can release all of the gifts I’ve been given and share them with the world.  I ache to do this.

You ask me to tell you where I would commit 100 hours of selfless service, and at first I was torn between Cancer patients and those who have Multiple Sclerosis.  Last night as I lay huddled on the patio of the local church here in Boulder – as I lay there, curled almost in a fetal position, shivering from the cold – I dreamed.  I dreamed that I was a massage therapist once again, and that someone was lying on my table, wracked in pain.  I put my arms under them and cradled them, so that they could just lie against my chest; so they could give up all they had been holding in.  In moments I felt their rigidity give way and their body release.  It was as if every muscle in their body had given up the fight and every nerve had quieted it’s storm of communication.  As I looked down, I saw their eyes drift closed.  They were asleep in my arms.

I woke up, and soon the dream left my mind.  I was worried that someone had spotted me and ratted me out to the police and they would be by to either give me a ticket or take me to jail for illegally sleeping.  As these worries entered my mind, another part of my mind was trying to focus on who I would donate those 100 hours of service to.  Then it hit me – the answer had been staring me in the face the whole time:  I live in a community which badly needs not only physical touch and muscular manipulation, but love and understanding and compassion, as well.  These people are treated like second-class citizens and their spirits have been trampled and that flickering flame hope has been dangerously suppressed, near to the point of being snuffed out.  Why should they go day-to-day when the same old conditions conspire to keep them down, hungry, tired, lonely.  Who are they to even WANT a better life?  I say, that they are the very ones who need love the most.  Churches nowadays have become little businesses.  I went to church a while back to get closer to God, and all I got closer to was a longer record.  I never had a record before coming to Boulder; least not the criminal kind.  My dad had a bunch of 45’s, but even though I was a curious, ‘problem child’, I never found myself looking the wrong way through a bunch of bars.  I still haven’t – jails no longer look anything like the old days…and since being in Boulder, homeless, struggling to maintain a job with all the challenges that go along with this kind of a life, I’ve been in jail several times.  It all seems to be related to wanting to stick up for my and other citizen’s rights to sleep and not be harassed.  I’ve since learned to become quieter and wait for my time make a change.  But that time – in the judicial system – has not yet come for me.  I will have to be patient.  And while we are being patient, more people are dying from drinking and drugging their sorrows away and freezing to death and getting beat up by people who are hateful and enjoy the sport of it.  They are dying from malnutrition.  They are dying from not being able to support themselves through hard times.

But most of all – ALL THESE PEOPLE ARE DYING FROM A LACK OF LOVE.  Lack of love is the source of all our world’s problems.  I am convinced of this.  And so the solution seems simple enough – MORE LOVE.

I will devote my 100 hours to these people.  I may do chair massage or it may be some kind of full-blown table massage, but whatever it is…it will be for the benefit of those who are homeless – in need of the most love.

I think that that’s what JESUS would do.

In conclusion; and I know this has been a long essay – I cannot guarantee that I will be an excellent student.  Excellent by whose standards?  But I will do my best.  Apparently my best was good enough years ago when I made it through Marine Corps Boot Camp, and later while I was homeless, but holding down a serving job at the mall next to where I daily went to for massage training.  At the end, I was told that I had only gotten a B, but they were sure that had I not had all the challenges I had and could focus more, I would have gotten an A or A+.  One of those challenges was running from another town, where I was safer, with a backpack and a black, plastic garbage bag filled with my massage, school uniform.  In the pack were a bunch of books.  It was most of the way through summer but still incredibly hot, and I was running up the stairwell, well I blacked out and fell backwards, hitting my head against the wall on the second platform.  That’s how hard I worked.  That’s how much determination I had.  And I can recall one of our teachers commending me, because she had seen me riding my bike through a rain storm, while she was driving her car down the road.  I came in soaked to the skin.  If those things couldn’t stop me from getting my massage certification……

Then, why would anyone believe that anything less than that could stop me?

Thanks again for taking the time out of your busy schedule to read this.  I might not win – for sheer length of time it would take to read this email – and if that is the case, then I will take the news in stride and find some other way to live my dreams, give back to those who have helped me along the way, and serve those less fortunate – helping to inspire and lift them to heights they never knew were possible.

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David Lee Madison, Jr.

Nate – my street name , KnavetheMage on Twitter

~ZenNinja to others who saw me do my little ‘cat-walk’

Nate Love – my future pen name

and WordPressing it up on Synergy and Suprememasterjedi

Copied from my WORD documents in Boulder, CO

Monday, December 2, 201322:40