Category Archives: consciousness

Believing my own Bulls–t

Friends,

Last week I found myself in what is, as of late, an all-too familiar position: that of defending Donald Trump. How do I always end up in this position? Well usually its starts with someone talking shit about “Merica. I then explain that America is the greatest country in the goddamn world (although not as good as it could be, hence MAGA). They’ll argue that statement initially,  but by so many metrics that statement is demonstrably true which inevitably makes making contrary contentions near-unwinnable. So, seeking an easier win (because of course people are trying to win and of course they want to do so easily and expediently) they’ll change gears and refine their position so as to be anti-Trump specifically, because surely I couldn’t argue with that position… 

“Oh I can. And I will!”

THE BROADER CONTEXT

To condemn Trump is to move focus away from a broader context, ignoring important details to focus on minor ones which are far removed from his actual competence as a president. His reality TV past, his ups and downs as a businessman, his scandals and his cavalier attitude toward them are seized upon by his detractors in order to paint a picture of someone unfit to lead. More important details, such as positioning America within a global system, maintaining a balance of power, and the amoral business of Real-Politick are hardly considered. Even worse, when they are, they are reductively and inaccurately represented: Improving relations with Russia is read as sucking Putin’s dick. Flattering Kim Jong-Un to inch forward a peace process is seen as bowing before a despot. It’s pretty embarrassing really, and it always amazes me that otherwise intelligent people who pride themselves on their rationalism can understand so little of nuance and the game that is statesmanship.

Whatever. People are retarded logically when they’re fired up emotionally. I try to avoid firebrands because of pearls, swine, and low-hanging fruit, but it is beneficial to talk to people who can look past their own knee-jerk reactions and follow a logical train of thought -German men are great at following such trains incidentally.

….

 

Following those trains all the way to Dachau, amirite!

Bad joke. Moving on…

THE BROADER CONTEXT II: THE   B  R  O  A  D  E  R   CONTEXT

So if detractors are focused on a microcosmic picture informed by trivialities, and they thus far always are, then I start with the macrocosm of the world and/or multi-nation federations such as the EU or the USA. I make a case for why an emerging global consciousness is a good thing; why it’s important to create decentralized hubs of human congregation and activity which are inter-related and linked through infrastructure, transportation routes and informational technologies, etc. I really harp on DECENTRALIZATION, contrasting it to the hegemonic imposition of centralized authority from the top down which I represent as bloated, monolithic, completely-detached-from-everyday-people federal governments such as, most saliently, the EU.

Centralization vs. Decentralization is a powerful argument. I think most people are suspicious of over-centralization but can’t imagine the laudable aim of global unification implemented without it. Painting a picture of what decentralization might look like; drawing parallels to natural systems and even internet infrastructure, is a powerful way to re-frame what people’s conceptions of the future look like.
When a picture has been sufficiently painted of a decentralized, inter-connected global system as put forward by The Zeitgeist Movement and The Venus Project, I juxtapose Donald Trump against this hegemony as, at the very least, a brake on the establishment of total global hegemony.

At this juncture it is worthwhile pointing out to the other party that my diagnosis is predicated on the truthfulness of the narrative that Trump is an outsider to the established mainstream. This helps to build confidence in my position because I acknowledge that its falsifiable and possibly erroneous. More poetically, I describe Trump as chemo to the cancer of globalization. Is he toxic? Yes, but he’s also the lesser of two evils / a necessary one.

As of yet nobody has done a 180 degree turn right in front of my face and professed love for Trump where formerly there was hatred, but their frame has been compromised; their meandering and fragmented responses attest to this compromise, and it is very common to see a verbal diarrhea fill the void of their recently-held belief and coagulate into a temporary new scab over this new intellectual / egoic wound. I love this moment because it is a testament to our longing to always make sense of the world, even on the fly. And even if they manage to immediately form a scab which covers the wound for the rest of the discussion I feel little need to pick it and re-expose the void of lost belief because a seed has been planted which will sprout in their brains.

DO I BELIEVE MY OWN BULLSHIT?

Great question! “Yes, but!”

The but is because while I believe what I am saying I also understand that there are a multitude of narratives which accurately describe the current geopolitical situation, and any narrative which resonates has a kernel of truth of a size proportionate to the degree of resonance. So yes, in my view I am speaking a truth, not the truth.

I have often been accused of trolling and not caring about people, but in my heart of hearts I believe that by putting forward alternate / alternative viewpoints, well argued, I am expanding the limits of debate and I think that is God’s work.

Deus Vult!

-Andre Guantanamo

r/raddecentralization

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Filed under consciousness, Deconstruction, discourse, discussion, futurism, geopolitics, opinion, philosophy

The Shape of Integrity: Thoughts from the 18 MAY 2018 Munk Debate

Friends,

Is it possible to look at someone and tell if they have integrity?

I think yes. And this was illustrated quite beautifully in the recent Munk Debate between Michelle Goldberg and Michael Eric Dyson on one side, and Jordan Peterson and Stephen Fry on the other.

Just look at the dais:

Do you notice anything?

If you guessed that 3/4 of the panelists are addicts, you are absolutely correct.
Now, is this a problem? I think so.
Why? Bit of a difficult answer.

“I Don’t Trust Bunny, But I Trust Bunny to be Bunny”

At the risk of sounding crude and mean-spirited: Would you trust a junkie? I imagine the answer is probably “no.”
Why? Well for me it’s because its difficult to trust someone with no self-control. If someone is feeding an addiction it becomes difficult to tell when they are being truthful and when they speaking only to preserve their access to their drug of choice.

Fame is one such drug. And it directly affects integrity when people don’t have as much as they want.

With regard to the picture above, Jordan Peterson (second from right) is the most famous of the bunch and so arguably has enough access to the ‘drug’, if he is indeed addicted to it. In the case of the others that is not so certain and they are actually leeching some of his fame by appearing with him. Michael Eric Dyson refers to and admits to this many times throughout the debate and actually tries to goad Peterson into plugging his book. His referring to Peterson as a “mean old white man” is, as well as being incredibly bad form for a debate, a transparent attempt to increase his own profile through controversy. Goldberg and Fry may have attempted to engage in this kind of attention-whoring too at a smaller scale, but I didn’t really notice if they did because Dyson was so egregious and pathetic in trying to get his ‘fix’.
He is a fame-whore, and Fry to his credit, calls Dyson out as a snake-oil selling huckster in his stage presence and manner.

In all honesty, my own distaste for Dyson’s position aside, I truly don’t know where the line draws between his (attempts at) rational arguments and his ideologically-motivated silliness.

But fame is not the only drug that these panelists seem addicted to, so let’s address the elephant in the room: Food.

Goldberg, Dyson and Fry have a problem with food. Food, unlike fame, doesn’t directly affect someone’s integrity unless that person is starving, and I think it’s clear that Goldberg, Fry and Dyson are not starving. Rather, their food addiction is such that it indirectly affects their integrity by betraying some internal conflict within them. After all, health doesn’t just exist in the physical body, isolated from the mental, emotional and spiritual bodies. They are all connected and a disturbance in one has ramifications on the others.  I would guess that there is something traumatic that these people are holding onto and not dealing with. Instead they are treating this internal problem with food as their drug of choice and they wear the evidence on their bodies like five-year-olds who got into the cookie-jar wear evidence around their mouths.

“What cookies?”

 This whittles away my trust for them in a way that I won’t be blamed for because they look sick and unhealthy to my perceptions.

Is that unfair? No. Actually it’s in fundamental agreement with what they (Goldberg and Dyson) say throughout the debate: Maybe Dyson has indeed suffered at the hands of whites. Maybe Goldberg has indeed suffered at the hands of the patriarchy. And even though he is ostensibly on the right side of the dais (my side 😉 ), Fry too may have indeed suffered at the hands of homophobes.

But to quote Fry, “So fucking what?!” Does that make them right? I think trauma and suffering CAN give you valuable perspective once they have been incorporated and integrated into your psyche in a healthy way -but ONLY then. For Dyson and Goldberg, if their obesity and general unhealthy appearance attests to real suffering, then it also attests to their inability to thus far deal with said suffering productively and healthily. At best, it is difficult to tell how ideologically possessed they still are by their own pain. At worst, they are the aforementioned five-year-olds who got into the cookie jar and are now trying to see what lies they can get away with telling.

And for the record, I’m all for people working their half-baked, personal-suffering-based ideas out in a performative way –that’s art! But such performances are no more a road-map to a healthy future and a productive life than the The Marshall Mathers LP was back in 2000. Trust me, I tried to lived that album, and my life reflected it 😦

A+ for working through one’s own demons. F for providing a guide for how to live our lives.

Dyson’s performance was better-suited to a high-brow poetry slam while Goldberg delivered a relatively tasteful Vagina Monologue.

Fat Shaming?

It’s worth clarify my feelings about fat. Fat is not the problem. Sumo wrestlers are fat. The best actors in the world get fat for roles. But these two groups share a common quality: Discipline.

And this ain’t what discipline looks like!

That’s a photo of excess, not discipline. That’s what happens when you live too comfortably without feedback from the natural world. It corrupts your body and your mind because you have no reason to be strong and lack the mental fortitude to keep yourself so.

Now if I’m feeling charitable, maybe Goldberg gets a pass because she is not as obese as Dyson, and of course, males and females are different right down to the hormonal level. But in this case, all that pass would equate to is a marginally greater initial assumption of integrity from me irrespective of what ends up coming out of her mouth.

But Dyson? That jowly, Cochran-esque fuck?

“Brotha, me and my people are starving….sha bama lama ding dong!”

For the life of me I don’t know who could actually put stock in what that man says, except perhaps the most atrophied of spirits and the most gullible of intellects.

I digress though; I could shit on Dyson for another 1,000 words but I’d rather tie this up with the corollary argument, which incidentally also amounts to 1,000 words:

Best,

-Andre Guantanamo

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Do the Evolution: Mycology and Applied Chiropractics

“It’s evolution, baby!”
-Pearl Jam

Friends,

I enjoy me some mushrooms. Psilocybin mushrooms and Amanita Muscarias have been responsible for some of my most powerful moments of self discovery.

Allow me if you please to tell you about the most transcendent experiences I have had, how they are all connected and what exciting new possibilities I am exploring as a result.

MY FIRST MUSHROOM TRIP by FISHER-PRICE (AGES 5+)

Having done low-doses of Psilocybin mushrooms a smattering of times throughout my tenure as a young adult, I did my first proper trip (5 grams on an empty stomach) one morning in September 2016, a few scant weeks before embarking on my #worldwasonfire tour of the Southern U.S. and Latin America. The trip was wild and rivaled my most powerful experiences with ayahuasca which I had done a couple of times a few months earlier in February 2016 while in Ecuador. I saw trails and ‘breathing’ solids. I saw the green cogs and gears which made up the nature I could see from my balcony.  And I saw something else: The absolute necessity, if not inevitability of complete surrender, which I understood incompletely at the time (More on that in a sec…).

I also laughed. Oh how I laughed.

Easily in Top 5 favourite FB profile pics…..that’s 300+ pics!!

I laughed at the absurdity of it all, at how tired I was, and at my hopes of salvation through a return to nature.

What was it like? Imagine a musky, brown organic/fungal horn or trumpet growing out of the ground in the forest emitting a constant, out of tune, spore-filled drone from the lungs of the forest itself -that was the character of my trip.

I walked away from that experience with a sense that I had undergone something powerful, and only a marginal understanding of this idea of surrender; an understanding which reductively centered around anal penetration.

That was an uncomfortable one for me to wrap my brain around. As a guy, that was my conception of what ultimate surrender meant; allowing yourself to be penetrated. Incidentally, this interpretation may also have been informed by some cult research I had conducted that summer.

Just an altogether really culty kind of summer -You ever have one of those?
(Photo Credit: Steve Haining)

Thelema in particular, whose higher degrees mandate sexual surrender for followers seemed worth researching at that time. In any event, though I never said it in so many words, I walked away thinking “The path to enlightenment is somehow up my ass.”

A connection had been made somewhere in my brain.

2017: ODYSSEY TWO

Fast forward a few months and I was well into my adventures in the south-western U.S., specifically Arizona. From late December 2016 to early January 2017 I was living on the rim (lol) of the Tohono O’odham reserve west of Tucson with a shaman named Tim. Me and Tim spent many days on the reserve meditating, reading from The Kybalion and smoking terrific cannabis. Our diet too, was healthy as (sic.) with no alcohol consumption and reverent, healthful ingestion of fish, simple grains and vegetables. For talk, TIm would talk mostly -he had a powerful connection to eh universe and he could constantly make wild connections bewtween the most disparate things and offer new perspective (he couldn’t turn it off though). As for physical activity, I maintained a rudimentary fitness regimen which included running and calisthenics,

and we often climbed the nearby mountains in the remote stretch of desert that was primarily grazing land for ranchers.

Tim burning a bush on the mountaintop.

After about a week of this regimen, Tim took me through my first and thus far only Amanita Muscaria trip (Video HERE). For anyone who hasn’t done A. Muscaria, it was (at the time and possibly even now) the most powerful trip I have ever done. For those who have tried it but haven’t felt anything (like me in my subsequent attempts), I truly believe that Amanitas require preparation (the aforementioned diet/meditation/fitness regimen) of a kind that Psilocybin mushrooms do not. The secrets of the Amanitas are just not given up so easily it would seem.

I won’t labor you with too many details of the trip -you can watch the video for those- but essentially I moved to a higher dimension. Better yet, I took control of my higher dimensional body and was able to travel anywhere in the universe, real or fictional, and in so doing I managed to completely release, at least temporarily, painful and limiting impingement in the neck and shoulders of my lower dimensional body.

I felt completely free and loose in a way that I hadn’t in years. It was amazing.

But it wasn’t a hallucination; something real happened there and when I saw I was traveling throughout the universe, I don’t mean that I was pretending to go through space. Understand: My lower dimensional body never left the chair in Tim’s kitchen but consciousness did. Instead, my lower-dimensional body, stuck in that precise time and place, received the condensed-to-the-level-of matter counterpart experience to what was going on in the higher dimension -kind of like in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, when you do things in Hyrule and they have effects in the Dark World and vice versa.

In this case the effect I felt was tiny cables stretching from my right shoulder to my upper neck snapping one by one as I came to closer and closer approximations of what I was there to learn. When I finally came to the realization the last string SNAPPED! and I screamed out what I realized twice in ecstasy.

All in all, unique and very different from the character/conceptual mechanism of later healing as you will see…

Speaking of Tim, I noticed at intervals when I came back to the kitchen, that he had two demons hovering about him. They had the superficial appearance of ferrets or weasels made of shadow and they were whipping furiously around his torso as if chasing each other’s tails. I mentioned this to him and, non-plussed, he told me he was aware of them.

Awesome!

Flashback Sequence

After a few more days in Arizona I left for Nicaragua in the second week of January. The rest of 2017 passed mostly without another such divine psychadelic experience. One exception would be a party I attended in San Juan del Sur

Another exception would be in Utila, Honduras sometime around July or August when, having taken (too?) much “space-cake,” I lay in bed spooning my girlfriend, meditating and hallucinating. Having someone else so close to me while I was in the throes of an ecstatically heightened activation really flavoured my ruminations in a heretofore unprecedented way. I thought about how spooning was the benevolent counterpart to buggery. You see when you spoon someone, there is a way in which they are submitting to you -in MMA it’s called getting someone’s back. From the spooning position you can easily choke someone out, immobilize their limbs or, if so inclined, sodomize them.

But that’s only half the story, because when you spoon someone you can also protect them, keep them warm and make them feel loved. So the question to me became: “When I achieve power, how do I want to treat those who submit to me? Spoon or sodomize?”

In retrospect, this meditation was a continuation and elaboration of the take-away from my Psilocybin trip the previous September regarding ultimate surrender. This experience didn’t have any effect on my spine though, and at the time, it all seemed separate.

What Brought All of these Realizations Together?

My next divine, “spine-greasing” experience on mushrooms would be another 5 gram Psilocybin trip (McKenna’s ‘heroic dose’)in Berlin’s Tiergarten this past spring (2018). I started out down by a small stream, and that shady, cool, isolated bit of the park became a surrogate womb for me. I spent some time there in that safe place as my perceptions got mashed up and my thoughts darkened somewhat. When I was ready and felt like I couldn’t stay in that dark, cool place any longer, I stumbled into the sun and, looking up at the sky I could see the geometry of everything; a kaleidoscope of faintly colourful geometric shapes rotating independently and yet symmetrically against a large, illuminated pale sapphire. It has the character of stained glass, like I was in a giant, atmosphere sized non-denominational cathedral. Yet impressive though it was, my mind was elsewhere; something about my own history seemed opaque to me and I meditated on it, lying in the crucible of sun-baked grass.

In my reverie, a goose approached me. Now a fondness for geese was never an affliction I suffered from and you could say my adult life has been nothing if not a rejection of the most goose-like aspects of myself -I see that now as I was writing that last sentence. In any event, far from the usual hissing of our typical encounters, this meeting was peaceful and bespoke coexistence, and I was convinced that the goose was somehow my spirit animal. Maybe this is what Carl Jung meant by “incorporating your shadow”.

Am I the embodiment of the things I hate? Seems poetic and so it must be at least somewhat true.

After my goose realization, my spot by the stream seemed used up; it was time to move. So, fledgling toddler that I was, I picked up my guitar and began wandering until I reached a spacious and lovely biergarten (yes, a biergarten in Tiergarten) situated on a pond. Setting up two benches together for a more spacious seating platform, I crossed my legs into lotus and began stretching as I leaned forward over the front of the bench toward the ground. In this position, thoughts of surrender came back to me. I thought of my father and mother, divorced since I was 2. I always took their divorce for granted, not really knowing any other existence, and I grew up split between my mother and stepfather on one side and my father and stepmother on the other. In my expanded state I saw the way that this had stunted my development and had made me “less” of a man than I could ultimately have become in this life. I panicked at the thought and then I became angry at them for sabotaging my life and potential so needlessly.

But was it needless?

“We needed a lot of needless suffering.”
-Me, waxing philosophical on ayahuasca in Nuevo
Rocafuerte, Ecuador (February 2016)

I mean, said suffering had brought me to this point, and this point seemed meaningful and important enough to exist for so perhaps the suffering wasn’t so needless.

Instead, maybe my father and mother had accrued such damage in their lives as to make their coming together more of a collision than a union, and so perhaps their divorce was a near inevitability instead of a choice. In this regard, perhaps I am less a victim of their callousness and moreso the inheritor of their suffering. And of course, to their credit, they tried. They really tried. They tried to insulate me from further pain after realizing how much of their own pain they allowed to pass to the next generation.

If only my parents had numchuks….

I realized that I was stuck with this pain; the legacy they had handed off to me like a baton; the generational suffering which had been passed to them by their parents. I saw how inexorably inescapable it was for me. I saw that by not having acknowledged it sooner, it had atrophied my spirit and made certain of my potentials unreachable for the rest of this life. I saw that I was a broken human form cast into a gloomy swamp engulfed by a yellow haze; blind, crying in shock (as if something dear had been suddenly ripped from the centre of my being…like a baby from my womb..), unloved, pathetic, choking, unable to speak, humbled, in pain, with so long to go, such a heavy burden to carry, and no guarantee that I would make it.

Mine is a sorry lot indeed I realized, and I can’t describe the feeling of dull, throbbing emptiness I felt in my heart and abdomen and existence when I realized this. My posture reflected this -head hung low, dangling in the vicinity of my knees (I had at some point uncrossed my legs and put my bare feet on the ground like the filthy, provincial peasant-spawn I was.

A funny thing happened then, a realization along the lines of “Better luck next time!” came to me. And it comforted me.

Let me explain:

I view life as a series or set of games. Every interaction, every society I’m part of, every social group and every culture represents a different game. Some are (perceptibly) separate from others and some games exist nested within games within games within the biggest game of all (at least to me), my life (Look up “Games People Play” or relevant talks by Jordan Peterson). But I have also incorporated the hermetic wisdom of The Kybalion and its principles, particularly “The Principle of Correspondence” (‘As above, so below; as below, so above’) in this case. It’s the idea that things scale up and down to infinity and that the same mechanics are at work in corresponding ways at every level. So it makes/made no sense to view my life as the ultimate (doomed) iteration; according to the principle of correspondence it is but one iteration of my meta-life -I just happened to be struggling this round.
On a more experiential, perhaps more relatable level, knowing that I had inherited pain from previous generations and that I could quite conceivably pass on that pain to others in the future made me feel immortal insofar as I saw that I was part of an enduring process and that my actions mattered.
Also, as per “The Principle of Vibration,” if I want the impulse that I am to gain greater and greater amplitude, animating even higher forms of matter with life-essence throughout the duration of my meta-life, I must stay in a place of resonance. Nothing seemed so anti-resonance to me as falling into a bottomless pit of despair. Is this life going to be a ‘snake down to’ or a ‘ladder up to’ the next iteration? If a ladder, I have to carry my burden with strength, dignity and humility, bringing happiness to those around me or at least minimizing their suffering, suffering though I may be myself. After all, it’s just a game…

This realization saved me from the despair I was trapped in and as I inhaled and rose up from my posture of surrender and wretchedness, an amazing thing happened: I brought something up with me. It’s hard to explain what exactly, and I will use esoteric terms to describe it, so forgive me, students of the new age who use more refined nomenclature: As I rose, an energy rose up from my root (chakra) and traveled all the way up my spine/kundalini. As it rose, it flushed out all the blockages existing within the uppermost portions of my spinal column -again giving me that free mobility I had experienced after my Amanita trip the previous January in Arizona. As a visualization, imagine the cleansing energy was like one of those drain-clearing graphics from Drano commercials in the 90s.

‘With Regular Use’ indeed…

But that’s not all! As the energy continued moving upward, it EXPLODED out of my crown like an ethereal ejaculation which shot up into the air above -some no doubt finding the proverbial egg which would precipitate my conception into a new universe- but much of it inevitably scattering short of the mark, making an absolute mess of the other patrons.

Yes, in a metaphysical sense, I ejaculated onto the people around me.

Their pets too!

I think they liked it though. Seeing me rise up, one guy at the next table asked me to play guitar. I was/am still learning and I was newer then than I am now. I did have some songs in my repertoire but I was also tripping balls and so perhaps not the best man to perform.

But then, ‘So fucking what?‘ When was it ever a good time to make others happy? Optimus Prime said, “Fate rarely calls upon us at a moment of our choosing,” and as a novice rock-star, I had no hope of escaping that yellowish swamp of despair beyond picking up that guitar and putting smiles on some faces.

Was I amazing? No. I was decidedly not. But I didn’t have to be. I focused on playing the pentatonic and blues scales which I had recently learned, nice and slow. With my head and neck craned left looking down over the fingerboard with a newfound mobility and the up-close care and attention of a jeweler setting a stone, I played these universal forms, discoveries more than inventions, set down by the earliest musicians. I realized that their subtle, immutable rules provided me a security that relished in my fragmented state. As I played them I got faster, I got better, I got inventive, I got cocky, I fucked up, but when I did I could always come back to the transcendent original form and begin the process over again.

Just keep playing…

I played these scales sadly while weeping ecstatic tears and worked through the minutiae of loose ends left behind in the wake of my larger, earlier realization. In military terms, it could have been considered “mop-up” after a larger offensive. At length, the man who asked me to play gave me a few Euros and left with his family, probably not sure what to make of the ruefully countenanced troubador and his minstrelsy which tilted disproportionately to emotion over skill.

Still I played, and when I got up to get a coffee and treat myself to a pastry (which I ate slowly and mindfully) I walked straighter, more deliberately and more powerfully than any other time I can remember off the top of my head.

People were looking at me. More than usual. Such was my radiance.

One final point on this trip which ties this experience closer to that initial, earlier idea of surrender. Remember I joked that the path to enlightenment was up my ass? Well, in this scenario, I brought something up from a primordial place, from my root chakra, which, as the survival/fight or flight energy centre, is located squarely in the anal region. Similar to how I have pulled universal energy down to me through my crown, I brought universal energy’s as-yet-unnamed (at least to me) earthly counterpart up through my root.

I knew it was up my ass all along 🙂

“Knowing is not enough; We must apply” -Bruce Lee

I did two back to back trips over two days about two weeks ago. The first one was a similar 5 gram (‘there goes my hero..’) trip starting and ending in the same locations in Tiergarten. (This time I jazzed up the mushrooms with maple syrup to increase their palatablity). My guitar playing was better-ish, and while I didn’t necessarily have a unique new breakthrough, I did cement certain ideas from the previous trips -particularly the yellow hazy swamp of despair and the primordial hum which my wretched self hummed like a slave hymn as I feebly fumbled my way out of there.

No geese though.

The next day I took my girlfriend through her first trip -two grams for her and 3 for me in our apartment. Setting a very strong intention to be a guide, the onset of the darkness I saw didn’t manifest until she had already gone through the worst of her trip and was smiling and laughing at the things being revealed to her. As she saw that I was looking a little morose at that later point, she was able to coach me and tell me the things I needed to hear, and in that regard it was a beautifully synergistic experience. But prior to me tripping I was able to help her find balance with breathing exercises and humming that same primordial hum that had served me on my previous trip.

As an aside, I have used hums, mantras and “Oms” only a handful of times in meditation and yoga, but never enough to realize their power. This hum I was doing seemed to send some resonant frequency through my body which…..loosened things up?

The next night after these two back to back trips,  my girl drove me to the jobsite I was working at and we slept in a teepee. I smoked cannabis with my coworkers before bed and then when I joined her for sleep, fortune conspired to fortuitously have me sleeping on a wooden platform with no air mattress. I realized that the wood wasn’t uncomfortable in any absolute sense, it simply didn’t cushion, and thus it inhibited frivolous sleeping positions. Pillows and mattresses, for all of the comfort they provide, do tend to enable our bad sleeping habits. For example, I tend to sleep in semi-fetal position. Why? Why do I do that? Well, it’s comfortable and when I ‘lock in,’ I can sleep incredibly deeply. But am I a baby? No; I am a man and I should sleep like a man, on my back, sleeping deeply but never so deeply that I wake up groggy. Or worse, so deeply that I don’t awake when something goes bump in the night. Sleeping on your back leads to easier wake-ups, and as it would happen, its the most comfortable position to lie in on a flat hard surface.

Also, as I learned this particular evening, lying on your back on a hard surface with some friction allows you to stretch your back in ways that a mattress and silky sheets do not, and as I began exploring these stretches, I used my hands to manually manipulate my head,; lifting it, pulling it back to find length in the spine, and then resting it down on the board so that the weight was on the base of my skull and just below, with my chin tucked into my upper chest. This had a two-fold benefit: 1) With my chin tucked into my chest and my jaw unable to open, it was impossible for me to snore -a constant problem with sleeping on my back, and 2) I had isolated my lingering persistent neck stiffness (it tends to come back after being cleared during a mushroom trip) to a vertebrae in my neck (somewhere in the 30th to 33rd vicinity) and this position put that vertebrae in traction.

What a feeling! I had been hard-pressed to find a way to effectively address and stretch this compression or herniation (not sure the proper term) and here and now I was exerting positive pressure on it simply by lying still.

But I wasn’t just lying still; having done two trips in the previous two days I am guessing I had some latent psilocybin in my spinal fluid and it was reactivated by the cannabis and the deep, restful, meditative  breaths I was taking. I began drawing energy into my being from the universe through my crown, down the length of my spine/kundalini, and then when it hit the bottom I began channeling it back up achieving a less potent version of that “Drano feeling” I had experienced earlier. But channeling it down and up is not simply a mental or visualization matter -my body was actually moving and my spine seemed to be fluctuating in a wave pattern.

The eggplant is a bit misleading, as it would be a better stand-in for the sacral chakra *wink wink*

I thought that perhaps a Sine wave or cosine, etc. could, universally fundamental as they are, be optimal patterns for spinal movement when attempting to channel universal energies. Speaking a little out of school here, but perhaps if the right frequency, the resonant frequency of spinal motion could be found and adhered to through training, it could precipitate greater conductivity to universal energy by shaking loose impingements through increasing amplitude.
What impingements? The build-ups and the gradual ossification that take place as a consequence of aging, the blockages which come as a result of our vices and habits and the general calcification we experience in this polluted physical realm. As I breathed and moved with my breath, visualizing this wave (great back workout btw) I came to a point in my spinal waveform where my weight and the energy I was channeling were lined up at that vertebrae in my neck. I held here for a moment and I felt a movement. It was as if something compressed slowly, partially gave way with a groan and a grind. A groan and a grind may not sound healthy, especially when we’re dealing with the spine. but I was and still am working on opening a door that has been closed a long time, and that creak gave me hope and assurance that I was onto something.

I am still working at this impingement and I am certain I will get it soon, but in the meantime I am looking to procure some more medicine as my spinal reservoir of psilocybin seems to be depleted. Also, with regards to the back workout mentioned above, my back was sore as (sic.) the next day as I had used the finer muscles along my spine that don’t get used to that extent so often. I want to keep training those muscles and over time get to the point where I have such fine control that I can manipulate each vertebrae individually. We all gotta have goals, right?

Wow! Sounds GREAT! But What’s the Rub?

My body motions must have seemed like a seizure and I would guess that they were not too far from that. That’s a scary thought, but its mitigated by the fact that it was a seizure brought on by my own volition which I could end at any time I wished. I have long suspected that epilepsy might be like a short-circuiting kundalini, dangerous because there is no control to the flow of energy. Certainly it would offer at least an anecdotal and poetic explanation for why so many famous artists have been epileptic -they were simply tapping into something universal in a way that was beyond their control.
I’m not a doctor and so please dismiss the following words as the words of (well-intentioned) fringe lunatic: If you are suffering from the pain of a lifetime of bad posture and your calcified vertebrae prevent you from correcting matters, a seizure might be just the thing to straighten you out. If precipitated through meditation (and perhaps the use of psychadelics) and therefore controllable, I think it can be not all bad.

One final point on epilepsy/seizures: There was an epileptic Russian author, very possibly Dostoyevsky, who said of his seizures something to the effect of, “The quality of them was such that if I could, I would go on having them for the rest of my life.” Looking at it from the other side, if we are trying to transcend this physical realm and slough off this corporeal shell by raising our vibration (let’s assume we are), how might that look? Arguably a lot like a seizure. This is why practices like yoga and physical conditioning in general are important -with greater flexibility and strength you become better able to withstand the physical violence of intangible energy coursing up and down your spine without becoming crippled by it or dying. And the longer you can stay on this plane with that energy coursing through you the more help you can provide uplifting those around you. Like Jesus. Or Buddha.

Parkour rules apply: “Be strong to be useful.”

Some things to note:

-I am not a doctor.
-Stand up straight with you shoulders back and sit in lotus where practicable. Treat your body like a Ferrari and you won’t park it like absolute dogshit.
-Stop eating bullshit. Sugar, empty carbs, processed foods, etc… They mess your connectivity.
-Meat is ok for some people at various points in life. I am and have been on a near-keto diet for the last two trips and that hasn’t fucked with my ability to go deep into a meditative state. For me, leaning out as much as I can is most important right now and I am grateful to the animals who give their lives to provide nourishing food which keeps me healthy and vital in this transformation. That said, certain meat restrictions might be helpful on the actual day of a trip though. It’s a double-edged sword so be judicious.
-If you use alcohol, use it for a toast and then pour out the rest for your dead homies. Seriously -even if you’ve never missed a day of work or beat your wife, that shit slows you right down and holds you back in life.
-Subscribe to @psychadelicmilk on Instagram.

I hope you see some truth in this and I wish you and your spine all the best.

Namaste!

-Andre

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‘Nosediving’ I: Life Imitating Art in China

“I’ll just follow my nose…”
-Toucan Sam

Friends,

In my recent efforts to get caught up on the program Black Mirror, I yesterday watched the first episode from season 3, entitled “Nosedive.” In this episode, the protagonist, Lacie lives in a world where everyone is constantly rated by each other on a 5 star scale. One’s rating at any given point is an aggregated average, with 5-star ratings from “high-4s” bringing one’s average higher than 5-star

ratings from 3.5s and lower. Lacie averages a respectable 4.2 at the episode’s beginning but to achieve a 4.5 and receive the benefits such a ranking holds (financial, social and professional) she takes a gamble and enters the high-stakes game of upward mobility at the elite level. Things quickly unravel for her as circumstances beyond her control coupled with some “average-dropping” faux-pas’ cause her to drop just below 4.2 and lose that ranking’s necessary benefits. This leads to an emotional outburst and profanity (a positive no-no in the perfectionist world of social media lifestyle cultivation) which gets her harshly penalized until her average is so low that she throws away all pretension and goes thermonuclear at the very social event that she gambled would bring her 4.5dom.

The whole episode seems as if it’s going to be a sobering parable about hubris and the dangers of superficiality, but late in the episode  Lacie has a chance encounter with a formerly high-4 woman happily reduced to 1-dom and we start to see that maybe letting go is the path to salvation and the moral of the episode. The final scene in a jail cell where Lacie (at an abysmal sub-1 average) trades barbs with a fellow inmate only confirms this moral.


She seems happier cussing out this black man than at any other point in the episode….RACIST!!

And it’s a good moral. It smacks of Voltaire’s timeless bit of wisdom, “Man is free the moment he wishes to be.”

I pondered this moral and it’s implications for me and where I’m at. I realized a few years ago that cultivating a squeaky-clean image online was not possible for me, nor desirable, as it would psychologically limit me in the future when I wanted to say some real shit.

Or perhaps more accurately, recognizing that a social media presence is a digital monument, if I built one based on omission and SFW opinions, I would be unwilling to topple it down the road (with risque points of view), it being a monument after all and something I would have, at that hypothetical future-point, invested much time and effort into creating.

No, better to speak my piece, polarizing as it may be, and let the chips fall where they may.

Enter the universe (or invasive data-mining), which, in it’s infinite wisdom, has been known to conspire: Logging onto the Facebooks this morning I saw that a friend posted an article from Wired entitled, “Big Data Meets Big Brother: China Moves to Rate it’s Citizens.

 

That’s right, China is moving to implement citizen ratings based on stringent governmental standards by 2020. I would suggest you read the article for Rachel Botsman’s in-depth analysis of the implications, but essentially people will qualify for better services and greater privileges based on how high their rating is. Furthermore, and much more insidiously, those considered “untrustworthy” (Naturally, China is framing it as a trust-scale more than a conformity-scale) will not only have a lack of privileges, but be a threat to their circle of friends, as one person’s degree of “fuck-uppery” will reflect poorly on anyone who deigns to associate with them, threatening even the ostensibly “trust-worthy” with loss of privileges.


“China, YOU MAGNIFICENT BASTARD!”

It’s like in Full Metal Jacket when Pyle keeps fucking up and so Hartman decides to punish the rest of the platoon, alienating him from everyone and causing them to beat the shit out of him, in what was (impressively) arguably the most disturbing scene in any Kubrick film. Punishments against bystanders for indulging and tolerating undesirables is a fundamentally malicious policy because it goes against beautiful and humanistic ideals such as “Love thy Neighbour” and “Do Unto Others…”

I’m not so naive to believe that this is a China-problem, nor that people-rating hasn’t already manifested there and here in the west. In a way, I’m all for it; I’ve worked hard to be a good traveler and earn a good reputation on CouchSurfing for example, and that reputation (rightly) gains me the trust of new hosts in new places a lot quicker and more easily. The logic is simple: Don’t be a shithead; Don’t get treated like a shithead. Simple! I, much like Ms. Botsman believe reputation to be the once and future currency of the world -good enough for proto-human tribes, good enough for the post-scarcity economy we’re moving toward.

However, China is bastardizing the noble concept of reputation by taking two of it’s ugliest permutations, credit ratings (a mechanism to further deprive the already deprived) and people reviewing (a “legitimate” way to smear someone via apps like Peeple), and combining them into an ugly abomination with the power to bestow privilege and convenience to the worthy and mete out suffering to the unworthy based on pre-established standards which are reflective of the state institution’s survival needs rather than the ability of citizens to co-exist with each other. And if that wasn’t already enough, those afflicted with “unworthiness” carry a memetic contagion of sorts, alienating them from worthy members of society who may help to, at the very least, rehabilitate them, even though they may have done nothing worse than question policy.

In this last regard, China is almost creating a prison without walls, which might not be so bad if this state-sanctioned social smearing was implemented as an alternative to physical incarceration (even though the ‘bar for entry’ seems to be much lower), but there has been no apparent mention of this, so its essentially just a way to lock up more citizens and scare many more into falling in line.

Well-played, China. The magnificence of your bastardry apparently knows no bounds.

My knee-jerk reaction to this article was predictably fear and anxiety. I’m not a violent criminal but it seems ‘crimes’ we all engage such as out-spokenness may one day land us in hot water as state-ratings become normalized and global. From a strictly amoral and Machiavellian perspective, it does seem to be a viable way to conserve and consolidate power and only someone with a complete lack of imagination or an interest in seeing this system propagate could deny it will be implemented in the western world if the China test-case proves successful.

Again, what was most paralyzing about the worry I felt  was that I realized one day having an opinion that was considered unpopular could hurt those I care about. If I had to dissociate from my father for example, or worse, if he decided to dissociate from me because I was too much of a liability… Well, how could I fault him for that?

But in that moment of panic I realized that I was just feeling, I wasn’t thinking. The former has a place to be sure, but sometimes we have to be pragmatic and logical. Whenever I am seized by existential anxiety I go over my escape plan. The details of it change over time but points 1 and 2 are pretty much always the same:

ANDRE’S SUPER-SECRET, ‘DON’T TELL THE GOVERNMENT’, ESCAPE PLAN

  1. If shit gets too bad I can always kill myself and then my problems on this material plane are over.
  2. I can always focus on my breathing and the present moment.
  3.  Refer back to points 1 and 2 as needed until such time as a better solution presents itself.

You could maybe argue that the order of 1 and 2 could be switched, but they’re just a starting point and as important as their actual viability as solutions to the problem of life, they serve the purpose of reassuring me while I formulate other strategies.

Those strategies I will elaborate on in my next post which will be a follow-up to this one.

Best,
-Andre Guantanamo

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Mental Gender and The Kybalion

Friends,

This past January I fell in with a hippie named Timmie somewhere west of Tucson in the Sonoran Desert, a few scant kilometres north of the Mexican border and on the fringes of the Tohono O’odham Nation reservation. We were living in what amounted to a desert suburb -giant plots of land, hundreds of acres each, connected by endless desert track. Maverick bovines mingled with their branded counterparts, and save for the fences which partitioned each ranch/plot of land, the only features which dotted the horizon were the farmhouses, existing kilometres upon kilometres from each other.


We spent our days mountain climbing and smoking metric shitloads of dope…
…rather idyllic…

Add to this isolation the natural desolation of the desert, the alien appearance of the saguaros, the evidence of coyotes ferrying illegals over the same routes we walked mere hours earlier, the omnipresence of the border patrol, the unseen eyes of the minutemen, the looming threat of danger from nearby neighbours who’d tried to rob Timmie, and most importantly the raw spiritual power of the reservation land we were on, and it all amounted to an exciting and interesting place to do drugs.


The remote watering hole on the reservation where we’d take Timmie’s sick dog, Oshe every day, read and allow our peace and harmony to attract wild horses.

And do drugs we did. Well, weed and mushrooms anyway.

I should qualify that: We smoked weed everyday, several times a day and it was even more of a trip because Timmie was one of those guys who could see the matrix; he was always making connections between words, acronyms and numbers and well….everything. As well, he had the gravitas of a wise Indian shaman and so there was something hypnotic about hearing him deconstruct reality…

But with regard to the mushrooms, we only did one trip: 9.5 grams of Amanita Muscarias (which I recorded and edited down to an 8-minute youtube video).
It was a powerful trip spiritually and we did a multi-day preparation for it which included a simple, nourishing diet, meditation and discourse, and reading aloud from The Kybalion. For those unfamiliar with this text I encourage you to read the wikipedia entry on it, but in brief it is the distilled teachings of Hermes Trismegistus, the greatest of all the alchemists, and it posits that there are 7 Hermetic Principles, which it then expounds upon. They are:

I. The Principle of MENTALISM
II. The Principle of CORRESPONDENCE
III. The Principle of VIBRATION
IV. The Principle of POLARITY
V. The Principle of RHYTHM
VI. The Principle of CAUSE AND EFFECT
VII. The Principle of GENDER

These principles don’t seem profound in and of themselves; indeed any pop-scientist who’s ‘liked’ IFLScience on Facebook could probably give you a tenable breakdown of vibration and cause & effect at the very least. However, it is when all seven principles are taken in conjunction that their synergy and implications manifest. It’s all very interesting and their are certainly more in-depth analyses of each specific principle to be had out there if you don’t have an interest (yet) in reading the entire book, but herein I just want to explain the fascinating revelations of chapter fourteen, which deals with MENTAL GENDER.
Mental Gender (MG) might be best explained as an elaboration on the previous chapter’s discussion on principle #7: the complementary masculine and feminine principles/energies/aspects in all of creation. Indeed, the book goes to great lengths to explain how in any act of creation, from the smallest sub-atomic particle to the universe itself, there is always a masculine energy/will which then imposes itself upon/inspires a feminine energy/womb. The masculine impresses itself upon the feminine and the feminine receives impressions -BAM! Creation!
I’ve found a handy conceptual tool to imagine this is that the feminine might be considered the energy (or matter at lower levels of vibration) and the masculine might be considered the vibration itself, determining what form the matter/energy exists as.
So why break gender down further into mental gender? Well, refer to the first principle, Mentalism, and it’s assertion that “All is Mind.” Everything is a creation of the mind, and if every creation is a culmination of masculine meeting feminine, then these two principles, mentalism and gender, share a very interesting connection.

Now allow me to digress a moment: when I left Timmie and Arizona to go to Carpe Diem Eco Project in Nicaragua, I met a traveler named Ryan my first night. He had achieved a high-level of mastery at life and so I listened when he spoke. He left the next day but one thing he said which made a deep (masculine) impression on the (feminine) womb of my mind was this: “I AM is the most powerful phrase in the universe.” While I didn’t understand fully why at the time, I knew it to be true, and so I incorporated this phrase into daily affirmations.

Fast forward to months later, and me finally finishing The Kybalion and wouldn’t you know, the phrase I AM is explicitly discussed and now better understood.

Why?

Well first we must separate I AM into its constituent parts and descriptions:

I is the statement of being. The masculine will which is cultivated through discipline, effort and focus. It must be cultivated.
AM is the statement of becoming. The womb or creative space where our ‘ME’ is created through the impressions we receive. It exists (without any need for cultivation) as primordial chaos which seeks order (I) for the act of creation.

The AM will be impregnated by/create with the strongest I (or Is) it receives impressions from. Since many are derelict in their duty of cultivating a strong I or will in their lifetimes, one strong I, whether from a mentally stronger human being or larger, more influential organization can impregnate the AM space of many, while the I of many individuals simply atrophies and languishes. (I don’t think I need to go into the parallels this realization has on our physical plane, but female sexual selection comes readily to mind, even if masculine and feminine are not specifically male and female.)
It is therefore incumbent upon us to take the time and effort to cultivate our I so that we can create our own reality as opposed to existing in the reality of another.

THINK ‘I AM’ > SPEAK ‘I AM’ > DO

Order yearns for chaos and chaos yearns for order, but chaos is a harsh and choosy mistress, so do the mental work of cultivating a strong I through meditation and reflection, speak a strong I in the direction your will is pointing and then manifest that reality through acting in accord with mind and voice.

I suppose this last bit is as much of a reminder for myself as it is advice to any of you xo

For a full downloadable pdf of the Kybalion: http://www.hermetics.org/pdf/kybalion.pdf

Best,
-Andre Guantanamo

 

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Limiting Beliefs as the Pillars of Human Civilization

Friends,

Recently, I had a conversation with my friend and colleague, Peter Mazzucco about the USMC’s “40% Rule.” The rule itself has interesting implications for will-power, but it also gave me pause to think back and reflect on something which had occurred to me months back then I was on the road shooting my upcoming adventure-documentary, Just Might Be Ok. I was somewhere in Mexico sitting on a rock taking a mid-day water break from walking. I had done 30 km already and was fairly impressed with myself. I reflected on how I had prepared for this undertaking: several full days every week spent in the late-summer heat walking the Hamilton region. My feet had toughened, my endurance had gone up, and the muscles in my legs, hips and lower back had developed to accommodate these new weight demands. But did these factors actually enable me to walk 30+ km every day encumbered with gear, or was I always able to perform this feat and I simply needed to convince myself that I could (with training and gains).

I found it to be an interesting question with wild implications. First and foremost, if a proverbial “97 lb. weakling” who never worked out walked into a gym with a deeply enough held belief that he could lift 400 lbs., could he?  On the other side of the spectrum, is the professional body-builder able to lift the 400 lb. weight because he has increased his muscle tissue and bone density through his workouts or have those physical changes simply had the desired effect of convincing him that he could lift the 400 lb. weight?

henry-ford-think-quote-mood

What we’re really talking about here is the relation of thought/belief to reality. At this moment, there is a Playstation controller on the table in front of me. In theory, if I have a deeply enough held belief that I can’t lift the controller or if I have some fear-based aversion to touching it, it’s not getting lifted, regardless of how much I have worked out. On the back end, isn’t that the same as not being able to lift it?

Ability has at least as much to do with mentality as it does with outward physical appearance and musculature. However, our mentality shapes us and so those with strong mentalities, disciplined mentalities, typically have bodies which reflect this. This too, could be seen as an indication of the relationship between thought and reality.

When discussing this idea further with my roommate, Kelton, he broadened the question by asking if the 97 lb. man could use levers and pulleys and other such machines to perform the lifting feat. I figured that that still counts as exerting one’s will upon reality and so I said sure. When you think about it, this is how society works: We can’t do something; “fly” for example, so we build machines like planes which allow us to do just that and see our will imposed upon the world around us. But this also made me think of another aspect and nuance of the question: We have laws and regulations governing aviation, what if we had laws and regulations prohibiting the use of levers and pulleys? Well, in absolute terms, the 97 lb. man could contravene the law and still lift the 400 lbs., but assuming he came up in the authoritarian public school system and our society more broadly, he would likely have a deep-seated fear-based aversion to using prohibited machinery. Again, on the back end, this is the exact same as not being able to lift the 400 lbs.

I would go further in fact to say that all laws and their corollary rights fundamentally serve as limiters of possibility. They limit what we believe we are capable of. I used to look rights and laws as opposite ends of a continuum, both flowing from a central point (the state/authority/power), the former protecting the individual and the latter protecting the collective, and always in a constant state of tension. There is truth to this view, but within the context of limiting beliefs I began to conceive of a new conceptual model for our relationship to rights and laws.  Imagine that same central point (the state), but it is above us and it projects beams downward and outward to envelope us in an upside down funnel shape. These beams are rights and laws, and while they are touted as guarantors of freedom, they actually act as bars caging us into the activities and potentials the state has dictated to be acceptable.

5-ways-to-overcome-limiting-beliefs

Every law and right is in fact a micro-aggression which limits our possibility. Even the most well-wrought, agreeable laws, against killing perhaps, even these still limit our conception of what is possible for us in this world.

It’s at this point where the unimaginative might derisively retort, “So are you saying that we should get rid of all laws, you anarchist?” -as if such a proposition is completely ludicrous. I think the abolition of laws and rights is a desirable state to get to but it is a state we can’t discuss without talking about other societal changes which are beyond the scope of this post.

For now, it is simply important to recognize that every new law, rule, right, guarantee, statute, and stipulation is coercive. Recognize that you have been conditioned to be afraid of force being used against you for contravention of the laws. Recognize that a law against stealing means that there are consequences for stealing, it doesn’t mean that you can’t steal.

You can do anything. Convince yourself of this. Believe it at an experiential level, and begin to undo a lifetime of limiting programming.

Best,
-Andre Guantanamo

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“31, Numb, but the Hurt is Gone…”

Friends,

I’m 31.

31 stony grey steps toward the grave if I’m looking to be poetic and needlessly morose.

It’s certainly been a full 31 years, but even in light of everything I have experienced thus far, I feel in some ways like I am just getting started.

Not at life, mind you, but at living.

This is gonna be a big year for me. How do I know?

Well because it has to be. I can’t keep on the way I have been thus far or I will keep getting what I have always gotten.

And I’m bored of that.

2015 was a big year for me. Monster was my operative word. It was my theme for the year if you will. It was on my tongue for everything I wanted to do career-wise.

And, it became a self-fulfilling prophecy: It was my biggest year in film (such as it was), and certainly I could have kept said momentum up and kept growing, albeit in a linear fashion.

But that didn’t seem righteous to me. Essentially, there were other areas of my life I had been neglecting during my entertainment pursuits, most notably my aspirations as an adventurer, and to keep on the same way I had been would have been to repress those longings.

So I donned the sombrero and poncho of el peregrino and made my first foray into Latin America where I partook in ayahuasca and shot a film. This satisfied my longing for adventure while reassuring me that I wasn’t losing too much professional momentum. I got two birds stoned at once as it were.

But now I’m back home. Back for over two months actually, and I stand at a bit of a crossroads: Where do I go from here? I could go back into that linear progression but it doesn’t feel righteous; that is to say I don’t find myself pulled in that direction. After all, do I really wanna spend the rest of my life only telling other people’s stories? No, mine must be the priority.

I feel on a very deep level that to keep pursuing the same things, the same way in the same place is to do myself a disservice and squander my potential while ignoring my passions.

If the theme of 2015 was Monster, the theme for 2016 is Evolve. I have known this…felt this, since mid-2015. I’ve recognized this need for a quantum-shift for that long.

So how do I plan on evolving?

Well, I am precipitating said evolution assymetrically and on many fronts simultaneously, developing existing aptitudes and even trying my hand at new endeavours not strictly film or even adventure related. That’s a big step for me.

So what are some of my approaches?

Well, there is another adventure documentary in the works which will be my greatest undertaking yet. I can’t speak too definitively about it right now simply because I’m not producing/organizing it (which is kind of a relief), but if it doesn’t get deferred until 2017, it will begin this October. Stay tuned for that.

But, I’m kinda sorta almost hoping it does get deferred until next year because my back-up plan is pretty damn sweet too. I’ve started making some inquiries about this one but I can’t start making arrangements until my new passport comes in over the next couple weeks…

On the home front I am starting a collective which at this moment I am simply calling ACCESS. It will be a first furtive step in the direction of embodying a set of values important to me and my partners in the project, values such as sustainability, abundance, collaboration and skill-development to name a few. We are still selecting the property we wish to purchase for this endeavour, and there is a strict set of criteria it must meet, but I am confident we can have that portion of it sorted out before any departure I may be inclined undertake in the fall. This will be a long-term project that will grow and develop as my partners and I do, and I’m excited to begin living values that I have thus far just been discussing.

With regard to strictly creative endeavours, I’ve done something I’ve been meaning to for some time now which  is to lay down vocals for a hip-hop track. Director and Rapper, Matthew Luppino is producing it and it should be out over the next few weeks. I love rhyming and playing with words and so this is a long-overdue step. I want to challenge myself to write a few tracks a year as a way of harnessing this skill. I’m nice at writing bars. Now the world will see this.

Film-wise, I haven’t been applying for auditions but I have kept busy enough through referrals and the like, and for about a month of my time home I was pretty goddamn busy doing stunts on Blood & Fury: America’s Civil War. This latter was actually really important because it gave me that feeling of still being in the game which is so useful for combating feelings of idleness during this period of reflection.. But the whole time I’ve meditated constantly upon how to evolve. A seemingly obvious step would be to finally look into getting an agent but I’m not 100% sold on that…yet. I think there are other ways in which I can transcend where I’m at before I allow that influence into my life.

Finally I am going back out to comedy shows after a lengthy hiatus. This time however I am more aware of how I present myself on stage and going to try new means of delivering my ideas which will hopefully add to their efficacy.

Like I said earlier, I’m 31. I am LITERALLY in the prime of my life when all factors are taken into consideration. True, my body may have some wear and tear (I was in the army for 10 years), but that is mitigated by eating well and keeping fit. And really, from a physical fitness perspective, I’m still easily in the upper 20th percentile of North American men my age. But even if I wasn’t that lack would be offset by the fact that I’m smarter, wiser, more focused, more established and freer than I’ve ever been. I am at a singular moment in my life where I can do ANYTHING. So it’s very important that I don’t squander this time with vain pursuits because I will never be able to achieve like I can achieve now.

Evolve.

Best,
-Andre Guantanamo

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